How to travel from Asia to Europe by land

An overland trip from Asia to Europe can either be the adventure of a lifetime or it can (quite literally) be as easy as walking across a bridge. Below we will first look at the hard option but if, after reading that, you realize you do not have the time or the money we will conclude with a much easier (but no less interesting) alternative.

Can one take a train from China to Europe?

The answer is yes. You can take the Trans Siberian Express from Beijing in China to Mongolia. From there, it makes its way to Irkutsk in Russia. The next leg of your journey will be from Irkutsk to Moscow. Once you have explored this great city you can easily get a train to Berlin in Germany and from there to London.

A huge adventure awaits travellers who are planning to embark on this unforgettable train journey. The Trans Siberian is a one-of-a-kind experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. You will pass through landscapes and meet people that you would otherwise never even have known existed.

How much does a ticket on the Trans-Siberian from China to London cost?

Buying a 2nd class ticket for the 10-day journey from Beijing to London directly from the Russian Railroads will cost just over $1000 USD (depending on inflation and exchange rates). This price does not include hotel accommodation, food, or the cost of visas, so you will have to factor in those as well.

How long will the total travel time between Beijing and London be?

The first part of the trip from Beijing to Moscow will take at least 7 days. The second part, from Moscow to London, will take a minimum of 3 days. The total travel time, therefore, is 10 days – provided everything goes according to plan.

The total time of 10 days is provided that you remain on the direct route and never get off the train to do some exploration of your own, which most travellers might prefer to do.

When booking a ticket, you should make sure to take this into account. The train tickets work much the same as flight tickets, i.e. you book for a specific day on a specific route. Once you have left the train, you can not board it again with the same ticket a week later.

The Train From Beijing to Moscow

This section of the journey has various options but we highly recommend the route from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar, Irkutsk, and then on to Moscow. The train trip via Mongolia is not only the shortest but also the most spectacular.

Please be aware that there are major differences between the different carriage classes.

The Train From Moscow to London

One possible option is to take the train from Moscow to Paris and from there to London. The first leg of this journey, however, goes through Belarus, so you will have to apply for a visa before the time. The trip involves only a single change of train, which is why it is somewhat more pricey but a lot more convenient. A first-class ticket for this trip will cost around $500 USD. The price of a 2nd class ticket is about $300 USD.

Another option is to take the train from Moscow to Warsaw and from there to Cologne, Brussels, and finally on to London. This alternative does, however, involve several train changes – and it also goes through Belarus, so many travellers may require a visa to transit.

Cycling from China to Europe

If a long train trip is not your cup of tea, another incredible adventure will be to cycle from the East to the West, provided that you have the time because this journey will take you around one year to complete. Transport costs will be negligible but of course, you have to budget for accommodation, sightseeing, and food.

Not only will this be a great adventure, but you will also seldom be alone. Surprisingly many people nowadays do this journey on a bicycle or motorbike. In our view, long-distance cyclers are the true adventurers because there are so many things that can go wrong and it requires much more planning than e.g. a train journey.

How long will it take to cycle from China to Europe?

It will to a large extent depend on how fit you are, the type of bicycle you have, and how the weather and the road conditions could impact your trip. Cycling 15,000 km in a year will mean that you have to cover around 40 km per day. On the way, you will cross multiple borders and cycle across two continents.

The route you choose will also play a significant role because it will determine how many visas you are going to need and how many border crossings there will be. If you are able and willing to spend a year of your life on the road, however, you are virtually guaranteed of having an unforgettable experience.

The first part of the trip: Cycling through China

It will take an average cyclist about 3 months to cycle from East to West China. The 4.000 kilometre / 2.500 mile journey can be done at any time of the year. The majority of people will cycle 62 miles (100km) on an average day. The rest of the time is used for resting and sightseeing.

However, this of course depends on the route you will take through China and what you would like to explore on the way. Tibet is a popular destination – but it is in the far south of China whereas Beijing lies in the North. It is of course quite easy to take your bicycle with you on the train – so if you ever become somewhat bored with the landscape or you would like to explore an out-of-the-way destination, it’s quite easy to break away from the main route for a day or more.

It is important to be aware that you will normally have to apply for a visa before arriving at a new country’s border. If you apply for a visa outside of your own country you will most likely be given one that is valid for 3 months. This might or might not be enough for your individual purposes. Keep in mind that its validity often starts on the day on which the visa was issued. Luckily it’s often possible to extend a visa in major cities, so make 100% sure to plan for these ‘visa stops’ when you are planning your journey.

The second part of the trip: From China To Istanbul?

The 2nd section of your China-to-Europe trip will be from the Chinese border to Istanbul in Turkey. This will take an average cyclist around 7,5 1months to cover. This includes the time it will take to cross the mountains of Central Asia and to explore the Pamir Highway, the old favourite among experienced over-landers.

You can visit the website for more details on travelling across Central Asia. This will be one of the most difficult to navigate in terms of visa requirements. The mountain passes here will typically be closed during the winter months, so you have to plan your trip in such a way that you will arrive there during the summer.

The final section of your unforgettable journey: From Istanbul to London

An average cyclist will take around 90 days to travel by bicycle from Istanbul to London. The 1800-mile/3.000-kilometer journey follows European Routes 6 and 15. It is best to do this trip around the end of spring.

If you are a Westerner, the trip across Europe will feel a lot more familiar than that through Western China for example. Leaving behind the mountains of Central Asia and cycling through the EU you will start feeling less like a tourist and more like a local. If you are from Asia, however, the reverse will be true. Prepare yourself for many linguistic challenges.

To save money and to keep your budget within reasonable limits, you can always make use of websites such as and where you will find people who are prepared to provide you with a place to sleep for free. This is also a great way to save money and learn more about European culture and food. Gradually the cultures will start to shift and before you know it you will find yourself in London.

The easier alternative: Crossing from Asia to Europe by walking across a bridge

Istanbul, the biggest city in Turkey and also the 5th-biggest city on earth in terms of population, is viewed by many people as European. The reality is, however, that this metropolis actually occupies both Europe and Asia. Istanbul’s western (European) part is only separated from its eastern (Asian) part by what is known as the Bosporus Strait – a fairly narrow waterway of 31km that forms a connection between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea and also serves as a natural boundary between Asia and Europe.

These two sides are connected by two suspension bridges: The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (also often referred to as the Bosporus Bridge II) and the Bosporus Bridge. Although many tourists never visit the Asian side of Istanbul because the European side is where the majority of the city’s historical buildings are located, all you have to do to cross from Europe to Asia and back to Europe is to walk across these two bridges and back.