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Located at the eastern tip of Lake Issyk-Kul, Karakol is the largest town in the area and the administrative hub of the region.

Around the town are the apple orchards for which the area is famous, and beyond these the snow-capped Terskey Alatau mountains cut the horizon.

Highlights and attractions

The main reason to come here is for the superb scenery nearby, with trekking and horse riding possibilities as well as multiple opportunities for photography.

In the town itself there are a few sights of interest including a peculiar mosque that looks like a Chinese temple, and a pretty Orthodox Church that fills up on Sundays. The mosque is made of wood and uses no nails whatsoever.

Sunday market

On Sundays Karakol has one of the region's more interesting markets. Local farmers, often wearing traditional 'kelpek' hats, pop down, trailing a few goats or cows, and fill up a field on the north edge of town.

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Audley Travel specialist Chris

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Map of Karakol

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Karakol

    Accommodation choices for Karakol

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Karakol. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Karakol

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Karakol, and which use the best local guides.

    • Altyn Arashan Excursion
      Altyn-Arashan, Kyrgyzstan

      Altyn Arashan Excursion

      Altyn Arashan Excursion

      Close to Karakol is the stunning alpine Arashan gorge. This area offers some of the finest hiking in Kyrgyzstan, ranging from the pleasant four- to five-hour hike up the wooded valley from Ak Suu to the Altyn Arashan plateau, to six-day mountaineering expeditions to the summit of glacial Mt Palatka.

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    • Jeti-Ögüz Excursion

      Jeti-Ögüz Excursion

      Jeti-Ögüz Excursion

      From Karakol a short 30-minute drive west along the lake brings you to the head of the Jeti-Ögüz valley, where you head north toward Jeti-Ögüz village. A few minutes up the road you reach Broken Heart Rock, the reverse side of the famous Seven Bulls, a tremendous red limestone formation towering above the village.

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