Literally 30 years ago, many tourists, both from Russia and from all over the world, dreamed of a vacation in Abkhazia. Then her popularity faded to almost nothing, but now she is gradually returning. Indeed, how can you not love the clean laser Black Sea coast, Abkhazian wine and the wonderful nature of this country?
Inexpensive tours, lack of borders, a good hotel base and infrastructure improving every year – all this attracts more and more Russian tourists to Abkhazia.
How to get to Abkhazia
How to get to Abkhazia by train
From Moscow to Sukhumi can be reached by direct train in 41 hours 43 minutes. You can also get to Adler from any major city and from there get to Sukhumi by bus or commuter train. Twice a day, an electric train from Sochi travels to Sukhumi, a ticket for which costs 170 rubles.
Airplanes do not fly directly to Abkhazia – you can only fly to Sochi, and from there take a bus to Abkhazia.
By bus or taxi
Buses to Sukhumi and other cities of Abkhazia travel from Sochi, Adler, Rostov-on-Don, Krymsk, Krasnodar, Volgograd and Moscow. For 150 rubles from Adler you can get to the border with Abkhazia, and from there on local minibuses for 50-100 rubles to Gagra or Sukhum.
You can take a taxi from Adler or Sochi, but it will cost about 3.5 thousand. It is better to take a taxi to Sukhum on the border of Abkhazia – it will cost only 1200-1500 rubles.
In summer, from the sea pier of Adler, in 1.5 hours you can swim to the port of Gagra on a catamaran. The fare is 500 rubles.
It is most profitable to travel to Abkhazia on last-minute tours that you can pick up here.
According to toppharmacyschools.org, transport in Abkhazia is represented mainly by buses and fixed-route taxis. Buses, minibuses and trolleybuses run regularly only in Sukhum, there are several routes in the areas of Pitsunda and Gagra. The network of private taxis is very developed, a trip around Sukhumi will cost about 100 rubles. Garuda Express is considered the best taxi service – they have a wide fleet of vehicles, and you can get to any settlements in Abkhazia.
IMPORTANT: There is no official car rental in Abkhazia.
Information about transport.
Currency of Abkhazia
If we talk about money in Abkhazia, then it is mostly Russian rubles that are used here. In some places they accept dollars and euros, but the exchange rate is very unfavorable. Often, counterfeit banknotes can be handed over at exchange offices. There may also be problems with withdrawing money from a card or paying with a card, so it’s best to just bring cash in rubles with you.
Shopping in Abkhazia
Shops in Abkhazia are not something worth striving for here. There are no large shopping centers, salons and boutiques. There are large stores only in Sukhum, and in other cities everyone buys in small shops and markets. All equipment and clothes are delivered here through Russia, so it only costs more. But it is quite possible to walk around the local markets in search of wine, mountain honey and natural products.
IMPORTANT: It is better to buy goods in the back rows, or right before closing – this way you can save a lot.
As souvenirs from Abkhazia they bring:
- Adjika is a spicy aromatic spice. It costs from 100 rubles, you can buy almost anywhere;
- Homemade cheeses. They cost from 300 rubles, although they are not stored for a very long time;
- Spices. They cost from 100 rubles. They say that they are better here than here in Russia;
- Chachu is a traditional strong alcohol made from grapes. It costs from 500 rubles;
- Tea. It costs from 100 rubles, and has an interesting taste;
- Cezva, or Turku. Vessel for brewing coffee. It costs from 200 rubles;
- Daggers. Beautifully designed would make a great gift. They cost from a thousand rubles, but it is important to buy not real weapons, but replicas so that they are not taken away at the border;
- Shell jewelry. They cost from 150 rubles;
- Churchkhela is a national sweet made from walnuts. It costs on the market from 50 rubles.
Cuisine of Abkhazia
The national cuisine of Abkhazia is represented by meat, hominy, boiled beans, tart sauces and other products. And you should definitely try them during your trip. Just keep in mind that the dishes are often spicy and smoky, so your stomach may not like them.
Hominy is a traditional flour dish made from cornmeal. It resembles porridge with various additives, for example, sour cream or cheese. A lot of people in Abkhazia eat adjika, adding it to various products. An important role is played by dairy products – most often they use sour goat, cow and buffalo milk, cheeses, etc. And many people really like khachapuri – tortillas with cheese. Meat in Abkhazia is cooked over hot coals and served with spicy sauce and onions. You should also try Akud – boiled beans.
Restaurants in Abkhazia mostly look like apatsha – a traditional building, which is an important part of the Abkhazian estate. Dishes are cooked there right in the presence of guests, on an open fire.
Reviews about the rest in Abkhazia
In general, people respond positively to the review in Abkhazia, they note a very good sea and beaches, and pleasant hotels and boarding houses. There are sporadic negative reviews of bad accommodations, but these are usually associated with very cheap guest houses. So be sure to read the reviews before you book a place to stay.
There are also negative reviews about the country itself, for example, many do not like high prices in stores. The attitude of the locals is also not always encouraging – some do not like Russians, they often try to deceive tourists in the markets. But if you just check into a hotel and relax on the beach, sometimes visiting sights, then you can have a pretty good time. Moreover, the water is really very clean, and the nature is wonderful.
Advantages and disadvantages of rest in Abkhazia
Tourist specialists have been eyeing Abkhazia for a long time, so they highlighted the main pros and cons of a trip to Abkhazia.
- Inexpensive tours and accommodation;
- The opportunity to relax even without a passport;
- Very clean sea;
- Lack of crowds of tourists;
- Unique nature;
- Wide opportunities for therapeutic rest;
- Interesting ancient sights;
- No language barrier.
- Not too developed infrastructure, especially on the beaches;
- Accommodation conditions are not always good;
- The local population is sometimes unfriendly to Russians (but this is rare, and is expressed only in words);
- Not everyone likes the local cuisine;
- There are no shopping opportunities.
IMPORTANT: So in general, Abkhazia is very well suited for a relaxing beach and sightseeing holiday with children. But lovers of noisy entertainment and shopping are unlikely to like it here.
Frequently asked questions about Abkhazia
Question: How is the border crossing?
A: Mostly simple, but often time consuming – at peak times it can take several hours. It is enough just to show the passport to the customs officer, often customs inspections are not even carried out. There are no financial fees.
Question: How to get to Abkhazia with a child?
Answer: Until the age of 14, you will need a birth certificate with a stamp or citizenship insert. Often it is enough that the certificate indicates that one parent is a citizen of the Russian Federation. From 14 to 18 you need a child’s passport and his certificate to establish kinship with parents. If the child travels without both parents, then their notarized consent is required. A child can travel on a foreign passport, but they will put a stamp on it, with which entry into Georgia will be problematic.
Question: How to get from the Adler railway station to other places?
Answer: By minibuses and buses, you can take the train early in the morning to Sukhum. There are taxi drivers, their services cost 100-150 rubles.
Question: Is it possible to come to Abkhazia by car?
Answer: Yes, you will need a license to enter. There are no special requirements for drivers. Traffic in the country is normal, there are paid parking near the sights. There are many gas stations, but it is better to refuel in Adler.
Question: How to book accommodation “savage”, not in a hotel?
Answer: The easiest way to do this is in the private sector – there are many offers on various sites on the Internet, everything is done online. You can take a chance and just come to the country, and then ask taxi drivers – usually they have information about who rents houses and rooms where.