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Baikal summer (Family tour to Baikal)

Shamanka, Olkhon The first part of the tour (4days) you will visit the biggest island of Baikal - Olkhon. It is also called a "heart" of Baikal not only because of its centered location, but also because of the beauty of its landscape and its culture. Explore the island by one day UAZ excursion and second day trekking or biking. If you are travelling with children this tour is perfect for families who want to have vacation on Baikal lake. The second part of the tour is trekking along the western shore of the lake, speed boat ride, sightseeing Listvyanka and train ride along the Circum-Baikal railway. Your children will enjoy Baikal seal show, camping on the shore of Baikal lake, frying toasts over the campfire, flowing kite on the beach or biking on Olkhon. Let your familie vacation be the most memorable at the most beautiful lake of the world! We may adjust duration of the tour to your needs.

Available: from June to September; Summer;
Duration: 9 days
Places: Baikal lake; Olkhon; Irkutsk; Listvyanka; Circum-Baikal railway;
Activities: Trekking; Sightseeing; Cruises; Biking;

Day 1. Arrival to Irkutsk, transfer to Olkhon island, excursion to Burkhan cape

Sheep on Olkhon

Welcome to Siberia! Once you arrive to the train station/airport you’ll be met by your English-speaking guide. Transfer to Olkhon Island – the biggest island on Baikal lake by car. It takes about 5-6 hours to cover the distance of 300 km. Our way runs partly through the forest, flowering meadows, little villages on both sides of the road. You can stop for some special local ritual of worshipping the local spirits. You’ll have a lunch stop on the way in one of the road cafes. For lunch you can try traditional Buryat dish – Pozy (Boozy). Olkhon was originally inhabited by Buryat people, one of Native people of Baikal who are Mongolian physical type. When you arrive to Small sea – part of Baikal which is separated from main part by Olkhon Island from one side and Primorskiy mountain range from another – you’ll cross Olkhon Gates Strait by a ferry. 40 minutes ride will bring you to the central village of the island – Khuzhir. Accommodation in a 4-bed room in a cottage of “Mini-hotel Baikal”, shower and toilet inside. In the evening you may walk to Burkhan rock which is right at the shore of Baikal. According to a legend this is a castle of the main spirit of Olkhon. It is one of 9 sanctuarities of Asia, center of shaman cult. It is highly respected among native people and shamans.  Dinner at the base. Meals there at the café at the territory of the hotel. (-,-,D).

Turquoise water of Baikal Waiting for the ferry to cross Olkhon Gates Strait Rain over the Khuzhir The rainbow over Huzhir village, Olkhon Shamanka (Burkhan cape) on Olkhon island

Day 2. Excursion to the north of the island – Khoboy

Russian military UAZ-car - the best transport for Olkhon

Breakfast at the hotel. Today you’ll visit the most picturesque sights of Olkhon island as you are going to excursion to the northern part – Khoboy cape. The best transport on Olkhon is Russian 4WD – UAZ car, as it is optimal for off road in the forest. Before you reach Khoboy you’ll have several stops on the way to admire the beauty of local landscape. The most popular are: Sandy bay where Gulag camp used to be, Three Brothers cape with 3 separate steep rocks rising from the water. Khoboy Cape (from Buryat language it means “fang, tooth”) – is the most northern point of Olkhon Island. It is also called a “lady” rock. You’ll understand why it is so when you come to this place from waterside while being on cruise. It is spectacular rock which is located near the widest place at Baikal – 79,5 km. Lunch will be served for you as a picnic in the forest. You’ll try a fish soup made from Baikal water and local fish – Omul. Before returning back to Khuzhir we’ll make a stop in one more place – Uzury. Return to the hotel in the evening. Dinner, overnight. In the evening you will enjoy Russian Banya – a kind of steam sauna which will make you clean and relaxed after a long journey. (B, L (picnic), D). 

Admiring the vastness of Baikal waters On the arch of Khoboy Excursion by UAZ car on Olkhon Picnic in the forest near Khoboy Admiring the majesty of Baikal lake near Khoboy cape Lunch stop Steppe pepermint The steep rocky eastern shore of Olkhon in colours of autumn Over the abbys On Khoboy near the traditional place of worship

Day 3. Trekking on Olkhon or biking at Baikal

Trekking on Olkhon island

After breakfast you’ll have trekking on Olkhon island with children. You’ll start from the village, walk to Burkhan cape on the shore of Baikal and then continue trekking north along the Saraiskiy bay – a sandy bay which stretches for about 3 km along the shoreline of Baikal. It is possible to start the kite at this place which is great fun for kids here! Then you’ll trek in the forest and have lunch as a picnic on the way. Children get excited while frying some toasts or sweets over the fire. Some trees have very funny shapes of the branches which is special to Olkhon due to the winds and its climate. Returning to the base. Time at leisure, sightseeing the village. Possible to visit an art-gallery or local museum, or rent bikes for some time. Also you can do some horse-riding (optional). You can buy different Baikal souvenirs at the souvenir yurts which stand at different places on the main street of Khuzhir or in the art gallery. It is also possible to rent bikes (not included) and explore the nearest sights and Baikal shore by biking. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (B, L, D). 

Burkhan rock on Olkhon island Golden sun on Olkhon island Olkhon shore Family trekking on Olkhon Picnic lunch during trekking on Olkhon Yellow poppies in Saraiskiy bay, Olkhon Biking near Khuzhir village, Olkhon island Biking to Burkhan cape, Olkhon island, Baikal Biking on the shore of Baikal lake

Day 4. Transfer Olkhon – Irkutsk

To the nearest village, Olkhon

After breakfast you’ll have transfer to Irkutsk. It takes about 6 hours to get back. It is always little sad to leave this island. Some people make a wish and ask the spirits give them a possibility to come back here, and some will carefully keep in their hearts and minds the memories and feelings which this island presents to everyone who is clear in thoughts, kind to nature and open-hearted. Let Olkhon live in your heart. Lunch on the way at the road café. Accommodation at the hotel in Irkutsk. The rest of your day you can spend exploring the city, visiting some historical sights or just walking along the embankment of Angara river. (B, -,-).

Flying seagull The steppe roads to Baikal Cozy bay where the ferry arrives The road to MRS settlement on the shore of Small sea Fishing boat at the Maloye more

Day 5. Sightseeing Listvyanka, start of the trekking

After breakfast at 10.00 you’ll have a ride to Listvyanka. The name of the village comes from the Larch trees – Listvennitza, which are widely spread on the near-by mountains. It is possible to visit the  pen air Siberian Wooden Architecture Museum “Taltsy” where you can see the Cossack’s houses (so called “izba”) and wooden orthodox churches, Evenk and Bouriate gers, try traditional swing with children and visit the pottery barn where different ceramic toy-whistles are made. (optional, recommended but not included).

Before arriving to Listvyanka you’ll have a short stop near the Shaman Rock where you’ll hear a beautiful local legend about Angara and Shaman rock told by your guide. It is also possible to ride by a small boat to Shaman rock with old local man and admire the beauty of Baikal bottom which is clearly seen at this shallow place. It is safe to ride with children as the water is calm without waves here. After arrival to Listvyanka you may have an interesting excursion to the Limnological Museum of Baikal with the nerpa (Baikal seal) and fish aquarium and get useful information about Baikal formation and its flora and fauna (not included). Possible to see the nerpa show (not included) or climb the Chrerskiy rock by a funicular. There is a very nice view to Port Baikal, part of Circum-Baikal line and Angara river from the top. Also you may visit the central square where you can find freshly smoked Baikal fish – Omul (recommended to try, hot-smoked) and buy some Baikal souvenirs. Lunch in any of the place you like in Listvyanka.

Start of the trekking at the second part of the day. The first part of the trekking goes over the hill overtaking the most steep and rocky places. Then the route goes down to Baikal where you may set up the tent camp in some bay. Dinner will be prepared for you over campfire. You’ll enjoy the night sky and listen to the waves splashing on the shore. Overnight in tents. (B,-, D).

Listvyanka village on the very shore of Baikal St.Nickolas church in Listvyanka On the Cherskiy rock Riding the funnicaler to Cherskiy rock in Listvyan Omul fish in Baikal museum Painted wooden house in Listvyanka Local children on bikes in Listvyanka

Day 6. Trekking to Bolshie Koty village

Trekking to Bolshie Koty village

After breakfast you’ll continue trekking to Bolshie Koty village – an old Russian village which was founded here at Siberian Gold Rush time. There are only about 40 locals who live there all year around, others come here only in summer. Total distance is about 15 km. Lunch will be cooked for you on the way over the campfire. Any your help of making the fire or cooking is welcoming. If the weather permits and you are brave enough you may try swimming in the clear Baikal water. Children like collecting different stones along the shore and making castles out of them. Accommodation in the summer house in Bolshie Koty village. Dinner.

(B,L,D).

Trekking in the forest Drinking the clearest Baikal water Trekking in September Studying the flowers Trekking along the shore of Baikal lake

Day 7. Trekking to Screeper Rock, speed boat Bolshie Koty - Listvyanka

Family trekking Baikal

After breakfast we’ll take light backpacks and have half-day trekking along the shore line. Today your route climbs to the top of the cliff which has a name – Screeper. It is about 7km away from Bolshie Koty village. This cliff has unique geological structure very rare at Baikal region - Yurk conglomerate. It is made of sandy rock with shingle. Going up is long and steep, but a stunning view at the top will be a worth reward to you! From the top of the cliff you’ll see fantastic view of the vast expanses of the Lake and transparent turquoise colored waters of Baikal, as well as near-by village – Bolshie Koty from where we started. Return to Bolshie Koty village and at 18.00 you’ll catch a speed boat which will bring you to Listvyanka. (about 1 hour ride). Accommodation at the hotel “U Ozera” in Listvyanka. The ferry to Port Baikal the next day starts at the pier right next to this hotel, very difficult to get lost. (B,L,-).

Trekking along the shoreline to Goloustnoye villag Bolshie Koty village Screeper rock Children are trekking in the forest On the top of Screeper rock Speed boat

Day 8. One-day excursion by train along the Circum-Baikal railway

Train at Cicrum-Baikal railway

No guide day. Morning ferry from Listvyanka to Port Baikal where the train starts along the Circum-Baikal railway. At 9.00 the ferry to Port Baikal leaves form the pier next to the hotel. (ПричалБаржа). You ride in the 1-st class compartments. The Circum-Baikal is not just a railway, but a unique museum of history and nature. The train will make stops at historically important villages on the way, which gives you a chance to walk around and take beautiful pictures of the monuments of engineering, architecture and nature. A Russian-speaking guide will take you through the longest tunnel on the railway; will show you the water pump towers that used to pump water for the steam train. Lunch on the way (lunch boxes). It is also recommended to take some snacks with you for kids as it is a whole day ride. Also at one of the stops in a village where people may have lunch, usually you can buy some tasty pirogi from locals or smoked fish. At about 22.00 – arrival at the Irkutsk railway station. There you’ll be met by a car which will bring you to the hotel. (B, L, -). 

Trekking to Circum-Baikal railway Trekking through the tunnel of Circum-Baikal railway A local cossack man in one of the villages of Circum-Baikal railway Kultuk village Polovinka stop on Circum-Baikal railway You can meet different plants at the shore

Day 9. Sightseeing Irkutsk

Sunset at the embankment of Angara river in Irkutsk

No guide day. Breakfast at the hotel. City sightseeing day. You may visit the beautiful Russian Orthodox churches, the place where Irkutsk was founded – visit the eternal flame square and the church of the Saviour – the oldest stone structure in Irkutsk, walk along the Angara river and along the streets of two-story wooden houses that are decorated with “wooden laces” (hand-made carvings) as well as modern constructions of the 20th century. Visit the history museum or  Museum of Decembrists. Central market place. 

Irkutsk, Drama theatre On the bridge near the Kirov square, Irkutsk Curved windows in Irkutsk Before excursion in Decembrists museum Europe house in Irkutsk The oldest stone structure in Irkutsk - Church of the Saviour

Please, contact us for tour price if you are interested in this tour.

Please contact us for the tour price and available dates.

Comments from our guests

Familie Ohlendorf, Germany

April 8, 2014, 6:32 a.m.
Hello Svetlana, we had an absolut wonderful time beginning this summer. Everyone, Dasha, Sergey and Jane were perfect guides for our needs. Thanks to Sergey who was with us during the trekking we managed the BBT with our kids. We could not think of any better guide - just a perfect match. As well the girls just loved him. And a big thank you to you, for this well organised trip! Astrid, Marc, Carmen and Eliane PS: We will come back to discover the Siberian winter.
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