The independent state of Abkhazia showcases a different side to Georgia. Set on the Black Sea and bordered by the Caucasus Mountains to the north, it offers beautiful beaches, unique cuisine and fascinating historical sites. While Abkhazia has a turbulent past, it extends a warm welcome to visitors and is a great destination if you want to get off the beaten track.
Things to do in Abkhazia
Sukhumi, the lively state capital, is a great launchpad for visiting Abkhazia. Known as Aqwa by locals, the city is fringed by pebble beaches and is popular with Russian sunseekers. Enjoy the holiday atmosphere of the waterfront district and admire lush tropical plants at Sukhumi Botanical Garden.
Surrounded by rugged mountains, Lake Ritsa was once a summer retreat for Soviet politicians. Hike along the scenic trails and enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the lake. The drive up to the lake is a highlight and takes you past tumbling waterfalls and flower-filled alpine meadows.
Swaying palms and a warm subtropical climate give the sun-drenched beach town of Gagra a Mediterranean feel. Bask on the beach, swim in the Black Sea and stroll through breezy Seaside Park filled with lush tropical plants and flowers. Krubera Cave is a popular day trip, with tours taking you deep into the cavern.
The ancient town of New Athos combines history, culture and beautiful coastal scenery. New Athos Monastery towers over the town and will impress you with its soaring domes and intricate frescoes. The hike up to the ruins of Anakopia Fortress rewards you with sweeping views over the Black Sea.
Sampling Abkhazia cuisine at local cafes and restaurants will be a highlight of your trip. Try traditional “achma” cheese bread, “akud” seasoned beans and salads topped with locally grown walnuts. Wash down your meal with a glass of atshadzyua, an alcoholic drink made with honey.
Getting around Abkhazia
Major cities and towns like Sukhumi, Gagra and New Athos are pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. Rental cars offer the freedom to explore Abkhazia at your own pace, while local buses are also a good way to get from A to B.