Irkutsk is a city on the Angara River in eastern Siberia, Russia. The river embankment is lined with hurches, including the Epiphany Cathedral (Sobor Bogoyavleniya), with gilded onion domes, and the Spasskaya Church, with its soaring bell tower. The restored neoclassical Moskovskie Vorota arch is also by the water. Near Kirov Square, the Irkutsk Regional Art Museum has ancient icons and more recent Russian artworks.
The de facto capital of Eastern Siberia, pleasantly historic Irkutsk is by far the most popular stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway between Moscow and all points east. With Lake Baikal a mere 70km away, the city is the best base from which to strike out for the western shoreline. Amid the 19th-century architecture, revived churches, classy eateries and numerous hostels, plentiful English-speaking agencies can help you plan anything from a winter trek across the lake’s ice to a short walking tour through the city.
In recent years Irkutsk has seen something of a tourist boom, spawning a municipally funded information centre, detailed city maps planted at strategic points and a handful of freshly conceived museums, as well as the blockbuster 130 Kvartal project, an entire neighbourhood given over to typical Siberian timber buildings housing new restaurants, bars, cafes and the odd museum.
Lake Baikal is the main sight of Irkutsk region. Lake Baikal is the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake. Lake Baikal an important evolutionary and geological site as its age and isolation has produced one of the world’s richest and most unusual freshwater faunas teeming with bizarre life forms. The lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains that offer vistas of breath-taking beauty and are a haven for wild animals. There are many small, self-reliant villages of wood cabins surrounding the lake. One of the larger villages is Listvyanka on the western shoreline, which is a popular starting point for wildlife spotting tours in the summer and ice skating and dogsledding in the winter. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the great Baikal trail, a network of hiking paths that circle the lake.
FACTS ABOUT LAKE BAIKAL:
- Baikal is UNESCO world heritage site.
- Baikal is one of the world’s clearest water lakes.
- Baikal is the world’s largest freshwater lake in the world. Length 636 km, width 79.5 km. Height above sea level 457 m
- Baikal is the world’s second largest lake in terms of water volume, fresh water reserves 23,615 km³ (19% of all world reserves)
- Baikal is the world’s deepest lake on earth (max depth 1642 meter). Lake Baikal is so deep because it is located in an active continental rift zone. The rift zone is widening at a rate of about 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) per year. As the rift grows wider, it also grows deeper through subsidence. Therefore, Lake Baikal could grow wider and deeper in the future.
- Lake Baikal is world’s oldest lake – at 25–30 million years
- Lake Baikal in world’s only lake with the Ringed seal (Type of Seal), the world’s only exclusively freshwater seal.
- Baikal “Shark”: Amazing Facts about Baikal Oil fish (Golomyanka) one of the most numerous fish species of Lake Baikal is the unique Baikal Oil fish.
- Lake Baikal remains frozen up to 5 month a years (from January–May), as the temperature plummets below zero, the surface of the world’s largest freshwater lake freezes. But ice doesn’t begin to form until the middle of winter, long after the beginning of severe Siberian frosts. When other rivers and lakes froze long before in the year, Baikal still resists ice formation. Its cold waves break against the shore and decorate the seaboard rocks with icy patterns. But when it starts freezing, typically in the beginning of January, it stays frozen for the next five months. The ice on average is about a meter thick allowing cars and trucks to be easily driven over. The thickest sections can be up to two meters thick. As such during winters, you can ride vehicle on frozen lake; walk/dance on its surface; enjoy Husky ride/dog slagging and Skiing.
Icebreaker Angara Museum
The Angara Icebreaker was the second icebreaker to transport goods and passengers on Lake Baikal.
There are two more reason to notice Icebreaker Angara: One, it is one of the oldest icebreakers in the world and two, it has been sunk more than any other ship in the world.
The first time the Angara sunk was in the 1920s, when it ran across rocks near the Ushkany islands The second and third time (in the 1970s and 1980s) it sunk in Irkutsk’s reservoir, where it lay abandoned for a long time.
The Icebreaker Angara Museum is one of Irkutsk’s most unusual museums. It is one of the oldest icebreakers in the world and the only surviving icebreaker in Russia. The Angara traveled between Port Baikal and Mysovaya twice a day until 1905.
In 1918 it was refitted to transport passengers. After extensive restoration, the History of Navigation on Lake Baikal Museum opened in 1991 in the Angara Icebreaker. The exhibit shows models of the Baikal ships, historical photographs and documents relating to the Angara and navigation in the region.
Kirov Square is the main square of the city. It is located on the Right Bank district in Irkutsk, in the historic center between Lenin and Sukhe-Bator streets.
The Square is known for its long history. This beautiful walking area has been around for over 300 years and has been called by twelve different names, changing to reflect the changing city and the changing heroes of Tsarist, Soviet, and modern Russia
Kirov Square is a popular place to hang out and picnic, especially for students from the local Irkutsk State Linguistic University. The fountain with its colourful flowerbeds is an especially popular place to stop, relax, and have a bite to eat.
The square is also a popular venue for yearly events, holidays and parades. The square holds numerous activities and festivities for, for example, Christmas Day, Victory Day, and small parades from local communities. Kirov Square is also a place students can go to enjoy themselves along with their friends any day, anytime.
Kirov Square has a lot to offer both residents of Irkutsk and visitors to Irkutsk. Especially in warm weather, you can be assured that you will encounter many festivities and people at the square. Now it is your turn to experience Kirov Square because it is the place to be.
Church of Our Lady of Kazan
It is the Orthodox Church in Irkutsk and performs the functions of the cathedral of Irkutsk and Angarsk archdiocese. The Our Lady of Kazan Church was built in Irkutsk’s Rabochee (Worker’s) District between 1885 and 1892. It was dedicated to the Our Lady of Kazan Icon which was the same dedication as Irkutsk’s main cathedral – the Our Lady of Kazan Cathedral which stood in the historical centre (once the kremlin) until it was demolished by the Bolsheviks in 1932. The current church was spared the fate of the similar same-named cathedral and recently underwent major restoration work to return it to its former glory in the Byzantine revival style.
The multi-tiered Siberian Baroque style church stands out with its brilliant red exterior capped with a large, blue central dome surrounded by smaller blue domes.
Almost all the interior walls are decorated with brilliant fresco paintings of religious figures. The church houses Irkutsk’s largest church bell and is considered one of the most beautiful churches in Irkutsk.
The duck-egg blue and white two-story wooden home of Decembrist Count Sergei Volkonsky was a center of social life in 1840s Irkutsk.
Renovated in the late 1980s. The house is now a museum telling the story of the family’s exile in Irkutsk.
Volkonsky was a member of the Decembrists, political exiles and prisoners, advocates of political reform, who had served their time at labor camps but were denied permission to return to their homes in Western Russia.
Many ended up settling in Irkutsk, including Volkonsky and his wife. Visitors can now tour the home to see the family dining room, original staircases, drawing room, and upstairs exhibition room with portraits of Volkonsky’s wife Maria and other Decembrist wives.
Visitors can also attend musical performances by local singers and musicians who perform in the drawing room to get a feel for what social life was like for the exiled Dcembrists and their wives
Bogoyavlensky (Epiphany) Cathedral
The original Epiphany Cathedral was built in 1693 in the historical center on the Lower Quay of the Angara River, but burned down during the fire of 1716. Two years later, construction of a stone cathedral began and was completed in 1729. Today, Epiphany Cathedral is the main cathedral of the Irkutsk Diocese. The multi-tiered exterior church was built in the style that has come to be known as “Siberian Baoque”.
The stone façade is decorated with full length pictures of the saints and red ornamental tiles. The church and steeple are a traditional Russian Siberian architectural style while the adjacent bell tower is Neoclassical. The interior’s walls and barrel vaulted ceiling are decorated with more than 300 glittering mosaic tiles depicting religious figures. Because of its unusual combination of architectural styles and its spectacular interior, Epiphany Cathedral stands out among other traditional Russian Siberian churches and is not to be missed.
Pribaikalskiy National Park
A must for nature lovers, Pribaikalskiy National Park is home to around 220 species of animal and birds. The park is one of the components of UNESCO World Heritage Site Lake Baikal. Established in 1936, the park is open year-round.
The Great Baikal Trail runs along the west coast of the lake through the park. During the winter, the trail loop is open for skaters, skiers, and snowmobiles for tourists to travel to view the ice formations.
There are buses and ferries available into the park at Listvyanka. Four settlements in the park have hotels and facilities, as does Listvyanka.
It is the largest from the islands of Baikal. Olkhon surprisingly combines the most beautiful Baikal landscapes: steppe expanses, light pine forests with relict pines, sandy beaches, mountain peaks (CAPE KHOBOY, WHITE MARBLE ROCKS, MOUNT JIMA WITH RELICT FIR)
Olkhon is the fourth-largest lake-bound island in the world. It is by far the largest island in Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia, with an area of 730 km² (280 sq. miles). Olkhon has a dramatic combination of terrain and is rich in archeological landmarks.
Steep mountains line its eastern shore, and at 1,276 m above sea level, Mount Zhima is the tallest point on the island, peaking at 818 m above the water level of Lake Baikal. The island is large enough to have its own lakes, and features a combination of taiga, steppe and even a small desert. A deep strait separates the island from the land
LISTVYANKA is an urban-type settlement in Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, situated seventy kilometres from Irkutsk, near the point where the Angara River leaves Lake Baikal. Listvyanka is accessible by bus or ferry from Irkutsk. Its population is 1,882 (2010 Census).
Despite its modest size Listvyanka is one of the busiest tourist spots in the whole of Siberia. Due to its proximity to Irkutsk, it sees probably more visitors than all other towns and villages on Lake Baikal combined – particularly weekending Irkutians and foreign tourists (Russian travellers prefer wilder spots) and is relatively overdeveloped, with a tourist-oriented market, picnic areas and a plethora of hotels and cafes.
Arshan is a village about 3 hours by bus (or 2 hours by car) from Baikal lake, and it is a start of Sayan mountains. In fact, it is a famous (among Russians) thermal waters resort, so it is quite touristique and there are a lot of souvenir shops, organized hot springs, and buses daily to Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude. Arshan in located in Buryatia and most of the people who live there are Buryatians.
You can start exploring Sayan mountain range from Arshan, and get as far as Mongolia (which is quite near, in fact). Also, you can do a few short day trekking walks there or swim in the mountain river. There is also a meditation and yoga camp, they can rent you a tent, so you will be able to enjoy the nature (without necessarily involving in the activities they do in the camp).
Peschanaya Bay – is a natural monument situated 80 km from Listvyanka village. It is notable by its stilt root trees, the amount of sunny days and the beauty of landscapes. The water washes away and the wind blows away the sand from under the trees, so their roots are situated on the surface, not in the ground.
The bay is surrounded by pyramid-like rocks: Smaller Chapel 60 m. high, and Bigger Chapel 80 m. high. The clean sandy beach of the bay has semi-oval shape; it is 750 meters long and 15-20 meters wide.
Peschanaya Bay is called “Siberian Riviera”. The average annual temperature is + 0.4 °C. This is the only place in East Siberia where the average annual temperature is above zero.
Military Activity Tour
Tourist can take Military Activity Tour, addition to any of other basic tour. We promise it will be unforgeable and lifetime experience for you.
On the Military training ground tourist can take a ride in a real BMP / Tank – infantry armored vehicle, Click photos with different tanks, German trophy motorcycles, cars.
You can also shoot an AK-47 (the famous Kalashnikov). You will get a chance to take photos with Soviet and Russian ammunition like : Guns, machine guns and a grenade launcher. You can also try out the uniform of Soviet soldiers.
Visit The Museum of Glory Soldiers and a Museum of antiques from the Soviet past. Also you will see an army of medieval knights, Orks, scenes of battles between the Aliens and Predators (from the movies). There is also a large ice slide – it is an Old Russian means of entertainment and you can take a ride. The most important part is that anyone can climb and touch ANYTHING. You will never forget this place!
There is nothing more surprising than a bird’s-eye view of Lake Baikal! Our company will gladly provide you with this unique opportunity. Vivid impressions, amazing photos and a lot of emotions!
Recommended for small group of 3-6 people. For VIP tourists we offer VIP accommodation – the best hotel in the city of Irkutsk. This is a private cottage of the famous Irkutsk businessperson.
Helicopter sightseeing tours are a memorable trip of a lifetime experience to see the sights of Siberia from only 300 metres above the Lake Baikal! Helicopters are the ultimate way to travel and it will be pleasure of the experienced staff in providing you with memorable helicopter experiences.
Minimum rental of a helicopter 1 hour (excursions for 1h: fly around Irkutsk, or Olkha River, or Angara River). Fly to Olkhon Island 5 hours (2h fly to Island + 1h excursion + 2h fly back.
One of most experiencing Rafting route :
The travellers are transferred from Irkutsk to Kultuk. On the way, they can observe some of the southern Lake Baikal area. They put in for the rafting tour at the Anchuk Resort before the Zyrkuzunskaya Bend where the Irkut River squeezes through a tight gorge. The banks are steep and forested. The river is 50 to 100 meters wide. About 5 km before it turns to the west, there are three shoals. After the shoals and a 12- km straight section, the Zubkogan Rapids come (Grade 2). Further, a long straight section begins.
The most difficult rapid of the tour, the Bolshoye (Big) Rapid is 5 kms downstream from the junction of the Irkut and Shiroky Rivers. It takes 300 meters of waves and huge boulders scattered throughout the riverbed. After the rapids, the valley turns to the east, and large rocks appear on both sides. However, more rapids are coming. The long and tricky Kosaya (Oblique) Rapid is 7 km past the Bolshoye Rapids. Next is the Byk (Bull) Rapid which is under a high wall of reddish rock 10 km past the Bolshoye.
Finally, the Glubokaya (Deep) River meets the Irkut and the river valley grows wider. Traces of timber-cutting can be seen on the banks, and it is easy to spot the places where logs were dropped into the water for their journey down to Irkutsk. There are a few forested islands on the way to the deserted settlement Vyguzovo on the river’s left bank.
The trip ends with the 0.5-km wall of the famous Shamansky Cliff. Shamanka, the first large settlement on the left bank, is located under this cliff. Although there are loose rocks on the face, rock climbers use the cliff for practice. These unsteady rocks are hazardous and climbers should be cautious. At Shamanka, a ferry connects the settlement with the road on the right bank.
Everyone knows that the cleaner the water, the tastier the fish that lives in it. You will have a great opportunity to see for yourself!
Lake Baikal is a unique place that becomes the dream destination for thousands of people. However, it’s also known among fishermen all over the world. We suggest you the tour “Fishing on the lake Baikal” that is convenient for everybody: for the true fishermen and for the novices who have never tried the fishing tackle. You have possibility to hook grayling, pike and perch. Everybody will have a catch!
The fishing in the wilds is the best possibility to have a rest, to become revived or have a good time with your family and friends.
You will visit one of the most beautiful places on the lake Baikal – the Chivirkuysky and Barguzinsky bays, the Barguzin river. You will have a bank and boat fishing, have an overnight in the true camping and will taste the fish soup prepared on fire.
What can be better than the rest with fishing in one of the best places in the world!
MEET BEAUTIFUL SIBERIAN HUSKIES, GO DOG SLEDDING IN A SNOWY FOREST, AND ENJOY PANORMIC VIEW !!!
When taking a dog sled ride, there is a possibility to share a lap among tourists, e.g. the lap of 10 km can be started by one tourist and after 5 km ride a shift with another person may be done, so 2-3 tourists can try dog sledding one after another during 10 km ride. It is also possible to arrange a ride longer than 10 km.
Breathtaking excitement creeps you up when a team of Russian racing huskies, brought from Kamchatka peninsula, lead you along the forest trail. Controlling the wooden sledge at the sharp turns, enjoying the speed one has incomparable feeling of unity with nature.
Angarskaya Street no. 8, 664520 Nikola, Russia
Anastasia Hotel is located at the banks of Lake Baikal. Irkutsk International Airport is a 45-minute drive away The Baikal Museum is 1.5 km away and has an aquarium with Baikal seals. This is a pleasant hotel overlooking Lake Baikal. It’s overriding theme is nautical, which is fitting on the world’s largest freshwater lake. The hotel consists of more than one building
Anastasia Hotel rooms offers Italian oak furniture, cable TV, a private bathroom (Few rooms with a balcony), an outdoor pool, Free Wi-Fi, etc. The Anastasia also offers a billiard room, fishing & boat trips. Hotel serve continental breakfast, each morning. The restaurant having Lake Baikal view.
Baikal Seasons Hotel
61 km Baikalskogo trakta, 664056 Listvyanka, Russia
Baikal Seasons Hotel located in a picturesque place on the banks of the Angara River, 61 km of the Baikal tract – About 20 m from the Angara riverbank, 3.5 km from Bolshaya Rechka village. Listvyanka Bus Station is 4 km from Baikal Seasons Hotel, providing a link to Irkutsk city. Here you can enjoy the beauty of Baikal as well as River Angara at the same time. From here there is quick access to the tourist attractions of Listvyanka.
Inside the hotel territory there are 4 cozy and comfortable cottages, 2 main buildings ( with 14 rooms), 3 winter huts stylized as hunting lodges, a banquet hall, a Russian bathhouse, a children’s room, a restaurant and a summer tent near the Angara River with a view of Lake Baikal and the Sayan Mountain. The hotel territory has preserved nature in its original form.
Each individually decorated cottage or room at Baikal Seasons Hotel includes wooden furnishings and a flat-screen TV, Bathrooms with a shower, WIFI. Restaurant serves Russian cuisine.
63-km.Baikalsky Trakt, Poselok Nikola, Nagornaya Street 43 A, Listvyanka, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, 664520
The hotel “Nicola” is located in one of the most picturesque places on the banks of the Angara river, about 64 kilometers from Irkutsk. Hotel Nikola is located in Listvyanka. Nikola is about 400 m from the hotel and the nearest airport is about 59 km from Hotel (Irkutsk International Airport).
The hotel has 19 rooms of different categories with beautiful views of Lake Baikal. Light, bright, spacious rooms, designed in a fashionable modern style. Hotel offers facilities of 24-hour front desk, luggage storage space, free WiFi throughout the property, modern furniture of natural wood, necessary electronic equipment, TV with Internet access, telephone, mini-bar, The bathroom with modern fitment, toiletries products, towels, Bathrobe, etc. There is a restaurant serving Russian cuisine. Continental breakfast is available daily for guest.
Ulitsa Gor’kogo, 85а, Listvyanka, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, 664520
The hotel is located on the shore of Lake Baikal in the very center of Listvyanka. The Baikal Ecology Museum is 3 km away.
The hotel’s neat & cosy rooms are equipped with natural wood furniture and everything you need for your comfortable stay. The Hotel offers delicious & varied breakfast (buffet), free Wi-Fi throughout the complex, free parking, a steam bath and a sauna, a TV and a private bathroom, a Russian sauna, billiards. Also, the Mayak hotel in Listvyanka has a conference hall for 160 seats overlooking Lake Baikal.
Restaurant “Mayak” with European and Siberian cuisine. In summer, a panoramic grill bar on the 7th floor of the hotel is always open for you, where you can order a delicious cocktail and salad.
Legend of Baikal Hotel
Street Istok Angary, 11, Listvyanka, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia, 664520
The Legend of Baikal Hotel is located on the shore of Lake Baikal, so the view from the window will be remembered for a long time. Distance from Hotel to Irkutsk Airport (64 km) and Irkutsk Train Station (70 km).
Everything in the hotel rooms is provided for a comfortable stay. All the rooms of Hotel have unique décor with wooden panels and furnishings. Hotel offers free Wi-Fi, Air-conditioned rooms include a minibar, Bathrooms with bathrobes and a hairdryer, sauna, billiards, free car parking, etc. The famous Shaman Rock is also situated opposite hotel Legend of Baikal.
There is a restaurant on site where highly qualified chefs prepare the most delicious dishes. Breakfast is included, and lunch and dinner can also be ordered at an additional cost.
4 km of Road Severobaikalsk-Baikalskoe, 671700 Severobaykalsk, Russia
Hotel Baikalskaya Residence located along the shores of Lake Baikal. It is Famous for Family fun at the shore. It is about 10-minute drive to Severobaykalsk Train Station and Kultury Park.
Baikalskaya Residence features a 24-hour health club and spa services. All 19 rooms offer free WiFi, 24-hour room service, and flat-screen TVs with cable channels, minibars, free bottled water, safes, a private beach area, an indoor pool, and a spa and wellness centre. Free Wi-Fi access is available
Hotel Baikal Residence offers 19 air-conditioned accommodations with minibars and safes. Flat-screen televisions come with cable channels. The heated rooms all have a terrace overlooking the lake. Tourist can relax by the pool or in the spa and can enjoy sport activities like cycling, hiking, diving, canoeing, fishing. There is also a restaurant on site.