There is something for everyone in Altai Krai: ancient camps and caves for archaeologists, Altai cheese and Altai honey for food lovers, and Lake Yarovoye and Belokurikha for travelers who enjoy resorts. For lovers of nature there are comfortable tourism bases surrounded by snowy mountains and ancient pine forests and the pure taiga air.
Visitors don't only come to Altai for its beautiful nature. Many come to see historical sites, to touch the past, and to participate in colorful and interesting festivals. The Shukshinskie Days In Altai festival, the Flowering Maralnik festival, the Altaifest drinks festival, the Siberian Maslenitsa Festival, the Altai Winter Festival, and many others are held every year in Altai Krai.
Turquoise Katun, the first major nature and extreme tourism complex in Russia, is situated in the south of Krai. The climate is mild and is considered to be the most comfortable and pleasant in Siberia. The center has a developed infrastructure and a varied tour programme; you can visit the Prostor gallery, the Tavdinskie Caves, go rafting and much more. Modern mountain ski slopes operate in winter.
Lake Yarovoye is one of the most popular tourist areas in Altai Krai. The lake is surrounded by a wonderful plain with almost no trees. There are beautiful high coastlines and numerous ravines in the south and south-west. Lake Yarovoye is famous for its bitter-salty mineral water and therapeutic mud; it is often compared to resorts in the Crimea and Caucasus and even with the Dead Sea. Water activities are popular on Lake Yarovoye.
Belokurikha is a federal status resort town situated in a green valley among the low mountains of Altai Krai. The sun shines here for about 260 days a year. The town is famous for its health resorts, ski resorts and, of course, its unique microclimate and mineral springs. Horse riding is very popular here. Horse breeding is developed in the areas around the resort and there is a horse nursery with thoroughbred horses.
Altai Krai is home to relict ribbon-like pine forests. The largest forest, Barnaulskaya, starts at the River Ob near Barnaul and stretches for about 400 kilometers. About 1 million years ago an ice age started and glaciers formed. After the glacier ice disappeared, rivers flowed along the ancient valleys and wonderful pine forests grew on the sandy rocks—the unique ribbon-like pine forests.
Rudny Altai is one of the most interesting tourist areas in Altai Krai. It is home to the most beautiful natural sites: Kolyvanskoe, Beloe, Mokhovoe lakes, mountain peaks and exotic steep hills. Russian mining began here and this is where the famous Kolyvanskaya Vase (also known as the Empress vase) was made.
There are dozens of outdoor activities to do in Altai Krai—rafting, mountain climbing, motorbike tourism, caving, hiking, etc. Tolstukha mountain is a special place in Altai Krai. Athletes and visitors to Altai climb it to reach the sky. Winter is the best time of year to go motorgliding or paragliding, the wind is calm and the weather is stable.
The winter tourism season begins in Altai Krai with the appearance of swans. The ice-free lakes in Sovetsky district are a magnet attracting swans to Altai. In the far north of the vast land mass, where trees crack from frost and many rivers and lakes freeze almost to their bottom, these wonderful birds live on small ice-free lakes, find partners and bring up their young. Visitors to Altai can witness the family life of the swans.
People come to Zarinsky district for solitude, contemplation and the silent beauty of nature; they stay in village guest houses and small tourism bases surrounded by snowy mountains and ancient pine forests. Here you can experience real ski trips in the pure taiga air where the sun's thin rays pierce the cold-white forest.