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Moscow - Lake Baikal Winter trip 12 days

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Unique Trans-Siberian winter journey to Lake Baikal

Duration: 12 days / 11 nights

Itinerary: MoscowNovosibirskIrkutskFrozen Lake Baikal

Season: Winter season from December until March, walk on the ice from February to March only.

Highlights: Guided winter tour to Siberia. Siberia can only be understood in wintertime with its harsh climate. We are offering this 12-days adventure tour from Moscow to the heart of Siberia and lake Baikal to give you the opportunity to experience those real cold and special winter days. Your journey will take you to places rarely visited by tourists and give you an authentic glimpse into the everyday life in Siberia. One of the highlights will be the crossing of the frozen lake by foot or by car (depending on weather conditions). The lake is frozen in February and March only. In the winter months when the lake is icy but not yet frozen, you will enjoy a day hike through the wintery forests along the shore of lake Baikal instead.

This itinerary is flexible and can be adapted to your needs. Please let us know if you need an individualized quote.

Program Prices & Services Booking & Enquiry

Journey presentation from Moscow to Lake Baikal

In Moscow you are going to experience the rich cultural life of the Russian metropole embedded in beautiful winter scenery. After two days of visits to known and unknown places in Moscow, you will depart on your train journey towards Novosibirsk, your first stop along the Trans-Siberian railroad. The construction of the world’s longest and most difficult to build railway, the Trans-Siberian railroad, was finished over a 100 years ago. The link between Moscow and Vladivostok, some 6000 miles apart, was completed employing a labour force of over 90000. Ever since the rail service linking Europe with the Far East was established at the turn of last century, foreign travellers and adventurers have been fascinated by this great journey and crossed Siberia to reach the Pacific or China. Across the Ural mountains to Siberia, through towns that were built along the rails into the Mongolian steps and Gobi desert, the Trans-Siberian journey offers a great opportunity to experience an unforgettable trip. You will spend a total of five days on the train past the Ural Mountains through white forests, along frozen lakes and rivers, and through remote villages of painted wooden houses. Irkutsk, the final destination, is also called ‘Paris’ of Siberia for its pulsing street life and people’s elegant clothes. Still a major trade center for furs, Irkutsk enjoys today a certain economic wealth. Short but hot summers and very cold winters, however, make life here a real challenge. If the weather permits, you will cross parts of the frozen lake on foot for a 20 km walk until the village of Bolshie Koty, where you can take a real Russian steam bath on the shore of the lake (optional, not included) and sleep in a warm comfortable Siberian wooden house. Those brave enough can even take a short swim under the ice. Bizarre formations of ice arise from the high pressure of the thick plate of ice moving against the shore. The noise of the crushing ice at night will last as an unforgettable memory.

Travel program day by day

Day 1
Arrival in Moscow and transfer to the hotel. Free time to visit the capital on your own. Accommodation at the hotel.

Day 2
City tour of Moscow’s famous sights including the Red Square, Basilius cathedral, GUM Shopping centre, Novodevichy Convent, the ancient KGB buildings, the Lenin state library and the Lomonosov Moscow State University (MGU). Visit the Kremlin – a symbol of power and might of the vast Russian lands – with its impressive churches and the Armoury Chamber on the Kremlin grounds which contains a unique collection of Royal Russian and international jewellery including thrones, crowns, carriages, costumes, gold and silverware, all lavishly studded with precious stones. Optional in the evening: visit of a ballet, concert, opera or the famous Moscow Circus (tickets not included). Accommodation at the hotel.

Day 3
The tour of Moscow continues. Your guide will take you to the Tretyakov gallery where you can marvel at Russian fine art and to the Arbat Street where you’ll have time to buy some clothes for your journey to Siberia. Transfer to the train station and departure on the Trans-Siberian to Novosibirsk. Overnight on board of the train.

Day 4
On board of the Trans-Siberian train passing various villages alongside countless birch- and broadleaf forests, all covered with white snow. Enough time to enjoy a cup of hot tea from the samovar, to read, talk and relax. Overnight on board of the train.

Day 5
Arrival in Novosibirsk in the evening. Transfer to your hotel. Accommodation at the hotel.

Day 6
Novosibirsk is the largest city and cultural as well as economical centre of Siberia. Today, you will walk around the city of Novosibirsk, visiting all the main attractions of the city such as: Novosibirsk Railway Station (the biggest station of the Trans-Siberian Railroad), Ascension cathedral, Krasny Prospect street, Lenin Square (city centre with the biggest world’s Opera House), old wooden houses on Gorkogo Str. (the oldest part of the city), St. Nicolas Chapel (the geographic centre of Russia) and the river Ob’ embankment. Visit of the Local Lore (History Museum), featuring the fascinating and mystical history of Siberia. Our local guides love the city and will make you discover the culture and atmosphere of this fascinating Siberian town! Evening departure with the Trans-Siberian train to Irkutsk. Overnight on board of the train.

Day 7
On board of the Trans-Siberian train passing a fantastic winter landscape. Overnight on board of the train.

Day 8
Early morning arrival in Irkutsk and transfer to the fishing village of Listvyianka on the shore of Lake Baikal where you’ll spend the night in a cozy Siberian wooden chalet. Full board included. Lake Baikal is a unique biosphere, the World’s deepest, largest (in terms of volume) and presumably oldest (25 million years) lake containing more than 20% of all running fresh-water on this earth. The threat of pollution by unregulated economic exploitation has led to the creation of the largest protected area to keep the cleanliness of its water and uniqueness of its inhabitation for future generations. The lake is 400 miles long, 40 miles wide and about 1 mile deep. Unlike other deep lakes whose bottom waters are poisoned by hydrogen sulphide and other gases, Lake Baikal’s water is saturated with oxygen from its surface to the deepest point and therefore, living organisms can be found at all levels.

Day 9
December – January: If the lake is not frozen, you will go on a day hike through the wintery forest and along the shore of lake Baikal.
February – March: Depart for the excursion along and on the frozen ice of Lake Baikal to the village Bolshy Koty. The trek is about 16 km each way.
Accommodation in a typical Siberian wooden house or in a polar tent on the frozen lake (1 night, tent only for groups). Full board included.

Day 10
December – January: Free day to explore the lake on your own. If the snow is deep enough, you might consider booking a sledge ride with the fast Huskies and visit the Husky centre (optional, not included).
February – March: Return by foot or by Jeep to Listvyanka.
Overnight in a cozy Siberian chalet. Full board included.

Day 11
Return to Irkutsk. Irkutsk is also called ‘Paris’ of Siberia for its pulsing street life and people’s elegant clothes. Still a major trade centre for furs, Irkutsk enjoys today a certain economic wealth. Short but hot summers and very cold winters, however, make life here a real challenge. During a tour of Irkutsk, your guide will tell you about the development of this Siberian city’s evolution and shows the most interesting sights and peculiar features of one of the most beautiful cities in Russia. You will see beautiful Russian Orthodox churches, a Polish Cathedral (the only Siberian Gothic-style building), many wooden houses or cabins that are decorated with “wooden laces” (hand-made carvings) as well as modern constructions of the 20th century and visit the Decembrist House. Accommodation at the hotel.

Day 12
Transfer to the airport.

Details on lake Baikal:
Irkutsk can be as cold as -20°C at night in winter. Thermal protection is essential, especially for feet, fingers and face. Also, UV protecting sunglasses are required for eye protection. The crossing of the lake and the overnight stay on the lake are absolutely safe. The ice of the lake is min. 1m thick and can hold a car or even a large lorry easily. Polar sleeping bags and equipment to sleep in tents on the lake will be provided.

A few data:
Thickness of the ice in March: 100-110 cm
Average daily temperature in March + 10-15°C
Average temperature at night: -15°C

Prices of the package per person (may vary depending on season)

Group size 2 travelers 4 travelers 6 travelers 8 travelers 10 travelers
2nd class (4-berth-Sleeper) 2025€ 1695€ 1615€ 1495€ 1415€

 

  • Train 1st. class (2-berth-Sleeper) sup.: 290€
  • Hotel Single sup.: 315€

The following services are included in our program

  • Train tickets (1st or 2nd class)
  • All transfers
  • 4 overnights on board of the train
  • 4 overnights in 3-4-star hotels, double room with shower/bath, incl. breakfast
  • 3 nights in a traditional Siberian wooden chalet, double room with shower, incl. full board
  • Guided visits to sights and landmarks mentioned in the program with a local English-speaking guide including all entries and fees in each city
  • Included meals: Breakfast in all hotels, full board in Listvyanka and/or Boshie Koty
  • Visa invitations and documentation to get the visa for Russia
  • Travel documentation
  • Assistance of our partners in case of emergency in each city

Not included

  • International flight to/from Moscow return Irkutsk: Depending on your departure city, we are pleased to help you find the best rates for your airline ticket.
  • Visa consular fee: visit the website of your local consulate for details
  • Meals unless mentioned
  • Tips and personal expenses
  • Travel insurance (medical insurance is compulsory)
  • Winter equipment unless mentioned

Booking contact and enquiry

English speaking local guides in Moscow, Novosibirsk and Irkutsk will be responsible for your safety and excursions. On special request, a guide who will travel with you from Moscow to Irkutsk is also available. We can offer guided tours in German, French, Italian, Russian and English. You can start this tour from Moscow at any time (min. 2 persons are required per booking).

For further information please contact us with the Enquire form button or by E-Mail. Journeys are possible from December to March, the best season is February/March. Combination with our Russian courses in Moscow or city tours St.Petersburg are possible. We will be happy to make an individual offer. Our general conditions apply.

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Preparation for your Trans-Siberian railway trip

To prepare your Trans-Siberian journey we are going to send you more details about all details latest 1 month prior to departure. We recommend taking a backpack or trolley bag with you as it is more comfortable than a suitcase and fits better into the storage space in the train. However, you will never need to walk longer than a few minutes with your luggage. Please check our list of what to take on your Trans-Siberian journey. No specific physical health and fitness is required, the most important part is to be prepared mentally and culturally for the many different people and cultures you are going to meet. For that reason, we suggest reading about Russia in advance. We have a collection of titles in our online bookstore that we can highly recommend. A must for all Trans-Siberian travellers is the Trans-Siberian Handbook by Bryn Thomas, Athol Yates and Tatyana Pozar-Burgar.

General information

Traveling in Russia requires patience and a sense for adventure. It is, however, safe to travel. We have encountered many anecdotal issues during the journeys in the past 20 years we have been organizing guided tours in Russia. Even though the situations were bizarre sometimes, these experiences have made our trips truly unforgettable and have given us a true approach to all those different ways of thinking. We have sent over 150 people on our tours each year so far, from 17 years old students to senior managing directors and even a retired 80 year-old lady made it safely. So, why don’t you join us for this life-enhancing experience?

About the trains

We book original authentic Trans-Siberian Railway trains (local Russian, Mongolian or Chinese trains). All trains are different depending on the route, which means comfort in 1st and 2nd class, cleanliness and friendliness of the train staff vary from train to train. We can’t be held responsible for any inconvenience on the train as we don’t have any influence on trains and employees of the Trans-Siberian Railway company.

For our travel program, we choose the trains with the best suitable arrival and departure time in each city. If you would like to book 1st class, please note the following:

1st class compartments are not always available, especially in high season, due to limited number of 1st class cabins and a high volume of travellers. Also, not all segments provide trains with 1st class wagons. We will do our best do secure a 1st class cabin for you. However, if there are not enough 1st class tickets available or a train doesn’t have 1st class, we will book an entire 2nd class cabin for you to ensure your privacy. Space and comfort of the cabins as well as comfort of bathrooms in 1st and 2nd class are basically the same.

A train ride with the Trans-Siberian is something special and mythical for the flexible and adventurous traveller who likes to enjoy the original and authentic Trans Siberian train ride. In the age of modernisation and high-speed trains, this authentic experience might not be available anymore in 10 years.

Information about your guide

You will be guided around by local guides in each city (natives from the respective cities). They will explain all details about culture, history, and the daily life of “their” cities. This is a unique opportunity to get to know Russia while traveling the Trans-Siberian. We are looking forward to have you on board!