Adventure Activities in Almaty: Discover Thrilling Experiences

 In Adventure, adventure activities, Almaty, Snorkeling, Surfing, Things to do, Travel, Travel Tips, trekking, Water Activities, watersports activities

Almaty is the biggest city in Kazakhstan and used to be its capital. It is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, with the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains right at its doorstep. There are plenty of adventurous activities for people who love nature and excitement. can go hiking, skiing, paragliding, or horse riding. Almaty’s varied terrains make it an ideal place for an amazing adventure.

This guide will show you the best adventure activities you can enjoy in and around Almaty. If you want to experience the thrill of adventure in Almaty, book a trip through almaty tour packages for a perfect vacay in Kazakhstan.

Top Adventure Activities in Almaty

1. Hiking and Trekking 

  • Big Almaty Lake and Beyond

Big Almaty Lake, a popular hiking destination near Almaty, is located approximately 15 kilometers south of the city. Situated at an altitude of 2,511 meters, the alpine lake provides stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The hike to the lake is relatively easy and suitable for beginners. If you’re looking for more challenging treks, the region offers various trails that lead to higher altitudes and more remote areas, such as the ascent to the Kosmostantsiya Observatory or the peak of Mount Sovetov.

  • Ile-Alatau National Park

In this national park, there are many trails for hikers of all skill levels. You can hike to the Mynzhylki gorge or take a more challenging trek to the Tuyuk-Su glacier. The park has diverse plants and animals, and beautiful landscapes, making it perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers. This too is one of the popular hiking trails in Almaty.

  • Talgar Pass

For experienced hikers seeking an exhilarating challenge, the Talgar Pass offers a demanding yet gratifying expedition. This trek encompasses negotiating steep inclines, traversing rugged landscapes, and ultimately leads to awe-inspiring, sweeping vistas of the encompassing mountainous scenery. Hiking in these places are major adventure activities in Almaty.

2. Skiing and Snowboarding


Skiing in Almaty is quite popular. Let’s look at the places where you can indulge in this activity:

  • Shymbulak Ski Resort

Shymbulak Ski Resort is located in the Medeu Valley, just 25 kilometers from Almaty, Kazakhstan. It is a popular destination for winter sports, offering slopes suitable for all skill levels, from beginners to expert skiers and snowboarders. The skiing season typically runs from November to April, and the resort is equipped with modern facilities, including chairlifts, ski rentals, and various accommodations. Skiing at this place is one of the most thrilling adventure activities in Almaty.

  • Lesnaya Skazka

If you prefer a more cozy skiing experience, you might want to check out Lesnaya Skazka. It’s a smaller resort located about 30 kilometers from Almaty. The resort offers well-maintained slopes and a welcoming environment, great for families. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, visitors can also enjoy snow tubing, ice skating, and other winter activities.

3. Paragliding


Paragliding in Almaty is held at the following locations. Must consider visiting them to enjoy one of the greatest adventure activities in Almaty.

  • Kok-Tobe Hill

Almaty is a great place for paragliding enthusiasts. You can go paragliding at Kok-Tobe Hill, just outside the city. It offers an excellent launch point with amazing views of Almaty and the surrounding mountains. You can also go on tandem flights with local operators, even if you’ve never been paragliding before.

  • Taldykorgan Area

The Taldykorgan area, situated approximately 300 kilometers from Almaty, provides excellent flying conditions in Kazakhstan for a thrilling paragliding experience. This area’s distinct topography and weather patterns create perfect settings for extensive flights and aerial exploration. Undoubtedly, paragliding is one of the best outdoor activities in Almaty.

4. Horse Riding


When visiting Almaty, do not forget to indulge in Horse riding at the following places:

  • Almarasan Valley

The Almarasan Valley, south of Almaty, is a beautiful place for horseback riding. You’ll find several places to ride horses here. They’ll take you on trails by rivers, forests, and meadows. Riding horses here is a special way to see the area’s natural beauty.

  • Kazakh Steppes

For a more authentic and traditional horse riding experience, consider exploring the vast Kazakh steppes. Riding across the open plains, you can experience the nomadic culture of Kazakhstan and visit remote villages. Many tour operators offer multi-day horse riding excursions that include camping and cultural experiences.

5. Mountain Biking


Mountain biking is among the top Almaty adventure activities, and one must try it out at the following locations:

  • Medeu to Shymbulak Trail

Explore the exhilarating rugged terrain of the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains in Almaty through an exciting mountain biking adventure. The trail from Medeu to Shymbulak is a favourite among enthusiasts, featuring a combination of challenging ascents and thrilling descents. As you traverse the path, you’ll be surrounded by stunning forests and treated to breathtaking views of the majestic mountains and lush valleys. Travelers must enjoy themselves by indulging mountain biking – it being one of the most exciting adventure activities in Almaty.

  • Butakovka Gorge

The Butakovka Gorge, located east of Almaty, is a great place for mountain biking. There are trails for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced riders. The area is known for its beautiful scenery, including lush greenery, waterfalls, and rock formations.

6. Rock Climbing

  • Tien Shan Mountains

The Tien Shan mountains, located in the north of the Almaty region, are great for rock climbing. There are different climbing routes available, ranging from easy to challenging. Tuyuk-Su gorge is a favorite among climbers due to its variety of routes and stunning views.

  • Charyn Canyon

For a special rock climbing experience, visit Charyn Canyon, located around 200 kilometers east of Almaty. The canyon has beautiful red rock formations that are perfect for climbers of all levels. It’s also a great spot for bouldering and canyoning, making it an ideal destination for adventure lovers. So, adventure enthusiasts mark these places for some best outdoor activities in Almaty.

7. White-Water Rafting


White water rafting is the best water sport in Almaty. Note down the places for exploring this sport :

  • Chilik River

Experience the natural beauty of Kazakhstan with an exhilarating white-water rafting trip on the Chilik River, located about 150 kilometers east of Almaty. The river offers different levels of rapids, suitable for various skill levels. Rafting season is from May to September, and guided trips are available from several operators, providing all necessary equipment and safety instructions.

  • Koksu River

The Koksu River, north of Almaty, is a popular spot for white-water rafting. It has both calm sections and challenging rapids, suitable for beginners and experienced rafters. The surrounding landscapes, with lush greenery and dramatic cliffs, add to the adventure’s appeal.

8. Zip Lining

  • Skyline Almaty

To experience an exciting aerial adventure, visit Skyline Almaty for a thrilling zip lining experience. Located in Kok-Tobe amusement park, this zip line offers a fun way to see the city and its surroundings from a new perspective. The 560-metre zip line provides a unique view of the mountains and the city below.

  • Lesnaya Skazka Adventure Park

Lesnaya Skazka Adventure Park offers a variety of activities, including zip-lining, rope courses, and climbing walls during the summer months. It is a great place for families and thrill-seekers, with zip lines of different lengths and difficulty levels.

9. Off Roading – Jeep Tours

  • Zailiysky Alatau Range

Off-road tours in the Zailiysky Alatau range provide an exciting way to explore the rugged landscapes of the Almaty region and is definitely one of the thrilling adventure activities in Almaty. Local operators offer guided jeep tours that take you through remote areas, where you’ll cross rivers, climb mountain passes, and visit hidden valleys. These tours also include stops at scenic viewpoints and offer opportunities for short hikes.

  • Altyn-Emel National Park

Altyn-Emel National Park is a great place for off-roading adventures. You can see the unique Singing Dunes and the Aktau Mountains up close on jeep tours. The park has diverse ecosystems to explore. It’s located about 260 kilometres north of Almaty.

10. Caving

  • Ak-Tau Mountains

Explore the limestone caves in the Ak-Tau Mountains, which are part of the Altyn-Emel National Park. These caves feature impressive stalactites and stalagmites. Guided tours are available, providing safety equipment and expert knowledge about the cave formations. It’s an exciting adventure for those interested in underground exploration.

  • Tien Shan Caves

The Tien Shan mountains have many caves to explore, formed by the area’s unique geological processes. Caving tours offer a thrilling adventure, combining walking, climbing, and crawling for those who enjoy physical challenges.

11. Ballooning

  • Almaty’s Surrounding Countryside

Balloon flights over the Almaty region offer a peaceful and thrilling way to see the area’s natural beauty. Flights usually happen early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the winds are calm. You’ll get amazing views of the mountains, valleys, and plains, giving you a special look at the region’s different landscapes.

12. Ice Climbing

  • Tuyuk-Su Glacier

If you’re looking for some more exciting adventure activities in Almaty then try ice climbing on the Tuyuk-Su glacier in the Trans-Ili Alatau mountains. This glacier offers challenging routes for experienced climbers. Guided tours and courses are available for those wanting to learn or improve their ice climbing skills.

13. Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing

  • Medeu to Shymbulak

During the winter months, you can explore Almaty’s mountain trails through activities like winter hiking and snowshoeing. One popular route is from Medeu to Shymbulak, which offers beautiful winter scenery and a chance to enjoy the peacefulness of the mountains in winter. If you’re interested in snowshoeing, guided tours with all the necessary equipment are available.

14. River Tubing

  • Issyk River

River tubing on the Issyk River in Almaty is also one of the most exciting adventure activities in Almaty. The river flows from the Tian Shan mountains, providing a beautiful backdrop for this activity. Tubers can enjoy the clear waters and lush surroundings while drifting downstream. Local operators offer necessary equipment and safety briefings, making this accessible to all skill levels.Whether you’re seeking thrills or a peaceful float, river tubing on the Issyk River offers a unique way to experience Almaty’s natural beauty and also gives opportunity to enjoy one of the best water sports of Almaty.

15. Cycling

  • Within The City

Cycling in Almaty is a great way to explore the city and its beautiful surroundings. Almaty offers a mix of city and nature, making it perfect for cyclists. The city has added more bike lanes, making it easier and safer to ride around. A popular route is through the central Panfilov Park, where you can enjoy a leisurely ride and see historical sites and greenery.

  • The Medeu Gorge

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure near Almaty, there are plenty of trails and paths for all levels of cyclists. One popular route is the Medeu Gorge, just a short ride from the city centre. You’ll bike through beautiful mountain scenery and end up at the Medeu ice skating rink, one of the highest in the world. More experienced riders can continue on to the Shymbulak ski resort for a challenging ascent.

  • Big Almaty Lake 

The Big Almaty Lake route is a challenging but highly rewarding cycling option that offers stunning views of the turquoise lake set in the mountains. The Kolsai Lakes and Charyn Canyon, while farther away, also provide unique cycling experiences that showcase the diverse landscapes of Kazakhstan.

16. Metro Ride


One of the best things to do in Almaty is to take a ride in the metro and appreciate the beautiful artistic metro stations. Although the metro lines in Almaty may not be as grand as those in other neighbouring countries, they are still worth visiting. 

Many metro stations in Almaty are decorated with traditional art, folk patterns, motives, and murals. Using the metro for getting around the city is convenient and allows you to admire the art of Kazakhstan displayed on the walls of the Almaty metro stations.

17. De-stress at Arsan Baths


When you’re tired from sightseeing, shopping,  and completing all the adventure activities in Almaty, you can relax at Arasan Baths, which is one of the most peaceful experiences in Almaty. It’s one of the most relaxing things to do in Kazakhstan. Arasan Baths is located near Panfilov Park, a popular tourist site in Almaty. You can enjoy classic and modern treatments to de-stress and feel rejuvenated at this wellness center.

18. Shop At The Local Bazaars and Malls


Don’t miss the local markets in Almaty. Visit the Zelyony Bazaar or Green Bazaar for a wide variety of fruits, clothing, toys, and locally handmade items. You can negotiate prices to get a good deal. For beautifully designed carpets, check out Bukhara carpets for some of the best carpets to add beauty to your home.

If you’re looking for branded items, head to Esentai Mall for luxury shopping with over 160 stores of international luxury brands. If you’re on a budget, visit MegaCenter for high-quality goods at lower prices. Shopping here counts as one of the most fun-filled adventure activities in Almaty.

19. Enjoy The Nightlife Of Almaty


Almaty has a vibrant nightlife scene with a variety of pubs and bars to suit different budgets. Chukotka is a popular spot where you can enjoy music from rock bands and DJs after midnight. The drinks available here are energising, making it a great place to experience the nightlife in Almaty. 

Other notable pubs and bars in Almaty include Sova Espresso, Shakespeare Pub, Soho Almaty Club, and Pivnitsa, where you can enjoy great music, food, and drinks.

20. Explore The Popular Tourist Places


Almaty, a lovely city in Kazakhstan, is home to several popular tourist sites. Here are some of the most popular one which should be explored to add some adventure to your trip:

  • Kok Tobe Tower: A local recreational spot
  • Charyn Canyon: A unique rock formation and stunning display of nature’s magic
  • Central Mosque: Probably the largest and most beautiful mosque in the country
  • Zenkov Cathedral: A century-old unique cathedral made of wood
  • Opera House: A cool place for entertainment
  • Dolphinarium Nemo: A great show where cute dolphins steal the show

So, we can conclude that Almaty is a top destination for adventure seekers, with activities for all levels – from river tubing and mountain cycling to hiking and winter sports at Shymbulak. Nestled at the foothills of the Tian Shan mountains, the city offers visually stunning and physically rewarding experiences, making it a must-visit for adventurers in Kazakhstan.

What is the best time of year to enjoy adventure activities in Almaty?

The best time of year to enjoy adventure activities in Almaty is typically from late spring to early autumn (May to September).

What equipment do I need for mountain climbing in Almaty?

For mountain climbing in Almaty, you typically need essential gear such as climbing boots, a helmet, harness, ropes, carabiners, crampons (depending on the season), a climbing axe or ice tools (for snow and ice routes), appropriate clothing layers, a backpack, and plenty of water and snacks. Additionally, consider bringing a map, compass or GPS device, and a first aid kit. It’s crucial to check local conditions and consult with experienced guides for specific requirements based on the route and season.

What are the most popular adventure activities in Almaty?

The most popular adventure activities in Almaty include river tubing on the Issyk River, mountain cycling, hiking in the Tian Shan mountains, and skiing or snowboarding at the Shymbulak ski resort.

Are adventure activities in Almaty suitable for beginners?

Yes, adventure activities in Almaty are suitable for beginners, with options like guided river tubing, scenic cycling routes, and accessible hiking trails providing safe and enjoyable experiences for all skill levels.

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