25 million years old, 1637 m deep, 636 km long, 80 km wide Baikal is the deepest, oldest freshwater lake in the world. It is one of the most amazing destinations in Russia. We invite you to visit our magnificent Baikal! According to the legend pagan spirits chose this place as their home. It seems that Baikal influences on people’s destinies.
Feel the wholeness of Baikal, forget about routine and visit the most mysterious place on the planet. You will immerse in the energy of the lake and communicate with nature.
For the short duration of the tour you will visit Baikal’s most popular places, feel its multiple sides, see Listvyanka settlement with its marvelous mountain landscapes covered with the forest, the CircumBaikal railway road – engineering miracle of the 20th century, the Small sea with mesmerizing views and Olkhon Island – powerful place and its Khoboy and Burkhan capes.
Tour destination: Irkutsk – Listvyanka – Circumbaikal railway road – Small Sea – Olkhon – Irkutsk
English speaking guide service during the whole tour!
Upon arrival you will be met at the airport/railway station by our English-speaking guide. Then you will be offered a breakfast.
Afterwards, you will be invited to take a city tour through historical part of Irkutsk. There are about 700 historical and cultural monuments in Irkutsk. The most interesting parts of the city were built by its 350 year anniversary. We will see most of them during our excursion.
We will start our tour from the Spasskaya Church – the place where the stockade town of Irkutsk was founded by Yakov Pokhabov in 1661. Then we’ll go on to the famous Epiphany Cathedral, the Polish Church, the Eternal flame and the Moscow gates. Later, we’ll move to the Znamenskiy Monastery– there you will also see the necropolis where Ekaterina Trubetskaya, a wife of the exiled Decembrist, is buried. The grave of Grigory Shelikhov, the founder of the Russian-American company also known as “the Russian Columbus”, is located here as well. Nearby the Monastery gates there is a monument to Alexander Kolchak.
Along Karl Marks Street we will move to Gagarin Avenue where you will see the monument to Alexander III which was erected to commemorate the construction of the Transsiberian Railroad. Also, the only Moresque Castle in Siberia – now home to the Local History Museum – is located there. Likewise, you will see the Beliy Dom (the White House) also referred to as Sibiryakov Palace: former residence of the merchant family Sibiryakovs and later Governor-General of Eastern Siberia.
Transfer to Listvyanka settlement.
Most travelers start the acquaintance with Baikal in Listvyanka village. This is the most popular holiday place at Baikal, it is 70 km or a 1-hour car ride away from Irkutsk.
On our way to Listvyanka we will visit the museum of wooden architecture Taltsy. It contains 40 historical and architectural monuments and 8000 exhibits of a great historic importance. The first wooden buildings of the museum were removed from the floodable zone of Ust-Ilimsk reservoir. The museum was founded in 1966. On 20th February 1995 the Russian Federation President issued a decree about making Museum Taltsy an object of national history and culture heritage. During the tour to Taltsy museum you`ll see 13 architecture complexes with 36 wooden buildings on the territory of the museum. They get the visitors acquainted with material and spiritual culture of Near-Baikal nationalities – Russians, Buryats, Evenks. The museum expositions tell about everyday life, customs and traditions of Near-Baikal nationalities in late 19th – early 20th century.
Stop at the observation area opposite the famous Shaman Stone. The Angara is 1779 km long and is the only river flowing out of Lake Baikal. Its source is the widest in the world, it does not freeze during the most severe Siberian winters (width – 863 m , maximum depth – 4.8 m, speed – 5.1 km/h). In the middle of the river, at its head, rises a rock cliff 1.5 m high protected by the state as a natural relic mentioned in the legends of old times.
Visit to the Baikal Museum. The museum was established in 1928 when the Baikal Limnological Station opened in the village of Listvyanka (since 1961 – the Limnological Institute). Every year the Baikal Museum has more than 30,000 visitors. The unique exhibits tell about the origin and the history of the lake, its flora and fauna, geological structure, climate and tectonics of Prebaikalye.
You will see: collection of minerals; exhibits found in scientific expeditions, models of the lake bed showing its history, the peculiarities of its shoreline and bottom. And also Baikal fish (omul, golomyanka, kharius, sturgeon, taimen, pike); Microorganisms inhabiting Baikal waters and destroying everything that might pollute the lake.
Walking tour along Krestovka village, visit of the St. Nicholas’ Church. According to the legend, Russian merchant Serebriakov was caught in a storm out on the lake and prayed to St. Nicholas (Protector of Navigators) for help. His prayers were answered and on his safe return he began to build a church to thank the saint (in 1846). Unfinished when he died, the church was completed by the merchant’s wife. Located in Listvyanka village, the residents attend service held in the church. In the 1950-s the building was restored and many icons from other churches of Irkutsk were brought there among which are some rare items dating back to the 18th century.
Afterwards, you will be accommodated at the hotel (comfortable double/twin rooms)
Meals included: breakfast, dinner
After breakfast you will be transferred to the pier to take the ferry and go to the village “Port Baikal”. Arrival at Port Baikal village. Boarding in the train. Departure for a full day excursion by Circumbaikal rail road.
The Circum Baikal Railroad also known as KBZhD (according to its Russian abbreviated form) was the part of the main Trans-Siberian railroad until the middle of the 20th century (before the Hydro Power Electric Station was built in Irkutsk and the part of this road got to the flooded area).
The railroad is truly unique historical line. It was built more than a hundred years ago, and is an outstanding landmark to the construction and engineering art.
Arrival in the city. Transfer to the hotel.
Meals included: breakfast, lunch box
Please note: The excursion can be replaced with a boat trip.
After breakfast, we will travel to the Maloye Sea.
The Maloye Sea is one of the famous places near Baikal. Warm creeks and bays, ancient rocks and sandy beaches as well as unique fauna of the Tazheran steppe create the way-out of civilization and bring unforgettable memories.
Accommodation at the tourist camp (toilet and shower are outside)
After the rest and dinner you will be invited to a hiking tour along the Maloye Sea.
Additional charge for a comfortable accommodation (toilet and shower are inside) – 40€/day per person.
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
After breakfast you will be offered a one day tour to Olkhon Island.
Olkhon – the largest island in Baikal and its heart – was given its name after the Buryat word “oy-khon” which stands for “small forest”. In fact, you can only see the forest in the central part of the island as the Northern and the Southern areas of Olkhon are steppe. Located in the central part of Baikal, almost above its deepest point (1637 m/5370 ft), and shaped similarly to the lake, Olkhon has a uniquely diverse landscape typical for the Baikal shores.
The island is considered to be the center of the Turkic-Siberian culture of the 6-10th centuries as many archeological artifacts, including sanctuaries, were discovered here.
Olkhon is a geographical, historical and spiritual center of the lake. A lot of Buryat legends and stories are devoted to life there; awe-inspiring Baikal spirits are said to reside on the island. At the end of the 20th centuy, Buryat shamans recognized Olkhon as the “principal sanctuary of Mongol and Central-Asian cultures as well as the ancestral home to the Buryats”.
We depart from the tourist camp and go by ferry to the Olkhon Island. The Olkhon gates stream – 8 km long and 1 km wide – separates the island from the mainland. Later on, we will see the Zagli bay – it is the sunniest place in Irkutsk region where the quantity of the sunny days amounts to 2200 hours a year which is 3 times more than in Irkutsk region average.
The Kobylya Golova Cape (The horse head Cape) resembles the head of the horse as it was drinking water from Baikal. According to the legend, Genghis Khan’s army stopped by that cape to have rest.
The Khorgoy Cape is the highest point of the Khaday Mountains. It is from there you can see the picturesque view of the Southern part of the island. When walking on the Obo pass, you can drop the coin for the fortune.
Finally, we reach the signature spot of Baikal – the Burkhan Cape (also known as the Shamanka stone), one of the nine sanctuaries of Asia. The Shamanka stone was greatly revered by people. Since the first Shamans appeared, it was the place for vows and sacrifices. The cave of Shamanka was home to the Master of the Island. Shaman ceremonies were held in the through passage of the Burkhan cave. After lamaization of the Buryats, the statue of Buddha was placed there.
Between the Burkhan Cape and the settlement of Kharantsy, surrounded by the pine forest, there is a wonderful Saray beach.
Afterwards, you will see another beautiful place – Shunte cape. Shunte in the buryat language means the larch. The cape gets its name because there is a lot of thick fir forest on its shores.
Returning to the tourist camp.
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
Breakfast at the tourist camp. Free day. In the evening you will be transferred to Irkutsk.
Meals included: breakfast
The tour price includes:
• Accommodation in Irkutsk, Listvyanka, Olkhon Island;
• Meals according to the program (if not specified as at own expense);
• All the transfers along the route;
• Excursions according to the tour program and museums entrance fees, Circum Baikal railway road fee, hiking tour;
• Guide service during the whole tour.
The tour price does not include:
• Plane or train charges to Irkutsk from departure as well as plane or train charges to the next destination upon the program’s completion;
• Meals, not listed in the program;
• Dishes and drinks not included into the main menu according to the program;
• Additional services listed in the program but specified as at additional charge or not listed in the program;
• Higher category of accommodation / additional charge for the single accomodation.
Please note: The order of excursions can be changed