Irkutsk Russia Travel Guide

Explore Irkutsk Russia

Irkutsk Russia Travel Guide A Vagabond Life

Irkutsk Russia Travel Guide

Irkutsk is a town of 600,000+ people in Eastern Siberia, Russia. Many wealthy Russians were sent to Irkutsk for the part they played in the 1825 Decemberist revolts, and from then until the end of the century Irkutsk became an exile post.

Irkutsk is famous for its wooden houses built in a style that is unique to the area. Over time many have been left to fall into ruin so it was great to see these historic houses are now being restored to their former glory.

Once named the “Paris of the East” Irkutsk is a major stopping point on the Trans Siberian Railway as the gateway to Lake Baikal. It is well worth spending a few days in Irkutsk which has an interesting history, fantastic architecture and a lively food and bar scene.

Travel Tips Irkutsk Russia

Irkutsk has an excellent bus & tram network which is easy to navigate. Simply go to the bus stop and get on the bus and pay the conductor or driver. There are generally 2 types of buses, min-vans and larger buses. We found Google Maps gave accurate bus routes and timetables.

Buses also run from the Irkutsk Passenger Train Station To Central Irkutsk. The number 64 bus runs every 12 minutes from the Central Bus Station to the Train Station.

The average tram / bus ride in Irkustsk is about 15 rubles pp.

Irkutsk has mild summers and extreme cold winters.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average high °C (°F) −12.8
(9.0)
−7.8
(18.0)
0.3
(32.5)
9.4
(48.9)
18.1
(64.6)
22.7
(72.9)
24.8
(76.6)
22.2
(72.0)
15.7
(60.3)
7.7
(45.9)
−2.7
(27.1)
−10.6
(12.9)

In Irkutsk tickets can be purchased at  the bus station.

In Listvyanka the bus departs from and terminates at the official tourist office. Tickets can be purchased at the tourist office.

In summer this bus route is busy so it may be a good idea to purchase tickets a day or so before you want to travel.

Cost: Irkutsk – Listvyanka 166* Rubles plus luggage fee of 20 rubles per bag.

*Correct at time of writing.

Things To See & Do Irkutsk Russia

Church of the Rising of The Holy Cross

Photo Credit Marcin Konsek

Wander around the pretty impressive Church of the Rising of The Holy Cross a baroque church dating from the 18thC the church has some nice icons inside and interesting brickwork that is unique to the area.

Trubetskoy House Museum

Built for the daughter of Decemberist Sergei Trubetskoy this lovely small mansion has been fully restored. Upstairs are personal items of Ekaterina Trubetskoy, the wife of Sergei. Downstairs documents the story of the Decemberists. 

Address: ul Dzerzhinskogo 64

Museum of City Life

Not far from Trubetskoy House Museum and set in a gorgeous old merchant’s house this museum highlights the grandeur of the nobility in the 19th century. Showcasing decorative items such as porcelain, dolls, tableware and so on. Set right behind the tourist office the Museum of City Life is worth a visit if only to admire the beautiful building. Set right behind the Tourist Office at ul Dekabrskikh Sobyty 77.

City History Museum

This museum is set in a 19thC home built by a wealthy merchant and houses pre-Russian yurts and teepees, some great photos of yesteryear Irkutsk along with some items from the Revolution. It could be a great museum however all displays are in Russian only making it tricky, however it is still quite interesting. On Frank-Kamenetskogo 16a

130 Kvartal (Precinct)

Not far from the Holy Cross Church is 130 Precinct, an area with that has been recreated with purpose built wooden buildings replications those of yesteryear. We found it a little strange that an entire area would be recreated when so many of the stunning original wooden building are falling down, but there you go.

Eating & Drinking

Irkutsk has a number of very good boulangerie where you can enjoy a breakfast of coffee and croissant before setting off to explore the city.

Across Russia you will find stolovaya or canteens where in soviet times workers ate basic meals, today these canteenms have been bought back to life and are a great place to try plov (pilaf), Russian pancakes or Pelmeni while rubbing elbows with the locals on their lunch breaks.

In the evenings drop in to one of the bars for pre-dinner drinks and enjoy a local beer, cocktail or a decent glass of wine. We loved The Library Bar @ 9 Ul. Kalandarishvili.

Many of the bars do great bar food so stay and eat in the bar or wander of to one of the cities eateries for a Shashlik. 

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