Lake Baikal: Two Shores, Four Cultures

Written by 56th Parallel on 8th Dec 2017
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”.

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

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Lake Baikal Photography Expedition

Written by 56th Parallel on 4th Nov 2016
Lake Baikal photo tour

Lake Baikal Photography Expedition has the well-deserved honour of highlighting Siberia’s most famous 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. READ MORE

Legend of Lake Baikal

Written by 56th Parallel on 12th Nov 2014
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.

TRIP 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
  • Baikal Nature Reserve: Here, the desolate mountains of the Khmar Daban Range descend steeply to the rocky shores of this wild south eastern stretch of coast. The park preserves subalpine meadows and tundra, and deep within the taiga, bears, lynx and eagles. Hike along the Oskinova River, guided by a local huntsman to a crystal clear waterfall and enjoy a homemade lunch at a riverside hunter’s hut

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Lake Baikal Ice Adventure

Written by 56th Parallel on 11th Nov 2014
Lake Baikal winter tour

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

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Highlights of Lake Baikal Cruise

Written by 56th Parallel on 17th Apr 2014
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.

TRIP 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, sety 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

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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.

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