Russia, the best vacation spots: 2. Altai

Luxury Travel Tips

Altai it is, of course, one of the main Russian tourist brands. Therefore, it is not at all a miracle that it was there that worthy hotels were among the first to appear. Which can be attributed, if not to the luxury category, then at least to the premium category. Everything that glitters is drawn to that which glitters. In this case, to gold, because the word “Altai” means “golden” in Turkic.

Many mystical legends and ancient myths are associated with this place, and everyone who has been here remembers this as if they had traveled to another dimension. I’m not an exception.

For those who are going to Altai, we can recommend the three most developed places from a tourist point of view. This is the Belokurikha ski resort (which was nicknamed for mountain air and healing springs AltaiSwiss Switzerland) and the Turquoise Katun area, so named because of the incredibly rich shade of the water of the Katun River in this area (by the way, in winter it does not freeze and retains its unreal color). And, of course, Lake Teletskoye, permeated with mysticism. But first things first.

One of the best hotels in the Altai resort of Belokurikha is Belovodie. I arrived, looked at the rooms first of the category “apartments” – the views from the windows (mountain landscapes) are good, but the rooms themselves, in my opinion, are somewhat soviet … Therefore, in the end, I settled in the Japanese Suite. In Japanese minimalism, they almost could not spoil anything – the frames are too narrow.

Japanese hotel suite "Belokurikha"

I also liked the food in the restaurant. A dish with such an intricate name as “Kazan kingdom” (it is actually a goose stuffed with prunes and baked with Antonov apples), this is really something …

An alternative option in Belokurikha could be the Blagodat hotel, which is at the foot of the Tserkovka ski slope, but at the same time in a fairly secluded and quiet place. Like almost all deep-Russian luxury establishments, this hotel is a little ridiculous and lurid (however, Belovodie is no exception in this sense), but you can live here, if you close your eyes to some little things, even with almost European comfort.

Hotel "Grace"Altai, Belokurikha

At Blagodati there is a restaurant where you can eat kulebyaki, pies and other dishes of Russian national cuisine.

But with Lake Teletskoye – a separate story, rather complicated. There is a hotel “Old Castle”. Very good, right on the shore of the lake are his two towers. Small, only 12 rooms, hotel. But the whole point is that Lake Teletskoye is not an easy place, but… “golden”, a place where spirits live, as local beliefs say… And this can lead to the most unpredictable consequences. Not only do the locals consider themselves descendants of aliens, but in addition, something inevitably happens here with their guests. I will never forget one episode from my last year’s trip. Now I will briefly tell you this story.

Lake Teletskoye by sashapo

It was early evening. Reflecting the colors of the sunset, the lake shimmered in the gap between the mountain peaks protruding one after another. When looking at it, its real, Altai name immediately came to mind – Golden Lake, in Altai – “Altynkol” (the nickname “Teletskoye” lake received later – on behalf of the local tribes “teles”). We were already approaching the “Old Castle” after a rather long difficult walk through the mountains, and now we decided to go down to the water for a while and sit there, looking at the water surface, shimmering in gold in the rays of the setting sun. It was quiet. We were almost lost in meditation, when suddenly our silence was interrupted by an old man who imperceptibly approached us from behind. “Admire our lake? – he asked. – It’s good. Don’t forget to bring a gift to the spirit of the lake. Throw some bread into the water.” And then quickly left. I would have forgotten about this incident, if not for the next day.

Teletskoye lake.  Photo: Anton Churochkin

Teletskoye lake. Photo: Anton Churochkin

We were going to go fishing on the Biya River (taimen, lenok, sterlet, pike-perch, pike, perch – everything is there!), but all these plans were ruined by the weather: it started to rain, it became dank, cold, windy. The fog descended. We involuntarily remembered yesterday’s old man. And his advice (which, of course, was never followed). And after that, for three whole days, all our plans, either because of the weather or because of some minor troubles, were regularly upset. It ended only when, in all seriousness, I threw some bread into the lake and asked his spirit for forgiveness for our oversight. Further, oddly enough, everything began to happen like clockwork, and we spent another six days in complete harmony with our aspirations and with nature.

Altai. Summary.

Where to stay:
“Belovodye” – score 4.
“Grace” – score 3.
“Old Castle” – score 4.

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