By: The PH Team
Abkhazia is an unrecognized country in the Caucasus region. Once part of the Soviet Union, the country declared independence after the dissolution of the former superpower.
Internationally recognized as part of Georgia, its sovereignty was completely secured after the Russo-Georgia was in 2008.
Travelling to Abkhazia
As Abkhazia is internationally recognized as part of neighbouring Georgia, Tourism in Abkhazia is considered illegal under Georgian law. However, this does not mean that travellers cannot pass through the open border with Georgia.
Abkhazia has two open borders, one with Russia and one with Georgia. Travellers who decide to travel through Georgia will be granted access to Abkhazia by the Georgian government - albeit with some suspicion.
Georgia does however consider it illegal entry into its territory for those who decide to enter through the territory of Russia.
Although, their ability to enforce Georgian law is minimal and since Abkhazia does not stamp passports, no one will be the wiser.
With a whopping 1.5 million tourists annually, Abkhazia is considered the most visited unrecognized country in the world. The only other unrecognized country that can complete with this number of tourists it Northern Cyprus.
Although, the number of Western tourists to Abkhazia is extremely low and Russian tourists make up the vast majority of the 1.5 million annual tourists that Abkhazia sees. The rest of that number is made up of Russian speakers from other ex-Soviet States.
Abkhazia is not a new tourism destination however. During the time of the Soviet Union, Abkhazia's Black Sea beaches and resorts attracted tourists from all over the former State, constituting roughly 40% of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic's tourism market.
In addition to its pristine beaches and climate, Abkhazia is conveniently located next to Sochi in Russia - the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics and popular domestic Russian vacation destination.
This makes it quite easy for both Russian and international travellers to get to Abkhazia through the Sochi Airport in Adler, Russia.