The Trans-Siberian Highway is the unofficial name for a network of federal highways which span Russia cross-country from Saint Petersburg to Vladivostok; a small section of the route passes through the northern edge of Kazakhstan.
The Trans-Siberian Highway is a network of seven federal highways which span over 11,000 kilometres (6,800 mi) of Russia, from Saint Petersburg on the Baltic Sea (Atlantic Ocean) to Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan (Pacific Ocean). Much of the route parallels that of the earlier Trans-Siberian Railway. A large portion is numbered as part of Asian Highway Network route AH6, in many places also coinciding with European route E30.
The Trans-Siberian Highway is one of the world's longest national highways, although the Highway 1 (Australia) continental ring road is longer.
To temporarily import a vehicle, one should bring a driving licence (international driving licence recommended, not mandatory), vehicle registration documents (and, if the driver is not the registered owner, a letter of attorney), customs declaration forms (submit one copy on entry and the other when leaving the country) and a "green card" indicating the vehicle has insurance which is valid in Russia.
Vehicles with studded tires must display a warning sticker (a 'ш' in a red triangle). A separate sticker must state the nationality of the vehicle. See Driving in Russia for more details.
Saint Petersburg is a few days' to one week's drive away from most parts of Europe and there are multiple ways in. For instance you can drive to Poland and take the Via Baltica up to Latvia or Estonia and from there on to Saint Petersburg. Alternatively you can get to Finland by taking the ferry from Germany or Sweden and drive along the European route E18. If flying in, there are direct flights from Saint Petersburg from most major airports in Europe, as well as some flights from elsewhere in the world.
Vladivostok is served by ferries from South Korea and Japan. You can also drive in from China and possibly North Korea. You can get in by plane from elsewhere in Russia and larger East Asian destinations.
This itinerary is listed from west to east, beginning in St. Petersburg and ending 11,000 kilometres (6,800 mi) later in Vladivostok. The trip may be made in either direction. (In some cases, two numbers are listed for the same road as the old M-series numbers for all but the largest highways were replaced with R-series numbers, which may display as P-series if written in Cyrillic text. The old numbers were removed in 2017.)
Saint Petersburg to MoscowEdit
1 Saint Petersburg (pop 5 million) is the second largest city and former capital of the Russian Empire. From Saint Petersburg's Pushkinsky District, the M10 (Russia Highway) runs 664 kilometres (413 mi) south through 2 Novgorod, 3 Tver, 4 Klin and 5 Khimki to Moscow.
Moscow to ChelyabinskEdit
6 Moscow is the capital of Russia and of the former Soviet Union. From here, the M5 (Ural Highway) runs for 1,880 kilometres (1,170 mi) east through 7 Kolomna, 8 Ryazan, 9 Penza, Ulyanovsk Oblast, 10 Samara, Orenburg Oblast, Tatarstan and 11 Ufa to Chelyabinsk.
Chelyabinsk to NovosibirskEdit
From 12 Chelyabinsk, the M51 (Russian route R254, Irtysh Highway) runs 1,528 kilometres (949 mi) eastward through Russia and Kazakhstan. It runs from Chelyabinsk through 13 Kurgan, crosses through the Kazakhstani North near Petropavl and returns to Russia to reach 14 Omsk and Novosibirsk.
(It is possible to bypass Kazakhstan, but it requires a bit of a detour: exit at Makushino for Ishim, Tyumen Oblast then take Russian route R402 to Omsk, rejoining the Trans-Siberian there to continue to Novosibirsk.)
Novosibirsk to IrkutskEdit
Irkutsk to ChitaEdit
Chita to KhabarovskEdit
From 22 Chita, the M58 (R297, Amur Highway) 2,100 kilometres (1,300 mi) east to 23 Belogorsk, 24 Blagoveshchensk and Khabarovsk was the last section completed; it was fully paved by 2010. Before the construction of this highway, the only east-west route through central Siberia's roadless 400 mile (640 km) Zilov Gap was the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Khabarovsk to VladivostokEdit
From 25 Khabarovsk the M60 (A370, Ussuri Highway) covers the final 760 kilometres (470 mi) through Khabarovsk Krai, 26 Ussuriysk and 27 Artyom. The highway ends at the Pacific seaport of 28 Vladivostok.
Traffic in Russia is unpredictable; expect to encounter dangerous overtaking and excessive speeds in urban areas. Roads and cars are often in dangerously bad condition. Police corruption is declining, but still exists; a dashcam is a necessity as evidence in a collision and as a defence against authority trouble. See the article on driving in Russia for details.