Siberia is a magical destination regardless of the season. It is truly multifaceted, with freezing winters painting the vast and impressive landscapes white with snow, and summer bringing with it a magnificent burst of colour. A trip here is vastly contrasted from one season to the next, which, along with its sheer enormity, ensures this destination never gets old, even to the most accomplished traveller.
Siberia is a vast province of Russia, spanning the majority of Northern Asia, predominantly covered by coniferous forests and boasting incredible mountain ranges.
One of the main destinations here is the glistening Lake Baikal, an enormous ancient lake and UNESCO World Heritage Site, believed to be some 25 million years old and 1,700 metres deep. It is referred to as the ‘Galapagos of Russia’, for it is home to one of the world’s richest collections of freshwater fauna. In winter you can enjoy dog sleigh rides as well as dine upon this frozen lake for a once in a lifetime experience. While in summer this is the perfect time to get close to the fauna such as the freshwater seal, with a boat ride upon its waters, as the lake and its surrounds becomes one of the hottest and sunniest places in Russia.
Siberia also boasts fascinating cities and culture, such as Irkutsk, a picturesque tree-lined city, near the Angara River and home to traditional wooden houses as well as the bold Epiphany Cathedral and Decembrist Museum. This city boasts a fascinating history as a place of exile during the reign of Genghis Khan.
Those with an interest in the history of Southern Siberia will delight in the Circum-Baikal Railway, a historical railway running along the northern shores of the lake’s southern extremity, and once part of the Tran Siberian Express over a hundred years ago.
Meanwhile, food lovers wishing to tuck into the fruits of the landscape can head to the local markets of Listvyanka, where you’ll find a range of freshwater fish, such as omul, from none other than Lake Baikal.
When to go
The best time to visit Siberia is without a doubt the two extremes in seasons: summer and winter. These both offer a magical and completely different experience. For those keen to venture here in the summer months, the best time to go is between June and August, when this region blossoms under a warm sun. Those more keen to experience the crisp winter air and whitewashed landscapes should arrive between December and March.
What to do
- Dine on the frozen Lake Baikal
- Summer boat rides across Lake Baikal
- Dog sleigh rides
- Visit the local markets of Listvyanka
- Ride the Circum-Baikal Railway
- Visit the Epiphany Cathedral and Decembrist Museum in Irkutsk