- Spa and massage
- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Hiking / Trekking
- Water Sports
During my trip to Russia, Listvyanka was my first stop in the area around Lake Baikal. I have mixed memories of it. Obviously, going into the mountains, or climbing high enough to see the Lake's water left me speechless with the beauty of the countryside, but the village itself was a bit disappointing. Its only reason for existing seems to be tourism. There are numerous agencies offering excursions, a tourist trap crafts market and hotels along the banks of the river.
So my advice is to get to the old village as soon as possible, enjoy the pretty isbas and the church, try the omul which villagers smoke on the street, and climb Chersky rock. From there you can see the River Angara, the only river which drains the lake, Shaman's rock poking its head above the water, and the colourful prayer flags lefts by the Buryats to send their messages to the spirits.
I went to the opposite bank to see Port Baikal, which is more authentic, and walked along the old railway line, called "the golden buckle on Russia's steel belt", whose numerous tunnels, bridges and viaducts are real technical marvels.
I went to Listvyanka in springtime, when Lake Baikal was melting. You still felt like you were in a freezer standing right by the banks but 500 m inland (2 streets), it was "warm". It was a fascinating feeling!
I am dubious about this village's future - there are still a few traditional houses next to more modern ones which are gradually devastating the taiga... Saint Nicolas' Church and Baikal Limnological Museum are worth a visit. There are lots of different activities available, but not in the spring.
Happily, I was able to go for a walk in the forest, along the Great Baikal Trail, as far as Bolshiye Koty. We met some locals and shared salamis and vodka.
If you have time to spend in the region during your trip to Russia then you should go to Olkhon Island. If you don't, then Listvyanka is a good place to enjoy Lake Baikal.