Pitsunda is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Abkhazia, it is widely known since the Soviet era with its seven skyscrapers of the Kurort Pitsunda hotel on the coast. Pitsunda Reserve retained the extensive pine groves, so the air feels salubrious pine aroma. The town has absorbed all the best from the Abkhazian nature: the Main Caucasian ridge fends off winds, so there is always calm and mild subtropical climate with warm winter and cool summer.

The sea is incredibly crystal clear here. In summer the water temperature is up to +26°C and the swimming season ends in late October. We personally believe that Pitsunda is the most favorite place in Abkhazia, we often come here at all times of the year, and each time we love the place more and more.

Road to Pitsunda along the Cypress Grove
Road to Pitsunda along the Cypress Grove. Photo by Andrew

How to get to Pitsunda

Pitsunda is 25 km from Gagra. From Gagra you can reach it by public transport or taxi. There are regular buses to Pitsunda from other places: the Russian border (Psou point) and Sukhumi.

All information about the border crossing is available in our article "How to get to Abkhazia."

The route from the Russian border to Pitsunda

Pitsunda Beaches

Beaches in Pitsunda are clean and not overcrowded. They are mostly pebble beaches (the western and central part of the coast), and there is a sandy beach with a convenient sea descent (the eastern part). All the beaches are ideal for family holidays which can be pleasant and healthful due to incredibly beautiful nature and fragrant healthy air saturated with scent of centuries-old relic pines.

The most visited beaches are near the Kurort Pitsunda boarding houses. There you can rent chaise-longues and umbrellas, use shower and changing rooms. In the peak tourist season these beaches are quite crowded, but mostly in the central areas – a bit aside and you are on your own.

After the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict the Pitsunda affairs took on an ugly look. There still were tourists at Kurort Pitsunda, though accomodation conditions were appalling. People say that in 2016 some boarding houses were thoroughly repaired and renovated. We failed to check this information, so we do not know if it is true. Still, you can hardly expect the best service and amenities there, but Soviet nostalgia lovers could go and check. Afterwards you are welcomed to write your impressions in the comments.

One of the Kurort Pitsunda boarding houses

One of the Kurort Pitsunda boarding houses. Photo by Andrew

One of the Kurort Pitsunda boarding houses. Photo by Andrew

There are small wild pebble beaches on the western coast. You can shelter under pine trees from the scorching sun. We have been there several times and admired crystal clear water. The beaches are quite spacious and almost deserted, so every camper can enjoy plenty of privacy and tranquility.

There is a nice sandy beach in Pitsunda near the former fish plant, in the most eastern part of the coast. Usually waves there are not strong. But there is no breakwater, so wind can cause high waves of incredible force.

There are also small cafes offering just snacks and drinks. If you are really hungry, look for cafes in the central part of the city.

Pitsunda attractions

The best Pitsunda attraction is its nature: clear sea, relict pine forests and wide beaches. And there are some historical sites, but not many.

The ruins of the ancient Pitiun town are one of the main places of interest in Pitsunda. There was an ancient settlement with a temple of St. Andrew the Apostle. The church still functions. Every day, from June till November, there is an organ music concert. The walls are decorated with the 16th century frescoes, and there is the tomb of St. John Chrysostom under the altar. On the ancient city area there is the museum of the Pitsunda history which is open any day (entrance fee is low).

We were happy to discover Pitsunda in Abkhazia with its incredibly beautiful nature, clean air, tall cypress and pine trees on the sea coast. But a short distance away from the tourist places one could notice half-destroyed houses, poverty and misery. That hurts your heart for a long time. We felt sorry for native people: most of them still live in unrepaired after the war houses, the conditions there are hardly suitable for a decent life. In the suburbs people will not greet you with a smile, so it is better to distance from such places. If you occasionally do get lost in the suburbs, try not to demonstrate your personal valuables for safety. Read more information in the article "Safety in Abkhazia."