Baikal Winter Magic Tour6 Days | Baikal, Irkutsk, Listvyanka, Ulan-Ude

Baikal Winter Magic Tour

Winter at the legendary Lake Baikal – an experience like no other! Take a thrilling snowmobile trip through the Baikal taiga, journey across the frozen lake on an all-terrain vehicle, visit unique museums about Lake Baikal and the indigenous people living on its shores, and much more on this Baikal Winter Magic Tour. The tour also explores the historical Siberian city of Irkutsk, the former trading centre of Ulan-Ude, and an impressive Buddhist monastery, the Ivolginsky Datsan.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Irkutsk
 
Arrive in Irkutsk at 08:25, meet your driver, and transfer to the hotel for an early check-in. After breakfast, meet your guide for a sightseeing tour of Irkutsk. This city, considered the heart of Siberia, boasts more than 100 significant monuments. Your tour starts at Irkutsk’s most important streets, Karl Marx Street and Lenin Street, where unique wooden architecture coexists with majestic stone buildings inspired by the streets of St. Petersburg and Moscow. There are also many theatres in this area, including the Musical Theatre and the Drama Theatre. Stroll past the 17th century Spasskaya Church, which is the city’s oldest brick building and played a prominent role in its history, and the Polish Cathedral, the only Gothic building in Siberia. This Roman Catholic church was built for political exiles from Poland and their descendants. Pass through Kirov Square, where the Cossacks built the fortress that laid the foundation for the city. Continue along Gagarinsky Boulevard, an embankment along the Angara River with many cafés and terraces and an ideal place for walking. Visit the market, which the townspeople call the “bazaar”, including its fish stalls that sell fresh catch from Lake Baikal. Behind the bustling market is an old area of the city with typical Russian architecture, including traditional wooden houses with carved shutters and window frames. Walk through Irkutskaya Sloboda (130th Quarter), a recently renovated district with several historical architectural gems. The tour ends at the Museum of the Decembrists, which is dedicated to the participants of the December 1825 uprising that aimed to abolish serfdom and force a transition to a constitutional system. The uprising was brutally suppressed, and many participants were sentenced to exile in Siberia. The museum includes the old estates of two Decembrists, Prince Trubetskoy and Prince Volkonsky, and their personal belongings, documents, and household items. Return to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5 hours
Day 2: Irkutsk – Listvyanka
 
After breakfast, transfer to the village of Listvyanka on the shore of Lake Baikal (70 km, 1h15min). On the way, visit the Taltsy Architectural and Ethnographic Museum. Explore the old wooden buildings of this open-air museum and learn about the life of the Baikal region’s indigenous peoples. Upon arrival in Listvyanka, check in to the hotel and take a break for lunch (not included in the tour price). Then visit the Baikal Limnological Museum, the only museum in the world that focuses on the study of Lake Baikal and its flora and fauna. The museum also has aquariums hosting omul, whitefish, sturgeon, seals, and other examples of the lake’s fauna. Afterwards, take the funicular to the observation deck on Chersky Stone, which, in winter, offers breathtaking views of the ice-covered Lake Baikal and the source of the Angara River (which doesn’t freeze, even in the cold Siberian winters). Return to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
During your free time, we offer the following optional activities (at additional cost):
Virtual trip in a bathyscaphe to the bottom of Lake Baikal (at the Baikal Museum).
Day 3: Listvyanka – Black Pass – Listvyanka
 
After an early breakfast, take a day-long snowmobile trip through the Baikal taiga. Starting from the snowmobile base in Listvyanka, you’ll travel on the taiga road that runs along the Krestovaya Gorge. See the cedar glades and riverbeds, before testing the snowmobiles to their maximum power as you climb up to the Black Pass. Continue to the recreation centre, where you’ll take a break for a hot lunch. Afterwards, return to the hotel in Listvyanka. Depending on ice and weather conditions, you may take the same route as the morning or drive across the frozen Lake Baikal. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 7-8 hours
Day 4: Listvyanka – Tankhoi – Ulan-Ude
 
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the pier in Listvyanka. Board the Khivus all-terrain vehicle that will take you across the frozen Lake Baikal to the village of Tankhoi (45 km, 40 minutes). Visit the Baikal Biosphere Reserve’s business and information centre to see exhibitions about the lake. Afterwards, transfer to Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia (235 km, 3h15min). Upon arrival, check in to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5 hours
Day 5: Ulan-Ude – Ivolginsky Datsan – Tarbagatai settlement – Ulan-Ude
 
After breakfast, take a sightseeing tour of Ulan-Ude. This city was founded in 1666 as a Cossack fortress and became a major trading centre. Discover the city’s main sights, including: “Lenin's Head”, Teatralnaya Square, the Triumphal Arch, the pedestrian street “Arbat”, St. Odigitrievskya Cathedral, Cathedral Street, the site on which the city was founded, and the “Rinpoche Bagsha” Buddhist Centre. Then visit the Ivolginsky Datsan (48 km). This Buddhist monastery was founded in 1945 and is currently the residence of the head of the Buddhist Sangha (community) of Russia. Look around the datsan and visit the main temple, Tsogchen-Dugan. Transfer to the village of Tarbagatai (49 km). Visit the Church of Christ Exaltation and the Museum of the History and Life of the Old Believers of Transbaikalia, one of the largest open-air museums in Russia, and watch a performance by a local folklore group. Return to Ulan-Ude. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6 hours
Day 6: Ulan-Ude – Departure
 
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport. Departure. End of Baikal Winter Magic Tour.
  • All transfers (1-2 pax by sedan type car, 3-7 pax by minivan, 8-13 pax by 30 seat bus, 14+ pax by 40-50 seat bus);
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • Sightseeing tour programme in each city with local, English-speaking guides;
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Lunch on Day 3;
  • Visa support for Russian tourist visa
  • In groups of 11 or more travellers, 1 person travels free of charge and is accommodated in a single room.
  • Tour leader to accompany the travellers for the whole period of the tour;
  • Full board (lunches and dinners, unless otherwise stated);
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Consular fees for Russia tourist visa;
  • Tips/gratuities for guides and drivers (although these would be appreciated);
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Personal travel insurance.

Accommodation:

Economy Option
Comfort Option
Irkutsk - 1 night
Ibis, AngaraMarriott, Central
Listvyanka - 2 nights
Krestovaya Pad, Baikalskie TeremaNicola, Mayak
Ulan-Ude - 2 nights
Buryatia, Ulan-Ude Park HotelBaikal Plaza, Sagaan Morin

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