This exciting tour transports you into the heart of Siberia to experience an ineffable miracle of the Lake Baikal that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and was also voted as one of Russia's Seven Wonders.
Our itinerary takes in magnificent nature, fascinating stories, right amount of both enjoyable physical activity and relax — immersive look into amazing lifestyle of the natives, delights of local cuisine and other unparalleled experiences and authentic discoveries. Baikal is a paradise for all possible formats and styles of leisure. Whether you want to go on trekking through the scenic lands or enjoy a lazy sunbathing at a secluded beach, ride a bike on challenging mountain trails or bask on the deck of a yacht gliding by azure lake; dance at the night club in a busy tourist hub or cook ‘buuz’ (kind of local ravioli) under the guidance of a Buryat hostess, fish for incredibly delicious Baikal omul or study petroglyphs at the sites where ancient people lived, descend to the caves or climb the mounts, observe Siberian wildlife or paint the marvelous Baikal panoramas — you will be covered.
Price for request
Agency commission: 5%
- Languages: English
- Avaliable: May — September
- Duration: 15 days
- Group: from 4 people
- Border permits: included
- Accomodation: hotel 3* – 6 nights; guest house – 4 nights; log cabin – 1 night; locals’ home – 2 nights
Local cuisine tasting
What's the plan?
Photographer: Dmitriy Verteshin
Day 1After a flight to Moscow you will board on your flight to Siberia. When was the last time you let your eyes wander beyond the horizon admiring exciting landscapes? There are some come-hither places where nature gives you its best, and we are going to discover one quite soon… Hear? The Russian folksong that have been famous for more than a century: "Glorious sea-lake, my sacred Baikal, Glorious ship is a barrel for omul. Hey, Barguzin*, roll the wave over hull, Shore's not too far, says my omen". That’s true: we are on the brink of our Big Siberian Adventure.
*Barguzin is a strong local wind
Photographer: Yuri Nazyrov
Day 2Arrival in Irkutsk, the capital of East Siberia. Check in at the hotel. Sightseeing city tour & Museum of Decembrists visit. Discover a unique rich treasury of wooden architecture monuments, the whole districts of houses that amaze travellers with sophisticated wood carving. Learn about the dynasties of Siberian merchants and stories of success of the old time local businessmen who ranked among Russia’s richest people. Enjoy your lunch discovering gastronomic delights of local restaurants (not included). Gaze at the spectacular monument to Pioneers of Siberia telling a dramatic story of development of the area. Admire the spectacular Epiphany Church, elegant triumphal arch of the Moscow Gate, spit of Angara and Irkut Rivers and much more. Dinner at the traditional Russian restaurant (not included).
Day 3Breakfast at the hotel in Irkutsk. Depart to Baikal in a comfortable bus to the Maloye (Small) Sea area. Marvel at the fascinating landscapes of Siberian woodland, one of the world famous eco retreats and home to still many wild animals. In the village of Petrovo we will have a lunch in a local cafe. Stretch your legs and take a stroll around to delve into the new amazing environment. Then we reach the Sagan-Zaba Rock at the shore of the great Baikal. Sagan-Zaba is a ridge made by majestic cliffs of white and pink marble. And the rock features a real vernissage of petroglyphs. At the top of the cliff there is an unusual big crater that explains the name Sagan Zaba which means White Bowl in indigenous language. Later we go to Sakhyurta Village on the shore of the Olkhon Strait. Accommodation in a guest house. Dinner at the local café.
Day 4In the heart of Tajeran steppe we climb its highest point (990 m), the Tan Khan Mount, admire breathtaking view of Baikal Lake and the Olkhon Island. At the foot of Tan Khan lies the sensational Valley of Stone Spirits where as legend says the battle between Good and Evil, the lord of darkness Tan Khan and the light shaman warrior Orgoite, took place. Then we explore the underworld of the Dream Cave located in about 4 km from the Stone Spirits Valley. The Dream is famous for its ice stalactites and stalagmites. In some parts of the cave ice persists all year round. After a picnic we take a vehicle ride to cover more sights in the Anga River Valley. Vsit the Yehe-Erdoj sacred mount, a manmade dome-shape mound of 42-m height. Here, the Festival of the Indigenous Peoples of Lake Baikal (the Yerdyn Games) takes place every four years. Relax at the sandy beach of the Aya Bay. In extra time Aya Cave visit is also possible. Dinner at the hotel or a local café (not included). Russian bath house (local spa) to unwind.
Day 5Cross the strait of Olkhon Gates by boat. We start our Olkhon island expedition with trekking to the Sins Mount. People believe that if you take a stone that symbolizes your sins and lift it to the top of this mountain, you will be forgiven! Also we visit the Mount of Love (2200 m). Swim in Lazurnaya (Azure) Bay. Sunbathing, admire pristine nature, breath the rich air. Explore the mysterious Kurykan walls, an archaeological site left over from the vanished Kurykan people. Lunch in a traditional local café in Khuzhir village. Discover the Shamanka Rock on Cape Burhan where the multicolour ribbons on the trees flutter in the wind. Stroll by sandy beach of Saraysky Bay. Dinner at the hotel in Sakhyurta.
Day 6We head to the opposite edge of the Baikal Lake to Listvianka Village. Explore a string of warm salt lakes stretched for 40 km across the Tajeran steppe lands. Among them Dabakhtay-Nur Lake is the most famous for its healing sulfide mud. Near Elantsy Village we climb the Sahyurte Mount to find petroglyphs and admire the panoramic view. Lunch in Elantsy. Visit the Taltsy open-air museum: the architectural and ethnographic complex where you will find a genuine Russian village with peasant log cabins as well as farmsteads of Cossack, Evenk camp and yurts in Buryat ulus (settlement). Learn about the lifestyle, customs and traditions of the locals in the 19th-20th centuries. Accommodation in hotel in Listvianka. Free time. Visit the Shaman Stone either you can trek to the top of Cherskiy Rock (700 m) or get there by a cable car to enjoy the sunset. Go to local market of handicrafts and famous regional fish. Dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 7Today we discover the ‘Golden Buckle on the steel belt of Russia’ — the Circum-Baikal Railway. The road built in the Tsar times is justly regarded as the most beautiful and most expensive railway in Russia. When trekking along this unique railroad framed with the ‘postcard views’ of the Baikal, you will also learn about its construction at the very beginning of the 20th century. You will marvel at fascinating and never dull panoramas of where the lake and land meet. The eye-catching view of bright blue space never fails to amaze the travellers! On the way back you cross Angara River by boat once again and return to Listvianka. Visit the Baikal Ecological Museum which James Cameron, Jacques Yves Cousteau, Helmut Kohl and many other famous people used to visit. In free time you can relax at one of the lovely beaches near the village, go fishing, ride a bike or go to the Russian steam bath.
Photographer: Mikhail Tilpunov
Day 8Today your way goes along the Great Baikal Trail which is a variety of well-maintained trekking paths along the stunningly scenic shore of the lake. In the afternoon we reach the village of Bol’shiye (Big) Koty. Discover the lifestyle of a typical Russian backcountry and its ordinary people. Our local lifestyle offers a range of enjoyable pastime: you can swim and fish, make barbeque and go for mushrooms and berries, glide in a boat over the gentle waves... Overnight in a wooden cottage (guest house).
Photographer: Svetlana Tselovalnikova
Day 9We continue trekking along the steep slopes of the Baikal shore. We visit the Baikal National Park full of natural diversity. In a short while we reach the cliff called Skriper raising at 200 m height over the lake level. A serpentine path goes up the top. Skriper is considered to be one of the best viewpoints of the Baikal. Another pretty steep place is the Gull Cliff which tourists call the Devil's Bridge. In the afternoon we get to the Bol’shoy Kadilnyi Cape. Tonight enjoy a hunter style dinner and a tea party with fragrant local fireweed (Ivan-Chai) herb tea. You can rent a boat and go fishing to catch famous local species: umber, white-fish and legendary omul, and then eat what you caught. Overnight in log cabin at the remote cordon of the Bol’shoy Kadilniy Cape.
Day 10Exciting trekking in the Baikal National Park and admiring stunning landscapes. First we explore the Chasovnia (Chapel) Cave some 1.5 km from the shore. In the Iron Age it used to be inhabited. We trek along panoramic path with cliff passages and woodland, admire breathtaking environment and feel a thousand butterflies fluttering inside you! Later we get to the Goloustnoye village founded in the 17th century on the trade route between Russia and China. Here you stay at a local Buryat family lodging to get a first-hand glimpse at the natives’ daily life. In free time one can see St. Nicholas Church in the village.
Day 11This is an immersive experience to get more insight of the Buryat lifestyle as well as to explore the surrounding woodland. You may help your hosts to cut firewood, feed cute and clever dogs and funny goats, make jam from wild berries, cook incredibly delicious buuz (a kind like local ravioli), watch a skillful Buryat craftsman making local souvenirs and try to create one on yourself. While that you can learn some Russian or Buryat words. Visit the sacred Maylgar Mount which is the great sanctuary of Buryat people where you can make a wish. One can also climb the Sagan Shulun Mount. Another local attraction is the Hunters Cave, 77 m deep. It is a cool underground world featuring huge cavities up to the height of a 7-storey building, halls up to 75 m high, and shafts more than 40 m deep. As for its beauty and size the Hunters Cave has no rivals in the Baikal region. Overnight in the Goloustnoye village.
Day 12Today we head to the Peschanaya (Sandy) Bay, an absolutely fabulous place, one of hallmarks of the Baikal shore. It is also called Siberian Riviera due to its special mild climate, emerald-azure water and dazzling white sandy beaches of the bay framed by pine forests. The only way to get there is by boat for an enjoyable cruise. After check-in at the hotel we go out for a walk to the Cormorant Rock. After, we trek to the capes called Small and Big Bell Towers. Relax at the beach. Peschanaya Bay is an amazingly romantic place, a genuine worry-free retreat in nature's lap.
Photographer: Denis Ulyankin
Day 13From the Peschanaya (Sandy) Bay we go trekking to the neighboring Babushka (Granny), Vnuchka (Grand-daughter) and Sennaya Guba (Hay) Bays. This low (easy) level trail ranks among the most beautiful in this part of the Baikal, offering a truly jaw-dropping views and a uniquely relaxing experience. Then we continue the way to the Sennaya Guba (Hay) Bay, one more natural pearl. Siberians believe, and for good reason, that Lake Baikal's water has curative properties. We feel our blood pumping and new wonderful powers fill our bodies. Late in the afternoon we return to the hotel in the Peschanaya (Sandy) Bay full of exiting emotions and awe-inspiring experiences.
Day 14Travel from Peschanaya (Sandy) Bay to Listvianka by a tourist boat (6-hour cruise). From the deck of the boat you marvel at the unique phenomena of Baikal water, distinguished by its extraordinary clarity and colour. Lunch in Listvianka. Drive from Listvianka village to Irkutsk by comfortable bus along the road called a bit ironically “Eisenhower’s Highway’. Why? Oh, it a special story our guide will tell you. In the evening we arrive to Irkutsk and accommodate in the hotel. Dinner in a national restaurant.
Day 15Transfer from the hotel in Irkutsk to the airport. Departure to Moscow. Definitely this sensational tour opens minds and hearts to the treasures of the planet. It’s a great experience you will cherish in your lifetime! And right is the proverb: "The one who returns from a trip is not the same one who left".
Included / Not included
invitation for a tourist visa
meals according to the program
trekking poles, thermoses – 11 days
tickets to museums according to the program
tourist visa to Russia
flights to/from Irkutsk
The route distance and trekking time are evaluated approximately based on a group in good physical condition and in good camping outfit, with minimum weight backpacks. In other cases, the time on the route may differ.