Centred on Victory Day in Stalingrad, Russia off the Beaten Track traverses an entirely different path from the mainstream. This is a tour that is so diverse, it will astonish even the most experienced traveller. It has massive appeal for railway enthusiasts, those with more than a passing interest in history, people who have been to Russia before and those who want to discover this vast country for the first time.
Using Russia’s famed railway network, the tour explores pockets of the country that have been little visited by westerners. Indeed, its very intent is to connect the country’s complex tapestry that extends from the Black Sea to the Baltic. The tour starts in Sochi on the so called ‘Russian Riviera’, where some of the most beautiful parts of the Caucasus overlook the azure waters of the Black Sea. From Sochi, the journey continues to Krasnodar , home of the Kuban Cossack Chorus, the most revered ensemble in Russia. After an astounding private performance, we arrive in Stalingrad for one of the major highlights of the tour – the Victory Day celebrations. From here we head to the mighty Ural Mountains and the city of Ekaterinburg. Sitting directly on the Asia/Europe border, this is where the last Tsar and his family were murdered in 1918. We visit the cellar where the family where held for nearly a year and where today, a church sits atop in memory of the brutal killings. From Europe’s longest mountain chain, we move to the shoreline of the continent’s longest river, The Volga. Visited only by Volga cruise ships for an hour, our tour will explore Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tartarstan for three days! A remarkable city, Kazan is a kaleidoscope of great golden domes and impossibly beautiful minarets. We then take the train to the Baltic and Russia’s European masterpiece, St Petersburg. The city has a dizzying array of attractions which include the Hermitage and the fantastic amber room of St Catherine’s Palace. Newly opened and a fitting climax to the tour is a railway museum that houses an unbelievable set of Soviet steam engines that have been lovingly restored by volunteers. It seems almost beyond the realms of possibility, that a tour encompassing just one country can canvas such enormous diversity, yet Russia off the Beaten Track does just that. Join us on a remarkable train journey through the backroads of Russia, from the Black Sea to the Baltics!