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February, 21, 2017

Where Do the Locals Have Rest at Baikal?

Local residents, unlike visitors, know their native region and can tell you what to see and where better to have rest without any guide book. This is especially characteristic of Lake Baikal that stretches for an area of 31 thousand square kilometers. Sometimes it is difficult to choose: what part of this natural giant to visit going on vacation, holiday or just during the weekend.

Maloe More (“Small Sea”)

Maloe More is a strait is in the central part of Baikal, between the coast and the island of Olkhon. The coast here is occupied by sandy bays going one after another, the water warms up to a temperature of +22 degrees Celsius in summer, it is the ideal place for a beach holiday. That is why tourists come here - it is almost always sunny in this place, besides, the local tan lasts for several months.

In addition to beach recreation, Maloe More is well-known for its excellent fishing, open spaces for hiking, biking, kayaking, rides on catamarans and yachts. In winter you can ice skate or arrange subglacial fishing.

The following three places at Maloe More are definitely worth visiting:

  • Mukhor Bay. The southernmost, warmest and most popular bay on the coast three kilometers away from the Olkhon Gate Strait.
  • Uyuga Cape. It is one of the most picturesque capes with nearly two-kilometer shingle spit of light-colored stones and an arched cave-grotto from the side of Maloe More.
  • Kurminskiy Bay. If you follow the road to the mountains opposite to Kurminskiy Bay, then the magnificent panorama of Maloe More and rocky islands will open to you.

The coast of Maloe More can be reached both by water and by car or bus. The distance from Irkutsk to Mukhor Bay makes up 250 km and even more, depending on the chosen recreation center or place of sightseeing which are located everywhere along the entire coast of Maloe More.

The Island of Olkhon

If Baikal is the blue heart of Siberia, then Olkhon if the heart of Baikal. The island is located in the central part of the Lake, near the mark of its deepest place (1642 m). An entire diversity of natural landscapes and beauty of the Baikal coast are concentrated here.

The island offers favorable conditions for tourism and recreation during the most part of the year. The warmest months on Olkhon are July and August. Here you can go hiking, ride a car or a ship, enjoy horseback riding and biking. Olkhon is the real reserve of amazing landscapes and majestic views for the fans of wildlife and photographers

Several places of the island are especially noteworthy:

  • Burkhan Cape (Shamanka Rock). It is one of the nine ancient shrines of Asia near the village of Khuzhir that has become a kind of landmark of the Lake. The most revered holy place on Lake Baikal was a cave in the rock of this cape where people have made sacrifices and given vows since the emergence of the first shamans.
  • Sandy Beach of Saraiskiy Bay. This place is popular among those having rest at Baikal. A warm sandy beach stretches for 3 kilometers between the Burkhan Cape and the village of Kharantsy. Sand bars hide the cozy glades at the back of the coast surrounded by a pine forest.
  • Khankhoy Lake. It is a warm water reservoir in the middle of the northern coast of the island, the lake is famous for its abundance of fish. A scenic view to Maloe More and the Primorsky Ridge opens from the surrounding ridges.
  • Khoboy Cape. This place is the northernmost point of the island. A striking pillar-shaped rock is similar to a profile of a woman’s head. Locals call this rock “Deva” (“Virgin”).

The island of Olkhon can be reached by car, bus or boat. The distance from Irkutsk to this places amounts to approximately 250 km. From May to December the island is connected with the mainland by ferry. In winter cars ride on the ice. The island can be reached only by air during the periods of ice formation and water opening at Lake Baikal.

Bolshoe Goloustnoe

Bolshoe Goloustnoe is a village on the western coast of Lake Baikal. Its relatively easy accessibility by car, its wildlife, unique landscapes and the enchanting silence are the things that attract tourists to this part of the coast. The pristine beauty of the open valley of the Goloustnaya River has been captured by traveling photographers who came from all over Russia.

You should visit the following three places near Bolshoe Goloustnoe:

  • Sukhoe (“Dry”) Lake. The water reservoir is located at a three-kilometer distance from the village. Its water level is not constant - every four years the Lake is filled with spring water anew. Sukhoe Lake together with the forests surrounding it is recorded in the Register of Special Geological Monuments of Irkutsk Oblast.
  • Ushkanya Gorge. That’s the place where Alpine meadows are combined with the unique flora and fauna of the impassable Taiga and rocks. You can meet cedars with the age of about 400 years on the gorge’s slopes. Ushkanya Gorge blossoms several times every summer: the glades get completely covered with the Taiga flowers that can be seen among lush green plants.
  • Okhotnichya (“Hunting”) Cave. This 77-meter deep cave is the most unique and interesting cave of the Baikal Region and has huge cavities reaching the height of a seven-storey house, with the halls having a height up to 75 meters and wells with a depth of more than 40 meters. The beauty and size of the halls of the Okhotnichya Cave have no competitors in the Baikal Region and are comparable to the famous caves of Slovakia and the Czech Republic.



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