Listvyanka is a small village located on the western shore of the Baikal Lake at the source of the Angara River. This remarkable river is the only one that flows out of Baikal. It never freezes, and the source of the river is 863 meters wide, the widest one in the world.
Three centuries ago, Listvyanka was just a settlement with a winter cabin and a postal station. Today, Listvyanka is a noisy center of tourism where people come for the beautiful views, new experiences, Siberian delicacies and a feel of the legendary Baikal energy field.
The tourists like Listvyanka for its proximity to Irkutsk, a starting point for the majority of Baikal travelers. In just about 40–60 minutes on Baikalski highway, you’ll see the beautiful pristine lake right in front of you. Whether you’re coming for a three-hour tour or for a couple of days, you will not be bored for a second either way.
Listvyanka in one day
This landmark will be the first thing you see when you enter the village. The right side of the road has an observation desk with a viewpoint of the Angara river source and the Shaman Rock. The legend says that, when Angara ran off from her father Baikal to her fiancé Yenisei, Baikal threw this rock after her.
If you can only make a one-day visit to Listvyanka, depart from Irkutsk no later than at 9 AM, and you’ll have enough time to enjoy yourself without any hurry
To visit the spiritual landmarks, go to Krestovaya Pad’. There stands the wooden Svyato-Nikolskaya Church, built by a merchant who narrowly managed to save his life during a storm. The church is active, so if you visit during a sermon, remember to follow the rules. Women should cover their hair. Men should remove their hats. Do not make noise or use the flash while taking pictures.
Try some pine nuts with honey or chocolate, too — and you won’t be able to find words to describe your pleasure. If you wish to take some with you, buy some smoked or salted fish, caviar, roasted nuts or Baikal herbal tea mixes.
Do not forget about the souvenirs made from leather, wood and Siberian gemstones. If you buy them from a market stall, don’t forget to haggle over prices, too.
Listvyanka also has bears
No, they don’t walk the streets. The bears live in a home zoo on Gorki str., 3.
All of the zoo inhabitants are creatures with difficult fates. They enjoy attention, care and delicious condensed milk. Be sure to grab a jar of this milk before you visit the zoo, and you’ll make the bears very happy.
Listvyanka on a second day
If you stayed in the village overnight, come and see a performance in a bard song theatre, stop by a sauna or take a walk under the starry Baikal sky, and you’ll sleep like a baby. In the morning, go wherever your feet take you.
Crazy about huskies and malamutes? The sled dog center on Kulikov str., 134a will make your day. Ride in the sleds, take part in Kani Cross and skijoring, take pictures and enjoy the time spent with these blue-eyed beauties.
In another two hours of walking, you’ll see the Skriper Cliff caves that formed from the Jurassic sandstone. Board the boat to Bolshie Koty if you want to get there faster — from Koty, the walk will take about half an hour.
How to get to Listvyanka from Irkutsk
Take the Baikalski highway. Travel time is around 40–60 minutes.
Take a 524th minibus route from the Irkutsk bus station. The ride lasts for an hour. Before you plan your trip, check up on the schedule by calling 8 (39–52) 50-03-66, 8 (39-52) 603-303, 8 (902) 51-03-303.
During the summer, you can take the Barguzin ship which travels from the «Raketa» Irkutsk pier to Bolshie Koty. Travel time is 1.5 hours. For the exact schedule and ticket prices, please visit the East Siberian River Shipping Company website.
Where to stay in Listvyanka
Affordability is not the main reason the tourists choose to stay in a hostel. A lot of movement, a lot of small happenings and opportunities for forming new friendships make the hostels busy and leave almost no rooms vacant. If you want a cozy atmosphere with breakfast specialties, book a room in a mini-hotel or a boarding house. And if you prefer high-comfort vacations, choose a hotel or a resort. There, you’ll have no difficulties finding a vacant room, but you should book a place in advance nonetheless.