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The main attractions of Abkhazia

Abkhazia, a mountainous country on the Black Sea coast, became a popular tourist destination during the Soviet period. And today it attracts tourists with its picturesque landscapes, clean sand and pebble beaches, mineral springs. Guests are surprised by the variety of natural, architectural, historical sights of Abkhazia.

What is remarkable about Abkhazia

New Athos Waterfall
New Athos Waterfall attracts many tourists.

The historic region of Abkhazia is located on the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus mountain system and is adjacent to the northeastern Black Sea coast. There are picturesque landscapes formed by massifs of dense forests, rocky gorges, clear lakes.

Tourists are attracted not only by the beautiful Caucasian landscapes, but also by the opportunity to walk along difficult and fascinating routes.

Abkhazia has many resort towns and villages with developed tourist infrastructure. Every settlement has quiet beautiful parks, monuments of medieval and Soviet architecture.

Major temples and museums are scattered in different areas, but all of them can be visited during the vacation, because. The territory of Abkhazia is small and occupies about 8.7 thousand km².

Summer vacation at the sea

Abkhazia has long been famous for its beach resorts. In Soviet times, they accounted for about 40% of domestic tourism in Georgia: travelers from neighboring countries and foreigners came to the region. And once it was the country residence of Stalin.

Despite its status as a partially recognized republic and many political disagreements, Abkhazia today remains an attractive place for summer recreation on the seashore.

There are many sand and pebble beaches with a total length of 200 km. Their infrastructure is poorly developed, often found wild beaches. However, there are suitable for tourists who are accustomed to increased comfort.

Beaches of Abkhazia
In Abkhazia, a lot of sand and pebble beaches.

Mountains of Abkhazia

Abkhazia is located in the western part of the Greater Caucasus – a massive mountain range length of 1,100 km, so it is dominated by mountain landscapes, disposed to long hikes. The most beautiful routes go along the scenic slopes, and the most fascinating excursions bypass the narrow gorges.

Hashupse River Canyon

The picturesque Khashupski Canyon is considered the most beautiful place of the Gagra region of Abkhazia. It is located in the valley of the mountain river of the same name, the rough waters of which attract fans of extreme rafting.

There are difficult hiking trails that require tourists to have good physical fitness and endurance. However, the effort expended is rewarded by the opportunity to enjoy the amazing rocky scenery and have a vivid experience.

Hashupski Canyon is a narrow corridor formed by high stone walls.

Its length is about 1 km. On the way tourists meet several gorges and hollows, and sometimes dense boxwood thickets. Excursions through the canyon are dangerous: you have to cross the course of the cold and turbulent Hashupse River with a rocky bottom several times.

Hashupse River Canyon
Hashupski Canyon is 1 km long.


Abkhaz Mount Mamdzishkha is located just 6 km from the resort town of Gagra and is a popular tourist attraction. Its height is 1,873 meters above sea level – to get to the top, you have to overcome a distance of 30 km on a narrow serpentine road.

The slopes of the mountain for 2/3 of the foot are covered with rugged mixed forests, and above them verdant alpine meadows. Closer to the summit, there are more often areas with uncovered rock, formed by strong winds.

Driving along the serpentine, tourists bypass two observation decks, from which you can see the rugged ridges, spectacular gorges, protected forests. There is a paraglider base at the top, where everyone can take a flight.

Mamdzishkha Mountain
On Mount Mamdzishkha there are many areas with uncovered rock.

Bzyb Gorge

Bzyb, one of the largest rivers of Abkhazia, flows smoothly along the Caucasus Mountains and passes in the upper reaches of the popular tourist narrow gorge, which is considered a unique natural monument.

It is located at the crossroads of the most visited routes in the region: on the way to Lake Bolshaya Ritsa and Gegsky waterfall. In summer it is always crowded: you can see the hikers and rafters.

In addition to the beautiful rocky landscapes in the Bzyb Gorge, there are several historical monuments. For example, on the right bank of the river are the ruins of the Bzyb defensive fortress, built in the VIII century.

It occupied an area of 7 km², but today only fragments of a few towers, gates and a temple remain. On the left slope is a grotto Azhugra-ahp, where were found sites of Paleolithic nomads. Nearby stands the Museum of Wooden Sculptures, built during the Soviet period.

Bzyb Gorge
The stony Bzyb Gorge.

Yupshar Canyon

The Yupsharsky Canyon, popular with tourists, is located on the way to Lake Ritsa at an altitude of 400 meters above sea level. Its stone walls are covered with mosses and age-old thickets of boxwood. There is always a semi-darkness here, because on summer days the sunlight penetrates the gorge only for 2-3 hours.

Through the canyon runs a fast river Yupshara, which flows from Lake Ritsa. Its water is very clean because it is filtered by limestone. Nearby is the popular Gegsky waterfall.

Yupshar Canyon
Yupshar Canyon with the clearest water.


The small village of Chernigovka has recently become a popular tourist destination. The nearby gorge through which the Malaya Machara River flows attracts travelers’ attention.

On the rocky bed, there are often ledges that form waterfalls and low waterfalls. On the banks of the river are dense thickets of subtropical trees and shrubs.

Malaya Machara River in the village of Chernigovka.

Kodori Gorge

The gorge is located in the north-eastern part of Abkhazia, 30 km from the capital(Sukhum) at an altitude of 1,300 to 3,984 meters. It stretches along the Caucasus Range for almost 100 km. The landscape here is very rich: dense coniferous forests, snowy peaks.

Kodori Gorge
Kodori Gorge is located 30 km from Sukhum.

Lakes of Abkhazia

There are 186 lakes in Abkhazia, most of which were formed as a result of melting glaciers. They are mostly located in the highlands, so they have unique fauna and flora. Endemic plant species are often found in their vicinity.


This lake is the most popular natural site in Abkhazia. It is located in Rychin National Park at an altitude of 900 m above sea level.

Ritza is filled with clear turquoise waters and surrounded by picturesque mountain landscapes. Tourists come here to breathe the fresh air, admire the local beauty, go boating or fishing.

Lake Ritsa
Lake Ritsa is the diamond of Abkhazia.


Lake Mzy is located in a shallow basin of the Gagra Range at an altitude of 2,000 meters above sea level and is surrounded by dense boxwoods. To get to him, you have to overcome a difficult route over rough terrain.

However, this site can be visited not only by tourists with equipment, but also by inexperienced travelers in an organized tour group.

The Mzy is fed by melting glaciers, so its size and average daily temperature vary with the season. Nevertheless, it is always cool here: snow cover is often observed even in June. Therefore, you need to prepare for the campaign: take warm shoes and a raincoat.

Lake Mzy
Lake Mzy is in the hollow of the Gagra Ridge.


The high-mountain lake Amtkel is located in a crevice between high wooded ridges, where you have to go on foot over rugged terrain.

The excursion to this site will take all day, but the time spent will be recouped by the vivid impressions of overcoming obstacles and contemplation of the scenery.

The lake was formed in 1891 as a result of a major earthquake. It is fed by the waters of the Amtkeli River, but its fullness depends largely on the rate of snowmelt and the amount of rain. The highest levels are observed in early summer, and then the local landscapes become especially beautiful.

Amtkel Lake
Lake Amtkel is located between the high wooded ridges.

Abkhaz waterfalls

In Abkhazia, there are many mountains with large drops in altitude and rough rivers, which led to the appearance of waterfalls. These natural sites are found throughout the region and are mesmerizing in their beauty. The largest of them lie in the path of popular hiking trails.


The popular Gegsky Waterfall is located on the right tributary of the Bzyb River, on the way to Lake Ritsa. A powerful stream falls from a height of 70 meters and rushes to the bottom of the cliff, at the base of which lies the eternal snow cover.

Tourists are impressed not only by the beauty and power of the waterfall, but also by the exotic views of the surrounding nature. There are many bizarre clefts and rocky ledges. Nearby is a large cave with stalactites, stalagmites, karst columns, thick layers of travertine.

Gegsky waterfall
Gegsky waterfall fascinates with its beauty.

The Giant

Giant Falls is located near the ghost town of Akarmara. In the warm, dry summer it is easy to get here: the way starts from the wide road to Tkuarchal and runs along the well-trodden trails. But closer to fall, there are frequent downpours and impassable slush.

Velikan is the largest waterfall in Abkhazia. Its powerful noisy streams fall on a rocky escarpment from a height of 100 meters. It itself is surrounded by picturesque rocky and forest landscapes. There are many ferns in the surrounding area.

Giant Falls
The Velikan waterfall is the largest in Abkhazia.


A whole cascade of waterfalls is formed on the path of the small but fast Shakuran River, fed by clean springs in the upper reaches of the Cebelda Plateau. It is deep in a small gorge with bizarre rock ledges and dark caves.

In early June, the cascade becomes abundant in water due to the abundance of rain, but in August, it rapidly becomes shallow. Regardless of the season, there are always a lot of tourists.

Shakuran waterfall
Shakuran waterfall is located in a small gorge.


Blue Lake is located on the right bank of the river Bzyb at the foot of Mount Tskhina. It is a small reservoir of karstic origin with very clear azure water.

These unusual shades are due to accumulations of white limestone sediments at the bottom, which reflect the sun’s rays.

The reservoir lies on the way to Lake Ritsa, and tourists stop here to take pictures against its background. You can’t swim here because you can’t swim. The water temperature does not exceed +14°C even in summer.

Blue Lake has no plankton or fish, but beautiful peacocks stroll along the shore. Nearby is a small artificial waterfall, around which dense thickets of deciduous trees.

Blue Lake
A blue lake with magical azure water.

Sightseeing in Abkhazia in summer

The region is home to several hard-to-reach tourist sites that are only accessible to visitors in the summer. In rainy or snowy weather, it is difficult and dangerous to get close to them. And in some cases you have to stay overnight, which is impractical in the fall or winter season.

The ghost town of Akarmara

Just 30 km from the town of Tkvarcheli is the abandoned village of Akarmara. During the Soviet years it was a major coal mining center where German prisoners of war worked.

However, in the 1980s, against the backdrop of the economic crisis, the old interethnic conflict worsened and the families of the miners began to leave Akarmara en masse. After the Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993, the village was deserted and now has only 35 residents.

Today, Acarmara has become the center of an organized tourist “pilgrimage. It is located in a picturesque hilly area and is gradually overgrown with subtropical vegetation.

On its territory there are old buildings, most of which were damaged during the war. Tourists can enter abandoned houses and look at closed mines.

Arriving in Arcamara as part of a tour group, travelers will hear from a guide many interesting and fascinating facts about the history of the ghost town.

Akarmara is a ghost town with subtropical vegetation.

Anakopia Fortress

Abkhaz territories were often claimed by neighboring nations, so at different times on the territory of Abkhazia were built many defensive structures.

Anakopia Fortress, located on the top of the Iversky Mountains of New Athos, is considered to be the best preserved historical monument.

It was erected in the IV-V centuries on an area of 70 km². Iverskaya mountain was the construction site of the first line, which was a citadel with a length of 83 m and a width of 37 m. With two main and one external lines of defense, Anakopia fortress became a formidable defensive structure.

Anakopia Fortress
Anakopia fortress on the top of Iversky mountain.

Prince of Oldenburg Castle

The Castle of Prince of Oldenburg is located near the Old Gagra, on a hillside not far from the place where the river Joekvara flows into the Black Sea. There is a park on the coast, where tropical plants are planted.

The famous castle was built in 1902 and is made in the Art Nouveau style. The author of the project was the famous architect I. K. Luceransky. The castle is a beautiful structure with a red tiled roof, balconies, chimneys, and a falconer’s tower.

Prince of Oldenburg Castle
The Castle of Prince of Oldenburg in the Art Nouveau style.

Pshu village

A small village Pskhu is located at the foot of Mount Inal-Kuba – one of the seven holy places of Abkhazia. It is located in a deep basin at an altitude of 760 m above sea level and is surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges, the slopes of which are covered with dense mixed forests.

Pshu is a hard place to get to.

Along the southern outskirts of the village runs the main river of Western Abkhazia – Bzyb. Its population is about 300 people, including mostly Russians.

All local families live a subsistence lifestyle. Around the village there are rich hunting grounds, in the Bzyb and its tributaries are found a lot of fish, including. trout.

Pshu village
The village of Pskhu is located high in the mountains.

Original entertainment venues

In addition to beaches, mountain trails, cultural and historical buildings in Abkhazia, there are unusual places of entertainment.

Travelers hungry for new experiences are encouraged to visit:

  1. Cave complexes. The region has many underground corridors, most of which have hiking trails. The most popular is the New Athos Cave, which includes 8 spacious halls with clear lakes and waterfalls. You can get a sharper experience by visiting the 2,199-meter-deep Kruber complex. It is only accessible as part of a speleological group, because there are no planned tourist routes in the cave.
  2. Fishing and hunting bases. Abkhazia has many mountain rivers and dense forests rich in fish and game. The traveler is provided with the necessary equipment that will allow him to spend several days in the natural environment.
  3. Diving centers. Along the coast there are places where swimmers make deep dives. The most popular bases are Sukhum and Pitsunda. The necessary equipment can be rented.
New Athos Cave
New Athos Cave includes eight halls.

What to see in Abkhazia by car: independent routes

The main attractions of Abkhazia are natural landscapes and abandoned buildings. And most of them are near highways.

The route depends on the amount of time allotted to rest. These can be one-day trips or multi-week trips.

For those who travel by car, the following options are possible:

  1. A day trip. First of all, it is recommended to visit the resort town of Gagra, where there are many cultural and natural monuments. It is worth going to the Seaside Park, built by Prince of Oldenburg. Also in one day you can have time to go to the amazing Lake Ritza and take a walk in the Ritza National Park. The most beautiful places also include thickets of conifers and tropical plants.
  2. Weekend Vacation. Over the weekend you can get to know Abkhazia better. It is a must to visit local restaurants to enjoy local coffee and traditional spicy dishes (meats and pastries). You can go to the city of New Athos to explore the abandoned buildings.
  3. A multi-day trip. In this case, you can make any routes, choosing the most beautiful and inaccessible places of Abkhazia. With a lot of time to spare, it is better to go to the ghost town of Akarmara to explore the many cave complexes, walk through the reserves. The guidebook will help you get your bearings quickly.
A walk through Ritza National Park will be remembered for a long time.

What to do in Abkhazia in bad weather

Subtropical climate of Abkhazia is favorable for recreation: it has a hot summer and mild winter. Sometimes there are periods of inclement weather that last for several days or weeks. However, even then, tourists can have a good rest by visiting cultural institutions or restaurants.

Visitors to the capital are advised to visit the Abkhaz State Museum, which presents exhibits about the history of the Caucasus and ancient European states.

A visit to the Abkhaz and Russian Drama Theaters, whose repertoire includes performances based on classical works, will prove to be instructive. In small resort towns and villages, too, there are museum complexes, historical buildings.

If you get hungry, you should visit the local apatza – a restaurant of national cuisine. It is an indoor facility with a hearth in the center. Chefs cook on an open fire and in cauldrons in the presence of visitors. In such a restaurant one orders traditional mamaliga, smoked meat, beans, etc. The atmosphere in the apatskha is cozy and relaxing.

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