Tourist information about Abkhazia for independent travel
Abkhazia (Abkhazia, Republic of Abkhazia) is a state in the North-Western part of the southern slope of the Caucasus mountains on the Black sea coast. Community, the UN and most of the world community is not officially considered an independent state (unrecognized state), but still refers to Georgia as one of the regions, but in fact for many years, this territory is an independent state with its own President and government. A very small country, has an area of 8 665 square kilometers, which is five times smaller than Moscow region, and the population is slightly more than 240 thousand people. Abkhazia is a popular place to visit from Russia because it is South of the city of Sochi lies on the Black sea as well as between Abkhazia and Russia is visa-free travel and entry for a regular Russian passports.
Abkhazia is small in size, has a rich history and cultural heritage. Picturesque landscapes and snow-capped mountains, deep caves and wild river streams attract tourists from many parts of the former Soviet Union. However, for citizens of other countries (except the Russian Federation) visit to this site may be associated with further problems when visiting Georgia (see more on this in the section about visa to Abkhazia).
A bit of history and geography
Abkhazia is located in the northwestern part of the Caucasus. Its main neighbours – Georgia and Russia. The territory combines the plain the coast and the main ridge of the Caucasus mountains.
Indigenous people are the peoples of the Western Caucasus. There are Abkhazians, Georgians, Russians and other nationalities. In ancient times this territory was the Greek colony, after which the dominance was intercepted by Rome. The center of the whole country at that time was Sebastopolis on the site of which is now the capital of Abkhazia – Sukhum.
In the 4th century BC settled here three principalities, which were forced to unite in order to reflect the impact of the Arab troops. Thus arose the Abkhazian Kingdom, which has given rise to the emergence of modern Abkhazia.
But the most important historical events that most affect the current state of the country and the tourists have occurred recently. In 1992-1993 took place here, the armed conflict with Georgia. After the collapse of the USSR, Georgia has not recognized the independence of Abkhazia, and attempted to establish control over the territory, which began a bloody conflict (is called Georgian-Abkhazian war), which managed to be stopped only after the intervention and the invasion of Russia. Today here everything is calm, the border guard, including the Russian military, but the echoes of the conflict greatly affected the tourism sector. The country is still not recognized by most of the international community, has no economic relations with other countries except Russia, and has still not recovered from the destruction. On the streets, even the tourist areas you can see the destroyed buildings and bullet marks on the walls of houses.
Holidays in Abkhazia
Those who decided to spend vacation in Abkhazia, tend to come here primarily for a beach holiday. There are several resort towns and villages, where tourists enjoy the clean warm sea and deserted beaches. The sea here is much cleaner than on the Russian side in Sochi, Anapa, Gelendzhik, etc., and on the beaches even in the height of the season in the most popular resorts enough room for everyone. Almost all the beaches in Abkhazia pebble, only here and there found in grey sand, but it is covered with a layer of pebbles when entering the water. So be sure to bring here a special beach Slippers, otherwise go into the water is not very convenient and even painful. Children's beaches with shallow waters and fine sand here. An exception, perhaps the only sandy beach in the East Bay of Pitsunda, but there was sand everywhere. In General, almost everywhere the depth is quite large, in three or four meters from the shore an adult waist-high, and children do up to the shoulders. But in developed resorts try to equip special places for children, surrounded by a grid in the water.
Besides beaches, attractive Abkhazia and a number of natural and cultural attractions. This is a very beautiful mountain region, and the most interesting places here are traditionally natural beauty. A very popular guided tour of the Ritsa national Park, during which you can see not only the famous Ritsa lake, but several of the waterfalls, gorge, mountain river, the Museum is Stalin's dacha, Alpine meadows. On this route package tours are available even with the resorts of Sochi. If you are willing to ride this route yourself, you will be able to see much more. For example, in NAT.the Park can hike into the mountain lake, Si or in the valley of the seven lakes. However, keep in mind to see the nature of Abkhazia is not enough just to come to any resort in the country and to spend time there, so any beauty you will not see.
In Abkhazia there is also a historical and cultural sights, but for the most part they are abandoned and disregarded by the state are gradually destroyed.
But unfortunately, with the holidays in Abkhazia is not so good, as it is written in guidebooks selling tours to the country. Tourist infrastructure is hardly developed and modern, rather the contrary. Many tourist facilities such as hotels and attractions are in disrepair and have not been repaired since Soviet times, and the new facilities are being built very little. The same applies to the environment: streets, parks, entertainment, beaches require updates and maintenance. Therefore, stay in Abkhazia will appeal only to the most unassuming tourists who are not accustomed to the comfort of the "star" hotels with "all inclusive" and beautiful festive atmosphere of resorts. Even when compared to Abkhazian resorts with the Russian, they look like they really were in Soviet times.
Another feature which should be prepared is the attitude of local people to the Russian tourists. Unfortunately, do not always expect the residents of Abkhazia warm welcome of Russians on holiday, especially at popular resorts. The attitude of the tourists often exclusively consumer: as soon as the guest ceases to generate income, the attitude could change dramatically in the direction of outright negative. Deceptions of tourists with accommodation, excursions, food has become the norm. However, consumer attitude manifests itself in relation to its tourism infrastructure and natural resources of the country: everything is mercilessly used to profit from tourists, but almost nothing is invested for recovery. Read more about how to prepare and not to spoil your vacation in Abkhazia, see here - Security in Abkhazia, tips
Where to travel in Abkhazia
The most popular is the resort of Gagra. The city is valuable not only for its picturesque surroundings, but the warm sea. Here you can relax and recuperate in boarding houses and hotels located on the coast. There are hotels of different plan where pricing can vary greatly. The long pebble beaches and clean, but at the height of the tourist season is too much, that in some way can affect the quality of rest.
Near Gagra is another popular city of Pitsunda. It is much cleaner and more comfortable than Gagra. The best place for tourists here is "Pitsunda Resort" – a complex, which unites several boarding houses. Tourists love this place because of the nature clean sea, pine groves and relict lakes.
Excellent place to stay can become New Athos. It is located on the shore of the Black sea and is best suited to people who prefer silence and solitude. Most tourists love this place because of the opportunity to climb new hills to admire the orange trees, magnolias and eucalyptus.
Popular and Gudauta. It is a quiet place with green streets and clean beaches. Tourists come here for the healing springs and seascapes. It is worth noting that the infrastructure here may not be the newest, but there is restoration work to improve the appearance of hotels, lodges and resorts. The beaches can appear wild and sparsely populated, but there are Central beach, which is relatively improved.
Travel guides to the resorts of Abkhazia:
Weather and tourist seasons in Abkhazia, when to go
Abkhazia is not a year-round resort, the tourist season lasts only from may to October. You can visit the country in winter, but of no beach holiday is not out of the question, except that this time, you can visit on your own some of the attractions or to go Hiking in the mountains. The entire tourism infrastructure, and even the majority of attractions are open for visits only in summer.
- May. The first tourists come here for the second half of may. The air at this time, already well heated, it is possible to sunbathe, although the sea is still too cold for comfortable swimming. Still keep in mind that not all tourism infrastructure works at this time: many cafes and entertainment are only being prepared for opening.
- Jun. In June, especially in the second half, the sea is well warmed up, the heat becomes in the evenings and at night. At this time, you can go on a vacation, even with children.
- In July and August. The most comfortable season for holidays is July and August, but it is the large influx of tourists. Prices rise, on the beaches tourists will be significantly longer, but not so much to avoid visiting this time.
- In September and October. This is the so-called velvet season. End the holiday season and school holidays, and most of the rest goes. The price would fall. But the weather is still warm even in the evenings until the beginning of October. It's the perfect time to stay in Abkhazia, but in the second half of October is already cool.
Seasons in Abkhazia months, when is the best time to go
* best time to visit;
appropriate time to visit;
not a recommended time to visit
Weather in Abkhazia/Gagra and forecast
Sights and activities in Abkhazia
As a country with a rich history and culture of Abkhazia can offer some interesting places to visit. Tourists who will go to Gagra, you should definitely see lake Ritsa, the waterfalls, water Park and eucalyptus avenues. In the Northern part of the city is located in the Abaata fortress, the castle of Prince Oldenburg and the Colonnade. Here also is the famous restaurant "gagripsh" with the story.
Once in Pitsunda, is to visit the nature reserve "Great Pitiunt" and the Patriarchal Cathedral, founded in the reign of the king of the Bagrationi dynasty, and enjoy the river Bzyb and relict lake Inkit, which served as a harbour for the ships of Alexander the great.
Tourists who come to New Athos, must see new Athos cave monastery, survived a lot in his lifetime. It is also worth a stroll in the tangerine gardens, visit the waterfall and enjoy Swan lake.
You should pay attention to the capital of Abkhazia. Apart from the beaches and mineral springs, there is a major Botanical garden, the Great Abkhazian wall, the ruins of the monastery of Kelasur, bridge of Queen Tamar.
As for entertainment in Abkhazia, nothing special country and none of its resorts are not surprised, but rather disappointed. Yes, in all the popular resorts there are traditional beach activities, you can find the most simple children's rides like carousels, rollercoasters and shooting galleries, inflatable trampolines, but no more. Any modern interactive rides, walking areas and promenades, there is nothing. Perhaps, we can only mention two decent places: in Gagra water Park and Dolphinarium in Pitsunda.
Approximately the same situation with evening and night entertainment. It seems they are, but like all infrastructure, is stuck somewhere in the 90s. Nightclubs here, you can dance only in discos or in bars in larger hotels. A variety of restaurants and cafes is also not impressive in Abkhazia, you will not find any Irish pubs, Thai cuisine, Chinese delicacies, etc., only the usual cafes, restaurants and the ubiquitous kebabs.
A little better in Abkhazia is the case with active forms of entertainment and recreation. Rafting and riding on a passenger jeep (jeeping) during excursions to Ritsa lake. If you love Hiking and the mountains, you can go trekking Hiking eco-tourism or Hiking. Equestrian lovers are waiting for the trip to thoroughbred horses. But if you prefer to eat and not to actively relax, you can go on a gastronomy tour.