As the closest lakeside village to Irkutsk, Listvyanka – aka the ‘Baikal Riviera’ – is the touristy spot where most travellers go to dunk their toes in Baikal’s pure waters. Having picked at omul, admired the hazy views of the Khamar Daban mountains on the opposite shore and huffed their way from one end of the village to the other, most are on a marshrutka back to Irkutsk late afternoon. But there’s more to Listvyanka: stay longer to hike the Great Baikal Trail, discover more about the lake at the Baikal Museum and chill out at one of Siberia’s most eco-friendly sleeps.
If you’re looking for beach fun, the eastern shore (Buryatiya) is the place to build sandcastles. However, what the Buryat shore doesn’t have is Listvyanka’s range of activities: from short boat trips to diving and jet-skiing in the summer and ice mountain biking to lake treks and ice sculpting in the winter.