Abkhazia is located in the far northwest of Georgia, with the main range of the Caucasus Mountains to the north and the Black Sea to the southwest. There are over 195 kilometres of shoreline, and the climate is warm, humid, and subtropical.
Sokhumi, historically known as or Dioscuria, dates back to the 6th century BCE, and was an important cultural and economic center in the kingdom of Colchis. Its 10-kilometre sandy beach and subtropical plant life makes Sokhumi a popular destination all year round.
When in Sokhumi, you can’t miss the botanical garden, where more than 5,000 species of exotic plants grow throughout the year. Visitors can view rare plants brought in from North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, and more. Where else in the world can you walk through sun-dappled bamboo-lined avenues, rest in the shade of a giant 250-year-old linden tree, and appreciate the sweet smells of desert succulents?
Sokhumi is also home to an impressive art gallery, state museum, and remnants of buildings from the 11th-century Bagrationi period. Here you can also explore stalactite caves, the Primatoriuma farm-laboratory, and the riches of the Shervashidzes, an old ruling family of Abkhazia.
Take some time to enjoy the view from Sokhumi Hill, and be sure to explore Sokhumi Fortress, Anacopia Fortress, Bagrat’s Castle, and the Sokhumi Lighthouse.
In Abkhazia’s Gudauta Region lies some of the world’s deepest karst caves. The New Athos Karst Cave, with its massive stalagmites and underground waterfalls, is a must-see. At a height of 1,950 meters above sea level, the upper area is covered in ice year-round. Here you’ll also find the world’s deepest caves, Krubera and Veryovkina.
Hiking enthusiasts will be sure to love Gantiadi Village, which lies only a few meters from Hashupse Canyon. Here you can explore plateaus, vast cliffs, and stone labyrinths. You can even camp for the night at the speleological campsite on Arabika Massif, at a height of 2,656 meters.
You’ll also want to visit the stunning Dzou Lake and the waterfall along the slopes of Gega. North of Bichvinta lies Georgia’s deepest lake, the enchanting Ritsa, surrounded by towering evergreen firs and Colchian box trees.
Abkhazia is also home to Georgia’s longest rivers, the Bzipi and the Kodori, as well as the world’s shortest river, the Reprua, which is only 18 meters long. You can also see Abkhazia’s unique flora and fauna in the Ritsa, Pskhu-Gumista, and Bichvinta-Miuseri National Parks.
In the village of Mokvi in Ochamchire Municipality, you will find a 10th century cathedral commissioned by the Abkhazian King Leon III. This cathedral served as a house of learning for centuries. You can also visit the Bedia Monastery Complex, built in the 10th century by the first king of a fully united Georgia, Bagrat III. Finally, you can visit the medieval Ilori St. George Church.
Vegetables, fruit, and dairy all have a prominent place in Abkhazian cuisine. It doesn’t matter whether you’re on a private home patio or in an upscale restaurant, you will always be able to find traditional Abkhazian food.
The first local dish you’ll need to try is abista, a corn flour porridge which goes well with beans, cheese, and meat. Other traditional Abkhazian foods are ashvchapani made of kneaded cheese, aritsmgeli a cornbread made with walnuts, akrdtsa a local bean dish, Abkhazian ajika, and dried fig sheets.
If you visit Abkhazia for the traditional holiday of Likhnashta, head to Likhni Village in Gudauta, where you will have the opportunity to try traditional Abkhazian food.
The territory of Abkhazia is currently occupied, and the Georgian government can not guarantee your safety there. Also please be aware that entering Abkhazia is legally possible only from the Georgian side.