Lake Baikal: Two Shores, Four Cultures

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Legend of Lake Baikal, Lake Baikal Tour

One of the world’s oldest geographical features formed 25 to 30 million years ago, magnificent Lake Baikal is the highlight of Eastern Siberia, Russia. Ancient and mysterious, Baikal holds deep spiritual and historical significance for the four indigenous cultures that inhabit its shores. On this 9 day Lake Baikal tour, you’ll get acquainted with these long-surviving cultures as we visit the region’s most famous and picturesque places, both overland and across this majestic “inland sea”.

LAKE BAIKAL TOUR – TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Cruise to Olkhon Island, the largest of Lake Baikal’s islands and the “capital” of shamanistic culture. On a day tour of Olkhon’s natural wonders, discover untouched Siberian forests, soaring capes and cliffs, pristine sandy beaches and jaw-dropping sunsets
  • Visit Ust-Orda village to experience the ancient customs of the Buryat people first hand. Feast on Buryati noodle soup and dumplings, hear extraordinary throat singers and participate in traditional games and dances

READ MORE

Imperial Russia, Classic Trans-Siberian Journey

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 11th Oct 2018
Trans-Siberian Journey

A bucket list experience, the monumental Trans-Siberian railway weaves it ways through taiga forests, vast grasslands and sun-baked deserts, skirting the edges of shimmering lakes and raging rivers, passing through modern cities and villages seemingly forgotten by time. On this classic 15-day Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway journey, you’ll get the chance to see Russia in all its historical greatness – in the mixture of cultures and fortunes, in the extravagant and humble architecture, and in the diversity and unity between different people and religions. Choose to begin your journey in Moscow, the mighty capital of Russia, or take the westbound route from Beijing, China. Along the way, we’ll enjoy several fascinating stops including Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Lake Baikal and Ulaan-Baatar, Mongolia – each destination concealing its own secret treasures and unique cultural discoveries.

TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Kazan: Our first stop will be the city on the Volga River known as the “third capital” of Russia. On a tour of Kazan, you’ll discover its intriguing Islamic influence and enjoy a Tartar folk performance with tastings of the local cuisine
  • Yekaterinburg is a modern city steeped in history and mythology. Our guided excursion will include the Church upon the Blood, dedicated to the last days of the Romanovs, and the monastery and temples considered to be the pearls of Russian religious architecture
  • Set foot on the shores of Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest and deepest lake, with a visit to Listvyanka village. Take in panoramic views of the lake, taste fresh lake-caught fish and enjoy the village’s cozy, holiday ambience.

READ MORE

Lake Baikal Photography Expedition

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Lake Baikal Photography Tour

This Lake Baikal Photography Tour will grant intrepid photographers the honour of focusing their lenses on some of Siberia’s most famously beautiful frozen landscapes. Summer sees the bulk of tourist activity in the area, but it’s in winter that the most devoted photographers make the pilgrimage, hoping to capture once-in-a-lifetime images of the natural world at its most powerful and surreal.

Trip Highlights:

  • Climb to the top of Khoboy Cape for a breathtaking panoramic view showing the true scale of Siberia’s “inland sea”. The cape contains a labyrinth of grottoes where sunlight dances off ceilings jagged with icy stalactites
  • Khorin-Igri Bay: an ideal spot to photograph the natural phenomenon of frozen bubbles under Lake Baikal, rising to the surface in perfect discs suspended in the clear, dark water
  • Budun Cape is a rugged natural monument surrounded by shard-like ice mounds. An unreal sight with a huge variety of shapes, lines and geometry allowing for some creative perspectives

READ MORE

Golden Eagle, Luxury Trans-Siberian Express

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 10th Oct 2018
Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Moscow to Vladivostok tour, Trans-siberian railway, Trans-siberian express

The world’s greatest railway journey, the Trans-Siberian Railway runs like a steel ribbon across Russia, connecting  Moscow to the East over the Urals, the forested mountain range separating Europe from Asia. Skirting alongside the shore of the world’s largest freshwater lake, the rail line then crosses the Mongolian border into a land of baking deserts, majestic steppe country and vast grasslands where columns of smoke still rise from the nomad camps of the last of the Mongol horsemen.

To travel along this route is by far the best way to experience the vastness and grandeur of Russia’s rarely visited interior. This private 15 day Trans-Siberian Railway tour spans the entire 9,288km length of the world’s longest rail line, with a total of 12 days aboard the luxurious Golden Eagle, beginning in Moscow and ending in the Russian port city of Vladivostok, close to the Chinese and North Korean borders.

TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Moscow City Tour: Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of one of the world’s biggest metropolises on a guided exploration of Moscow, taking in the Red Square, the Kremlin, St Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Tomb and the world-famous Moscow Metro tour
  • Kazan is the epicentre of ethnic Tartar culture. Discover the city’s mediaeval Islamic influence, tour the grounds of the picture-perfect Kazan Kremlin and enjoy a private concert of the music of Feodor Chaliapin, Kazan’s most famous opera singer

READ MORE

Naadam Festival - Trans-Mongolian Express

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 10th Oct 2018
Naadam Festival, discover Mongolia, Trans-Mongolian Express railway

One of the most celebrated events on the Mongolian calendar, Naadam Festival is the Mongol version of the Olympic Games and a source of deep national pride. Railway cruising on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Mongolia to Russia (or vice versa) is a fantastic way to absorb the rich culture of the Naadam Festival and the cinematic landscape of both countries. Our exclusive Trans-Mongolian Express tour through Russia and Central Asia combines first-class customer service and a romantic room with a constantly changing view from the Mongolian steppes to the Siberian taiga. On a private trip travelling aboard the luxurious Golden Eagle train, we’ll make numerous stops along the route, providing a memorable exploration of the cultures, customs and cuisine of each unique region we visit.

TRANS-MONGOLIAN & NAADAM FESTIVAL TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Nadaam Festival: For three days, Mongolians don traditional dress and celebrate games and sports derived from Mongolia’s proud warrior tradition. Witness the primal thrill of outdoor wrestling, impossible archery contests and horse racing across the vast Mongolian grasslands
  • The Siberian city of Ulan-Ude lies at the crossroads of East and West, harbouring a unique Buryat Buddhist culture. It’s also a stronghold of the last of the Russian Old Believers, who we’ll meet on a village visit to discover the unique history and traditions of these proud, welcoming and deeply religious people

READ MORE

Legend of Lake Baikal

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Legend of Lake Baikal, Lake Baikal Summer Tour

Dive into the Legend of Lake Baikal on this glorious summer excursion to the glittering Blue Pearl of Russia. Plummeting to 1,642m at its deepest point, Baikal is also the world’s most voluminous lake. Its mirror-clear waters are a reflection of Siberia’s wildness, its vastness and its beauty. Baikal is a place where shamans still speak to the spirit world, wildlife-rich virgin forests thrive and lake-living seals fish and frolic in freshwater. Surrounded by jagged mountains and taiga of pine, fir and cedar, Lake Baikal is a protected World Heritage site. Unsurprisingly, it is the most famous attraction in Siberia, but Baikal’s sheer size means there’s always an escape from the crowds.

Legend of Lake Baikal Tour Highlights

  • The Taltsy Museum between Irkutsk and Listvyanka is a fabulously comprehensive open-air museum, set over 64 acres. Over 40 historical buildings from both the Russian and Buryat cultures of Baikal have been painstakingly reconstructed and authentically furnished. Wander through the streets of an 18th-century Siberian village and get a feel for life in a nomadic Buryat summer camp
  • Cruise to Olkhon Island, the largest of Lake Baikal’s islands and the “capital” of shamanistic culture. On a day tour of Olkhon’s natural wonders, discover untouched Siberian forests, craggy capes, pristine beaches and jaw-dropping sunsets

READ MORE

Lake Baikal Ice Adventure

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 5th Sep 2018
Lake Baikal Ice Adventure

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.

Lake Baikal Ice adventure 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 photo shoot! 

READ MORE

Lake Baikal Cruise

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Lake Baikal cruise, Lake Baikal boat tour

After the winter-time freeze, Baikal becomes a balmy summer boating paradise – a vast expanse of calm water with shimmering azure bays and a shoreline hugged by dramatic mountains, pristine forests and quaint ethnic villages. This relaxing three-day Lake Baikal cruise will take you to some of the most picturesque beauty spots in and around Lake Baikal, travelling on board the modern cruise ship Sibiryak with just 11 other guests. In three days, you’ll be able to take in a truly memorable taste of Siberia’s unique culture and nature – including a scenic journey on the magnificent Circum-Baikal Railroad and a walking tour of the Baikal National Park.

Lake Baikal Cruise Highlights

  • Discover one of the most extraordinary man-made attractions in Baikal, the Circum-Baikal Railway. Cruise to one of the most picturesque stretches of the train line, set between the coast and the dramatic slopes of the Primorsky Range. Later, we’ll disembark for a walking tour of the railway’s abandoned tunnels and galleries
  • Steam into Peschanaya Bay as the sun rises, a secluded cove renowned for its long, white sand beach, clear shallow water and majestic, panoramic mountain backdrop. Hike the scenic two-hour mountain track between Peschanaya and Sennaya Bay within the protected Baikal National Park
  • Olkhon Island is the largest island in Lake Baikal, housing forests, mountains, Buryat settlements and sacred shamanic sites. Pass through the narrow Maloe More, the 70km strait that separates Olkhon from the mainland

READ MORE

Kayaking Lake Baikal

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Kayaking Lake Baikal tour, Lake Baikal kayaking tour

Be swept away by the relaxed and tranquil atmosphere of Lake Baikal. Kayaking Lake Baikal tour takes you across crystal clear waters by day and sleeping on its shores by night. Experience its diverse range of flora and fauna as you paddle your way through breathtaking coves and picturesque bays. Discover pristine golden beaches, ‘walking trees’ and if you’re lucky, get up close and personal with the beloved Baikal seals. From Buguldeika village to Peschanaya, this Lake Baikal Kayaking tour invites guests to feel the energy of the world’s oldest lake as they navigate on its transparent water and camp on its secluded, sandy shores.

Trip Highlights:

  • Sennaya Bay is a ruggedly picturesque bay within Baikal National Park and our first camping destination on this trip. Above the bay, a mountain path winds along the spurs of the Primorskiy Mountain Ridge
  • Peschanaya Bay is considered to be the most beautiful of all Baikal’s bays, with its soft white sand beach, emerald water and ‘walking trees’, featuring stilt-like roots tall enough for people to pass underneath
  • After spending a full morning exploring Peschanaya, we’ll enjoy a scenic paddle down to Srednie Bay, a secluded cove set against a backdrop of dense forest. On this leg there’s a fair chance of spotting freshwater nerpa seals peering at you from the surface of the clear waters of Baikal

READ MORE

About 56th Parallel

56th Parallel is a travel company specialising in providing packaged tours and travel services in Russia.

Our goal is to redefine travel to Russia, focusing on creating the most rewarding experiences, which help travellers unfolds the soul of this exciting destination.

Articles by Category

Russia Tour Finder

< Return

Destination

Travel Style

Season

If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816