Circum-Baikal Railway on Lake Baikal

© shutterstock/ Best-of-Russia.net

Circum-Baikal Railway is one of the most interesting tourist activities on Lake Baikal. 84 km of a picturesque track along Lake Baikal lies from Slyudyanka to Port Baikal and offers incredibly beautiful views on Lake Baikal as well as an unforgettable 5-hour long journey. Circum-Baikal Railway is one of the most picturesque railway tracks in the world and an absolute must see on Lake Baikal.

  • Region in Russia: Lake Baikal, Siberia
  • Topic: Nature Reserves, Multiday trips, Trans-Siberian, Camping, Hiking
  • Best Season: Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring
  • Family & Kids: Yes

Circum-Baikal Railway: a picturesque journey along Lake Baikal

Traveling to Lake Baikal, one of the most exciting destinations in Russia, is an experience of a life time. The vast and deep Lake Baikal offers its explorers pristine nature, fresh air and unbelievable beauty of sceneries. But what are the most interesting tourist activities on Lake Baikal? Which attractions on Lake Baikal are absolute must-sees? Well, let us help you with that.

If you are on Lake Baikal, that already means that you are a traveler – you like hitting the road, taking journeys and exploring, and that means that you will fall in love with Circum-Baikal Railway. A picturesque train journey along Lake Baikal from Slyudyanka to Port Baikal offers tourists and adventure lovers everything they will enjoy – picturesque views on Lake Baikal, marvelous architectural work, exciting journey and a great peaceful time to look out of the window while hitting the road of one of the most beautiful railway tracks in the world. Circum-Baikal Railway is a must see on Lake Baikal and a wonderful tourist attraction on Lake Baikal. Already excited? Then scroll down and read more information on this tourist activity on Lake Baikal, find out the route and timetable of Circum-Baikal Railway, learn about its history and find answers to the questions – how to get to Circum-Baikal Railway? What is the starting point of Circum-Baikal Railway?

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Circum-Baikal Railway: an architectural masterpiece

Circum-Baikal Railway

© shutterstock/ Best-of-Russia.net

Circum-Baikal Railway is an exceptional landmark to engineering and architectural art. Built during the Russian Empire more than a thousand years ago, Circum-Baikal Railway features a variety of beautiful masterfully constructed tunnels and galleries, bridges and aqueducts. It is a unique monument both to engineering art and to the beauty of nature.

The railway was constructed as a part of the Trans-Siberian railway and run from the source of Angara river (close to Listvyanka village) alongside the Western part of Lake Baikal till Sludyanka. The project was both expensive and complicated because of the amount of earth-moving works. 84-km long track features 38 tunnels, 15 stone galleries, 248 bridges and viaducts, and 268 retaining walls. Circum-Baikal Railway is unique in the country as to the richness of engineering constructions.

Starting from its opening in 1904 and till 1950s, Circum-Baikal Railway was a part of Trans-Siberian route. But in the 1950s the new railway was built from Irkutsk to Slyudyanka was built, and Circum-Baikal Railway was no longer used for Trans-Siberian trains.

Today, Circum-Baikal Railway is a peaceful and picturesque railway route with a few trains going every week and with a number of tourist trains used for excursions. Along the way there are a few villages and tour bases as well as nice spots for camping.

Circum-Baikal Railway Manual: trains, timetables, starting points

Circum-Baikal Railway runs its 84 km track from Slyudyanka to Port Baikal (across the Angara River from Listvyanka), and you can start your journey at both of these points.

There are a number of tourist trains that will take you on one day excursion along Circum-Baikal Railway with stops at the most interesting places and a tourist guide telling you all about Lake Baikal, its flora and fauna and, of course, about Circum-Baikal Railway and its history. These excursions usually start from Irkutsk but you can join them in Slyudyanka or Listvyanka.

Lake Baikal insider tip: there are no shops along the stops of Circum-Baikal Railway, so make sure to have enough snacks with you.

We advise you to take Circum-Baikal Railway excursion tour as it is planned out and organized for you. However, if you are willing to make it by yourself, the only best time to do that will be from June 16 to September 15 (because of the ferry’s timetable that will take you from Port Baikal to Listvyanka).

TRAVELING BY YOURSELF ON THE REGULAR TRAIN

If you decide to travel by yourself on the regular train (which is perfectly ok and not difficult), it is best to choose Slyudyanka as a starting point for Circum-Baikal Railway. The reason is simple – timetable. There is only one train a day (Train №6201) from Slyudynka that leaves at 14:21 and reaches Port Baikal at 19:37. The train goes 4 times a week on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. The ticket costs 94 RUB (information updated in March 2016).

When you arrive at Port Baikal, take a ferry to Listvyanka – the trip lasts about 25 min. The ferry Port Baikal-Listvyanka departs according to the following timetable (information updated in March 2016):

January 1-31: 8:30, 15:50, 17:15

February 1 – March 31: 08:30, 17:15

April 1 – May 15: 6:40, 15:50, 17:15

May 16 – June 16: 6:40, 10:45, 15:50, 17:15

June 16 – September 15: 6:40, 10:45, 15:50, 17:15, 20:15

September 16 – October 15: 6:40, 10:45, 15:50, 17:15

October 16 – December 31: 8:30, 15:50, 17:15

As can be seen from ferries timetable, the best time to travel by Circum-Baikal Railway by yourself (without tourist group and special tourist train) will be from June 16 till September 15. At this time you will guaranteed get to Listvyanka from Port Baikal.

Apart from the regular ferry there are also tourist ferries that pick up tourist groups from the tourist trains. These ferries can take you to Listvyanka if they have spare places. But you can’t find their timetable online, and thus cannot plan your journey in advance.

The train Port-Baikal – Slyudyanka (Train №6202) departs from Port Baikal at 02:45 and arrives at Slyudyanka at 07:48. The train goes 4 times a week on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.

Autumn picture of a railway along the shore of Lake Baikal

© shutterstock/ Best-of-Russia.net

View on Lake Baikal from Olkhon Island

© shutterstock/ Best-of-Russia.net

Summer scenery on Lake Baikal

© shutterstock/ Best-of-Russia.net

A man fishing on the lake

© shutterstock/ Best-of-Russia.net

Lake Baikal- Location Map & Contact Information

[om_gmap zoom=”6″ lat=”53.5587003″ lng=”108.1649964″ styles=”_map_box”]

 Location Address:

Lake Baikal, Russia

How to get there – ARRIVAL INFORMATION

Read here how to get to Irkutsk, Slyudyanka or Listvyanka.

Other attractions and sightseeing nearby

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