From the highest to the lowest

From the highest to the lowest Highlights

10 days

Private tour

From $1390 *

From 5642 m down to -28 m!

Dates: 5 – 14 of September 2024

Be the one who stood both at the highest and the lowest points in Europe!

Both are located in the Caucasus region, Russia. There is so much worth seeing in between!

Have you ever wondered where the lowest and highest points in Europe are located? You might be surprised to learn that both of them can be found in a country that spans two continents: Russia.

What is even more surprising, these two points are situated relatively close to each other. Both are located in the Caucasus region, so you can visit them within the same tour.

Standing at the summit of Mount Elbrus, 5642 m, is a feeling like no other. The air is thin and cold, and the view from the top is breathtaking. You can see for miles in every direction, and the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus Mountains stretch out before you. You can even see that Caspean Sea on a clear day! It's a feeling of accomplishment and triumph that can leave you feeling on top of the world.

The Lowest Point in Europe: The Caspian Sea, located in southern Russia, is the lowest point in Europe, with its surface level reaching 28 meters below sea level. You can fix this altitude near the city of Makhachkala.

Do you like the idea of visiting both the extremes of Europe?

Highlights of the tour:

Europe's highest point: 5642 m above sea level

Europe's lowest point: -28 m below sea level

Europe's biggest sand dune Sarykum: 262 m high

Europe's highest Christian monastery: at 2000 m above sea level

Russia's most ancient city Derbent: 5000 years old

* - the price depends on season, period and chosen tariff.


Day 1. Arrival at the Mineralnye Vody airport (MRV). There are several domestic flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg and international flights arriving from Istanbul and Dubai. Our guide will be awaiting you outside of the arrival hall. Once everyone has arrived, the bus leaves the airport heading to the town of Terskol. The drive will take 3 hours. Upon arrival at the hotel you will have some free time for resting and taking a shower, then the dinner and first briefing with the guide.

Day 2.After breakfast the group will go for it's first acclimatization day. Today you'll hike up to observatory located on Mt. Terskol (3100 m) or to the upper lift station on Mt. Cheget (3080 m). The choice depends on weather conditions. The hike will take 4-5 hours. Overnight at hotel.

Day 3. This is the day when we move to the Cheeper Azau mountain hotel located at an altitude of 3000 m near the Stary Krugozor cable car station. You can leave all not necessary stuff at the hotel. It will not be necessary to carry your backpacks self because the group will reach the hotel using ski lifts. There will be only a short distance of 30 m to walk from the cable cars to the hotel. After lunch, we will make an acclimatization climb to the highest cable car station in Europe - Gara-Bashi (3847 m) or to the Mir station (3455 m), depending on weather conditions. Overnight at hotel Cheeper Azau.

Day 4. Today we take the ski lift up to the Gara-Bashi station, located at an altitude of 3847 m. We put on climbing equipment there and do an acclimatization hike to the Pastukhov rocks (4800 m). Overnight at the hotel Cheeper Azau.

Day 5. Day of rest. After breakfast, we pack the backpacks and take the ski lift up to the hut at 3800 m (The Heart of Elbrus or Leaprus Hut). There will be no hikes on this day, just a short snow- and ice course not far from the hut.

Day 6. Summit day. After early breakfast at 2 a.m. the group will be picked up by a snow-cat and taken up to 5000 m or even higher. The further way to the summit takes on average 4-6 hours. Overnight at hut. It is possible to descend to the hotel, if the group comes back from the summit early, but this will cause extra costs for accommodation and meals at the hotel.

Day 7. Descent to the hotel or reserve day for the summit attempt. In the last case, the group has to descend to the hotel by whatever means required on the same day.

Day 8. Depart from the hotel after breakfast at 8 a.m. Today, we have a long drive to the city of Makhachkala on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The route will pass through four republics of southern Russia: Kabardino-Balkaria, South Ossetia, Chechnya and Dagestan. On the way, we will make a stop in the Fiagdon Gorge and visit defensive cave fortresses of the 13th century, a necropolis of the 16th century, known as the “City of the Dead” and the highest Orthodox monastery in Russia (at 2000 m). Lunch awaits us there. In the evening we will have a walk around the city of Makhachkala and get acquainted with the cuisine of the Dagestan Republic.

Day 9. Today in the morning, we'll visit the lowest point in Europe, -28 m! It is on the shores of the Caspian Sea near Makhachkala. After this we will head to Derbent - the southernmost and most ancient city of the Russian Federation - it's 5000 years old. The drive will take around 2 hours. Excursion and lunch in the old city. After another 30-minute drive, we will find ourselves near the huge Lun military aircraft parked on the beach near Derbent. There is another place worth visiting in our program - the largest sand dune in Europe, Sarykum. The drive will take 2.5 hours. Making pictures of the dune at sunset and coming back to Makhachkala (1 hour).

Day 10. Breakfast. Transfer to the airport by 11.30 a.m. Depart with a direct flight to Istanbul at 13.40, operated by Pobeda Airlines.

What is included and not included

The cost of a tour includes:

Invitation letter for visa. We will send this to you as soon as we get your deposit and a copy of your passport.

Local registration for foreigners according to the Russian law.

Transportation. All group transfers are according to the itinerary.

Accommodation in accordance with itinerary:

  • 3* hotel Snezhny Bars shared twin or triple room in the foot of Elbrus (3 nights).
  • Mountain refuge Heart of Elbrus at 3800 m, mixed dorm (8 people, 3 nights).
  • Mountain hotel Cheeper Azau at 3000 m, mixed rooms per 3-4 beds (1 night).
  • Hotel in Makhachkala, twin rooms, 2 nights.

Cable car tickets in accordance with itinerary.

3 meals a day and bottled water on transfers.

Guides. One guide for the group throughout the tour and assistant guide(s) for the summit day in a ratio of 1:3.

One summit attempt. For example, when a group starts in weather conditions which allow it to go, and later it changes to dangerous ones (like storm/ heavy snowfall/ dense fog) and the group has to descend, or one/ several participants feel bad and give up on climbing this is considered as an expended attempt. You can take an additional attempt against $500 for guiding services + hut fees and food (about $75 per day for 1 person) for you and your guide.

Climbing certificate.

Park fee and entry tickets in accordance with the itinerary.

Oxygen equipment on the summit day for emergency cases.

The cost of a tour does not include:

Riding snow-cat (ratrak, a vehicle transporting people along the snow slopes). The exact cost depends on a number of passengers: up to 5000-5100 m - $1000 per vehicle (max 12-14 people). You can also hire a snowcat on your way down, and this will be cheaper than renting one on the way up.

Single occupancy supplement - $40 per night.

Hire personal equipment (such as a sleeping bag, boots, crampons, etc).

Taking an additional attempt after the first attempt has been expended (this doesn't include cases when the weather was bad from the beginning and the group hasn't started the climb).

Cost of an additional night at the hotel when you decide to descend to the valley on the reserve days because these days are already paid for at the refuge. The cost of an extra night can be $55 per person (double or triple room) or $75 (single room). Meals at the hotel on reserve days are also not included (only breakfast).

Individual transfer from or to the airport - $80.

Mountaineering insurance. It is highly recommended for climbing Mount Elbrus.

Tours FAQ

When to climb?

The best time to climb Elbrus on foot is July and August. The snow level is minimal, weather is most stable. June, September and first half of October are also rather favorable. It is colder and the weather may be changing, but there is not too much snow on the slopes and still many chances to reach the summit.

Attempting it in spring is rather challenging, especially from the north side. The road is blocked by snow and participants have to walk the last 13 km to the base camp carrying their backpacks themselves. This is rather exhausting taking into account the altitude difference of 550 m over that distance. Temperature on Elbrus in spring can fall as low as -40. Add storm winds and icy slopes which can be really dangerous for novices and require fixing a rope.

We don't recommend climbing Mt. Elbrus in winter. There are very few chances to reach the summit because of extremely low temperatures, snow storms and blue ice on slopes.

Best time for a ski ascent as well as for a ski descent is the second half of May and June. There is still much snow and it is not being blown away by the storm winds like in early spring.

Nevertheless, even during this favorable period there can be firn above 4800 m. In this case climbers put on ski crampons or take off their skis and walk in boots.

In July and August snow conditions are not good for skiing. Snow is melting in the sun by day, turning into slush. And it is freezing back by night into an ice crust.

There are not many interesting places for ski touring on Elbrus itself. Mostly, tourists tour in the neighboring valleys - Adyl-Su and Adyr-Su. There are many passes for ski touring and skiing down. Average altitude is 3500 m above sea level which makes it possible to gain good acclimatization and to attempt the summit of Elbrus after that.

Best time for ski touring at that altitude is late March and April. There is much snow at this time and it is no longer as cold as in winter. Early May can be a bit risky because snow begins melting away, but is still possible.

Choosing the right tour

There are no technical difficulties on Mount Elbrus but it is quite challenging in terms of altitude acclimatization. Though Mt. Kilimanjaro is higher than Elbrus, it is easier to do and requires less days. This is because Kilimanjaro is located near equator and there is more oxygen in the atmosphere.

It takes 8 to 11 days to climb Elbrus. The number of days on the mountain depends on the route that you choose and your previous high-altitude experience. If this is your first time to high mountains, you should choose the longest possible itinerary. You don’t know how you body will react to low content of oxygen in the air and to different atmosphere pressure comparing to the sea level. So it is better to have a couple of spare days for better acclimatization. The more days you have for acclimatization, the better you feel on the summit day and the more chances you have to reach the top.

Some people believe they can do Mount Elbrus in 4-5 days. It is possible only when you arrive already preacclimatized after climbing other high mountain during last week. In other cases this fast gain of altitude can be dangerous for your health and life. Please read more about altitude sickness.

Anyway, longer itinerary will ensure better acclimatization for your body and an additional reserve day in case of bad weather which means more chances for reaching the summit.

We limit our climbs to 12 people.

With a group climb, you will be in a party of up to 12 climbers who have booked with us separately (strangers). Group climbs are scheduled for set dates on set routes.

In a private climb, you will be in a party of people you specifically booked with (friends, family, etc.). Private climbs can be scheduled on any date you choose and on any route. There is no maximum number of climbers for a private climb. The service on the mountain is exactly the same.

There is a variety of technical clothing and equipment you will need for your climb. A detailed gear list is available here.

Upcoming group tours

Route Dates Days Price (USD) Availability
South route 10.05 - 18.05.2024 9 Standard: 1320
Comfort: 1690
VIP: 1790
South route 11.05 - 18.05.2024 8 Standard: 1240
Comfort: 1590
VIP: 1690
South route 17.05 - 25.05.2024 9 Standard: 1320
Comfort: 1690
VIP: 1790
South route 18.05 - 25.05.2024 8 Standard: 1240
Comfort: 1590
VIP: 1690
South route 24.05 - 01.06.2024 9 Standard: 1320
Comfort: 1690
VIP: 1790

For some tours we have three options Standard, Comfort and VIP.

* - when booking tours for 2 or more participants a discount of 3% is provided.

** - when you pay with a card, payment will be charged in Russian roubles in accordance with the exchange rate of the bank.

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