This pleasant spa town, which was entirely closed to cars until the early 1990s, has been a popular destination for Russian holidaymakers since the early 19th century, when the Romantic writer Mikhail Lermontov spent time in its verdant parks and rugged countryside.
The name means ‘Sour Waters’, but Kislovodsk has a decidedly sweet vibe. Despite the many tourists and the time-worn sanatoriums scattered about, Kislovodsk remains relaxing to the core. The landscape is green, the many gardens well manicured and the air, at nearly 1km above sea level, is crisp.
Pedestrianised Kurortny bul, running north-south from the post office to the Narzan Gallery, is Kislovodsk’s main drag and spiritual nerve centre. The train station is just east of Kurortny bul up a smaller pedestrianised street, cobblestoned ul Karla Marksa. Kurortny Park spreads southeast from Narzan Gallery.