The Dubai of the Steppe, Astana is the impressive capital of Kazakhstan. Named as the country’s official capital in 1997, Astana has transformed from a small city known only for its grim winters into an architectural oasis. Glittering skyscrapers built by leading architects tower over the city, in styles that range from Asian to Soviet, from Western to sci-fi. At ground level you’ll find trendy café bars and restaurants, excellent museums and sprawling shopping malls.
Airports in Astana
Astana International Airport (TSE) serves the city. The airport was originally built in 1931, but was fully reconstructed in 1997 when Astana became the official capital of Kazakhstan. The passenger terminal was designed by the famous Japanese architect, Kisho Kurokawa: one of the leaders of the Metabolist Movement.
Airlines that fly to Astana
Air Astana fly direct from the UK. Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines and Ukraine International Airlines all fly to Astana from other European locations.
Getting into Astana
Bus numbers 10 and 12 run between the airport and city centre. Single trip tickets are KZT90 (about 30p)*, plus the same again for your luggage. Taxis are widely available outside the airport, and should cost somewhere in the region of KZT3700 (about £13)* but always agree a price with the driver before setting off. Car hire is available at Astana Airport from Europcar.
*Prices subject to change
When to fly to Astana
The winters that Astana was once famous for are still extremely bitter. The best time to visit Astana is definitely during the summer, from May to September. Temperatures tend to range from a very pleasant 20-30°C. Try to avoid visiting in July: this is the rainiest month, and if you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing it could be unpleasant.
If you’re visiting during the colder, wetter months, don’t worry: there are plenty of interesting festivals to get involved in. The 6th of July is Astana Day, with a huge concert to celebrate the birthday of Nazerbayev. The Action Film Festival also takes place in July. The Nauruz Festival on the 22nd of March welcomes the coming of spring, and there’s a huge celebration in Astana featuring free concerts and street food. Similar celebrations also take place on the 16th December for Independence Day, the 25th October for Republic Day, and on the 1st December: Day of the First President.
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Airports near Nur-Sultan
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