Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest lake of fresh water; located in Siberia, the lake contains one-fifth of the fresh water on the planet. Some visitors travel to Lake Baikal Russia to say that they have visited the world’s oldest lake: Baikal is more than 25 million years old. Tours of Lake Baikal have grown in popularity since the lake was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, making it a favored destination among travelers to Siberia. For wildlife enthusiasts, these tours are especially interesting, as the lake is home to almost 2,000 species of plants and animals, many of which are not found in other areas of the world.
Many visitors know Lake Baikal from a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway. This railroad was built along the southwestern side of the lake, and this section is known for being an especially scenic portion of the 5,753-mile rail journey. To build this section of the railway, much construction had to be done along Lake Baikal Russia. Almost 200 bridges and more than 30 tunnels were required during the building of the railroad in the late nineteenth century. While this construction was being completed, a ferry was needed to transport cars across a section of the lake.
Travelers can still take a ride on this section of the Trans-Siberian railway en route to Vladivostok, but more organized tours of Lake Baikal are also available. Surrounded by mountains, and filled with lakes and rare wildlife, the highlight of a tour of the lake is the landscape itself. During a visit, travelers will learn about the importance of the lake for the survival of local people. Lake Baikal fish are often smoked and sold at markets throughout the neighboring region.
Shaped like a crescent, Lake Baikal is an example of where the crust of the Earth is pulling apart. Often called, The Pearl of Siberia, tours of Lake Baikal have increased in the last two decades. Investors have built hotels and resorts in that time period that have allowed travelers to spend significant time at the lake. This investment has supplied a number of jobs to the area, which previously had no employment from tourism. Lake Baikal Russia is home to environmental experts, who can expose visitors to the many varieties of plants and animals, including bears and deer. If travelers are interested in hunting, these animals can be hunted under certain conditions.
A rare freshwater seal is one of the popular inhabitants of the lake. There are many varieties of fish for these seals to feed on in the lake. Nature enthusiasts might also be interested in nearby hot springs, a result of seismic activity. Reaching just over 50 degrees in the hottest point of summer, hot springs will be a welcome end to an adventurous day. The lake is also home to Buryat tribes that still reside on the eastern section. If you’re planning a trip to the ‘Blue Eye of Siberia’ it is best to do so in summer, as temperatures can be uncomfortably freezing outside of this season. Irkutsk, one of the largest cities in Siberia, is located about an hour from Lake Baikal by train, and it's a common starting point for visitors to the area, as there are plenty of hotels and things to do in the city in addition to trips to the lake.