EXPLORE RUSSIA: IRKUTSK & LAKE BAIKAL
Experience the beauty of Russia’s Far East. Discover the unique art, history and culture of Irkutsk, Siberia’s second city. Gaze in awe at the breathtaking sight of Lake Baikal in early winter. Join us on the adventure of a lifetime.
Dive into the rich cultural fabric of Irkutsk as we tour the city, visiting everything from ancient churches and monasteries to a state of the art planetarium and the Eksperimentary Museum of Science. Experience the nightlife of Russia’s Far East. Traverse the century-old Circum-Baikal railway, a mix pure engineering mastery and spectacular views. Spend three days exploring the magnificent Lake Baikal, visiting its various villages and islands, including Stalin’s ‘fish gulag’ at Peshchanaya village. Enjoy a bonfire meal of salted fish and the traditional fisherman’s soup of Ukha whilst getting to know the local Shamanistic Buryat people, surrounded by this stunning scenery.
Enjoy this tour on its own or keep the excitement going by linking up with our Russian Magadan Tour here, where you’ll meet the rest of the group as we explore Russia further and travel on to Moscow.
- Local tour guides
- All breakfasts and open fire lunch in Khoboy
- Russia visa
- Banya bath house
- Getting to/from Irkutsk
- Lunch/Dinner unless specified
|At a glance:
||Irkutsk – Khuzhir – Irkutsk 5 nights, 6 days
Explore Russia – ITINERARY
Sunday 28th October
- Meet your hero guide and fellow travellers in our hotel for the beginning of our Siberian adventure.
- First up is a walking tour of the 130th Quarter. We’ll visit churches and monasteries, the planetarium and public observatory, the Eksperimentary Museum of Science, the ‘Window to Asia’ exhibition and the House of Folk Arts, all built to celebrate Irkutsk’s 350th anniversary.
- Amazing lunch in local restaurant.
- After lunch, we’ll drive out to Listvyanka village at Lake Baikal to check out the fish market before scouring the souvenirs market for Soviet kitsch.
- Visit Baikal Museum, where huge aquariums are refilled with water from the lake.
- Our next stop is the Under the Open Sky Museum.
- Drive back to Irkutsk.
- Enjoy the full Russian night out experience with dinner and drinks.
- Stay overnight in Irkutsk.
Monday 29th October
- Breakfast in the hotel.
- Journey to the Raketa pier for a closer look at Lake Baikal.
- Travel by ferry to the Circum-Baikal Railway for an afternoon of exploration in this stunning landscape. Construction began in 1899 and the railway was finished in 1905. A myriad of tunnels, bridges, viaducts and retaining walls make this a site not to be missed. We’ll have incredible views from the boat and can hike part of this 89-kilometre railway for some amazing photo opportunities.
- Dinner and a relatively early night in Irkutsk.
Tuesday 30th October
- Early breakfast at the hotel.
- Depart for Olkhon Island, one of the largest lake islands in the world. It’s a 5-6 hour journey by bus and ferry, but the breathtaking scenery we’ll encounter shortens the road!
Check in to our accommodation on the island.
- Visit Khuzhir village, the main settlement on the island and home to mostly Buryats, the native ethnic group.
- Visit the Revyakin Museum to learn more about the Buryat’s Shamanism and the pipe-smoking on the island.
- Dinner and stay overnight in Khuzhir.
Wednesday 31st November
- After breakfast, we’ll travel up to the northernmost point of the island – Khoboy.
- Enjoy a traditional Buryat lunch cooked on an open fire of barbecued salted fish and Ukha – traditional fisherman’s soup.
- After lunch, we’ll journey to Peschanaya Village, an abandoned settlement and one of the most beautiful parts of the island. In Stalin’s time, ‘enemies of the people’ were sent to work in this
- Head back to Khuzir and relax in a banya bath house (optional extra).
- For our last night on the island, we’ll eat dinner and keep warm with the help of an old friend – vodka!
- Overnight stay in Khuzir.
Thursday 1st November
- Free morning to relax and take in more of the scenery around the lake.
- Travel back to Irkutsk via ferry and bus.
- Enjoy our last night in Irkutsk with dinner at the Tochka restaurant. We’ll have some well-deserved beers and more vodka is a certainty!
Friday 2nd November
- Breakfast in the hotel and end of the tour.
- Connecting flights/trains for onward travel, or join us to further explore Russia as we catch the mid-morning train to Moscow for the Eurasian Adventure!