With a prime spot on the Caspian seashore, Aktau is a gateway to the dramatic canyons and natural wonders of the Mangistau region. Its most popular attractions include picturesque beaches, World War II memorials and a lively waterfront promenade.
Things to do
The windswept seafront in Aktau hosts an informal culinary zone full of cafes, pubs and restaurants scattered between sandy coves, low cliffs and staggered boulders. Open-air terraces and discos spill over with evening music and dancing, while daylight hours see locals and visitors shopping along the promenade.
Climb the stairs from the seafront to see a striking World War II memorial featuring an eternal flame and stark-white panels with story inscriptions. You can also view an MiG fighter plane on a slab of concrete overlooking the sea between Mikrorayons 7 and 9. Afterwards, stop for Georgian food at the medieval-styled Modigliani restaurant, which serves traditional dishes, such as spicy chakhushuly soup and lobio beans simmered in a clay pot.
Immerse yourself in the city’s history at the Regional Museum, home to Stone Age implements, 1800s Russia exhibits and displays on the pickled Caspian fish and Mangistau oil industries. Walk over to the cliffs to see a statue of exiled Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko gazing toward the sea.
Nightlife leans toward casual gatherings and craft beer at the open-deck Lido’s. You can also enjoy live jazz music at Guns & Roses, a British-style pub with TVs and trivia nights.
You can pick up a rental car at Aktau Airport, which lies about 20 kilometres north of Aktau. Buses make regular runs between the seafront and city centre, while taxis are available throughout the area.
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