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Irkutsk Travel Guide

Irkutsk Overview

Once referred to as the “Paris of Siberia” Irkutsk is a major stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway conveniently located approximately half way along the route. It is a pleasant and prosperous city regarded as the cultural capital of Siberia and there is plenty of the traditional wooden architecture of Siberia remaining in the city. Irkutsk is also the gateway for a visit to stunning Lake Baikal making a stop over in Irkutsk a high priority for almost any Trans-Siberian adventure. Most people go straight to Lake Baikal but this city has much to recommend it.

Best Months to Visit Irkutsk

when to go Irkutsk

Best Reason to Visit Irkutsk

Although Lake Baikal is the undisputed highlight of this region if you have an extra day or two it is well worth spending one night in Irkutsk before continuing on your train trip.

Top Sights in Irkutsk

 Wooden Architecture – There are still plenty of wooden buildings in Irkutsk and although you can’t enter most of them they do give the city an old world feel and make for a pleasant walk.

 Churches – Irkutsk has it’s fair share of churches including the Ascension Church (1747-51), Epiphany Cathedral (1718-46), Our Lady of Kazan Church (1885-92), and Saviour Church (1706-13).

 City History Museum – All you need to know about Irkutsk – and a little bit more. The regional Museum is more focused on the Siberian indigenous people rather than the city.

 Sukachev Art Museum – A good collection of Russian art as well as some Mongolian and Chinese pieces.

 Dam – It is possible to visit the dam and hydroelectricity plant based on the Angara river.

 Lake Baikal – Irkutsk’s big draw with the closest access point at Listvyanka about 45 minutes from the city and a lovely drive through the forests.

Weather Averages for Irkutsk

climate chart Irkutsk

Top Irkutsk Travel Tip from TSTC

If you have time, we recommend 2 nights at Lake Baikal and one night in Irkutsk itself. Irkutsk can be a stopover regardless of whether you are taking the Trans-Mongolian, Trans-Manchurian or the traditional Trans-Siberian routes.

TSTC's Hand Picked Hotels in Irkutsk

The best option is the Marriott Courtyard Hotel which is similar to any other Marriott around the world. A new option that is a bit easier on the wallet and with more individual character is the Boutique Marussia Hotel which is our recommendation for most people.

Other Destinations in Russia

Click on any of the destinations below to explore other places in Russia that can be incorporated into your Trans-Siberian tour.

By Phil Stanley & Headseast – TCTC Destination Expert.

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