Here at YPT we have a few tours that we’d consider flagship – May Day in North Korea, the Least Visited Countries tour, Chernobyl/Transnistria – but by far our biggest and most impressive is the Eurasian Adventure.
But what, exactly, is the Eurasian Adventure? We’re so glad you asked. Let us enlighten you…
What is Eurasia?
The Eurasian landmass refers to the entirety of Europe and Asia, the Siamese twins of continents that are conjoined to such a degree it can be a bit of a chore figuring out where one ends and the other begins.
What’s so good about the Eurasian Adventure?
The Eurasian Adventure is easily the most epic trip that we do. Stretching across two continents and twenty-one countries, this is the ultimate YPT adventure that takes us all the way from the heart of China to Eastern Europe.
Which countries do you visit?
Starting in China, we visit the lion’s share of the Eastern Bloc, terminating in Poland. Here’s the full rundown…
We kick things off with a night out in Beijing, capital of China and the seat of power in the Middle Kingdom for around eight centuries, before boarding our six-day Trans-Mongolian train, unsurprisingly passing through…
Cradle of the ultimate Eurasian empire, we spend a day or so passing through the sweeping steppes and majestic grasslands of Genghis Khan’s homeland, popping off for supplies in the capital of Ulaanbaatar.
After four days of passing through the breath-taking winter wilderness of Siberia (including eight hours or so travelling around the world’s deepest lake, Lake Baikal), we arrive in Moscow where we catch our breath for a day or two. It would be rude not to take in the former Soviet capital’s biggest communist sights, including Lenin’s mausoleum and Moscow’s spectacular Orthodox cathedrals. After that we head west to…
A criminally under-visited country, we bask in this most Soviet of former Soviet countries, exploring Minsk, Lee Harvey Oswald’s former apartment, and the military Disneyland that is the nearby Stalin Line.
They may speak Russian here, but Russia it ain’t. No trip to Kiev would be complete without a visit to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – easily one of the highlights of the trip – before heading south to explore the seedy, dilapidated Black Sea port of Odessa. We then venture into YPT’s favourite unrecognised country of…
Officially the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, this Soviet time warp never got the memo that the Cold War stopped with the collapse of the USSR. Lenin statues, KGB officials and bullet-pocked buildings abound in the coolest breakaway state around, which declared independence from Moldova in a brutal 1990s civil war.
Europe’s poorest – and least-visited – country is well worth the trip for its rich heritage and fantastic wine. Visits to the Moldovan Military Museum and Cricova Winery round out a trip to the rundown capital of Chisinau.
Big brother to Moldova and suffering slightly less from a Slav/Romany identity crisis than its post-Soviet neighbour, Romania has its own communist heritage in the form of Nicolae Ceausescu’s bizarre legacy. One of the ultimate godfathers of communism, Ceausecu left an indelible mark on this fascinating Eastern European country.
Often written off as a cheap and sunny tourist destination for Brits, Bulgaria is the focal point of a centuries-old tug of war between Ottomans, Russians and Austro-Hungarians. We uncover the fascinating history of this sprawling Black Sea country.
Our first foray into the former Yugoslavia, we spend a day in Skopje exploring the chintzy and fascinating architecture and statuary, including a multi-million-euro monument to Central-Asia botherer Alexander the Great. We also make a pit stop to admire the natural beauty of Matka Gorge.
One of the world’s youngest countries, Kosovo has a legacy steeped in blood and warfare, and identifies strongly with its southern neighbour of Albania. From the capital of Pristina, the divided Serb/Kosovan city of Mitrovica to the idyllic mountain village of Brod, we make the most of our three days here.
Spiritual (and ethnic) kin to the Kosovans, Albania has its own twisted and dark history. Home to one of the most nightmarish of the extra-Soviet communist regimes under the murderous and tyrannical Enver Hoxha, we learn not only about the brutal excesses of the communist regime, but about Albania’s byzantine history of tribalism and blood feuds.
The Monaco of the Balkans, Montenegro is home to the region’s ultra-rich and here we see the luxury yachts and multi-million-euro homes of the elite. The cameras of even the most ardent photography enthusiasts will not be wanting for picturesque landscapes and gorgeous medieval architecture!
In Belgrade we spend the night on a former communist cruise ship and visit the mausoleum of the man who singlehandedly kept Yugoslavia together – the formidable Josip Broz Tito – and also uncover the history of this fiercely proud Slavic nation.
A country disproportionately affected during the Balkan War of the 1990s, in Sarajevo we learn about the horrific atrocities inflicted upon the Muslim Bosniak population at the hands of Bosnian Serbs. There’s also no escaping the shadow of the Siege of Sarajevo, and our local guide — a former frontline fighter in the Bosnian Army — gives a harrowing insight into what it was like to live through modern warfare’s longest siege.
A country that has bounced back from the Balkan War with a vengeance, we explore its capital of Zagreb and learn about its rich heritage. Take a look at its luxury villas or explore its sprawling Christmas markets, if that’s your thing.
Slovenia claims Tito as their own as much as the Serbs do (he died in Ljubljana), and our communist walking tour focuses heavily on the former Yugoslavian dictator. As is almost a tradition for the area, we also look at the former Yugoslavian secret police and their reign of terror.
Home of Europe’s last nomads and the westernmost point reached by the Mongol Hordes, this ancient country’s capital of Budapest has sadly become a byword for decadent Western tourism in recent years. We bypass all that with a look at Hungary’s fascinating communist history and the 1956 uprising, including Memento Park — the graveyard of the gigantic communist monuments that once stood all across the country. We also visit a communist-era nuclear bomb shelter to indulge in some Cold War nostalgia.
Unsurprisingly, we spend a good chunk of time here examining the country’s communist history in the capital of Bratislava, including the huge monument that looms over the city and the massive Soviet UFO that dominates the main bridge. But we also spend time in Bratislava’s quaint and picturesque Old Town, complete with cobbled streets and medieval towers. We then kick off an alternative tour of the city, with plenty of Brutalist architecture photo ops, and finish up with a short jaunt over the border into neighbouring Austria.
Did somebody say ‘communism’? On our tour we check out the storied history of this particularly rebellious Soviet satellite state, who rebelled against the communist regime once in 1968 and again (successfully) in 1989. As a popular tourist destination, Prague also has no small number of good restaurants and watering holes, and we take advantage of this during our time here.
Poland has a wealth of history stretching back to the 10th century, but it has been dominated for the past 80 years by the shadow of Nazi occupation. Our tour here visits Krakow and Warsaw, as well as the site of the 20th century’s worst atrocity – the concentration camp at Auschwitz. A sobering and often harrowing look at man’s capacity for evil.
Is it possible to do only parts of the Eurasian Adventure?
It certainly is! The whole trip comes to around 5 weeks, which we realise isn’t possible for everyone. It’s possible to drop in and out as you like, and the tour is segmented into groups to facilitate this.
Where do I sign up?
Simply contact us to book a place and we’ll get you signed up!