At the Crossroads of Europe & Asia

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall – Siberia Has It All

Siberia is huge and phenomenal, with swathes of taiga forest, northern tundra underpinned with frozen earth called permafrost, mighty rivers rushing north to the Arctic, and grand Lake Baikal — the deepest and oldest freshwater lake on earth.

Whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall, you can have fun on Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes and Martin Klimenta
Whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall, you can have fun on Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes and Martin Klimenta

At any time of the year there are wonders to behold here, whether it’s the swaying purple fireweed of summer, tall as a man, or the thick winter ice on Lake Baikal, shoved up into peaks so clear they look like windowpanes. And the hardy Siberian people know how to have a good time no matter what the weather is doing. Join them – winter, spring, summer or fall.

MIR has more than 30 years of expertise in hand-crafting Siberian travel itineraries, each one capturing the magic of its season. 

Find the season that best matches your travel style:

Winter in Siberia


Winter is Dr. Zhivago time, when fields are obliterated by snow and etched with skeleton trees. Local people travel across the Baikal ice on snow machines or dogsleds. Shaggy horses pull sleighs over the snowy ground, and venders warm their hands over their stoves as they smoke fresh-caught omul at lakeside stands. Snow and ice don’t keep Siberians from enjoying the season, whether indoors or out. And they’re happy to take you along with them.

Picnic on a frozen Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin
A snowy Church of the Epiphany in Irkutsk. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
Smoking fresh-caught omul. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
High tea, Russian-style: blini, bulachki (sweet buns) and tea with jam. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
The ice-fishing is great at Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin
  • Picnic on a frozen Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin Picnic on a frozen Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin
  • A snowy Church of the Epiphany in Irkutsk. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes A snowy Church of the Epiphany in Irkutsk. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • Smoking fresh-caught omul. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes Smoking fresh-caught omul. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • High tea, Russian-style: blini, bulachki (sweet buns) and tea with jam. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes High tea, Russian-style: blini, bulachki (sweet buns) and tea with jam. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • The ice-fishing is great at Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin The ice-fishing is great at Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

(click image to view larger photo)

Winter activities can include:

  • Boarding a hovercraft and gliding over the Baikal ice to a place where you can join locals ice-fishing
  • Admiring the fantastic sculptures and mazes carved from the clear Baikal ice that dot the snow-covered open spaces around Irkutsk’s main square
  • Hurtling down an ice slide on an inner tube
  • Steaming yourself in a traditional Russian banya, then running out into the snow
  • Dashing through the taiga and onto the frozen Angara River on a traditional troika ride
  • Raising your ice-glasses and toasting to winter with chilled Baikal vodka
  • Mushing over frozen Lake Baikal on a dogsled pulled by Siberian Huskies, a courageous breed exported from Russia into Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush
  • Racing a snow machine against a dogsled
  • Enjoying a cozy home-cooked meal – including blini – in a Siberian home
Sled dogs, fresh and ready to run across Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
A Baikal hovercraft can take you anywhere you want to go. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
Troika time. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
Speeding down the slide like a kid. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
These snow machines use horsepower rather than dog power. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
Sweet smelling birch branches ready for the banya. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
A Siberian tradition: Drink vodka out of the lake. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
Time for a toast in a glass made of ice. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • Sled dogs, fresh and ready to run across Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes Sled dogs, fresh and ready to run across Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • A Baikal hovercraft can take you anywhere you want to go. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes A Baikal hovercraft can take you anywhere you want to go. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • Troika time. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes Troika time. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • Speeding down the slide like a kid. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes Speeding down the slide like a kid. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • These snow machines use horsepower rather than dog power. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes These snow machines use horsepower rather than dog power. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • Sweet smelling birch branches ready for the banya. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes Sweet smelling birch branches ready for the banya. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • A Siberian tradition: Drink vodka out of the lake. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes A Siberian tradition: Drink vodka out of the lake. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • Time for a toast in a glass made of ice. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes Time for a toast in a glass made of ice. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes Douglas Grimes

Experience Winter in Siberia with MIR on these itineraries:

Spring in Siberia


Late winter extends into early spring in Siberia. Eventually there’s a thaw, and the land begins to break free of its frozen blanket. In very early spring, Siberia may remind you of a molting bird – soon beautiful plumage will cover the bare bones, but right now it’s a bit scraggly. Finally, it’s May, and time to travel! Buds break through, the sun begins to warm your skin, tiny white trillium bloom in the woods, and hopeful people spill onto the streets to greet their neighbors after the harsh winter.

UNESCO-listed Baikal, the deepest and oldest lake on earth, so vast that locals call it “the sea.” Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin
UNESCO-listed Baikal, the deepest and oldest lake on earth, so vast that locals call it “the sea.” Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin

Spring activities can include:

  • Venturing inside a private Russian home for a traditional home-cooked meal of Russian specialties such as blini and borscht
  • Enjoying a tour of the classic wooden architecture of one of Russia’s loveliest cities, Irkutsk
  • Discovering Vladivostok, the formerly closed Pacific Rim port city flourishing on Russia’s east coast.
  • Riding the famous Trans-Siberian Railway through the taiga, steppe and wide valleys of Siberia
  • Breathing in the astounding beauty of UNESCO-listed Baikal, the deepest and oldest lake on earth, so vast that locals call it “the sea”
  • Inspecting the largest opera house in Russia, in Novosibirsk, the biggest city in Siberia
  • Attending a concert of classical music at the Decembrist Museum in Irkutsk
Ride the rails of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Photo credit: Jamshid Fayzullaev
Novosibirsk is home to Russia's largest opera house. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
Join a Siberian family for a home-cooked meal. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
In Irkutsk: A private concert of classical music in the Decembrist House Museum. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin
Discover Vladivostok, the formerly closed Pacific Rim port city. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
  • Ride the rails of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Photo credit: Jamshid Fayzullaev Ride the rails of the Trans-Siberian Railway. Photo credit: Jamshid Fayzullaev
  • Novosibirsk is home to Russia's largest opera house. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes Novosibirsk is home to Russia’s largest opera house. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • Join a Siberian family for a home-cooked meal. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta Join a Siberian family for a home-cooked meal. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
  • In Irkutsk: A private concert of classical music in the Decembrist House Museum. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin In Irkutsk: A private concert of classical music in the Decembrist House Museum. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin
  • Discover Vladivostok, the formerly closed Pacific Rim port city. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta Discover Vladivostok, the formerly closed Pacific Rim port city. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

(click image to view larger photo)

Experience Spring in Siberia with MIR on these itineraries:

Summer in Siberia


Summer is sumptuous in Siberia. The extra hours of warm sunshine bring out the tang of pine needles and sticky birch leaves, and encourage the lush growth of the potato plants and sunflowers that crowd every village backyard. The golden Siberian globeflower dots the hillsides, and people fishing in ancient Lake Baikal find that they can see a hundred feet below the surface.

Visit a village to hear the powerful centuries-old songs of the Old Believers and learn about their unique traditions. Photo credit: Helge Pedersen
Visit a village to hear the powerful centuries-old songs of the Old Believers and learn about their unique traditions. Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

Summer activities can include:

  • Honoring the chanting monks, townspeople, and pilgrims near Ulan Ude at Ivolginsk Datsan, the center of Buddhism in Russia
  • Making a village visit to enjoy a home cooked meal and to hear the powerful centuries-old songs of Old Believers, learning about their unique history and traditions (VIDEO)
  • Spending a day admiring UNESCO-listed Lake Baikal on the fabulous Circumbaikal Old Railway, one of the most complicated and beautiful rail routes in the world (VIDEO)
  • Discovering the other-worldly sounds of Tuvan throat-singing at a traditional performance in Kyzyl, the capital of Tuva
  • Spending the night in the home of a local Siberian family to enjoy Russian hospitality at its finest
  • Boarding a boat and searching for Baikal’s elusive freshwater seal, the nerpa
  • Experiencing a traditional banya, or steambath, in Listvyanka, a little lakeside village that began as a fishing outpost and has become a center for the study of Lake Baikal
  • Taking a hydrofoil to sacred Olkhon Island, where the indigenous Buryats believed that the gods of Baikal lived
  • Experience a shaman ceremony
  • Discovering Vladivostok, the formerly closed Pacific Rim port city flourishing on Russia’s east coast
  • Venturing to the remote Yakutia region, known for it’s mammoth fossils, diamonds, and permafrost
  • Exploring the wild Kamchatka Peninsula, perched on the Pacific Rim of Fire
Nerpa freshwater seals are unique to Lake Baikal, swimming its waters for more than 500,000 years. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
The train hugs the Lake Baikal shore on the Circumbaikal Railway, the most scenic stretch of the original Trans-Siberian Railway
Celebration on the shores of Lake Baikal, Siberia. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin
Ivolginsk Datsan is the center of Buddhism in Russia. Photo credit: Meaghan Samuels
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Siberia's Lake Baikal is considered a sacred lake, where shamans perform ancient rituals. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin
  • Nerpa freshwater seals are unique to Lake Baikal, swimming its waters for more than 500,000 years. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta Nerpa freshwater seals are unique to Lake Baikal, swimming its waters for more than 500,000 years. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
  • The train hugs the Lake Baikal shore on the Circumbaikal Railway, the most scenic stretch of the original Trans-Siberian Railway The train hugs the Lake Baikal shore on the Circumbaikal Railway, the most scenic stretch of the original Trans-Siberian Railway
  • Celebration on the shores of Lake Baikal, Siberia. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin Celebration on the shores of Lake Baikal, Siberia. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin
  • Ivolginsk Datsan is the center of Buddhism in Russia. Photo credit: Meaghan Samuels Ivolginsk Datsan is the center of Buddhism in Russia. Photo credit: Meaghan Samuels
  • Siberia's Lake Baikal is considered a sacred lake, where shamans perform ancient rituals. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin Siberia’s Lake Baikal is considered a sacred lake, where shamans perform ancient rituals. Photo credit: Vladimir Kvashnin
  • Beautiful carved and painted shutters on typical Old Believers' home. Photo credit: Helge Pedersen Beautiful carved and painted shutters on typical Old Believers’ home. Photo credit: Helge Pedersen

(click image to view larger photo)

Experience Summer in Siberia with MIR on these itineraries:

Fall in Siberia


Fall comes quickly here, with harvest time arriving in September and aspen, birch, and larch turning bright yellow against the evergreens. The sheep and horses start growing their winter coats, and villagers pick berries, smoke fish, and make pickles in preparation for winter.

A photogenic lookout over a swathe of Siberia’s taiga forest on the Baikal shore. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
A photogenic lookout over a swathe of Siberia’s taiga forest on the Baikal shore. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

Fall activities can include:

  • Venturing inside a private Russian home for a traditional home-cooked meal of Russian specialties such as blini and borscht
  • Enjoying a tour of the classic wooden architecture of one of Russia’s loveliest cities, Irkutsk
  • Discovering Vladivostok, the formerly closed Pacific Rim port city flourishing on Russia’s east coast
  • Riding the famous Trans-Siberian Railway through the taiga, steppe and wide valleys of Siberia (VIDEO)
  • Breathing in the astounding beauty of UNESCO-listed Baikal, the deepest and oldest lake on earth, so vast that locals call it “the sea”
  • Inspecting the largest opera house in Russia, in Novosibirsk, the biggest city in Siberia
  • Attending a concert of classical music at the Decembrist Museum in Irkutsk
Sunset over Shaman Rock on Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
Home-cooked meal in a private Siberian home. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
Inspect the largest opera house in Russia, in Novosibirsk. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
The famous Trans-Siberian rolls through the taiga and steppe of Siberia to the Pacific Ocean
Homemade blini topped with local honey. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • Sunset over Shaman Rock on Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta Sunset over Shaman Rock on Olkhon Island in Lake Baikal. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
  • Home-cooked meal in a private Siberian home. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes Home-cooked meal in a private Siberian home. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
  • Inspect the largest opera house in Russia, in Novosibirsk. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta Inspect the largest opera house in Russia, in Novosibirsk. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
  • The famous Trans-Siberian rolls through the taiga and steppe of Siberia to the Pacific Ocean The famous Trans-Siberian rolls through the taiga and steppe of Siberia to the Pacific Ocean
  • Homemade blini topped with local honey. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes Homemade blini topped with local honey. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

(click image to view larger photo)

Experience Fall in Siberia with MIR on these itineraries:

(click image to view larger photo)

Travel to Siberia with MIR

MIR is your Siberia travel expert – with more than 30 years of travel experience to Russia and with affiliate offices in Ulan Ude and Irkutsk (both in Siberia), as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

MIR’s full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”

30 years of travel expertise means that the specialists at MIR know how to get there, what to do while you’re there, and how to enhance your trip in each of our destinations.  

Wondering which destination or itinerary is right for you? In addition to browsing the pages of our free catalog, you can narrow down your choices online using our Trip Finder.

PUBLISHED: May 2, 2020


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