It takes about 10 hours to cross Russia from west to east by air, but the much longer option of traveling across the vast country by train has always been a popular choice for many.

Trans-siberian railway train car
Image by Peter Krantz via Flickr

Unsurprisingly, in both Soviet and post-USSR times the choice was made mostly because it was much cheaper to use trains than planes, especially when traveling in a second-class sleeping carriage.

However, growing demand from affluent Russians and visitors from abroad for luxury railway travel have made Russian officials and travel firms think of developing railway tourism, both short-distance and long-haul.

Few weeks back, a new direct train from Moscow to the French Riviera was launched, while railway officials in the regions of Moscow and the city of Tver now offer suburban trains for hire.

And these are in addition to the luxury – and expensive – Trans Siberian railway trips from western Russia to Lake Baikal, Vladivostok and all the way to China and Mongolia, which foreigners have been making for years.

‘Rail cruise’

A commuter train ticket from Moscow to Vladivostok at the Sea of Japan will cost you from about £130 (about $200) per person in a second-class sleeping carriage to almost £700 in a luxury compartment. The journey takes six days.

However, for the pleasure of making a 15-day luxury tour on board the Golden Eagle, a tourist train from Moscow to Vladivostok with a quick detour to Mongolia, you will have to pay between $9,000 and $22,000 per person.

The price of this – one of the most expensive tours on offer – includes one-night stays in Moscow and Vladivostok, 12 nights on board the train in a compartment which is a smaller version of a luxury hotel room, chef-made meals and excursions.

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