The Best 5 Cities to Live in Kazakhstan

Photo of Mosque Under Cloudy Sky

Are you looking for a retirement destination that has plenty of things to do? With a rich array of food to grow your culinary knowledge. This country offers both wonderful natural landscapes and well-preserved historical sites to also explore.

These are the best 5 cities to live in Kazakhstan:

  • Almaty
  • Pavlodar
  • Nur-Sultan
  • Aktau
  • Taraz

Let’s see which city best suits you now that you know what some of the top cities are.

Is Kazakhstan a good place to live?

Population: 19 million
Average Climate: -10 °C – 30 °C / 14 F° – 86 F°
Capital city: Nur-Sultan
Currency: Kazakhstani Tenge (KZT)
Language: Kazakh and Russian

Kazakhstan lies in Central Asia that borders Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to the south, China to the west, and Russia to the north. It also has access to the Caspian sea to the west.  It is the world’s ninth-largest country which is only slightly smaller than Australia and India.

Kazakhstan has a plethora of contemporary cities. Almaty is the nation’s largest and most affluent city with its broad and lush boulevards which have led to comparisons to Europe. Residing in Kazakhstan is a one-of-a-kind experience marked by stark contrasts: the new and the old merging together, Europe and Asian cultures collide resulting in a vibrant and colorful mix that appeals to many expats.

Kazakhstan was once home to nomadic Turkic tribes who traveled seasonally in search of pasture for their livestock. Kazakhstan literally translates as “land of the wanderers” as the name is derived from the old Turkic words qaz which means “to wander” and stan which means “land” or “place of”.

Authentic Kazakh cuisine needed to be well-suited to this nomadic lifestyle because it is such a vital element of their cultural identity. As a result traditional Kazakh cuisine is characterized by adaptability, durability and a major reliance on livestock and soured milk products.

There is no argument that this is a tranquil country. Big wars and conflicts have largely avoided it in recent years. The people are fighting what used to be a very corrupt government and looking to increase road and train security as well as portray the hospitable Kazakhstanis who are proud to show off their country’s natural treasures.

On the other side Kazakhstan’s past is littered with endless wars and battles. This shared grief and reluctance to go to war again has bound the people into moving forward. This is  why they seek to settle disagreements peacefully.

Every visitor to Kazakhstan is said to be a good fortune. The locals believe If you don’t treat visitors nicely, it’s a sign that you’re furious with God. Kazakhs believe in a wide range of myths, tales, and spirits, and they think that you never know what form a saint will appear in. That is why people welcome foreigners as if they have known you your entire life believing that each encounter with them will offer long-awaited happiness.

What are the best cities to live in?

There are many gorgeous cities in this lovely country. It is up to you to choose whether you prefer a city with many more things to do or a more rural little town with more space to yourself and a slower pace of life.

Is Almaty a good place to live in?

Temperature: -9°C to 30°C or 16°F to 86°F
Population: 1.8 million

Almaty was established in the 10th century BC and was recognised as a city in 1867. It has a total of 18 million people in a 263 sq. mile area. From 1929 to 1977 this city was the country’s capital until the government moved the capital to Nur-Sultan. Today this big city in Kazakhstan remains the country’s most important business and cultural center. Almaty has a cold climate with an average temperature of 10°C or 50°F. 

What To Do in Almaty:

Popular Restaurants in Almaty:

TIP: Some of these websites are either in Russian or Kazakh. Use the auto translation feature on your browser to get the results in English

Is Pavlodar a good place to retire?

Temperature: -9°C to 26 °C / 16°F to 79 °F
Population: 335k

Pavlodar is the eighth largest city in Kazakhstan and one of its most developed. Despite its reputation for industrial production, it is one of Kazakhstan’s most beautiful and well-rounded cities with a diverse range of cultural sites and museums.

It is also one of Kazakhstan’s only cities with a riverbank, beach and is along the Irtysh River. It has a well developed tram system. This small charming old town has easy to navigate streets and is easily walkable due to it being considerably less congested than other Kazakh cities.

For transport the tram system as well as a bus and marshrutka system are all available. Taxis are available for 350 tenge to and from most parts of the city. If you want to get some exercise several things are within walking distance.

What To Do in Pavlodar:

Popular Restaurants in Pavlodar:

Is Nur-Sultan a good place to retire?

Temperature: -8°C to 27°C / 18°F to 81°F
Population: 1 million

Kazakhstan’s capital is Nur-Sultan. This city is considered to be one of Kazakhstan’s greatest. It’s on the Ishim River in the country’s northwestern corner. It was founded in 1830 named Akmoly and has undergone various name changes since then. 

In 1998 it was renamed Astana and in 2019 it was finally renamed Nur-Sultan. The city has over 1 million people and covers a total area of 274 sq miles. In December 1997 it was designated as the capital.

What To Do in Nur-Sultan:

Popular Restaurants in Nur-Sultan:

Is Aktau a good place to retire?

Temperature: -4°C to 30°C / 25°F to 86°F
Population: 200k

Aktau is a nearly 40-year-old city on the edge of the Caspian Sea. It is one of Kazakhstan’s most beautiful cities and one of the most tranquil destinations to reside. Aktau is home to some of Kazakhstan’s most unusual sites as well as a number of historic architectural sites of significance. 

Ancient cultural buildings, concert halls, cinemas and libraries may be found throughout the city and should be explored to provide a true sense of place. It also has a selection of nice beaches around its coastline which is not too far from the center of the city.

The weather here is cold for about 3 months a year and rapidly warms up so you have 7 months of nice outdoor weather for beach activities and living in the sun. This more temperate weather is due to it being on the Caspian sea.

What To Do in Aktau:

Popular Restaurants in Aktau:

Is Taraz a good place to retire?

Temperature: -7°C to 32°C / 20°F to 90°F
Population: 359k

Don’t be fooled by Taraz’s lack of popularity compared to other cities in Kazakhstan. Taraz is a modest but lovely and up-and-coming destination to live. Some of the interesting things to do and places to visit at this secret getaway will astound you.

Taraz is one of Kazakhstan’s most ancient cities but after several developments, Taraz is now a lovely blend of old and modern architecture with a very inviting people.  It is definitely one to keep an eye out for.

What To Do in Taraz:

TIP: If you want to see more things to do in Kazakhstan, use the keywords “аттракциондар” on google maps

Popular Restaurants in Taraz:

TIP: If you want to look for more restaurant in this country on google maps, use the keyword “мейрамхана”,  “тамақтану орындары” or “кафе”

NOTE: if you want to know more about prices check this article Cost of Living in Kazakhstan: The Expats Guide and read all you need to know.

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