Tailor-Made Holiday

Lake Baikal Adventure

Explore Eastern Siberia, from the shores of Lake Baikal to the Buddhist culture of Ulan Ude

7 days

from £1,620pp (excluding flights)

A seven day holiday based in Eastern Siberia on and around the shores of Lake Baikal, the oldest and deepest freshwater lake in the world.

  •  Board the Circumbaikal Railway following a picturesque route around Lake Baikal
  • Visit Selenginsk St Trinity monastery, one of the earliest monasteries in Eastern Siberia
  • Meet with the ‘Semeiskiye’ people in the village of Tarbagatay, descendants of the Old Believers
  • Visit Russia’s only Buddhist nunnery in Ulan Ude – Zoongon Darzhaling, far off the traditional tourist routes

 Lake Baikal contains some 20% of the world’s water reserve and is surrounded by soaring mountains forming a beautiful backdrop for the calm blue waters of the lake making it a truly grand and magical spot.

 Fly into the fascinating city of Irkutsk, capital of eastern Siberia.  Irkutsk prospered as the trade in furs and mammoth ivory grew and achieved fame as the eventual home town for the exiled Decembrists. Destroyed by a great fire in 1879 it was quickly rebuilt following the gold rush of the 1880s.

From Irkutsk travel a short distance to the shores of Lake Baikal visiting the Ethnographic museum of wooden houses enroute. This collection of largely 19th century houses with intricately carved decorations depict the three main ethnic groups of the region, the nomadic Evenks, the Russian settlers and the semi nomadic Buryats.  Take a boat ride on the lake before boarding the train for a picturesque ride around the lake to join a local family for lunch.

The journey ends in the city of Ulan Ude with its fascinating Buddhist culture.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 1620 £ 825
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Moscow

Fly Moscow to Irkutsk overnight

Day 2

Half Days Sightseeing of Irkutsk
Visit the atmospheric sights of the city including a tour of the Decembrists' Museum.

Irkutsk is one of the largest and most important towns in Siberia and sits on the Angara River, a tributary of Lake Baikal. Following many Russian artists being sent to Siberia in the early 19th Century, Irkutsk became a centre of intellectual thought, from which much of the city's cultural heritage sprang. With an abundance of wooden houses Irkutsk is home to the Museum of Wooden Architecture, a collection of interesting and reconstructed houses from the region.

You will be staying at Empire Hotel, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Travel from Irkutsk to Listvyanka with Sightseeing en route

Travel to Listvyanka, a small Baikal settlement located on shores of the Lake, approximately 62km's from Irkutsk. En route visit the "Taltsy" Open-Air Ethnographic Museum of Wooden houses. Continue further to the mouth of the Angara river stopping near the legendary Shaman Rock. Take a tour of the Baikal Museum and its aquarium to learn about the flora and fauna of the lake. After lunch on the waterfront visit St. Nicolas the Miracle-Worker Orthodox Church before transferring to your accommodation for the night.

The small but visitor friendly village of Listvyanka is located on the shore of Lake Baikal, 70 km from Irkutsk. This old-style Siberian village is famous for its trading history. From the 18th century its ferry took merchants across the lake to Mongolia and China and the Far East. The Museum of Lake Baikal (the Limnological Museum) provides information about the origin and wildlife of the lake.

You will be staying at Baikal Shalet, Half board

Day 4

Boat and Train Ride around Lake Baikal
Transfer to the jetty to take a 15-minute boat ride to the Port of Baikal. From there board the tourist train for a full day ride along the historical Circum-Baikal or Old Round-Baikal railway - an engineering feat, built under the last tsar at enormous cost and now known as 'a Golden Buckle of Steel Belt of Russia'. The train ride offers great views and stops at interesting and picturesque spots, ending with a village visit and lunch with a local family. Return to Irkutsk for overnight.

Travel from Lake Baikal to Ulan Ude with Sightseeing en route

Travel from Lake Baikal to Ulan Ude, a journey of approximately 380km's following a very scenic route with stops to take photos on the way.

Stop to visit Selenginsk St. Trinity monastery - one of the earliest monasteries in Eastern Siberia. Upon arrival in Ulan Ude check into your accommodation.

Ulan Ude is an important commercial and industrial centre of Eastern Siberia, located on the Trans-Siberian railway. It is the capital of the Buryatia Republic that is a home for Buryat, Evenk, and Russian people. The city itself has a distinct Asian-like feel, perhaps because of the cultural mix and proximity to Mongolia. Eastern Buryats generally converted from Shamanism to Tibetan Buddhism, during the 19th century and Western Buryats generally retained their Shamnic beliefs and ways. Although almost all of the 'datsans' (Buddhist temple) were completely destroyed by the communists in the 1930s, many have been rebuilt, and hidden icons and treasures have been donated by brave monks, keen to keep their religion alive. The city was closed to foreigners until 1987, which explains why so few people visit this most interesting and culturally rich city.

You will be staying at Geser Hotel, Half board

Day 5

Ivolginsk Datsan centre of Buddhism
Ivolginsk Datsan is the centre of Buddhism in Russia, founded in 1946 it is very much a working monastery. During the communist era, almost all datsans were demolished, and in 1946 this datsan was built after Stalin sanctioned greater religios tolerance. The Dalai Lama has visited Ivolginsk five times, and the datsan is home to approximately 30 monks and also a Bodhi tree, planted from seeds bought from Delhi in 1956.

You will be staying at Geser Hotel, Half board

Day 6

Full Days Sightseeing in and around Ulan Ude
Visit Russia's only Buddhist Nunnery (where all Buddhist monks are females), meet the nuns and explore the nunnery. After lunch visit the Centre of Tibetan Medicine, before travelling to the village of Tarbagatai and Nadeino to meet with the "Semeiskiye" people, descendants of the Old Believers. The Old Believers are named after their worship of the old ways, before the church reformed in 1653. Most symbolically, they cross themselves with two fingers instead of three. To avoid persecution many voluntarily fled to Siberia, whilst others were exiled. Their villages tend to be very neat with many wooden cottages and they advocate the use of horse carts instead of tractors. Whilst many families do now have televisions, cookers and telephones, this is still the exception, and many of the old generation will not use modern technology at all. Not uncommon with many villages all over the world, the elders are witnessing a slow migration of the young, from the village to the city as they search for jobs, and material wealth. This is one of the reasons that they welcome visitors into their villages and homes, to try and create an economy which may help slow this migration.

Dine on Semeiskiye cuisine with folkloric entertainment.

You will be staying at Geser Hotel, Half board

Day 7

Fly Ulan Ude to Moscow

Fly Moscow to London

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Russia

Katie Benden, Travel Expert

"Katie was brilliant and very helpful. Helped to put together the itinerary I was dreaming of for my honeymoon and she was excellent with communication."

"Very happy with Katie Benden. Great service – always prompt reply to queries and always polite, attentive and informative. A wonderful holiday."

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Kate Hitchen, Travel Expert

"Kate was calm and bent over backwards to accommodate my jitters about going to Kashmir in the light of tighter FCO guidelines just a few days before our departure. She was absolutely correct in advising against what I thought we should do. Several times during the holiday we said that, 'Kate was dead right about that!'."

"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

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Thomas Frost, Travel Expert

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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