Spend six unforgettable winter days on Lake Baikal. It’s both the deepest lake on the planet and the world’s largest body of freshwater, which explains why it’s also known as the Siberian Sea. Amongst the rugged nature of Lake Baikal, it’s impossible not to appreciate Siberia’s wild beauty and fascinating history. It was the final stop for 19th-century revolutionary exiles and it’s a sacred Buddhist region that maintains a strong tradition of shamanism.
Moscow - Irkutsk
We hit the ground running in Irkutsk with a city tour and breakfast, before driving to Listvyanka. After lunch, we get into our Land Rovers and have our first taste of driving on ice. Relax in the evening at a welcome dinner, which includes a performance by a local musical group.
Listvyanka - Goloustnoye - Buguldeika - Small Sea
After breakfast, we take a drive across the frozen lake. Along the way, we’ll see a 300-year-old village, Skripper Cliff and the Devil’s Bridge. We eat lunch in a village on the beach, where you can try traditional Buryat dumplings. After leaving Buguldeika, we follow the Tazheranskaya Steppe to the southernnmost point of the Small Sea.
Small Sea - Ogoy Island - Olkhon Island - Khuzhir
Our day starts with a visit to the ice caves. Along the way, you might notice ice formations formed when the lake froze in the early winter. Because of Siberia’s severe storms, the rock can sometimes be covered entirely by ice. You will also see a mystical place thought to be the dwelling of Baikal spirits. In the evening, enjoy a Russian sauna on the shore of the lake or take a dip in the lake through a hole in the ice.
Khuzhir - Olkhon capes - Gremyachinsk
We eat breakfast and continue along the lake’s eastern shore. From Khuzhir, the road passes through diverse landscapes: frozen steppe, taiga forest and dramatic cliffs. After lunch, we continue our journey across the ice of Lake Baikal. Our route passes over the deepest part of the lake (1,645 m). We visit hot springs in the afternoon. After that we come back and spend a night in a Small Sea.
Gremyachinsk - Verkhnyaya Berezovka - Ulan-Ude
Today we switch to paved roads to reach Buryatia’s capital, Ulan-Ude. On the way, we stop at the Ulan-Ude Ethnographic Museum, which includes a rich collection of traditional wooden houses. We will also visit a nice hot springs and an ancient village with Siberian old believers. Upon arrival in Ulan-Ude, we check in at the hotel and take a walking tour of the historic city center. We get a taste of the local flavors when we eat dinner at a Mongolian restaurant. Spend the night at the Mergen Bator hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel and flight back to Moscow.
* if you would like to stay one more day in Ulan-Ude and visit one of the biggest Buddhist Monastery (Ivolginsky Datsan) we can organize for you an extension day and with a nice excursion there.