©Istock/Tolstnev
©Istock/Tolstnev

Top three amazing winter activities on Lake Baikal

2 minutes to read

Real winter on Lake Baikal can be quite overwhelming. It's true that for the most part, the winters here are long, very cold, and it's mostly snowing. But the good thing is that there are 300 sunny days per year on Baikal, and this is the reason for you to travel here in winter in particular. The tours get cheaper but the activities multiply with the coming cold. You can choose dog sledding, a wild and fun Siberian experience. You can skate, Baikal is considered the biggest “skating ring” on Earth, it's ice crystal clear and very smooth! You can also go ice-fishing or swim in the hot springs.  No matter which activity you are going to choose, you can spend the winter on Lake Baikal and never regret it with these top three amazing winter activities for the cold season. 

Hear the cracking of the purest ice 

Usually, Baikal ice covers the lake from the end of October till late April. The ice becomes stronger with every bout of cold until the day when the ice turns the lake surface into a real road. The ice is so thick that the locals use it as river crossing (even heavy trucks can drive along the ice). However, it's not the thickness of the ice that attracts thousands of travelers to the lake. Baikal ice is something special. It's so pristine that one can see the rocks lying on the 40-meter depth. The ice makes for the perfect pictures, so grab your camera and see the bizarre pattern the ice bubbles and layers make! The ice also cracks very loudly, don't be afraid! It's a local past time to spend the day on the ice listening to this!

©Istock/Aleksey Zhidkov
©Istock/Aleksey Zhidkov

Skate to the most hidden places of the lake

Nowadays, winter skating tours around some parts of Lake Baikal are extremely popular! So why don't you join one? All you need is a good pair of skates, sunscreen (remember the lake's 300 sunny days per year) and a good mood! You can skate in many places, but closest to Irkutsk is the village of Bolshoye Goloustnoe. By the way, if you are traveling through Irkutsk itself, I would recommend to visit its only pedestrian street, Uritskogo and visit Irkutsk's 130th Quarter as well!

Bolshoye Goloustnoe Village, Lake Baikal
Bolshoye Goloustnoe Village, Lake Baikal
Bol'shoye Goloustnoye, Irkutsk Oblast, Rusia, 664515

Ride the aero-sleigh on the frozen lake

The aero-sleigh or hovercraft is a particular vehicle used by Baikal dwellers to drive on the ice. If you drive it, you will see an incredible kaleidoscope of winter scenery whirling in front of you. The snowy taiga and the large Baikal open spaces are rather breathtaking. The aero-sleigh can do various maneuvers and take you to the Baikal's only island - Olkhon! It's up to you to choose any of these top three amazing winter activities you can do on Lake Baikal (I suggest you try all of them and more). They are all perfect for your cold season vacation!


The author

Oksana Vasilieva

Oksana Vasilieva

Hi, I am Oksana from Irkutsk, Siberia. I am a linguist and passionate traveler. Being born in the deep Siberian forest, also known as taiga, I thought I would be happier if living in a warmer place. So, I traveled the world, but I always came back to my Siberia. I am excited to share its unique culture with you. Whether you fancy a ride on a dog sled or a dive in winter Baikal waters, follow my stories.

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