City tour gives guests an excellent chance to get acquainted with one of the oldest and the most beautiful cities of Eastern Siberia. We will start our excursion in the historical center, where 340 years ago the first village of Irkutsk was founded; we'll see ancient Orthodox churches there, walk along the Bridge of Love (where lovers make their appointments and make wishes for future life) down to the shore of the Angara River. After a short stop in this remarkable place we'll continue our excursion and visit the most important and the biggest Orthodox Church of Siberia – Sign of the Cross convent, which is famous for its ancient one-of-a-kind iconostasis. Intricate patters of frescos on the Convent's walls, ancient icons of orthodox Saints and celestial singing of church-choir will never leave anyone indifferent. Then we'll drive back to downtown along the main streets of Irkutsk, pass by shopping area and finally come to the shore of the Angara River – the only river that flows out of Lake Baikal and brings its crystal waters to the Arctic Ocean. Locals and guests of the city always chose the Angara's embankment for their evening strolls. It's such a picturesque and relaxing place that it never fails to charm its visitors! During our last stop we'll also stop by the monument to the most beloved (for Siberians) Russian Tsar – Alexander III, Museum of Local History and the Governor's House.
- Arrival to Irkutsk. Transfer to hotel
- Check-in and time for having rest after arrival
- Lunch in a restaurant in Irkutsk (Russian cuisine)
- Sightseeing tour round historical center of Irkutsk.
- Transfer back to the hotel after excursion.
- Dinner in a restaurant in the hotel
- Breakfast in the hotel
- 09:00 – Departure for a tour to Lake Baikal (to Listvyanka Village, 70 km far from Irkutsk).
Lake Baikal is righteously regarded as a unique masterpiece of Nature and respectfully called by locals "Sacred Sea". It's a Lake of Superlatives – the deepest (1 637 m deep), the oldest (35-37 million years old) and contains the biggest number of endemic organisms living in it (3/4 of the total amount). It's worth mentioning also that Baikal is the biggest fresh water reservoir on the Planet and contains 22% of the World's fresh water supplies and 80% Russia's fresh and drinking water.
On the way to Baikal we'll visit the open-air museum of wooden architecture "Taltsy", see ancient Siberian wooden houses dating back to the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries and make acquaintance with traditions and way of life of Siberians.
After excursion in the museum you can stop by in a small and cozy caf?, called "Siberian Tearoom", and have a cup of hot tea before our trip continues.
After "Taltsy" museum we'll go straight to Lake Baikal! The main point of our today's destination is Listvyanka Village – the biggest settlement located on the shores Baikal and the main touristic center.
Upon arrival in Listvyanka we'll stop by the Shaman-stone – place of worship for local believers and traditional boundary between the Angara River and the Lake. The guide narrates here a very old and touchy fairytale about mighty Baikal, his beautiful blue-eyed daughter Angara and the Shaman-Rock.
1 hour boat trip along the south-western shore of Baikal.
- Lunch in Listvyanka.
During lunch guests will be offered dishes of traditional Russian and Siberian cuisine: well-known Russian soup – borsh, salads, dishes with vegetables, pancakes with jam made of local berries and certainly, famous Siberian fish – omul. Omul is a type of salmon-fish, and it can be found nowhere else but in Baikal. Omul meat knows no rivals according to its tenderness and taste.
- Sightseeing tour of Listvyanka Village (the old wooden Saint-Nicola church, fish and souvenir market)
After lunch we'll have an excursion round Listvyanka Village. It is one the oldest and biggest settlements at Baikal, founded in the XVIIth century. Now it's gradually turning into a real touristic center with plenty of cafes, restaurants and hotels. During tour round Listvyanka we'll visit St. Nicola's Church, built in memory of St. Nicolay – protector of sea-farers and travelers. Tourists from all over the world come to this church in order to put a candle in honor of Nicolay and ask him to make their journey safe and remarkable. After church we'll go to the fish and souvenir market where one can find some lovely souvenirs made of local stones. At the market it's also possible to buy delicious hot smoked or salted Omul, caviar or various homemade pies.
- Excursion to the Baikal museum.
In the museum there is a very interesting exhibition of Baikal's flora and fauna. In museums' aquariums you be able to watch various species of Baikal fish and, certainly, you'll see Nerpa – the most well-known and the only fresh-water seal in the world.
- Transfer to the picnic area "Siberian Zaimka".
Welcome ceremony – according the Russian tradition – with bread, salt and vodka. Dinner (Siberian cuisine).
- Russian folklore performance with songs, dancing and plays.
- Banya (Russian steam sauna) and horse riding – for supplement
- Return transfer to Irkutsk and overnight at the hotel
- Transfer to the train station or to the airport