Even those well travelled in the world’s most stunning wilderness areas can only gape in awe when they first set eyes on Dombay. Wedged into a box canyon at the confluence of three raging mountain rivers, the resort town is surrounded by a soaring crown of jagged, Matterhorn-like peaks of rock and ice, festooned with glaciers and gushing waterfalls.
So great is Dombay's natural majesty that the locals seemingly gave up on the town itself. Frankly, it's an eyesore, dishevelled and dominated by concrete hotels and abandoned Soviet-era complexes. Fortunately, it takes only a brisk walk or ride to put all that behind you. Local operators will do their best to make sure you see the best scenery – on foot, skis, horseback or by jeep or taxi – both here and in the larger town of Teberda, 22.5km northeast of Dombay, beside the Teberda river.