The weather in Kazakhstan is predictable. Cold in the winter, hot in the summer, little rainfall overall. There are however, regional differences.
Astana, Aktau and the steppes in the heartland of Kazakhstan see the most extreme temperatures, while the Altai region gets more rainfall than average in summer, with up to 20 rainfall days. Southern Kazakhstan (between Almaty and Shymkent) sees a less harsh climate than the rest of the country.
Spring and fall last for about a month in April and October. Beautiful months to travel the more tree-covered areas of Kazakhstan, mostly around Almaty (Altai’s coniferous trees keep their green colour).
Note that the bar charts above are averages. For instance, it is absolutely normal to have an afternoon in July in Almaty where the heat soars above 40°C, or a January in Astana where temperatures don’t go over -30°C for the whole week.
Hiking: June to September is generally good for hiking in the Tien Shan mountains. July and August are preferred for the Altai, and if you are planning to spend the night on the higher reaches (above 3000 m) of the Tien Shan.
Horse riding: April to October is the best time.
Cycling: Since the summers are so hot in Kazakhstan, and the winters so cold, all-day cycling is best in spring and fall: April – June and September – October.
Skiing: December to March.
Ice-skating: November to April.
Rafting: Depends on the river, but generally August – October is best as the glacier melt is highest then. Easy-going kayaking can be done throughout spring, summer and fall.
Eagle hunting: November to February.
Check our calendar of notable events and festivals you might want to consider while planning your trip for details.Climate bar charts courtesy of World weather online