Without a doubt, traveling Russia by train sounds very appealing for adventurous souls. The thrill of something new, the calling of adventure - taking a train across Russia, the biggest country in the world, seems like a receipt of a holiday of a lifetime.
But what about people who are not in the market for an epic adventure but just looking for the fastest way to travel from Moscow to Saint Petersburg or the most convenient way to get from Moscow to Yaroslavl, the gem of the Golden Ring? Is a train ride really the smartest way to travel through Russia?
Of course, if you are looking for the fastest way to get from Moscow to Vladivostok, a flight is the top choice. Exploring the wonders of the world-famous Trans-Siberian railway stretching through one third of the world has many pros, but fast travel time is, unfortunately, not among them.
But you have to agree, a Moscow to Vladivostok train is an extreme case, it's an exception rather than the rule. Generally, taking a train is indeed a smarter choice than a flight or a bus ride. Let's have a closer look at the main reasons why.
Speed & Comfort
Yes, regardless of what you might have heard, Russian high-speed rail is a thing, and it's among the best in the world! Let's take a Moscow to St. Petersburg train as an example. It is served by high-speed Sapsan trains, boasting the astonishing top-speed of 250 kph (155 mph). Thanks to that, the Sapsan train can take you between the city centers of the magnificent Russian capitals in just 3.5 hours, comparing to an 8.5-hour trip on a regular Russian train. What is more, high-speed Moscow to Saint Petersburg trains boast fantastic onboard amenities, including air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, TVs, and power sockets to make your trip as pleasant as possible.
To top it all, when we talk about speed, we don't mean fast travel times of Russian high-speed trains alone. Unlike airports, railway stations don't ask you to get there 3 hours before departure and are not fond of endless check-in procedures and complicated security checks. Even the lines to board a train are a very rare occasion when it comes to the Russian railroad, so opting for a train ride you save something more than your time, you save a bit of your sanity as well.
Everyone knows that Russia is the biggest country in the world. It excites the imagination of passionate globetrotters with all the amazing possibilities of what to see and do there. But let's leave the romance of the experience aside for a second. How can one travel to destinations that boast neither the fame of the renowned Russian megapolises nor the airports, that can be found only in the big cities?
Of course, there is always the option of taking a bus. The main advantage of this mode of transport is that the bus tickets cost less than traveling by train or taking a flight (although the price differences are not always as severe as you would expect). The cons are also not a secret: travel times are nothing to brag about, endless traffic jams, and buses barely offer anything resembling comfort during the journey. But there is one more thing you should keep in mind while considering this option - Russian famously bad roads. There is even an old saying: "There are two misfortunes in Russia: fools and roads". Yes, the roads connecting the in-the-spotlight cities are in good shape (more or less), but if you consider traveling to off-the-beaten-path Russian destinations, prepare for the bumpy ride.
Safer for You & Environment
Another point to trains. We are constantly bombarded with assurances that planes are the safest way to travel. But did you know that trains' safety records are almost just as good? Plus, as 2020 showed us once again, there is nothing more precious than our health. With global pandemic raging in the world, train travel in Russia became the safest way to get around. Trains offer great air circulation, more opportunities for social distancing than crowded planes and buses, and, as mentioned above, there are no lines or pointless hours spent waiting for the departure when it comes to railway stations.
What is more, taking a train is much kinder to our planet than a flight. Two times kinder to be precise as a train ride causes two times less CO2 emissions than taking a plane does. The difference with a car ride is less significant, but the train still wins the title of the greenest way to travel among these three. So choosing in favor of traveling by RZD trains is not only fast and convenient but also helps to save a lot of endangered species such as whales and coral reefs. Come on, make Greta Thunberg proud!
On our website, you can find all the important information about the popular train routes in Russia, read more about the types of trains, and book Russian train tickets for up to 2 years before your trip! And if you are interested in turning a rail journey into a full-blown adventure, we recommend checking out Triptile, the innovative platform boasting a huge database of the best country's sights and the most interesting activities to spice up your stay. Planning a getaway has never been easier!