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Lake Baikal: Cruising the Blue Heart of Siberia

The world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake, Baikal is a destination packed with jaw-dropping scenery, ancient mysteries and natural wonders. Embark aboard the ship Imperia for an eight-day tour of Baikal’s treasures, in floating comfort and luxury. Explore the mainland bays and sacred islands on this memorable adventure. From the sand dunes and curved cliffs of Akademicheskaya Bay, the soaring peaks at Sosnovka and the view from Observation Rock to Russian baths and healing waters of the area’s natural hot springs, there’s recreation and relaxation for all. The same goes on board; boasting four-star facilities including swimming pool, sauna and on-deck entertainment, the Imperia is a floating hotel with all the amenities.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Explore the lake’s most sacred island of Olkhon and experience an ancient shamanic ceremony
  • Take the path from Avaya Bay to Frolikha Lake, and enjoy an exhilarating dip
  • Climb to the top of Observation Rock and gaze at the endless blue of Lake Baikal from above
  • Enjoy the comforts of a cruising hotel for eight nights of luxury
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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1
Kadilnaya Valley

Hop aboard the Imperia, your palatial floating home for eight days of exploring in Lake Baikal, the blue heart of Siberia. Set sail for the beautiful Kadilnaya Valley for a relaxing sauna and local cuisine. Visit the stunning caves and rock formations and take a picnic on the lake shore before sailing to Akademicheskaya Bay for its sand dunes and Russian baths. Enjoy dinner onboard the Imperia as you sail for Olkhon Island.

Day 2
Olkhon Island

After breakfast onboard, disembark at Olkhon Island, the largest in Lake Baikal and an important center of ancient traditions. Visit the sacred rock and witness a shaman ceremony before exploring the flora and fauna. After lunch on board, explore the island in a Russian UAZ jeep and relax with a picnic of traditional fish soup cooked on an open fire. Enjoy leisure time aboard the Imperia for the evening.

Day 3
Zmeinaya Bay

Early risers have the opportunity to visit a rookery of Baikal seals around the Small Ushkaniy Islands, a heavily protected nature reserve. During breakfast onboard, enjoy the scenery as you sail for Chiwirkuyskuy and Zmeinaya Bay, famous for its healing hot springs. Enjoy a swim or on-deck entertainment in the evening as you sail onwards.

Day 4
Sosnovka Bay

Enjoy breakfast onboard with the Barguzin Mountains overhead. Disembark at picturesque Sosnovka Bay, with a picnic lunch, ready for an excursion up the creek, between the peaks, glaciers and waterfalls. After an exhilarating day, enjoy dinner back on board and unwind in the ship sauna or your cozy cabin.

Day 5
Ayaya Bay

Have a leisurely breakfast as the Imperia docks at Avaya Bay and disembark ready for another day trip. Take the hike inland to the sparkling Frolikha Lake, enjoy a picnic lunch on the shore and perhaps a refreshing dip. Pass the evening with a little entertainment on board as you sail onwards.

Day 6
Davsha Settlement

Fuel up with a hearty breakfast. Disembark and enjoy a guided tour around the naturally beautiful Davsha settlement for the morning. Hop back onboard the Imperia for lunch and pass a relaxing afternoon to yourself enjoying the views and facilities as you sail back towards Akademicheskaya Bay.

Day 7
Akademicheskaya Bay

Known as the Siberian Riviera, the bay is one of the most scenic parts of Baikal, with its sculpted cliffs. Arriving after lunch, enjoy exploring this exquisite spot and take the hike from Peschanaya Bay to Observation Rock for a stunning panoramic view of the lake. Alternatively take the less strenuous Bell Tower walk for a view of Babushka Bay.

Day 8

Enjoy your final breakfast aboard the Imperia as you sail for the Listvyanka settlement at Irkutsk. Here you will say goodbye to beautiful Lake Baikal and depart for the airport or your next exciting destination.


Suggested Accommodations

Courtyard by Marriott

Courtyard by Marriott

Irkutsk is a city full of aging and rundown hotels, but thankfully the recent opening of Courtyard by Marriott addressed this problem, offering modern and comfortable rooms alongside a range of facilities and amenities. Heralded as the best hotel in the city, this three-star hotel has a globally-recognized name that all travelers can trust. Rooms number 208 (including eight suites) and come well-appointed with carpeted floors, large comfy beds, WiFi, satellite television, heating controls and stylish en-suite bathrooms. Courtyard by Marriott Irkutsk is also ideally placed in the city center, just a short walk from Kirov Place, the Angara River, a popular drama theater and the art museum. The UNESCO World Heritage Center of Baikal Lake is also around a one-hour drive from the hotel. In terms of on-site amenities, guests are spoilt for choice with a range of dining options including an all-day international restaurant, bar, meeting room and fitness room.

Baikal View Hotel

Baikal View Hotel

This delightful hotel situated on Olkhon Island does exactly what its name implies, offering superb views of the surrounding Baikal Lake – a UNESCO World Heritage Center. The hotel itself is modern, comprising 90 standard rooms and two suites, all of which face the picturesque lake and mountains countryside as a backdrop. Baikal View Hotel has also received awards and been recognized as one of the best in the area. In fitting with the beautiful natural scenery, rooms here come with plenty of wooden features, creating an almost log cabin feel. Modern touches in the rooms are also evident, with each unit coming with heating, modern furnishings and well-appointed en-suite bathrooms. As well as impressive rooms, Baikal View boasts a stunning swimming pool that overlooks the lake, not forgetting a quality international restaurant and bar that again both take full advantage of the expansive views looking out over the blue water surrounding Olkhon Island.  

Legend of Baikal Hotel

Legend of Baikal Hotel

Situated on the picturesque shoreline of Lake Baikal and lying in the shadow of the legendary Shaman Stone, this modern hotel really is one of the most impressive places to stay in Listvyanka. The hotel is also near the Angara River affluence,and the surrounding area is rich in fresh natural air, green pine trees and secluded shorelines along the perimeter of the lake. As for the hotel, interiors here feel luxurious yet cozy, with warm wood tones, large comfy beds and modern facilities found throughout the range of 39 rooms and suites. All come with electronic security systems, a local and international telephone connection, WiFi, satellite television, air-conditioning and most have balconies facing the lake. Elsewhere, guests are free to enjoy the hotel’s superb restaurant with panoramic views of Lake Baikal and the Angara River. There’s also an on-site swimming pool, sauna, games room and area for parking. Legend of Baikal Hotel is approximately one hour from the nearest major city of Irkutsk.

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