Upon meeting your friendly local guide, we’ll head out of the historical centre of Irkutsk onto the Baikal motorway in a minibus. The journey to our first stop will take about an hour which is a perfect amount of time for your guide to introduce you to the area and its people.
Our first stop is dreamy Taltsy, a wonderful open-air museum dedicated to the wooden architecture of old Siberia. Your guide will regale you with stories of the different cultures that have settled or passed through the area over the centuries and their way of living. We’ll explore the lives of local people and their house arrangements, from the Buryats and Evenks to the Tofalars and the Russians.
Next up, we’ll check out the wooden church of Kazan, built in 1679, and check out a traditional wooden fortress. It’s interesting to find out what’s inside many of these Siberian ostrogs, as many of them went on to form the framework of the cities we know today.
You’re probably feeling peckish around now so we’ll take you to a tea room to try Siberian sbiten (herbal tea with berries) and pancakes with honey and sour cream. So yummy!
Full, warm and happy we’ll hop in a taxi and head towards the world’s deepest freshwater lake. It’s not a secret that Baikal is a sacred place and you will have the opportunity to feel the rejuvenating water on your skin. For spellbinding views, we’ll walk to the observation point at Dendro Park where we’ll stop for photo opportunities galore (that Instagram feed isn’t going to fill itself!).
Our adventure continues with a stroll along the shore as your guide tells you about some of the legends of the lake. We’ll also talk about conservation, why this site is so unique, why it needs our care and respect and what the local community are doing to protect it for future generations.
We’ll make our way around the lake’s most popular village, Lisviyanka, where we’ll visit an unusual local museum. Small but absolutely worth visiting!
Picnic time is next! We’ll buy some fish and maybe one or two other local treats and, weather permitting, set ourselves up at our favourite picnic spot along the lakeside (if the weather s bad, we’ll head into a cute little café instead).
After a delicious, local meal, we will head back to the city via public transport (the journey will be about 1 hour 30 mins), arriving at the central bus station.
Back in the city, we’ll stop at a craft beer bar for a drink, and while trying some local beer you’ll have the opportunity to learn some interesting facts from your local guide about the Decembrists (Russian revolutionaries) and their families, and how their history intertwines with Irkutsk.
Walking further, we’ll observe a unique blend of architectural styles, and check out the only pedestrian street in the city, lined with shops and restaurants.
Next, it’s time to snack on some local dumplings. There are so many types of dumplings all over the world, but the ones that we eat in Siberia are different – and we’re pretty sure you’re going to love them. Try some examples stuffed with different fillings (meat, cheese, or potato) and get to know more about Russian and Siberian cuisine.
Full and happy, we’ll continue our walk, learning more about the city as we go, and then make a quick stop at one of the coolest bars in the city: Library Bar, where photos of Russian literary celebrities line the walls.
Moving off of Karl Marx Street you’ll get the opportunity to see something that the city is famous for – its historic wooden houses. There are several streets in Irkutsk where all of the houses are made of wood and beautifully carved, making them a must-see for anyone visiting the city.
After learning about Irkutsk’s wooden architecture, we’ll head towards Angara River with it’s pure blue water and pretty whirlpools. Walking along the modern embankment you will see a few more of the city’s sights and experience one of the best ways to spend a laid-back afternoon in Irkutsk.
The end of our tour will lead us right to the place where the city started, a square with three churches, one of which is the oldest stone structure in the city. From here, stay and see more of Irkutsk on your own, or we’re happy to suggest a few more memorable sights to check out.
Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide; ticket to Taltsy museum; snack in Taltsy museum (pancake with tea); snack of smoked omul fish at the bay of Baikal (there are vegetarian options available); public transport tickets; taxi ride from Taltsy museum to Listvyanka; ticket to museum in Listvyanka; snack (dumplings) in the evening and drinks in Irkutsk (beer and moonshine).
Exclusions: Additional food and drinks, souvenirs and items of a personal nature, tickets for public transport; tips and gratuities for the guide.
Dress standard: If you’d like to go inside the Russian Orthodox Church, please be sure to wear clothing that covers your legs to below the knees. Women must also wear a scarf to cover their head.
Your Trip: For your Urban Adventure you will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.
Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We'll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
Closure of sites: This would be highly unlikely but a substitute location can be found if this happens.
Child Policy: This is a child-friendly tour. Children between the ages of 7 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children under the age of 6 are permitted to join this tour free of charge. Please inform us at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of 6. You can do so in the special request box on the checkout page.
For the evening part of the tour: Children between 7-18 years old are allowed on a tour only with parent or guardian and won’t be permitted to drink any of the alcohol drinks.