Kazakhstan’s Top Winter Destinations

ASTANA – The cold weather is not an obstacle for those who want to spend time outside the city and have a great holiday. Whether it is a just a weekend or a week, that time of the year is a new opportunity to discover new places or rediscover old ones.

Borovoe. Photo credit: friends.kz

Borovoe. Photo credit: friends.kz

The closest place to Astana and probably the most visited one is Borovoe. It is a village and it was built around a lake of the same name. Borovoe is a lovely getaway for those who like to relax during their vacation, but it also suits for people in love with sports and other activities.

In the resort, visitors can choose among riding a horse, snowmobiling or ATV. At the same time, there are opportunities for skiing, ice skating and snowboarding. The place also offers a wide range of sanatoriums. Activities for various budget levels are also available.

“A trip to Borovoe is a great way to remove the physical and psychological stress accumulated for years and sanatoriums only help in achieving this goal,” according to borovoe.kz.

If you do not wish to spend your time at sanatoriums, you always stay at a fancy or simple hotel, motel, hostel or rent a house or an apartment.

Photo credit: shimbulak.kz

Photo credit: shimbulak.kz

One interesting place to visit in Borovoe during winter season is a Santa Claus Village, which is located next to the Rixos Hotel. The place sometimes is referred to as Lapland. There you can ride in a sled pulled by huskies or reindeers, as well as make a selfie with Santa.

For those who would like to get a more extreme experience, Kazakhstan offers amazing ski resorts in its mountain areas.

Famous Shymbulak is located only 25 kilometres from the former Kazakh capital Almaty. It can be reached by a cable car at the Medeu ice rink. It has both skiing and snowboarding options. The Almaty region offers numerous options.

Yelik Sai, Almatau, Ak-Bulak, Lesnaya Skazka and Tabagan, Almaty region’s most famous resorts, are situated not far from one another. Talgar highway, the road to Yelik Sai, goes through Beskainar. The lodge has four cable cars with two-kilometre lengths and the angle of the slope is about 40-45 degrees. Almatau, on the road which also travels through Beskainar, has a flat slope for beginners and an extreme one measuring 800 metres. Yelik Sai and Almatau both offer skis for rent and the latter also has snowboards.

Ak-Bulak, 10 kilometres from Talgar in a beautiful Trans-Ili Alatau gorge, offers skiing and snowboarding.

Lesnaya Skazka welcomes visitors to the Oi-Karagai gorge in Trans-Ili Alatau. The angle of the slope is only 35 degrees, which is perfect for beginners. Tabagan is also in Talgar region, only 17 kilometres from Almaty. It is 1,650 metres above sea level.

Visiting one of them is also a great chance to visit Almaty, the country’s biggest city. Taking into account the fact it is much warmer in winter than Astana, it can be a quite pleasant experience to walk on the streets and see its attractions.

Another destination for ski lovers is East Kazakhstan’s resorts. East Kazakhstan has additional skiing opportunities, such as Nurtau resort. Located 35 kilometres from Ust-Kamenogorsk, it provides a complete range of equipment for visitors for rent.

Altai Alpes resort, 24 kilometres from Ust-Kamenogorsk, features Gornaya Ulbinka. The complex has 10 runs of varying difficulty, one of which is flat for novice skiers and snowboarders. The length of the slopes ranges from 600 to 1,200 metres. Edelveis resort is in Ridder, a small town about 130 kilometres from Ust-Kamenogorsk. The length of the slopes is about 1,300 metres and the angle is approximately 35 degrees. The region also has Stardust camp, six kilometres from Ridder near Verkhnyaya Khariuzovka. Oryol resort is 12 kilometres from Ziryanovsk in East Kazakhstan. The length of its slopes is up to 2,500 metres, one of the longest in Eastern Kazakhstan.

For fishing fans, Kazakhstan has a number of lakes and reservoirs where one can practice skills at ice fishing. Ice fishing is a great way to check your stamina and forge unforgettable memories. There are dozens of places where you can do that, including Balkhash, Yessil, Kapshagai and more.

Overall, the winter is a good period to visit all Kazakh cities. Abundant snow and a festive New Year’s mood add a magical touch.

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