Lake Baikal Ice Adventure

Walk on water on the oldest lake on Earth
Spring is one of the best times to experience the beauty of Baikal, when the weather is warming up but the lake is frozen solid and crystal clear

Our Lake Baikal Ice Adventure tour takes place during late February and March. The beginning of spring in the Baikal region, at this time of year, the temperature climbs above zero, but the surface of the lake is still largely frozen, covered by solid winter ice so clear you can see rocks and other objects at the bottom of the lake as far as 40m below. During spring, Baikal receives few visitors compared to the summer high season, allowing you to feel an inspiring sense of isolation and communion with undisturbed nature during this handcrafted 6 day tour. Be amazed by the frozen beauty of the world’s oldest and deepest lake and experience real-life walking on water. We’ve included a few activities exclusive to the cooler months such as ice skating, ice rafting and ice golf to add a sprinkle of spills and thrills to this thoroughly enjoyable adventure.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Embark on an over-ice expedition by 4WD to Olkhon Island, the largest of Lake Baikal’s islands and the centre of shamanic energy for the Buryat people. Spend two nights on the island and discover pristine beaches, craggy capes and untouched Siberian forests 
  • While on Olkhon Island, participate in a round of special activities for Baikal’s ‘ice travellers’. Take your pick from ice golf, tube riding or ice skating, or just head out on to the ice for a once-in-a-lifetime photoshoot! 
  • Visit Buguldeika on Olkhon Island, a small rural village amid spectacular natural surround including forested mountains and ancient caves in the valley of the Buguldeika River. Spend the night in a real hunters cabin hidden in the middle of the taiga 
  • Our over-ice driving 4WD expedition continues on to Peschanaya Bay, part of the Baikal National Park and widely considered to be the most beautiful sandy bay in all of Baikal 
  • Ice Rafting: Indulge in an amazing experience unique to Baikal – rafting down the Angara River near Listvyanka village on a raft made of solid ice cut from the surface of the lake, enjoy mulled wine, chocolate and cheese along the way

If you’ve dreamed of seeing the crystalline splendour of a frozen Lake Baikal in all its glory but aren’t so keen on the chilly winter weather, our spring Baikal Ice Adventure is perfect tour for you. Visit some of the most scenic highlights of the lake and its largest island, Olkhon, crossing the solid surface of the lake in an expertly driven 4WD – a novel experience you won’t find in any other tourist destination on the planet. At this time of year, the ice is at its thickest and strongest, making driving a safe way to explore the lake’s natural and man-made wonders.

 

This tour offers a mix of cultural discovery and fun adventure activities out on the ice. You'll have the opportunity to try classic Baikal cuisine and local produce. Feast on Siberian sashimi and fish skewers on a picnic lunch in the middle of the frozen lake. Sample traditional Buryat dishes including dumplings with tea, before visiting a Buryat Buddhist stupa on Ogoy Island.

 

We’ll also visit the charming township of Listvyanka at the mouth of the Angara River to see the native freshwater seals at play in the Museum of Lake Baikal aquarium. On our last night, relax in a real Russian banya, alternating between the hot steam room and taking a few bracing dips in a bath dug out from a hole in the ice – one of many uniquely Siberian experiences you’ll savour and remember for years to come on a trip filled with laughs, joy and wonder.

6 days
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2,690
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Arrival

Departure

Accomodation

Trip style

Irkutsk

Irkutsk

Mixed (hotels, wooden cabins)

Winter Adventure

Duration

Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

6 days / 5 nights

     

1-8

Guaranteed Departures

Itinerary View map

Day 1:Welcome to Irkutsk

Welcome to Siberia! You'll be met in Irkutsk airport from at 9:00am by our guide and transferred to the jeeps location. For the next 4 days, you are going to travel by an expeditionary Nissan Safari SUV on the frozen surface of the great Lake Baikal. Your first destination is the legendary island of Olkhon. At 72 km long, Olkhon stands out among the three dozen islands of Baikal for its sheer size and the monumental grandeur of its landscapes. Lunch (en route) will be in the form of traditional Buryat cuisine: with a banquet of buuz-dumplings and Buryat tea.

On arrival to Olkhon island, you will visit Buddhist Mortar at Ogoy island. Closer to the evening, you will stop for a night in a cozy hotel in Maloye More area.

Day 2:Olkhon island

In the spring, thanks to the thick layers of ice, you can freely walk right into the grottoes and admire the beauty of the ice shapes. During the day you'll make your way around most of the island and see beautiful spots such as Cape Shaman, Cape Sagan Khushun and Cape Khoboy.

For lunch, the group will enjoy a picnic on the ice of Lake Baikal, consisting of smoked cisco, saguday and Siberian tincture on pine nuts. After lunch, you will participate in the evening’s activities: tube riding and ice skating, ice golf, or just photo shoot with ice and a dedication to ice travellers!

Later in the afternoon, we’ll return to the hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 3:Buguldeika village

Today, you will be heading south from Maloye Morye to Buguldeika village. The day promises to be quite eventful, as we will visit Mt Shebety, sacred Mt Yerd, and look at the famous ancient Petroglyphs on Sagan Zaba rock.

On the way, you will also enjoy a delightful experience of dining on the traditional Russian meal, “pelmeni”.

In the evening, you will discover the beauty of Buguldeika village and its surroundings. Spend the perfect night in a real hunters cabin hidden in the middle of the taiga.

Day 4:Peschanaya Bay

Day four and our journey on the Baikal ice continues. Today, you are going to reach Listvyanka – a village, which is the most visited place by tourists on Baikal Lake (due to its proximity to Irkutsk). Get ready to be excited as today's transport is legendary hovercraft, similar to those James Bond was using in one of his adventures! Along the way, you will pass Skripper cliff, legendary Devil’s bridge and the famous Peschanaya bay, which is considered to be one of the most picturesque places of Lake Baikal. Since 1981, Peschanaya has had the status of state natural landscape monument. Unique taiga slopes with picturesque groups of rocks together with a clean sandy beach of a semicircular form are very picturesque.

Upon arrival to Listvyanka village, you'll be transferred to a guest house.

Day 5:Listvyanka village

In the morning, we’ll visit the observation point – Chersky Rock, a lift-chair will take you up from there. From the observation point you will enjoy incredible views of the source of the Angara River and Lake Baikal.

No trip to Listvyanka is not complete without a visit to the Museum of Lake Baikal. Here you’ll discover more about Lake and its nature from the research staff of the Institute of Limnology. You will also view the aquarium with Baikal seals that inhabit the lake. Rest of the final day you will embark on one of the most beautiful and sublime privileges Lake Baikal has to offer its visitors – ice rafting!

We will gather on the lake and watch as our safety crew saw a huge chunk of ice from the surface of the lake - this will be our raft for the next activity. Our course takes us to the legendary Shaman Stone that separates Lake Baikal from the mouth of the Angara River. On board the raft, the group will toast with mulled wine and a feast of local chocolate and cheese fondue. After this unforgettable experience, you will relax in a real Russian banya with bathing in an ice-hole. After the banya, you will return to the homestay in Listvyanka.

Day 6:Irkutsk, departure

Time to say goodbye to the oldest and deepest lake on earth. After breakfast, transfer to the airport.

Inclusions

Accommodation

Guesthouse accommodation in Maloye More, Sakhurta, Buguldeika and Nikola villages

Meals

Breakfasts in the hotel, some lunches during day excursions, some dinners

Transportation

Group airport arrival and departure transfers

Transportation on tour according to the itinerary (4wd cars, hovercraft, snowmobiles)

Guides

Enriching tours and experiences with professional local English speaking guides

Activities and sights

All activities and sights indicated in the itinerary, download the detailed itinerary for more information.

Other

Russian visa support documents

*Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.

Not included

Flights, travel insurance, visa, optional excursions, individual transfers, tips

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup. 
23 Feb - 28 Feb, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve
25 Feb - 02 Mar, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve
27 Feb - 04 Mar, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve
1 Mar - 6 Mar, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve
3 Mar - 8 Mar, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve
5 Mar - 10 Mar, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve
7 Mar - 12 Mar, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve
9 Mar - 14 Mar, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve
11 Mar - 16 Mar, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve
13 Mar- 18 Mar, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve
15 Mar - 20 Mar, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve
17 Mar - 22 Mar, 2019
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $2,690 N/A Reserve

Testimonials

Hendrik and Claudia LeberSwitzerland

Moscow was fascinating, we want to come back soon. And personally, I liked Siberia and Lake Baikal.

I was very happy with the tour organisation it was well planned and everything was smooth. All our needs were covered. The guides in both Moscow and lake Baikal was very good. By the way, the group was also very nice. We were happy to be in a mixed Russian-Western group with mostly young people.

4 Seasons Hotel in Moscow was outstanding, one of the best rooms in one of the best hotels we have ever stayed at. Hotel in Irkutsk was good. The hotels and guest houses on Lake Baikal itself were not up to our standards, especially regarding beds (mattress and bed cover) and bathrooms. Food was ok, but somewhat monotonous. For a week it is ok, but it is not very positive memory.

But anyway, we've enjoyed our time in Moscow and Lake Baikal very much. Moscow was fascinating, we want to come back soon. And personally, I liked Siberia and Lake Baikal. I liked the emptiness, the cold, the ice. With better hotels, I could even convince my wife to come back.

I will definitely recommend choosing the 56th Parallel for others travellers and yes, I highly recommend to travellers explore Lake Baikal, however, it is suitable only for a certain type of traveller.

Lake Baikal winter tour Lake Baikal winter tour Lake Baikal winter tour Lake Baikal winter tour husky dog sleddingLake Baikal winter tour Lake Baikal winter tour Lake Baikal winter tour

Chris WrightAustralia

Everything was wonderful!

I was very happy with the trip. The guide, Yulia, was wonderful. She was friendly, positive, knowledgeable and interesting. Alexei the driver was very good at what he does. The lake, of course, is absolutely beautiful, a wonderful place. Thank you for all of your assistance with that part of the trip too.

Sandra Thomas and Pat FarrantUK

A trip of a lifetime, many thanks!

Hi Anna, just to say "thank you" for organizing such a fantastic trip in Lake Baikal! Both Pat and I thoroughly enjoyed it and met some lovely people, the one day of -40C was a bit extreme. All went off well, both of the tour guides in Moscow and Irkutsk were really good and drivers met us all promptly, so really well organized! Thank you so much for putting up with all our enquires. Anyway a trip of a lifetime, many thanks! 

Lake Baikal winter tour

Katja RiedelNew zealand

It was a wonderful adventure, the only thing that could have been better? The wind direction!

I can’t praise the organisation of 56th Parallel enough: Everything went smoothly, the booked accommodation was nice, there was enough flexibility to change plans and I felt that my wishes were taken seriously and were incorporated. They were easy to deal with and listened to my wishes. It was a wonderful adventure, the only thing that could have been better? The wind direction!

My 250km Ice skating adventure on lake baikal Feb/March 2016...

Five years ago I saw for the first time pictures of the frozen Lake Baikal on the internet. Gifted Russian photographer Daniel Kordan had just finished an ice skating trip around Olkhon Island with friends and came back with amazing photos of ice covered cliffs, lattice like patterns of white cracks in black ice, ice caves glittering like Aladin’s cave and icicles longer than a human being.

Fast forward five years later and I have just returned from my trip to Lake Baikal. My expectations were high after constantly looking at other people’s pictures of Lake Baikal, but they were exceeded. The ice was more wonderful than ever imagined and the ice skating was fantastic. I had enlisted 56th Parallel to help me with the logistics of my trip and they were great. Communication via email before the trip was good and together we worked out an itinerary for custom made trip.

Even when four days before the trip I had to put everything on hold because of family problems they were very understanding and prepared to support me whatever I decided. Luckily in the end I could travel as planned.

Anna from 56th Parallel with whom I corresponded promised me that my guide would be a real “travel buddy”. That was very important to me because I would be alone with the guide for 11 days. Maksim, 28 years old from Irkutsk, was the best guide I could have wished for. Experienced, yet relaxed, fit, with very good English, a good ice skater and with lots of local knowledge was also an interesting person to talk to. He was patient and friendly and looked very well after me. He was also very understanding of my photography, making sure I was at the best places during sunrise and sunset possible. He was a great guide and companion.

The organisation of gear, food, accommodation and transport was perfectly organised. In the evening we would skate into a village and move into cosy and warm rooms, often with the chance to take a shower before a filling dinner was served. During two nights we decided to camp on the edge of the lake, enjoying the solitude and scenery. In these cases it was no problem to cancel the accommodation, a flexibility I really appreciated.

Marek PotomaCzech Republic

"The trip in Baikal was amazing and I still digest it."

Thank you for everything, it's been a trip of my life! All worked very well and I felt treated nicely and really enjoyed the company of your guides and drivers - both were lovely company and gave me lots of valuable insights. Also the services in the hotels chosen were perfect. The snowmobile experience was amazing, the drive through the pre-dawn time in minus 22 was fascinating!

By Lake Baikal, by its immensity and liveliness; its subtletness and tranquility. You get it all - monumental vistas with shorelines, islands and rocks, and tiny little details sculpted in the ice under your feet. Loud cracks of the ice plates and absolute silence, occasionally broken by blasts of the freezy wind forcing tears in to your eyes.

I don't recognize days and nights any more, waking up too early and getting to bed too late. I can't help myself - Baikal is like femme fatale; no matter how close you are, you never quite get her.

I believe Baikal is just great destination for tourists as much as I hate to say it (selfishly, I would keep them away :-)).

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6 days
Irkutsk
from
$
2,690
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary
6 days
from
$
2,690
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary
Click here to subscribe

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