**Pyatigorsk-Cherkessk-Nalchik-Vladikavkaz-Magas** Caucasus is not only magnificent nature and mountains. Caucasus is also delicious national cuisine, modern cities and ancient architecture. Marvel at the combination of natural and historical locations, 4 different cuisines, thousands of years of traditions and customs, ancient cities lost in the mountains and modern resorts. This trip will be rich and unforgettable for both your eyes and your stomach. Hop in the car and drive through all four mountain republics. **Itinerary features:** - Mountain roads and serpentines along the route; - Unique locations and natural places of the Caucasus; - Combination of modern resorts and ancient cities; - Maximum immersion in the history and culture of the Caucasus republics. **Recommendations:** - Don't forget to bring modest and closed clothes to visit mosques. - Take only comfortable and non-slip shoes. There will be several natural locations along the route where you must walk on uneven roads. - Always have a bottle of water with you!
Explore the first national republic of the route through the cosy capital Cherkessk with its picturesque parks and historical sites. Take a walk around the city, taste local cuisine in national restaurants and marvel at the preserved medieval beauty of the Nizhne-Arkhyzsk fortress.
Leave Pyatigorsk in the morning, today you'll have a busy day and a lot of interesting places.
You begin your acquaintance with Cherkessk from its pedestrian Pervomaiskaya Street. Along it there are cozy cafes where you can have a cup of coffee after the road, the main buildings of the city such as the Philharmonic, and in general the pedestrian zone of the capital.
The pedestrian street takes you straight to picturesque Central Park with its alleys and fountain. The park may not be the same as New York's Central Park, but it's a pretty square.
Now go to a real green oasis in the middle of the city! And with entertainment, too. As you come in from the main entrance - turn right. Here the fairy tale alley "Lukomorye" and the Glade of Fairy Tales are waiting for you. You will also see the Alley of Glory with an exhibition of military equipment, flower gardens, picturesque vegetation and you can actively relax to your liking.
It's time for lunch! Naturally, in the national restaurant. Here you will try the tastiest national Circassian dishes and dine in a colorful atmosphere. The portions are big and nourishing, but the price is quite acceptable.
You cannot miss the main Islamic center of the whole Karachay-Cherkessia - the Cathedral Mosque in Byzantine style. You can easily see it from the road thanks to its four minarets, each 52 meters high. The mosque is new, snow-white. Its area is quite decent, there is enough space for everyone. Inside the mosque has 2 halls: for men and for women. Its 220 windows, spaciousness and ornaments on the walls in the form of Arabic ligature make it the main decoration of the capital. To visit the mosque do not forget to dress modestly and closed.
Then the most beautiful historical place of Karachay-Cherkessia, Nizhne-Arkhyzsk settlement, is waiting for you. Take road R-265 to reach it. This is a whole archeological complex of three preserved temples of the early Middle Ages. Once upon a time there was a great Alanian city Magas, and now here you can see the remains of this once thriving country and ancient temples that have survived. See for sure all 3 temples of the 10th century, the Three Pines cell and the Face of Christ on the Rock.
The northern temple of the settlement is the biggest. It was built in XI century and was the cathedral of Alanya. It is interesting with its cruciform shape and architecture. You may reach it from Nizhne-Arkhyz settlement by unpaved road along the Bolshoi Zelenchuk river. On the way you will meet many more interesting things: the Middle Temple, the church and the Three Pines Cell.
Well, it's time for dinner. A cozy hut in Arkhyz will be a tasty end to the day. Cafe "Hijina" is the most popular place in the resort with a good menu, a wide choice of national cuisine and democratic prices.
Get to know Kabardino-Balkaria through its main centre - Nalchik. You will find plenty of squares, a large park area with lakes, a cableway with panoramic views, medicinal mineral water and, of course, delicious national cuisine in the best establishments of the city.
On the way to Nalchik, stop by the Shoaninsky temple on a steep cliff in the village of Kosta Khetagurov. Not only is it very beautiful and photogenic, it is also one of the oldest in Karachay-Cherkessia. It rises majestically on a steep cliff of the Shoana Mountain and looks amazing. A staircase leads up to it, which is worth climbing up. From here, you'll get a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding area. You can reach the foot of the temple by car.
On the way to Nalchik, make a stop at the picturesque place of Kislovodsk - the Castle of Craftiness and Love. It is a precipitous promontory with a restaurant stylized as an ancient castle. By the way, here at the same time and you can have a snack if you are hungry. Take a walk around the beautiful castle grounds and go to the observation deck with picturesque views of the cliffs.
Start your acquaintance with the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria on the city's main square, Soglasiya Square. It is located right in front of the republic's government building. The square is decorated by a musical fountain and bright flowerbeds.
Along the local Arbat you will come to the most beautiful park of Nalchik - Atazhukinsky garden. This is also the biggest park in the whole North Caucasus! There are more than just trees: there are rides, lakes, several cafes and a flower calendar.
See Nalchik from above - take a ride on the chairlift with panoramic views of the entire city. You will see the lakes and the park, the green theatre and the palace of festivities. You will be brought to the Small Kizilovka mountain, where you can reincarnate into a real Balkarian: try on a national costume and buy some memorable souvenirs. And from the observation deck you'll see the views of mountain ridges and the whole city.
Now it's time for dinner. You'll have an opportunity to have it with the views on the Resort Lake in "Barashka" cafe. Excellent shashlik, salads made of fresh vegetables, homemade wine, the best khychin. National cuisine in romantic atmosphere with a fireplace awaits you.
A rich day of sightseeing in the most beautiful places in the vicinity of Nalchik. You will see the clearest blue lakes, and then you will get to the Middle Ages in the middle of the mountains: to the ancient towers and ruins of Upper Balkaria archaeological complex. Get ready for maximum beauty!
Start the day with a walk through another green park, Walnut Grove. Stroll along the alley and breathe in the healing air between the walnut trees, pine trees and southern shrubs. By the way, all the trees are about 70 years old.
Get to know the region's culture further and drive toward the Sobornaya Mosque, the main mosque in Nalchik. The imposing mosque features a modern, high-tech design. The Balkars perfectly combined tradition and style in the architectural embodiment of the mosque. It is decorated with two 30-meter minarets and trimmed with stained glass, natural stones and minerals. The roomy mosque can accommodate up to a thousand worshippers at a time. Do not forget the modest and closed dress code.
50 km from Nalchik, right by the road R-291, there is a whole group of Blue Lakes. One of them, the lower one, or Tserik-Kyol, is the most beautiful. Its water temperature is only 9 degrees Centigrade all the year round and it has no outside tributaries, but the river flows out of it. To the other lakes you can already walk only on foot. Take a walk along the lake and marvel at its extraordinary beauty too. There are a couple of cafes nearby, where you will be able to have lunch right away.
Lunch will catch up right by the Blue Lake, so it's a good time to grab a bite to eat at the cafe with national cuisine "The Shadow of the Mountain". The view is beautiful, the interior is unusual, and the cuisine is delicious. Get the meat dishes - you can't go wrong. The national pastry is also worth your attention.
Travel further along road R-291 to the Upper Balkaria archaeological complex. This is an ideal place to get acquainted with the history of the region: this is where various objects of cultural heritage of Kabardino-Balkaria of the Middle Ages period are located. Ruins of ancient Balkarian villages are waiting for you, go and explore the history. The main thing is to make plenty of time to enjoy the local beauties in peace. Abayev Tower is the most famous and accessible to visit out of all of them. It can only be reached on foot.
For dinner, head to the atmospheric Old Balkaria café. Here you'll not only taste delicious national cuisine, but also have a chance to swing on a high-mountain swing and take a couple of pictures with panoramic views on it.
The first day in the capital of North Ossetia, and an immediately busy one at that. A walk along the boulevard, a green park, an introduction to the history of the republic at the national museum, a visit to an Egyptian-style mosque and a stroll through the arboretum with the cleanest air. All this in tandem with the best gastronomic facilities for exploring Ossetian cuisine.
Start your acquaintance with the capital of North Ossetia from the main boulevard, Prospekt Mira. This is a historical and cultural part of the city that appeared back in the XIX century. The pedestrian boulevard with many cafes is a great place to start your route in Vladikavkaz.
Start your gastronomic acquaintance with Ossetian cuisine in the colorful Lookoom Café with Middle Eastern cuisine. Very atmospheric, very stylish, very tasty. Yes, you must be very hungry from the road, right?
And to learn about the history of Ossetia, go to [National Museum](https://www.hudmuz15.ru/). It is rich and interesting, with many exhibits from the Bronze Age to the Patriotic War. You will learn everything about the history of this republic. Open Monday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, Wednesday is a day off.
Immediately after leaving the museum, the city's main park - Khetagurov Park of Culture and Recreation - begins. It spreads out on the right bank of the Terek River with green alleys, rides and swans in ponds. Stroll through the green oasis of the city and reach the next location - the Mosque.
The most famous mosque in Vladikavkaz is the Mukhtarov Mosque. It will attract you with its beauty and bright facades. Sunni, or Sobornaya are its other two names. Beautiful Egyptian-style mosque is not for nothing the hallmark of the city.
The monument of the same name to General and Hero of the USSR Pliev is situated on Pliev Square. The imposing sculpture on horseback looks truly majestic, especially against the background of the mountains. It is worth seeing and capturing the best shots.
The best place to end the first busy day in Vladikavkaz will be a walk through the picturesque Arboretum. More than 200 species of plants grow on an area of more than 20 square meters. Quiet alleys, clean air and age-old trees will create a perfect peaceful silence and allow you to enjoy a leisurely stroll. There is also an ideal place for your dinner - the Arboretum restaurant surrounded by centuries-old oaks and pine trees.
A perfect place for a relaxing end of the day and a delicious dinner. The restaurant is located on the territory of the Arboretum, among age-old oaks and pine trees. Dining al fresco, wonderful views, fine local cuisine and a beautiful interior - what could be better?
Wow, what a busy and interesting day today! The most unusual locations in Ossetia are, of course, natural ones. Mountains, gorges, high-mountainous monastery, towers and even the whole city of the dead are waiting for you. The trip is sure to be remembered for a lifetime. Just like the most delicious Ossetian pies with mountain herbal tea.
All the beauty of North Ossetia is in its nature. And the first place you will go to today will be the Trail of Miracles in Kadargavan Canyon. By the way, it is right by the Tsey Nature Reserve, where the nature and the healing mountain air are magnificent. The trail itself passes by the canyon of Alanya River, right by the highway R-299 where you are going to drive. Several centuries ago this is where the trade routes passed, and now there is a Trail of Wonders along the canyon. There's also a mini zoo here, so there's no shortage of things to see!
Quite near, on the same road, you should not miss another interesting place - Dzigis fortress. The rock cave fortress belongs to the most powerful fortification complexes on the territory of the Caucasus! It is situated on a slope of Kariuhokh mountain and consists of 6 towers. It is worth stopping to see this 700-year-old fortress in person.
Take the same road to Fiagdon village. Here, the highest mountain monastery in Russia, the Alanian Assumption Monastery, awaits you. Services are still held in the monastery, and the territory is also equipped for the production of mountain cheese, herbal teas and the production of Alanian icons. It is worth buying local souvenirs and don't forget about the modest closed dress code for visiting the monastery.
On the way back, turn to the Kurt's Tower. This stone structure is a preserved part of the defensive complex. The place is equipped for visiting and is definitely worth your attention. Don't forget to take great pictures in this picturesque place.
It's time for lunch, but there aren't many restaurants in these parts. A great option for a bite to eat would be a good Coffee House in Upper Fiagdon. Delicious coffee, different teas and pastries with pies are definitely provided.
Now let's hit the road, to the most interesting place of the day. So, ready to find out where? It's the city of the dead, Dargavs. It's located in a gorge on the side of a mountain and consists of hundreds of crypts that look like small houses. It is a strong and historical place. This necropolis with watchtowers is the most atmospheric place in Ossetia. The very first surface burial grounds appeared here as early as the ninth century, and this method of burial was practiced by Ossetians until the eighteenth century.
And here was a place for a late lunch together with dinner. There were delicious Ossetian pies, soups and meat dishes. There are also views of the mountain river. Well, refresh yourself at the end of the busy day and go to the hotel.
The last and no less eventful day of the route passes through Ingushetia. You will stop in Magas and look at the city from a glass tower. Afterwards, you will see the majestic memorial in Nazran and taste traditional Ingush cuisine in the city's best ethno-café. The return journey will be on a full stomach, don't worry.
We leave Vladikavkaz and drive to Ingushetia, to the city of Magas. At the entrance you are greeted by the Alanian Gate, the arch of the city and the symbol of all of Ingushetia. There is an observation platform at the top, so stop and go and look at the city from above.
The second prominent place in Ingushetia is the Concord Tower. This tower is not just the tallest building in Ingushetia, it is the tallest observation tower in the entire North Caucasus, and it also has a glass floor and walls! Climb up to the height of 85 m and tickle your nerves. And then exhale and see the panorama of the city from the main observation platform of the republic. Keep in mind the opening hours: 10:00-16:00.
The Presidential Palace, the fountain and flowerbeds are all on Magas' main square. Look at the majestic palace building, admire the fountain and stroll around the square.
Now go to Nazran, the second capital of Ingushetia. You must see this majestic memorial to memory and glory. The Ingush are very proud of it. The imposing size of the complex commemorates the victims of political repression and the cavalry regiment, as well as the glory of the heroes of Ingushetia. It makes an indelible impression.
There's no way to come to Ingushetia without tasting the national cuisine! Go to Nana-Nasyare ethno-café for lunch. Here, traditional Ingush cuisine will be waiting for you at the highest level at affordable prices. And the national style and entourage give the interior a special flavour.
Do you want to get to a real French castle in the middle of the Caucasus? Then on your way to Pyatigorsk, make a stop near Nalchik. Turn onto R-288 and head to the village of Chernaya Rechka, you won't pass by this unexpected piece of France - Chateau-Herken. Go to the chateau by the graceful bridge and watch the swans on the lake. It's not just a chateau. It is an elite winery that produces the best wine in the country. There is also a tasting room and a restaurant.