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Travel block - Russia

Legendary Lake Baikal

Highlights

  • Ride on the Baikal Railway along the Lake Baikal

  • Visit Listvyanka village, the little pearl of Lake Baikal

  • Visit the Talzy Museum, one of the largest open-air museums in Russia

  • City tour through the East Siberian capital, Irkutsk, the gateway to Lake Baikal

  • Hike along the Great Baikal Trail

Description

Travel to the heart of Siberia and get to know one of its natural beauties: Lake Baikal. The world’s deepest and oldest freshwater lake boasts a wild beauty that is beyond imagination. Explore charming places on the lake shores and the gateway to Baikal, the city of Irkutsk. Take the historic Baikal Railway along the southern bank of the “blue pearl” (Lake Baikal’s nickname).

Destination

Europe

Irkutsk - Listvyanka - Talzy - Bolshi Koty - Chersky stone

The best time to travel to Baikal is during the summer, from June to August, because temperatures reach an average of 16°C.

In winter, on the other hand, temperatures drop to an average of -20°C. Even with these low temperatures, this time of year is also a popular time to visit because the lake freezes around February, make it possible to drive on sometimes! These months are perfect for travelers who don’t mind the cold and who love snowy landscapes.

Welcome to Russia. In the coming days, you will discover Russia’s most beautiful lake. Upon arrival at the airport, meet your guide and head to your hotel.

Lake Baikal is the deepest freshwater lake in the world, at around 1642 meters. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 because of its magnificent nature: stunning steppe landscapes, picturesque mountains, and evergreen forests. The lake is known as the blue pearl of Siberia — it gives visitors the feeling that they are looking at an endless sea. Embark on an unforgettable exploration of the seascape in the coming days.

Travel time airport - hotel: approx. 20 min / 10 km

Overnight stay in Irkutsk, Lake Baikal, Russia with breakfast

Today you’ll explore the historical city center of the East Siberian capital, Irkutsk. Learn about the gateway to Lake Baikal during a city tour.

Learn more about the city highlights and experience the history of Irkutsk. The city was founded as a Cossack fort around 350 years ago and today is home to 600,000 people. It’s a vibrant metropolis and an important transshipment point for goods from the entire Bailal region and eastern Siberia. Many buildings bear witness to the city’s history, such as the Cross Church, which survived the Soviet era unscathed and is considered a masterpiece of Siberian Baroque architecture.

You will then visit the Decembrist Museum dedicated to the aristocratic revolutionaries who rebelled against the Tsarist regime in Saint Petersburg. Drive back to your hotel.

Overnight in Irkutsk, Russia with breakfast

After breakfast, set out on an exploration journey to the Listvyanka village. The typical Russian town nestles on the mouth of the Angara, the only outflow from Lake Baikal. Along the way, visit the Talzy, an open-air museum that displays monuments of history, culture, and wood-heavy architecture from the 17th to 20th century. As early as 1890, it was one of the five largest open-air museums in Russia.

When you arrive in Listvyanka, you’ll learn more about the lake’s flora and fauna in the Baikal Museum. It’s the only museum in Russia dedicated to Lake Baikal.

In the afternoon, take the chairlift to the Chersky Stein viewing platform and savor a fantastic view of Lake Baikal. Then enjoy Listvyanka’s charm during a city tour. Eat fresh fish offered by the older women behind wooden counters, stroll past the many cafés and small shops, and stop in one of the quaint pavilions.

Travel time Irkutsk - Listvyanka: approx. 1 hour / 72 km

Overnight in Listvyanka, Russia with breakfast

Lace-up your hiking boots because today is another highlight of your trip: the Great Baikal Trail! Today, a speedboat will take you and your guide from Listvyanka to Bolshie Koty, which is 20 kilometers away. With a bit of luck, you might catch a glimpse of a Baikal seal, the only seal species that live exclusively in freshwater.

Bolshie Koty is home to less than 100 people and was the place to wash gold back in the 19th century. Gold panners founded it at the end of the 18th century, and nowadays, the rural village is home to a bio station — the first of ten research centers around Lake Baikal.

The 24-kilometer long hiking trail along Lake Baikal starts here and turns into a varied path that meanders along the coast through the Siberian forest. Breathtaking views of the lake will reward you at some of the higher points. Secure footing is necessary on this trail — at times, there are steep areas, narrow bridges, and paths along high cliffs. Enjoy a delicious picnic halfway through the hike.

The ferry takes you back from Bolshie Koty to Listvyanka. Back in Listvyanka, a transfer will take you to your hotel.

Overnight in Listvyanka, Russia with breakfast

Today it’s all about the historic Baikal Railway. Discover Lake Baikal along these ancient paths that meander along the southern shore of the lake. The route is one of the most beautiful train rides in the world.

During the full-day excursion, you will experience the unique art of engineering during the train journey. The route is the shortest but also the most demanding section of the famous Trans-Siberian Railway. Numerous tunnels, viaducts, bridges, and stone galleries characterize the 84-kilometer long Gold Buckle steel belt Russia. Enjoy a traditional Russian lunch on board the train or at the station.

After spending the first part of your train journey on the historic Baikal Railway, continue your adventure on the regular train to Irkutsk.

Travel time Listvyanka - Irkutsk: approx. 1 hour / 72 km

Travel time Listvyanka hotel - Irkutsk hotel: approx. 20 min / 10 km

Overnight in Irkutsk, Russia with breakfast

The last day is here, and it’s time to say goodbye to Russia. Depending on your departure time, you’ll be driven to the airport by a guide. With a lot of fond memories in your luggage, you will take your flight home.

itravel - for that moment.

Hotel Ibis ***, Irkutsk, Russia (3 nights)

The hotel is not far from the train station and airport, and you can reach the Angara Promenade in about 10 minutes. The modern designed rooms come equipped with flat-screen TVs, hairdryers, toiletries, and other amenities.

Hotel Nikola**, Listvyanka, Russia (2 nights)

The hotel nestles directly on the Lake Baikal shores in Listvyanka. The bright rooms feature a TV, free WiFi (on the entire property), an electric kettle, and a private bathroom.

Closest city: Irkutsk

Closest airport: Irkutsk Airport

Duration of the trip: 6 days / 5 nights

Including

  • 5 nights in a standard double room with breakfast

    • 3 nights at Hotel Ibis***, Irkutsk, in a standard room

    • 2 nights at Hotel Nikola**, Listvyanka, in a standard room

  • Meals according to the program

  • Tour guide

  • All necessary transfers on site

  • Visa support (voucher and invitation only)

  • Included activities:

    • Irkutsk city tour

    • Visit the Decembrist Museum

    • Explore the Listvyanka village on the shores of Lake Baikal

    • Visit the open-air Talzy Museum and the Baikal Museum

    • Excursion to Bolshie Koty via the Great Baikal Trail, including a picnic

    • Chair lift ride to the Tschersky Stein viewing platform

    • Old Baikal Railway ride along the lake (duration: all day), including lunch

Excluding

  • Not mentioned meals and drinks

  • Other private expenses on site

  • Optional excursions and entrance fees

  • Tips

  • Visa, entry and/or exit fees

  • Travel insurance

Additional experiences

Kamchatka & stop over in Moscow – The land of ice and fire

  1. 11 days / 10 nights 2.238 € excl. Flight
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