Lake Baikal is a deep lake found in Siberian District, Russia with a rich history and plenty to do in the surrounding area. It is known for its crystal clear waters and the vast wilderness and should definitely be on your list of stops when you visit Siberian District.
If you are looking for unspoiled beauty in a remote part of Russia then Lake Baikal in the Siberian District is the place to be. Because the location is remote the area is not overcrowded by tourists so you get a true feel for the area.
When you visit during the summer it’s difficult to imagine that the whole lake is covered by ice for 5 months each year. The lake becomes icy in around November and ships docked there instead head for Irkutsk harbour so as not to be caught in the big freeze. Back in 1904 the ice got so thick that a railway was laid straight across it to allow supplies to be transported during the Russo-Japanese war. Nowadays during the winter you are able to drive on the lake giving you a totally different viewpoint and of course driving experience.
If you are looking for unspoiled beauty in the East of Russia you will not be disappointed by visiting the deepest and oldest lake in the whole world. The surrounding city is full of beauty and charm with friendly locals and characteristic wooden houses. In the summer you can see how clean the water of the lake is and the beautiful wildlife that call it home.
The beaches are beautiful and you are able to enrich your trip further by learning about the local shaman traditions as well as visiting the Buddhist Stupa. Even in early December the weather can still be warm enough for a day on the beach, yet only 2 months later the beauty of winter still draws tourists and locals to the lake.
Shamanka Rock (Khuzir)
The most recommended time to check out Shamanka Rock is sunrise/sunset, especially if you want to take pictures. It takes less than 15 minutes to walk from most accommodations in Khuzir and many visitors have said that this location is pure magic.
Best Time to Visit
Russia is warmest from June 15 to August 15, so this is often the best time to visit. This does not, however, mean that there are not things to do at other times of the year. In the late winter and early spring, you can expect to see seal pups, ice caves, and winter grottos. You will also find that there is plenty to do, including dog sledding and ice fishing. In May, you will see nature begin in the start of intense and unique life. Land and trees start to become green around this time. Summer, however, remains the most popular time to visit.
Tips for Visiting
One of the most popular places that tourists visit is a village called Listvyanka. It’s only a couple of hours away from Irkutsk which is home to international airlines. In this area you will find that there are lots of hotels with modern conveniences and comforts of home.
Severobaikalsk is located on the north shores of Lake Baikal. As there are numerous islands there you have a lot of different places to visit, with Olkhon Island being the biggest of all with many villages.
There are numerous accommodation options near to Lake Baikal depending on your preference and travel group.
The locals live a traditional lifestyle which revolves around the lake with the main diet being of fish. In the big city Irkutsk you will find stands dotted around where older women huddle together selling fish that has been freshly caught and smoked to passers-by.
For more info visit Wikipedia – Lake Baikal
Google map of Lake Baikal:
Next photo – by Petr “Dragonovski” Shevelko (flickr)