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Irkutsk

(4.4/5 based on 2,200+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, museums, nightlife

Paris of Siberia

The most popular stop on the Trans-Siberian railway, Irkutsk gained fame as the cultural center of Decembrist exiles. In the early 1800s, Russian artists, officers, and nobles who participated in the Decembrist revolt against Tsar Nicholas I were exiled to Siberia. This de facto community found intellectual refuge in the social life they built here. Today the city of over 500,000 people remains spirited with an active university population, crowded cafes, revival churches, and several museums. Enjoy the city's proximity to many beloved natural sites, including Lake Baikal. Tour this alluring destination and take in views of its ornate architecture, wooden houses, and wide streets, which earned it the nickname of the "Paris of Siberia." Plan the details of your Irkutsk holiday and any onward adventuring with our easy-to-use Russia family vacation planner.
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Where to stay

A famous stop on the Trans-Siberian railway, historically rich Irkutsk serves as a perfect base for trips to Lake Baikal. With its steadily increasing popularity among tourists, the city offers a good selection of places to stay. The center of the city has the highest concentration of luxury and boutique hotels, but you can also find quite a few in other neighborhoods. Numerous bed and breakfasts and plenty of hostels offer a good alternative to hotels. Likewise, renting a fully furnished apartment is another popular option. Note that the number of available apartments significantly increases during the summer season, when most tourists visit the city.
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