Irkutsk city is the gate to lake Baikal. Starting by exploring the city and its surroundings it turns into search of the way to get to the lake, to Listvyanka.
This is a small village 60 kilometers from Irkutsk on the shore of the lake. Cozy, compact and full of places to visit and stay. What is the most important here? Lake Baikal Museum with cool aquarium and great guides. Dog farm where you can get a ride and visit real Russian blacksmith workshop. Local fish and suvenir market and other cool places that can make someone miss the last minibus back to Irkutsk.
After that one just wants to see more and just can’t get enough. So the road leads to more distant but closer to the lake place. Olkhon Island is the biggest and only inhabitant and tiny town of Khuzhir is waiting for travelers all year round.
March is the best time to go to the island across the ice driving a car or minibus. Frozen lake opens a full spectrum of ice roads that can be taken to the places not available in summer.
During few days it is possible to exlore a huge variety of different destinations around Olkhon Island. Fresh air, adventures on ice, great company of fellow travelers, warm welcoming hosts and great fresh local food. Simple, healthy and fun times guaranteed.
Visiting Irkutsk can be fun, but it’s even more impressive to take a 3 day tour to Olkhon Island. At first it’s 5 hour ride on a minibus, including 2 kilometer drive across ice to reach the island.
After arriving and checking into hotel its nice to ralax and explore surrounding area on foot a little bit, have a dinner. Next morning wake up to have a great walk before ice safari starts.
Weather is usually sunny and you get to see sunlight playing with Baikal ice and landscape. Some people go on foot, but we prefer old style offroad minivans that local ice captains run across snow deserts.
Even there was a great outdoor lunch during ice trip, eating dinner will be the top priority. Excited, it is easy to get tired fast. Local steam cooked buns and bakery with various fillings will keep you up and running. The food is simple and mostly natural.
There are plenty of spots to warm up, eat and socialise. There is a post office, few shops, bicycle rental and many guesthouses. Electricity appeared here only in 2005, so the place is still developing. People are very kind and welcoming.