THE ARCHETYPICAL SOVIET HOLIDAY
Sukhumi – Gagra – Novy Afon – Gaudata – Ritsa – Tkvarcheli
The following itinerary involves a visit to one or more separatist provinces and/or contested territories. Our tours are aimed to an educated clientele animated by a genuine cultural and historical interest for the little-known regions we offer within our portfolio of post-Soviet destinations. By no means we endorse and support political parties, ideological movements, armed factions and interest groups involved in the military and diplomatic conflicts afflicting the regions we travel to. Specifically we do not support territorial separatism and we strongly reject any form of violence. De facto independent but the de jure unrecognised states shall be fully considered as constituent entities of the country they seceded from. We firmly believe in true dialogue and unbiased fact-checking as the only viable path for a durable peace and stability in the region. In this regard our tours shall be seen as an instrument of knowledge and awareness for the erudite clientele we cater for. Political activists, propagandists and biased publicists of any sort are not welcome to join our tours.
How to reach Abkhazia? Abkhazia can be either entered from Georgia or from Russia; the latter is considered illegal according to the Georgian Law on Occupied Territories. We do not encourage any breach of law and therefore we strongly advise to use the legal route from Georgia. If you choose to travel via Russia nevertheless, we can assist you with a full service from Sochi. We also offer you a cheaper independent route, which envisages a travel to the Abkhazian border at your own leisure. The three options are enlightened below. Beware: if you enter Abkhazia from Russia you cannot exit Abkhazia to Georgia.
Bespoke tours to Abkhazia: the following itinerary refers to our most popular route in Abkhazia. In case you are interested in a particularly remote area, secretive ethnicity, unusual activity and/or off-the-beaten-path attraction within Abkhazia or if you are just looking for an hit-and-run visit to Sukhumi and its surroundings, we will easily meet your needs with a unique tour individually designed according to your preferences. Get in touch for more info on our private tours to Abkhazia!
DAY 1 - Sukhumi
Kutaisi (Georgia) option: our Georgian guide will meet you either in the arrival hall of Kutaisi International Airport or at your hotel of choice in downtown Kutaisi; transfer to the Georgian-Abkhazian border at Inguri; border crossing (on foot and on your own); our Abkhazian guide will collect you on the other side of the border and take care of your transfer to Sukhumi.
Sochi (Russia) option: our Abkhazian guide will meet you either in the arrival hall of Sochi International Airport or at your hotel of choice in Sochi downtown; transfer to the Russian-Abkhazian border at Psou; border crossing by car (our guide will cross with you); transfer to Sukhumi.
Independent option (-250 € discount): you will reach the Abkhazian border on your own (either Psou or Inguri); our Abkhazian guide will collect you on the Abkhazian side of the border and take care of your transfer to Sukhumi.
Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in Abkhazia.
Afternoon stroll along the esplanade.
Dinner and overnight in Sukumi.
DAY 2 - Western Abkhazia
We'll spend the entire day going truly off the beaten path in Western Abkhazia.
After a quick photo stop at the geothermal hot springs of Kyndyg, we'll head down to the sleepy Soviet towns of Ochamchira, where cows roam free among the war torn Stalinist buildings of the city centre, and Gali, a rough-and-ready border town notorious for the interethnic and political tensions between the Georgian-Mingrelian majority and the newly arrived Abkhaz settlers.
We'll then drive to Tkvarcheli, a captivating and eerie half-abandoned coal-mining Soviet town nestled in the green mountains of Southwestern Abkhazia.
In the late afternoon we'll head back to Sukhumi for some rest and a well-deserved lucullian dinner.
Dinner and overnight in Sukhumi.
DAY 3 - Abkhazian Mountains
We'll start early in the morning and head up north to the fresh air and the magical atmosphere of the Abkhaz Mountains.
We'll travel along the scenic road running parallel to the Bzipi river and before lunch we'll reach Ritsa, a deep-blue mountain lake surrounded by thick forests and subalpine meadows.
For the athletic ones: challenging trek around the lake.
For the lazier ones: easy hike in the woods.
For the laziest: chill-out time with the locals (aka beer and shashliks on the lakeshore).
We will also have the opportunity to visit Stalin's favourite lakeside dacha and have tea served like a true Soviet apparatchik.
Lunch, dinner and overnight with a Ritsa.
DAY 4 - Abkhazian Riviera
A long day of sea, beach and sun: we'll travel down to the coast, then up to the Russian border near Adler and then back south to Sukhumi.
On the way we'll break the journey several times for photo and food stops and to visit the ancient monastery of Novy Afon and the pleasant Soviet seaside towns of Gagra, Gaudata, Pitsunda and Mayak.
Highlights of the day will include brutalist Soviet resorts, pristine pebble beaches, delicious seafood, melancholic marinas and some truly fancy dachas.
Dinner and overnight in Sukhumi.
DAY 5 - Sukhumi
We'll entirely devote our final day to the exploration of Sukhumi.
Sukhumi sightseeing tour: Stalinist palaces, Soviet-era promenades, war-torn buildings, botanical gardens, Soviet sanatoria, rickety piers and subtropical flavours.
Traditional Abkhazian lunch.
Monkeys and Beaches: after lunch we'll drive to the hills to visit the Space Monkeys Sanctuary, a very peculiar place that harbors space-race-era apes and their descendants. We'll then hit the beach for some quality time to be spent either trying to spot the surprisingly common Black Sea dolphins or just swimming and sunbathing like a lazy post-Soviet seal.
You'll also have the unique chance to discover Sukhumi's alternative side by meeting with local artists, university students and underground musicians.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in Sukhumi.
DAY 6 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last Abkhaz-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
For those flying out: we will arrange transfer to either Kutaisi International Airport or Sochi International Airport for your flight back home.
For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: we will arrange transport to the local train/bus station.
End of the tour.
4 to 9 participants: 990 €
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 18 euro/night), private transport in the region, entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility.
Airport pickup/transfer in Kutaisi and Sochi is available for just 35 euros per ride.
Disclaimer: the designations employed and the presentation of the material on this website do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of our company concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The territory of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia is internationally recognised as integral part of Georgia. Regardless of your/our position on the issue and for all travel-related intents and purposes, however, the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia is no longer under the control of Georgian authorities.