Lake Baikal by Maria Nikolaeva in Port Baikal, Russian Federation

Whether you’ve heard of it or not, lake Baikal is considered the biggest fresh water lake on the planet. It’s also a place with an insane amount of energy that you will definitely feel as soon as you’re there. The port is within a 35-40 min car drive from Irkutsk + 15 minutes on a ferry. Best time to visit is July-September but for those looking for some more extreme experience – you can come in January-February (when the air temperature gets as low as -35 C). Freedom, wild-life and crazy locals are included. Port Baikal to me is the place where the very essence of the lake’s spirit lives.

Name:Maria Nikolaeva

Place you live: Irkutsk, Russian Federation

Place your photo was taken: Port Baikal

Occupation: Dreamer

Preoccupation: Photographer

A perfect day in Port Baikal? Looking for mushrooms in the forest with fog and rain, climbing up a railroad tunnel, climbing a mountain to see an abandoned lighthouse, finding weird places along the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

If someone was visiting what must they do? I dare you to have a swim in my lake! The water is damn freezing but it’s worth it.

A perfect meal in Irkutsk? Hot-smoked Omul. A must-have.

A little known fact? There used to be a war camp for Japanese prisoners in port Baikal (circa 1904-1905). They say you might be able to find the remains of its abandoned quarters deep in the forest. I only found out about this fact recently and I’m a local.