Nobody argues, exotic countries are beautiful, but sometimes a traveler can make incredible discoveries in a neighboring country. Picturesque views and breathtaking landscapes can be very close: in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. But in winter, these countries, covered with fluffy snow, are especially good.
The sun, apricots, and cognac – this is precisely the associative series that arises when Armenia is mentioned. Indeed, the country is summer and sunny, with charismatic inhabitants. At the same time, they go to Armenia not only for warmth but also for snow: to look at Lake Sevan in winter, to ski in Tsakhakadzor and soak up in the healing springs of Jermuk.
Mountain Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan, located 15 kilometers from Yerevan and does not freeze in winter. The reason for this is the hot springs from the underground. The water in it is exceptionally clean and clear, according to ancient legends, the stars and gods quenched their thirst.
Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia. It is located in the heart of the mountains at an altitude of almost 2 thousand meters. Usually, they come here for a day, in the morning to ride, in the afternoon – to walk along the lake.
Ski resort Tsaghkadzor
The popular resort of Tsaghkadzor in Soviet times, in recent years, has gained a second wind. New Austrian lifts were installed here, the slopes are looked after, ski and onboard rental are available.
The ski season lasts from mid-December to March. At the top station (almost 3,000 meters), skiers will be impressed by the breathtaking panorama of the surrounding mountains and peaks. The length of the continuous roll is 8 kilometers. The resort is an hour’s drive from Yerevan.
Jermuk is known as a balneological resort with thermal springs. The name of the city comes from the hot water of healing mineral springs. Bonus to rest in Jermuk – picturesque views of the gorge and waterfalls. In the city, by the way, is one of the highest and most beautiful waterfalls in Armenia. Its height is 68 meters.
On the territory of a small town, the ruins of an ancient fortress erected in the II century BC have been preserved, although the village itself was founded even earlier.
A country with pleasant low prices for holidays and a mentality close to a Russian tourist. Here, of course, there are no high mountain chains, but the “lungs of Europe” (Belovezhskaya Pushcha), thousands of lakes and rivers are located. In the last ten years, rural tourism has been developing in Belarus: in the country, there are about 2,000 estates ready to receive tourists. Mild winters and cheap flights are the undoubted advantages of relaxing in the neighboring country.
Grandfather Frost’s residence in Belovezhskaya Pushcha
In Western Belarus, a forest with a thousand-year history – Belovezhskaya Pushcha – has been preserved. Here is the residence of the main New Year’s wizard – Santa Claus. On the territory of his land, there are many fairy-tale characters, several wooden huts and a museum with children’s letters and crafts. Greets guests – Santa Claus. The wizard helps create the atmosphere of the holiday – Snow Maiden and fairies.
Tourists who do not believe in a fairy-tale character can relax in one of the hotels on the territory of the forest, ride a team between centuries-old trees, have dinner and watch the bison listed in the Red Book.
Mstislavl and Deserts
7 kilometers from the border with Russia is a small provincial town of Mstislavl. The best view opens from Castle Hill. At the top, to the great surprise, there is a stage, a small amphitheater and a wooden castle. Swiss landscapes will not leave you indifferent – at sunset couples come together here, romantic photos against the setting sun should turn out spectacular.
And 500 meters from the border with Russia is the “place of power” – Pustynki. Previously settled here had the right to settle exclusively monks. In the Pustyn monastery, they retired and prayed to God. Therefore, on its territory, there are several dilapidated temples, a church, a holy spring, and a monastery. And now only monks live in a religious complex. Tourists can also visit this place.
North-East of Belarus – hundreds of large and small lakes. The most famous are Braslavskys. The area of 30 lakes is more than 130 square kilometers. The road to Mjadel is especially picturesque. It is worth making a stop and admiring the wonderful views of the water surface. There are many recreation centers and stylized estates on the shores. Well, the visiting card of the Braslav region is considered one of the best observation points in Belarus – Mount Mayak.
The state is rich in both natural sights and man-made, not only ancient but also modern. Take at least the ultramodern capital – Astana. Despite the cold winters, Kazakhstan is especially good in snow.
Kolsai in the summer is a must-see. In winter, the lake becomes even more beautiful, ice and snow create the necessary stress. Stories for photography appear. Kolsai lakes are located 290 kilometers, southeast of Almaty.
The lower Kolsai lake stretches for one and a half kilometers in length, it is sandwiched in a narrow gorge and surrounded by the highest Tien Shan fir trees, which seem to have been specially planted here to preserve this paradise. In winter, the lake freezes, the thickness of the ice is 30-40 centimeters and the most daring skate on the surface. Five kilometers higher is the second Kolsai lake, reminiscent of a heart shape.
Places for recreation are provided on the lower lake: there is a camping, conditions for fishing are created.
Borovoe is considered the most famous resort in Kazakhstan, famous for its nature, dozens of health resorts, clean air. In summer it is a wonderful vacation by the pond, and in winter – sports and the opportunity to take a walk on the ice of the lake if it is sufficiently frozen.
The main attraction of the area is called Zhumbaktas rock – a riddle rock, which, on the one hand, resembles the Egyptian sphinx, on the other – an old woman, and on the third – a beautiful girl.
Alpine skating rink “Medeo”
25 kilometers from Alma-Ata is the world’s largest high-mountain skating rink “Medeo”, located at an altitude of about 1700 meters above sea level. The area of the artificial ice field is 10.5 thousand square meters. Highlands contribute to the establishment of the highest achievements, for all time 170 world records have been recorded here.
It is open daily from October to May. The cost of a ticket for adults is $ 5, skate rental for two hours – $ 3.
The ski resort Chimbulak is adjacent to the famous skating rink. The length of the slopes for skiing is more than 20 kilometers. The tracks are equipped for night skiing and are open around the clock. A day ski pass costs $ 23 on weekends and 16 on weekdays.
A country of high mountains and fast rivers. There are few ancient monuments in Kyrgyzstan, but they are more than compensated by the beautiful valleys that hide behind the mountain ranges of the Pamir-Alai and Tien Shan.
Issyk-Kul is in seventh place on the list of the deepest lakes in the world and is considered the largest in Kyrgyzstan. And in terms of water transparency, it ranks second in the world after Lake Baikal. Locals call it the “pearl” of Kyrgyzstan.
Translated from the Kyrgyz language, “ysyk köl” means “hot lake”, because in winter it does not freeze, and all because the water in it is salty. Also, 80 rivers of Kyrgyzstan flow here, thereby replenishing the volume of Issyk-Kul. The dimensions are impressive: its area is more than six thousand square kilometers, and the depth in some places exceeds 700 meters.
Bishkek – Osh Road
This is perhaps the most beautiful road in the country. The route passes through mountain passes, as well as along the banks of the Toktogul reservoir and other picturesque places. You can drive it in one day, during which you can see almost all the seasons: from snowy winters on passes to summers in valleys.
Grigoryevsky Gorge is located 60 kilometers from the city of Cholpon-Ata. Lake Issyk-Kul is considered one of the most picturesque places in the country. A crystal clear river flows along the bottom, on the “walls” of the gorge the most beautiful Tien Shan firs in the world.
In the Chon Ak-Suu gorge, there are three alpine lakes, forests and alpine meadows. Tourists are offered a lot of entertainment: the most memorable is horseback riding and wonderful hiking. Also in the Grigoryevsky Gorge, you must definitely taste the koumiss and take an active part in the installation of the yurt.