Acquaintance with mountain Dagestan and its ancient auls – Road.Travel

Acquaintance with mountain Dagestan and its ancient auls

Road Trip Route. Take bright clothes for beautiful photos and comfortable shoes for active walking., Be sure to try traditional dishes of hinkal, chudu, kurze., Take time to sit over Gamsutl village and watch eagles soaring in the sky..

**Makhachkala-Gimry-Karadakh-Gunib-Gamsutl-Salta-Silta-Kaspiysk** The mountainous Dagestan is amazing and unbelievable. The mountains here are sharp, heaving, they stick up into the sky like plates on the backs of dinosaurs: aggressive in appearance, but so photogenic, especially when their peaks are wrapped in soft clouds. And the villages lost between them are cozy and do not disturb the overall landscape. In three days you will visit a huge number of incredible places, which will not leave anyone indifferent. **Itinerary features: ** - The route is very scenic, there will be many viewpoints; - In fall, winter and early spring it gets dark early (about 5:00 pm), it may make sense to leave early to take your time and have time for everything; - This route involves several cross-country walks, allow more time for them if you have children or elderly companions with you. **Recommendations:** - It's not always easy to find a cafe for lunch along the way, so it's wise to take a snack with you during the day. - Make sure your gas tank is not empty. Not all gas stations have gasoline, and not always the right kind, and there are very few in the mountains. - Weather in the mountains varies unpredictably, it is always better to have a raincoat, sunscreen and comfortable shoes, which is not very sorry to get dirty. - Communication in the mountains does not work, download the off-line map to your smartphone in advance, so it is always easy to navigate.

History and Culture, Uninhabited Nature, Active Leisure. From: Makhachkala

Ксения Чеснокова. Traveller.

Travel Itinerary and Road Trip Route

Day 1: Welcome to mountainous Dagestan

Today you have a long way to go, but as soon as the rocks thicken around you, fatigue will recede. A walk through the Karadakh gorge, a leisurely drive along the serpentine curves of the mountains, an ascent to the Gunib plateau. You hardly expected such landscapes, even if you have already seen photos of your friends returning from Dagestan.


The journey begins! Bring your picnic food - lunch today will be outdoors. At the beginning of the journey, the road goes through flat and completely ordinary terrain. Yes, it won't be easy to believe that you'll get to the most beautiful mountainous areas today.

Irganayskaya Ges

The view of the Irgunay hydropower plant and the scenery that opens up around it is your first stop. You can go up to the observation tower (free of charge) and maybe have a snack. In general, you should not trust the navigator's calculations when planning a trip around Dagestan. Firstly, the roads are narrow here so it is not comfortable to drive fast. Secondly, they are very picturesque. Along Irganayskoye reservoir you will definitely want to stop a couple of times.

Karadakhskaya Tesnina

42.463849, 46.887991 - these are the coordinates of the beginning of the trail into the gorge. Cars are parked right along the road, there is enough space for everyone. The path to the gorge follows the course of the mountain river. It is a pleasant walk among picturesque rocks that gradually become narrower. Finally they form a narrow canyon with steep walls. In the middle of the day the bright sunlight penetrates here and adds bright colours. The canyon is beautiful, but don't stay here too late - it can be dangerous to jump over the rocks in the dark.


A pleasant café with a view of the surrounding area, great coffee. It's a great place to sit and relax after the trip. Pay attention to the time of sunset! In autumn, winter and early spring it may set at 16:00-17:00. It may be better to have a look at Gunib and Tsar's Glade first, and then already have a coffee or a snack.

Krepost' Imama Shamilya

Only one wall is left of the fortress, but the view from above is worthy.

Tsarskaya Polyana

The Tsar's Glade, the Shamil's Gazebo and the Botanical Garden are situated high on the Gunib plateau. If there is time left, you can take a walk here. If it suddenly gets dark, or you're just tired after a long drive, you can leave the walk for the beginning of the third day. No time at all? That's okay, there are still plenty of places ahead that look much more interesting.

Day 2: Dawn above the clouds, ghost aul and mountain terraces

Today will be the most intense and impressive day of the route. It will start early in the morning with sunrise above the clouds. It will continue through a picturesque gorge past man-made Chokh terraces and lead to the top of the mountain to the ghost village Gamsutl, where, catching rising streams, huge eagles soar into the sky.

G. Mayak

Dawn above the clouds on Mount Mayak is a mesmerising spectacle. Mount Mayak is a sharp "edge" of the high Gunib plateau. Cliffs-teeth, clefts and mountains-mountains-mountains open up all around... Only SUV will be able to drive up, contacts of drivers will be advised at hotel. Daybreak time is better to be checked on the spot.

Torgovyy Dom Gunib

For lunch you can drop in familiar cafe in Gunib, but agree, to have a snack of local products surrounded by mountains sounds much more tempting. So, buy some picnic food and go ahead and take in the breathtaking scenery.


Gamsutl is an abandoned ghost aul, perched atop a mountain. Eagles fly over it, and tourists roam among the ruins. If you have a passenger car, park it under the mountain. Then walk up the trail - it takes about two hours. Take drinking water with you.

Gamsutl off-road parking

If you have an off-road vehicle, you can drive to about this point. You can also get a ride in a UAZ. You can also arrange a ride up to the top on horseback.


On the way from Gamsutl it is worth stopping at the village of Chokh. Firstly, in the vicinity of the village you will see terraces resembling rice terraces in South-East Asia. Secondly, the Chokh settlement is one of the oldest in the North Caucasus. The Great Silk Road passed through Chokh. There is also a gilded bust of Stalin at the entrance. Chokh looks the most picturesque from outside: ancient stone buildings, arches and columns seem gigantic. It is also interesting to walk through the streets of Chokh.

Арт Кафе ГунибЪ

Folk wisdom says: "Go to "Adat" for aromatic coffee and Instagram views, and for the tastiest local cuisine - to "Gunib"! Bon appetit!

Day 3: Aivazovsky view, waterfall without water and Caspian Sea

Today's sites are not the most famous, but for that reason they are no less pleasant to look at. Firstly, it is a view of Gunib plateau which was painted by Aivazovsky. There is a very beautiful view of the village from above, as if lying in a rocky bowl. Second is Salty Waterfall, which is not normally a waterfall. However, its gorge is so unusual that perhaps water will only make it difficult to move around. Thirdly, by the end of the day you will come back to the Caspian Sea and this time you will definitely not deny yourself the pleasure of walking on the sand.

View of Gunib Aivazovsky

After breakfast, drive up the serpentine towards the village of Keger. At the very top of the serpentine there is an observation point. This is exactly the view Aivazovsky painted in his painting "Aul Gunib in Dagestan". The view is meditative, especially when the weather is good. Advice: if you have a thermos flask with you, fill it with coffee while having breakfast. Then you will be able to admire the view, sitting on a bench and drinking coffee.

Vodopad Malyy

Go down the serpentine, drive through the gorge, and then it's time to drive up to Salty Falls again. Park your car near the Little Falls. There are always plenty of cars in the parking lot, and there are signs.

Saltinskiy Vodopad

The Salta waterfall is not the waterfall that everyone is used to seeing. The water is extremely rare here, which does not prevent the gorge to amaze with its shapes, ledges, transitions and multilayers. The walk is easy and does not take long. On your way back you can take a seat and drink tea in one of the local cafes. Or rather, it's not even a cafe, but tables with teapots.

Sosnovyy Bor

The tour of the central regions of mountain Dagestan is over, it's time to get out on the flat land. Make a route to Kaspiysk, where there are great cafes and the sea is splashing underfoot. "Sosnovy Bor stands practically on the beach. The food here is very good. If you are departing from the airport it's even more convenient: you don't need to go to noisy Makhachkala for lunch.


Say goodbye to Dagestan is best on the sand of the Caspian Sea. Breathe in the sea air and remember the most wonderful moments of the trip. In general, enjoy the moment!