Car Hire from Almaty Airport
Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world and one of the wealthiest in this eastern region. The city of Almaty is an exciting and vibrant destination, surrounded by spectacular countryside and national parks. Hiring a car from Almaty Airport is a great way to explore Kazakhstan’s beautiful scenery at your own pace.
Where to hire a car at Almaty Airport
Europcar is the only car hire company operating at Almaty Airport. The car hire office is located in the main terminal building, in the arrivals hall.
Petrol Stations near Almaty Airport
If you need to return your hire car with a full tank of petrol, you’ll find a petrol station just five minutes’ drive from the airport. It’s a Castrol garage located on a roundabout on Mailin Street, the main road leading away from the airport.
Driving around Almaty Airport
From the airport, Mailin Street heads to the main road towards Almaty. The airport also has easy connections to the A351 which heads east towards Shelek and the Chinese border and the M36 which skirts around the edge of Lake Balkhash to reach the town of Balkhash.
You will need an International Driving Permit (not the same as your international driving license) in order to drive in Kazakhstan. You should apply for your permit before you leave the UK. Permits will be valid for twelve months from the date of issue.
When driving in Kazakhstan you will need to stay cautious. Roads aren’t always well maintained or well signposted. Drivers don’t always keep to the rules and, when you’re in the country, stray animals in the road can pose a danger. For all of these reasons, driving at night and in poor weather conditions is not advised.
Getting to your destination
When you hire a car from Almaty Airport, there’s a wealth of destinations within easy reach. Here are just a few of them:
Almaty city is a vibrant and cosmopolitan place. It is home to a variety of museums such as the Central State Museum of Kazakhstan, shopping centres and city parks as well as a lively nightlife and lots of great restaurants. Another highlight is the city’s proximity to mountainous regions where it’s possible to hike in the summer and ski in the winter.
Almaty Airport to Almaty is a 40 minute, 31km drive. Drivers can take the A351 in either direction away from the airport before picking up roads to the city centre. Parking in the city is completely free and the city is compact enough to explore on foot. As traffic in the city can be chaotic, it’s wise to park as soon as you can.
Turgen Gorge is part of the Ile-Alatau National Park. It’s a nature lovers’ paradise with forest walks, waterfalls and the impressive gorge. Visitors can also enjoy a dip in the hot springs and sign up for a range of outdoor activities including cycling or horse-riding.
Almaty Airport to Turgen is a 65 minute drive via the A351 heading east. Roads are quiet but not always well-maintained so you’ll need to take care and travel during daylight hours if possible. There are roads throughout the national park and plenty of places to leave your car.
Shymbulak Ski Resort
Shymbulak Ski Resort is a popular retreat for Almaty residents. The resort boasts the third longest gondola in the world as well as a range of ski slopes, for both beginners and more advanced skiers. There’s a snow school for absolute beginners and a range of hotels, restaurants and cafes. During the summer, there are hiking and cycling trails to explore too.
Shymbulak Ski Resort is located in the Medeu Valley, just 25 kilometres from Almaty city. It takes around 50 minutes to get there by car from Almaty Airport, taking the A351 south. There is plenty of parking available at the base of the resort and a gondola to take you up to the piste.