Celebrate the New Year and Russian Christmas in Style!
About the Tour
Take in the beautiful cities of St Petersburg and Moscow, graced by festive decorations and nature’s own wintry adornments, before exploring deep into the Russian and Norwegian Arctic Circle in pursuit of the magnificent Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
- Hotel and onboard accommodation
- Welcome and Farewell Dinners
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
- Drinks with meals and from the Bar Lounge Car
- Guided off-train excursions
- Experienced tour managers
- Russian hats, traditional felt boots, a Golden Eagle embroidered scarf and woolly mittens on arrival, to help keep out the cold.
- Personal headsets
- Arrival and departure transfers
- 24 hour service attendant
- Porterage between hotel and stations
- All gratuities
Day 1 – St Petersburg
Flight arrivals into St Petersburg and transfer to the luxurious Four Seasons Lion Palace (or similar). This evening you are invited to a champagne drinks reception with the opportunity to meet your fellow travellers before our exclusive Welcome Dinner. Specially selected international wines are included with dinner, as with all meals during the tour.
At the start of your adventure why not extend your stay in St Petersburg with pre-tour nights to explore more of the city at your leisure and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the Christmas markets or go ice skating on one of the outdoor rinks in the central squares?
Day 2 – St Petersburg
St Petersburg is a stunning city, crowded with splendid palaces, impressive historical monuments, wide boulevards, beautiful bridges and is renowned as the Ballet Capital of the World.
During our time spent in St Petersburg we have a guided tour of Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin and the world-famous Hermitage Museum, the former Winter Palace of the Tsars which houses the royal art collection of over three million works. It is one of the world’s largest and most impressive art museums.
There is also a city tour of St Petersburg featuring the key sights including St Isaac's Cathedral and Nevsky Prospect.
Make one of your evenings in St Petersburg extra special by purchasing a ticket for a ballet or opera performance at one of the world-renowned St Petersburg theatres (subject to schedule and availability and pre-booked at least six weeks prior to departure).
Day 3 – St Petersburg
We have a unique opportunity to celebrate New Year’s Eve on board at our signature Gala Caviar Dinner on board the Golden Eagle in the beautifully designed restaurant car, specially decorated tonight for our New Year’s Eve Party. Enjoy complimentary champagne, international wines and live musical entertainment for a New Year’s Eve you won’t forget as we begin our rail journey northwards to the Arctic Circle.
Day 4 – Crossing the Arctic Circle
Today we have the opportunity to have a relaxed start to New Year's Day with a sumptuous breakfast and to unwind after our evening of celebration. We can reflect on the many sights we are about to experience on our rail journey, maybe listen to a talk or simply relax and enjoy the ever-changing winter landscape outside our window as we cross into the Arctic Circle on our quest to see the Northern Lights.
Day 5 – Kirkenes & Northern Lights
This morning we leave our train with an overnight bag at the Russian border station of Nikel and we transfer by bus (90 minutes drive) across the Russian/Norwegian border to Kirkenes for a two night stay at the Thon Hotel (or similar). We will visit the magical Snow Hotel just 15 km outside Kirkenes. We’ll have a welcome drink in the snow bar and a tour of the Snow Hotel with its ice sculptures and snow paintings by local and international artists. After a traditional meal including a reindeer hot dog in the snow hotel’s warm lodge restaurant we’ll take an evening bus tour in search of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). If the sky is clear our guest astronomer will be on hand to advise us during star-gazing and will bring the night sky to life with their extensive knowledge.
Optional Activities in Kirkenes: You may like to book some additional optional activities such as an evening snowmobile tour (3 hours) or husky dog sledge tour (2 hours) in search of the Northern Lights. Each sledge is pulled by a team of eight dogs and can seat two people and a driver called a dog musher. These activities have limited places and should be requested at the time of booking the tour - please contact us for prices.
For a really memorable experience why not choose the ‘coolest’ hotel check-in around and stay overnight at the Snow Hotel? Upgrades to the snow hotel are limited so book early to avoid disappointment. The snow hotel stays at a constant minus five degrees centigrade and thermal sleeping bags are provided. Showers, toilets and a Scandinavian sauna are provided in a building next to the snow hotel.
Day 6 – Kirkenes & Northern Lights
Today a unique winter experience awaits on our King Crab Fishing adventure. The excursion begins with a snowmobile drawn sleigh across the frozen fjords. Warm clothing and a helmet is provided. Through a hole in the ice you will be shown by your guide a catch of the magnificent Arctic King Crab (which can span two metres and weigh up to 15kgs). We then continue by sleigh to the nearby Fisherman’s Lodge, where it is here by a roaring log fire that your fresh King Crab meal awaits.
Also included during your stay in Kirkenes is a one-hour husky dog sledge ride and a visit to the resident reindeers.
Day 7 – Nikel Murmansk & Northern Lights
Today we cross the border back into Russia and re-join our train which is waiting for us in Nikel Murmansk.
Day 8 – Murmansk & Northern Lights
We will continue to Murmansk, a city halfway between Moscow and the North Pole, and 120 miles north of the Arctic Circle. As the main city of the Kola Peninsula, it started as a tiny settlement and Arctic trading post. In 1916, under pressure from the British to establish a support port, Murmansk was founded. Thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream, the port is ice-free year-round. Homeport of Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreakers we’ll visit the Nuclear Icebreaker Museum Ship.
We’ll spend the afternoon on board travelling through Arctic Russia. Relax and enjoy the ever-changing winter landscape outside your window or chat to fellow passengers. Afternoon tea with freshly baked Russian cookies will be served in our stylish Bar Lounge Car.
Day 9 – Petrozavodsk – Russian Christmas Eve
Petrozavodsk stretches along the western shore of Lake Onega - the second largest lake in Europe. It is one of the major cultural and industrial centres of the North-West of Russia and is the capital of the Republic of Karelia.
We take a city tour and then celebrate Sochelnik (Russian Christmas Eve) with a Karelian Folk Performance and continue our festivities with a traditional Russian Christmas Eve meal, known as the Holy Supper. As always a generous allowance of international wine and drinks are included with our dinner as we celebrate together.
Day 10 – Vladimir & Suzdal – Russian Christmas Day
Today will see Russians celebrate their Christmas Day and the city will be beautifully decorated for Rozhdestvo (Russian Christmas).
The historic city of Vladimir was founded in 990 and is one of Russia’s oldest communities. With an architectural wealth, it has been decreed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our tour takes in Uspensky Cathedral, built between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. It is considered one of the most important and beautiful of Russian cathedrals, where many of the prominent Russian Tsars were crowned. From Vladimir we travel to Suzdal, one of Russia’s most perfectly preserved walled cities dating back to 1024, located 35 kilometres from Vladimir. Here we visit the atmospheric St Euthymius Monastery to witness an enchanting choral performance by the resident monks. No Russian winter experience would be complete without the horse-drawn sleigh ride through this stunning location.
Day 11 – Moscow
Today, we visit Red Square, an iconic symbol of Russia’s former military and political might with its eclectic mix of fascinating architecture, such as the ornate St Basil’s Cathedral’s magnificent onion-domed spires, the beautiful façade of the world famous GUM Department store constructed in Tsarist times, and the sombre and evocative site of Lenin’s tomb.
We’ll also take a tour of the opulent and unique stations of the Moscow metro - showpieces of Socialist art furnished with statues, frescoes and mosaics, unsurpassed anywhere in the world.
Tonight we enjoy a Farewell Dinner as we reflect on the experiences we have enjoyed over the last 11 days.
Day 12 – Moscow
After breakfast in the hotel our tour to Arctic Circle finally comes to a close. Lunch, if required, would be by your own arrangement.
Flights should be booked to depart after 3pm or why not extend your stay in Moscow to explore more of the city at your leisure, go ice skating on the open air ice rink or enjoy the continuing Russian Christmas celebrations?
Silver Class cabins, which are compact at 60 sq ft feature a small double lower bed and a single upper bed as well as DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe and large picture window. The Silver Class cabins have private en-suite wet room with a washbasin, toilet and shower.
Gold Class cabins, at 77 sq ft are extremely well-proportioned and have everything from a private bathroom with separate power shower cubicle and underfloor heating to a DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe, large picture window as well as featuring a double lower bed and a single upper bed. Guests in Gold Class benefit from complimentary drinks off the Standard Bar List in the Bar Lounge Car.
Imperial Suite cabins, the most spacious cabins available onboard the Golden Eagle measures 120 sq ft and benefits from a large and luxurious double bed as well as a lounge area with dressing table. Imperial Suite facilities include a private en-suite bathroom with power shower and the luxury of underfloor heating; individual air-conditioning; wardrobe; DVD/CD player with LCD screen; complimentary fully stocked minibar; safe; small library and two large picture windows to watch the world go by. Guests will also benefit from the option of a private guide and car service along the route, the inclusion of drinks from the standard and premium bar list in the Bar Lounge Car, a laundry service and room upgrades to the next available category at the hotels which are featured in the itinerary.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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