Testimonials – Travellers Reviews

A huge thank you to the travellers who shared a review of their experience.*To see images travellers shared, click read more at the end of each testimonial.

Lake Baikal Ice Adventure

Jock BennetsAustralia

l hope you continue to bring such joy to the world, thanks and a big thumbs up me!

56 Parallel, well done! Everything went like clockwork, even with changes made on the spot with weather conditions, mainly for safety concerns, replacement options were just as exciting, and the ice festival was a huge surprise! My camera lost power at the festival but the guide took the pics instead and she’s in contact trying to work out a way to forward them on.

The food was different and trust me l tried everything and it keeps coming, hotels and dine in venue spot on and who doesn’t love a teddy bears picnic. A magic part of the world! My friends at home are in awe, and of Virdana the guide is the right person for a not so easy job, she can keep smiling in difficult circumstances and of course, she has a great seance of humour and is the ultimate survival skill, l miss her dearly, sent me home with one of her lake Baikal paintings which l treasure, loved the whole experience!

Lake Baikal ice

Moscow & St Petersburg Winter Escapade

Diana ClaxtonAustralia

We loved our tour in Moscow and St Petesburg!

The itinerary was good! You were excellent! We were very confident that anything you arranged would be as it was supposed to be and reliable. We were talking about how good 56th Parallel is and a word that came to mind about our experience was ‘seamless’. We felt totally safe all of the time during the trip. Katia in St Petersburg was EXCELLENT!  With Katia we got warmth, friendliness and humour, we never stopped talking! She knows her stuff when it comes to the sites that we visited. We loved spending time with her and the driver Oleg – he was a great driver.

Max in Moscow was good. He knew his information. They are two very different people. We also found that Moscow was a bit heavy because it was walking for two and a half days out of three, there was a little break. We would probably break up that itinerary a little more. It’s not that we are not fit but 6-7 hrs on our feet day after day is a bit tiring without rest periods.

The hotels on tour were excellent! We especially loved the Pushka Inn, rich in history and in a great location. Mercure Arbat was also fabulously located. The staff in both hotels looked after us wonderfully. We really enjoyed our stays in both of them.

As to the Russian people: those in the tourist facilities like hotels and cafes were fine. Outside, some people were friendly, some were not. Those that didn’t speak English didn’t want to have anything to do with us. We used a translator app when we were on the train which was really useful.

We were absolutely happy with your services!!! We would recommend you and definitely use you again!

 

Lake Baikal Photography Tour 2021

Diana ClaxtonAustralia

Baikal's ice in our top 3 best ever things we have ever seen!

We loved our Lake Baikal tour! As you know we left the tour a day early and it was just the right amount of time for us. Early mornings as expected, but appreciated the break in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, we had a bit of snow a couple of days in so there was limited clear ice. Andrew and Igor did their best to find great locations for us that were tourist-free! The itinerary was great! You were excellent! We were very confident that anything you arranged would be as it was supposed to be and reliable. We were talking about how good 56th Parallel is and a word that came to mind about our experience was ‘seamless’.

The hotel was also good. The walls are very thin so you hear everything that people next door are discussing and doing. As members of our group were in the same row of rooms we had agreed to keep the noise down. Like-minded travellers stayed here so there was not a problem with people being up late and being noisy. The restaurant at Baikal Wood hotel served adequate food. It was more than enough in quantity, 4 courses each meal!!! I was soon refusing half the food, I think that they were surprised by this. Breakfast seemed to be a bit of an issue with our early starts – we had packed breakfasts which were pretty good.

We felt totally safe all of the time during the trip. And the highlight of the trip is definitely Baikal’s ice, it’s in our top 3 best ever things we have ever seen.

We were absolutely happy with your services!!! We would recommend you and definitely use you again. The only thing we raised an eyebrow at was having to pay in US $ – but that’s probably due to the crap exchange rate.

Moscow & St Petersburg Winter Escapade

Stephanie MacAustralia

Russia was amazing!

After passport control, everything was a breeze. The transfers were smooth as and the drivers were really lovely. You couldn’t have picked the guides any better! Maksim in Moscow was just what I needed to get to really understand the history and how it shaped the country today. Like seriously I thought I knew important parts of Russian history, but I was wrong. THERE WAS SO MUCH MORE! He was a history teacher so his knowledge for everything was I was no history buff, but the way he explained it made it way easier to understand.

The location of the Mercure Arbat Hotel was great! Close to shops, restaurants, metro etc. The sad part was that I only found out there was a Sephora just around the corner on my last day and I was gutted but I walked out every night and felt very safe to do so. Complimentary brekkie into Russian cuisine was a big bonus and the staff were so lovely. And it was great that Maksim took me to places he liked as well as fellow Russians to eat.  Overall for me by myself, I think my tour was great considering the winter weather. But I think if I were to come in summer and had more days and with my friends/family, I’d balance them with a shopping centre day and/or theme park (I did hear Dream Island is opening in Moscow at the end of the month).

So I thought St Petersburg had a lot to live up to after Moscow. And boy did it ever. As soon as I walked out of the train station, I was like WOAH. it just felt completely different than Moscow, and I don’t know what it was, but I really liked it. I call it the Melbourne of Russia! Katya (the guide) and I got on really well as well as the driver Oleg. They were awesome! She guided me through the city, its highlights and picked up from where Maksim left off in history so damn well! I even got to experience some hidden gems where I had Russian donuts, pancakes and I even had time to quickly stop at a supermarket which I loved so much! The hotel was in a great spot for me to stroll around and so central to everything – shops, restaurants etc. It baffled me that I was right around the corner from the Winter Palace/State Hermitage Museum, Palace Square and Building of the General Staff. It at night time was beautiful. I know what I’m doing when I come back to St Petersburg!

Surprisingly, I thought something would go wrong considering it’s me, but nothing did, and if there was a hiccup in the itinerary, the guide still ensured everything ran smoothly which I never noticed.

You guys at 56th Parallel did an amazing job at organising my tour. You took the stress out and I can only imagine the communications back and forth, back and forth to make my trip perfect!

Thank you so much. I look forward to going again!

Stephinie Mac

Lake Baikal Photography Tour 2021

Edward GetleyUSA

I enjoy my time in Lake Baikal and was happy with the itinerary and your overall experience.

I was happy with the guides Igor and Andrey (although I prefer female guides) and accommodation provided on the tour. Food was fine.  For lunches would have preferred just a LARGE bowl of the Baikal Wood delicious soups with some bread and butter.  That would have been more than sufficient:).  Their soup was soooo good! The highlight of the trip is the clear ice of Lake Baikal:)

©Edward Getley

©Edward Getley

©Edward Getley

©Edward Getley

©Edward Getley

©Edward Getley

Lake Baikal Photo Tour Siberia Russia

©Edward Getley

©Edward Getley

©Edward Getley

Lake Baikal Photography Tour 2021

Christian SaagerSwitzerland

We had a fantastic time in Lake Baikal!

The itinerary was good and we appreciated the flexibility to do some adjustments if needed. Alexandra as the local office was very helpful as well and made all program adjustments possible. Everything was very smooth, all transfers were on time and we met very friendly people everywhere. Misha, the photographer, gave excellent recommendations on how to organise each day. He was outstanding! Exactly the person we were looking for. A very professional, helpful and friendly person. He integrated very well with the 3 of us. He selected the right photo places at the right time of the day. He made our trip to what it was: a great experience! We would definitely recommend him to all the people who like to do photography!

Vidana was with us and gave some background information. However, we think she is generally more used to big groups of tourists who stop at sightseeing points for a short time and then move on.

We were happy with the chosen accommodation options and we always ate very good food. All happy! We really enjoyed the Siberian friendliness and hospitality and felt absolutely safe on this trip. We also had very good drivers everywhere.

The entire trip was fantastic! You found the people who matched our needs for this trip! Thank you!

 

Lake Baikal Photography Tour 2021

Rebekka PliesDenmark

I have a strong feeling, that I might go back there soon... :-)

I can’t believe that it’s been already one week since our adventure to Lake Baikal. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the trip. It definitely met and exceeded my expectations. Igor and Andrey were brilliant guides and always happy to help if there were any questions.

The accommodations in Irkutsk and on Olkhon Island were very nice, comfortable and the food was tasty. We were sometimes a bit overwhelmed by the amount of food (4 courses), but that’s not an issue at all. I felt very safe – all drivers were awesome. Thanks for the great organisation of the trip. The communication with you and the itinerary were great. My overall highlight was the icy scenery, the clear ice, the grottos, the group – everything. I would certainly recommend 56th Parallel to other travellers or photographers and especially the area around Lake Baikal.

I’ll look for some photos and will send them in a second mail.

All the best and thanks again for everything!
Rebekka

More Reviews
Andrew Cherrett
Andrew Cherrett
08:04 30 Jan 20
56th Parallel & Anna were amazing, the trip that was planned was perfect. The guides & drivers where wonderful, what an... amazing experience & an amazing country with fabulous people!! This is the first holiday I have recommended or posted a review. Don't let Russia slip through your fingers or you will regret it...read more
Tony Fedorowicz
Tony Fedorowicz
00:17 05 Nov 19
There is no way we could have organised our trip to Eastern Europe and Russia ourselves and experienced as much as we... did without the expertise 56th Parallel provided. Anna is a champion!read more
Sarah Craig
Sarah Craig
08:48 25 Sep 19
Kamchatka Kingdom of the Bears TourWas it smoothly planned? Absolutely, and we were very lucky with the weather too... and went straight from Kuril Lake to base camp by Helicopter giving us lots of extra time on a day that could’ve been all travellingDid you enjoy your time in Russia and the experiences on this tour? Very much, I would say I struggled a little being in such an organised trip, I’m used to doing my own thing, but in this location I definitely got to see and enjoy more because it was a group and not just me on my ownDid you like your hotels, Russian food, overall dining experience and meal options? I thought the hotels were very good. I’m sure you’re aware I was unable to manage camping in freezing temperatures and paid for a transfer to get me away from camp, but that was my only bad night. Our chef was FANTASTIC and the meals in restaurants got better and better finishing in a really luxury place on our final night!What about Russian people and their culture?I found Russian people to be extremely friendly, surprisingly so seeing as they don’t all smile much!! Did you feel safe on your trip? Very, and again I was surprised at how safe it is to be in Russia. In Moscow teenagers had their phones in their back pockets unconcerned… in London they would be stolen!What was the highlight of your trip? Just because of the diversity of spectacular photographs I got on that day, the trip to Valley of the Geysers, however Kuril Lake is a close second!Were you happy with 56th Parallel services? Extremely, I felt like a person the whole time I was dealt with and all the information was clear and correct. Everything about the trip was done to the highest standards possible and I was very impressed!In addition Alyona our tour leader was absolutely AMAZING, I cannot commend her to you enough. She was kind and understanding on an individual by individual basis, she also delivered information and answered all questions about what we were doing and went above and beyond in terms of adding in stops and activities as we requested them.read more
זיוה לאלו
זיוה לאלו
08:23 04 Sep 19
Dear Anna ,I want to thank you for arranging us a very good tour to Kamchatka.Each day was a big WOW !!! I... appreciate all your efforts to make us happy .I hope we shall have another opportunity to travel with you.All the best ziva laloread more
T B
T B
03:25 19 Aug 19
I wanted to take the time to thank you for this wonderful trip. Everything was really very well organized, all the... guides we had, were very knowledgeable and very nice people.I have to say, that I picked your company on the net, and I was a bit afraid... But again, the experience couldn't have been better!read more
Jan Koubek
Jan Koubek
09:19 22 Jul 19
It was my dream to see Lake Baikal and the nature around it. From my experience, it was amazing and adventurous. ... Everything was excellent, from the hotels to Russian people. The group was small, which was very good, made up of only 4 people. Thank you 56th Parallel for organising the trip.read more
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