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After the Trans-Siberian: Going Overland From St. Petersburg to London

created by cristina on 2012-01-11

After the Trans-Siberian: Going Overland From St. Petersburg to London

Doing the Trans-Siberian is a big trip in itself, but if you have the time, why not just keep going? Then you can brag to your friends that you went overland all the way from Beijing to London, and elicit all sorts of 'oohs' and 'ahhs' from the room. Theoretically, you could go all the way from Vietnam to Spain, but if you want to keep it simple, this itinerary is for you. I chose this route because I had to end my trip in London and also because it's a pain in the ass to go through Belarus, but it did stop in some pretty incredible places along the way. If I had to do it over again, I would do the exact same thing.

Of course you have to see Moscow and St. Petersburg. Many travelers on the Trans-Siberian will stop at Moscow then fly home, but you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't spend a few days in 'the Venice of the North.' From St. Petersburg, you might be tempted to go straight to Riga since Tallinn looks a bit out of the way, but go to Tallinn. It's easily the best of the Baltic capitals. Skip Riga (unless you want to party with British stag do's) and if you're craving more charming Baltic cities, head to Vilnius. Low-key, lived-in but still alluring, more than one traveler has stayed awhile here.

From Vilnius, head to Krakow (via Warsaw). I like to think of it as the more charming alternative to tourist-infested Prague, but if you must go to Prague, go there between Krakow and Berlin. I skipped it; I had met hordes of backpackers who said they hated Prague because of how crowded it was with tourists, and they all preferred Krakow. In any case, Berlin is an absolute must. You'll get a break from the charming cobblestones of Eastern Europe - Berlin does its own thing, and it's awesome.

From Berlin, you might be tempted to skip Brussels, but if you're a chocolate fan, this is a great place for you. And you'd probably kick yourself for missing the Grand Place. Brussels to Paris is a short journey, and Paris to London is a wisp in time compared to what you've done on the Trans-Siberian.

Trains are more expensive in Europe, particularly if you're not planning ahead. Warsaw-Berlin is a decent price if you book a few months ahead, as is Brussels-Paris and Paris-London. But if you're rolling up to the ticket counter like on the Trans-Siberian, forget about it - you're looking at 100 euro fares for a 2 hour ride. A cheap alternative is the bus - eurolines.com is the main company, but usually there are a couple other companies with ticket sales at the main bus depot.
  • 1
    Moscow

    51 votes

    City

    Russia in a nutshell. Bigger, uglier, messier, and livelier than St. Pete, Moscow is classic Russi...

  • 2
    Saint Petersburg

    71 votes

    City

    A coating of European architecture still won't hide this city's Russian heart. Russia’s most glori...

  • 3
    Tallinn

    25 votes

    City

    Crumbling Soviet charme with beautfiul old roots. The origins of Tallinn date back to the 13th cen...

  • 4
    Vilnius

    18 votes

    City

    Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles converge in this epicenter of Eastern European architecture.

  • 5
    Kraków

    56 votes

    City

    The cultural capital of Poland. Krakow has been a cultural and academic center for about as long a...

  • 6
    Berlin

    438 votes

    City

    The most challenging city you’ll ever love. While the name Berlin might still carry echoes of its ...

  • 7
    Brussels

    62 votes

    City

    Belgium’s heart served up on a gilded platter. Brussels was founded more than a thousand years ago...

  • 8
    Paris

    533 votes

    City

    A world city that merits the hype. All of the exalted babble about the "city of lights" can be eno...

  • 9
    London

    521 votes

    City

    Go for the History, Stay for the Modernity. It’s hard to pin down exactly what makes London so mag...

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