Fabulous frozen Baikal. Mysticism and energy of Olkhon Island. Dive into the history of the city of Irkutsk and its region and much more is waiting for you in this route! This trip can be called exotic, different from the others. Imagine that! You drive a car on a meter layer of Baikal ice among the vast expanses of a huge lake. And the city of Listvyanka, where we will stay one day, is perfect for spending New Year's and Christmas holidays. In addition, you have a great opportunity to learn all the most unusual myths and legends of the famous island of Olkhon, where you will feel the colossal emotions and unforgettable feelings from the places of strength seen on it. This tour is ideal for a family vacation. Quiet, cozy restaurants, a small number of tourists, as well as entertaining museums and exhibitions in the city of Irkutsk and in the Irkutsk region, which are sure to please not only you, but also your children!
Get a car, check in and enjoy your free time in town. For the evening - a recommendation for a great restaurant in the heart of the city.
In Irkutsk there are many decent restaurants with different cuisine, pleasant aura and stylish interior. We have prepared some great places for you to eat and enjoy the atmosphere of the place. Prego Restaurant, where you will stay on the first day after arrival, will delight you with coziness and relaxed atmosphere, will surprise you with an abundance of wines and appetizing desserts. Visitors select pasta (you can choose any type of pasta that is cooked there), pizza, as well as tiramisu.
Today, you'll walk through the city's spacious streets, admire the exquisitely designed sights around you, and visit museums and exhibitions. You also have the opportunity to visit the famous Irkutsk Drama Theatre and even listen to the organ!
The best morning in Irkutsk is a breakfast on the Angara River embankment in a cozy cafe. Tourists note the helpful and polite staff, calmness and, of course, excellent dishes in the breakfast menu. Cards are accepted. From Monday to Friday the cafe is open from 7 a.m. to midnight, and on Friday and Saturday later from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The Lower Quay is one of the most popular places both among tourists and locals. From different sides of the embankment there are picturesque views of the Orthodox cathedrals, sculptures and temples. The Angara River never freezes here, so it is beautiful at any time of year. You can see local fishermen both in summer and winter. The embankment is constantly changing, with new parks, sculptures and recreation areas appearing.
The monument to Yakov Pokhabov was erected for the 350th anniversary of Irkutsk. A Cossack figure from Yeniseysk looks at Angara, and next to it one can see the Moscow Gate and the Cathedral of the Epiphany. The appearance of a pioneer is exclusively the creation of an artist. This bronze sculpture was first built in honor of all the founders of the city, but then renamed in memory of a particular pioneer. The monument is one of the biggest in the city.
This is the main square of Irkutsk. In winter, there is a huge Christmas tree for the New Year and an ice camp. The place is perfect for a leisurely stroll and a sightseeing tour.
The Victor Bronstein Gallery is a private art gallery. There is a permanent exhibition of ethnic sculptures and works by famous Baikal artists. The peculiarity of the gallery is the frequent change of collection, so you can always discover something new here, for example, pictures of young photographers. The gallery itself is stylish and tasteful. Tourists like to take pictures of space. There is a small shop with unusual souvenirs (in addition to classic magnets and postcards), such as baikal jewelry, ceramics, books. There's a local restaurant.
The museum is located in a very attractive building built for A.M. Sibiryakov and named after him. An interesting exposition related to the First World War and changing collections.
Kinza is a Georgian restaurant. Cozy atmosphere and unobtrusive national music, so you can spend time with your family or company. Visitors note Oltenkus salad made of veal, cucumbers and eggplants in sauce, khinkali, salmon and chicken shashlik and, of course, khachapuri boat in Ajara. There's an assortment of wine and cocktails. You can book a table in advance. Little Georgia in Irkutsk :)
Be sure to visit the organ hall in the Irkutsk Regional Philharmonic and listen to the sounds of the organ. You will feel a powerful emotional impact thanks to this magical music. And the architecture of the Catholic church is just a matter of keeping an eye on it!
The next no less attractive attraction is the Okhlopkov Drama Theatre. The architecture of the theatre is very fascinating, preserved from the moment of construction. The new finish doesn't spoil the beauty, it gives it charm. Buy tickets in advance to get to the performance you are interested in.
After visiting the theatre, we walk around the city again and reach the Moscow Gate - a kind of arch. There is a belief that if you go under this arch, then any desire will come true.
We're finishing up with dinner at the Senator Restaurant. Choice of cuisine: Russian, Japanese, European. Big hall, besides tables, there are halls with sofas. Nice staff. Visitors recommend carbonara pasta, Caesar salad, scallops, cheesecake, Furuzu's dessert, roora agae. The restaurant is open from 12:00 to 12:00 a.m.
On the third day of the route, we have a route to Baikal. During the trip we will stay in several interesting places - Angara Museum, Taltsy Ethnographic Museum and, finally, we will get to Listvyanka, where the real adventures on the frozen Baikal will begin.
Today begins with a visit to Kyoto, the city's coolest Japanese restaurant. Excellent choice of sushi and sashimi, there is also a children's menu. Tourists here like desserts, especially chocolate fondue. The restaurant is open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
One of the most visited places in Irkutsk is the Angara icebreaker museum. A real icebreaker from the beginning of the last century, raised three times from the bottom. He has a very interesting story to tell. He drowned several times because of human negligence during the period of exploitation. A detailed story is told on deck, so be sure to take a tour after you inspect the ship to keep up to date. The atmosphere on the icebreaker conveys the spirit of the time. The tour also includes a film about the first captain of the ship. Tourists are most impressed with the engine room. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
On the way to Baikal we will meet the Architectural and Ethnographic Museum "Taltsy" - an open-air complex located on the bank of the Angara River, which has several historical and cultural zones with expositions: Russian, Buryat, Evenk, Tofalar. On the territory of Taltsov you can notice the workshops. Having looked in them, it is possible not only to get acquainted with national crafts, but also to learn it. On the territory of the museum there is a Russian-Angarian sector, where the monuments of wooden architecture of the Baikal region of the 17-20 centuries are collected. Here they celebrate folk holidays - Christmas, Shrovetide, Easter.
Not far from the ethnographic museum is the "Tavern in Taltsakh", where you can have lunch at home and inexpensive! Tourists recommend a warm-up hit-and-run.
This museum is small, but the excursions there are very entertaining, especially the time to spend there children like to spend there. In the museum you can learn full information about the history of Baikal and its current state. There is also an aquarium where you will see all the inhabitants of Baikal. On the second floor there is a scientific laboratory with microscopes. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
So we got to the most incredibly picturesque place - Lake Baikal. A trip on the Baikal ice by car is the most amazing thing. The realization that a person is separated from the lake by a meter-long layer of ice - unusual and unusual, but must be felt. In winter, Baikal becomes a kind of road, by which cars can only reach Olkhon Island. The road is absolutely safe and specially equipped for riding, so do not worry. We're not going to Olkhon Island until the next day. We've laid out a route for you to get there through some of the villages, but you can also ride on the Baikal ice. It'll take even less time! Winter Baikal is a fairytale skating rink without borders. The ice from the baikal water has a bluish hue, sometimes even blue. The ice is beautiful to the eye, and every time you want to admire it, not the surroundings. It's very slippery, so it's gonna be a little hard to get around on foot. So take the skates and go skating for your pleasure! It's also a great time for your kids. Another popular activity on Baikal is fishing. The Baikal season begins in January, when the bays freeze. At this time, you can catch fish such as perch, horn, pike, spruce.
We're finishing up a busy day of dinner at the Pile-up Restaurant. Tourists celebrate steaks on charcoal, grilled vegetables, original tea and taiga dessert. You can also try fish that is caught right out of the lake. There is a booking service and cards are accepted.
Today we have a long way to go to one of the most picturesque places - Olkhon Island. Before departure you will climb the Cherskiy Peak, a mountain that offers an incredibly amazing view of the mountains, slopes and lakes. The route through the villages will last for several hours, but even there will be a couple of unusual monuments with their history. If you want to get to your destination a little faster, you can go along the only route on the frozen Baikal.
Breakfast at the Lighthouse Restaurant. Tourists like salad with spicy beetroot, ear, fish baked in parchment, "lingonberry with pine nuts and honey" dessert. The windows overlook Baikal, so the view from there will be unique.
The trip to Cherskiy Peak is one of the most famous hiking trails on Baikal. Getting to the mountain is not too difficult, but in some places there are steep ascents and descents, but there are also wooden paths and bridges. The view from the top over Baikal and the mountains is stunning. There's another treasure there, Lake Heart. As soon as you arrive in Slyudyanka, you can leave your car near the base of the Ministry of Emergency Situations or near the hotel "Silver Spring". It's when you start climbing the mountain. Cherskiy Peak and named after the explorer Ivan Cherskiy Baikal.
On the way you can see a fairly large number of shopping malls. We offer to stay in one of them - Slata - and buy all the necessary things and products.
The Golden Horde Ethnopark is an ethnographic complex that will introduce you to the Buryat people, their customs and traditions. There is a fine national cuisine restaurant here, where you can stop on the way to Olkhon Island.
The Eagle Monument is a sculpture of an eagle made of bronze and weighs almost 4 tons. Under the paws of the eagle you can see bells that ring in the wind, which makes the monument mystical and makes it a real shamanic totem. This monument was invented by the mayor of Olkhonsky district Sergey Kopylov. He took the eagle as the basis, because for thousands of years the people of the steppe have been honoring this mighty bird, and it is also the symbol of Olkhon.
When you go up to the ice crossing of Olkhon Island, you will see a monument dedicated to the Transbaikal tramp. The monument is four meters high and stands on a small hill and is made of bronze. The traveller's posture is an act of looking for his home. Together with the monument you can see the Olkhonskie Vorota (Olkhon Gate) Strait and the Small Sea of Baikal.
And here we are on Olkhon Island! A long trip should be completed in a nice place for dinner. Thematic interior of the cafe "Baikalochka" pleases the eye, and the most delicious dishes here are the ear and fried omulus under the fur coat.
Our journey is coming to an end. If you have time before your flight, take a walk along the Angara River embankment again and take your best photos!
The name of the cafe already tells us that the view of the Baikal will be great! It is located on a hill, and on the left you can see Mount Shamanka. Even in the coldest weather you can sit not only inside, but also outside. You'll be warmed by the best coffee and tea. You can sit outside and inside. Tourists often try a variety of desserts here - the sea! You can also try Fo-Bo soup, different pizza, yak roast.
The main place to see is one of the nine shrines of Asia - the rock Shamanka or Stone Temple. This rock is a sacred place among the locals and indigenous peoples of North Asia in general. It was a custom here that ordinary people were not allowed to live near Shamanka, and women and children could not come close to this mighty place not to piss off the gods. Olkhon was considered a place where evil spirits always lived. According to ancient legends, the lord of the island of Olkhona, Ejin or Burhan, lived in the cave of the Shamanka rock. Near the cave on the rocks there are ancient artifacts in the form of Tibetan graffiti. There are tambourines on the marble rock. Important: this place is perfect for visiting in winter. In summer, there are queues of jeeps here, and they are located all over the island, which distracts from the admiration of the surroundings.
Cape Burkhan, where the Shaman Rock is located, has the status of a state natural and historical monument and is located on the territory of the Baikal National Park, which is fenced with carved columns depicted in the picture. Mystical poles. Looking at them like you're feeling something magical. Each column has its own symbol and purpose, so before you tie a ribbon on one of them, you need to carefully study this place.
Cape Hoboi is the northernmost point of Olkhon. If you look closely, the rock looks like a fang, but on the other hand you can see the profile of a woman in it. One of the legends says that once the gods punished the proud and jealous Buryat and turned it into stone. Here you can hear the echo from the monolithic wall. The view from Hoboi is no less beautiful! You'll see the gradient of the purest sky and frozen water of the Baikal. In good sunny weather, you'll be lucky enough to see the ears of the islands.
Another cozy and homely place on Olkhon Island. Very nice atmosphere. There are national Buryat dishes, a lot of desserts and cocktails. Tourists recommend minced meat buoys, chebureks, fish soups. There are wi-fi and places on the street.
Ogoi Island is the largest island in the Little Sea, which is 3 kilometers long. In 2005, the Buddhist Stupa, called the Stupa of Enlightenment, was established here. Ogoy Island is another place of power with rabid energy. When you come to this island, be sure to go around the stupa 3 times and make a wish! There's a belief it'll come true. Various Buddhist relics and a bronze statuette of Troma Nagmo's Dakini (considered in Tibetan Buddhism the mother of all Buddhas) are enclosed in the stupa. Stupa represents the main goal of Buddhism - understanding your mind, full of Enlightenment. Buddhist stupas save people from hardships in life, negative emotions.
Another picturesque place on the island is the beach "Sarai Bay". In winter this place becomes much more atmospheric due to the palette of colors. Baikal ice (especially from afar) resembles marble. Walk along the beach and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Despite the fact that the restaurant "Kudesnitsa" is considered to be vegetarian, it has both meat and fish dishes. Tourists choose fish meatballs, roasted dogs and taiga tea. The cafe is open from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Tonight we're on our way back to Irkutsk. On the way we will stay in a couple of remarkable places, and in the evening we will walk along Gagarin Boulevard and enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of the restaurant of Russian cuisine.
Early in the morning we will have breakfast in another cozy and quiet place "Omulevaya barrel". Tourists like meat and fish poses, and they also distinguish the fish in an alderly way. Popular dessert is cream tubes. The cafe is open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
You can stop by the Zuun Hagun camp on the way. There are also wonderful views of the winter Baikal. Infrastructure: cafe, sauna, fireplace and barbecue places, snack bars, shop.
Another by-product is a grocery store. Store water, snacks or any other food for the journey.
We're staying at the Rainbow Cafe. It's not a bad place to have dinner and go on to Irkutsk.
We're staying at Ust-Ordyn. There's a mall, a market, a pharmacy and several shops. You can also stop by the MeatOne Café if you want to stay here longer.
When we arrive in the city, we walk along Gagarin Boulevard. Gagarin Boulevard - motorway and pedestrian zone in the center of Irkutsk. It is considered to be a favorite place for locals. Gagarina Boulevard is an ancient street of Irkutsk, stretches along the right bank of the Angara River in the right-bank district of Irkutsk. Before the revolution it had another name - Alexander Square, because there is a monument to Alexander III. Then the street was called Vuzovskaya Street, later - Gagarin Boulevard (1961).
Very family-friendly! Traditional Russian cuisine. Cozy and quiet place, homely atmosphere disposes to a pleasant dinner at the end of the day. Favorite dishes of the visitors: flapjacks, shrimps in a batter, salad "herring under a fur coat".
"Youth is an island on the Angara River in the center of Irkutsk. Connected to the shore and the adjacent island of Horse Bridges. These two islands are popular with tourists and locals in the summer, but also in winter there is something to do. Walk around Turnikovskaya Square, then ride on the Circumference wheel, it also works in winter. The Ferris wheel works until 10:00 p.m.
In the morning I advise you to visit a wonderful breakfast cafe. If you don't leave early, take a free stroll through the city. Maybe you'll find something interesting that I didn't!
Before we leave, we'll have breakfast at that pillow café. Favourite dishes of the visitors: roasted shrimps, mussels under cheese and rolls of salmon. The cafe is open from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.