Founded by the Ancient Greeks in the 5th century BC, Pitsunda is now a popular resort town on Abkhazia’s Black Sea coast. It was an important political and religious centre throughout the Middle Ages and has flourished as a summer getaway destination since Soviet times, largely due to its pebbly beaches.
In the heart of Pitsunda is the Cathedral of St. Andrew the Apostle, a 10th-century landmark that currently serves as the seat of the Abkhazian Orthodox Church. Marvel at its thick Byzantine walls featuring alternating rows of stone and brickwork, then step inside to see the frescoes dating from the 13th to 16th centuries. In 1830, a 12th-century Georgian manuscript of the Four Gospels was discovered at the cathedral and is now housed at Tbilisi’s Georgian National Center of Manuscripts.
Spend your days relaxing on the pebbly beaches that hug the Mys Pitsunda, a triangular-shaped headland fringed by pine trees on the edge of Bichvinta Bay. It offers sweeping views across the Black Sea and the rugged mountains of Bichvinta-Miusera Nature Reserve. Once you’ve built up an appetite, there are several cafes where you can grab a bite to eat, including Cafe Parus and the Orange Bar.
Want to get active? You can follow one of the hiking trails that wind through the Bichvinta-Miuseri Strict Nature Reserve, which was established in 1965 to protect the area’s native flora and fauna. It’s particularly notable for its groves of Pitsundian pine and the home of Caucasian persimmons, Colchic figs and Caucasian walnuts.
Pitsunda is a 1.5-hour drive from Sukhumi and just under two hours from Sukhumi Babushara Airport. Buses connect to Pitsunda from destinations across Abkhazia while the centre of town is small enough to explore on foot.