It may be the world’s largest landlocked country. But that has not stopped Kazakhstan from enjoying some coastal fun.
In particular, Aktau in the Mangystau region is a prized spot for beach vacations in the summer. It hugs the eastern shoreline of the inland Caspian Sea and, along with breathtaking views, offers migratory birds a prime stopover site.
Here’s a fun fact: In Aktau, the streets have no names. The city is divided into numbered microdistricts. Addresses typically consist only of three sets of numbers – the number of the microdistrict followed by the number of the building, and ending with the number of the apartment.
Stroll down the embankment and take in the sights
Start your trip with a walk down the Aktau Embankment, a boardwalk that goes past several amusement parks and attractions like the AkBota Ferris wheel. Spot the Aktau Lighthouse and hang out under the rocky cliffs, a popular spot for wedding photos.
You can enjoy a meal at one of the many beachside grills, or pack your own picnic and take a dip in the sea. While the Aktau beach is a popular spot with locals, there is enough space for everyone.
Eat, shop, play
Bars, cafés, and restaurants are sprinkled along the boardwalk, providing a welcome respite from the summer heat. Recommended picks include Cafe Marmaris and the Beefeater Bar and Grill, with many eateries offering both local and international cuisine.
After a day of sun and fun, check out the malls located further inland. Many feature local and international brands, as well as food courts and grocery stores. Aktau’s newest mall located in the 16 Microdistrict has a skating rink too.
Other attractions in the city include a memorial dedicated to remembering the hardship and pain of World War II, with an eternal flame alight beneath it.
You can also check out a fighter jet from the Soviet era on display nearby. Both are located at the 9 Microdistrict.
Make time to see the Beket-Ata mosque too. The underground mosque is the final resting place of the Sufi mystic and teacher Beket-Ata, and an important pilgrimage site for believers.
Getting to Aktau
To get to Aktau, catch a flight to the local Aktau airport, located about 23km away from the city centre. You can also take a train to Mangyshlak Station, about 20km from the city.