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Listvyanka (Листвянка) is a town with less than 2,000 inhabitants in Irkutsk Oblast on the shore of Lake Baikal. It's a gateway to the lake (e.g. starting point for boat trips) and the surrounding region with many natural attractions and the activities offered by both. Aside of the lake views the very town itself, however, isn't that attractive and gets crowded in season. It does have a few things to see and places to eat and sleep.


View along the shore - the town is spread out along the coast

The Listvyanka village, on Lake Baikal where the Angara river begins, was mentioned in a 1726 diary from a Tsarist embassy on their way to China. As with all of Siberia at this time, it was just a tiny settlement. Listvyanka would remain so until the late 19th century when a port was established, followed by a shipyard. The Trans-Siberian in its first iterations passed near the town from 1900 onwards; the section from Irkutsk upriver and across the lake to Mysovsk (nowadays Babushkin) was operated by ships. A few years later this section too was passable by railway, from Irkutsk along the river to Port Baikal on the opposite river bank (this section was dismantled in the 1950s) and along what's now the Circum-Baikal Railway on to Kultuk where it meets with the present-day Transsib.

In Soviet times an institute to study the lake was established (now the Baikal Museum), and at that time the first simple tourist facilities were opened. After the fall of Communism the Siberian village has more and more developed into a true tourist resort, one may even compare it to a small Black Sea resort and during the summer months the town may be outright crowded with hikers and other tourists; mostly domestic but some foreigners too. The port is still very alive but instead of cargo ships there are tour boats and private pleasure crafts. Landscapes are really beautiful, though, with the mountains coming down to the lake both here and at the opposite side of the Angara.

Transparent Baikal ice

Listvyanka and surroundings has one of the most pleasant climates in Siberia; not so hot in the summer, and milder than Irkutsk and east of the lake in the winter. As such, the weather is still pleasant in September, and the place is less crowded than during the height of the summer meaning it could be a good time to visit. For a winter experience, you can visit in February or March to see the frozen over lake.


Baikal seal in the museum aquarium

Listvyanka is mostly along the road coming from Irkutsk along the left bank of Angara to the source of the river. Then it continues along the north shore of Lake Baikal. The first 2.5 km or so is known as Krestovka, with many lodgings and museums. Then comes what can be called downtown with the market and other hotels. The road ends at the solar telescope; from here you can continue along the lake on foot along the Great Baikal Trail (Большая Байкальская тропа).

Practical information[edit]

The town is easily explored on your own, but to head out on the lake or into the woods a tour operator or rental agency (for bikes, all-terrain vehicles or snowmobiles) can come in handy. There are many of them along the road. Tour operators are often based in Irkutsk, meaning it's possible to plan your excursions already there.

  • 1 Tourist information (Туристический информационный центр), Ulitsa Gorkovo 2а (next to the marshrutka stop). The official tourist information office. There are other "tourist information" points too, but they're operated by tour companies selling services of those companies.

Hikers heading into the Pribaikalsky National Park need a permit to visit, which can be obtained from:

  • 2 Listvyanka forest office, Ulitsa Gorkovo, 2. A hiking permit for the park costs 150 ₽ for Russians, 300 ₽ for other nationalities. In the season they may have a checkpoint at the trailhead of the Great Baikal Trail, though it's better to take care of it already in Listvyanka. Hiking without a permit leads to fines way more expensive than the permit.

Get in[edit]

Map of Listvyanka

Listvyanka is at the end of a road coming from the regional capital Irkutsk, 65 km northwest. In addition to driving yourself, you can take a marshrutka (minibus) from the bus station running every hour or so.

In the summer there are also boats along the river from Irkursk - more expensive than the minibus the but the views are worth it. There are also boats from Olkhon Island, and from Port Baikal (the end of the Circum-Baikal Railway) across the river mouth.

  • 1 Avtokassa (Автокасса) (near the Mayak hotel). Bus stop with tourist information
  • 2 Floating berth, barge 2501 (Плавучий причал: баржа № 2501). The berth used by Восточно-Сибирского речного пароходства (East Siberian River Shipping Company), operating ships from Irkutsk and Olkhon.
  • 3 Rogatka pier (Причал «Рогатка»). Ferries from Port Baikal.

Get around[edit]

Listvyanka stretches for about 4 km along the river and lake shore, it's walkable but you can also use the marshrutki from Irkutsk to hop across town. For drivers: there are few parking lots (and parking is payable) at the bottom end of town, where most people head. It's better to park earlier along the road where it's free and much more space.


View from Cherskov rock
Shaman's rock
St. Nicholas church
  • 1 Cherskov's rock (Камень Черского). Viewpoint, 270 m above the lake with great views of the surroundings. If you have a car, drive to the Eastland ski resort and hike (15-20 minutes) or take the chairlift (400 ₽, 2021) up. Without a car, walk for 2.2 km from the Baikal museum to get to the same ski resort. As it's easily accessible, in the summer it's often as crowded as Listvyanka downtown.
  • 2 Shaman's stone (Шаман-камень) (at the river mouth). The tip of a rock in the middle of the Angara, best seen from a viewing platform just north of Listvyanka. It used to be higher (and more impressive) but when the Irkutsk hydroelectric plant was built across the river in the 1950s the water level rose. According to a legend, Baikal threw a big rock after his daughter Angara who refused to marry Irkut (whom Baikal had chosen as her groom) and instead fled to Yenisey - this rock now is the shaman's rock peeking out from the water. There's a more famous similarly named rock on Olkhon island.
  • 3 Baikal Museum (Байкальский музей), Ulitsa Akademicheskaya 1. At the former Limnological Institute, this museum describes many aspects of the lake in a scientific manner. There's information and statistics about the flora, fauna and geology, but also aquariums with seals and other sea life, a model of an icebreaker, the Paisis-11 - a submersible that has been used for lake exploration and a simulator where visitors can experience a dive with that submersible. 400 ₽, diving simulation has a separate fee.
  • 4 Arboretum (Дендропарк) (next to the Baikal museum). Arboretum, or rather a park as it has several flowerbeds, part of the Baikal museum but free to visit. It has a viewing tower.
  • 5 St. Nicholas church (Церковь Николая Чудотворца). This 19th century wooden church is the oldest building around the lake. It has been modified over time, and only the round windows gives a hint of the original classicist architecture.
  • 6 Large solar vacuum telescope (Большой солнечный вакуумный телескоп). At the end of the road there's a telescope used for observing solar activity. It can be visited by guided tour, otherwise you can look at the structure from the outside.
  • 7 Nerpinary (Нерпинарий), Ulitsa Gorkovo 101a (near the market). 11-18, sessions every hour. There are marine mammal parks all over the world, but only two have Baikal seals, one in Irkutsk and this one. Photography and video shooting is allowed only in one pool and for a fee. Great to visit with children, but if you want to see them in a more scientific and less theatralical setting, it's better to see the seals in the Baikal museum. 1000 ₽.
  • 8 Gem museum (Музей самоцветов), Ulitsa Kulikova 12, +7 3952 73-28-00. 11-19, during winter 11-17. A private museum of gemstones by an enthusiastic collector who also conducts tours of the museum.
  • 9 Retro-Park/Osipov Museum (Ретро-парк/музей Осиповых), Ulitsa Kulikova 62-б (Krestovka), +7 924 538-66-98. A museum of old cars, that's where the "retro" part comes from. But unlike what most people expect from a car museum, these cars are rusty and in a shabby state. The highlight of the museum isn't even the cars, but artworks made of rusty metal (you can find such artworks in town as well, all made by the owner of the museum). 100 ₽.
  • 10 Siberian zoo (Сибирский зоопарк), Ulitsa Istok Angary 11 (at the town entrance). 10-22. Petting zoo opened in 2017 where you could earlier even pet wolf cubs but as they have grown up, visitors are nowadays just allowed to get close with herbivores. 450 ₽.


In the summer there are many tour operators offering boat tours. Shorter trips like one-hour cruises can be booked on the spot, but longer journeys are better arranged in advance to make sure there's space for you onboard. For a nature excursion, you can take the boat to Bolshie Koty, 20 km north and hike back along the Great Baikal Trail (or vice versa) but you need a permit for the hike.

The lake is cool around the year, but freezes over in early or late January, depending on how cold the winter is. The Baikal ice can have a bluish tone or be transparent, giving it a special look. When the ice is strong enough, there are tours with snowmobiles, terrain vehicles, dog sleds and hovercrafts.


  • 1 Song theater (Театр авторской песни), Ulitsa Ostrovskovo 45. During the summer many small traditional song events take place in the region, and in this theater you can enjoy traditional song concerts around the year. Events are often led by theater director Yevgeni Kravkl, occasionally by visiting directors.


If you want to dive the world's largest lake, Listvyanka is a good place to start. There's one diving company (Novoya Izmerenie, "New dimension") in town, and another one Baikal Tek based in Irkutsk but operating on Baikal. In the summer there are boat tours with boats with a transparent bottom - the lake water is famous for its clarity so you can see a great deal of underwater life on such trips without diving.

  • 2 Diving center "New dimension" (Дайвинг-центр «Новое измерение»), Ulitsa Gorkovo 5а. Diving courses and tours from one day trips to longer trips far out on the lake.
  • 3 Eastland ski resort (Горнолыжный комплекс «Истлэнд»). Yes, in the winter you can ski downhill in Listvyanka, at Eastland - the Cyrillic name really reads "Istlend". This is small and simple ski resort, in the summer the chairlift can be used to access the Chersky's rock (see above). For serious downhill skiing, head to the slopes above Baikalsk, at the southern shore of the lake.
  • 4 Baikal husky center (Байкальский центр ездового спорта), Ulitsa Kulikova 134 (Tyuryumin's estate). Dog sledding in the winter, from 10 minute trips around the premises to (expensive) two day excursions on the Baikal ice. The kennel has more than 60 huskies. In the summer the center offers horse trips.

Hiking is also a possibility; northeast along the Great Baikal Trail (permit required, as mentioned before) or if you take the boat across the river mouth to lake Baikal you can hike along the tracks of the Circum-Baikal Railway.


  • 1 Market (Рынок), Ulitsa Gorkovo 111. 9-20. Fish and souvenirs, prices above average for a Siberian market. There are some food stands also.
  • 2 Kalinka (Магазин «Калинка»), Ulitsa Gorkovo 75 (near the last marshrutka stop). 10-23. Food products and household items.

Eat and drink[edit]

The famous baikal omul

Fish features prominently on the menus of restaurants and cafes here, especially smoked omul, and the appetizer sagudai which is lightly salted and frozen fish with lemon, onion and spices. As omul fishing has been restricted, you will sometimes get served some other fish even if ordered a dish with omul.

  • 1 Café Proshlyi Vek (Кафе «Прошлый век»), Ulitsa Lazo 1. 12-24. Restaurant with wooden "traditional" interior, has received mixed reviews.
  • 2 Lyubovnoye Café (Любовное кафе former Кафе «Шуры-Муры»), Ulitsa Gorkovo 2-б (at the ticket office building). 11-22. Café-restaurant with great views to the lake and good food, though with high prices.
  • 3 Restaurant Mayak (Ресторан «Маяк»). Restaurant around the clock, grill-bar 10-24. The Hotel Mayak (lighthouse) has three restaurants, the main one with the largest variety of dishes in town, "Khinkal no. 1" - a Georgian restaurant, and the grill-bar at the 7th floor with a shorter menu than the main restaurant and nice views from the windows, and during summer even better views from the outdoor terrace. mains from 500 ₽.
  • 4 Restaurant Sval (Ресторан «Свалъ»), Ulitsa Gorkovo 31. 11-23, café 9-22. A modern restaurant despite the sign with curly letters. Wooden interior and beautifully made servings, though they may not live up to the prices. The restaurant is adjacent to the Café Podlemore with good coffee and pastries. mains from 700 ₽.
  • 5 Café Baikalskaya Bochka (Кафе «Байкальская бочка»), Ulitsa Gorkovo 59, . 10-21. Fish, kebab and sashlik as well as good pies. Moderate prices for being in Listvyanka. The place offers lodging as well. mains: 400-500 ₽.


For being in the middle of Siberia, Listvyanka is relatively expensive, also when it comes to accommodation. Nevertheless the standards are higher than elsewhere around the lake, for example outdoor toilets are rare. In high season you won't find anything below 1500 ₽/person/night and you need to double that for any amenities. During the winter, prices are lower.

  • 1 Belka Hostel (Белка хостел), Ulitsa Chapayeva 77а, +7 952 626-12-51. Western-style hostel with a small library and a shared kitchen. On the downside it's cramped and there's no Wi-Fi. dbl: 1700 ₽, bed in shared room: 700 ₽; slightly more expensive during summer.
  • 2 Hotel Mayak (Гостиница «Маяк»), Ulitsa Gorkovo 85а (adjacent to the marshrutka stop), +7 3952 49-69-10. Built in 2006, this seven-story "skyscraper" is the very symbol for the transformation of Slyudanka from a sleepy village to a tourist resort. Relatively expensive for what you get (rates are comparable to hotels in Moscow), it's the most comfortable place to stay in town. sgl/dbl: 2400/3500 ₽ (low season), in high season 30-50% more.
  • 3 Hotel Baikal (Загородный отель «Байкал»), +7 3952 25-01-00, +7 3952 25-01-14. The hotel of the Eastland ski resort, thoroughly renovated in 2019. Has a restaurant. sgl/dbl: 1500/1800 руб (low season), от 2000/2500 руб (high season).

Go next[edit]

View to Listvyanka from Port Baikal

Nature is a big attraction, so why not head out in the woods surrounding the town, along the Great Baikal Trail or by boat across the river and the nature there. Boat tours can take you north to Bolshiye Koty, to Peschanaya Bay, and all the way to Olkhon island or south along the coast like the Circum-Baikal railway.

You can return to Irkutsk by marshrutka or boat, or cross the river to Port Baikal and board the Circum-Baikal Railway to Slyudyanka. There are no options for getting across the lake to the southern shore, unless a tour company arranges such a trip which they rarely do.


Kazan church and the tower of Ilimsk prison
Zarubin's estate in the Talzy Museum
  • 1 Talzi Architectural and Ethnographical Museum (Архитектурно-этнографический музей «Тальцы») (next to the Baikal Highway, 50 km from Irkutsk and 25 km from Listvyanka, marshrutki between these places stop here). Mar-Oct 10-18, Nov-Feb 10-17. The largest museum of wooden architecture in Eastern Siberia. As hydroelectric power plants were built in the region, villages were submerged including the nearby original village of Talzi. Notable buildings in the villages were disassembled and rebuilt here, including the Kazan chapel of the Ilimsk prison, which is one of Siberia's oldest buildings. The museum is divided into two "villages", one with peasant's houses and one with houses of workers. Most houses have some kind of exhibition. There's also a water mill and the Talzi village cemetery which is at its original place. Sometimes there are craftsmen like blacksmiths showing their skills. There's a souvenir shop and a café on the grounds, and the complex is fairly spread out which means its best to visit during good weather. 250 ₽.
  • 2 Lukomorye wooden sculpture park (Парк деревянных скульптур «Лукоморье») (1.5 km from Talzi towards Listvyanka). A branch of a sculpture museum in Angarsk, where modern statues are displayed. Here the Angara serves as the backdrop of the artworks. It's also a venue for outdoor art events.

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