Baikal attracts thousands of tourists from around the world every year. Any traveler will find adventure of his or her type: whether you prefer a walk to the Teplye Lakes or climbing the snow-capped peaks of Khamar-Daban.
We advise you to think your itinerary trough before going to the coasts of the “Siberian Sea”. Let’s have a closer look at the most interesting options.
During the warm season the guests of Baikal Region are greeted by the dense green forests, mirror lakes, uproarious waterfalls. The gorgeous Baikal Trail may lead travelers to very unusual places. You can explore the surroundings in a variety of ways: by land, by water or by air.
Trekking in the Valley of Volcanoes
A broad mountain valley covered with hardened lava is located 600 kilometers away from Irkutsk. This mysterious place is surrounded by myths and legends. The Valley is a unique monument of nature. The height of the Kropotkin Volcano reaches 120 meters; the diameter of the crater is 200 meters. An average hike from the village of Orlik to the volcanoes takes about two weeks. During this time you can enjoy local beautiful sceneries to your own content, visit mineral springs and waterfalls.
An Ascent to the Chersky Peak
A trip from Slyudyanka to the highest point of Komarinsky Ridge (2090 meters) can take only a couple of days. The length of the path is approximately 25 kilometers with the height difference of 1625 meters. The route is safe. In order to go through it, you do not need any special climbing equipment or serious physical training. At the southern foot of the peak you will discover the legendary heart-shaped lake that is so attracting and amazing for travelers.
A Tour to Shumakskie Springs
The healing water of Shumakskie mineral springs can cure the diseases of cardiovascular, endocrine and digestive systems. It also helps to cope with the dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system. The springs are located at a height of 1558 meters and hidden from prying eyes during the Shumaksky Pass. You can get to this place you on foot, on horseback or by helicopter.
The Svyatoy Nos (“Holy Nose”) Peninsula and the Chivyrkuiskiy Gulf
A travel by canoe along the largest peninsula of Lake Baikal will be remembered by any tourist. Wild sandy beaches, colorful sunsets, the famous hot springs of the Zmeinaya Bay are waiting for you. There you will also see the unique birds and endemic fishes. And if you have a special permission, you can visit the Ushkany Islands. This place was officially given a status of the monument of nature.
The Circumbaikal Railway
Rafting on Baikal Lake along the Circumbaikal Railway is designed for true connoisseurs of canoeing tourism. You will have the opportunity to examine all the amazing tunnels, bridges and viaducts in great detail. The complexity of the route is average, its length is approximately 80 kilometers.
The Peschanaya Bay
The Peschanaya Bay is located at a 40-kilometer distance from the settlement of Bolshoe Goloustnoe. The depth of the Bay is nearly forty meters, and the water is so pure that you can see the bottom. Many people consider the Peschanaya Bay to be one of the most beautiful spots on Lake Baikal due to the unique color of its water.
The fans of extreme sports and new sensations have the opportunity to admire the Lake when flying on a paraglider. From a bird’s-eye view you will be able to see forests and trails in a completely new way. The flights are conducted on Maloe More, near the village of Malomorskaya River Station (MRS). You can take a flight alone or jointly with an experienced guide.
You will see the Kadilny and Krestovsky Capes, the Delta of the Bolshaya Goloustnaya River, the Peschanaya and Aya Bays, the Kurykanskaya defense fortress of VI-IX centuries, the Olkhon Gates Strait. A guide will tell you the legends and mysteries of these places. The helipad is located near the village of Khuzhir, on the Burkhan Rock- a shrine of shamanists’ religion and one of the most famous attractions of Baikal.
Amazing transparent ice, huge snow-capped fir-trees, ski slopes - all this you will find near Baikal in winter. Despite the low temperature, city residents and guests always find interesting activities.
An ice passage through Baikal
It has become a tradition for many inhabitants of the Baikal Region to perform a passage through the ice of the sacred Lake. Its length is 14 kilometers. The participants of the passage will join a pleasant company of like-minded people, enjoy the pure Baikal air and unforgettable emotions at the end of the road. By the way, you can move on the ice not only by foot. A walk on the mirror lake on skates or by bicycle will give you an unforgettable experience.
Climbing to Munku-Sardyk (height: 3492 m.)
Hundreds of daredevils go to conquer the highest point of the Republic of Buryatia annually during May holidays. You cannot do without special equipment here. The hike takes from about 3 days to a week. The ascent itself takes no less than six hours. In order to conquer the sacred mountain, you will have to spend quite a lot of your forces. But the stunning view from the top will be an invaluable reward for your efforts.
Siberia is truly kind to the fans of snowboarding and winter skiing. There are two prepared slopes within the city limits of Irkutsk. Literally twenty kilometers away from Irkutsk you will find the “Olkha” skiing centre, which is a real liberty for the riders in Baikalsk. And the lovers of real freeride will enjoy the Barguzin Alps - the Mountain of Mamay located at a 193-kilometer distance from Irkutsk.
There is a strip of land distinguished by its unique beauty in the extreme north of Lake Baikal, in the most inaccessible place of the lake. This beauty can disappear soon. We are speaking about the island of Yarki.
Olkhon is a unique island, and those who want to travel through it by bike, as commonplace as it may sound, will get unforgettable impressions.
The very convenient location of Irkutsk gives all city residents and tourists an opportunity to go on exciting cycling excursions, from “weekend” trips to several-day trips. You can reach Lake Baikal through absolutely different routes, including the one that can rightfully be called the most popular: Irkutsk - Olkhon.
Summer is the time for travels. This time of year is perfect for visiting open-air museums, parks and gardens. This article of the “Key to Baikal” website has collected a selection of such places in Irkutsk Oblast and the Republic of Buryatia that should be visited before going to Baikal.