Go to the mountains for inspiration: accessible destinations in Russia

Go to the mountains for inspiration: accessible destinations in Russia

“The only thing better than mountains are mountains that you haven’t been to yet…” – sensational, but catchy and truthful lines from the work of Vladimir Vysotsky. Mountains inspire, surprise, allow you to be alone with nature and recharge your batteries. You can go on a mountain hike or just choose a hotel at the top to admire the scenery, breathe fresh air and not be reminded of the bustle of the city. 

We selected 7 beautiful mountainous areas in Russia, which can be reached from anywhere in the country, and noted comfortable hotels in these locations, if you are not a fan of camping.

Khibiny Mountains on the Kola Peninsula

Go to the mountains for inspiration: accessible destinations in Russia

Low mountains are located beyond the Arctic Circle in the Murmansk region. It is convenient to get here by car, train, or by plane. The place is not the most touristy, especially in late autumn and before the New Year holidays, so peace and tranquility are guaranteed. From August to April there is every chance to see the northern lights. 

The vegetation on the rocky Khibiny ridges is specific and unusual for those who have not been to the far north. This is a zone of tundra and taiga, where around numerous emerald lakes you will not find dense forests, and eco-trails for tourists pass among low-growing northern birches and small rare bushes. Nature in the mountains in autumn looks amazingly beautiful – a riot of different shades of a dozen colors.

Things to do:climb the trail to Lake Maly Vudyavr, visiting abandoned molybdenum mines along the way, or take a northern ATV safari. For beautiful views, you can safely go to the Beautiful waterfall on the Risjok River, around which there are observation platforms for the river valley and Mount Kuelporr. In autumn, on the slopes of the Khibiny, blueberries, cloudberries, blueberries and lingonberries are collected, and before frost, porcini mushrooms and boletus are added to this list. In the evenings, waiting for the colorful northern lights, you can watch sunsets at a waterfall or mountain river, walk on soft moss and just enjoy the surrounding silence.

Where to stay: in the two-star mini-hotel “Gornaya Dolina” in Kirovsk from 3,200 rubles* per day or in the sanatorium “Izovela” in Apatity from 2,000 rubles* per night.

Western Sayan in Southern Siberia

Go to the mountains for inspiration: accessible destinations in Russia

Mountain lakes, steep cliffs and waterfalls in Western Sayan are a great place to improve your vitality and enjoy wild nature. The extended mountain system is located in the south of Siberia between the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Tuva and Khakassia. All year round you can relax here, surrounded by rocky ridges in the territory of the Ergaki Natural Park. There are several peaks in it, against which you can take impressive shots. The most spectacular of them is Dragon’s Tooth Peak. You can climb to it along an eco-trail in a couple of hours without special preparation, and the route starts from the beautiful Colored Lakes. 

In Ergaki Park you can see two unusual rocks at once. The first, Sleeping Saiyan, resembles a giant lying on his back. According to legends, the once owner of the taiga turned into a huge stone and now protects these lands. The second, Brothers Rock, is a unique low mountain, which has no analogues in the world: its clear geometric outlines repeat the shape of a parabola. 

What to do: before going to Ergaki, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the maps of the park on the official website and plan your route. They mark all the natural attractions, eco-trails of different difficulty levels (different in color) and equipped parking areas. In addition to hiking in the mountains, you can go fishing on the shores of lakes, ride ATVs and even raft down the Oya mountain river. If you come to Ergaki for just a few days, you can book a tour of the park and see all the most interesting places.

Where to stay:in the five-star AZIMUT Hotel Kyzyl from 6,800 rubles* per night or in the Hotel Mongulek in Kyzyl from 3,500 rubles* per room.

Mount Belukha in Altai

Go to the mountains for inspiration: accessible destinations in Russia

One of the most beautiful mountains in Russia, where people go in search of a place of power and solitude surrounded by majestic nature. Belukha is the highest point of the Altai Mountains in Southern Siberia, located on the territory of the Altai Republic. Local residents highly reverence this place and are sure that the owner of Altai lives on the top of the mountain. Climbing to a height of 4506 meters is only possible for well-trained climbers, but at the foot of Belukha there are many interesting places. You can go to the picturesque Akkem Lake, walk along the banks of the Kucherla River, visit the Tekelyu waterfall and climb to the Valley of the Seven Lakes.

Things to do:sign up for a horseback trek or go mountain trekking at low altitudes to see gorges and passes. On the hiking trails there are rock paintings of ancient people and mysterious caves. Many hotels offer to try herbal Altai teas, and after an active outdoor recreation you can take a steam bath and plunge into a mountain lake. Until snow falls at the foot of Belukha, various herbs and berries are collected here – honeysuckle, wild currants, thyme or lemongrass.

Where to stay: at the Belukha Portal hotel in Ust-Koks from 2,600 rubles* per night or at the one-star Guest House Belukha Chendek hotel in Chendek from 3,300 rubles* per room.

Mount Elbrus in the North Caucasus

Go to the mountains for inspiration: accessible destinations in Russia

The highest point in Russia, above which there are only clouds and flying planes. All the most famous eco-trails and tourist routes begin in the Elbrus region – in the region of Cheget, the Azau glade, Elbrus and Terskol. In the off-season before the ski resorts open, natural recreation on Elbrus is in no way inferior to the expensive resorts of Krasnaya Polyana. It is better for trained people to climb to a height of more than 5000 meters, accompanied by an instructor and with special equipment. But if your goal is not to climb to the top, then the routes of the Elbrus region will appeal to you, as there is something to see here. To save time and effort, you can use the ski lifts in the Cheget and Azau glades.

Things to do:take the simplest but most picturesque route from the village of Terskol to the mountains. In 6 hours you will see the powerful “Maiden’s Braids” waterfall, a panorama of the Main Caucasus Range, the slopes of Cheget, and the final point will be the international observatory on Terskol peak, which has been operating for more than 40 years. At the foot of the mountains, visit the Narzan Glade, a large valley over which powerful springs gush out from underground. In the area of ​​the Baksan Gorge you can go horseback riding along two mountain lakes – Balymsky and Gizhgit.

Where to stay: in the four-star hotel “Mountain Tale” in Elbrus from 3,000 rubles* per room or in the four-star Moon Hotel in Terskol from 7,900 rubles* per day.

Kryktytau mountain range in the Southern Urals

Go to the mountains for inspiration: accessible destinations in Russia

The mountain range is located in the east of Bashkortostan and runs along several popular resorts – Abzakovo, Bannoe, Mountain Gorge and Mountain Air. The mountains of the Kryktytau ridge are low, about 1000-1100 meters, but the routes are difficult, since the terrain is very rough, with sharp changes in elevation, gorges and unexpected failures. That’s why tourists fell in love with local hiking trails – mountain hikes are interesting, non-monotonous, and sometimes even dangerous.

What to do: look at the deepest lake in Bashkiria, Bannoe, and climb to the top of Mount Kartash. Climb to the Elgi Kuruzyak gorge, where there are rocks of bizarre shapes resembling an elephant and a human finger. On the slopes of the mountain range there is the main tourist center of this region and part-time ski resort, Abzakovo. Here you can take a break from hiking, visit a water park, spa centers, a zoo, or play paintball and ride catamarans in the Ostrov amusement park.

Where to stay: at the Bungalow Club hotel in Novoabzakovo from 2,500 rubles* per day or at the three-star Tau-Tash hotel complex in Abzakovo from 2,700 rubles* per room.

Mount Aibga in the Western Caucasus

Go to the mountains for inspiration: accessible destinations in Russia

The resort village of Esto-Sadok is an ideal place if you want to admire the mountains, but at the same time live surrounded by developed infrastructure. It is located right at the foot of the northern slope of Mount Aibga, where eco-trails and hiking routes for climbing begin. In autumn, nature on the slopes turns into bright colors, and the mountain park of Mendelikha waterfalls looks especially mesmerizing.

What to do: climb to the observation deck of the Black Pyramid peak, which offers panoramic views of the mountain landscapes and the resort part of Krasnaya Polyana. From the peak, take an easy route along the “Aibga Pass” eco-trail, about 1.5 km long. If you are not a fan of hiking, then get on the ski lift right in Esto-Sadok and go to conquer heights without unnecessary physical exertion. During your free time in the village, check out the interactive archeology museum. Or visit the cultural and ethnographic center “My Russia”, on the territory of which 11 thematic buildings associated with different peoples of the Russian Federation (the so-called whole Russia in miniature) were built.

Where to stay:in the four-star Courtyard Marriott hotel from 6,200 rubles* per room or in the three-star Gala-Alpik Hotel from 2,400 rubles* per night.

Mountains Mustag and Green in Mountain Shoria

Go to the mountains for inspiration: accessible destinations in Russia

Mountain Shoria in the south of the Kemerovo region is another option to enjoy a vacation in the mountains with excellent tourist infrastructure. A small mountain-taiga region is located at the junction of several mountain systems, Altai, Sayan and Kuznetsk Alatau. The main tourist center of Mountain Shoria is the village of Sheregesh, which in winter turns into a popular ski resort in the south of Western Siberia.

If you get bored of admiring nature, then the resort village of Sheregesh has all the conditions for both relaxing and active recreation at any time of the year. Restaurants and karaoke bars are open in the evenings, and the Silver Springs thermal center offers relief from fatigue. There you can visit a Finnish or Russian bathhouse, hammam, salt room with Himalayan salt and end the evening in a font with spring water.

What to do: In winter people come here for skiing and snowboarding, but in Mountain Shoria you can find activities to your liking all year round. In the summer and off-season, the resort operates several lifts, which can quickly reach the top of Mount Zelenaya. From Sheregesh there are hiking routes to Mount Mustag and Azas Cave, as well as to the village of Temirtau, where the beautiful Blue Lake is located. To get to know the culture and life of the local people, the Shors, go to the administrative center of Tashtagol. The city is compact, and in one day you can see all the iconic places – the 6-meter bronze sculpture “Golden Shoria” or the exhibitions in the Museum of Ethnography and Nature of Mountain Shoria.

Where to stay: in the four-star park hotel “Gorny” from 11,400 rubles* per night or in the three-star hotel “Western” from 7,300 rubles* per night.

*Prices valid at time of publication

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