With its vast circumference and lapping waves, Issyk Kul has earned its reputation as an inland sea. Spectacular hiking trails snake out into the mountain foothills from the lakeshore, which is dotted with small towns and traditional villages. Swim in the chilly waters, discover millennia-old petroglyphs or trek into the mountains amongst some of the most magnificent landscapes in Kyrgyzstan.
Issyk Kul is the second largest alpine lake in the world, set at the foot of the Tienshan Mountains. This huge body of water never freezes despite the bitterly cold Kyrgyz winters, thanks to sub-surface thermal activity, earning the name ‘hot lake’. Karakol is the best base from which to explore the lake, with its myriad of walking trails and interesting architecture that includes colonial houses, a mosque and a cathedral. At the northern end of the lake lie the golden beaches and ancient petroglyphs of Cholpon-Ata, that date back as early as 1,500 BC. Skirt the southern shore and look out for Kyrgyz men hunting with eagles, before visiting the stunning geological formations of Skazka or ‘Fairytale Canyon’.
Green Yard Hotel
Green Yard Hotel is set at the peaceful outskirt of Karakol for those who seek a quiet city escape with warm hospitality.
Hotel Marco Polo
Boz Beshik, Kyrgyzstan
Located on the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kul in the village of Boz Beshik, Hotel Marco Polo is a traditional, resort-style hotel where you can enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the lake and the beautiful alpine scenery.
Ideally situated in downtown Karakol, Hotel Tagaytay is a traditional Kyrgyz hotel at the foothills of the Tien Shan mountain range. This simple yet welcoming hotel is the perfect place to base yourself whilst exploring the rich history of Karakol.
Karagat Hotel offers the most modern presently available facilities while being centrally located at Karakol, an ideal base point for trekking trips and cultural visits in this beautiful part of Kyrgyzstan.
Karven Four Seasons
Sary-Oi, Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan
Located on the north shore of Lake Issyk-Kul, a short drive from Cholpon Ata city centre is the Karven Four Seasons, a resort-style property located on a sandy beach with views of the surrounding mountain scenery.
Bulan-Sogotuu, Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan
Operating only between May and September, Karven Issyk-Kul is beautifully set at the Northern shore of Issyk-Kyl with spacious rooms, as well as beautiful lake and mountain surroundings.