The Republic of Altai is in the southern part of Western Siberia, near the border with Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. The people of Altai were once nomads that settled during Soviet times. They live from agriculture and have preserved a patriarchal way of life with beliefs linked to Burkhanism and shamanism. Altai Republic is one of the least populated regions of Siberia where, instead of industry, there are domesticated herds of horses and reindeer, a perfect destination for nature tourism.
The Altai Republic is in the southern part of Siberia, about 4,000 km from Moscow. The capital of this republic is Gorno-Altaysk.
Getting to Altai is easiest by plane with direct flights by S7 Airways from Moscow to Gorno-Altaysk. You can also fly to Barnaul but it’s less practical because you will need to transfer to Gorno-Altaysk (250 km).
If you are travelling by Trans-Siberian, you can change at Novosibirsk and get to Biysk by night train, which is just 100 km from Gorno-Altaysk.
The Altai climate is continental but the rains and temperature can vary depending on where you are. For example, on Lake Teletskoye the climate is gentler with fresh and sunny summers. On the other side, the Chuya steppe is very dry with little rain and winter temperatures that can fall below - 40°C, compared to summer, when they may reach +30°C.
It’s better to visit Altai during the warm season that starts in May when the rhododendron bushes start to flower in the mountains until the “golden autumn” in September. During this time, you can take a circuit that includes Lake Teletskoye (8 days).
The itinerary that crosses the Chuya steppe from Gorno-Altaysk to the village of Kosh-Agach (6 days) is accessible year-round.
For a short trip (4 days), visit the Karakol Valley or take a holiday on the shores of Lake Teletskoye with boat trips to waterfalls in the Altai national reserve.