Lying in south-east Siberia with Mongolia to its south, Lake Baikal is truly a sight to behold. If you’re heading on a Trans-Siberian adventure, there’s no doubt that this spectacular location should be on the top of your list. Here are just a few of the many reasons to add Lake Baikal to your bucket list.
Deepest Lake in the World
Lake Baikal holds the impressive title of the deepest lake in the world. The fact that this lake only ranks in seventh place according to its surface area is testament to just how deep it truly is. At its deepest point it reaches an astounding 1700 metres – over a mile deep! It is estimated that Lake Baikal contains almost a quarter of all non-frozen fresh water in the world, which is a pretty astonishing fact.
Oldest Lake in the World
Not only is Lake Baikal the deepest lake in the world, it is also the oldest. With estimates ranging between twenty-five and thirty-million years, there are few places which can boast having been around for this long.
With over one-hundred species of plants and two-thousand-five-hundred known species of animals, it’s no wonder Lake Baikal has earned its nickname ‘the Galapagos of Russia’. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a David Attenborough, then there is no shortage of wildlife to be spotted in this gorgeous location. With over eighty percent of the lake’s species being endemic, you can spot rare and beautiful creatures that are only found in this area. One example is the Baikal seal – one of the very few freshwater seals in the world.
Lake Baikal provides endless opportunities for scenic trekking and thrilling winter sports, such as skiing, snowmobiling and ice-fishing. It also has some of the clearest water of any lake in the world, which you can go diving in.
Although Lake Baikal is incredibly isolated, it can be accessed on a Trans-Siberian railway trip. You can use the Trans-Siberian railway map to plan your trip and incorporate lots of other stunning locations into your journey.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Lake Baikal has earned its place as a UNESCO protected site. UNESCO’s committee consider it to be one of the most outstanding examples of a freshwater ecosystem. In addition its intricate bionetwork is considered to be highly valuable to evolutionary science. As a result of UNESCO’s protection, it is likely that its delicate eco-system will be maintained for many more years to come.
When to Visit
With temperatures plummeting to an exceedingly chilly negative nineteen degrees centigrade during the winter months, a visit at this time is not for the faint-hearted. However, you may be treated to the spectacle of a frozen lake, which you can even walk on at certain times! During the summer months, temperatures can reach a very pleasant fourteen degrees, making it a great time to visit and see the sights.
With so many amazing natural features, Lake Baikal truly is one of the most stunning destinations on Earth.