Overlooked Whistle-Stops in Southern Russia

“ADiscover the arresting natural beauty and spirited cultures of the North Caucasus on this rail journey powered by Soviet-era steam locomotives. Admire mountain vistas on the scenic North Caucasus Railway, making stops in the Chechen capital of Grozny, recently rebuilt after years of conflict, and lively Vladikavkaz. Tour the famed mineral spa resorts of Mineralnye Vody, Pyatigorsk and Kislovodsk, and enjoy a rare opportunity to ride one of Russia’s few remaining narrow-gauge railways through beautiful Gaumsky Canyon.

Note: On this adventurous rail journey, travelers will board a steam-hauled private train utilizing a medley of cars, including Golden Eagle en suite sleeping cabins, simpler Heritage sleeping cabins with shared facilities, and varied lounge and restaurant cars.

15 Day Trip

  • Rail Journey
    No minimum number of travelers
  • Travels to:
    Russia, Western Russia
  • Private Rail:
    Moscow, around Russia's Southern Steppe and the North Caucasus, and back to Moscow

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Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Why end mights on this Tour
  • Walk the bricks of fabled Red Square
    Wander the brick-paved expanse of historic UNESCO-listed Red Square in the shadow of St. Basil’s fanciful onion domes....
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  • Explore the recently rebuilt capital of Chechnya
    Explore renovated Grozny, capital of the Chechen Republic and once the "most destroyed city in the world," today its elegant avenues lined with high-end stores and galleries. 
...
    Read More
  • Hop a ride on a restored narrow-gauge railway
    Hop a ride on a restored narrow-gauge railway through spectacular Guamsky Canyon, crossing rivers, meandering through forests, villages, and the steep rocky canyon....
    Read More
  • Visit the immense Mother Russia monument at former Stalingrad
    Visit the immense Mother Russia monument on Mamaev Kurgan, where much of Stalingrad's bitter battle took place....
    Read More
Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over 30 years of Russia and Trans-Siberian travel experience
  • Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, recommends MIR as the company to talk to about a Trans-Siberian journey
  • Travel programs such as Northwestern, Harvard and Johns Hopkins have chosen MIR to guide them along the Trans-Siberian line
  • 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: Moscow, board the Golden Eagle

Tour the classic sights of this 870-year-old capital city, then depart aboard the luxury Golden Eagle.

Highlights

  • Moscow, capital of the Russian Federation
  • UNESCO-listed Red Square with its imaginatively decorated St. Basil’s Cathedral
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Days 4-5: Saratov, Astrakhan

In Saratov, visit the Radishchev Art Museum, one of the oldest in Russia. Explore the cosmopolitan city of Astrakhan, and cruise through the Volga Delta, Europe’s largest river delta.

Highlights

  • Saratov, ancestral home of the Volga Germans
  • Radishchev Art Museum
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Day 6: Grozny (Chechnya), Vladikavkaz (North Ossetia)

In 2003, Grozny, capital of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, was mostly rubble, but today, the bright new city features a handsome mosque and a pleasant downtown. Continue west to Vladikavkaz, capital of North Ossetia, a region watered by many mineral and freshwater springs.

Highlights

  • Grozny’s central mosque, named in honor of Akhmad Kadyrov, the first President of the Chechen Republic
  • Vladikavkaz, capital of North Ossetia, and the terminus of the Georgian Military Highway

Day 7: Mineralnye Vody (Stavropol Krai), Kislovodsk, Pyatigorsk

Explore three of the renowned resort centers of the North Caucasus – Mineralnye Vody, jumping-off point for exploring nearby Mt. Elbrus; Kislovodsk, one of the most beautiful resort towns; and Pyatigorsk, one of the oldest.

Highlights

  • Mineralnye Vody, gateway to the North Caucasus mineral water spas
  • Tour of Kislovodsk's gorgeous gardens, including Narzan Gallery & Spring and spacious Kurortny Park
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Day 8: Apsheronsk (Krasnodar Krai)

Apsheronsk is inhabited by both Cossacks and Circassians, an ethnic group native to the Caucasus. Enjoy a ride on the restored narrow-gauge railway through spectacular Guamsky Canyon, admiring waterfalls, rock formations, and luxuriant forests.

Highlights

  • Train ride on the historic narrow-gauge railway through spectacular Guamsky Canyon

Days 9-10: Sochi, Gagra

In Sochi, Russia’s beloved resort on the Black Sea, inspect some of the 2014 Winter Olympic sites. Conditions allowing, visit Gagra, a popular Imperial and Soviet health resort on the Black Sea, and the location of Stalin’s dacha.

Highlights

  • Tour of Sochi's 2014 Winter Olympic Sites
  • Gagra, historic Imperial and Soviet resort town

Days 11-12: Krasnodar (Krasnodar Krai), Tikhoretsk, Rostov-on-Don

Krasnodar was founded by Cossacks in 1794, and is today a trade, historical, and cultural center. In Tikhoretsk, wander among the dozens of old locomotives and rolling stock in its locomotive repair depot. In Rostov-on-Don, boat over the Don River to the island village of Starocherkassk, capital of the Don Cossacks for more than 200 years.

Highlights

  • Krasnodar, historic trade and cultural center founded by Kuban Cossacks
  • Locomotive repair depot in Tikhoretsk
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Days 13-15: Volgograd, aboard the Golden Eagle, Moscow

In Volgograd, visit the Mamaev Kurgan, housing a moving memorial complex dedicated to those who perished in the 1942-43 Battle of Stalingrad. Celebrate your last night aboard with a farewell dinner.

Highlights

  • The massive Motherland statue at the Mamaev Kurgan memorial
  • Panorama of the Battle of Stalingrad

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

Download Detailed Itinerary
Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 15 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person

  • Heritage Class, twin share
    $12,695
  • Heritage Class, single
    $18,995
  • Silver Class, twin share
    $18,995
  • Silver Class, single
    $28,495
  • Gold Class, twin share
    $23,995
  • Gold Class, single
    $35,995
  • Imperial Suite Class, twin share
    $37,995

2018 Dates

  • September 28-October 12
  • FROM
  • $12,695
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What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • On this adventurous rail journey, travelers will board a steam-hauled private train utilizing a medley of cars, including Golden Eagle en suite sleeping cabins, simpler Heritage sleeping cabins with shared facilities, and varied lounge and restaurant cars.
  • Accommodation aboard the Golden Eagle private train.
  • Hotel accommodation per the itinerary (2 nights in Moscow).
  • 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

  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list, reading list, insurance information.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international airfare is not included in the land tour cost).
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application and instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
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.

More Info

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 St. Petersburg, Moscow, or the South Caucasus 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 our private travel 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.

This trip is suitable only for true explorers: for those with an abundance of curiosity, significant amounts of flexibility and patience, and an eagerness to learn about an obscure region and the complex ethnic groups that comprise this area.

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.

See All Journals
MIR in the News
  • In It For the Long Haul

    August 16, 2017

    If you need to get away from it all, and you’ve got a little extra time on your hands, take a peek at Luxury Travel Magazine’s recent round-up 10 extended vacations sure to relax and recharge your spirit. Two of MIR’s o... Read More

  • Go Big on the Silk Route

    August 10, 2017

    A recent article on the GoBanking Rates blog featured MIR’s Silk Route by Private Train luxury rail journey in its round-up of “The Most Amazing Luxury Travel Why end mights You Can Buy.” The epic 21-day rail journey allow... Read More

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From the Blog
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Golden Eagle Private Train

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

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 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 Golden Eagle is a fully en suite train and a restful and satisfying way to experience legendary rail routes.

Note: On this adventurous rail journey, travelers will board a steam-hauled private train utilizing a medley of cars, including Golden Eagle en suite sleeping cabins, simpler Heritage sleeping cabins with shared facilities, and varied lounge and restaurant cars.

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)


  • Heritage Class

    Heritage Class

    Heritage Class cabins offer comfortable accommodation in air-conditioned cars with twin-berth compartments featuring upper/lower berths. The lower berth converts to a comfortable sofa for daytime travel. A washroom/toilet is located at each end of each sleeping car, and there is a separate purpose-built shower car in the overall train configuration.

    Additional Information

    Heritage Class cabin dimensions – 8 cabins/carriage:

    Cabin area – 43 sq ft (4 sq m)
    Cabin length – 6′ 7″ (2 m)
    Cabin width – 6′ 5″ (2 m)
    Lower bed width – 3′ 3″ (1 m)
    Lower bed length – 6′ (1.8 m)
    Upper bed width – 2′ 3″ (0.72 m)
    Upper bed length – 5′ 7″ (1.75 m)

    Beds convert to a sofa for daytime use.


  • Hotel Accommodations

    Hotel Accommodations

    The first and last nights of most tours are spent in well-appointed 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 Golden Eagle

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.

Train formations are not fixed, as the composition varies to suit the number of passengers on a given departure. Group sizes on winter trips are generally more intimate than spring, summer or fall departures. 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).