The Circum-Baikal Railway use to be a part of the Trans-Siberian railroad until the new route was built. The challenge of building this short (84 km) rail was the lake's nearly vertical mountainous granite shoreline. The 1905 war with Japan created the pressure to achieve this goal at any cost in order to insure a steady transport connection between Western and Eastern Russia via Trans-Siberian railroad. The design and planning was brainstormed by numerous engineers, including some from Poland, Italy and England, who managed to fit 48 arches and tunnels in the 52-mile section from Kultuk to Port Baikal in addition to many bridges supporting the walls! It is not a surprise that this part of Trans-Siberian railroad, a true masterpiece of engineering, was quickly nicknamed "The Golden Buckle of the Great Siberian Trail" in reference to its cost.
Explore the railroad with 39 tunnels fit into the 7km stretch!
Hike through Siberian forest and lake's mountainous shoreline through charming tunnels along the railroad.
In the summer, take a dive if not afraid of cold water!
Enjoy the culture of local people in villages along the road. Try their fresh milk, home grown vegetables and smoked fish.
Learn the history of the road in the local museum. When in Port Baikal, take a closer look at the rail marks indicating when and where they were made. You will be surprised...
Feel the extraordinary clarity and freshness of the lake's water when crossing it by boat. Enjoy Siberian sunset/sunrise.
[Option 1] - GROUP TOUR: WED, THU, SAT, SUN (may-oct)
Chair (1st class) (Train; Bus Transfers; Russian Guide; Meals are available for additional fees. Please inquire).
Chair (2nd class) (Train; Bus Transfers; Russian Guide; Meals are available for additional fees. Please inquire).
Available 4 times per week year around, and 6 times a week in the summer starting first week of July. PLEASE NOTE that travelers are responsible for transportation to/from the starting/ending points (Dramma Theater or Train Station). If you would like to have a private guide (bilingual), and all transfers by private car please inquire or refer to the "Option #4"
WEDNESDAY, FRIDAY (Jul-Aug-Sep only) & SATURDAY The tour starts at the Irkutsk Train Station. Make sure to arrive to the train station 30 min before the departure. Find your train (#6342 - wed & sat; #6346) and departure platform number. At 8:10AM the train departs the station. Our final destination is Port Baikal village on Lake Baikal (total distance ~ 190km / 119mi). The tour starts from "climbing" the Sayan mountains via classic Trans-Siberian rail road till Sludyanka village (arrive at 10:30AM). In Sludyanka, we will have enough time to try smoked local fish, wild berries, pine nuts, talk to locals. From Sludyanka village, we continue the tour along the famous Old Circum-baikal railroad till the last stop - Port Baikal village (arrive at 19:20PM). Upon arrival to Port Baikal, the group leaves the train and re-boards the ferry (30 min) to Listvyanka village across Angara River mouth. And finally, from Listvyanka village everybody gets on the bus for the last portion of the tour to Irkutsk city (~ 70km). The tour ends at 22:00PM in Irkutsk city.
THURSDAY, SATURDAY (Jul-Aug-Sep only) & SUNDAY Same route, but opposite direction. The tour starts in downtown of Irkutsk city. The meeting point is at the Okhlopkov Dramma Theater on Karl Marx Street, 14. The departure time is 8:30am (make sure to arrive 30 min in advance). First bus transfer to Listvyanka village, then ferry to Port Bakal village, then train to Sludyanka village via old Circum-Baikal railroad, and finally train via Trans-Siberian section all the way back to Irkutsk Train Station (arrive at 22:00pm)
[Option 2] - CUSTOM: MON, TUE, FRI; Public Transport; Russian Instructor; Meals Summers only (weather permitting). At 07:30AM we will pick you up at the hotel and drive to the Irkutsk main train station. Around 8AM, we will board a local commuter train for 3 hour (100km) ride to Glubokaya stop. From Glubokaya, we will descent (~3km/1,8mi) through terrains of the Black Valley to Angasolskya village located on the Circum-Baikal Railway. Short break here. The guide will prepare a dinner on the open fire. If interested, feel free to visit nearby Art gallery of Roerich's society. After lunch, around 1pm, we will hike along the railroad for about 10km/6.5mi. Around 4:00PM, we'll board a local train towards Port Baikal station. From Port Baikal, we will take a boat to Lystvyanka village (0.5 hr), and than public bus to Irkutsk city (1-1.5 hr). This tour involves intensive and long hikes. We recommend to split this tour in 2 days.
[Option 3] - PRIVATE GUIDE/DRIVER SERVICES To get the best out of your tour and comfort, consider booking a private bilingual guide to accompany you on the train and transfers to the starting / end point.
Guide / Instructor as described;
Transportation as described;
Train / Bus / Ferry per Itinerary;
National Park fee;
Special tour-related note:
Bring: insect repellent, flash light, sweater or light jacket, cap depending on weather, swim suite, and sun glasses, snacks;
If interested to stay overnight, we would be glad to arranged it for you. Along the railroad, you can stay in the tent or local SPA cabins. Or you can stay in Lystvyanka with the local family, wooden B&B, or 3 star hotels. Please contact us for a quote.