Burabay National Nature Park
Often called the ‘Little Switzerland’ of Kazakhstan, Burabay National Nature Park – which is still sometimes referred to by its old name, Borovoye (its official name until 2000) – is one of Northern Kazakhstan’s most photographed attractions. Legend has it that this was a gift from God after a complaint from the country that it had only been given the dusty steppe. And so, out of it He created this bountiful region of beautiful nature and lakes. Just three hours north of Astana, the park contains 14 lakes and wooded landscapes rich in flora and fauna. This is the perfect place for hiking, with the highest peak, Kokshetau (Blue Mountain), reaching 961m and offering stunning panoramas of the other peaks and lakes below. The region is also known for its health-giving properties, with the first health resort opening here as far back as 1910. An ever-growing series of sanatoria, hotels and casinos on the lakes’ shores offer up therapies (and gambling) in addition to rest and relaxation, with rumours that the next hotel to open will be a Rixos.