How to get to Altai: all ways

How to get to Altai: air tickets and other subtleties

Altai is a magical place. It’s not for nothing that the Roerichs searched for Belovodie here. I definitely have some kind of magnet here that keeps me coming back. Exclamations of acquaintances: “To Altai again, you’ve been there!” cause only bewilderment. You can’t just put a check mark on the map “I’ve been here”. And where exactly have you been? On the Teletskoye Lake? On Belukha Mountain? On turquoise Katun? On the Multinskie or Shavlyskie lakes? In the Kurai steppe? In the Aktru region? These are not just different points on the map, these are completely different places, nature, people and way of life. It is impossible to see everything at once. Once you’ve been here, you know you’ll definitely come back.

@Aleksei Nikolaevitch/ flickr.com/ CC/

In Ust-Koksa I met a man who came 7 years ago to visit a friend, and so stayed. I’ll tell you how to get to these “dangerous” places.

By plane .

All the beauties of Altai are in the mountains, hundreds of kilometers of serpentine, off-road, so you have to get from another region of the country by any mode of transport. Of course, if you are not that desperate hero who travels through Russia by car.

Ordinary tourists start from Barnaul, Gorno-Altaisk or Novosibirsk, so I will tell you about the logistics of travel through these cities. You can find the tickets on the well-known search engines or here.

Gorno-Altaisk

The closest airport to the main attractions and resorts.

S7, Aeroflot, Yamal, Ural Airlines, UTair and Taymyr offer several flights a day from Moscow, but more often with connections (in Novosibirsk, Tyumen, Krasnoyarsk and even Krasnodar). So instead of 4 hours it may take up to 33 hours to reach the destination.

The cost from Moscow from 13000 rubles (and you wanted cheap tickets to Shambhala?). The prices in the peak season (summer) are even slightly cheaper than in the fall and winter, which is probably due to a reduction in the number of low season flights.

For residents of St. Petersburg the flight to Gorno-Altaisk is obscenely expensive (more than 20,000 rubles). But it is always possible to get to Moscow by Sapsan train or by night train.

@Pavel Kazachkov/ flickr.com/ CC

Don’t count on an early booking, it is better to track prices and monitor airline promotions.

So “Krasavia” periodically offers to fly from Novosibirsk to Gorno-Altaisk for 2000-3000 rubles. Although for the same money you can get by bus, but about this further.

Aeroflot and S7 have special fares for youth (up to 23 years old) and pensioners, but to Gorno-Altaisk they are usually no better than the standard ones. Information on the sale of subsidized tickets can be found on the websites of airlines, it appears in the first quarter of the year. You can buy subsidized tickets in the offices and through the contact center.

If it happens that you won’t be able to leave the city on the first day, we know what to do in Gorno-Altaisk.

Barnaul

If the Roerichs organized a whole expedition to Altai, today you can be in the capital of the Altai region in just 4 hours.

READ
Accommodation in the Altai Mountains. Cabins, hotels, wilderness in tents.

Many domestic airlines (Aeroflot, S7, UTair, Ural Airlines, IrAero) make several daily flights to Barnaul.

The prices are comparable to flights to popular European resorts and even to Asia. Standard fares are from 13500 rubles (from Moscow) and 12000 (from St. Petersburg, which is surprising) for a round trip flight. Prices do not differ significantly in low and high (summer) season. The early bird rule does not work in the case of Altai. Here it is important to catch the moment when the airlines are throwing away the cheapest tickets (from 7500 rubles round trip). It’s easy to do this by subscribing to aggregators or special resources that collect promotions and bugs of air carriers.

If the moment is missed, look at the following option.

Novosibirsk

If you are going to Altai, I recommend you to take Siberian capital. Who knows, will have to visit this city, and it deserves attention (here are tips and secrets from the local).

And the total cost of this assembly (Moscow-Novosibirsk-Barnaul) is an additional argument in favor of a stop in Novosibirsk.

@Zabara Alexander/ flickr.com/ CC

Not only is it possible to get to Novosibirsk from almost any city in Russia at reasonable prices, but Pobeda is throwing out crazy tickets from 2000 rubles one way from Moscow.

If you take into account the cost of the bus to Barnaul (600 rubles) or the plane to Gorno-Altaisk (from 2,000 rubles on special offer) the prices are really good. You can find the details of the bus trip below.

If you have time, wit and a thirst for adventure can make an interesting composite route a la “excursion to the cities, to which most of the European Russia will never get. For example, through Kemerovo, Novokuznetsk, Tomsk, do not limit your imagination. Each of these cities has what to surprise even the experienced traveler.

By train

This option is not so much for aero-phobes but for the romantics who are ready for adventures. Once in a lifetime you can ride to the middle of the map of Russia! I love trains: maps, books, endless tea, interesting fellow travelers. The road to Barnaul (55 hours) or Biysk (57 hours) makes it possible to read half of War and Peace (leave the other half for the return trip); see hundreds of geographic attractions of Russia not in an atlas, but live; learn to play chess, backgammon and everything the conductors have.

@Ekaterina Didkovskaya/ flickr.com/ CC

Unfortunately, the cost of such an adventure, even in coach, is comparable to a flight, and on the top shelf in the compartment – more expensive than the plane.

By bus

You can cover a part of Siberian trip by bus, moreover the roads in Altai Krai are better than in some regions of European part of Russia.

From Novosibirsk to Barnaul.

Many tour operators organize transfer from Novosibirsk. So why independent travelers do not follow their example?

@Alex Fa/ flickr.com / CC

You can take off directly from “Tolmachevo” airport to Barnaul (4 trips from 5:45 to 19:00) or from bus station (every hour from 5:40 to 22:00). The trip takes 4.5 hours.

From other cities

From Novokuznetsk and Kemerovo to go longer (7-7.5 hours) and more expensive (from 800 rubles).

READ
Leisure on the Teletskoye Lake in the summer of 2022. Prices, bases and reviews

Advice from personal experience: allow time for force majeure. My first bus trip almost ruined the whole trip to Altai: the only night bus broke down at some small station, and we had to wait for the counter bus, which dropped off its passengers and picked us up.

To the start of the route.

If you’ve made it to Barnaul, it’s too early to exhale. Usually this is just the beginning of a road trip through the steppes and mountain serpentines.

@Kirill Skorobogatov/flickr.com/CC

I had a booked transfer waiting for me both times, so all I had to do was load myself into the car, enjoy the views, and pray that we wouldn’t run off into the river on the narrow turns.

Independent travelers will have to think about the route in advance. From Barnaul (Biysk) you can get by public transport even to the most remote villages:

  • to Chemal buses go 2 times a day, the ticket is 600 rubles;
  • to Multa, where the route to the Multinskiye Lakes starts, buses go every other day, the price starts from 600 rubles;
  • To Tyungur, where the trip to the main summit of Altai Mountains Belukha starts – from 800 rubles.

I advise you to book tickets in advance, because the trips are very rare (usually two times a day), and a lot of people want to go.

If you want to get to Gorno-Altaisk by bus, which leaves from Barnaul every hour, then you can take a cab there.

It’s better to be in Gorno-Altaisk in the morning: this way you have a better chance of getting to Gorno-Altaisk on the same day and getting a better price. There is no sense to make an advance booking with private drivers: they will not wait for you, and will leave with the first tourists.

A group transfer to the beginning of the route or to the recreation center is easy through numerous local travel agencies. So a seven-seat bus from Barnaul to Teletskoe Lake will cost 10,000 rubles, Chemal – 8,000, Tyungur – 18,000.

Finally .

I hope, the difficult route will not scare anyone away. Already on the first day the ringing mountain air dissolves all burdens and horrors of the road (even night crossings over the raging Katun’ and car breakdowns). Then it remains only as a part of big adventure. And on the way back the long way is only for pleasure: you don’t want to leave.

How to get to Altai?

In this post I will tell in detail how to get to Altai from Moscow and other regions of Russia. What are the prices, and how long will it take to get there? How you can save money? I will try to answer these questions in detail.

The main cities for getting to Altai are Barnaul and Gorno-Altaisk. The first is the capital of the Altai Territory, there are more flights there, and the second is the capital of the Altai Republic, it is as close as possible to all the sights and bases. You can easily get to any part of the region from these two cities: to Aya Lake or to the Katun tourist area, to Multinskie Lakes or to Uimonskaya Steppe, to Teletskoe Lake or to Ukok Plateau…

READ
Communications, Internet, ATMs and gas stations in the Altai Mountains

Altai river

You can consider Biysk and Novosibirsk as reserve options. In Biysk the airport does not accept aircrafts, it is planned to be reconstructed, but the work has not started yet, the railroad can only get to the city directly from Tomsk, Novosibirsk, Barnaul. Thus, as a transportation hub, it is not very convenient for most tourists.

To Novosibirsk, on the contrary, you can get by many ways, but the distance to Altai is relatively large, I would use the city maximum as a connecting point. Although there is, for example, a direct bus Novosibirsk-Chemal, it runs in the summer season and is convenient for residents of Novosibirsk.

S7 plane photo

In addition, from major Siberian cities in the summer go tourist buses. They are convenient because they go without stops in the villages on the way, and usually leave at night to be at the end point in the morning or at lunch (depending on distance). Usually it’s Lake Teletskoye or Chemal, and whatever else is on the way. Look for such buses in the travel agencies of your city, the price will be relatively inexpensive, and the time is faster than by public transport. Personally, I don’t like to sit for a long time, so I prefer the way with a transfer/overnight train. For example, from Omsk to Altai to go by bus as much as 17-19 hours, I really prefer to spend the night in the train lying :)

Recreation in Altai has a pronounced seasonality, the main number of tourists visit the region in summer, so the number of flights increases along with the prices. In the spring, fall and winter, there are fewer options to get, keep this in mind, but also ticket prices will be lower.

So, first you need to get from your city to Barnaul or Gorno-Altaisk.

How to get to Altai from Moscow?

*The schedule is for the summer period, at other times there are fewer flights.

By plane from Moscow to Barnaul

Aeroflot (Sheremetyevo), Ural Airlines, and S7 (both from Domodedovo) operate daily flights from the capital. As a rule, they take off in the evening to be in Barnaul in the morning, Altai time. Travel time is about four and a half hours.

Already from the airport you can get to the bus station and from there leave by bus or order a transfer directly to the place of rest.

Aeroflot plane photo

How to get from Barnaul airport to the bus station?

From the airport there is a bus number 110 from early morning till evening. You have to get out by the hotel “Barnaul” and walk 5-7 minutes. There is a railway station near the bus station. In time for this road save an hour or more.

You can book a transfer to the city and other popular places on our tested kiwitaxi service

By Plane from Moscow to Gorno-Altaisk

Direct flights to the capital of the Altai Republic are operated by S7 and Ural Airlines (Domodedevo), Nordvind (Sheremetyevo), Pobeda (Vnukovo). The flight time is also about 4.5 hours, and there are both night and daytime flights.

READ
Top 25: the best attractions in the Altai Mountains. Where to go and what to see

How to get from Gorno-Altaisk airport to the bus station?

Take bus ¹103 and go to the bus station, it goes once an hour, the first bus leaves at 07:09, the last one – at 20:09. You can also order a cab.

Transfer to the city and other popular places

How to get to Altai from other regions of Russia?

*The schedule is for the summer period, at other times there are fewer flights.

You can fly to Barnaul directly from:

  • St. Petersburg, once a week, IrAero
  • Kazan, 2 times a week, SVT-Aero.
  • Surgut, once a week, SVT-Aero.
  • Omsk, 2 times a week, Uvt-Aero.
  • Novosibirsk, 5 times a week, S7
  • Tomsk, 3 times a week, SILA
  • Krasnoyarsk, 3 times per week, Krasavia
  • Irkutsk, 3 times a week, IrAero
  • Sochi, 2 times a week, IrAero
  • Anapa, 1x per week, IrAero
  • Simferopol, twice a week – Ural Airlines, once a week – Nordvind.

You can fly to Gorno-Altaisk directly from:

  • St. Petersburg, 2 times a week, Nordvind
  • Yekaterinburg, twice a week – Ural Airlines and Rusline.
  • Kazan, 2 times a week, SVT-Aero.
  • Novosibirsk, 1x weekly, S7
  • Omsk, 2 times a week, Uvt-Aero.
  • Krasnoyarsk, 6 times a week, SILA

About how to get from airports to bus stations in Barnaul and Gorno-Altaisk I have already written above.

to Altai by train

To Altai by train

To get to Altai by train is convenient for people who live in regions where planes don’t fly, and for those who are not far from Altai. For example, residents of Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Omsk, Kemerovo… There are considerably more trains to Barnaul than to Biysk, and in Gorno-Altaisk there is no railroad at all.

Trains to Barnaul:

  • Train 109N Omsk – Rubtsovsk goes through Karasuk and Kamen-on-Obi. Arrives at 07:13 local time.
  • Train 096N Moscow – Barnaul goes via Kazan, Krasnoufimsk, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Omsk, Karasuk. Arrives at 10:10 local time.
  • Train 078N Moscow – Abakan goes via Yaroslavl, Kirov, Perm, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Omsk, Karasuk. Arrives at 13:15 local time.
  • Train 140C Adler – Barnaul goes via Sochi, Rostov-on-Don, Penza, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Omsk, Novosibirsk. Arrives at 14:33 local time.
  • Plus there are more trains from Novosibirsk and Tomsk and passing on to Biysk.

Then you go from the railway station to the bus station (they are next door) and take a bus to the desired location.

To Altai by Car

This is an excellent idea to take your own car! It is difficult to describe a specific route, it depends on your starting point. If you are driving from far away you almost certainly will pass through Novosibirsk, and further along Chuisky Trakt.

The main road in Altai is the Chuisky Tract. It begins in Novosibirsk and ends at the Mongolian border, passing close to Barnaul, Biysk, and Gorno-Altaisk. The road is of very good quality and with developed infrastructure.

Altai roads photo

There is a branch to Chemal near the village of Ust-Syoma, when the road continues along the Katun River, and the tract goes sideways.

From Gorno-Altaisk you can go to Artybash to the northern shore of the Teletskoye lake, but the road is of medium quality, there are not many cars and not many gas stations and cafes.

Southern shore of the Teletskoye Lake is accessible if you turn north from Chuysky Highway to Aktash village and further through Ulagan and Katu-Yaryk Pass. The quality of the pavement is poor, but there are relatively few tourists.

READ
Holidays in the Altai Mountains for the New Year - 2022

Another road goes off the tract near Tuecta and goes through Ust-Kan, Ust-Koksa, and Multa to Tyungur. Read more about getting to Ust-Koksa, Multa and Tyungur.

UAZ Altai

Closer to Mongolia

Buses in Altai

From Barnaul or Gorno-Altaisk, your way onward will be by local bus. You can go to almost all corners of Altai Krai and the Republic of Altai, except the most remote ones. Long-distance buses usually leave in the morning to reach your destination by evening, for example bus Barnaul-Multa or Gorno-Altaisk-Tyungur.

buses to Altai

Examples of routes from Barnaul, run daily:

  • Artybash (north of the Teletskoye Lake) – once a day
  • Belokurikha – 6 times a day
  • Gorno-Altaisk – 5-7 trips per day
  • Multa – once a day
  • Onguday – 1 time per day
  • Chemal – 4 times a day

Examples of routes from Gorno-Altaisk:

  • Artybash – twice a day
  • Belokurikha – once a day
  • Kosh-Agach – once a week
  • Multa – once a day
  • Tyungur – once a day
  • Chemal – 8 times a day

Where can I buy tickets? At the booking office, but during the season it is better to buy tickets in advance, as there may be no seats available. You can do this online with the tutu service and you will receive electronic tickets, which you must print out and show when you board the bus.

Planes and helicopters in Altai

The main transport in Altai is buses, although there is also local aviation. For example, from Barnaul you can get to Belokurikha by An-28 (3 times a week), and from Gorno-Altaisk – to Belokurikha (2 times a week), Ust-Koksa (every day), Kosh-Agach (every day). All these flights are operated by “Sila” airline with small An-28 or L-410 aircrafts.

I never had an opportunity to fly like this, but I really want to – it’s real exotic!

If you are not limited in money you can also hire a helicopter – the cost starts from 60 thousand rubles per hour for a small three-seat Robinson R44, for example. There are also larger helicopters.

Altai helicopter

Helicopter against the background of the Belukha Mountain

We use ourselves and recommend to friends:

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