Enquire About This Tour Code EECH Beijing to Budapest
Duration: 38 Days Route: Beijing to Budapest Style: Adventure Tours Price: US$7,879.00
This is the ultimate trans-continental adventure. Depart Beijing aboard the indomitable Trans-Mongolian train as it trundles through beautifully isolated Mongolia and the windswept Siberian plains en route to Moscow, Russia’s iconic capital. You will have time to explore fascinating cities and experience nomadic life in a ger camp on the way. Carrying on west from Moscow, we travel through former Soviet republics ending in Budapest, one of Eastern Europe’s must-see capitals.
The tour that we operate in the reverse direction is Beijing to Budapest (EEHC).
Tour Dossier Introduction
- Dossier Last Updated: 26-03-2014
- Tour Code: EECH
- Duration: 37 nights / 38 days
- Joining City: Beijing
- Departure City: Budapest
- Nearest Joining International Airport: Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)
- Nearest Departing International Airport: Budapest Ferenc Liszt Intl Airport (BUD)
Please check this document just before departing in case of last minute changes to your tour.
Great Wall of China
Ulaan Baatar City Tour
Entry & Guided tour of Moscow Kremlin
Entry to Lenin's Tomb
Entry & Guided tour of the Hermitage Museum
Entry & Guided tour of the KGB Museum
Guided Tour of Auschwitz Concentration Camp
26 nights in hotels, hostels & guesthouses, 9 nights on overnight trains, 2 nights in Mongolian gers / tents
22 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Travel by Public Bus, Private Vehicle, Train, Overnight Train, Minibus, Taxi, Foot
Tucan Travel Tour Leader, English-speaking local guide(s) on excursions
What's not Included
International flights and departure taxes
Domestic flight taxes if applicable
Tips on included excursions, visas, travel insurance, personal items and single rooms.
Airport transfers and pre and post tour accommodation
Spending money – budget for meals, snacks, drinks, limited souvenirs, laundry, tips and any extras
Optional excursions - Please see our optional excursions guide on the dossier page for a comprehensive list of optional activities and excursions available on this tour.
Day 1 to 2 - Arrive Beijing
The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre tour accommodation. On arrival please ask at the reception for information on when the pre departure meeting will be held.
Beijing is an ever changing city and a looking glass between old and new, with an abundance of activities to enjoy. Some of Beijing's other attractions are the infamous Tiananmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven. Or you could simply explore the silk market for bargains or try booking at ticket to see a famous acrobatic show. You may also enjoy a visit to the Summer Palace where royalty came to escape the heat of the summer. This area consists of Kunming Lake, beautiful temples, gardens and pavilions all painstakingly decorated using traditional motifs. Known as Gu Gong in Chinese, the famous Forbidden City is located in the very centre of Beijing. It is the world's largest palace complex and its extensive grounds cover 720,000 square meters. Originally the Imperial Palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties, the city houses many rare and precious treasures which attract visitors from all over the world.
For our included excursion we head out early to the Great Wall, one of China's most loved monuments which was listed as a World Heritage site in 1987. This immense structure dates back over 2000 years and has to be seen to be believed. It stretches over 6500 kilometres (4163 miles) across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, from east to west. It is a true testament to the power and influence of the Chinese Dynasties throughout history. Here we offer an optional 3-5 hour hike on one of the less visited sections beginning in Jinshanling. This area has around 23 watchtowers and is much less developed than the more touristy areas. Watch your step, as in places the trail is quite steep and stony; you will then arrive back into Beijing late in the afternoon.
Day 3 to 3 - Beijing - Ulaan Baatar
We begin our epic train journey today as we board the overnight sleeper train to Ulaan Baatar. Be sure to stock up on some snacks before leaving. Once on board there will be time to relax and mix with the locals and try to learn some local language.
We arrive in the Mongolian capital of Ulaan Baatar and spend one night in this city which is the gateway between old and new Mongolia. This city has various monuments to explore along with an interesting 'black market" to wander around and possibly join in the haggling. Despite being the national capital and largest city, Ulaan Baatar retains a relaxed, small-town atmosphere, even with its large soviet style tower blocks it is a very pleasant place to visit with interesting monasteries and museums. Or you could catch a performance of traditional Mongolian dance and throat singing.
Day 4 to 6 - Ulaan Baatar - Ger Camp
We briefly visit a nomadic Mongolian family before heading out to our tourist ger camp. Gers are the traditional homes of the Mongolian people and will be our home for the next two nights. This traditional round shaped dwelling has been used since the Mongols started nomadic life and is still favoured as they are able to pack up and relocate to a different or preferred area.
The ger consists of felt covers, wooden columns, thin wooden poles and floor, a wall (a wooden lattice attached together with animal hide) and ropes. Most ger materials are made from animal products such as felt from sheep wool, ropes from camel or sheep wool, or horse or yak's tail, and of course wood.
We return back into Ulaan Baatar where you have the last chance to buy your last minute souvenirs, train snacks or see the last attractions of Mongolia before boarding the train to Irkutsk in Russia.
Day 7 to 9 - Ulaan Baatar - Irkutsk
We arrive in Irkutsk and transfer to Listvyanka, a small traditional Siberian Village on the edge of Lake Baikal. On the road to Listvyanka there's Shaman-rock, sneaking out of Angara river, it is considered to be a sacred stone.
We transfer back to Irkutsk to board the evening train to continue our trip through Russia. We will stay on the train for four days where we will have the opportunity to mix with the locals, try the local vodka or learn a bit of Russian. You will also be able to relax and get to know your fellow travellers whilst you marvel at the vast countryside. The carriages sleep four with hot water facilities and western toilets.
Day 10 to 11 - Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest and deepest lake and is the second most voluminous lake, after the Caspian Sea. As the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, with an average depth of 744.4 metres Lake Baikal contains roughly 20% of the world's surface fresh water.
We will enjoy some free time to explore the surrounding area of Lake Baikal, or take a boat trip out on the lake, visit the markets or museums. Please note if visiting during winter or early in the season it is likely the lake will be frozen and you can watch the locals ride bikes and snow mobiles across it. The ice usually melts around early June.
Day 12 to 14 - Irkutsk - Moscow
We again board the train and make our way through the heart of Siberia to Moscow. We will stay on the train for four days and you'll have the opportunity to mix with the locals, try the local vodka or learn a bit of Russian. You will also be able to relax and get to know your fellow travellers whilst you marvel at the vast countryside. The compartments sleep four and the carriages have hot water facilities and western-style toilets.
Day 15 to 16 - Moscow
Golden onion domes and towering skyscrapers, cosy cafés and hushed churches, Russia’s capital city is beautiful, atmospheric and overflowing with history. There is plenty to see and do here, including numerous cathedrals, museums, art galleries, palaces, the State History Museum and the iconic St Basil’s Cathedral., towers and monuments. Moscow’s Red Square (Krasnaja Ploshad) is the main centre of Moscow and was a market place during the fifteenth century. The square acquired its present name in the seventeenth century. The red part of its name does not refer to Communism or to the colour of the stone (which is actually grey) but derives from the old Russian word 'krasniy' meaning beautiful. During the Soviet regime the square was known for its May Day parades and is the site of Lenin's Mausoleum
Just a few minutes’ walk away from Izmailovsky Park Metro, the lively and bustling Izmailovsky Souvenir Market is an absolute must-see. The entire market is surrounded by a mock wooden fortress which is prettily decorated with statues of figures from Russian legends. Browse around the seemingly endless stands, shopping for wooden matryoshky dolls, chess sets, amber jewellery and Soviet memorabilia such as authentic army belts and gas masks, or if you're looking for less kitsch and more art, you could aim for the traditional Russian handicrafts and original paintings. Don't forget to haggle! A useful word to know is ‘skolka' or ‘how much?' When you get tired, stop for a freshly barbequed Georgian shashliki (kebab) or relax with a glass of Russian cognac.
More than a people-moving system, Moscow's metro system is a network of beautifully and artistically decorated stations. Why not take a self-guided tour of the system and discover Moscow's original underground art scene. (Please note you will need to pay for your own metro tickets).
We will spend our last days in Moscow visiting some of the great historical sites of the city. The Kremlin is UNESCO World Heritage listed as a main focus of Russia's political and historical heritage since the 13th century, housing both royalty and religious figures. The Kremlin wall contains a mass grave of Bolsheviks who perished during the battle for Moscow in 1917, together with the ashes of a number of well-known Russians, including writer Maxim Gorky and Yuriy Gagarin, the first Russian man to visit space.
It is said that soon after January 21, 1924, the day that Vladimir Lenin died, the Soviet government received more than 10,000 telegrams from all over Russia, which asked the government to preserve his body somehow for future generations. Lenin’s tomb, and final resting place, was then promptly set about being designed and a wooden tomb was constructed within 6 days of his death. A larger mausoleum was constructed later that year and stands today in the centre of the city in the prominent Red Square.
Included Excursions: The Kremlin • Lenin's Tomb
Day 17 to 20 - Moscow - St Petersburg
We have the whole day to spend in Moscow enjoying some last minute sightseeing before we next head to St Petersburg by overnight train - it's a good idea to buy some snacks before we board!
The cosmopolitan city of St Petersburg is known as the ‘Venice of the north' because of its rivers and canals which are fascinating and easy to explore by boat. There are many sights to see in this former capital including the Winter Palace, the famous Church of the Spilt Blood and the Hermitage museums.
We will take an orientation walk around the key sights of the city, include a visit to the Hermitage Museum (with a local guide) to explore the extensive art collection there, and then you will be free to explore this great city at your leisure.
Included Excursions: Hermitage Museum
Day 21 to 24 - Tallinn - Riga
Our next stop is Tallinn, Estonia's capital. Famous for its enchanting historic centre, the city is a popular holiday destination on the Gulf of Finland. Roam the cobbled streets and explore scenic ruins or climb the hill of Toompea, which is filled with medieval buildings, 14th century churches, turrets, spires and enticing alleyways.
Tallinn also offers alluring boutique shopping similar to that found in Swiss cities. The city is full of artists and artisans so you may also find wonderfully made glass, weaving and pottery here. The café scene is thriving and you can find everything from sunlit street cafés to Art Deco style bakeries. Within the walls of the Old Town there are lots of excellent restaurants to enjoy and a thriving nightlife, with clubs open until the wee hours. Estonians are true beer lovers so you might like to try an authentic local brew.
Riga is more than 800 years old and its clever blend of medieval centre and modern city infrastructure will enchant you. The UNESCO World Heritage listed Old Town has its own particular charm, while the city is also famous for its fascinating Art Nouveau architectural heritage which you can discover as you wander the streets of this ‘Paris of the East'. A must-do is a visit to Riga's most famous Gothic church, St Peter's, thought to be about 800 years old. Its famous spire has been rebuilt three times in the same form since 1667, with its latest rebuild completed in 1973. Climb the spire and enjoy spectacular views over the city.
Day 25 to 29 - Vilnius - Warsaw
The capital of Lithuania, Vilnius boasts an attractive baroque Old Town that is the largest in Eastern Europe and is praised as the 'New Prague'. Located on the edge of the Neris River, with its pine covered hills, friendly people, and blend of old and new, this is a picturesque city well worth exploring. You will have time to explore the main sights of the city including Gediminas Castle on the top of Gediminas Hill and Cathedral Square at the base of the hill, which is dominated by Vilnius Cathedral and its 57 metre-tall belfry.
While you’re exploring the square between the cathedral and the tower you should hunt for the secret stebuklas (miracle) tile. The tile marks the southern end of the 2 million person, 650 kilometre long human chain between Tallinn and Vilnius, which was formed in protest against Soviet occupation in 1989. Local legend has it that if you find the pretty mosaic-covered tile you should stand on it and turn around three times clockwise while making a wish, which shall then be granted.
Included Excursions: KGB Museum
Warsaw, which is Poland's capital, has been revitalised as a tourist destination. The city was almost entirely destroyed in World War II but a lot of effort has gone into its rebuilding. Since the fall of communism many old buildings have given way to modern sky scrapers, the dilapidated old town has been brightened up, and entertainment and services transformed to match that of other western capitals.
Home to various palaces, castles and citadels, Warsaw is noted for the Soviet-era Palace of Culture and Science, as well as the marketplace at the 10th Anniversary Stadium, a converted festival site where you can buy all sorts of interesting items. Also recommended is a visit to the Old Town, which was rebuilt between 1949 and 1963 after being destroyed in World War II in the Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque styles of architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries. You can visit the Historical Museum of Warsaw and Royal Castle at nearby Old Town Square.
Day 30 to 33 - Kraków - Prague
Poland’s more famous and cultural city is Kraków, which has managed to preserve centuries of amazing architecture and artistic traditions as most of the historic buildings and monuments emerged unscathed from World War II. Kraków was the royal capital for 500 years so a must-see is the royal Wawel Castle, a beautiful renaissance palace which now houses a museum. During the evening the cosmopolitan city offers a wild nightlife, with plenty of restaurants, music clubs and bars to explore.
Kraków is our base to visit the UNESCO listed Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp, a sobering tribute to the people that perished there during the Holocaust. Known in Polish as Oświęcim, the camp was originally designed for Polish political prisoners but became the most notorious camp of World War II because an estimated 1.6 million people of 27 nationalities, including 1.1 million Jews, 150,000 Poles and 23,000 Roma were killed by the Nazis.
In the evening we board an overnight train to Prague.
Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and you will have plenty of free time to visit the stunning City of 1,000 Spires, including the bustling Old Town Square where you can find a beautiful astronomical clock, the enchanting Charles Bridge where you can watch artists and buskers at work, Wenceslas Square and the world’s only Cubist lamppost just around the corner from the square. There is also time to wander the lofty heights of Hradčany Castle and St Vitus Cathedral for magical views over the city.
Prague is a town that loves to party so you may also want to experience the nightlife as there are many great bars and restaurants and plenty of pulsating night clubs to enjoy. Czechs have been brewing beer since the 9th century and invented the world’s first Pilsner, so Prague offers a great opportunity to sample some of the world’s finest beers.
Day 34 to 37 - Poprad - High Tatras Mountains - Budapest
The High Tatras constitute a mountain range which forms a natural border between Slovakia and Poland and is the highest mountain range of the Carpathians. The highest mountain is Gerlach at 2,655 metres, located in Slovakia just north of Poprad.
After making our way to Stary Smokovec (Novy Smokovec) we have time to relax and unwind. For the energetic there is an opportunity to go to the nearby mountains for some hiking. There are various paths ranging from gentle to highly demanding, winding among spectacular peaks and rock walls. Alternatively, there are many attractions to amuse you for the next two days such as the glacial lake of Strebske Pleso, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed ruins of Spissky Hrad and the Renaissance buildings of fortified Levoca.
Budapest, Hungary’s stylish capital is known as the ‘City of Spas’ for its abundance of natural thermal springs.
Straddling the Danube River, the city is comprised of two very different historic cities, Buda on the west bank and Pest on the east bank. Highlights here include Castle Hill, Matthius Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, the Liberation Monument, the fabulous St Stephen’s Basilica and the much photographed Parliament Building.
Terror Haza (Terror House) is a popular museum recounting stories of espionage and atrocities committed during World War II and during the communist period. During your optional visit you can view very moving testimonial footage from survivors and visit old jail cells, torture chambers and interrogation rooms.
The Dohany Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and features stunning decorations. You can also wander around Central Market Hall and enjoy the intoxicating sights and smells of ‘Budapest’s pantry’ and get an idea of Hungary’s food culture - you can even buy chocolates by the kilo!
The perfect place to relax after a day of sightseeing is in a traditional bath. The Széchenyi Medicinal Baths are one of the city‘s more famous Neo Baroque-style baths with indoor and outdoor pools, thermal pools, saunas and massages in a beautiful setting. After a nice soak you can visit numerous restaurants and bars to visit on Liszt Ferenc for an enjoyable evening's entertainment.
Day 38 to 38 - Depart Budapest
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
This itinerary is a guide. Changes may be made before or during your tour to improve the running or due to unforseen circumstances.
This is an Adventure Tour. We see a destination from the locals' perspective using a variety of transport and staying in small locally owned accommodation. There is a maximum of 16 travellers with an average group size of 8-12.
We have a detailed packing list for all of our Adventure Tours here.
On all of our Adventure Tours, you will be required to carry your luggage long distances down unpaved and uneven roads or up flights of stairs when elevators are not available. It is important that you choose a durable and lightweight soft bag that you can carry comfortably on your back.
You will also need a small daypack, large enough to carry everything you might need on overnight excursions.
Add-ons & Extras
On many of our Group Tours, we spend one night in our arrival and departure cities. If you want to explore these cities more we can book pre and post tour accommodation, city tours and airport transfers for you. Price information can be found on the price page of each tour. We also have Add-ons - short packages that can be booked alongside a tour or on their own and have been carefully designed to ensure you don't miss out on popular highlights.
All our Adventure Tours are priced per person on a shared room basis meaning there is no compulsory extra payment for those travelling on their own.
I'd like my own room
If you are a solo traveller, a single room is available on most occasions at an extra cost. Price information can be found on the price page of each tour.
Day by Day Itinerary
|Day 3||Overnight train to Ulaan Baatar|
|Day 4||Ulaan Baatar||Mongolia||✓|
|Day 5||Ger camp||LD|
|Day 6||Ger camp||BLD|
|Day 7||Ulaan Baatar||B||✓|
|Day 9||Overnight train to Lake Baikal||Russia|
|Day 10||Lake Baikal|
|Day 11||Lake Baikal||B|
|Day 17||Overnight Train to St Petersburg||B|
|Day 18||St Petersburg||✓|
|Day 19||St Petersburg||✓|
|Day 20||St Petersburg||B||✓|
|Day 31||Overnight train to Prague||B|
|Day 32||Prague||Czech Republic||✓|
|Day 34||Overnight train to Poprad||B|
|Day 35||High Tatras Mountains||Slovakia|
|Day 36||High Tatras Mountains||B|
(B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner included)
Please note the day to day itinerary above is given as a GUIDELINE ONLY.
For tours that include the option of a single supplement, a ✔ will indicate in which destinations single rooms are available.