The fastest and most convenient way to get to the Elbrus region is by plane. The nearest major airports are in Nalchik (130 km) and Mineralnye Vody (200 km). However, it is worth choosing the latter, since an order of magnitude fewer flights fly to Nalchik, for the most part these are UTair airlines. Mineralnye Vody Airport is much more developed: during the season it receives a dozen planes from many major Russian cities. And the cost of tickets here is traditionally lower.
From airports, skiers usually take private taxis, minibuses or “ski” buses, which run only during the winter season. Directions: to Tyrnyauz, the village of Elbrus and the recreation center of KBSU. From Nalchik, the journey will take from 2 to 2.5 hours, from Mineralnye Vody it will take an hour longer. The fare by bus from Minvod is from 800 RUB. The prices on the page are for February 2021.
According to Zipcodesexplorer, The nearest railway stations to the Elbrus are located in Prokhladny (150 km), Nalchik, Mineralnye Vody and Pyatigorsk (160 km). The last two points receive more trains, so it will be easier to find tickets here. The fare depends on the dates and the desired level of comfort: a seat in the SV car from Moscow will cost a little less than the cost of the flight, but simpler seats can be bought for 2200 RUB one way. Further from the railway station, you can order a transfer, a private taxi or take a bus.
Every winter, travel agencies organize ski buses from Moscow and St. Petersburg directly to the elephants of the Elbrus region. The journey will take at least 17 hours from the capital.
Despite the seeming remoteness of the resort, getting here by private car is not the worst option. Firstly, it is enough to pack ski equipment once and forget about it before the slopes. Secondly, the journey of 1600 km from Moscow will seem comfortable for the most part: the M-4 Don highway contributes to this. Mountain areas closer to Elbrus can cause inconvenience, but having your own car will make skiers mobile – you can ride on all slopes and save on housing by settling not at the ski lift. From Moscow, the path will pass through Rostov-on-Don, Mineralnye Vody, Baksan and Tyrnyauz.
There are a lot of hotels, camp sites and sanatoriums in the Elbrus region, however, during the season, for example, on New Year’s Eve, it is easy to be left without housing if you do not take care of booking in advance. The best hotels, as well as those located closest to the ski lift, despite the high prices (from 3000 RUB per night), fly like hot cakes.
The main thing to start with a difficult choice of a hotel is the area. The glades of Azau and Cheget are the most expensive ones; for the most part, skiers who do not spare money stop here for the ideal location to the slopes. Families with children prefer Terskol or Elbrus – the first for a relatively good location and developed infrastructure, and the second for its excellent resorts with a lot of additional services. You can live on a budget and quite comfortably in Baidaevo or Tegenekli, but get ready to get to the tracks every day for 15-20 minutes by car. The most economical option is to rent an apartment from private owners, a large selection of which is in Terskol. But in this case, tourists will be deprived of the pleasant bonuses of almost all Elbrus hotels – ski storage, rental offices and roomy space for drying things.
Worth knowing: the high season on Cheget lasts from the second half of January to the end of March. And on Elbrus – from October to the end of May. This factor directly affects the cost of placement.
The Elbrus region is not just a village, it is a whole ski region, which includes two ski areas (Elbrus and Cheget) and several villages: the Azau glade, the Cheget glade, Terskol, Baidaevo, Tegenekli and Elbrus.
Glade Azau is a “tidbit” for ski fans. This small village is located directly at the foot of Elbrus, and when they talk about skiing “from the threshold” of the hotel, this is about it. Moreover, Azau is the highest inhabited point of the entire Elbrus region (2300 m), the paved road from civilization ends here. And right there is the main place for sports parties and recreation, as well as the start of the Elbrus Azau cable cars and the Puma gondola. In addition: hotels, camp sites, cafes, barbecues, equipment rentals, etc.
Glade Azau is a “tidbit” for ski fans.
Glade Cheget is an analogue of Azau, but not at the foot of Elbrus, but at the foot of the mountain of the same name with the village. There are also a lot of cafes and hotels, where fans of freeride and virgin lands often stop. The main plus of this place: a good location to both stations of the Cheget cable cars, from which skiers are literally a couple of minutes walk away.
Terskol is located approximately in the middle between these glades, so for those who want to explore the entire Elbrus region, this is an ideal option. From here it is about 1 km to Cheget (or half an hour walk along the path through the pine forest), to Azau – 4 km or 5 minutes by car or hotel transfer. Local hotels and camp sites offer slightly lower prices for accommodation, but in terms of infrastructure development, it is even better here.
Baidayevo stands behind Terskol and the turn to Cheget, on the left bank of the Baksan River. This small village is the ancestral settlement of the Baidayev family, no more than 70 people live here all year round, therefore the atmosphere of the village is exceptionally calm and quiet. It is 4 km to the Cheget glade from here, and 8 km to Azau.
A significant advantage is that Baidaevo is not an avalanche area, you can feel safe here. And the prices for accommodation, frankly, are lower.
Next comes Tegenekli, where comfortable hotels and camp sites have been built with might and main lately. For those who appreciate the convenience of rooms and the quality of service, Tegenekli is a good option. Well, for those who are eager to start every morning with an invigorating descent from the mountain, it is worth looking for more – 13 km to Azau, about 9 km to Cheget. Local hotels organize transfers for their guests, but you still have to adjust to the check-out time and pack your uniforms into the gazelles every day. But it is on the territory of Tegenekli that the famous Mountaineering and Hunting Museum named after A. Vladimir Vysotsky – an ardent admirer of the Elbrus region.
Finally, the village of Elbrus is the most remote and, perhaps, the most inconspicuous among all the villages of the Elbrus region. It is large enough, dull and far from the slopes, to be preferred to other villages in the region. But the local sanatoriums and hotels located towards the exit towards the mountains are one of the most comfortable and picturesque.
Transport in Elbrus
There is no public transport between all the villages of the Elbrus region, but most of the hotels organize a transfer for their guests. As a rule, guests striving for the slope are collected every morning at the reception desk and delivered at will to the lower station of Cheget or Elbrus. Back, of course, the same way. Taxi services are also popular – within 10-15 km the cost is from 300 RUB.
It is better, of course, to live directly at the ski lifts, in one of the clearings, or have your own car. However, it should be borne in mind that entry to Azau is closed in winter, the car will have to be left in a paid parking lot at the entrance to the village.
Resort guests in private cars will have to pay for parking, Azau hotels do not have their own parking lots.