The Golden Eagle - Crimean Express by Steam Train
Join the Golden Eagle Crimean Express for a luxurious and nostalgic odyssey - scheduled to be steam-hauled throughout the 3,750 mile journey
Journey through cities of great historical importance and natural beauty as we visit the capitals of Russia, Belarus, and onto the Crimean Peninsula situated on the Black Sea, where the warm Mediterranean climate created the ‘Playground of the Tsars’.
Spend five days exploring the region of the Crimea, including three nights in the exclusive five-star Villa Elena Hotel on Yalta’s breathtakingly scenic coast. Discover the history and events behind the Charge of the Light Brigade and the work of Florence Nightingale on this Voyage of a Lifetime on board the luxurious Golden Eagle.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Rail travel on the Golden Eagle (11 nights on train)
- Hotel accommodations for 5 nights
- Meals daily
- Beverages (wine, beer, soft drinks, tea, and coffee) included with all lunches and dinners
- Freedom of Choice guided off-train touring options
- Arrival and departure transfers
- Services of a professional tour manager
- 24-hour service attendant onboard the train
- Baggage handling between hotels and rail stations
- All gratuities
Day 1 - St Petersburg, Russia
Arrivals day at St Petersburg Airport, where you are met and transferred to the luxury five-star Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace hotel, in the centre of the city, for a two-night stay.
Day 2 - St Petersburg, Russia
Today, whilst staying in St Petersburg, we enjoy a morning visit of the Russian National Railway Museum. The museum complex is spread over a vast area including an old locomotive depot building and an eye-catching modern building. The museum includes a collection of rare and legendary steam locomotives, electric locomotives, railcars and other rolling stock.
From here we take a steam train to Pushkin, where we have lunch followed by afternoon visit of Catherine’s Summer Palace including the world-famous Amber Room.
Day 3 - Novgorod, Russia
A morning departure on the Golden Eagle from St Petersburg Vitebski station hauled by two Er class steam locomotives. From Pavlovsk to Novgorod we are scheduled to be hauled by LV.0522, the last steam locomotive to be built in the USSR, in 1956.
Novgorod is one of the oldest and most important historical cities in Russia, and during the 14th century was one of the biggest cities on the European continent. Lying on the Volkov river, Novgorod has been listed as a UNESECO world heritage site since 1992. Here we will have a guided tour around the Novgorod Kremlin, discovering the many ancient buildings and churches including the Cathedral of St. Sophia which is one of the oldest and well preserved 11th century churches in Russia.
During World War Two some of the towers were modified to fit anti-aircraft machine guns, to defend the city from German Bombers, as a result many of the cities historical building were protected; as of today there are 13 surviving towers of the fortress which we have the opportunity to explore.
Day 4 - Pskov, Russia
Early morning, we head to Pskov hauled by two L class steam locomotives.
Pskov still preserves many of its medieval walls, most notably the picturesque Pskov Kremlin. The walls are over 70 metres tall and this medieval fortress sits on the junction of the Velikaya River and smaller Pskova river. In the 13th century Pskovians elected a Lithuanian prince, named Daumantas, an Orthodox convert known in Russia as Dovmont. It was under his rule that the city was fortified, the current walls were built during the 15th century. We will visit this magnificent Kremlin and the Citadel where the remains of the Prince and his sword are preserved and have a private tour of the castle grounds.
Pskov is also the birthplace of Saint Olga of Kiev who was also an important Regent famous for avenging her husband’s death and introducing Christianity to the region. Despite the resistance of her people to Christianity, Olga built churches in Kiev, Pskov and elsewhere which contributed to the expansion of orthodox Christianity throughout Russia.
Day 5 - Minsk, Belarus
Today is a real highlight as we enjoy time on board the Golden Eagle as we head through the Russian and Belarussian countryside en-route to the capital Minsk hauled by two Su class steam locomotives to the border and then transferring to haulage by two P36 class locos.
We will spend the evening in Minsk, capital of Belarus and enjoy a short tour of this city which saw fierce fighting during World War Two, where it is estimated that 85% of the city’s buildings and infrastructure was destroyed during the German occupation.
As you explore the city it will feel like you have taken a step back in time into the Soviet era as you admire the historical architecture, including a statue of Lenin, the Belarusian State Circus and Victory Monument with the Eternal Flame. Unusually, most of the communist symbolism decorating the architecture remains intact. Unlike many other ex-soviet countries, you will notice the Soviet Star and Hammer and Sickle decorating many of the buildings, a reminder of Belarussian History and what was once an important city of the USSR.
Afterwards we will return to the Golden Eagle late evening as we travel back across the Belarus countryside towards Russia.
Day 6 - On Board
Today we spend on board enjoying the passing Russian countryside from our private train. We return to Russia from Minsk via Smolensk and onto Roslavl, where we will visit the largest remaining strategic reserve of steam locomotives, (currently 45) continuing with two P36 steam locomotives on the line to Etets.
Day 7 - Voronesh, Russia
We will arrive in the morning to Voronesh, the birthplace of the Russian Naval fleet. It was in the late 17th century when Peter the Great of Russia returned from England to Voronesh to start commissioning boats for a military purpose. We will visit a replica of the most famous and magnificent warship called Goto Predestinatsia (God's Predestination). The original was mounted with 58 cannons and built at the Voronezh shipyards in the early 18th century. The replica functions as a museum which we will have a private tour and learn about the history of the ship and the First Russian Naval fleet.
Most of the city was destroyed during World War Two and now Voronesh has a vast variety of architecture. The historical part of the city lies on a steep hill of the Voronezh River while the streets are lined with a mixture of Soviet and modern high-rises a reflection on the city’s history and how it has flourished and grown; closer to the river are beautiful pre-revolutionary houses.
After exploring the docks, we will return to the train where lunch will be served. This afternoon we continue with two P36’s to Likhaya, where our sleeping car train will pause during the night.
Day 8 - Rostov & Tikhoretsk, Russia
We arrive into Rostov hauled by our P36 locomotives this morning where we will transfer to the famous Gagarin Children’s Railway, a narrow-gauge railroad for a tour around Nikolai Ostrovsky Park where we will have our own train hauled by their restored Gr steam locomotive.
We return to the Golden Eagle for lunch and travel onwards to Tikhoretsk where there will be the opportunity to visit the locomotive repair depot here to see more of these historic steam locomotives that have been hauling our tour.
This evening we continue onto Svetlograd where we change locomotives from the P36s to two L class locomotives en-route to Elista.
Day 9 - Elista, Russia
Elista is the capital of the Republic of Kalmykia and is a unique and beautiful city, home to the Kalmyk ethnic group originally from Mongolia. It is famous for international chess competitions and has a whole building, built by the Kalmykia President, devoted to chess. The city is full of Buddhist statues, temples and pagoda’s which is unusual considering most of the Russian population are orthodox Christians. Remarkably in this part of Russia, Buddhism is the most practised religion.
In 1998 during a visit to Kalmyk, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama visited this city and chose a location for the cities Buddhist temple. We will visit the Burkhan Bakshin Altan Sume (Golden Temple of the Buddha), opening in 2005 as a dedication to the Kalmyks who died during the years of deportation to Siberia. The stunning temple is surrounded by 17 pagodas with statues of the great Buddhist teachers of Nalanda and decorated with unique Kalmyk Buddhist artwork which we will explore before returning to the train for lunch.
Day 10 - Pyatigorsk & Kislovodsk, Russia
Our steam-hauled train will continue west this morning pausing at the impressive station of Mineralnye-Vodi (Mineral Water) before travelling up the steeply graded Kislovodsk branch as far as the spa town of Pyatigorsk, which we visit, hauled by LV and FD class locomotives.
This afternoon we continue up to Kislovodsk. Here we have the opportunity for a walking tour of the city’s well-manicured gardens and cobbled streets. You should notice, the air, at nearly 1km above sea level, feels crisp and fresh. In Soviet times Kislovodsk was a closed area and required special permission to visit as it was a favourite haunt of the Soviet leadership.
Returning late afternoon to Mineralnye-Vodi we switch back to haulage by two P36’s and head overnight to Krimskaya.
Day 11 - Novorossiysk & Anapa, Russia
The short journey from Krimskaya to Novorossiysk this morning is hauled by double-headed L class locomotives.
The areas of Novorossiysk and Anapa is one of Russia's main wine-growing regions and produces table and sparkling wines, mainly for domestic consumption. The most famous winery in the Krasnodar region is the Abrau-Dyurso Soviet Champanskoye winery, established by Tsar Alexander III in 1870 to produce Russian Champagne for the Royal Household. In 1896 Prince Lev Golitsyn, the founding father of modern Russian wine making arrived with French champagne specialists to oversee the building of the winery. An extensive series of tunnels and caverns were dug into the hills for maturing the Methode Champagnoise Russian sparkling wines. The winery is located just 14km outside the city which we will visit for a sparkling wine tasting and visit their museum and learn the interesting history of the winery and its importance in this region before returning to the Golden Eagle.
Haulage this evening is provided by the P36 class as we head to Crimea.
Day 12 - Feodosiya & Evepatoria, Crimea
This morning we cross, with our two P36’s, the newly constructed Kerch Strait Bridge from the Russian mainland onto the Crimean Peninsula. Following a quick change of locomotives at Vladislovovka to an L class we make the short run to the seaside resort of Feodosiya where we visit the Aivazovsky Gallery.
Returning to the Golden Eagle for lunch and an afternoon on board we will be hauled again by the two P36’s to Evepatoria, which is a beautiful resort town on the western coast of Crimea.
Evepatoria was once a colony of Ancient Greece and its origins dates back to 500BC but has been a part of many different kingdoms such as the Mongol, Ottoman and the Russian Empire. During the Soviet era it was used as a medical resort for children suffering with tuberculosis and other related illnesses. It is believed that the perfect combination of climatic warm weather, spas and springs using natural mineral water contributed to the healing of the most serious diseases of this time. During the Second World War the sanatoriums were used as military hospitals to treat the sick and injured. After the war the city welcomed over one million visitors each year to visit one of its many treatment facilities and benefit from the areas balneological expertise.
Here you can enjoy a tour of the city’s 100-year-old tram service (subject to availability) or take some free time to explore this ancient city and visit many different religious and monumental buildings. After the tour we will head to a local restaurant to experience the diverse and exciting cuisine of this area, the perfect combination of Turkish and Eastern European influenced food.
Day 13 - Bakhchisarai, Crimea
After leaving Evepatoria we travel initially onto Simferopol with the L class locomotive being re-joined by the P36’s which will haul the Golden Eagle on the last leg of our tour to Bakhchisarai and Sevastopol.
In Bakhchisarai we will visit the 16th century Hansaray (or Khan’s) Palace and Uspensky Cave Monastery.
This evening we arrive into Sevastopol which is home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet and is a town steeped in the history of the Crimean War and World War II, on both occasions being under siege for almost a year.
Day 14 - Sevastopol & Balaclava, Crimea
Saying farewell to the Golden Eagle this morning our tour of Sevastopol includes the Old Town, the Panorama (a 360-degree painting and montage depicting the siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War of 1853-56) and Khersones, reputed to be the most complete ancient Greek settlement in existence, and only opened to foreign visitors a few years ago.
We also visit the town of Balaclava and its Diorama depicting the Battle of Balaclava in October 1854. We will visit the place where there is a fine view of the valley where the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade took place. The valley today is now covered in neat rows of vines and in the middle is a white stone memorial to the ill-fated military engagement by the British Light Cavalry with the Russian army.
For the next three nights we will stay at the Villa Elena Hotel, a luxurious five-star hotel on the seafront promenade designed by the famous Yalta architect Lev Nikolayevich Shapovalov, which is now a historical monument of local significance and an award-winning boutique hotel. With beautifully decorated rooms you will be able to relax and enjoy the luxury service this hotel offers.
Day 15 - Yalta, Crimea
Today there is a guided tour of Yalta including Chekhov’s House and the Botanical Gardens, followed by lunch at the Swallow’s Nest, a fairy-tale castle breathtakingly perched high above the sea. This restaurant is a world-famous location and many world leaders have eaten here. In the afternoon we take a scenic cruise along the picturesque coastline before visiting the Massandra Palace and Imperial Winery, touring the cellars (they have bottles dating back to 1775 and many bottles from the Tsars’ personal collection).
Day 16 - Yalta, Crimea
This morning we visit Alupka Palace which was built for Count Mikhail Vorontsov, former special envoy to the United Kingdom and friend of the Marlborough Family. The Palace is a strange but attractive combination of a Scottish castle with Arabian influences. Winston Churchill stayed here during the Yalta Conference of February 1945.
In the afternoon we enjoy a tour of the Tsar's Summer Palace at Livadia and the site of the Yalta Conference between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill. A champagne reception in the grounds will be followed by dinner in the restaurant attached to the palace.
Day 17 - Yalta, Crimea
Following breakfast airport transfers are provided to Simferopol Airport for guests connecting to international flights.
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Hotel accommodations include Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace, St. Petersburg and Villa Elena Hotel, Yalta
The Golden Eagle has been carefully designed with emphasis on your comfort, relaxation and enjoyment. In addition to our private en-suite sleeping cabins, we offer a beautifully appointed Bar Lounge Car and Restaurant Cars. Aboard your luxurious private train, you can expect well-appointed en-suite cabins, fine dining and elegant surroundings - no matter where you choose to explore. First-class service is included as standard, with a personal cabin attendant service, available at all times, to look after all of your needs.
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.
Passport & Visa Requirements
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.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|19th October 2020||$19,995||Book Now|
|19th October 2020||$25,595||Book Now|
|19th October 2020||$39,995||Book Now|
Please enter the child's age.
Please enter the children's ages.
Please enter the children's ages.
Please enter the children's ages.
The Golden Eagle - Crimean Express by Steam - Silver Class: Departs 19th October 2020 ($19,995)
The Golden Eagle - Crimean Express by Steam - Gold Class: Departs 19th October 2020 ($25,595)
The Golden Eagle - Crimean Express by Steam - Imperial Suite: Departs 19th October 2020 ($39,995)
Register for Free Notification of 2021 Dates & Prices
Enter your details below if you would like to be notified when 2021 dates and prices are available for The Golden Eagle - Crimean Express by Steam Train.
We strongly suggest adding trip insurance to any and all bookings.
A valid passport is required for this vacation. Visa requirements may also apply. Please inquire at time of booking.