Where to Travel at Baikal Lake: The Best Spots

Author: Dimitry Paranyushkin (on 02 Jun 2015)
In this section we will tell you everything about the most interesting places on Baikal lake and propose great travel itineraries at the lake.

Recommended Travel Itineraries

In this section we bring you a description of the route we prefer, as well as ideas for other travels you may want to make, depending on the time you have and budget.
We hope it will help you to find your way at Baikal!
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Listvyanka Settlement

Listvyanka settlement on Baikal lake

What is It: A settlement on Baikal lake, very close to Irkutsk and Circum-Baikal, quite touristic.
You can rent a bike, or make some trekking walks.
How to Get There: 60 km from Irkutsk by car or by bus (~$3-$15), or via Circum Baikal (then - ferry form Port Baikal - 5 mins).
Pros: Easily accessible from Irkutsk, Baikal is just next to it, many good, comfortable, and very inexpensive hotels, nice restaurants, fish market;
Contras: As it is quite touristic, the place is not very "sincere", and there are a lot of people in high season. However, if you walk a few hours away, you will be able to enjoy the nature;
[See the Listvyanka Guide]

Olkhon Island

Olkhon island


What is It: Beautiful island near the warmest bay of Baikal Lake, with meditative and relaxing views, picturesque walks, and friendly people. It is also a local center of Shamanism.
Great for trekking, biking, sailing, and fishing.
How to Get There: 250 km from Irkutsk by car or by bus (~5-7 hours, $10 by bus, $100 by car).
Pros: Marvelous landscape, sunny and warm climate, sandy beaches, comfortable living conditions (felt-yurt camps or staying in b&b with locals), local food (especially fish), and much more.
Contras: May be hard to get to (local buses are always booked), if you come there, you will want to stay :-);
[See the Okhon Island Guide]

Circum Baikal Railway

Circum Baikal railway
What is It: A very picturesque railway along the Southern Baikal shore, built about a century ago.
How to Get There: 60 km from Irkutsk by car or by bus to Listvyanka, then - ferry (5 mins). Or by any Trans-Siberian train to Slyudyanka (1 hour after Irkutsk).
Pros: Beautiful views, great for trekking and camping, Baikal Lake just next, meeting Russian backpackers, villages along the way;
Contras: Not easy to find a place to stay, so most people just go the whole railway by train, meeting Russian backpackers may take too much time, snakes, train may be too crowdy;
[See the Circum-Baikal Guide]


What is It: Sandy, warm, and sunny beaches, popular among Russian travelers. There are some secluded spots and a lot of thermal springs as well.
How to Get There: The auto road goes all along the Eastern shore of Baikal. There's at least 1 daily bus. You can also book a boat from Irkutsk.
Pros: Sunny, hot weather, warm lake, sandy beaches, possible to camp freely either among people or alone. Great food. Accessibility.
Contras: The tourist infrastructure is not well developed, so you can get there on your own only if you are brave or speak Russian, or if you book a trip with a travel agency.
[See the Eastern Shore of Baikal - Buryatia Guide]

Arshan and Sayan Mountains

What is It: Arshan is a village at the place where Sayan mountains start. There are thermal springs, and a lot of good trekking walks (one - to Shumak springs on top of the mountains). Quite touristic, but only the village. Go 1 km away - and there's noone. Great for rafting.
How to Get There: Any Trans-Siberian train to Slyudyanka - then a bus (3 hours) to Arshan. Also, daily buses from/to Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude.
Pros: Mountains, rivers, good trekking walks, good infrastructure (but for Russian-speaking only), yoga and meditation camp, opportunity to get aquainted with locals.
Contras: Not as close as other places, but easy to get to by transport, many people in Summer, nobody speaking English.
[See the Arshan Guide]



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