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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Irkutsk

Irkutsk was my last stop during my trip around Russia. I took the train from Krasnoyarsk, I didn't have the time (or the interest) to take the days' long journey from Moscow. Irkutsk is one of the biggest cities in Siberia and is often the jump-off point for trips to Lake Baikal. It has some places of interest and things to do for those who are planning to stay for a couple of days.

If you're planning to include Irkutsk in your budget and itinerary, read on.

Guide to Irkutsk

I was on the overnight train from Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk. I was looking back at my month long journey around Russia. I looked outside the window to see the early morning landscape. I can't help but think, I'm on my way out of Siberia. I asked the ticket lady where my stop was (I used my phone's translator), she said it was the next one using her hands. The train slowed down and stopped. I got my things and hopped out.

I was finally in Irkutsk.

Things to Do and Attractions in Irkutsk

To cut a long story short, it was really cold during my visit. It was around late October to early November. I got to explore the part of the city I was in. I didn't bother figuring out the bus routes because the conductors and drivers didn't speak English at all. Luckily, the hostel I stayed in had staff that spoke good English (and they also had a map with English signs in it).

Bogoyavlensky Epiphany Cathedral

The original temple dates back to the early 1690s. A fire destroyed the original structure in 1716, a couple of years later a stone church was built in its place. It took some time before construction finished in 1731.

Monument to the Founders of Irkutsk

The local government had this monument built to commemorate the pioneers who established Irkutsk more than three centuries ago. It is near the Epiphany Cathedral along the Angara River. It was unveiled in 2011.

Spassky Church

Like in many places in Russia, there's plenty of churches all over the city. The church was established in 1706. It has survived natural and man-made disasters.

Church of the Transfiguration in Irkutsk

The church's consecration took place sometime around 1811. In the mid-1800s, it became the residence of the Decemberists' families. In the 1940s, the Soviet Government had it shut down. It was later re-opened in the 2000s.

Irkutsk Synagogue

The Jewish community that lived in Irkutsk founded the synagogue in the late 1870s.

Irkutsk Cathedral Mosque

Tatar merchants founded the mosque in the 1890s. The construction of a stone structured finished in 1905. The mosque closed sometime in the late 1930s and was later reopened in the mid-1940s. I stumbled upon this place while I was walking around the city.

Polish Church

This Catholic church has a history that spans more than a century. There was just over 200 Catholics living in Irkutsk sometime in 1815. The needs of this small community led to the establishment of a Catholic church. The exterior of the church will grab your attention once you see it.

Traditional Houses

As I was exploring the city, I also found some traditional homes in one area. These wooden houses immediately caught my attention because of their unique exterior and large windows. These were in various states of repair and disrepair. I found most of them somewhere around Karl Marx Street.

Beautiful Buildings

The city was also home to some beautiful buildings (for some strange reason I like looking at buildings haha).

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is a UNESCO-listed site that is the deepest lake in the world and is also the largest freshwater lake by volume. It is also home to many species of flora and fauna. During my visit, it was already close to winter and there were barely any tourists. The temperature was already below zero (-10 if I remember correctly) and some parts of the lake near the shore were frozen. The views were still nice despite these. I took the mini-bus somewhere near the city to Listvyanka.

You Might Want to Visit These Places 

Stolby Nature Reserve

I was only in Krasnoyarsk for a short time, so I decided to spend it in Stolby Nature Reserve.

Read my post here: Guide to Stolby Nature Reserve


If you're starting your trip in Irkutsk, you will most likely end it in Moscow. Many take the Trans-Siberian train all the way to the Russian capital with stops (or even no stops) from Irkutsk.

Read my post: Guide to Moscow

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg (simply put) is a beautiful city, one of my favorites actually. You can go to this city after Moscow. Visiting this destination is possible by flight or for those who have a longer trip by train.

Read my post: Guide to Saint Petersburg

Where to Stay in Irkutsk

I stayed at Rolling Stones Hostel, their dorm rooms were affordable and comfortable, reminded me of the capsule hotels in Japan. It had a good location too, within walking distance of the city's attractions and near restaurants and groceries.

You can also find more options in the city.

Getting Around Irkutsk

Most of the places I went to were within walking distance from each other. I did a lot of walking to explore the city, but there are public buses that can take you around. You'll need to speak and understand a bit of Russian to navigate the bus network. Again, an offline translator is your friend here and other places in Russia.

How to Go to Irkutsk

Irkutsk is one of the stops along the Trans-Siberian Rail. I only took part of it from Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk. There are flights from Moscow to Irkutsk if you don't want to spend days on a train. The timezone is already different from here because it is on the Asia side of Russia. You can book train tickets here: https://pass.rzd.ru/main-pass/public/en.

Budget for Irkutsk

Here's a short breakdown of my budget and itinerary for Irkutsk.

*Everything's in Russian Rubles

379 - Transportation
720 - 2 nights in Rolling Stones Hostel
1864 - Food and drinks
280 - Van fare to and from Listvyanka  
3243 - Total

I just walked around the city to see the traditional houses, the museums and famous landmarks. I also went to Lake Baikal as a short day trip from the city. Winter was just around the corner during my visit so the temperatures were already below zero during my short stay.

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