Where to Go: Travel Itineraries on Baikal Lake

Author: Dimitry Paranyushkin (on 02 Jun 2015)
You can travel at Baikal lake just from place to place without any itineraries. However, if you want something to start with, check out the routes we propose in this section.
An unorganized travel seems to be a good idea with all the freedom and flexibility it gives to you. If you are open enough and can cooperate with people (or take somebody who speaks Russian with you) you will be able to find your way on the lake.

Way to Russia Route

The main goal was to travel around Baikal and see as much as possible. We started from Ulan-Ude just because it is one of the two big cities on the lake and chose the following destination according to the advices of locals. We spent about 1 month on this trip.


>> Trans-Siberian train (4 days, ~$100 each) >> Ulan-Ude (stayed 2 days, sightseeing, Buddhist datsan camping) >> hired minibus (3 hours, $50 for 4 people) >> Gremyachinsk (stayed 3 days, swam in Baikal, lived with locals) >> local bus (1 hour, ~$3 each) >> Goryachinsk (stayed 4 days, camped on the beach) >> local bus (3 hours, ~$5 each) >> Ust Barguzin (left directly) >> hired minibus (1 hour, $20 for 4 people) >> Svyatoy Nos peninsula >> trekking (2 hours) >> Kurbulik (stayed 1 night, camping) >> hired fishermen boat (30 mins, $10 for all) >> Snake Bay (stayed 3 days, camping, trekking, swimming) >> hired boat (1 hour, $15 for all) >> Kurbulik >> hired minibus (1 hour, $20) >> Ust Barguzin >> hired minibus (5 hours, $70) >> Ulan-Ude (stayed 1 night) >> train (7 hours, $10 each) >> Irkutsk >> hired minibus ($15 for all, 1 hour) >> Listvyanka (3 days, camping, swimming) >> bus (1 hour, $2 each) >> Irkutsk >> hired minibus (3 hours, $70 for all) >> Arshan (2 days, camping, trekking) >> route minibus (2 hours, $10 each) >> Sludyanka >> Circum-Baikal train (5 hours, $1) >> station on the Circum-Baikal railroad (camped 1 night) >> train – Port Baikal >> ferry (10 mins, $1 each) >> Listvyanka >> bus >> Irkutsk >> travel agency bus (7 hours, $15 each) >> Olkhon Island (7 days, camping, trekking, sightseeing, swimming, made tours) >> local bus >> Irkutsk >> plane (6 hours, $130 one way) >> Moscow.


The Baikal Ring

This itinerary is for people who want to see the whole of Baikal Lake, but do not want to deal with transport arrangements and accommodation booking themselves. A good travel agency can arrange such a trip that you will be able to see all the main spots on Baikal and make a kind of "ring". We (WayToRussia.Net team) were not able to do that, because we couldn't find a boat that would take us from Svyatoy Nos peninsula (Eastern Shore) to Olkhon Island (West). So, we had to go back to Ulan-Ude and take a train to Irkutsk, and then a bus to Olkhon (took us in all about 2 days, while it's only 8 hours by boat).


Irkutsk (1 day) >> Listvyanka (1 day, sightseeing) >> take Circum-Baikal train >> Sludyanka (take train to Ulan-Ude) >> boat >> various Bays along the Western shore of Baikal (Irkutsk side) >> Cherkushinsky Bay and Svyatoy Nos peninsula (by boat) >> Nerpa (water seal) watching >> Olkhon island (6 days) >> back to Irkutsk by jeep (5 hours).

See some great activities you can do here.


The Getaway

If there's one place you can go to on Baikal lake, and you have more than 3 days, it should be Olkhon Island. It is a truly beautiful and amazing place with unbelievable landscapes, and a lot of opportunities to do what you like: from trekking and biking, to swimming, and living on the shore of the lake in comfortable yurts or rented tents.


Irkutsk (1 day) >> bus or car to Olkhon (5 hours) >> Olkhon Island (spend at least 3 days there) >> back to Irkutsk.


Short Sightseeing Trip

If you've got only a few days, then it's better to visit Listvyanka, which is only 1 hour from Irkutsk. There are a lot of good hotels (from comfortable 3-star ones, to budget dorm room options), Baikal is just next, you can make trekking walks, and rent a bike. Also, if you take a ferry across Angara river, you can boart a Circum-Baikal train, and in 5 hours you will be in Slyudyanka, where you can take any Trans-Siberian train.


Irkutsk (1 day) >> bus or car to Listvyanka (1 hour) >> Listvyanka Settlement (stay about 2 days there) >> ferry to Port Baikal (10 mins) >> board Circum-Baikal train (5 hours trip) >> Slyudyanka >> take any Trans-Siberian train.



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