Best Places to Explore in Kazakhstan


Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country, stretching from the Altai Mountains in the east to the Caspian Sea in the west, and from Russia in the north to China in the south. Popular Kazakhstan tourist destinations include majestic canyons, seamless deserts, arid plains, colossal glaciers, and ancient structures, making it a year-round destination. Kazakhstan should be on your bucket list soon for the kind of subdued vacation paradise that it is.

Kazakhstan, the world’s ninth largest country, is so vast that it spans five climate zones and two time zones. Having said that, the country’s geographical diversity accounts for the best travel experiences. As you plan your itinerary, make a list of all the popular places to visit in Kazakhstan that are historically significant and offer a variety of activities. Almaty, Astana, Central Kazakhstan, Eastern Kazakhstan, Northern Kazakhstan, Southern Kazakhstan, and Western Kazakhstan are some of the major divisions in Kazakhstan. Visit these popular Kazakhstan attractions to experience Central Asia like never before!

#1 Nur-Sultan


Kazakhstan’s wonderful capital city serves as a living example of a modernized nation and showcases popular Kazakhstan tourist attractions. With numerous corporate business centers and multi-story buildings nearby, the architecture of this city will undoubtedly captivate you, making it an excellent location for Kazakhstan sightseeing. There’s a lot to do in Nur-Sultan, from taking in the magnificent panoramic view of the city from the top of the 105-meter tall Bayterek Tower to visiting the Duman Recreational Complex, which is the ultimate pit-stop for all art lovers.

The Museum of Miniatures and Seaquarium is an ideal attraction for all nature enthusiasts, with over 2000 species of sea animals from all over the world on display. On your day trip, don’t forget to visit the Ak Orda Presidential Palace and the Astana-Arena Stadium.

Bayterek Tower, Khan Shatyr, Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, National Museum of Kazakhstan, Nur-Astana Mosque, City Park, Independence Square and Kazak Eli Monument, Assumption Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Hazrat Sultan Mosque are among the most popular tourist attractions in Nur-Sultan.

Accommodation in Nur-Sultan

#2 Aktau


The almost 40-year-old city overlooking the great Caspian Sea is a fascinating beauty and one of Kazakhstan’s most serene tourist destinations. Some of the most unusual Kazakhstan tourist attractions and ancient architectural ensembles can be found in Aktau. Cultural centers, concert halls, cinemas, and libraries dating back to ancient times are scattered throughout the city and should be explored for a true sense of place.

You can also spend hours strolling through Aktau’s streets admiring the architectural ensembles, green alleys lined with poplars and acacias, emerald-green lawns, and parks. Have some extra time? Fill it with enjoyable experiences at the Skating Rink and Puppet Theatre.

World War II Memorial, Botanical Garden, Regional Museum, Costa Cafe, seafront, Taras Shevchenko Statue, multi-colored mountains in Altyn-Emel National Park are among the most popular tourist attractions in Aktau.

Accommodation in Aktau

#3 Almaty


Almaty, located in the foothills of the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains, is known for its picturesque setting and postcard-perfect scenery. The snow-capped mountains guard the city and provide the best backdrop possible, making it one of the best places to visit in Kazakhstan! Moving on to the city’s attractions, the Central State Museum is particularly significant due to the rich cultural heritage it houses. Although the city was the capital of Kazakhstan until 1997, it is still a popular tourist destination in Kazakhstan.

If you want to explore Almaty’s local specialties, you can spend a day sipping on nature’s grandeur or shopping at Zelyony Bazaar or Dostyk Plaza. The Green Market is a popular place to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, clothing, and household goods. Moving on, there are numerous art galleries in the area for those who are interested in history and art.

Accommodation in Almaty

#4 Lake Balkhash

lake balkhash

The lake, located 600 miles east of the Aral Sea, is a major source of hydroelectric projects in the country and a popular Kazakhstan tourist destination. The lake’s northern banks are high and rocky, and there are numerous ancient rock-cut traces there. Lake Balkhash was once a popular breeding ground for marine life, which included up to 20 different species of fish.

Some of the species died as a result of the declining quality of lake water over time. Among the fish species reintroduced into the lake are sazan, sturgeon, eastern bream, pike, and Aral barbel.

#5 Taraz


If you enjoy ancient sites, mysterious places, and admiring ruins, make your way to Taraz, one of Kazakhstan’s most popular tourist destinations. The location holds many secrets from the past century and is one of the most popular Kazakhstan tourist attractions worth visiting.

Visit the Babaji-Khatun Mausoleum, which has a distinctive sixteen-ribbed conical dome, or plan a trip to Talas River in the south, near the Kyrgyzstan border. Taraz is a historical city and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kazakhstan.

Accommodation in Taraz

#6 Semey


Semipalatinsk, now known as Semey, is another well-known historical site in Kazakhstan’s eastern region with popular tourist attractions. The city is also defined by its fascinating architecture and monuments that date back centuries. In fact, there are numerous architectural and historical monuments in the area that must be visited during a visit to Semey.

The Museum of History and Local Study and Nevzorov’s Art Museum house the best of Russian art. These are popular tourist destinations in Kazakhstan for history lovers.

Accommodation in Semey

#7 Baikonur


Baikonur, which is administered by the Russian Federation, is the world’s oldest and largest space launch facility. The Baikonur Cosmodrome was a secret missile testing site that also happened to be a strategically important location for Russians.

Kazakhstan’s desolate desert steppe was once the launchpad for the Vostok 1 spacecraft, in which Yuri Gagarin made the first trip to the moon. If you enjoy history and space technology, this place has plenty of attractions for you.

#8 Lake Kaindy

lake kaindy

Lake Kaindy is a 400-meter-long lake located at an elevation of 2000 meters. An earthquake in 1911 caused a massive landslide, which resulted in the formation of this lake. The natural disaster resulted in the formation of a natural dam in the gorge among the spruce trees. The forest was submerged as the basin began to flood. In the summer, the lake temperature can reach 6 degrees Celsius. This lake is one of Kazakhstan’s best tourist attractions and should be on every explorer’s bucket list.

#9 Turgen Gorge

turgen gorge

Turgen Gorge, which is part of the famous Ile Alatau National Park, is a must-see for hikers. It is surrounded by dense forests, lakes, alpine meadows, and seven waterfalls. You can explore the natural beauty of this area by going on a hike, riding a mountain bike, or riding a horse. This paradise is not far from Almaty and is easily accessible by bus or taxi.

#10 Nomad’s Land

nomads land

Nomad’ Land is located in the heart of the Kazakh steppe, next to the Ili River. It is a well-known film set that was abandoned after the filming of the French/Kazakh film ‘Nomad.’ You can visit this location to take historical photographs and selfies.

#11 Tamgaly-Tas

almaty oblast tamgaly tas

Tamgaly-Tas, an open-air sanctuary in Kazakhstan, hosted religious rituals. It literally translates as “written rocks,” because the rocks here are inscribed with beautiful images of Tibetan scriptures and Buddha. You will be astounded to discover approximately 5,000 Bronze Age petroglyphs. If you are a history buff looking for ancient tourist destinations in Kazakhstan, Tamgaly-Tas should be on your list.

#12 Shymkent


If you want to visit a remote part of Kazakhstan that is not overrun with tourists, you should visit Shymkent. You will find some of the most affordable places to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the streets.

Around Shymkent, popular tourist attractions include the Aksu-Zhabagly Nature Reserve, the Aisha Bibi Mausoleum, the Arystan Bab Mausoleum, the Lost City of Sauran, and Turkestan.

Accommodation in Shymkent

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