Lake Baikal is the largest of its type in the entire world, and boasts some of Russia’s most spectacular, untouched scenery. This nine-day journey shows you this magnificent natural wonder in all of its glory – and more. Circumnavigate the lake whilst visiting isolated beaches, peering down jaw-dropping cliffs and tackling challenging off-road terrain. After starting out in Listvyanka, there’s time to explore the historical city of Irkutsk as well as ride the train on the Circum-Baikal route, one of the most spectacular sections of the world-famous Trans-Siberian route across Russia. It’s then overland and over water to Olkhon Island, the fourth largest lake-bound island in the world. On the way to Zabaikalsky National Park you’ll pass the gorgeous Chivyrkuisky Bay before lapping up the culture at Russia’s centre of Buddhism near the final destination of Ulan-Ude.
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Kick off this nine-day tour of Baikal with a morning meeting with your guide (either at the airport or train station), who’ll help you transfer to your hotel in Listvyanka, a port town close to Irkutsk. After lunch, there is a half-day sightseeing trip around town, taking you to an open-air ethnographic museum, as well as a splendid church and quaint local market.
After enjoying an inclusive breakfast at your hotel, check-out and start what promises to be a fun day of travelling, adventure and sightseeing. First, hop on a boat to Baikal port, before embarking on a train journey along the Circum-Baikal railway, one of the most historical and picturesque sections of the famous Trans-Siberian route. Lunch is along the way and you’ll eventually end the journey in Irkutsk, which is where you’ll be staying in the lavish four-star Courtyard by Marriott Hotel – along with dinner here too.
Two hours during the morning of this third day have been set aside for a quick city tour of Irkutsk, one of the largest cities in Siberia with a handful of pretty buildings, interesting historical sites and a few museums. Afterwards, you’ll be heading towards Olkhon Island (the fourth-largest lake bound island in the world) by car as well as a quick ferry ride to reach the island - a journey of some 6 hours. The last leg of the day’s journey takes you to Khuzhir village where you’ll be staying at the comfortable three-star Baikal View Hotel.
A full-day excursion to the northern point of the island awaits after breakfast, one which offers the opportunity to really appreciate the incredible natural beauty of this isolated island, as well as the surrounding Lake Baikal. Relax, take pictures, and listen to the guide explain the fascinating history of this little-known part of the world. There’s also a quaint picnic lunch lined up, which will include the famous Omul fish unique to the lake. Arrive back at your hotel for dinner and free time in the evening.
After breakfast, final Olkhon Island visits will be made in the morning to some geographical points of interest as well as the Historical Museum. Refuel with lunch back at the hotel before transferring to the pier and departing for Ust-Barguzin by boat. The journey over the lake is simply spectacular, and takes around four or five hours in total with about one hour overland to Maximiha, where you’ll be spending the night in a lovely three-star lakeside Hotel.
The sixth day’s journey will take you across Chivyrkuisky Bay, well-known for its stunning natural beauty, spectacular cliffs and isolated beaches. The proposed destination of today is Monakhova in Zabaikalsky National Park, and the road to the park goes past an observation tower where the surrounding Baikal region can be seen from above. In the later part of the day, enjoy a boat ride to the Bay of Snake - famous for its healing thermal springs with temperatures over 100° F.
Enjoy breakfast while taking in the natural scenery in Zabaikalsky National Park before embarking on a 3-hour trip to Ulan-Ude by car. Lunch is at a local restaurant along the way, and there’s also chance to see an interesting ethnographical museum – one of the biggest open-air museums in Russia. Arrive at the Mergen Bator Hotel or Hotel Baikal Plaza and enjoy a leisurely dinner before bed.
Make the most of your time in Ulan-Ude with a quick city tour in the morning, taking you to the impressive Ivolginsky Datsan, a Buddhist temple complex frequented by pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. A trip to the old believers’ village follows this, where you’ll have the chance to see the central church and museum. Lunch on this eighth day will be one of the most memorable ones on the trip, as it’ll be taking place at a local family’s house. After enjoying the delicious food and warm hospitality, it’s time to head back to your hotel in Ulan-Ude.
This final day of your nine-day adventure through the Baikal region is set aside for your departure, and brings this memorable trip to an end. After breakfast at your hotel in Ulan-Ude, private transport will take you to either the airport or train station, ready for your next destination of choice!
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.
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.
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.
This four-star hotel is well-located for first-time visitors to Ulan Ude, just a two-minute walk from the city’s famed Philharmonic Hall and the Central Square. In addition to a good range of guestrooms and suites, which all come kitted-out with the latest facilities, Hotel Baikal Plaza also offers several international restaurants, a fitness center with sauna, and free WiFi access is available throughout. The choice of standard single, double, twin and deluxe doubles here all come with air conditioning, cable television, a refrigerator and a modern en-suite bathroom. The surrounding area is home to an excellent range of local and international-style shops, restaurants and bars, while Ulan Ude Train Station is a mere seven-minute drive from the hotel.
Perfect for business guests and first-time visitors wanting to get acquainted with the city, the smart Mergen Bator Hotel provides a range of modern rooms and on-site facilities. Just a five-minute walk from the city center of Ulan Ude, the hotel also has a sizeable swimming pool, spa, fitness center, restaurant, and guests can enjoy free access to the WiFi throughout. The rooms here are also well-equipped with a mini-fridge, kettle, flat-screen TV, air conditioning, and sizeable en-suite bathrooms. Guests can easily reach some of the best attractions in the city from the doors of the hotel; both Sovetov Square and Ballet and Opera Theatre are a short walk away, while Baykal Airport is just a 20-minute drive.