Join YPT in Irkutsk as we head to the stunning early winter in Lake Baikal. We’ll be exploring the city of Irkutsk, Siberia’s second city after Vladivostok, and one with an amazing history and culture of St Petersburg exiles and local ethnic groups.
We’ll be spending 3 nights in and around Lake Baikal, its various villages and islands, including a visit to Stalin’s ‘fish gulag’ at Peshchanaya village, and a bonfire meal and drinks with the local Shamanistic Buryat people! And we’ll spend a day at the Circum-Baikal railway, a 100-year-old railway that is a mix of pure engineering mastery and stunning scenery.
This tour can be done as a standalone tour or it feeds into the Eurasian Adventure where you meet the rest of the group on the train in Irkutsk and travel on to Moscow.
Meet your YPT guide and fellow travellers in our hotel for the beginning of our Siberian adventure.
Walking Tour of the 130th Quarter, we go to churches and monasteries, the planetarium and public observatory, the Eksperimentary Museum of Science, the ‘Window to Asia’ exhibition and the House of Folk Arts, all built to celebrate Irkutsk’s 350th anniversary.
Lunch in local restaurant.
Drive out to Listvyanka village at Lake Baikal and check out the fish market and then scour the souvenirs market for Soviet kitsch.
Visit Baikal Museum where huge aquariums are refilled with water from the lake and head on to the Under the Open Sky Museum.
Drive back to Irkutsk.
Head out for dinner and drinks to find out what goes for a night out in Russia’s Far East!
Overnight in Irkutsk.
Monday 29th October
Breakfast in the hotel.
Depart to the Raketa pier for a closer look at Lake Baikal.
Head out by ferry to the Circum-Baikal Railway for an afternoon of exploration in this stunning landscape.
Construction began in 1899 and the railway was finished in 1905. Myriad tunnels, bridges, viaducts and retaining walls and stunning scenery make this a site not to be missed. We’ll get great views from the boat, and can hike part of this 89-kilometre railway getting amazing photo opportunities.
Dinner and a relatively early night in Irkutsk.
Tuesday 30th October
Early breakfast in the hotel.
Depart for Olkhon Island, one of the largest lake islands in the world. It’s a 5-6 hour journey by bus and ferry but the scenery we pass through means it feels like a short trip!
Check in to our accommodation on the island.
Visit Khuzhir village, the main settlement on the island and home to mostly Buryats, the native ethnic group.
Stop by the Revyakin Museum and find out more about the Buryat’s Shamanism and the pipe-smoking on the island.
Dinner and overnight in Khuzhir.
Wednesday 31st November
Head out after breakfast up to the northernmost point of the island – Khoboy.
We enjoy a traditional Buryat lunch cooked on an open fire of barbecued slated fish and ukha – traditional fisherman’s soup.
After lunch we journey to Peschanaya Village, an abandoned settlement and one of the most beautiful parts of the island. In Stalin’s time ‘enemies of the people’ were sent to work in this ‘fish gulag’.
Head back to Khuzir and relax in a banya bath house (optional extra).
Dinner and overnight in Khuzir, our last night on the island, we’ll keep warm with the help of an old friend – vodka!
Thursday 1st November
Free morning to relax and take in more of the scenery around the lake.
Head back to Irkutsk via ferry and bus.
Enjoy our last night in Irkutsk with dinner at the YPT friendly Tochka restaurant, we’ll have some well-deserved beers and more vodka is a certainty!
Friday 2nd November
Breakfast in the hotel and end of tour.
Connecting flights/trains for onward travel, or join us on the mid-morning train to Moscow for the Eurasian Adventure!