There are some charming images existing in everyone’s mind when thinking about Russia. The most famous ones are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Hermitage and Russian art, Trans-Siberian Railroad, vodka etc. And among them there is a mysterious enigma of “Siberian Winter”. Associations known from childhood immediately appear in one’s head, such as ever frosts, boundless snow plains, Russian troika ride with bells, extremely low temperatures, reindeer. Some of them are true, some not, some sound just funny, but definitely you can be sure of a big surprise from experiencing little known land and excitement of making the long-standing dream true.

Winter is, after all, the most Russian of seasons, a time of fur coats, sleigh-rides and chilled vodka. Even in coldest months of December – January city life goes on, on the nice days people enjoy outdoor activities and winter sports. Most of the winter, it is about –15, -17 C during a day, which is OK to be out if you have proper clothes for subzero temperature. Usually the layer of snow out in the plains and forests is 50 cm to 1.5 meter, though in the mountains it may reach 2 -3 meters. That mono-colored world somehow strikes one’s imagination: the endless acres of snow, the tracks going seemingly nowhere, the groups of bare birches, the delicate reeds and huge frozen rivers and lakes.

It’s a pleasure for us to invite you to an exotic trip in the heart of Siberia with visiting the deepest freshwater lake on the Earth. The uniqueness of Lake Baikal and its magnificent surroundings make it a true one-of-a-kind splendor in the world and one of the best places for winter sports. We offer variety of activities in Irkutsk and at Lake Baikal ranging from one day excursions to a week tour to Olkhon Island:

Ice Lake Baikal Excursion, 1 day

From the 10 of February till 31st of March only. Duration of the tour is 8-9 hours.

Description

Winter tour walk on frozen Lake Baikal All transfers by private car, English/German/Japanese/Italian/Spanish speaking guide, visit to the Museum of Lake Baikal (Limnological Museum), the viewpoint over the source of the Angara River, walk to St. Nicholas church.

The way from Irkutsk to Lake Baikal goes through a picturesque taiga-forest up and down the high hills. After 1-hour drive you’ll come to a viewpoint facing the Shaman Rock, at the source of the Angara River. The small but tourist-wise village of Listvyanka is located on the shore of Lake Baikal, 70 km from Irkutsk. This old-style Siberian village is famous for its trade history. From the 18th century its ferry took merchants across the lake to Mongolia and China and the Far East. In the old wooden church of St.Nicholas, you can burn a candle to your safe and successful journey.

You’ll make an unforgettable, amazing and safe journey on the ice road from Listvyanka village to Bolshie Koty (a small settlement in 20 km to the north) to feel the beauty of transparent ice of the world known Lake Baikal. Usually Lake Baikal is frozen over from mid January to early May. In this period it’s the biggest skating rink with the ice thickness of a meter or more. The lake serves as a temporary road, forming a navigable land route between the settlements at its northern and southern ends. The safest period for such a trip, especially in the southern part of Lake Baikal, is from the beginning of February to the end of March. The route goes along the shore of Lake Baikal. You can get off the car and walk around the ice to see how thick and strong it is (75-cm thickness of the ice is enough to hold the 15-ton truck on it).

The Museum of Lake Baikal (Limnological Museum) provides information about the origin and wild life of the lake. A video film gives you the opportunity to see the deepest point of the lake’s bottom (1.637 m) from the submarine board. From the museum, a path climbs to an observation point with excellent views of the lake and mountains, Port Baikal and the Angara River.

On the way back to Irkutsk, at your request, a car takes you to the Museum of Wooden Architecture (entrance tickets are not included).

Package price per person

1 PAX 2 PAX 3 PAX 4 PAX
180€ 130€ 100€ 80€

Services: guide service, transport. Entrance tickets to museums and lunch are not included.

Dog sledding and Baikal excursion 1 day

From mid December till early April. Departure from Irkutsk: 9:30 am. Back to Irkutsk at 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Duration of the tour is 8-9 hours.

Description

Winter tour Dog sledding on frozen Lake Baikal All transfers by private car, English/German/Japanese/Italian/Spanish speaking guide, visit to the Limnological Museum, the viewpoint over the source of the Angara River, walk to St. Nicholas church, Dog Sledding.

After Listvyanka settlement sightseeing tourists get to a dog open-air cage to see how the harness is put on dogs, listen to the brief instructions and explanations from the guide. Winter tour Dog sledding on frozen Lake Baikal Breath-taking excitement gives you creeps you up when a team of Russian racing huskies, brought from Kamchatka peninsula, lead you along the forest trail. Controlling the wooden sledge at the sharp turns, enjoying the speed one has incomparable feeling of unity with nature. Experienced guide-instructor will escort your trip with a ski-doo.

Note: When taking a dog sled ride, there is a possibility to share a lap among tourists, e.g. the lap of 10 km can be started by one tourist and after 5 km ride a shift with another person may be done, so 2-3 tourists can try dog sledding one after another during 10 km ride. It is also possible to arrange a ride longer then 10 km.

Package price per person

1 PAX 2 PAX 3 PAX 4-6 PAX
210€ 160€ 140€ 120€

Services: guide service, transport, museum entrance is included, lunch is not included, dog sledding 5 km per person

Downhill skiing and Baikal excursion 1 day

Winter downhill ski trip around the Lake Baikal From December 1st till early April Departure from Irkutsk: 8:00 am. Back to Irkutsk at 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Duration of the tour is 12 hours.
This is a day trip to a popular Siberian ski resort situated right on the shore of Lake Baikal in Baikalsk city. There is a magnificent view on Lake Baikal mirror and snow peaks around from the top of the mountain. Total length of Baikalsk ski slopes is over 15 km, maximum altitude difference –550m, 5 lifts. The resort is one of the best in Siberia and the Far East of Russia, in 2001 Mr.Putin spent seven-day vacation skiing in Baikalsk. Snowboard and cross-country skiing are also popular there.

Early morning tourists are picked up from hotel by private car and transferred to Lake Baikal shore, Baikalsk city (140 km, 3 hours). The road to Baikalsk is a part of Moscow-Vladivostok highway, getting along in Siberian taiga forest. There are also few gorgeous view points on the way. The day is spent at ski slopes, late in the afternoon driving back to Irkutsk.

Note: At the resort tourists rent equipment and buy lift ticket by themselves. Rent of skis or snowboard is approx. 20-30 EUR /per day, a day lift ticket is 20 EUR during a week and 32 EUR on weekends and on holidays.

Package price per person

1 PAX 2 PAX 3 PAX 4-6 PAX
180€ 120€ 100€ 80€

Services: guide service, transport.

Cross-country skiing in Siberia forest, 2 days, 1 night

From mid November till mid March.

Winter cross-country skiing on frozen Lake Baikal Two days/one night ski tour for those who likes to make a break in rushing around city centers, railway stations, museums etc. This trip will give you a proper chance to concentrate on yourself and nature in the middle of the solemn Siberian winter forest, see the lifestyle of a small Russian village in the middle of nowhere. The settlement of about 30 houses is situated at the edge of an immense forest 1.5 hour by local train from Irkutsk. Several nice ski pists start here to get you to a nice pine tree forest with a perfect view around, make you feel confused reading the ornament of animal’s prints, lead to the solitude hunter’s hut. One would hardly meet another person on his trip but at the weekend, when the place gets busy with Irkutsk ski lovers.

Winter jeep tour on frozen Lake Baikal to Olkhon island In the morning of the first day tourists take a local train to Trudny stop. Accommodation in the larch logs cabin with traditional stove (House of 4×5 m, one room. Wooden Russian sauna. Guide sleeps in the nearby hut). Lunch, afternoon skiing. Client can choose the distance (from 3 to 40 km) and the level of the pist. In the evening sauna and dinner. Next morning another walk around. Afternoon trip back to Irkutsk. (Arrival in the city by 4.50 pm or by 9.00 pm.). We provide a guide, skis and outfit, full board, all transfers and Russian sauna included.

Note: We need to know the size of the client’s foot beforehand to supply the best suitable ski boots.

Package price per person

1 PAX 2 PAX 3 PAX 4-6 PAX
220€ 140€ 120€ 110€

Services: guide service, transport, accommodation in chalet. Equipment rental not included.

Winter Jeep tour to Olkhon Island, 6 days, 5 nights

Lake Baikal cap Burhan Olkhon island February 1st till March 31st.
Olkhon is the largest island on Lake Baikal. It is 71 km long and 15-25 km wide. Olkhon is the most beautiful and mysterious place on the lake. The climate and landscape here are different from the rest of the lake. Average temperature in Summer is 20 – 23C above zero, many sunny days, rain is a rare thing. In winter there is not much snow, windy, temperature is about –20C. Nature of Olkhon is outstandingly various: there are gorgeous sandy beaches, spacious steppe hills, dramatic capes, pine-tree forests and picturesque rocks, beautifully coloured with yellow, red, orange lichens. The island’s dry southern end is rolling grassland – great for off-road mountain bike. This transforms in the mid part into thick woodland and at the northern tip there’s a fair chance of spotting freshwater seals.
The channel between the island and the mainland is called Maloe More, it is one of the few places at Baikal where water in summer is warm enough for swimming.

Winter tour on frozen Lake Baikal to Olkhon island The Island is famous for it is the centre of Shamanism, the common religion of the indigenous people of Siberia – Buryats. Many of the shamans’ sacred places and rock paintings are still found here. The biggest settlement of Olkhon is the fishing village of Khuzhir with population of about 2.000 people .

You will get into the magic ice kingdom of Lake Baikal. You’ll try skating on the ice of the biggest fresh water lake on earth, try your luck in ice-fishing and try, traditional Russian sauna. You’ll visit the most interesting and beautiful areas of Lake Baikal and make walking tours along the shore and into the taiga-forest.

Note: 1. The road to Olkhon (totally 300 km) is partly a bumpy dirt road going up and down snowed hills (50 km), so the whole drive takes about 6 hours with the lunch stop in a little café.

Itinerary:

Day 1 Arrival in Irkutsk, arrival transfer to the hotel Viktoria, standard room, 3-hour walking city tour with one museum.
Day 2 Day excursion in Listvyanka, visiting the Museum of Lake Baikal, sightseeing, afternoon public transport (bus or boat) back to Irkutsk. Meals: breakfast.
Day 2 Driving to Maloe More (Small Sea). Accommodation in hostel in Khuzhir village. Sightseeing around. Sauna.
Day 3 Driving around Olkhon Island. Exploring Baikal ice, skating, ice-fishing.
Day 4 Olkhon Island. Exploring Baikal ice, skating, ice-fishing.
Day 5 Driving back to Irkutsk via settlements Elanzy, Ust-Orda (mainly along modern highway). Accommodation in hotel Viktoria.
Day 6 Transfer to station/airport. Departure from Irkutsk.

Package price per person

Accommodation 1 PAX 2 PAX 3 PAX 4-6 PAX
Hotel Viktoria 1400€ 1100€ 800€ 650€
Homestay 1200€ 1000€ 700€ 550€

Services: guide service, transport, accommodations, excursions, full-board on Olchon Island, entrance tickets to museum.

For further information please contact us. Summer Journeys are possible from April till November and Winter Journeys are recommended from December to April, the best season is March/April. Combination with Moscow tours or St.Petersburg tours or additional to our Trans-siberian individual trips are possible. We will be happy to make an individual offer.

You can read our tips and tricks page for more information and to prepare your travel to Russia.
More info on Moscow and the history of Russia with practical information.
Moscow Life.

You can learn more about the Russian culture and winter Baikal nature, come and learn Russian with us: