• Russia

The Yamal Polar Express

Moscow to Bovanenkovo on the remote Yamal Peninsula by rail  |  9 days

This is a new high-quality private train that launched in 2013, operating from Moscow to the Yamal Peninsula in Russia's Arctic region of north-west Siberia.

The route of the Yamal Polar Express is 3,550 kilometres (2,206 miles) by train from Moscow, north-west to the Arctic, across the Ural Mountains, into Asia and Siberia, across the Arctic Circle to the remote outpost of Bovanenkovo and back to Salekhard, the capital of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region in Russia's north-west region of Arctic Siberia.

After crossing Europe's longest river - the Volga - the train heads north into Arkhangel province. Stopping for a brief tour of Kotlas, the train then enters the Komi Republic on its long trek north. Over the Ural Mountains it passes the Europe-Asia border and enters Siberia, the great 'sleeping land'. Salekhard lies on the Arctic Circle and, following a visit here, the train continues onto the Yamal Peninsula - well above the Arctic Circle, on the world's most northerly railway.

The season runs from May to September and there are also winter departures in November when the 'Northern Lights' can be seen to best effect.

Sightseeing can be arranged at either end in Moscow and St Petersburg and other cities around Russia.


Day 1:Fly to Moscow

Day 2:Optional Moscow sightseeing – highlights include Kremlin Territory and Cathedrals, Armoury Museum, Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb, St Basil’s Cathedral, evening train departure.

Day 3:Kotlas and the Pechora railway

Day 4:The trans-polar railway, Ural Mountains and Siberia

Day 5:Salekhard and the Arctic Circle

Day 6:Obskaya to Bovanenkovo railway

Day 7:  The Yamal Peninsula   

Day 8:Fly Salekhard to Moscow

Day 9:Fly to London

guide price from £2,995 per person



Fiona’s travel tips

DON’T MISS: Our exceptional English-speaking Russian guides — they are so good we have to give them a special mention!

READ: Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Stalin:
The Court of the Red Tzar — for a fascinating insight into the deadly but informal power games played out behind the closed doors of Black Sea villas and Kremlin apartments.

INTERESTING FACTS: St. Basil’s Cathedral has been part of the Moscow Kremlin and Red Square UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990. The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg began life in 1764 with the purchase of a collection of Western European paintings by Empress Catherine II.

BEST TIME TO GO: Spring and Autumn are generally mild and dry but I particularly like winter when the golden domes sparkle against a backdrop of blue skies and majestic buildings are blanketed in snow.

JOURNEY TIME: 3½ hours (direct)

My Russian contacts are unsurpassed – why not have the Hermitage open just for you?

Clients’ comments

“A first class effort to get the booking arranged in the time frame. We really liked the mixture of self-booking and Far Frontiers Travel-organised trip. Having a private guide in St. Petersburg was essential for a detailed insight, avoiding the queues and getting to outlying places — it was much better than being in a group.”

Mr and Mrs Keith Vanner, Russia and the Baltic States