What is worth seeing on Olkhon.

On the vast expanses of Siberia, on the territory of the Irkutsk and Buryat lands, a beautiful crescent sprawled handsome Baikal - the deepest lake in the world, unique of its kind. The surface area of Baikal is more than 31 km2. This is comparable to the areas of entire countries, such as Denmark, the Netherlands or Belgium, and the length of the Baikal coastline is over two thousand kilometers. It will take more than one day to drive around the lake.

The cleanest air, the clear water of the lake and original nature of the region have always attracted attention. A place of amazing beauty and inexpressible energy, Baikal is not only a concentration of natural resources, but also shocking travelers from all over the world with its greatness and beauty.

The heart of Lake Baikal is Olkhon Island. This is the land of shamans and legends, which generously gives itself to tourists from all over the world. Each of those who come to Olkhon finds something for themselves here: someone gets pleasure from enjoying the beauty of nature, incredible sunsets and sunrises, someone plunges into the originality of Buryat culture, shamanistic rites and local cuisine, someone alone with nature is able to find yourself, to learn something important about yourself that it was impossible to hear in the frantic rhythm of a big city.

Geographical position

Olkhon Island is the largest island of Lake Baikal. It is separated from the mainland by the picturesque straits of the Small Sea from the north and the Olkhon Gates from the southwest.

The Small Sea is not only the name of the strait, but also the general name for that part of Baikal and its sandy bays, which is located north of Olkhon Island.

The road from Irkutsk to crossing to Olkhon, which is located in the village of Sakhyurte (MPC), is 250 km along an asphalt road. It runs along the Kachug path from Irkutsk through settlements such as Oyek, Ust-Ordynsky, Bayanday, Kosaya Steppe, Elantsy, Sakhyurte (MRS) .

The nature of the island is diverse: there are steppes and sandy coasts, and, of course, the forest, which occupies almost a third of the island’s territory. Hence its the name: from the Buryat “Oikhon” is translated as “little forest” or “slightly wooded”.

Olkhon Island is part of the Pribaikalsky National Park - this is a specially protected natural area, created to preserve the unique nature of Pribaikalia and the development of educational tourism.

Holidays at Olkhon 2023: what does it offer? what is surprising?


Olkhon has own unique climate, similar to maritime climate .It is formed by the huge water mass of the lake and the rose of the Baikal winds.

Summer on the island is slightly colder than on the mainland, but the bays have time to warm up to comfortable temperatures. At this time of year rest on Lake Baikal allows you enjoy swimming in the clear and invigorating water of the lake.

Winter is milder because low temperatures are easier to carry with dry air. The autumn period in Olkhon is quite long, and spring comes with a slight delay.

Another unique climate feature of Olkhon Island is a huge number of sunny days. The sun shines here 317 days in the year! This indicator exceeds the southern regions of Russia. This means that during the whole warm season on the island you can enjoy sunbathing and even get a tan which will not yield to the sea tan.

Basic places in Olkhon (basic information)

Rock Shaman

Shamanka rock or cape Burkhan is a cape in the middle part of the west coast of Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal. This is the most common symbol of the island of Olkhon, which can be seen in almost every illustration associated with Lake Baikal. The cape is a state natural and historical monument.

The name of the cape “Burkhan” appeared after the penetration of Tibetan Buddhism in the Baikal region at the end of the 17th century, which partly replaced shamanism. The Buryat Buddhists began to call the main deity of Lake Baikal with the word “Burkhan”. And cape Burkhan with a through cave in the Shaman-rock was considered to be its abode.

Local residents have different beliefs, under which men cannot make noise near a rock, pass through a cave, and women even cannot approach the Shaman-rock. But none of the most stringent prohibitions will not prevent you to admire the beauty of Baikal and the Shaman during a sunset at a distance from the observation deck with a cup of coffee in the summer cafe Baikal View.

Cape Khoboy (translated from Buryat language - “canine ”) is the most northern cape on Olkhon Island.

Cape looks like a very spectacular pillar-shaped rock, resembling external sharp teeth, and from the side of the sea has a pronounced similarity with the profile of the female head with the bust.

This place is notable for many-voiced echo, which is reflected from the monolithic rock. In winter, you can explore the grottoes, stunningly decorated with sparse ice and transparent icicles that look like ice stalactites.People come here not only to admire the natural beauty, but also recharge the energy of the sacred place.

Ogoy Island is another place of power. This is the second largest island in the Small Sea. Human has never lived here, and this means that it is a “pure land” free from the negative actions of a person.

In 2005, a Buddhist Stupa of Enlightenment was erected on top of the island by private donations. Volunteers from different places took part in the construction of the stupa.

It is believed that if you go around the stupa several or many times, then the wish will come true.

Photos by Trofimov

Holy sources are located on the Small Sea in Surkhite . Surkhayte is an area on the shore of Lake Baikal. You can get from Olkhon by water, it will take no more than two hours.The coast is covered with white pebbles, Surkhite-nur lake is located nearby, which is connected with the Baikal by a strait, but much warmer.Taiga hides the holy sources in the area Surkhayte. In fact, this is one source divided according to legend, by a powerful shaman into two parts : male and female. The taste of water from these sources is actually different. Water does not lose freshness for years , because it is saturated with silver ions. And the healing properties of this water are known to locals for a long time.

Features of trip to Olkhon

There are several features that are necessary for those who plan their holidays on Olkhon Island:

  • Crossing. In the warm season (from May to October), three ferries are engaged in transporting people and cars to the island. They run from 7:30 to 22:00 with an interval of 30 minutes. It is better to familiarize with the schedule in advance (https://vsrp.ru/passengers/trips/mrs-olkhon/). It should be borne in mind that in the high season (mid July-the end of August) you will have to wait some time, because people who want to visit the holy island this season too much.

If you are one of those who value a solitary vacation and does not like a large crowd of tourists, you can take a rest on Olkhon in the spring (link) and autumn (link) periods. At this time there are no queues at the crossing and you can get to the island quickly. It is necessary to know how the climate is changing on the island at this time. For example, at the beginning of summer the air on Olkhon warms up quite well, but it is still early to swim, while the autumn on the island is mild, warm and very sunny.

The winter road on the Baikal ice opens in early February and runs until the end of March. It is clearly marked and verified by the Ministry of Emergency Situations. This season is gaining high popularity among tourists, here is the explanation . In winter, you can go ice skating on multi-meter clear ice, which is decorated with air bubbles frozen in it and placers of cracks. This ice is so clear that allows you admire the bottom of the lake. You will make amazing photos here , because the beauty of the Baikal ice is unique which you will not see this anywhere else. You can also visit the ice grottos that are impressive with their special beauty - works of art created by nature by itself.

The rest of the time you can cross over to Olkhon Island by an air-cushioned boat, which is equally good for driving on ice and on water.

Mobile connection. Olkhon is included in the coverage area of such mobile operators as Tele2, Megafon, Beeline and MTS, 3G and 4G work.

The village Khuzhir

The village of Khuzhir is a settlement on Olkhon. The main shops and cafes are concentrated here. The population of Khuzhir is not too much, less than half a thousand people.

What is in the village:

  • Pharmacy (Baikal Street,10)
  • Large Grocery store (Baikalskaya street, 54B)
  • Museum of local lore named after N.M. Revyakin (Pervomayskaya street, 2)
  • Summer cafe Baikal View (link to the site about the cafe) with fresh pastries and beautiful views of Lake Baikal and the Shaman Rock

The identity and authenticity of Olkhon cannot be felt without being in these amazing places. The opportunity to see the beauty of the Baikal nature with our own eyes, enjoy unity with it, be filled with the power of sacred places and immerse yourself in the culture of people who live on the shores of the most mysterious lake for centuries- this is what waits you on your journey to Olkhon. After the first visit, you will definitely want to come back and touch this one of the most amazing places on the planet again.

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