Lake Baikal

Baikal is often called a Holy lake and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Russia. You can find description of the place in almost  every guide-book but let us give you some ideas how to go off the beaten track:

Irkutsk is famous for its wooden architecture. Besides the newly reconstructed and fairy-tale looking Irkutsk Sloboda there are still districts with old wooden houses where ordinary people live. During your stay in Irkutsk walk along these streets and get into the atmosphere of the 19th century.

Visit the Mineralogical museum in Irkutsk State Technical University. There is a huge and unique collection of Siberian prosperous and semi-prosperous stones and minerals there. You can see charoite – a mineral found only in Irkutsk region and even buy a charoite necklace in the museum shop.


One of the most interesting ways to get from Irkutsk to Lisvyanka is to take a Circum-Baikal Railway and stay in Listvyanka instead of returning back to Irkutsk. This railway road originally being part of Transsiberian way and having become a blind alley after the construction of Irkutsk hydroelectric station allows to see picturesque landscapes of Baikal together with the architectural achievements: tunnels, viaducts and galleries.


If you plan to stay in Listvyanka for a night do this in one of the numerous guest houses and ask your hosts to prepare omul for dinner. Omul is a fish found in Baikal and is a beloved by locals delicatesse. It can be smoked, grilled or fried but you won’t regret if you try ‘suguday’ (fresh fish marinaded in vinegar with species) or ‘razkolodka’ (highly frozen chopped omul fillet served in small cold pieces with salt and pepper).


Baikal is a sacred place for many people living on its shores and its spiritual center is of course Olkhon Island; many of Butyatian myths are connected with this island. Once you are on Olkhon try to feel the energy of the place on one of its so-called “Power spots” or “Sacred places” – the places where shamans officiated their sacramental rites. Usually these places are surrounded by stones or stumps and logs to protect from evil forces. If you feel like you can meet with the Shaman Valentin who lives on the island.

If you travel in winter hardly ever possible to find a better place for skating than Maloe Sea at the shores of Olkhon Island. The ice is prosperous and smooth.
You will have absolutely different impression of Baikal if you take cruise. One can find a great variety of cruises around Baikal from 3-4 days up to 12-day-tours.

Ulan Ude is open for foreign tourists for over 20 years and during this time it became one of the favourite destinations. The city is an amazing combination of Soviet residential architecture and Buddhist datsans. If you stay in Ulan Ude for more than one day take a trip to Arshan Resort famous for its mineral hot and cold springs and picturesque views of the Sayan mountains.