Winter adventures at Baikal

Winter adventures at Baikal lake


Program:  Irkutsk - Listvianka - Siberian Taiga - Sagan-Zaba - Aya Bay - Olkhon Island - Chivirkuy Bay - Ust-Barguzin
- Ulan-Ude - Tankhoi - Seredina (Middle) Station - Circum Baikal Railay - Irkutsk
Visit the most exiting places of ICY Baikal lake by different activities
within 10 days 9 nights

Day Day's programme Overnight Meals included
1 Day

Arrival in Irkutsk
Meet our guide
Lunch break after landing and arrival into the city
Departure to the lake Baikal, Listvianka settlement (67 km, 1 hour drive)
Visit the museum of Wooden Architecture en route
Arrival to Listvyanka
Touring Listvyanka: visit the Baikal museum with the aquarium with Baikal fish and freshwater seals – Nerpas and St. Nicholas church, Shaman Rock and a Fish Market
At sun set take the ski-lift to the Cherskiy hill for a view on the Circum-Baikal Railroad and the Angara river outlet
Dinner in the local restaurant
And overnight in the hotel

Hotel in Listvianka LD
2 Day

Breakfast in the hotel
Listvianka - Siberian Taiga by snowmobile - Dog sledding by ice
Ride a snowmobile (2 pax per snowmobile) through Taiga forest to the Chernaya creek across Cherny mountain pass. Here you will experience the magic of Russian winter. Make stopes for hot tea. Enjoy hot lunch en-route in the local village.

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Chernaya creek valley is an isolated place that combines both the mighty beauty of Lake Baikal and mysteries of Siberian nature.

Dogsledding to Listvyanka village by ice along the western shore back to Listvyanka. You will have an unforgettable experience in which you are driving your own dogsled powered by a team of friendly, beautiful Siberian Huskies. When taking a dog sled ride, you will share a lap among tourists.

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Dinner is by own in Listvianka. Overnight in the hotel.

Hotel in Listvianka BL
3 Day

Breakfast in the hotel
Listvianka - Sagan-Zaba - Aya Bay - Olkhon Island
at 8:00 AM board our private hovercraft and start your ice adventure to the Olkhon Island with several stops en-route with lunch. You will visit Sagan-Zaba petroglyphs cliff, Aya Bay, Olkhon Gates Strait and Small Sea. During the day you will see the amazing ice and rocky shores of Lake Baikal. 

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The petroglyphs of the Aya Bay (Sagan Zaba cliff) were made over 2500 years ago. These pictures mainly feature ancient shamans, birds and animals done by rubbing, cutting –out, plain scratching. Here appear two men of "skeleton" type - Shamans as some stags are shown in this manner similar to animal style. The marble cliff attached to the mountain since ancient times served as an altar for the shamanists’ offerings. Aya means “nice” and “beautiful” from the Evenk language.

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Olkhon Island, in the middle of Lake Baikal, is long and narrow like the lake. The steep hills along its east coast plunge into the deepest part of the deepest lake in the world.  The island has been a sacred place for millennia, the place where the indigenous Buryats believed that the gods of Baikal lived. Shaman Cape – just off the sandy west coast near the island’s largest   town, Khuzhir – has traditionally been used for many years by shamans, and later Buddhists,   for ceremonies.

The island is in a peculiar rain shadow, and has more sunny days than the Black Sea coast. The northern half is covered in pine, fir and larch, and the southern half is hilly steppe and sand dunes.  The transparent Baikal waves breaking on the sandy shores of Olkhon’s western side   and the rocky crags in the east combine to make it a national treasure. The island, its flora and fauna have been protected as a part of Pribaikalsky National Park since 1986.

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Accommodation in guest house in Khuzhir settlement and Dinner.

Hotel in Khuzhir BLD
4 Day

Breakfast in the hotel
Olkhon Island - Burkhan Cape with Shaman Rock

Orientation tour around the village: visiting local lore museum and the sacred Shaman cape - Burkhan Cape (Shaman Rock). Near the village of Khuzhir is Burkhan Cape, a horseshoe-shaped cove with the sacred rock at its tip. The gods of Baikal are said to have lived here, and both Buddhists and shamanists have acknowledged its power.

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Optional: there will be ice skates for you to enjoy ice skating or you can rent a bike to ride on the transparent ice.

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The rest of the day is free. 

Accommodation in guest house in Khuzhir settlement and Dinner.

Hotel in Khuzhir BLD
5 Day

Breakfast in the hotel
Olkhon Island - Ust Barguzin by 4WD on ice

This morning begin full day touring to Ust-Barguzin on 4WD with several stops on the way. You will drive through Small Sea to Khoboi Cape. Ice drive of the frozen lake to see the caves, transparent ice and ice formations. 

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Khoboi cape is the northernmost cape on Olkhon, a sharp and narrow outcropping that gave it the name, meaning tusk or fang. If the weather is clear, you can see all the way north to the Ushkaniye Islands and the Holy Nose peninsula. On the left is Maloye More, the Lesser Sea and on the right Bolshoye More, the Greater Sea, which is the deepest part of Baikal.

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Lunch en route stop picnic style.


Cross Baikal lake to the Eastern Shore - to Ust Barguzin 

Dinner, Banya and overnight at the hotel of homestay in Ust Barguzin.

Family run Hotel (Homestay) BLD
6 Day

Breakfast in the hotel
Ust Barguzin - Barguzin Valley

Depart for a full day tour of Barguzin Valley. After breakfast, you get on a car and start driving towards the valley. The road passes by the picturesque coniferous forest and the shore of the Barguzin River – one of the biggest Baikal tributaries. The valley is located at the scenic place - between Ikatski and Barguzinski mountain ranges. Barguzin valley is famous for its natural and historical monuments. The ranges frame the valley from the both sides forming the natural hollow with the specific climate. 

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Picnic lunch at the valley during the tour.

In the evening explore Snake bay (Zmeinaya in Russian) natural hot springs.

Zmeinaya bay is one of the many beautiful coves of Chivyrkuisky bay. Its’ hot springs are situated a few meters away from the shoreline. This provides a wonderful opportunity both to relax in hot water and to enjoy magnificent view on the lake. It is famous for its hot springs. Water temperature ranges from +32 to +45 °С.

The composition of water is bicarbonate-sulphate-sodium, with the smell and taste of hydrogen sulfide, with a fluorine content of 10 to 23 mg / l. Water is good for the treatment of radiculitis and diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

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Dinner, Banya and overnight at the hotel of homestay in Ust Barguzin.

Family run Hotel (Homestay) BLD
7 Day

Breakfast in the hotel
Ust Barguzin - Baturino - Ulan-Ude

This morning, transfer from Ust-Barguzin to Ulan-Ude.

Stop to visit nunnery in Baturino village. Black soil lands of Baturino village attracted a great number of people. Such stately churches were the proof of well-being and prosperity of locals. During the Soviet period the church in Baturino village became the club-house. After the village was declared an unprofitable one, the church was half-ruined and desolated. Only in the 90s the church was given back to the believers and became a nunnery. 

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Stop for lunch at a traditional Buryat ger restaurant.

Upon arrival in Ulan-Ude depart on a city tour.

Formerly called Verhneudinsk, Ulan-Ude was founded in 1666 by Cossacks as a winter encampment on the Selenga and Ude Rivers.  The city later prospered as a major trading post along the tea route between China and Irkutsk.  The indigenous people of the region, the Buryats, resisted frequent attempts to infiltrate their culture and traditions.  Today, the unique cultural identity, language and spiritual beliefs of the Buryat people make a visit to Ulan-Ude a fascinating experience. Visit Buddhist temple.

For dinner this evening, drive outside of Ulan-Ude to pay a visit to an Old Believer village. Rebelling against Patriarch Nikon’s 1652 reforms of the Orthodox liturgy and ritual, the Old Believers fled or were exiled to Eastern Europe and then to Siberia. In their isolated Siberian villages, these groups were able to preserve their 16th and 17th century traditions, clothing, architecture, language and style of singing. In 2001, UNESCO listed the culture and unique choral music of the Trans-Baikal Semeiskie – as they are called in Siberia – as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.” 
Enjoy dinner in a traditional style home as you sample homemade delicacies and listen to the stirring songs of the Old Believer community.

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Check in the hotel and overnight.

Hotel in Ulan-Ude BLD
8 Day

Breakfast in the hotel
Ulan-Ude - Tankhoi - Seredina (Middle) Station - Circum Baikal Railroad - Irkutsk

Today you will depart by private vehicle for Tankhoi settlement (3.5 hours). Upon arrival in Tankhoy excursion in the Visit Center Baikal Zapovedny. It is a brand new exhibition center about Lake Baikal. Stop here for some hot tea. Tour of the Baikal ferry navigation museum and the ferry port with two railway wagons of the beginning of XXth century.

Board our private hovercraft and cross the Lake to the historical ice-station Seredina in the middle of Lake Baikal. Enjoy lunch on the ice in Siberian style: try the traditional Russian dishes and drink from glasses made of crystal Baikal ice. 

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Continue the journey to the Circum Baikal Railroad.
The Circum Baikal Railroad consists of 40 tunnels and 16 separate galleries, 470 viaducts, bridges and pipes. Apart from that there are about 280 separate complexes of supporting walls for different purposes. No doubt, the tunnels and the galleries are the most impressive and tremendous, amongst the engineering installations of the Old Railroad. It is impossible to find identical tunnels and galleries, because even standard design had to be changed after the beginning of construction in a specific locality. That is the root reason why the tunnels and other architectural structures are so different.

Make a several stops along the way to explore the tunnel and bridges of the most beautiful part of the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Hovercraft will take you to Listvyanka village; from here you will board a private vehicle and drive to Irkutsk. En-route stop for dinner at the local family with traditional dishes of Russian cuisine. 

The Shugantsev family lives 20 km from Irkutsk city center towards Listvyanka, in a nice forest area. The couple and their son run a beautiful wooden house and a big garden with goose farm and apiary. All buildings are constructed by themselves. Family visit includes greeting by the family, introduction and stories, visiting all corners of their property and traditional Russian tea ceremony with tea and home-made preserves.

Check in the hotel and overnight.

Hotel in Irkutsk BLD
9 Day

Breakfast in the hotel
Full day in Irkutsk

After breakfast set out on a city tour, including the Gagarin Embankment and several Orthodox churches.

Irkutsk was founded in 1661 as a Cossack garrison and fortress, and developed into an important way station for expeditions and trade caravans.  Czarist and Bolshevik exiles from the 18th through the 20th centuries brought culture and education to Irkutsk.  After a devastating fire in 1879, the city was rebuilt in the neoclassical style.

Enjoy lunch at the local restaurant.

Pay a visit to the Decembrist Museum. The Decembrists were a group of young officers who had served abroad during the War of 1812 and become advocates of democratic reform. In December 1825, they tried to force the Senate to sign a manifesto abolishing serfdom and instituting reforms.  Their rebellion was quickly put down, and five of the leaders hanged.  The rest were sentenced to forced labor in Siberia.  Many of them, with their wives, settled in Irkutsk after their terms were over, and brought with them education and culture. The House Museum of the Decembrists is in the former home of Sergei Volkonsky and his wife, Maria.

Climb to the bell tower of the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and enjoy a concert of chimes by a master bell ringer.  The master personally collected all the bells and reconstructed the tower.  During Communist times, worship was discouraged and bells were collected, many of them being melted down for their metal.

Take a pleasant stroll through the neighborhood of restored and reconstructed Siberian wooden houses and shops called Irkutsk Sloboda.  The lacy fretwork on the old houses has been refreshed and repainted, and new cafés and shops have opened their doors in the handsome buildings.

Farewell dinner this evening is served at the hotel.

Hotel in Irkutsk BLD
10 Day

Breakfast in the hotel
Transfer to airport or railway station for departure