lost stupas AND lotus fields
Krasnodar – Elista – Lagan – Komsomol – Astrakhan
This tour is offered on a regular monthly basis. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the learn-more button below: we will match your preferences with the next relevant scheduled group departure. If you are still unsure about your desired departure date, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with more than 4 friends, you can set your own departure date: we will arrange a bespoke tour just for you for the same price per person advertised below. If you are travelling solo or with less than four companions, we will then organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
The following itinerary refers to our most popular route in Kalmykia. This diverse and fascinating land, a very Soviet version of Mongolia, greets its curious guests with a cornucopia of natural, historical and cultural wonders. In case you are interested in a particularly remote area, secretive ethnicity, unusual activity and/or off-the-beaten-path attraction within the Autonomous Republic of Kalmykia or if you are just looking for an hit-and-run visit to Elista and its surroundings, we can easily meet your needs with a unique tour individually designed according to your preferences. Thanks to our deep knowledge of the territory and longstanding collaboration with independent local guides we are able to offer you a wide range of tailored routes and bespoke itineraries across and beyond the rolling steppes of mystic Kalmykia. We also regularly cater for biologists, conservationists, ethnologists, historians and documentarists alike interested in conducting field research in the region. Get in touch for more info on our private tours to Kalmykia!
DAY 1 - Volgograd
In the morning you will meet our tour guide in the lobby of the designated hotel in Volgograd (exact hotel address and meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email; private airport pickup and shuttle service available for a small additional fee).
Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in Kalmykia.
Transfer to Elista and afternoon stroll.
Dinner and overnight in Elista.
DAY 2 - Elista
On our second day in the capita we'll spend some time with the monks of the Old Horul and Buddha Shakyamuni temples to learn more about Tibetan buddhism and its Kalmyk offshoot.
We'll then enjoy a full tour around the city and its Socialist-Buddhist bizarre sights, as well as paying a visit to the National Theatre and the National Museum.
While learning about the serene beauty of Nirvana we won't forget the profane pleasures of Samsara indulging in local gastronomic delicacies such as butter tea and mutton stew.
Dinner and overnight in Elista.
DAY 3 - Kalmyk Steppes
We'll drive towards the gates of the Black Lands National Park, a unique grassland reserve.
We'll also visit the tiny Kalmyk villages surrounding the park, where we'll be able to learn more about Kalmyk culture and nomadic traditions.
Lunch, dinner and overnight with a local Kalmyk family.
DAY 4 - Off the beaten path
In the morning we'll drive to Lagan, a large Kalmyk town located in the colorful wetlands near the shores of the Caspian Sea dubbed by the local as the Venice of the Steppes for the many navigable canals crisscrossing the surrounding area.
On our way down to Lagan we'll have the chance to undertake surreal and melancholic detours into the wide steppes and scorching sands of the Kalmyk badlands.
Once in Lagan we'll tour this sleepy Soviet backwater of semi-abandoned concrete blocks and lonely white stupas.
Dinner and overnight in Lagan.
DAY 5/6 - Volga Delta and Astrakhan
We'll leave Lagan early in the morning and head to the Volga Delta National Park to enjoy a romantic boat trip surrounded by a wild landscape of lotus flowers, water lilies and flocks of migratory birds. travel further north to Astrakhan, the biggest city of the Caspian Depression and the last stop along the mighty Volga.
We'll then travel further north to Astrakhan, the biggest city of the Caspian Depression and the last stop along the mighty Volga.
Dinner and overnight in Astrakhan.
DAY 7 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last lavish Astrakhan-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
For those flying out: we will arrange transfer to Astrakhan International Airport for your flight back home.
For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: we will arrange transport to the local train/bus station.
End of the tour.
4 to 9 participants: 710 € per person
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 18 euros/night), private transport in the region (jeep or minivan), entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), meals, drinks and tips, visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.