Lake Baikal is known as the oldest and the deepest lake in the world with freshwater. It is close to 400 miles long, running through Siberia all the way to Mongolia.
It sits in a spot where the earth is slowly splitting apart, meaning that the area this lake is in will eventually turn into an ocean. Lake Baikal is estimated to have been formed between 20 and 25 million years ago.
Known for its unparalleled beauty, Lake Baikal is a spectacular place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy peace and quiet. There are a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy, from hot springs and hiking to swimming and train rides.
Seal-lovers can hike and camp in the wild on the large cliffs and sandy beaches of Olkhon, which is Lake Baikal’s biggest island that is only lightly occupied. Mostly there are just sunbathing seals that call this island home. Nearby, the Khoboy peninsula is the location of the largest shaman ritual site.
Great Baikal Trail
Hiking the Great Baikal Trail makes for a great adventure. There is a project that aims to have trails circling around the whole Baikal Lake. Right now, you can hike through gorgeous forests between Listvyanka and Bolshiye Koty, and from Baikalskoye, a fishing village, to Lake Slyudyanskoye, which runs along the edge of a cliff.
There is also currently a trail that goes up to the Svyatoy Nos peninsula, which has great views of the land all around.
The biggest center of Buddhism in Russia is located in the Lake Baikal area, called Ivolginsk Datsan. It’s a colorful temple surrounded by white stupas and prayer flags that come in a variety of colors. Visitors will be able to see a huge statue of Buddha, which many offer coins, silks, and rice too, while listening to the monks chanting.
The Circumbaikal Railway is a picturesque train ride that runs from Slyudyanka to Port Baikal. This makes for a fun, short trip giving visitors time to relax while seeing the beautiful country passing by the windows. The train runs slowly along the edge of the lake, going over bridges and through tunnels.