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Abkhazia (Abkhazia, Republic Of Abkhazia) - a state in the northwestern part of the southern slope of the Caucasus Range, on the Black Sea coast. The UN community 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 has been an independent state with its president and government. The country is quite small, has an area of 8,665 square kilometers, which is five times smaller than the Moscow region, and the population is slightly more than 240 thousand people. Abkhazia is a popular place for recreation and excursions from the Russian Federation, because it is located south of the city of Sochi and lies on the Black Sea coast, and also because between Abkhazia and the Russian Federation there is a visa-free regime and the possibility of entry on Russian passports.
Abkhazia is small in size, has a rich history and cultural heritage. Picturesque landscapes and snow-capped mountains, deep caves and turbulent river flows attract tourists from many parts of the post-Soviet space. However, for citizens of other countries (except the Russian Federation), visiting this territory may be associated with further problems when visiting Georgia (see more about this in the section about a visa to Abkhazia).
Our guides to the resorts of Abkhazia:
A little history and geography
Abkhazia is located in the northwestern part of the Caucasus. Its main neighbors are Georgia and Russia. The territory combines the flat Sea coast and the main ridge of the Caucasus Mountains.
The indigenous population is the peoples of the Western Caucasus. There are Abkhazians, Georgians, Russians and other nationalities. In ancient times, Greek colonies arose in this territory, after which Rome seized dominance. The center of the whole country at that time was Sebastopolis, on the site of which the capital of Abkhazia, Sukhum, is now located.
In the 4th century AD, three principalities settled here, which were forced to unite to repel the blow of the Arab troops. Thus arose the Abkhazian Kingdom, which gave rise to the emergence of modern Abkhazia.
But the most important historical events, which today most affect the current state of the country and the rest of tourists, occurred recently. In 1992-1993 there was an armed conflict with Georgia. After the collapse of the USSR, Georgia did not recognize the independence of Abkhazia, and tried to establish control over the territory, as a result of which a bloody conflict began (called the Georgian-Abkhazian war), which was stopped only after the intervention and introduction of Russian troops. Today, everything is calm here, the borders are guarded, including by the Russian military, but the echoes of the conflict greatly affect the tourism sector. The country is still not recognized by most of the world community, has no economic ties with other countries except the Russian Federation, and has not yet recovered from the destruction. On the streets of even tourist areas, you can see destroyed buildings and bullet marks on the walls of residential buildings.
Holidays in Abkhazia
Those who decided to spend a vacation in Abkhazia, seek here, first of all, because of the beach holiday. There are several resort towns and just villages where tourists enjoy the clean warm sea and deserted beaches. The sea here is really cleaner than on the Russian side in Sochi, Anapa, Gelendzhik, etc., and on the beaches even at the height of the season and at the most popular resorts we have enough space for everyone. Almost all beaches in Abkhazia are pebbly, only in some places there is gray sand, but it is also covered with a layer of pebbles at the entrance to the water. Therefore, be sure to take special beach slippers here, otherwise it will not be very convenient and even painful to go into the water. Children's beaches with a shallow depth and fine sand are not here. The only exception, perhaps, is the sandy beach in the east of Pitsunda Bay, but even there sand is not everywhere. In general, almost everywhere the depth is quite large, already three or four meters from the shore, adults are waist-deep, and children are already up to their shoulders. But in developed resorts they try to equip special places for bathing children, fenced with a net in the water.
In addition to the beaches, Abkhazia is also attractive with a certain number of natural and cultural attractions. This is a very beautiful mountainous region, and the most interesting places here are traditionally natural beauty. The excursion route through the Ritsa National Park is very popular, during which you can see not only the famous lake Ritsa, but also several waterfalls, a gorge, a mountain river, a museum-dacha of Stalin, Alpine Meadows. On this route, organized sightseeing tours are offered even from the resorts of Sochi. If you are ready to drive along this route yourself, you can see much more. For example, in Nats.in the park you can go hiking in the high mountain lake Mzy or in the valley of the Seven Lakes. However, keep in mind that to see the nature of Abkhazia, it is not enough just to come to any resort in the country and spend time there, so you will not see any beauty.
There are also historical and cultural attractions in Abkhazia, but for the most part they are abandoned and are gradually being destroyed without due attention from the state.
But unfortunately, with a holiday in Abkhazia, not everything is as good as it is written in the guidebooks selling tours to this country. The tourist infrastructure here can hardly be called developed and modern, rather the opposite. Many tourist facilities, such as hotels and attractions, are in a neglected state and have not been repaired since the Soviet era, and very few new facilities are being built. The same applies to the environment: streets, parks, entertainment, beaches require renewal and care. Therefore, rest in Abkhazia will appeal only to the most unassuming tourists who are not used to the comfort of "star" hotels with "all inclusive" and the beautiful festive atmosphere of resorts. Even if we compare Abkhazian resorts with Russian ones, they look as if they really remained in the Times of the USSR.
Another feature that you should be prepared for is the attitude of local residents to Russian tourists. Unfortunately, it is not always necessary to expect from the residents of Abkhazia a warm welcome of Russians on vacation, especially in popular resorts. The attitude towards tourists is most often exclusively consumer: as soon as the guest ceases to generate income, the attitude can change dramatically in the direction of overtly negative. Deceptions of tourists with housing, excursions, food, has become the norm. However, the Consumer Attitude is also manifested in relation to the country's own tourist infrastructure and natural resources: all this is mercilessly used to extract profit from tourists, but practically nothing is invested for restoration. For more information on how to prepare and not spoil your vacation in Abkhazia, see here - Security in Abkhazia, Soviets
Where to go in Abkhazia
The most popular resort is Gagra. The city is valuable not only for the picturesque nature in the vicinity, but also for the warm sea. Here you can relax and improve your health in boarding houses and sanatoriums located on the coast. There are hotels of different plans, where the pricing policy may differ significantly. The beaches are pebbly and clean, but at the height of the season there are too many tourists, which to some extent can affect the quality of rest.
Not far from Gagra is another popular city – Pitsunda. It is much more clean and cozy than Gagra. The best place for tourists here is the "Pitsunda Resort" - a complex in which several boarding houses are combined. Tourists love this place because of nature-clean sea, pine groves and relict lakes.
New Athos can also be a great place to relax. It is located on the Black Sea coast and is most suitable for people who prefer silence and solitude. Most often, tourists love this place because of the opportunity to climb the new Athos hills to admire orange trees, magnolias and eucalyptus trees.
Gudauta is also popular. It is a quiet place with green streets and clean beaches. Tourists come here for healing springs and seascapes. It is worth noting that the infrastructure here may not be the newest, but everywhere there are restoration works aimed at improving the appearance of hotels, recreation centers and sanatoriums. The beaches may seem wild and sparsely populated, but there is a central beach that is relatively landscaped.
Weather and tourist seasons in Abkhazia, when to go
Abkhazia is not a year-round resort, the tourist season here lasts only from May to October. You can visit the country in winter, but there can be no question of any beach holiday, except that at this time you can visit some of the attractions yourself or go hiking in the mountains. All tourist infrastructure, and even most of the attractions and entertainment, are open to the public only in summer.
- May. The first tourists come here in the second half of May. The air at this time is already warming up well, you can sunbathe, although the sea is still too cold for comfortable swimming. Also keep in mind that not all tourist infrastructure is working at this time: many cafes and entertainment are just preparing to open.
- June. In June, especially in the second half, the sea is already well warmed up, it becomes warm in the evenings and at night. At this time, you can go on vacation even with children.
- July and August. The most comfortable season for recreation falls on July and August, but this is also the largest influx of tourists. Prices are rising, there are noticeably more vacationers on the beaches, but not so much to avoid rest at this time.
- September and October. This is the so-called Velvet season. The holiday season and school holidays are over, and most of the vacationers are leaving. Prices go down. But the weather is still warm even in the evenings until the beginning of October. This is an ideal time to relax in Abkhazia, but in the second half of October it becomes cool.
* best time to visit;
acceptable time to visit;
not recommended time to visit
Current weather in Abkhazia/Gagra and forecast
Attractions and entertainment in Abkhazia
As a country with a rich history and culture, Abkhazia can offer its guests several interesting places that are worth visiting. Tourists who go to Gagra should definitely see Lake Ritsa, as well as waterfalls, a water park and eucalyptus alleys. In the northern part of the city is the fortress of Abaat, the castle of the Prince of Oldenburg and the Colonnade. Here is also the famous restaurant "Gagripsh" with history.
Once in Pitsunda, it is worth visiting the Reserve "great Pitiunt" and the Patriarchal Cathedral, founded during the reign of the king of the Bagration dynasty, as well as admire the Stormy bzyb River and the relict Lake Inkit, which served as a harbor for the ships of Alexander The Great.
Tourists who come to New Athos should definitely see the New Athos monastery with caves, which has survived a lot in its lifetime. It is also worth a walk through the tangerine Gardens, visit the waterfall and admire Swan Lake.
It is worth paying attention to the capital of Abkhazia. In addition to beaches and Mineral Springs, there is a large botanical garden, The Great Abkhazian wall, the ruins of the kelasur monastery, the bridge of Queen Tamar.
As for entertainment in Abkhazia, there is nothing special about the country and none of its resorts will surprise, but rather disappoint. Yes, all popular resorts have traditional beach entertainment, you can find the simplest children's attractions like carousels, locomotives and shooting galleries, inflatable trampolines, but nothing more. There are no modern interactive attractions, walking areas and embankments, there is nothing like that. Perhaps we can only mention two worthy places: water park in Gagra and dolphinarium in Pitsunda.
Approximately the same situation with evening and night entertainment. It seems that they are, but like the whole infrastructure, they were stuck somewhere in the 90s. There are no nightclubs here, you can dance only at discos in bars or at large hotels. The variety of restaurants and cafes is also not amazing: in Abkhazia you will not find any Irish pubs, Thai cuisine, Chinese delicacies, etc., only ordinary cafes, restaurants and ubiquitous kebabs.
A little better in Abkhazia is the situation with active types of entertainment and Recreation. You can go rafting and ride a Jeep passenger (Jipping) during excursions to Lake Ritsa. If you like hiking and mountain terrain, you can go trekking, ecotourism or hiking. Fans of equestrian sports are waiting for trips on thoroughbred horses. And if you prefer to eat, rather than actively relax, you can go on a gastronomic tour.
Time in Abkhazia
The time difference in Abkhazia and Moscow is +1 hour in winter and summer.
|Москва: +1||Самара: 0|
|Казань: +1||Нижний Новгород: +1|
|Екатеринбург: -1||Новосибирск: -3|
|Иркутск: -4||Владивосток: -6|