From Tehran to Moscow via Central Asia Aboard the Golden Eagle

This five-country rail adventure begins in Iran’s cosmopolitan capital, Tehran, where the UNESCO-listed Golestan Palace is on the menu. Discover rich archaeological sites around the country, including incredible Persepolis and the thousand-year-old mud-brick citadel of Rayen. Explore beautiful Isfahan, Zoroastrian Yazd and sacred Mashad before crossing into Turkmenistan. Admire the ruins of Merv and the marble monuments of the capital, Ashgabat, then set out for the Silk Road oases of Uzbekistan, Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand. Trace a northern branch of the Silk Road through Kazakhstan into Russia, and end in magnificent Moscow.

An eastbound departure from Moscow to Tehran is also available, as well as a shorter version of this route between Tashkent and Tehran (eastbound / westbound).

18 Day Trip

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Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Why end mights on this Tour
  • Take a guided tour of the extensive ruins of UNESCO-listed Merv
    Take a guided tour of the extensive ruins of UNESCO-listed Merv; the earliest of its five ancient cities is attributed to Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC....
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  • Get a glimpse of the burning Darvaza Gas Crater
    Take a peek at the glowing rim of the eerie Darvaza Gas Crater, locally known as the “Door to Hell”...
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  • Explore the majestic Registan in UNESCO-listed Samarkand
    Applaud the unsurpassed majesty of the Registan and learn about the architectural wonders of fabled Samarkand....
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  • Survey the complex Persian architecture of beautiful Isfahan
    Survey the complex Persian architecture of Isfahan’s gracefully proportioned UNESCO-listed Imam Square, decorated with cobalt, turquoise and lapis lazuli mosaic tiles....
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over 30 years of Central Asia travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Vassar, Dartmouth and the Harvard Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to Central Asia
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-3: Tehran

Enjoy a two-night stay at a five star hotel in Tehran. Explore Iran’s capital, including the UNESCO Site of Golestan Palace, encompassing several palatial buildings around a cool green garden. Board the private train and head south through the desert and the foothills of the Zagros Mountains toward Persepolis and Shiraz.

Highlights

  • Golestan Palace, with the Marble Throne, created from 65 pieces of yellow Yazd marble
  • Crown Jewels at the Central Bank

Days 4-5: Persepolis, Shiraz, Isfahan

Explore the ruins of Persepolis, UNESCO-listed wonder of the ancient world built by Darius I, before touring the fabled city of Shiraz. In elegant Isfahan, wander UNESCO-listed Imam Square. Shah Abbas the Great built the graceful ensemble in the early 17th century.

Highlights

  • UNESCO-listed Persepolis, one of the most important sites of the Ancient World
  • “City of Roses and Nightingales,” Shiraz
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Days 6-8: Yazd, Rayen, Mahan, Mashad

Admire the Eternal Flame at the Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Yazd, and the thousand-year-old mud-brick citadel of Rayen. Tour the UNESCO-listed Shahzadeh (Prince) Garden of Mahan, with its stairway of terraced pools and the tomb of 14th century Sufi leader Shah Nematollah Vali.
 In Mashad, discover one of Iran's holiest Shi’ite shrines, Imam Reza’s Tomb, along with the Nader Shah Museum and the tomb of Ferdowsi, the father of the Persian language, who lived over 1,000 years ago.

Highlights

  • 5th century Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Yazd
  • Towers of Silence
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Days 9-10: Merv, Ashgabat

Crossing into Turkmenistan, visit the UNESCO-listed ancient ruins of Merv. Arrive in the capital, Ashgabat, and take a tour of this modern city, glittering with gold and marble. Make a foray into the desert for a glimpse of the “Door to Hell,” the burning Darvaza gas crater.

Highlights

  • Ruins of Marghiana and Archaeological Museum in UNESCO-listed ancient Merv
  • Capital of Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, with marble and gold monuments

Days 11-13: Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand

Spend some time in Khiva, among the most important oases on the Silk Road. The highlights in Bukhara are the mud-brick Ark Citadel, the fortified residence of the Emirs of Bukhara, and the Palace of the Moon and Stars. Admire the Bibi Khanum Mosque, Ulug Bek Observatory and Registan Square in Samarkand, Tamerlane’s beautiful capital.

Highlights

  • Samarkand, a UNESCO World Heritage Site called “Crossroads of Cultures”
  • Registan Square, Samarkand’s most famous landmark
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Days 14-15: Tashkent, Baikonur

Explore Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, a modern city rebuilt in the Soviet style after an earthquake in 1966. Cross the Kazakh border and continue through the Kyzyl Kum Desert to discover Russia’s premier space launch facility, the Baikonur Cosmodrome, located deep in the arid Kazakh steppe. Yuri Gagarin began his historic space flight here, making him the first human being in space.

Highlights

  • Uzbekistan’s capital and largest city, Tashkent
  • The Square of Independence, tracing Tashkent’s history
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Days 16-18: Aboard the Train, Moscow

Head up through the Volga River region, with its changing landscapes of forests, valleys, fields and little villages, passing by Saratov. Arrive in Moscow and enjoy a one-night stay at a five star hotel.

Highlights

  • Charming Volga River region
  • Moscow, capital of the Russian Federation

See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 18 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person

  • Silver Class, twin share
    $20,995
  • Silver Class, single
    $31,595
  • Gold Class, twin share
    $24,995
  • Gold Class, single
    $37,495
  • Imperial Suite Class, twin share
    $41,995
  • Imperial Suite Class, single
    $79,995

2018 Dates

  • October 28-November 14
  • FROM
  • $20,995
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Special Offer Savings!

  • Book Now and Save $100Book any 2018 rail journey by private train before December 31, 2017 and save $100 (more info).
  • More Special OffersSee all of MIR’s current special offers (more info).

Contact our dedicated travel specialists for more details on any tour you’re interested in.

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Accommodation aboard the Golden Eagle private train.
  • Per the itinerary, 3 nights of shared accommodation in well-located hotels.
  • All meals starting with dinner on Day 1 until breakfast on final tour day, including a generous, though not unlimited, allowance of wine or local beer, soft drinks and water with all lunches and dinners.
  • Arrival/departure transfers, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates and in the tour start/end cities.
  • All guided off-train tours per itinerary.
  • The services of an experienced Train Tour Manager, with local guides for scheduled off-train touring.
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water round the clock from your car attendant while on board the train.
  • All gratuities.
  • Baggage handling.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list and reading list.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international and internal airfares are not included in the land tour cost).
Download Detailed Itinerary
Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

More Info

Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Visas

Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

More Info

Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in the Caucasus, Western RussiaIran, or Central Asia before or after your tour. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This trip is moderately active, and rated moderate to rigorous touring due to the daily walking involved and the overall shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure. To reap the full rewards of this adventure, travelers must be able to walk at least a mile a day, keeping up with fellow travelers. Flexibility, a sense of humor and a willingness to accept local standards of amenities and services are essential components to the enjoyment of this trip.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

Read our Travel Journals

MIR's Travel Journals offer first hand accounts of MIR's fascinating destinations.

  • Jewels of Persia: Iran by Private Train

    Jewels of Persia: Iran by Private Train

    Douglas Grimes and Annie Lucas, MIR's President and Vice President, had the privilege of being aboard the inaugural journey of the first western private train allowed into Iran. A round trip journey from Budapest to Tehran and back aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express private train, this was a first-of-its-kind itinerary and an historic undertaking.... Read More

  • Riding the Trans-Siberian Rails: Moscow to Ulaanbaatar

    Riding the Trans-Siberian Rails: Moscow to Ulaanbaatar

    MIR clients Helge Pedersen and Karen Ofsthus ride the rails of the fabled Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Ulaanbaatar on MIR's Trans-Siberian private rail journey as they check in from each stop with stories, photos and video.... Read More

See All Journals
MIR in the News
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From the Blog
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Golden Eagle

The perfect combination of remote destinations and comfortable accommodations, rail journeys by private train open a world of discovery to travelers who enjoy comfort and leisure time as well as exciting new vistas.

The exclusive Golden Eagle private train furnishes the dream of Old World rail travel with modern comforts and amenities that make the journey as pleasant as the destination. The luxurious Golden Eagle is a fully en suite train and a restful and satisfying way to experience legendary rail routes.

Train & Hotel Accommodations

Relax and enjoy the panorama rolling past your private window and disembark for guided off-train touring in fascinating towns and cities along the way.

Each sleeping carriage on the Golden Eagle has its own attendants who provide bed turndown service, plus tea, coffee and mineral water 24 hours a day. Attendants keep an eye on everything while guests are away from the train. L’Occitane body products, as well as premium bathrobes, slippers and a hairdryer, are provided in all cabin categories.

  • Imperial Suite

    Imperial Suite

    Imperial Suites are the most beautiful and spacious cabins available onboard the Golden Eagle. Measuring a surprising 120 sq ft (11.1 sq meters), they are furnished with a luxurious king size bed, dedicated seating area, dressing table and private en suite facilities with large power shower and under floor heating. Individual air-conditioning, wardrobe, DVD/CD player with LCD screen and two large picture windows make the cabin a pleasant retreat.

    Additional Information

    Imperial Suite dimensions – 2 suites per departure / 1 suite per carriage:

    Cabin area (total, including bathroom) – 120 sq ft (11.1 sq m)
    Cabin length – 17′ 4″ (5.3 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 7″ (2 m)
    Bed length – 6′ 2″ (1.9 m)
    Bed width – 5′ (1.5 m)


  • Gold Class

    Gold Class

    Gold Class cabins are well-proportioned and feature modern en suite amenities including power showers, under floor heating, a DVD/CD player, LCD screen, remote-controlled air-conditioning/heating, recessed lighting and wardrobe and a personal safe. Each cabin is configured with upper and lower berths, and can accommodate double, twin or single occupancy.

    Additional Information

    Gold Class cabin dimensions – 5 cabins/carriage:

    Cabin area (total, including bathroom) – 77 sq ft (7 sq m)
    Cabin length – 11′ 8″ (3.6 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 7″ (2 m)
    Size of bathroom – 6′ 6″ x 4′  (2.4 sq m)
    Bed length – 6′ 2″ (1.9 m)
    Lower bed width – 4′ 5″ (1.35 m)
    Upper bed width – 2′ 9″ (85 cm)

    Lower bed converts to a sofa for daytime use.

    Note: The 5th compartment is of a slightly different layout (68 sq ft), and will normally be allocated to single guests.


  • Silver Class

    Silver Class

    Silver Class cabins are more compact than Gold Class cabins with similar facilities. Silver Class cabins feature the same amenities as Gold Class cabins but in a smaller space and with a smaller, wet room-style shower area.

    Additional Information

    Silver Class cabin dimensions – 6 cabins/carriage:

    Cabin area (total, including bathroom) – 11 sq ft (5.5 sq m)
    Cabin length – 8′ 8″ (2.6 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 7″ (2 m)
    Size of bathroom – 4′ 6″ x 3′ (1.25 sq m)
    Bed length (upper & lower) – 6′ 2″ (190 cm)
    Lower bed width – 3′ 6″ (1.1 m)
    Upper bed width – 2′ 9″ (85 cm)


  • Hotel Accommodations

    Hotel Accommodations

    The first and last nights of most tours are spent in well-appointed four and five star hotels. Some tours feature additional hotel nights. Please review the detailed itinerary for specifics pertaining to each tour and departure. Additional nights before and after any tour can be arranged on request.

Life Aboard the Train
Dining Car of the Golden Eagle,/i> luxury private train Photo credit: Golden Eagle Luxury Private Train

The Golden Eagle private train provides everything you need for a pleasurable journey. Join travelers from around the world to enjoy the relaxed and casual environment onboard, with no need to wear formal attire on excursions or while dining. Bear in mind that no alcohol will be served onboard while traveling through Iran.

Train formations are not fixed, as the composition varies to suit the number of passengers on a given departure. Iran departures will generally range 35-65 passengers.  The exact configuration of the train on any particular journey may not be determined until close to departure. 

Please note that a variety of cabins styles are in use aboard the train. Decor, layout, type and number of dining, bar and sleeping cars on your journey may differ from the sample images depicted in our brochures/websites.

  • Bar/Lounge Car

    Bar/Lounge Car

    A Bar/Lounge Car is a favorite destination in the train formation and is typically included on most departures. The lounge offers a relaxing and comfortable area where you can enjoy a drink, take language lessons, and gather around the piano with other passengers.

  • Dining Cars

    Dining Cars

    Dining Cars feature local and European cuisine complemented by a selection of local and European wines (except on trips in Iran). Dining cars are multi-purpose, used for on-board lectures and viewing documentaries. One or more dining cars may be included in the train formation of any given departure depending on the number of passengers.

    Additional Information

  • Off-Train Tours

    Off-Train Tours

    Rail journeys feature an extensive selection of educational city tours in the various stops on our routes. Private coaches and local guides whisk you away from your private train for fascinating half- or full-day forays into the principal towns and cities, sometimes including an in-city dining opportunity. Read through this tour’s itinerary for more information (found on the Itinerary & Map tab of this page).