Situated in the south of Siberia, Irkutsk is the largest city in that Region.
For travelers to the Baikal, it is the "fastest" opportunity to come there via plane.
Irkutsk has the only international airport in that area of Siberia (which you can reach via Moscow, of course).
Arriving from international airports or via train from Moscow, the "Transsib"-route, Irkutsk is the interchange for travelers coming to south-Siberia and Lake Baikal, of course.
Travel information for Russia generally: No matter where you want to go within Russia, from and to foreign countries you have to go via Moscow. Very few flights you can find to or from Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Russian republic Buryatia. Maybe there are some alternatives via Saint Petersburg, coming from Europe. Even to Novosibirsk, the "capital" of Siberia, there are just a few regular direct connections.
On the left there is a photo of the train station in Irkutsk. If you bring enough time, in my opinion the most comfortable way to travel within Russia is via train.
On my very first trip to Russia I did not have the time to go by train and I had to use airplanes and one flight still appears in my nightmares:-)
(There was just a small 40-seats machine to a regional airport in Siberia.)
The Trans-Siberian Railway is the well-known west-east route in Russia from Moscow to Vladivostok, where a whole trip can take more than seven days.
This is the extreme variant for railway fans, but Moscow - Irkutsk you can go within "just" three days, depending on the season and available trains.
The complex topic of train-travels in Russia I will explain in a seperate category.
Platform in Irkutsk train station, long and straight, like everything is big and straight in Siberia.
View out of my sleeping place in the third! class of Trans-Siberian from Chelyabinsk to Irkutsk, a lection for me not to book spontaneously in Russia.
Unfortunately we were in hurry to change and I do not have so many actual pictures of Irkutsk itself.
It is not the place for sight-seeing, but in one of my former travels i had to stay in Irkutsk some nights, i will add the photos here later.
On my first trip I arrived at Irkutsk airport and had to stay in a hotel overnight. Distances are large and there are Busses to the City of Irkutsk.
Be aware to organise the transfer before hand, the trip by taxi cost me €100,- in 2006 (some sightseeing included).
Is it worth to make sightseeing in Irkutsk?
If you bring the time there are monuments, like in any Russian city. The Epiphany Cathedral in the center, or maybe you want to go to the Drama Theatre: irkutsk theatre official page.