Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal
At 72 km long, Olkhon Island is the largest island on Lake Baikal and home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the region.
The island is under the supervision of the Pribaikalsky National Park. The settlement of Khuzhir is the administrative center of the island.
The island’s appearance is a result of millions of years of tectonic development, resulting in the hollowing of this channel and the block of stone forming Olkhon Island.
If you gaze up at the steep slopes of the Primorsky Range, you can see the vertical heave of the Earth over the Obruchev Fault.
Zhima Mountain, Olkhon Island highest point
Zhima Mountain, at 1,274 m, is Olkhon Island’s highest point, Lake Baikal’s deepest point of 1,637 m is also near the island.
From Cape Kobylya Golova, the southwestern half of the island is steppe. The eastern side of the island has extensive forest cover with small passages of pine trees.
Khuzhirtuy Bay lies behind the larger Shibetsky and Elgay Bays. There are five lakes on the island, including Nurskoe, Shara-Nur and Khankhoy.
Baikal’s strongest wind, the Sarma, is associated with Olkhon Island, and those who travel by water will remember its force.
Listvyanka or Bolshoe Goloustnoe are villages situated 70km / 110km respectively from Irkutsk, on the very shore of Lake Baikal and these picturesque roads run through the forest down to the lakeshore.
Staying in a traditional wooden house
A traditional Siberian wooden house has no running water, you will be accommodated in a separate room in a traditional wooden house, there are no doors inside the houses – just curtains and the toilet is outside.
Your hospitable landlady will prepare delicious traditional Siberian food. As these villages develop there are now a few hotels of varying standard and lodge accommodation, where you will have more modern facilities with shower blocks and own rooms – with doors!
What else can you do?
Olkhon Island is wonderful place for hiking, biking and horse-riding tours, and the Maloye Sea is one of the best places on Lake Baikal for aquatic activities.
You can climb the local peaks and enjoy the magnificent views of Lake Baikal from the top.
Experience the natural beauty of the surrounding forests, valleys and hills. The powerful beauty of the lake with wild rocky cliffs and crystal clear air and the mysterious healing energy of the lake has always been a source of power for the shamans living in Siberia.
Evening is time to enjoy a traditional Russian sauna or Banya (a steam bath house).
Find here more interesting excursions or tours.