A comfortable minivan will pick you up at the airport and take you to Anastasia Hotel located 60 km off. You will be conveniently accommodated in a room with a Baikal view after 2 p.m.
After that, you will have a chance to travel to the cable car, which will take you to Chersky Stone, a viewing platform sitting 700 meters above the ground. You will soak in sweeping vistas of Baikal and the beautiful Angara River, Listvyanka, Port Baikal, Shamanka Rock, and the old railway.
In the second half of the day, you will travel to Listvyanka. There, you can use your free time to walk around this unique settlement, visit the Nerpinary and shop at the local fish market.
Cute little Baikal seals a.k.a. nerpas will fascinate you with an unforgettable show. You will see this endemic species of Baikal within your arm’s reach and learn interesting facts about this freshwater seal, the only such in the world.
After that, you will be transferred back to your hotel.
In the evening, you will have a chance to relax at the hotel banya modelled on a frigate from the times of Peter the Great.
Your first day at Baikal will conclude with leisure time and will gently slip into the night at the hotel.
The day will begin with breakfast at the hotel.
An exciting all-day cruise awaits you. Accompanied by a professional guide and photographer, you will enjoy the stunning beauty of Baikal, shoreline mountains, and one-of-a-kind architectural pieces. You will learn the history of ‘the golden buckle in the steel belt of Russia’ as the Circum-Baikal Railway is sometimes called.
Of course, a cruise like that is unimaginable without fishing. We will prepare fishing rods for you on the board so that you can try your hand at catching the famous Baikal grayling.
You will also have a chance to picnic in one of the most scenic locations of Baikal.
At the end of the day, you will get back to the hotel, enjoy your free time and sleep the sleep of the just.
The day will begin with breakfast at the hotel.
A comfortable minivan will take you to the Taltsy Museum located 17.5 km off. This unique open-air museum complex boasts some of the most remarkable wooden architecture examples of Baikalia across 67 hectares. The museum buildings range from the 17th to the early 20th century.
At Taltsy, you will learn about the daily lives, traditions, and beliefs of Buryats, Evenks, and Tofalars. You will see Russian peasant houses from the 17th–19th centuries and picturesque watermills from the late 19th century. Workshops like smithery, pottery, and crafting a birchbark quail-pipe, or ‘manok’ will give zest to your visit to the museum.
You will have a chance to lunch at one of the best restaurants in Listvyanka, located 23 km away from Taltsy.
After lunch, you will continue learning about nature’s wildlife at the Siberian Zoo. Children will love cute red foxes, a baby bear, mink, sable, baby goats, and rabbits.
In the evening, you will get back to the hotel to enjoy your leisure time and have a restful sleep.
On the fourth day, you will have your last breakfast at the hotel and check out.
Get ready to cruise to Olkhon Island, the heart of Baikal, by comfortable speed boat. But first, to help you tank up energy for this trip, we will take you to Peschanaya Bay, one of the most beautiful places on Baikal (it will take us about three hours to get there).
The bay has been nicknamed ‘Baikal Riviera’. That is thanks to its long and wide, crescent-shaped shore and transparent water warming up to 22°С in July and August, which is comfortable for swimming.
You will have a chance to have lunch there and enjoy leisure time, meandering under the famous walking trees, stepping on the gentle beach sand, and bathing in the pristine water.
After that, you will be ready to continue your journey to the heart of Baikal. The best views of quaint rocks, majestic capes, and vast spaces will open to you from the board of the boat. For almost five hours of the cruise, you will be experiencing the feeling of freedom and unity with the ancient lake.
Once you have arrived on Olkhon Island, a UAZ offroader will pick you up and take you to the hotel for the next four nights.
On the fifth day, you are going to see the main landmarks of Olkhon Island. Part of the National Park of Baikalia, the island has no paved roads. But that won’t be a problem: you will explore Olkhon by jeep, which is comfortable for riding earthy tracks and sand dunes.
Your first destination, Cape Burkhan, is located 650 km off the hotel. There, you will see Shamanka Rock, one of the nine relics of Asia. Millions of people dream of getting to the ritual poles on Shamanka to tie a khadaki band to them and make a wish. You will have a chance to do that!
Your next destination, Cape Khoboy, lies in about 41 km in the North of Olkhon Island. Along the way, you will stop at Cape Budun to soak in scenic views of the strait Maloe More. You will proceed to Urochishe Peschanoe, famous for its picturesque dunes. Your last stop before Khoboy will be Cape Sagan-Khushun boasting the majestic Three Brothers Rock.
Just four more kilometres walking, and you will be rewarded with dramatic vistas of Cape Khoboy. It splits Baikal into two straits: Bolshoe More and Maloe More. Vast spaces and the striking beauty of the landscape will recharge your inner batteries. There, you will have a chance to enjoy omul fish soup and tea made of Baikal herbs for lunch.
After breakfast, you will take a cruise in Maloe More. Secluded bays, steep rocks, and blue depths of Baikal will reveal themselves to you in a new light.
Moreover, Maloe More is one of the fish-richest spots on Baikal. It is home to grayling, omul, perch, and whitefish. Even if you have never fished before, you are going to catch some of them and have lovely fish lunch in the open air.
After that, you will disembark on Ogoy, a small island featuring the famous Stupa of Enlightenment. It sits on the highest point of the island: 512 m above the sea. Buddhists believe that, by taking a walk around the Stupa, you collect blessings. The more rounds you take, the more likely the good-hearted wish you’ve made will come true in your current life.
The day will conclude at the hotel where you will have leisure time before going to bed.
Have breakfast at the hotel and get ready for new adventures. Olkhon is a perfect place for horse riding, and you are going to see why. A one-and-a-half-hour equestrian tour accompanied by a guide and instructor will be full of excitement.
The instructor will select a horse matching your experience and teach you the basics of riding. You will enjoy the hasteless pace, admiring enchanting views of Baikal. The horse-riding expedition is for adults and children older than ten years.
After that, you will hop on a jeep and head to the Malomorets Village, where one of the oldest families of Olkhon will be waiting for you.
The hosts wearing ethnic costumes will greet you at their home and treat you with local specialities. You will learn to make buuz, the most remarkable Buryat speciality, and dance Yohor, the folk dance of local Buryats. The museum yurt will introduce you to other centuries-old traditions of Baikal Buryats.
On your way back to Khuzhir, you will visit the local lore museum to see Ghenghis Khan's warriors' attributes found on Olkhon and religious artefacts of Buryats. You will learn about the nature of Baikal and Siberia, the history of the Buryat colonization of Baikal, and the local indigenous people's culture.
Your day will conclude with leisure time before the last night at the hotel.
After breakfast, you will travel to the Sakhyurta settlement, where a minivan will be waiting for you. It will take you on a four-hour journey to Irkutsk through Tazheranskaya Steppe and small villages. You will make a stop at the Golden Horde Ethnic Park to indulge in Buryat specialities in an authentic khan yurt.
Once in Irkutsk, you will have a chance to play an adventure game instead of a regular excursion. You will explore Siberia's historic centre, learn to make buuz, take fashionable photographs in Italian style, dance polonaise, and more.
Your discovery of Irkutsk will continue at the Decembrist Museum, showcasing authentic items that belonged to noble families. You can attend the concert of classical music that was popular in the Decembrist period over a glass of champagne.
In the evening, we will invite you for a farewell dinner at an original Russian speciality restaurant. Surrounded by the atmosphere of the mid-19th-century manor, you will recollect the experiences of the past days and indulge in originally interpreted Russian cuisine.
After dinner, you will check into Courtyard Marriott hotel, where you will spend your last night in Irkutsk. The hotel sits in the heart of Irkutsk, just steps from its main sights and the promenade offering vistas of the majestic Angara River.
On your last day in Irkutsk, you will have breakfast at the hotel and enjoy your leisure time. After that, a minivan will pick you up and take you to the airport in 30 minutes.
See you on Baikal again!