The church-studded cityscape of Irkutsk in Russia's Eastern Siberia

Irkutsk Tours and Trans-Siberian Journeys

About Irkutsk

Founded by Russians in 1651 as a major fort beyond the Ural Mountains, Irkutsk was populated initially by exiled political prisoners sent by tsars and later by the Communists. As a major junction on the exile road, it was a handy place to send enemies of Russia’s autocratic rule in the form of 19th century Decembrists and Polish rebels. Irkutsk became a springboard for expeditions to the far East and North and by the end of the 17th century it supported a burgeoning population of Cossacks, tradesmen, peasants, soldiers and minor officials. With the discovery of gold in the 1880s, the city boomed. With their newly acquired wealth, residents built mansions and grand public buildings, many of which are still standing today. The shops were filled with luxury goods and Irkutsk became known as the ‘Paris of Siberia’.

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Today, Irkutsk is one of the most popular stops on the Trans Siberian trail and is well known for its neighbourhoods of wooden cabins. Although some are at the point of collapse, you’ll find many beautiful, intricately carved and decorated cabins that are still in excellent condition. Irkutsk is also the gateway for beautiful Lake Baikal, 350km away.

Irkutsk Tours

Here are some popular itineraries that include a visit to Irkutsk . Alternatively, if you would like to include a visit to Irkutsk on a bespoke touring itinerary to Russia, take a look at our tailor-made holiday planning section.

IndependentBoy riding horse in the countryside | Trans Siberian Railway

Highway to Moscow

14 days FROM $4,495
IndependentLake in Mongolia | Trans-siberian Railway | Mongolia

Highway to China

15 days FROM $4,495
IndependentLake Baikal | Trans-siberian Railway | Russia

Big Rail Tripper

18 days FROM $5,695
IndependentThe Circum-Baikal railroad | Trans-siberian Railway

Big Ticket

19 days FROM $5,495
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