Baikal Winter adventure
The magnificent lake Baikal, one of the oldest nature phenomena in the world, is one of the marvels never to be forgotten. Become one of the rarer winter visitors to experience the true Siberian winter which turns the lake into a mesmerizing tale of beauty. During this tour includes you will explore the most exciting places of western and southern Lake Baikal. An ice-cold trip that will make your heart warmer than it has ever been and help you learn about the region while plunging into its history and culture. The reassuring quiet of the lake when frozen solid will be combined with the real adventure - snowmobiling, dog sledding, trekking and cycling on ice and in the wild Siberian forest. Breathtaking scenery: blindingly bright ice, endless vastness of the sleeping lake with its grottoes and rocks, capes and woods, views of the legendary Trans-Siberian and the charming local villages. This tour is a wonderful chance to enjoy incomparable nature, emerge into the real life of the local people and try Siberian specialties.
Learn about the local species and get the first taste of what Baikal is like in Listvyanka
- Hit the Former Baikal Railroad and get fascinated with the history of the place
- Trek on ice along the shore staying in several villages (Bolshie Koty, Bolshoe Goloustnoe) to have the Russian banya after a long satisfying day of walking and meet the locals
- Go on a fantastic dog sleigh ride in Maloe Goloustnoe
- Explore Olkhon – the pearl of the lake and the keeper of its true spirit
- Hike to see the unusual rock formations in Olkhinskoe Plateau
- Ride the Trans-Siberian
- Relax in the hot mineral springs in Zhemchug and see the beautiful Sayan mountains in Tunka valley
- Go downhill skiing in Baikalsk
- Visit the protected area of Baikalsky Reserve to enjoy the charm of the winter forest
- Take a closer look at Irkutsk – the city of old churches, merchants’ glory and lovely old wooden houses
Day 1. Arrival (free day and excursion in Irkutsk)
Depending on the flight, I will meet you at the airport and accompany you to the hotel. The hotel will be located in a quiet area outside Irkutsk, where you will be able to relax.
Day 2. Listvyanka
Before lunch, we will visit the Open-Air Museum of Taltsy. This is a complex where Siberian architectural monuments were collected from all over the region. Here you will be able get the first real impressions of Siberia and learn how people have lived in such tough conditions. The second part of the day will be free.
Overnight in Listvyanka (private guest house or hotel).
Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Day 3. Snowmobile tour to the former Baikal railroad
The old Baikal railroad was built at the beginning of the 20th century as part of the Transsiberian railway. After flooding of part of the railway, this line was terminated and it now represents an architectural monument with 39 tunnels, 200 bridges and viaducts, a protective wall and alike.
We drive snowmobiles on the ice (2 people travelling in one vehicle) along the old Baikal railroad and see some constructions, the most beautiful being the so-called Italian protective wall, which was in fact built by Italians.
Snowmobiling is easy and does not require a driving license or any special experience. It is a secure way of getting around on the ice. Our experienced companions will help us to feel safe in a vehicle like this.
Overnight in Listvyanka (private guest house or hotel)
Breakfast / Lunch /Dinner
Day 4. A hydrofoil trip to the Olkhon Island
Today you’ll have a ride about 360 km by hovercraft from Listvyanka to Olkhon. We'll have a stop on the way near the sights such as Screeper rock, Pestchanaya, Baklaniy Rock, Sagan Saba Cliffs and other interesting places. Riding over flat ice is quite fast, but at some places we may meet the fields of broken ice, depending on the ice regime which differs every year
Accommodation at hotel/guest house.
Day 5. UAZ vehicle tour to cape Khoboi
Today we go to the excursion to the north of the island in the Russian car UAZ (an iconic vehicle produced at the Ulyanovsky Car Factory). Our path lies on the ice of Lake Baikal. It is enough for the ice to be 35 centimeters thick to drive on it safely, yet in March the ice is twice as thick.
During the trip we will also visit the village of Kharantsy, the picturesque cape called the Three Brothers, cape Khoboi and Usury weather station. We will see ice grottoes, rocks covered with icicles, and a small island resting in the ice.
This ride is not to be forgotten!
Overnight in Khuzhir (private guesthouse).
Breakfast / Lunch /Dinner
Day 6. Excursion to the south of the island. Drive to Irkutsk.
Today we will be back on ice, to get to the Ogoy Island, where the Buddhist Eruption Chapel was built. From the island you will be able to see the coast of the Olkhon island and the frozen Small sea.
Then we make our way to Irkutsk. We take a break for dinner at a Buryat restaurant.
Overnight stay in Irkutsk (hotel).
Breakfast / Lunch /Dinner
Day 7. Departure
Option one: take a plane from Irkutsk via Moscow and you are there on the same day.
Breakfast / - / -