Baikal

Legendary lake

Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake by volume in the world, containing 22–23% of the world’s fresh surface water with 23,615.39 km3 (5,670 cu mi) of fresh water.

The word “Baikal” comes from the Turkic language and originally means “a wealthy lake”. It is wealthy indeed, as its 1,640 meters depth it is the deepest and largest lake on our planet. It is also one of the cleanest ones as its transparent water is richly saturated with oxygen.

It is also the most ancient lake on the planet — the age of Baikal is estimated at 25 million years. At the same time Baikal is one of those rare spots on the earth where nature has still remained genuine and untouched. There are more than 2,600 animal species and 1 thousand plants, 85% of which exist only at Baikal.

Location

in the southern Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast.

Big cities of Baikal district: Severobaikalsk, Baikalsk, Ust-Bargusiz, Ulan-Ude, Irkursk, Angarsk, Listvyanka Village

How to get there by plane:

The planes fly to the main cities of both provinces – Irkutsk (6 hours from Moscow) and Ulan-Ude (7 hours from Moscow) – these are the only two cities close to Baikal which are accessible by plane.

There are regular flights from major Russian cities to Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude.

And by train:

It is the most interesting way to get to Lake Baikal is by Trans-Siberian Railway, having on the route many other sites of great-great Russia and very often having Lake Baikal is the main highlight of Trans-Siberian journey. The Trans-Siberian train stops at three places near Lake Baikal: Irkutsk, Slyudyanka and Ulan-Ude.

Best time to visit:

Baikal Lake is beautiful all year around. The best season of visit depends on what you would like to see and to do.

For foreign travelers we recommend summer:

June 15-August 15: is the warmest period at the shores of Baikal with sunny and nice weather, good for trekking tours, and wildlife watching.

Main Highlights:

Possible activities

Adventure tourism in summer:

Winter activities (when Lake Baikal is frozen)

Ice fishing, snowmobiling, and ice-biking (using bikes fitted with special tyres)

The Baikal Dog Sledding (in Listvyanka): dogsled rides through the winter forest.

Hike across the ice from the mainland to Olkhon Island, enterprising locals set up yurts on the ice, so that hikers can break up the 20km trek mid-way.

Banya, Omul, and Vodka. For an unforgettable experience of Siberia it is essential to visit a Banya (bathing house) in one of a village close to Lake Baikal, e.g. in Tanchoi, to have a smoked Omul thereafter, and drink a shot of Vodka.

Exploring the lake’s numerous islands with hidden grottoes and frozen caves

Great Trans-Siberian Journey

The world’s greatest railway journey, the Trans-Siberian Railway runs from Moscow over the Urals, across the magnificent Russian steppes and alongside the shores of the world’s largest freshwater lake Baikal. You will cover 9,000 km, passing through 8 time zones and 80 towns and cities As well as Moscow, you will also stop at Yekaterinburg — where the Romanovs were executed — Kazan, with its beautiful Kremlin, the ‘Paris of Siberia’ at Irkutsk and Ulan Ude, capital of the Buryat Republic.

Example of the Itinerary

In Moscow: taking a train to start the Trans Siberian Journey. Overnight on board.

Arriving at Kazan Railway Station in the morning. City Sightseeing tour and visit to Kazan Kremlin. As the capital city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Kazan is a glorious city that represents Russia’s Tsarist past. With complex palaces, towering churches, and a thriving cultural scene, Kazan is a city with incredible beauty and heart. Overnight on board.

Train arrives in Yekaterinburg railway station Afterbrteakfast on boards you will have a City Tour dedicated to the Last Days of Last Russian Tsar. You will see the Church on Blood erected to commemorate a tragic historical event. In the afternoon you will visit the memorial built at the boundary of two continents (the Europe and Asia). Overnight on board.

Arrival in Novosibirsk,. Enjoy our guided city tour around the biggest city in Siberia. In the afternoon we offer you an excursion to the open air museum of railway machinery with an extensive exposition of the railroad history. Overnight and next day is on board.

Train arrives at Irkutsk railway station. You will have a tour to the historical city center including a visit to the Decembrist House and the “wooden lace” house, also called the “House of Europe”. Excursion to the Ethnographical museum Taltsy located on the bank of the Angara river. Overnight on board.

Arrival in port Baikal. Take a boat to Listvyanka observation point with beautiful view on the southern part of the lake and the source of the Angara River. Then visit Baikal Museum and local fish and souvenir market. Overnight on board.

Arrival in Ulan Ude. The program includes a visit to local Datsan, prominent Buddhist Monastery and centre of Buddhism in Russia. On the way to Mongolia, our train crosses the Russian border at Naushki and the Mongolian border at Sukhe Bator and joins the Trans- Mongolian Mainline. All passport and customs control formalities are done on board the train. Overnight on board. Bator

Arrival in Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia. In the morning transfer to Terelj National Park (70 km). Disassembling and setting up a smaller Mongolian ger. Admire the sunset and bright shining night stars in the wide steppe. Accommodation in Gers.

In the morning a visit to a nomadic family to learn the authentic lifestyle of Mongolian nomads and try traditional dairy food. Then transfer to Ulan Bator and guided tour around the city. Overnight on board.

In the morning arrival at the Mongolian border village of Zamyn-Uud and the Chinese border town of Erlian. All passport and customs control formalities take place on board the train. In the afternoon the train goes via the Gobi Desert famous for its spacious territory. Overnight on board.

In the morning arrival in Beijing, the capital of China, a city of ancient history and culture, unique architectural monuments and modern dynamic life. Full day guided city tour. Accommodation at hotel.

In the morning excursion to the Great Wall and next visit to the Summer Palace. Accommodation at Beijing hotel.

The end of an unforgettable journey through Russia, Mongolia, and China. Check out from your hotel by 12:00 pm. Transfer to the airport/railway station.

When

June 15 — August 15

How long

From 7 days

How

By direct flights from the Russian major cities and by Trans-Siberian Railway

Create a trip, add destination!

Ask Us Anything