Irkutsk – Listvyanka – Bolshoye Goloustnoye (bicycling on the ice of Baikal + descent into the Okhotnichya Cave) – Irkutsk
7 days / 6 nights
Tour price per person:
The tour program:
On the way to Listvyanka it is worthwhile visiting Taltsy open-air ethnographic museum (for extra charge). Here one can feel the unique charm of the authentic wooden architecture and everyday life of the Pribaikalye peoples, and take part in some traditional winter entertainments: get a thrill sliding down a real Russian ice-hill, have a ride on a sled or Troyka or try to walk on stilts.
In Listvyanka we invite you for a sightseeing tour, during which you will visit an observation platform next to the famous Shaman-Rock, hear a beautiful legend and visit the acting Russian Orthodox church of St.Nicholas-the-Miracle-Worker – the patron of all travelers and sailors. You may also have an excursion to Baikal Ecological museum (for extra charge) with an exposition telling about the flora and fauna of Baikal, including aquariums with the lake’s live inhabitants.
Besides, you may visit the spectacular open-air market, where the locals sell souvenirs alongside with home-made specialities of Baikal fish.
After checking-in at the tourist lodge, we suggest you exploring the surroundings and greeting the hospitable Master – Lake Baikal.
In the evening the hot-steam fans are welcome at the local banya (for extra charge).
After breakfast we invite you to explore the neighbouring picturesque bays by bicycle, on both land and ice.
Baikal ice is a unique and unforgettable sight; it changes from turquoise to almost black depending on the depth underneath, elaborately ornamented by streaks and bubbles, and from a mirror-smooth surface to vast spaces of sparkling hummocks sometimes rising for 2 m. Its thickness reaches 3 m, but even being 50-cm thick it endures the weight of 15 tons, so it is absolutely safe to travel on it – of course, thoroughly following the guide’s instructions.
Here on the ice there is very little snow, that is why a major part of the near-shore area resembles a huge skating rink. Cycling on its mirror-like surface is easier than on gravel or paved roads, but still requires certain skills which you will master with the help of your guide.
Today you will see one of the most outstanding landmarks of Baikal – Peschanaya Cove. Apart from its beauty and record-breaking amount of sunshine the Cove is famous for the so-called “wandering” trees, which really look as if they were walking because their roots are exposed to the winds so that the sandy soil is being constantly blown off. The calm of the place is guarded by the two rocks looking like two brothers: Big Belfry and Small Belfry. These pyramidal cliffs beautifully frame the semicircular sand beach. The picturesque scenery acquires some particular charm in wintertime.
Then you will return back to Bolshoye Goloustnoye. After the active day you will be sound asleep in the healthy and cozy atmosphere of a wooden house.
After breakfast you will continue your journey over Baikal’s depths towards Cape Bolshoy Kadilny.After yesterday’s training, cycling on the ice does not pose any difficulty, so on the way you will just enjoy the bright sunshine, heady fresh air together with the opportunity to make a stop wherever you wish and to see what is usually left unnoticed from the car’s window.
During the city sightseeing tour you will see the historical centre, the place, where over 300 years ago Irkutsk was founded, the Angara river’s embankment, the most prominent monuments of architecture and, of course, Znamensky (Holy Sign) Russian Orthodox convent with one of the most beautiful Siberian cathedrals noted for its iconostasis and graves on the territory (graves of the Decembrists, Gregory Shelikhov and others). After the sightseeing you will have some time for shopping at the central market and a souvenir store.
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Tour price includes:
- accommodation at hotels and lodges (twin occupancy): 2 nights in Irkutsk (room with a private bathroom), 4 nights in Bolshoye Goloustnoye (room with a shared bathroom);
- meals as per program;
- transfers and excursions as per program;
- rent of bicycles;
- rent of speleological equipment for the trip to the Okhotnichya Cave;
- guide’s services for the included activities.
* the tour is led by Russian-speaking guides, guides-interpreters are provided for extra charge upon request
Check-in/out time at hotels is 12:00, earlier check-in and later check-out are charged for according to the hotel’s accommodation rates.