Baikal Explorer - Winter tours to lake Baikal - Travel to Olkhon island
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Winter Tours to Lake Baikal - Travel to Olkhon Island

Tour by Ice of lake Baikal

The winter is no less a time to travel to Baikal than the summer - quite the opposite. The lake is more accessible by ice, its layer is safe almost everywhere and in the latter part of winter the sunlight has returned and the weather is usually very good. Winter in Lake Baikal is not as severe as in other parts of Siberia. The lake has more sunshine a year than in Black sea!

The best time for a winter trip to lake Baikal is in February and March. One of the most interesting destinations for winter outdoors is at the middle basin of the lake - sacred Olkhon Island.
Tour to Olkhon - Early start to Olkhon Island - 23 February 2008

Tour to Olkhon: Olkhon map
Tour to Baikal - Tour to Olkhon: Approaching Olkhon Island - Lake Baikal is infront.

Tour to Baikal - Tour to Olkhon: Crossing the strait to Olkhon. A stop is done to take a glance through the ice. People are amazed.

Winter Baikal - tour to Olkhon  Map of Olkhon Island - 82 Kb / Scale 1:750000 (1cm=1.5km)

All year round BaikalEx offers tours to Olkhon island. The best period for winter tours is from the 20th of January till the 5th of April. Please see the description of the program below.

Tour to Olkhon: Baikal winter tour  the distance between Irkutsk and Olkhon: 250 km/155 ml.
Winter Lake Baikal - Olkhon Island tour  the distance between Irkutsk and Khuzir: 300 km/187 ml.

Khuzir is the main village of Olkhon. Here group members are accommodated in the guesthouse owned by local fisherman family. Full home-made meals of traditional Siberian cuisine are made of Baikal fish.

We offer the minimum tour duration of 3 days / 2 nights. This allows to visit all major spots of the island and to get a unique experience of travelling on clear Baikal ice. Jeep trip to the wild north of Olkhon (day 2) is the highlight of the tour - enjoy the scenic Siberian winter landscapes embedded in ice and covered with snow.

You are welcome to spend more days in Olkhon and make walking trips on ice, along the shore or/and into the snowy taiga-forest.
Tour to Olkhon Island / Itinerary:
 Duration: 3 days / 2 nights

Day 1: The tour starts in Irkutsk or Listvyanka (hotel, apartments, etc.) where tourists are picked up by our guide and driver and travel north 250 km / 155 miles to the Olkhon Island.

Lunch en route, served in Buryat village of Elantsi, then make the ice crossing to Olkhon Island. Make stops at the icy caves, frozen bubbles and black ice fields. Explore Khuzir, the island's main village and visit Burkhan Cape at the sunset. Dine on home-cooked grayling this evening, a local Baikal specialty. Our Fisherman Guesthouse in Khuzir this night has shared washing facilities but very nice atmosphere. (D)

Day 2: In the morning depart by Russian military jeeps on ice to explore Olkhon Island and classic Lake Baikal vistas. Heading north and make stops at Sagaan-Khushun Cape, coastal icy caves, frozen blue hummocks and stretches of beach along the way, including the 200m./650'-high frozen cliffs of Khoboy Cape at the northern tip of the island. After a picnic lunch in Uzuri bay, return back to Khuzir. Russian banya/steam bath in the evening (on request). Dinner and night in Khuzir. (B / L / D)

Day 3: After breakfast, drive to the ferry-station. Ice crossing to the mainland and drive to Irkutsk. Short drive aside to visit the ancient carvings at the Anga river valley. Lunch en route in the buryat village of Elantsi. Approximate time of arrival in Irkutsk is 18:00. Upon arrival transfer to the hotel or airport/railway station. (B)

3 day tour price: for the group size of 4 persons the price is 21000R per person.
2 day tour price: for the group size of 4 persons the price is 18500R per person.
4 day tour price: for the group size of 4 persons the price is 28500R per person.

Included Program Costs:
- Accommodation: Guest house in Olkhon / 2 nights;
- Ground Transport:
     Minivan / Minibus: 4 and more people
     Passenger car: 1-3 persons
     Jeeps UAZ or Land Cruiser: for the trip to the north of Olkhon
     Fuel, drivers and driver's travel expenses
- Guides: English-speaking guide to accompany group at all times;
- Activities: Tours and visits as specified in itinerary;
- Meals: As specified in itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
- Transfers: All transfers to/from hotels, apartments in Irkutsk;
- Permits & Admission Fees For access to special areas and sites;

Travelling to Olkhon Island in the New Year period, in the end of April and in May is possible only within a private tour. At this time there is no ferry boat and no possibility to cross by ice. A hovercraft (air-cushion boat) is specially arranged for the group. Welcome to join!

Budget Package:  3 day trip 10000R

Price includes:
  • Accommodation: Guest house in Olkhon 3 days / 2 nights
  • Meeting & Transfer to the starting point
  • Transportation: minibus from Irkutsk to Khuzir and back to Irkutsk
  • Meals: As specified in itinerary: (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)

Baikal tour - Tour to Olkhon: The trip to the north of Olkhon Island. Clear ice.

Winter Baikal - Tour to Olkhon:

Tour to Baikal in winter - Tour to Olkhon: Cave at Khoboy cape - the northern tip of the island

Tour to Baikal - Tour to Olkhon: Clear ice

More photos from the tour  |  Tour to Olkhon in summer (June - October + November)

You can ask a question or reserve the tour on our Request Form page.
Read more information about Olkhon island.
Dear Guests: here you can read some comments of travellers who travelled to Olkhon island using one of the packages above.

We'd always like to hear about the service you recieve from us. Please tell us all about it!


Baikal Explorer    &    Lake Baikal - Siberian District

Frozen Ice tour - Olkhon Island  Have you ever seen a frozen wave?!
If you visit Lake Baikal in Siberia in the winter, you will! Even though I grew up in a hot desert and was incredibly daunted, I still wanted to see this! We booked a 3 day tour with Baikal Explorer in February and it was one of the most magical experiences of my lifetime. Driving across a frozen lake, lying on the ice, sitting in an ice cavern, leaning on a clear, four foot high frozen sheet of ice that was once a wave but literally froze mid-wave one night, walking over the bluest-blue ice chunks in the world…where else can you do all this plus more?
Baikal Explorer gives you free range to set up your tour however you want. Simply let Leonid know when you book and you can add extra destinations, days, whatever you want. Our guide, Anna, picked us up at our hotel in Irkutsk and drove us to Olkhon Island. She was a million percent great!! We adored her! She is super sweet, fun, speaks fluent English and is completely fearless! She was jumping over ice chunks like a mountain goat! She was always there to lend me a hand as I was slipping on the ice or suggesting a different camera shot that we hadn’t thought of or giving a tip on how to keep our hands warm. We love Anna!!
A few specifics to help you plan: You will be a little daunted when your guide drives onto the frozen lake the first time. When we got out of the car, we walked as if we were walking on broken glass. Then we got used to it and it was incredibly fun! Our motel for two nights was fairly small but absolutely adequate. The rooms were warm, there are showers with hot water and single beds. Breakfast and dinner are provided each day. The second day was our frozen lake day. We wore 5 layers plus our winter coats. Wearing two gloves helped, also, super thick socks and of course, boots made for -20 degrees. I used the new charcoal packets to keep my hands warm (should have brought the toe warmers I purchased but foolishly left at home). My husband did not use the warmers and his hands were darn cold. I was never cold during the day except my feet. You can always get back in the jeep if you’re too cold and they’ll turn on the heater. Our camera froze 27 times! We had to hold it in our hands to get it to work again. Our pictures look like they could be on the cover of National Geographic! Staggeringly beautiful!
Book with this company and they will ensure you have a safe and incredibly memorable experience in Siberia!

Susan Phillips / USA  |  |  February, 2018

Winter visit to lake Baikal and Olkhon Island  Voyage en Siberie : sur le Lac Baikal et l’ile d’Olkhon
Pendant cette journée, nous prenons pleinement conscience de la beauté de ces paysages, de cette nature totalement intacte et préservée et peinons à réaliser où nous sommes réellement.
Christelle  |  |  February, 2018

Center of shamanic energy on Lake Baikal  Center of shamanic energy on Lake Baikal
Last summer I visited Olkhon Island, I was really impressed by its beauty and therefore I wrote this article about it. "Shamanic experience; saving our vehicle; traditional food & culture"
ZUZANA VRABCOVA from Slovakia  |

baikal  Visiting Olkhon Island in Baikal Lake
It was in Lake Baikal that we could, once more, witness the diversity of Russia. In this area you don’t find fancy cars or 5* dining like in Moscow or St. Petersburg. Here you can enjoy the richness of Buryat culture, beautiful nature and the simple things of life.

Diana and Stefano (20-22 October, 2016)

baikal  Thank you for a fantastic trip to Baikal. We had a wonderful day dog sledding with lunch provided and cooked over an open fire. Our next 2 days on frozen Baikal will always remain a highlight during our stay in Russia. We enjoyed all of the sites and the fantastic service provided by everyone associated with this company. Well done and we hope to come back during the spring months to see this areas transformation.

Judy & Mike Peacock (07-09 March, 2015)

baikal  Thanks a lot for this wonderful trip ! That was a great pleasure for all of us !
I look forward to getting again soon to Siberia for another adventure with you !
Martin (06-07 March, 2015)

baikal  ... Our time with you on Olkhon Island was the highlight of our trip to Siberia. For someone who does it several times a week it must seem strange that we were so excited about driving and walking on a frozen lake, but for us it was a unique experience. We loved staying in the little village of Khuzir as well. Thank you too for your expert guidance and personalized attention during the 3 days.

Adrienne, John and Wally

100 Things to do Before you Die
(27 February, 2014) Australia

baikal  Thanks a million for providing us with a once in a lifetime, winter experience on Lake Baikal. Driving over the lake's beautiful thick ice, and visiting the incredible ice formations around Olkhon island was simply amazing. I have been to 105 countries, and would rate this experience as being up there with seeing the pyramids in Egypt, Mayon Volcano in the Philippines, Machu Picchu in Peru and Mount Everest in Tibet.

The log cabin we stayed in was of special interest to me, especially the amazing brick, wood stove that kept the place toasty warm. Also, the meals were substantial and superb, even for me, a vegetarian.

Warming up near the wood burning stove in Olkhon island

Wood burning stove in Olkhon island - Khuzir village

Dine on home-cooked grayling this evening, a local Baikal specialty

I have driven many miles and lived in the Ice and snow, but I have never met a better four wheel driver than you are. You made driving on the mirror smooth lake, even dusted with snow and over the hills and mountainous slopes seem effortless.

I was concerned about shooting photographs under extremely cold conditions, It being February and 40 below. But your instructions made it easy. You are an excellent photographer and took wonderful pictures of us. Thanks! Also, we are especially grateful for the many hours of talking with us you did as we drove around. Your English is excellent and your knowledge of history is spectacular.

Alena, if it hadn't been for you calming my fears, in your excellent English, during all my emails full of questions, this trip would have never happened for us. There is so much misinformation on the web, like Lonely Planets material about how it is impossible for foreigners to get a Russian visa in Mongolia or even Beijing. The fact is, anyone can easily get a Russian visa to visit Lake Baikal if they know the following information. First, you can get a visa to visit Moscow, without difficulty almost anywhere. And once you have that visa you can go to Russia through any point of entry no problem, even if you never plan to visit Moscow. The customs officers, 95% of them are women, simply check to see if you have a current visa, carefully look at you and your passport photo and stamp you in. Be courteous or they can hold you up for ten minutes and scare you in the bargain. They have all the time in the world.

I am an American living in Kunming China. The misinformation has it that I am required to go to a major city like Guangzhou, Shanghai or Beijing and apply in person at the Russian Consulate for a visa. Also, that it may take up to two weeks to get it. What a major pain and expense. But if you simply have a Chinese friend check the internet for you, you can find a cheap visa broker who will fill out your application, and get your visa for you when you send her your passport. So easy!

We are now looking forward to our summertime visit to Baikal, the freshwater sea.

Lake Baikal winter tours - Olkhon island ice formations 2014

Kirk Alcond and Jade (15-18 February, 2014)
USA and China

On the great ice road  On the great ice road
... We are not in a boat but a four-wheel-drive and the fishing boat is frozen in place. As it recedes into the distance behind us, the sheer magnitude and madness of what we are doing sets in ...

The Spirit of Discovery  |  The Australian  |  June 16, 2012

baikal  We had a wonderful time on our trip to Olkhon Island. Everything was perfectly organised and Leonid who guided us on the tour was competent, friendly and a super companion. The trip is really something very, very special including the accommodation at Nikita's Guest House and the daytrip to the northern tip of Olkhon Island under the guidance of local guide Sergeji. Thanks again for a wonderful time.

Gaby and Willy (29 March, 2012)
Morocco and Germany

baikal  We took the Olkhon Island excursion last March (with a one day extension to visit Listvyanka), and had a fabulous time visiting the region. Our guide Alexey was very friendly and very professional, and made sure that every little detail was taken care of to make the trip as pleasant as possible (and his english is remarkable !).

The highlight of our trip was definitely the hours driving over lake Baikal\'s thick ice, visiting the incredible ice formations around Olkhon island. Accomodation was very good, with a special mention for the great food, and Leonid was always willing to suggest new things to go see.

The region is absolutely stunning, I recommend the trip when the lake is frozen, definitely a lifetime experience !

Kind regards from Paris
Pierre-Olivier (15 May, 2011)

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