Before your trip

We believe in taking good care of our clients and anticipating their needs. To that end, we prepared some useful information you would do well to read before the journey! You will find answers to a wide range of questions here. If anything remains unclear after reading it, please send us a message using the feedback form at the bottom of this page.

How do I get to Lake Baikal? Where do the tours begin?

Tours to Lake Baikal usually begin in Irkutsk or Ulan Ude. Flying from Moscow to Irkutsk takes 5 hours and 45 minutes; flying from Moscow to Ulan Ude takes 6 hours.

There are several daily flights from Moscow to Irkutsk.

If you prefer to get from Moscow to Irkutsk by train, the 5,000-kilometer journey should take three days and a half.

First-time Baikal visitors typically fly to Irkutsk in order to see the western and southern coasts of the lake, as well as Olkhon Island. The distance from Irkutsk to Baikal is approximately 70 kilometers.

- Who will meet me at the airport?

Before flying to Irkutsk, let us know the date, time, and your flight number. Our driver will meet you at the Irkutsk airport with a sign. He will accompany you the rest of the way to Lake Baikal.

Do I need a visa to visit Lake Baikal?

You only need an ordinary Russian tourist visa. A special visa is not required to visit Lake Baikal.

What accommodations can I expect to find at Lake Baikal?

We offer accommodation in 3 * and 4 * hotels in Irkutsk. There is no standard classification of hotels in the Baikal region. Campsites often play the role of hotels, offering accommodation in individual houses, cottages or hotel rooms. Hotels and tourist camps offer accommodation with or without amenities; we always reserve rooms with them for our tourists.

What should I do if something happens to me along the way?

Observe general safety precautions, like on any other tour. Our guide will tell you what to watch out for in particular. Irkutsk, Ulan Ude and the Baikal villages all have doctors, infirmaries and emergency services.

What sort of currency can I take with me? Are there banks, ATMs or currency exchange points?

You should only bring rubles in cash to Baikal. Foreign currencies can be exchanged in the Moscow airport or in Irkutsk. You can pay with a credit card without any problems in Irkutsk. While there are some ATMs in Listvyanka, you can only use cash to pay for goods or services there or on Olkhon. The market and additional tours in Listvyanka all require cash.

What is the weather like around Lake Baikal in different seasons?

Lake Baikal has an idiosyncratic microclimate. Primorsky, Baikalsky, Kichersky, Barguzinsky, Ulan-Buorgasy and Khamar-Daban mountain ranges surrounding its basin create obstacles for airflow. The water of the great lake heats up in summer and cools down considerably slower than the air in autumn. As a result, the narrow coastal strip is always warmer in autumn than Irkutsk. In spring, you can observe the reverse effect: the water takes a long time to heat up, and the temperature on the shores of Baikal is lower than in the cities beyond the mountain ranges. The so-called Baikal winds (Barguzin, Sarma and others) also influence the microclimate. The air around Baikal reaches its maximum warmth in July, while the water is warmest in August.

The tourist seasons of lake Baikal

The tourist season peaks out during summer: June, July, and August.

Autumn lasts over September and October. The outdoors become particularly colorful, while the air clears up, especially in October. The temperatures of water and air even out, so there is no fog.

Winter without ice lasts for November and December in the north and can stretch from November up to the beginning of February in the south. This is the least popular time of the year for tourism, due to the drab environment and poor visibility caused by the steam.

Winter with ice arrives in February and continues until March. Baikal freezes over completely and the second peak season for tourism arrives. Ice creates rich opportunities for travel. At this time, you can also see pressure ridges. They are formed when the wind breaks thin ice and two ice plates begin to move on each other, forming fascinating blocks of broken ice.

Lake Baikal begins to freeze in late December. In the first half of January, when the Siberian chills of under 30 degrees Celsius arrive, ice covers the lake in its entirety aside from a small area in Listvyanka (the riverhead of Angara).

The weather in the December – March period can range from -15 to -35 degrees Celsius.
From the last third of June to the second third of August, Baikal sees the warmest days and nights.

Water temperature rises to 20-24 degrees Celsius in the bays. This is especially noticeable in the second half of July and the first half of August. During the day temperature rises to 30-34 degrees Celsius, allowing you to enjoy a sunny day on the beach.

What should I take with me when traveling to Lake Baikal in winter?

You must keep in mind that the weather around Baikal tends to be quite windy. Wind with a little chill is much harder to withstand than heavy frost without wind. Because of this, you must wear layered clothing, observing the three-layer principle:

- The lower layer should include thermal underwear that can keep you warm and dry or isothermal clothing, such as that produced by Splav. It’s better to have a spare set of thermal underwear (Polartec® High Loft™, Red Fox, Sivera). Wool thermal underwear will be suitable if you do not expect a high level of physical activity; otherwise, it may become rather uncomfortable, as wool loses its warming properties after getting wet and takes a long time to dry.

- The middle layer consists of a sweater and pants made of fleece – a type of synthetic wool. Polartec®, one of the most famous fleece manufacturers offers a wide range of 100% polyester synthetic fibers under its brand name.

- The upper layer includes an anorak and pants. The best option we could find is clothing with Primaloft® thermal insulation. The fabric offers water resistance and breathability, allowing it to dry quickly and continue to warm you even when wet. Garments with this kind of insulation are also lightweight and highly compressible (Primaloft® Fisherman, Nova Tour).

Hand protection. We recommend acquiring hybrid mitten gloves.

Face protection. In winter, you can often encounter bitter winds around Baikal, especially on open ice. Besides, it can simply get very cold. The simplest way to protect your face is to wear a scarf. You can buy a balaclava, but we don’t think it would be very comfortable. We prefer a lower face half mask with Velcro back closure or a fleece neck warmer.

Head protection. A warm hat is indispensable for a winter tour.

Thermal socks. Waterproof footwear requires special socks that can repel moisture and retain heat. Ordinary wool socks do not have this combination of properties and make wearing this kind of footwear uncomfortable. Wool loses its warming properties when soaked and takes a long time to dry, resulting in the formation of calluses.

Winter hiking footwear.

You should prepare for walking across slippery ice, pressure ridges, frozen grottoes and rocks and climbing up and down mountains by acquiring warm, comfortable, protective footwear with non-slip soles. You should also bring a spare set of footwear.

If your feet get cold regardless of what you are wearing, you should get one-use disposable sodium toe warmers. We recommend that you bring two pairs for every day (for evening and morning).

- Sunglasses could come in handy, as the bright sun and wind on the wide snow-filled expanse of winter Baikal can easily make your eyes tear up.
- Sun cream.
- Ground pad. You can sit on it, lie on it or put it under your knees on sharp pressure ridges. This
is mainly useful for photographers.
- Shoe driers can be very useful, especially if you lack a spare set of footwear.
- Video or photo camera.
- Spare accumulators. Batteries lose power quickly in the cold, so you should have spares to
keep your devices charged all day.
- A backpack.
- Swimming gear (a swimsuit and flip-flops) if you plan to visit the bathhouse.
- Personal first aid kit.

What should I take if I go in summer?

- A bandana, a baseball cap, a headscarf or a hat.
- Sun cream (at least 20 SPF).
- Sunglasses.
- A down vest or a fleece sweater (Baikal weather gets cold in the evening).
- Comfortable footwear for the Baikal trip (sandals and running shoes) and street shoes for tours
in Irkutsk or Ulan Ude.
- Swimming gear (for the bathhouse or the lake).
- Raincoat.
- Mosquito and tick repellent (can be acquired in Irkutsk or at Lake Baikal).
- Personal first aid kit.
- Toiletries.
- Video or photo camera.
- Portable battery charger.
- Small backpack.

Are there any dangerous animals or insects there?

You should beware of ticks during the summer. We recommend acquiring a repellent and checking your clothes after outdoors trips. There are no wild animals near settlements, but you must remember that Baikal means wild nature. Sometimes, animals such as bears draw close to inhabited locations. Stick with your group and listen to your guide.

Is there a risk of emergencies on the way? What do I need to know?

Tourist camps might lose power in winter during cold temperatures. Hotels usually have backup micro power stations. Always listen to your guide in the interest of your personal safety. Do not climb mountains and cliffs without the guide’s oversight. We also advise you eat in good restaurants and take medicines for food poisoning.

In what physical condition should I be in order to visit lake Baikal?

You don’t need any kind of special physical training to take part in standard programs without special physical activities, such as trekking or hiking tours. However, if you set out on a summer UAZ tour to Khoboy, you should be aware that there are no roads in Baikal! The paths are very rough and the UAZ will shake heavily. If you choose to go on foot, be prepared for a difficult hike along a rocky road, although part of the route goes through a sandy beach. You need to have a basic level of physical readiness to take part in trekking, as not everyone can walk for 24 kilometers (the length of the standard Baikal trekking route from Listvyanka to Bolshiye Koty).

Accessibility for people with disabilities and the elderly

The conditions do not exist to support tours for people with limited mobility. As for the elderly, we recommend signing up for easier tours, such as the Irkutsk car city tour, the train or boat tour of the Circum-Baikal Railway and the boat tours around Olkhon.

Will there be electricity, phone reception and Wi-Fi?

It depends on your destination and program. Our guaranteed programs all offer accommodation options in locations with electricity. Inhabited locations have Wi-Fi and phone reception, but you might lose it while on the road. We advise you to get a Tele2 SIM card, as it gets the best signal in the area. Hotels also have Wi-Fi. It will not be possible to charge up your phone during trekking, hiking or ice camping tours, so we suggest taking portable accumulators with you and charging them up on the eve of your journey to Baikal.

Can I take children with me to Baikal?

It depends on their age. Standard tours allow children of different ages. During buggy and snowmobile tours, one of the parents will have to keep an eye on the children as they won’t be able to operate the vehicles. We also strongly advise against taking children on trekking or ice camping tours.

How do I choose a tour?

What tour you choose depends entirely on your personal preferences: what places you want to see and what activities you’d like to take part in. Some of our programs (such as the buggy tour) allow you to pick an activity.

How do I book a tour?

After you have read the itinerary of your tour of choice, you can select your arrival date, hotel category, number of accommodations, and then press the Buy Now button. On the next page, fill in your passport details and go to the payment page. After the payment has been processed, a receipt, a booking confirmation and a travel advisory will be sent to your email address. The booking confirmation will include the arrival date, application number, hotels in the itinerary, excursions and all other important details about the tour.

You can also order your own individual tour by applying on the site! Fill in your name and preferred contact method. Our manager will get back to you to discuss the tour details and the price withing 24 hours.

Is canceling a tour free? What is the procedure for that?

If you cancel the tour less than 50 days in advance, you will forfeit 25% of its group visit price.

If you ordered an individual tour, you can cancel it with no cancellation fee 15 or more days prior to the arrival date.

To cancel your booking, you will simply need to fill in a short cancellation request form on our site and send it to us. We will process this request within 24 hours.

We will return the money to your banking account within 30 days of the cancellation (usually

Does Travel Baikal have all the necessary licenses and permissions?

Yes, you can see all our licenses and permissions in the Legal section at the bottom of the page.

Who do I talk to in order to resolve any questions that come up in connection to the tour?

If you have any questions about a tour, you can write to the support chat on our site, write in WhatsApp, call our office or send an email. We will get back to you as soon as we can. Please keep the time zones in mind!

Are there any shops there? What if I need to buy something?

There are shops near Baikal, but they mainly sell food and souvenirs. If you forgot clothes or equipment, you can only buy them in Irkutsk. We advise you to bring all the necessities with you, as you might not have the time to go shopping.

Can I drink water from the tap there?

Yes, the Baikal water is clear. Irkutsk residents drink water from the tap. Still, we would advise you to drink bottled water in hotels.

You must remember that tap water from another country can have a very different pH level from what your body is used to, so it is safer to drink bottled water.

Can I swim in the lake?

In some areas, such as the bays of Maloe More, water temperature can reach up to 25 degrees Celsius, but overall, the water remains cold even in summer. If this does not deter you, then feel free to swim in the crystal clear waters of Lake Baikal! You can go ice hole swimming in winter.

The temperature can vary from one year to the next; sometimes water remains very warm up until August.

What means of transport are available there?

In summer: train, motor ship, high-speed powerboat, helicopter, bus, bicycle, UAZ 4x4, and jet ski.

In winter: train, bus, car, UAZ 4x4, helicopter, Hivus hovercraft, skates, dog sleds, and skis.

Can I picnic at the lake?

You may not litter or start fires anywhere around Lake Baikal, as its entire territory is a nature reserve. However, there are special picnic zones on Khoboy and in some other places featured in our tours. Everyone uses those zones to cook fisherman’s soup. You will be able to enjoy a picnic there during the trip to Khoboy.

Why is Lake Baikal called a sea?

Baikal is the world’s largest and oldest lake, with crystal clear cyan water through which you can see the lake bed. The locals call it a sea because of its tremendous size, stormy weather and the variety of flora and fauna on its shores.

Let’s talk about your next trip
Send us an email
Reach out via phone +7 (395) 248 07 88

Come to visit us at the address: Irkutsk, Kievskaya str. 7, office 505A, 5th floor