Weekend in the “land of the soul”

Weekend in the “land of the soul”

How to combine in one small vacation a holiday by the sea, walks through abandoned cities immersed in subtropical greenery, a picnic in alpine meadows, a promenade along the streets of the old city and a visit to fashionable cafes? That’s right: go to Abkhazia, or “the country of the soul,” as the locals affectionately call it.

How to get there and where to stay

You need to fly to Sochi, from the airport to the border with Abkhazia only 8 kilometers. Flights will cost from 6,200 rubles* one way. You can also get there by train to Adler station or Sukhumi. The price of a train ticket is from 4,300 rubles* one way. 

We recommend staying in the capital and from there making forays to various attractions. Here are some suitable hotel options:

Garuda Boutique Hotel – from 9,900 rubles* per night in a double room;

AinLan – from 8,200 rubles* per night in a double room;

Hotel Samson – from 3,900 rubles* per night in a double room.

Things to do

Holidays in Abkhazia mean not only Lake Ritsa and the palace of Prince Alexander of Oldenburg in Gagra, but also getting to know the most remote corners of the country. It’s worth going here to understand the secrets that abandoned cities keep, to marvel at the fragility of buildings and the power of nature.

Swim in waterfalls and thermal springs

June is a great time to observe deep waterfalls in all their glory. It won’t be long before they turn into small streams, so you need to have time to see the natural attractions.

Waterfalls of Chernigovka

Numerous creeks and tunnels are located near the village of the same name, in the limestone bed of the Machara River. The route from Chernigovka takes about half an hour at a leisurely pace and passes along specially equipped wooden bridges. It’s nice to go for a walk with the whole family along eco-trails laid among dense greenery and mosses.

Weekend in the “land of the soul”

Olga waterfalls

Olginskie waterfalls are located half an hour from Chernigovka. There are also landscaped paths that are suitable for those who like a leisurely pace of walking. It’s great to come here to take a leisurely stroll among the seething and sparkling water streams in the sun and watch the blue dragonflies that add a fairytale ambiance to this place.

Shakuran Falls 

Here you will no longer find scaffolding and well-maintained paths; this is a wilder trek that will appeal to avid travelers. The Shakuran waterfall is located in the gorge of the same name in the Gulripsha region of Abkhazia. The route starts in the meadows of the village of Tsabal, but quickly turns into a narrow path among rocks and boulders, between which you will have to make your way with extreme caution. As a reward for your efforts along the way, you will be able to admire the view of a boxwood forest covered with moss and vines, and at the end an amazing waterfall consisting of three cascades awaits. Their total height reaches 250 meters.

Thermal springs in the village of Kingi

In hot weather, you can swim in waterfalls and mountain rivers, and in bad weather, relax in hot springs. To do this, go to the village of Kingi, where there are natural pools with different depths and temperatures water. It’s great to come here if you’re tired of mountain treks. The springs have a healing effect, and hydrogen sulfide, radon and mud baths are great for relaxing at the end of the day. 

Explore an abandoned mining settlement

Weekend in the “land of the soul”

A must-see when visiting Abkhazia should be the city of Tkuarchal in the east of the country, where the abandoned mining settlement of Akarmara is located. In June-July, the blooming of hydrangeas gives this location a special contrast. It is so quiet here that the cows with bells on their necks encountered along the way are almost the only source of sound, and the frescoes and mosaics on the destroyed facades of buildings are like a portal to the Soviet past, where many people dreamed of space. In Tkuarchal you can continue the tour of the waterfalls and visit Akarmarakiy, Svyatoy, Irina and Zolotonets.

Have a picnic in the alpine meadows

Weekend in the “land of the soul”

You should definitely climb Mount Mamzyshkha, which is located not far from Gagra, to be amazed at the scale of the green valleys and the endless sea.

Despite the fact that you will have to climb to a height of almost 2000 meters, this route is easy even for small children. Thanks to the fairly gentle ascent, the journey on foot takes about an hour at a calm pace, but you can also travel it by car. It will be great to have a family picnic among the mountain herbs, capture on camera a panoramic view of the Bzyb Gorge and the entire coast from Sochi to Sukhum, and arrange a photo shoot among the bright bluebells. In June-July you can find rhododendron blooming here.

Take a walk in New Athos

In this cozy city you want time to stop. One of the main advantages of New Athos is that there are many attractions that are within walking distance.

New Athos Cave 

We recommend starting your acquaintance with the city with the underground world, since in the high season there is a risk of ending up in a long line, and in the morning you will have a better chance of getting there without a crowd of tourists. In the bowels of the earth, six halls with jagged stalagmites and frozen waterfalls are available. 

Weekend in the “land of the soul”

New Athos Simon-Kananitsky Monastery 

This is the main shrine of Abkhaz Christianity, the center of the country’s Orthodox culture. A lot of light penetrates into the temple, which illuminates the biblical scenes on the walls in a special way. In the courtyard of the monastery you can often meet artists painting with oil paints. To get in touch with art, it is enough to watch the meditative work of the masters.

Anakopia fortress on Iverskaya Mountain

The majestic fortress on the top of the mountain attracts tourists with its inaccessibility and the secrets kept by history. Both travelers and locals love to come here to experience one of the most unforgettable sunsets of their lives, as well as listen to stories about the defenders of Anacopia. 

Near the northern wall of the citadel there is a temple in honor of the holy great martyr Theodore Tyrone. It was rebuilt many times, and only the chapel remained intact. All that remains of the temple itself are ruins.

Psyrtskha railway station

One of the favorite locations for photo shoots. The once-functioning station welcomed passengers arriving from different parts of the USSR. Rare trains still rush past the cinematic gazebo framed by palm trees, but they no longer stop. 

Weekend in the “land of the soul”

Give yourself a beach holiday 

It’s hard to imagine traveling around Abkhazia without visiting the beaches. It is noticeably more spacious here than at Russian resorts, and you don’t need to travel long distances to choose the most comfortable coastline – sandy or pebble.

For example, the coast of Pitsunda is suitable for a relaxing holiday with the whole family. The bay has the cleanest water on the coast, and you can come here with very young children.

Sinop Beach, also known as Mocha, is located 6 km from Sukhum, and its coastal strip is covered with golden sand. On the shore you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas, and you can also ride catamarans and jet skis. Entertainment includes water rides, and there is also a cafe where you can order light snacks, ice cream and drinks.

Weekend in the “land of the soul”

The central beach of Sukhum is suitable for those who do not want to go far from the tourist spots of the city. Numerous cafes are nearby, so you can combine visiting them and sunbathing on the seashore.  

Drink a cup of coffee in one of the coffee shops in Sukhum

In the capital, it’s worth taking a walk around the old town and stopping in one of the coffee shops, or taking a glass to go and wandering along the embankment. 

Weekend in the “land of the soul”


Another name is “Proper Coffee Laboratory”. This is a stylish coffee shop with a pleasant minimalist interior. Smolol prepares delicious drinks and treats you to such desserts as “Whoopie Pie” or “Anna Pavlova”. 


A cafe overlooking the palm alley, where it’s easy to lose track of time at a table on the veranda. Friendly baristas will not only recommend what to choose – a croissant or cheesecake, but will also tell you a couple of local legends. 

Brigantine Coffee

A place of attraction for the city’s bright and active youth. It’s delicious, loud, warm here. The coffee shop is located in the city center near the sea station, and is easily identified by the bright red panel above the facade of the building, left over from Soviet times. In addition to coffee, the menu has a large selection of milkshakes, smoothies, cold coffee drinks and lemonades. 

Stock up on souvenirs

Weekend in the “land of the soul”

The journey should be completed by purchasing gifts. To do this, just visit one of the markets and buy adjika, suluguni, dried persimmon or local sweet adzhindzhukh. Also pay attention to unique souvenirs – for example, a spatula for applying hominy (amkhap) and an “Abkhazian blender” for beans (a device for stirring beans). 

*Prices valid at time of publication.

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