A trip to Lake Baikal is a wonderful adventure and the best way to immerse yourself in the culture and history of Siberia.
- Take a stroll around the deepest lake in the world and let your breath be taken away by the magnificent views.
- Enjoy a picnic by the water’s edge and sample traditional local cuisine such as smoked omul fish and some strong Russian-style liquor.
- Explore an open-air museum of wooden architecture and shaman yurts, and get an insight into the lives of the Siberian people over the centuries.
- Visit an unusual local museum in the charming village of Listvyanka.
- Listen to personal stories from your local guide about life in Russia and Siberia.
- Discover the historic wooden houses of Irkutsk and learn more about why they’re such an integral part of the city.
- See the Angara river and learn some interesting facts about the place where the city began.
Taltsy Museum and Listvyanka Tour
A trip to Lake Baikal is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the culture and history of Siberia. Alongside the spectacular views and pretty flora and fauna of the Siberian countryside, you get to visit Russia’s biggest open-air museum of wooden architecture, where you see shaman yurts and typical wooden houses, and you also visit a 17th-century church and orthodox school.
Once we’ve discovered the architectural and historical gems, we head 20 kilometres south to the lakeside village of Listvyanka, known affectionately as the Baikal Riviera, to explore the water. We take a stroll along the bay, visit some spots that only locals know, and have a picnic right on the Baikal Bay. A perfectly picturesque and fascinating day awaits you in beautiful Baikal… And after a day full of impressions, head back to the city to see the nightlife and visit some cool bars and cafes.
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, ticket to Taltsy museum, snack in Taltsy museum (pancake with tea), snack of smoked omul fish at the bay of Baikal (there are vegetarian options available), public transport tickets, taxi ride from Taltsy museum to Listvyanka, ticket to museum in Listvyanka, snack (dumplings) in the evening, and drinks in Irkutsk (moonshine)
Exclusions: Additional food and drinks, souvenirs and items of a personal nature, tickets for public transport, tips and gratuities for the guide
- Duration: 10.5 hours
- Meeting point: Main entrance to Central bus station (Автовокзал). Address: Oktyabrskoy Revolyutsii Street, 11. Your guide will be holding an Urban Adventures sign. Google maps link.
- Starting time: 10.30 am
- Ending point: Kirov Square
After meeting your friendly local guide, we head out of the historical centre of Irkutsk onto the Baikal motorway in a minibus. The journey to our first stop takes about an hour, the perfect amount of time for your guide to introduce you to the area and its people.
Our first stop is dreamy Taltsy, a wonderful open-air museum dedicated to the wooden architecture of old Siberia. Your guide shares fascinating stories of the different cultures that have settled or passed through the area over the centuries and their way of living. Explore the lives of local people and their house arrangements, from the Buryats and Evenks to the Tofalars and the Russians.
Next, we check out the wooden church of Kazan, built in 1679, and explore a traditional wooden fortress. It’s interesting to discover what’s inside many of these Siberian ostrogs, as many of them went on to form the framework of the cities we know today.
You’re probably feeling peckish around now, so we take you to a tea room to try Siberian sbiten (herbal tea with berries) and pancakes with honey and sour cream. Delicious!
Full, warm, and happy, we head towards the world’s deepest freshwater lake on a taxi. It’s not a secret that Baikal is a sacred place, and you get the opportunity to feel the rejuvenating water on your skin. For spellbinding views, we walk to the observation point at Dendro Park, where we stop for photo opportunities galore (that Instagram feed isn’t going to fill itself!).
Our adventure continues with a stroll along the shore as your guide shares some of the legends of the lake. We also talk about conservation, why this site is so unique, why it needs our care and respect, and what the local community are doing to protect it for future generations.
We make our way around the lake’s most popular village, Lisviyanka, where we also visit an unusual local museum — small but absolutely worth visiting!
Next, it’s time for a picnic! We buy some fish and maybe one or two other local treats and, weather permitting, set ourselves up at our favourite picnic spot along the lakeside (if the weather’s bad, we head into a cute little café instead).
After a delicious local meal, we head back to the city via public transport (the journey takes 1 hour 30 mins), arriving at the central bus station.
Back in the city, we stop at a craft beer bar for a drink, and you have the opportunity to learn some interesting facts from your local guide about the Decembrists (Russian revolutionaries), their families, and how their history intertwines with Irkutsk.
As we continue to walk, we observe a unique blend of architectural styles and check out the only pedestrian street in the city, lined with shops and restaurants.
Next, it’s time to try some local dumplings. There are so many types of dumplings all over the world, but the ones that we eat in Siberia are different, and we know you’re going to love them. Sample some dumplings stuffed with different fillings (meat, cheese, or potato) and learn more about Russian and Siberian cuisine.
After this delicious snack, we continue our walk, learning more about the city as we go, and then make a quick stop at one of the coolest bars in the city, Library Bar, where the walls are lined with photos of Russian literary celebrities.
Moving off of Karl Marx Street, you get to see something that the city is famous for — its historic wooden houses. There are several streets in Irkutsk where all of the houses are made of wood and beautifully carved, making them a must-see for visitors to the city.
Next, we head towards Angara River with its pure blue water and pretty whirlpools. Walking along the modern embankment, you can see a few more of the city’s sights and experience one of the best ways to spend a laid-back afternoon in Irkutsk.
Our tour ends in the place where the city started, a square with three churches, one of which is the oldest stone structure in the city. From here, stay and see more of Irkutsk on your own, or we’re happy to suggest a few more memorable sights to check out.
Dress standard: If you’d like to go inside the Russian Orthodox Church, please wear clothing that covers your legs to below the knees. Women must wear a scarf to cover their head.
Your trip: For your Urban Adventure, you travel in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.
Confirmation of booking: Once you receive your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We’ll see you at the meeting point. Get in touch via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher if you have any concerns or require more information.
Closure of sites: This would be highly unlikely, but a substitute location can be found if this happens.
Child policy: This is a child-friendly tour. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed on this page. Please select ‘child’ when booking. Children under the age of 6 are permitted to join the tour free of charge. Please inform us at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of 6. You can do so in the special request box on the checkout page. For the evening part of the tour, children under 18 years old are allowed only with parent or guardian and won’t be permitted to drink any of the alcoholic drinks.
We can accommodate vegetarians and other dietary restrictions. Please notify us in advance if you have any special dietary requests. You can do so in the ‘Additional information’ box at checkout, or by emailing us at [email protected].