Lake Baikal in Summer
Summer Baikal in south-east Siberia, is an especially peaceful and serene place to visit. Bright wild flowers and mushrooms cover the mountains and silk worm butterflies are plenty and more than mosquitoes. The lake is a beautiful place to swim and is clean enough you can drink it. The Russians have so little themselves, yet they give so much. However, "no thank you" does not seem to be within their understanding. Baikal fish is one of the best in the world.
Magnificent Lake Baikal is one of the world’s oldest geographical features (formed 25 to 30 million years ago). It is the highlight of Eastern Siberia for many. Summer travellers enjoy gob-smacking vistas across waters of the deepest blue to soaring mountain ranges on the opposite shore. Banana-shaped Baikal is 636km from north to south and up to 1637m deep, making it the world’s deepest lake. In fact it’s not a lake at all, but the world’s future fifth ocean containing nearly one-fifth of the planet’s unfrozen fresh water.
Lake Baikal contains an outstanding variety of endemic flora and fauna, of exceptional value to evolutionary science. Its flora is characterized with high species variety, a great number of beautiful, decorative and medicinal herbs and flowers. Lake Baikal is also surrounded by a system of protected areas that have high scenic and other natural values. The basin supports a variety of beautiful plant and animal species, a number being endemic; the most notable of which is the Baikal seal, a uniquely freshwater species. The great variety of amazing plants in the basin is determined by its climatic asymmetry: the western part is occupied by light coniferous forests and mountain steppes; in the eastern part pine forests predominate; and the north is covered by deciduous forests.
The river valleys are mostly covered with the grassland plants, forming the multi-colored carpet. There are many beautiful and interesting plants here. The lake's terraces are mostly occupied with forest and grassland kinds of plants, or their transitional forms. In the early - mid July one can see highest possible number of beautiful and rare flowers and herbs.
The landscape surrounding the lake basin, with its mountains, boreal forests, tundra, lakes, islands and steppes, is exceptionally picturesque. The Baikal region has some 1,200 historical, archaeological and cultural monuments of which 1,000 have state protection. A number of these are considered sacred. There is also a mix of distinctive cultures in the region and an interesting human history.
Foreign tourists typically visit Baikal from Listvyanka via Irkutsk, but approaching via Ulan-Ude (for eastern Baikal) produces more beach fun and Severobaikalsk (on the BAM railway) is best for accessing wilderness trekking routes.
Lake Baikal is a truly unique region, not only one of the most picturesque regions of the country and healing spring of which help to strengthen health and life force. It is also a place that guarantees a great active recreation: cycling, walking tours to the mountains and, of course, fishing. In the lake one can catch with spinning bream, carp, pike, omul, Siberian roach and cisco. Fishing at the Baikal can gain everybody’s heart even a sophisticated fisherman with rich experience. Nothing can be compared with the fishing at the dawn with a fishrod when everything is waking up.
The best time to swim in Lake Baikal is from mid-June to mid-August, with August generally registering the warmest air and water temperatures. Ice usually covers the lake until May, and the water begins to cool down again in September. The year's seasons are a bit displaced on Baikal. Spring sets in here a month later than in the Baikal Territory itself, so the warmest month is not July but August, and it's rather warm in September, too. Fogs are frequent on the lake, too. In early summer the land is well warmed, while the lake's surface is still cold. Because of the warm air brought up to Baikal's cold surface, condensation occurs, giving rise to fairy fogs. There is a lot of sunshine on Baikal, much more than on Riga's seacoast and even in the famous health resorts of the south.
The majority of travellers are anxious to visit Baikal in warm seasons. In summer Baikal is beautiful; the satiny smoothness of the water stretches far beyond the horizon. Every year Lake Baikal attracts dozens of thousands of Russian and foreign tourists. The period from June 15 to August 15 is considered to be the most favourable travelling time. It is sunny then, the days and nights are warm. Summer also attracts artists and photographers with bright colours. The forests on the shores of the Peschanaya bay and the Civyrkuisky gulf and the Maloye More coast are especially beautiful.