View on Lake Baikal from Olkhon Island

© shutterstock/

If you are traveling to Lake Baikal and willing to find a peaceful and quite place, your destination is Olkhon Island. Located 250 km North-West from Irkutsk, Olkhon island offers rich in variety nature and beautiful diverse landscape. Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal is a truly inspiring experience.

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

Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal: a getaway to beautiful nature

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 where to go on Lake Baikal? Which destination on Lake Baikal to choose?

If you are traveling to Lake Baikal in search for harmony with nature, willing to find a peaceful and quite destination, choose Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal for your trip. Olkhon impresses with its diverse nature and landscape: from steppe grassland and aromatic plants on the western side to taiga pine trees on the eastern side. The island’s landscape – meadows that form rocky cliffs on the edges.

Being not as touristic as Listvyanka, Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal still has quite good infrastructure (in terms of these remote places, of course). It is a good place for camping and trekking as well as mountain biking and kayaking. The main village of Olkhon Island is Khuzhir, located on the western shore in the middle of the island. If you’re looking for comfort, this is a place to stay on Olkhon, but if you are willing to be all alone in the nature, you can find a number of other spots. The best would be to walk a few km away from Khuzhir – thus, you will be in a more remote area, but not far away from civilization in case you need water, food and tourist activities.

In this article you will find all necessary information about Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal, learn about tourist activities and attractions there, and get an answer to the question – how to get to Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal?

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Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal: general information

Summer scenery on Lake Baikal

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Located 250 km North-West from Irkutsk, Olkhon Island is the largest island in Lake Baikal that measures 71.5 km in length and 20.8 km in width. It is rich in natural diversity and archeological landmarks. The island features a combination of taiga and steppe, and even has its own lakes. The eastern shore of Olkhon Island is lined with steep mountains with Mount Zhima at 1276 m being the highest peak.

There are a few settlements and five villages on Olkhon Island: Yalga, Malomorets, Kharantsi, Ulan-Khushin, and Khuzhir – the biggest village and the administrative capital of Olkhon.

The population of Olkhon Island is less than 1500 inhabitants and consists for the most part of Buryats, the aboriginal people of Baikal. Shamanism, the original religion of this area and the Buryats, states that this place is a highly spiritual place. To read about the Buryats and shamanism, click here.


What to do and see on Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal

Shaman Cave

One of the main tourist attractions on Olkhon Island and a landmark on Lake Baikal in general is Shaman Cave, also called Burkhan Cape. The cave has long been the major sacred place for shamans on Baikal, later on Buddhists, and is considered to one of the nine Asian Most Sacred Places. Shamanists believed that the spirit of Olkhon, the most powerful of Baikal spirits, is living in the cave – shaman ceremonies and sacrifices were made here. After spreading of Buddhism on this territory, the cave continued to be a sacred place for the new coming religion. Today, it is a tourist attraction on Olkhon Island that can be visited alone as well as with excursion. The beautiful shape of Shaman Cave will make sure you get beautiful pictures of Lake Baikal.

Khoboy Cape

The northern point of Olkhon Island – Khoboy Cape is another tourist attraction on Olkhon. From here beautiful view open before your eyes – you see Maloye More (a strait of Lake Baikal between Olkhon Island and the main land) and the bigger part of Lake Baikal coming together. Sometimes, if you get lucky, you can see the famous nerpa – Lake Baikal endemic seal. Lake Baikal insider tip: the road finishes approx. 1 km before the cape, and you should walk till the cape. This makes the place even more magic and intimidating as there are no cars or other traces of civilization – only the vast Lake Baikal.

Three Brothers Cape

Three Brothers Cape is an incredibly picturesque white marble cliff cape about 1 km long, vertically falling down to Lake Baikal. The cape consists of a number of beautiful cliffs with three bigger ones called the Three Brothers. The legend has it that one of shamans had three sons and a daughter. The daughter fell in love and run away from home. Shaman turned his sons into eagles and sent them to find their sister. After a while the three eagle brothers found their sister who cried and prayed not to tell the father that they found her. Loving brothers came back and told shaman that they could find their sister. Shaman immediately revealed their lie and turned the brothers into cliffs.

The cape is located on the Northern part of Olkhon Island, on the western shore (that faces the land), about 2.5 km away from Khoboy Cape, the northern point of the island.

Beautiful sunset view on Lake Baikal

Shaman Cave © shutterstock/

Peschanaya Bay on Lake Baikal

Peschanaya Bay © shutterstock/

Circum-Baikal Railway

Circum-Baikal Railway © shutterstock/

A man fishing on the lake

© shutterstock/

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

Olkhon Island is located 250 km North-West from Irkutsk.

Getting to Olkhon Island by bus:

Getting to Olkhon Island by speed boat:

Getting to Olkhon Island by cab:

Read here how to get to Irkutsk from Moscow or any other big city.

Other attractions and sightseeing nearby

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