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Discover the Trending Travel Hotspots in Kazakhstan: Most Popular Cities Unveiled

By Vusala Abbasova June 20, 2023


The country’s Ministry of Culture and Sport unveiled the top five list of Kazakhstan’s cities that have emerged as the most popular travel destinations.

The tourism industry in Kazakhstan experienced a remarkable surge in the first four months of 2023. From January to April, there was a substantial 36 percent increase in tourist numbers, with over 3.5 million people traveling across the country.

The country’s Ministry of Culture and Sport unveiled the top five list of Kazakhstan’s cities that have emerged as the most popular travel destinations.

Almaty, the largest city and former capital of Kazakhstan, has claimed the top spot as the most visited destination in the country, based on the data gathered on city attendance since the beginning of the year. 

Over the course of four months, an impressive 1.1 million people have been drawn to the city’s alluring charms. Foreign tourists, in particular, find themselves captivated by Almaty’s magnificent ski resorts, breathtaking natural landscapes, pleasant climate, and the warm hospitality exuded by its local residents. It is for these reasons that this southern metropolis holds the esteemed title of Kazakhstan’s most sought-after city among tourists.

Securing the second position as one of Kazakhstan’s most popular tourist destinations, Astana has welcomed over 950,000 visitors since the start of the year. One of the key factors contributing to its popularity, as the ministry believes, is the city’s prestigious status as the nation’s capital, making it an essential stop for travelers. 

In a bid to further attract an influx of tourists, the 412-hectare open-air museum is currently under construction at the Bozok ancient settlement site, located near Astana. The significance of the Bozok settlement lies in its representation of five distinct steppe civilizations throughout history, including the Botai culture, the Saka era, the Hun period, the ancient Turks, and the Kazakh Khanate. It also serves as a reminder of the city’s past as a fortified city and a significant military bastion along the famous Great Silk Road route.

The southern city of Shymkent was included in the list as the third most popular destination, with over 346,000 people visiting the city from January to April. 

The third most populous city in Kazakhstan, behind Almaty and Astana, Shymkent is renowned for its exceptional local hospitality and a variety of activities and attractions. There is no shortage of things to do in the city, from visiting holy and historic places to enjoying rejuvenating experiences at sanatoriums. Tourists can also participate in sporting and cultural activities regularly held in the energetic city of Shymkent, further enhancing their trip. The city is situated 690 km (430 mi) west of Almaty and 120 km (75 mi) north of Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Attracting over 305,000 visitors in the first four months of 2023, Atyrau claims the fourth spot in the ranking of Kazakhstan’s popular tourist destinations.

Renowned as the gateway to the country’s largest oil field, Atyrau often serves as a travel hub for most travelers. However, the city offers a couple of noteworthy museums that are well worth a day’s stopover. Moreover, history enthusiasts can embark on a half-day trip to explore the remnants of the medieval settlement of Saraichik. Within the Saraichik visitor center, tourists have the opportunity to delve into the rich history of the Kazakh Khanate, the Golden Horde, and the eras preceding them, gaining valuable insights into the region’s past.

Aktau completes the list of the top five most popular cities in Kazakhstan. 

Renowned as the country’s premier beach destination, Aktau holds a well-deserved reputation as the most beautiful city along the Caspian coast. Its picturesque coastal setting attracts numerous visitors, enticed by the opportunity to bask in the sun and take a refreshing dip in the sea. Barbecue aficionados will be tempted by smoke rising from grills all along the shoreline where locals and tourists flock for a delicious bite to eat. Aktau seamlessly blends natural splendor with urban charm, offering a range of experiences for travelers. Whether seeking relaxation or adventure, the city’s unique allure beckons tourists to explore its diverse wonders, making it an indispensable addition to any Kazakhstan itinerary.