In fact, it is really difficult to answer this question. This city is so diverse that it will not be possible to explore it fully even in a few weeks, let alone one day. Even so, there is still something interesting you will manage to look at... And these are mountains! Look at them, touch them, go skating or skiing embracing the majestic snowy peaks, feel the pressure drops and breathe in the pure fresh air filled with the scent of pine needles. The atmosphere reigning here charges with unprecedented energy, clears the mind and thoughts, sharpens the sense of beauty to its full extent. Of course, Almaty itself is also worthy of undivided attention, but if you have only a day at your disposal, the mountains should be the main priority. And after them, when the feeling of pleasant tiredness spreads over the body, you can go in search of urban adventures. Stroll through the bright noisy streets and wide luxurious avenues, look at local attractions (of which there are many), and if time still allows, then be sure to look at a couple of very interesting places, about which we will definitely tell in this article. So please sit back, turn on your imagination and start reading…
Adventure in the mountains
Regardless of the season you arrive in Almaty, a trip to the mountains will be the most wonderful and colorful memory that will never let you forget about this fabulous city. Just imagine, a massive ridge of the Northern Tien-Shan - Ile Alatau lies literally 10 minutes away from the city. In summer you can explore a weekend trekking route to see all this beauty from the inside: picturesque gorges, waterfalls, Big Almaty Lake, Kok-Zhailau and many more. And if you don’t really want to walk - welcome to the international high-mountain resorts:
The oldest ski base of Kazakhstan “Shymbulak”. It is located on the slopes of the picturesque tract of the same name and has all the necessary attributes for a “snowy” sport. Three high-speed trails that have passed international certification, a lot of gentle safe slopes for beginners, as well as “red” and “black” trails for experienced and trained skiers. There is also a specialized institution where you can rent equipment and even complete a basic course of study in order to learn to conquer at least a few meters down the slope. If you do not plan to go deep into the sport too much, but just come to see all this beauty - you can go to one of the local restaurants and taste delicious dishes, watching the fearless skiers against the backdrop of mountain landscapes.
Highland skating rink «Medeo". Even if you do not have skates and at least some skills of maintaining balance on the ice, not to visit one of the most famous rinks in the world being in Almaty is a very big omission. Here you can easily rent good skates, arm yourself with delicious coffee and a bun from a local cafe and enjoy the ride in the open air. Just imagine: pleasant music sounds, wherever you look - everywhere picturesque mountain peaks, the scent of pine wood is in the air... Romance!
Entertainment center on the top of the mountain - “Kok Tobe”. The cableway from the station, located on Dostyk Avenue (right in the center of Almaty), can “fly up” to a height of 1,620 meters and be at the gate of the famous alpine park “Kok Tobe”. For those 6 minutes that you will spend in a translucent tinted cabin, a huge city will present itself in all its glory: fluffy fir trees, fancy buildings, famous Almaty skyscrapers (one of them is the Kazakhstan Hotel, the image of which is often found on postcards), streets and avenues. If you do not have time to recover from the views that will open up on the top of the mountain, a new excuse for delight will appear - a magnificent amusement park. It has everything to feel adrenaline in the blood: a 30-meter ferris wheel, downhill sleigh ride, a climbing wall and much more. If you like animals (well, or reptiles), be sure to go to the zoo and Exotarium. Keep track of time - you can stay in “Kok Tobe” park for a very long time, without noticing it.
Perhaps, on this, acquaintance with the mountain color of Almaty can be finished. Surely from your impressions, you will be overwhelmed with such fatigue that you will not want to think about any activity for a very long time. But since you still have a few hours to explore the city sights, they definitely need to be spent with benefit.
Where to go in Almaty?
Almaty has no problems with this issue. There is a huge selection of cultural and entertainment centers for every taste: museums, theaters, restaurants, shopping malls, spas and much more. It is not possible to visit them all even in two weeks, and taking into account our time, this list is reduced to the most interesting. So, let's begin:
After a busy day program you will surely have a serious appetite. And we recommend you to quench it not in the nearest fast-food cafe, but in the restaurant of haute Kazakh cuisine, so so as to take your time and enjoy nice meal with great pleasure. Here you will be served gorgeous national dishes in such an exquisite interpretation that you will have no choice but to love this unusual and such amazingly tasty nomadic food.
A hearty lunch (or dinner) is right to make a pleasant walk through the city, combining business with pleasure: send your calories in the right direction and see local sights. The best place to start is the famous Green Bazaar, where you will be amazed by the abundance of various fruits, berries, exotic delicacies and sweets, cheeses, meat and sausage products, here you can buy medicinal tinctures “from everything”, rare spices, and even live plants! Passing by the food stalls, do not hesitate to ask to try everything that seems appetizing to you: good-natured and friendly sellers can treat you to all sorts of national delicacies, so that you can be sure of the quality of the products offered (especially when it comes to completely unfamiliar delicacies). Here you can taste various dishes of the national cuisine like lagman or plov that are served in small but beautifully decorated dining places. The portions here are such that you will not see in any restaurant (although the menu is usually from three to five positions). Moreover, in such places it is usually incredibly tasty and very cozy, especially thanks to attentive and kind people serving food. After the bazaar, you can go directly to Zhibek Zholy Avenue and go to admire the city. Two of its sides will appear to your eyes at once: the old, but restored and very beautiful houses will coexist with new glittering buildings. While walking along Kazybek Bi street you will soon find yourself in the park named after 28 Panfilov's Guardsmen with its huge sprawling furs, and at the intersection of Furmanov and Timiryazev streets there is a beautiful park of the Foundation of the First President, where you can even have a small picnic.
For real aesthetic pleasure, lovers of music and entertaining acting can go to a concert or a performance in one of the theaters or even Almaty jazz clubs, since there are plenty of them: ARTiShock Concept Theater, Abay Opera and Ballet Theater (GATOB), the State Academic Russian Drama Theater. M. Lermontov,, Almaty Concert Hall, etc…
If art, history and ancient artifacts cause you a genuine interest - welcome here: Yhlas Museum of Folk Musical Instruments, Museum of Art of the Republic of Kazakhstan after Kasteev, Archaeological Museum of the Academy of Sciences of Kazakhstan. It is never boring here, various exhibitions and expositions are always arranged, new amazing exhibits are added. In general, it is a paradise for the curious travelers.
You can buy nice gifts and souvenirs for yourself and your loved ones, while at the same time having a pleasant time, in luxurious shopping complexes that have long departed from the concept of a simple “market place” with boutiques. In addition to them, there is still a lot of interesting things: starting with all sorts of sophisticated food courts, ending with attractions with virtual reality and 7D cinemas.
And finally, when the strength is almost gone, we recommend that you go to the SPA. In Almaty, the choice of magnificent SPA salons is enormous, and the variety of services offered makes the eyes run: various types of massage, SPA complexes for the whole body, wellness therapy, thalassotherapy, sauna, hamam, aroma treatments, detox and much, much more. After such a busy day of travel, a trip to the SPA-salon will be a truly royal gift for a tired body and an excellent end to the 24-hour program in Almaty.
As you already understood, even if you only have a day to visit Almaty, you will definitely have time to have high-quality and varied fun. In just a few hours, this city will seem familiar to you, painfully familiar, cozy and attractive. Be prepared for the fact that at the moment of departure you will be overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness and unwillingness to leave; you will want to extend this wonderful vacation for at least a few more days. And this will be repeated every time, bbecause you will never get enough of Almaty city, you always want to see something else, go to a new place, once again walk along the Arbat, admire pictures of street artists or buy apples with hot donuts at the Green Bazaar. This is the place that makes you want to stay as long as possible. Almaty is a city for the soul.