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Neil Forsyth. UK-England, 25.12.2019 00:00:00

Fantastic Stalingrad Battlefield Tour

My friend and I have just finished a fascinating 2 day 'Stalingrad battlefield tour' around Volgograd with our excellent tour guide Mikhail from Volgograd Sputnik Travel Company. We arrived on Russian Train from Moscow (the overnight train journey was very comfortable and punctual and I was very impressed with the train operator). Mikhail met us each day at our hotel. On Day 1 we walked around the centre of Volgograd looking at monuments around the Alley of Heroes and 62nd Army embankment as Mikhail explained how the battle for Stalingrad unfolded. He then took us to the bunker (now a museum) under the old department store where General Paulus surrendered. We then made our way up to the Mamayev Kurgan hill the site of some of the fiercest fighting and now the home of 'The Motherland is calling' monument standing 85 metres tall! After lunch at an excellent restaurant Mikhail took us to the 'Battle of Stalingrad' panoramic museum on the banks of the River Volga including the ruins of the grain elevator. For Day 2 we visited the Red October Factory, Barrikady Gun Factory and the Tractor Plant (where T-34 tanks were made) as Mikhail explained the significance of these plants to the strategy of the battle.We then made our way to the banks of the Volga to view Lyudnikov's Island and the ruins of the forward command post as well as see original buildings (still inhabited by local people) which bear the scars of the battle. In the afternoon we visited an area 25km outside the city which was the centre of the encirclement of German forces and this included some moving monuments and a mass cemetery for both Soviet and German soldiers at Rossoshka. Mikhail spoke excellent English and his knowledge of this period of history is outstanding. He was able to add to all this with personal stories about his family members who were involved in the battle and show us photos of ongoing excavations which still uncover remnants of the battle to this day. If you are interested in WW2 then this tour is a must and Mikhail is the perfect guide to help you understand more and show you all the important places relating to the battle.

Date of experience: November 2019

Björn Manuel Hegelich. USA/Germany, 31.12.2019 00:00:00

3-day custom Stalingrad Battlefield tour

Here is my long overdue review of my Stalingrad Battlefield tour in summer of 2019. I had the chance to stay in Volgograd for a few days in July 2019 and used the opportunity for a customized tour of the old battlefields with Mikhail Shuvarikov. We arranged a custom itinerary by email and everything went very smoothly. Mikhail gave great advice on how to get there (took a train from Samara) and organized the tour in Stalingrad. We toured the old factory district, the Volga enbankment, Mamaev Kurgan, a few museums, etc. in the city. On the second day we went outside to one of the old airfields at Pitomnik, as well as the main medical station of the 6th Army at Gorodische. On the third day we went all the way to the west to Kalach-on-Don, where the two soviet fronts met to complete the encirclement of Stalingrad. One really has to do the trip to get an idea of the real scale of the cauldron! Mikhail is an extremely knowledgeable guide who know the Stalingrad history intimately and participates in historical and archaeological projects on a regular basis. You could not ask for a better guide. He puts great effort into his tours and makes sure to support you in whatever you are looking for. I will be back for sure to see more when I get the chance and highly recommend it for anybody.

Date of experience: July 2019

Sam & Natalie MacDonald. Australia/Serbia, 31.12.2019 00:00:00

Surpassed expectations!

I am from Australia & my wife and I booked this tour 6-months in advance because this company has a great reputation and I wanted to make sure we could go with them due to it being winter and Xmas/NY period in Russia. They couldn’t have been more helpful over our email communications and they understood English very well - they can also organize Russian Letters of Invitation and hotel/airport transfers for you.

Mikhail was fantastic and greeted us on time at our hotel with a smile. He was super friendly and spoke excellent English and made the day tour extra enjoyable. Mikhail’s knowledge of Stalingrad and the battle is incredible and he takes you to all the most notable locations and some off the beaten track - there were not many western tourists in Volgograd when we went so we had many of the sites to ourselves and Mikhail was typically excellent at explaining all the important things in depth throughout the city. He takes you to one of the best restaurants in Volgograd for lunch for a taste of traditional Russian food which we loved. We only booked for the 1-day experience due to cost and limited time but I would absolutely return for the 3-4 day experience judging by the outstanding care and passion Mikhail and the company bring to the battle that shaped WW2. 

Doing this tour in Winter was extraordinary - unfortunately it did not snow but the cold was bitter in the morning and became quite nice in the afternoon - we found the cold energizing and everywhere we went was very well heated inside. Would recommend three layers, jacket, gloves, and beanie for tours in Dec-Feb. One recommendation would be to bring a large bottle of water as you can quickly get dehydrated with all the exploring and not realise it in the cold.

Date of experience: December 2019

Paul Stenhouse, Australia , 09.01.2020 00:00:00

Battlefield Tours of Stalingrad

I teach history in Sydney, Australia. My first tour was in 2017 and it was brilliant. As a result I did further research into the battle for Stalingrad and found there were more questions I needed answered. So I backed up in 2019 and again Mikhail Shuvarikov was able to address all my questions. His command of the English language and his knowledge is outstanding. It was truly a pleasure learning from him. I aim to return again as soon as possible. I strongly recommend this tour to anyone interested in history. You won't be let down.

Visited July 2019

Stephen Barratt. Sydney-Australia, 03.02.2020 00:00:00

Oustanding Tour of the Stalingrad Battlefield

We were very impressed with this tour which we did in January 2020. Although I have an interest in military history, the rest of the family really enjoyed this one and half day tour of the main battlefield sites within the city of Stalingrad. It did not include Kalach on Don, Pitomnik, or the bridgeheads where Zhukov launched Russian counter attacks on the 19th November 1942. Longer tours may include these sites.

We were met at the train station and the important sites were all visited and discussed in a pertinent and interesting way. Of course Mamayev Hill, The Motherland Calls monument, Square of Fallen Fighters, Eternal Flame amongst many others. We were very impressed with the changing of the guard performed in freezing conditions by school students and also Russian soldiers. We could sense real passion. In the afternoon we visited Pavlov’s house, the Red October Factory, the Barrikady Gun Factory, the Dzerzhinsky Tractor Plant and finally Lyudnikov's Island.

I particularly liked the discussions about street fighting tactics used by Russian 62nd army.

On the second day we visited the Univermag Department Store where Friedrick Paulus surrendered and the Panorama Museum. Both had excellent house tour guides.

Transport was in a quality van and we were taken to lunch venues and to our hotel at the end of the day. Our guide interpreted for lunch. Unlike Moscow and St Petersburg English is not big in Volgograd. Transport was provided to the train station on day 2.

Date of experience: January 2020

Tiffany Tse. USA-California, 15.04.2020 00:00:00

One of the Most Passionate & Informed Tours I've Ever Experienced

My father is a World War II history buff and it's always been his dream to visit Volgograd—as Stalingrad was a huge turning point in the war. Last summer, we finally had the chance to go. After researching the various tours available in Volgograd, I settled on Volgograd Sputnik Travel Company. The process of communicating back and forth with Mikhail was easy; his English is excellent, and he's responsive and eager to help. Once we got there, it was clear how incredibly informed and enthusiastic Mikhail is about educating his tour groups about what happened in Stalingrad during WWII. He was able to describe everything in vivid detail—with personal anecdotes to boot.

Not only did he take us in his private car to all the major tourist sites, like Mamayev Kurgan, he also took us to off-the-beaten-path locations that are truly for WWII buffs like my father. We had such an amazing experience on this trip, largely because of the great efforts of Mikhail, who tirelessly explained the history of this very amazing city and gave us some insight into its present-day and future.

Since The Motherland Calls statue was sadly covered by scaffolding when we were there, we will definitely have to pay Volgograd another visit in the near future. When that time comes, we will definitely book another tour with Mikhail again!

Date of experience: July 2019

Steward Consterdine, UK-London, 28.04.2020 00:00:00

The Best historical tour you would ever wish to go on

My son bought me this tour for my birthday. From the first day I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the city of Volgograd and the knowledge of our tour gide Mikhail who took us to all the main areas of the battle of Stalingrad and museums.

He picked us up from the hotel each morning and each day was an exciting adventure into the past. He was very consious of showing us all the areas, Tractor Factory, Red October factory, Mamayev Kurgan, Pitomnik Airfield and many other famous areas.

I could not recommend this tour enough as it was fantastic

Date of experience: August 2019

Kenneth E. Bauzon. USA, 10.05.2020 00:00:00

My unforgettable three-day solo tour

With the able guidance of Mikhail and his colleague Sergei, my three-day tour made history come alive not only with visits to key sites in the Hero City of Volgograd (Stalingrad), but also at the memorial cemetery at Rossoshka and the monument at Kalasch-on-the-Don and vicinity. Mikhail has deep knowledge of history and rich personal insights that filled in gaps in my own knowledge of history. The fund I invested in the tour was well-worth every penny of it. In fact i felt i could have paid more because Mikhail and his crew were so generous with their time, resources, and knowledge that on several occasion they went out of their way to ensure that my visit was memorable, e.g., finding souvenir items in the fields that I could take home with me, or demonstrating how the powder of found bullets could still light a bonfire. Impressive!

Date of experience: June 2019

George Kiernan, UK-London, 03.06.2020 00:00:00

2 Excellent Tours, Amazing Experiences

I have been on 2 tours with this company now (Nov 2016 and Aug 2017) and both of them were superb. Both times the expert tour guide showed us around several key spots of the Battle of Stalingrad as well as other points of interest that we'd never have been able to find on our own.

The first tour we took showed us around sites within the city - the department store where Paulus surrendered, Mamayev Kurgan (a real must see), the grain elevator and so on. The second tour we took was to sites outside the city; not only were there fascinating historical spots on this tour, but also the chance to see the amazing landscapes the region has to offer. On this tour we were able to spend a few days on the excavations of the battlefields, helping to recover the remains and belongings of the soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of Stalingrad. This truly is a once in a life time experience and I could never recommend this enough. You'll meet many local Russians who share a passion for history and who are incredibly friendly and welcoming. As well as this, you'll be unearthing real pieces of history with your own hands that would otherwise be lost to time. Most importantly, you'll be giving the fallen soldiers the chance for a proper burial and a place in their last formation.

The tour operator is great at accommodating whatever you want to see, and there really is nothing they don't know about the vast history of this amazing place. The historical, cultural (one thing Russia does not lack is culture) and geographical knowledge the guide was able to share with us was impressively detailed. The tour guide was also great at introducing us to the locals (who were always very friendly and hospitable), showing us the best places to eat that we'd never have found on our own and at helping us understand how to make our way around the city on our own via the roads, trams etc.

On top of planning the perfect tours for us, they were also incredibly helpful with helping us through the complex visa application process that UK tourists must go through. At first, applying for a visa seemed daunting, but with the help of this company it was quick and painless.

To summarise, if you want the highest quality tour of Volgograd, of sites from the Battle of Stalingrad and points of interest in and around the city as well as the best local food and cultural experiences, then this tour operator will be able to provide just that. I couldn't be happier with either of the tours I have been on, and I am sure you'll be just as happy if you choose this company as well.

Date of experience: October 2016 & August 2017

David Stewart, London, 21.09.2020 00:00:00

Lasting impressions of the battle for Stalingrad.

When I arrived in Volgograd the first thing I did after setting my suitcase down was to go online and see what options there were for tours of the main points of interest in the battle for Stalingrad and SPUTNIK popped up so I opened the site and found what I was looking for phoned Mikhail and arranged to meet the next day and what followed was two days of intense military history on the battle for Stalingrad and the build up to it. All the main sites were covered the dept store, Paulus's living area, Dom Pavlova, the tractor factory, Chuikovs OP, the all important signals post the list goes on, I lost count on the places visited but if you want to get off the beaten track Mikhail's your man.

Mikhail's and easy going guy and his knowledge of the battle for Stalingrad in my estimation is second to none, stories to make you wonder, to be in awe of the history of the moment that you can imagine yourself being right there. You'll feel every emotion humanly possible in such a short period of time.

I don't think you'll find anyone in Volgograd with the depth of knowledge Mikhail and Sputnik have.

Mikhail will meet you in his extremely comfortable car with masks and water provided so there's no time waiting about unlike some tour operators I've been with.

At the end of my tour there was an issue with my bus ticket to Rostov. Mikhail and his wife made enquiries and managed to smooth things out without a hitch and when I thanked him he said it's all part of being with Sputnik you're taken care of regardless whether it's on the clock or not.

To sum up from someone working in Orenburg helping my Russian students with their English you'd have to be mad to go to anyone else.

Date of experience: August 2020