How to get to Lake Ritsa on your own?
Mountain Lake Ritsa in Abkhazia is located in the Gadauta district, east of Gagra. You can get here as part of an excursion program or “on your own” – by car. In any case, if you come here once, you will definitely want to return more than once. Let’s determine all possible routes, so that this local attraction of Abkhazia is not left without attention.
How to get to Lake Ritza by car
To enjoy the local beauty, a number of routes are provided, depending on the point of departure. Consider the most common among them:
- From Sukhum . Journey takes 110 km . Heading to the bridge over the river Bzyb, then turn left and go down the “serpentine”.
- From Gagra . The distance is not long, only 55 km . Then go along the route E60 till the settlement Blaburkhva, after turn left and go down the SH11 highway till the end of the road to the reservoir.
- From Sochi . It takes 3 hours to travel from Sochi to Lake Ritsa in 120 kilometers. Go to the border, cross control point at 101, Harvest Street, “Psou Border”. Then from the checkpoint go along E60 highway, after traditionally turn to the “serpentine”.
- From Moscow. Tourists will have to drive 1745 km. If you don’t need to stop, the way can be covered in 24 hours. The tourists will have to drive through Voronezh, Rostov-on-Don and Krasnodar. After passing border control in Abkhazia, then along the above-mentioned highway E60 to the “serpentine” to Ritza.
- From Adler. On the way – 93 km. You have to pass the border control at the above-mentioned address in Adler. Then you have to drive along the E60 highway till the “Blue Lake”, after that you go till Ritsa following the road signs.
The entrance to the reservoir is paid. The entrance fee for adults is 350 rubles per 1 person, children under 7 years old are free. To get to your destination is also possible by cab.
How to get to Lake Ritsa from Sochi, Novy Afon and Adler
To get to Abkhazia, it is necessary to pass border control. It is obligatory for all visitors. Then there are several options how to get to Lake Ritza in Abkhazia quickly.
For example, from the checkpoint there are several minibuses and shuttle buses to the hospitable Gagra. After disembarking, get by hitchhiking or order a cab to the body of water itself. Consider possible options to visit the natural pearl of Abkhazia.
If the answer to the question of how to get to Lake Ritza from Adler is a cab, it is important to understand that such a trip from the border to the destination will cost the tourist 4,700 rubles. You can bargain with the local drivers.
How to get to Lake Ritsa from Sochi
You will have to change trains and there is no direct flight. On arrival to Sochi railway station you will have to buy a ticket for the bus №173. Firstly, go to the Adlerian border, then go through customs and on schedule take a suburban bus to a given direction Gagra. Also, you can get from Sochi to Gagra by high-speed train, then take a hitchhiker or a cab.
If tourists in Sochi on vacation, we recommend ordering an excursion program to Ritza, get acquainted with the history, location, how many kilometers and legends of this mountain lake. Transfer and accompaniment of a professional guide is included in the ticket price, a rich program too. The average price for a trip with a tour – from 1250 rubles. with 1 person, varies from the selected route.
How to get from Adler
This is another tourist town, a favorite place for tourists. From Adler to Lake Ritsa is real to get in 60-80 minutes, walk around the area and return to the so-called civilization. The distance from Adler to the lake Ritsa is 90 km, which can be overcome by public transport.
After passing through customs, find the stop “Adler, Psou checkpoint”, where there are two necessary routes – № 565 from Sukhum, № 566 from the bus station in Rostov-on-Don. After arriving in Gagra change to a hitchhiker or use the paid services of a cab.
- Video review and tips about travelling on your own
How to come from Gagra
For tourists has long been a favorite route “Gagra – Lake Ritza”. The trip takes no more than 1 hour, attracts visitors with picturesque landscapes and mountain air. This is a close landmark of the resort, so the vacation does not do without a visit to the mountain body of water, colorful photos and touching memories.
The distance from Gagra to Ritza is 50 km. Starts on the highway E60, and turn left after the bridge of Bzyb goes in the direction of SN 11. At the end you have to go along the Yupshar canyon by the winding “serpentine”. The road is branched, can cause a slight dizziness in tourists.
How to drive from New Athos to Ritsa Lake
Every tourist theoretically knows where Lake Ritsa is in Abkhazia, but it is not easy to build a route to this natural attraction. For example, from Novy Afon you can get to the site only with a guided tour or by private cab. Other transportation in the direction of “New Athos – Lake Ritza” does not go.
You can travel by car. The road to the lake Ritza begins from the highway E60, and you should turn left at the village Blaburkhva. Then you will have to drive along the narrow “serpentine”, the route requires special attention of the driver. The reviews of the trip are positive, and it will take just over 1 hour to get there.
How to get there from Pitsunda
In an hour’s drive from the mountain reservoir there is another resort. The distance from Pitsunda to Lake Ritsa is 80 km, which can be covered in 1 hour. You can get to the destination by sightseeing tour or by private cab. In the latter case the trip starts at 900 rubles. Regular buses do not go in this direction.
You are advised to drive along highway E60 to the crossroads, then turn left and drive along the SH 11. Before you turn right mind the traffic regulations because there is often a traffic police station behind it. Then go along the panoramic “serpentine”, which in 200 meters will lead you straight to the nature sight. Rest on Lake Ritsa in Abkhazia will not be forgotten, the beauty of local places.
The way to the lake Ritsa in Abkhazia lies along the coast of Bzyb river – a picturesque serpentine road. The places are beautiful, but the way is convoluted. Not the best place for two cars to separate.
How to get by bus?
If you plan to visit this natural object, it is better to find out in advance how to get to Lake Ritsa. Since the nearest city is Gagra, it is advisable to plan a route to this destination, and then act according to the circumstances. Then you can hitchhike, Yandex.Taxi or use the services of private cab drivers. There are no buses to Ritza.
If you get to Gagra, pass the border control, from Bus Station “Psou” there are regular buses to the nearest resorts – Adler, Gagra, N. Afon, Pitsunda, Sukhumi. The bus fare is lower than that of a minibus, but you have to spend more time on the road. For example, the distance from Adler to New Athos is about 80 kilometers. You are traveling by bus for 1 hour. 30 minutes by bus, and 1 hour by cab.
You can get from Adler to Novy Afon by shuttle bus for 150 rubles or by bus for 100 rubles, but you need to go through passport control at the border first. The schedule is published on the official website, there is a chance to adjust, taking into account the transfers. There is also a cab, but it will be more expensive.
Overnight accommodations at the lake
How to get to Lake Ritza on your own is not the only question that should worry tourists. It is also important to familiarize in advance with the places of possible overnight stay, local attractions. About everything in order.
You can stay overnight at Stalin’s dacha. This is not only a museum, but also working hotel, designed for 14 guest rooms, during the season the price per room starts from 3000 rubles. There is also a cozy cafe where you can eat hearty and inexpensive. And in many forums tourists necessarily recommend to order the Georgian wine “Khvanchkara”. Swimming is not recommended, but to set up a tent and spend the night is quite realistic.
If you want you can stay in Gagra. Here you have much more options for spending the night. And in the morning you can hitch a ride to a picturesque lake, which is located 15 kilometers from this resort town. In Gagra is more developed tourist infrastructure, and the ride on the “serpentine” is one of the many natural attractions. When looking for private accommodation be sure to study our selection of apartments and guest houses.
- If you like nature, we advise you to consider inexpensive hotels near the river Bzyb, both options with good reviews and ratings.
Tips for planning a trip
- Under the observation deck there is a local cafe, where the cost of a complex dinner – up to 400 rubles for 1 person.
- At the entrance to the pond is a traffic police post, so it is better not to violate the traffic rules. For example, for not wearing a seat belt inattentive driver will have to pay 2,000 rubles.
- If you travel by car, it is advisable to leave it at a paid parking lot. It is quieter and not expensive.
- The observation deck is above, it offers a picturesque view of the local beauty.
- It is forbidden to swim in the pond itself, but if you drive further, you can get to Stalin’s dacha and the local beach. Only the most courageous go into the water.
- Along the banks there are cozy cafes and outlets, where you can always buy fresh trout from Ritza.
- During the leisurely descent along the narrow serpentine in the gorge, you can see many mountain rivers and waterfalls and enjoy the clean air.
If you go on a trip alone, preferably by train or plane to Adler, and after the border – by shuttle bus to Gagra. Then hitchhike to your destination. When traveling with a group of friends, it is cheaper to travel in a private vehicle, without transfers and with comfort. Otherwise, such a trip will leave unforgettable impressions in your memory! There is always something to see on mountain Ritza, and then you can tell your friends and relatives and take pictures.
My name is Sergey and I work as a guide in various cities in Europe, Asia, eastern Russia, also as a manager of a large travel agency. During my travels I have experienced a lot of emotions, learned useful information about rest and prices, saw unique places, which I hurry to share on the pages of my blog about tourism.
Is it worth to go to Lake Ritsa in Abkhazia
Lake Ritsa is a mountainous body of water, a real non-human-made monument, located in Abkhazia near the town of Gagra. The beauty of this place has attracted thousands of tourists for decades. It is visited by sightseeing buses, cabs or private cars. To vacation in the republic and not visit this miracle of southern nature seems simply impossible.
Where is Lake Ritsa
This place – the subject of special pride of Abkhazians, because the reservoir – one of the wonders of nature, which, according to legend, God rewarded the natives of this paradise area for their hospitality. Therefore, any local resident will tell you where this landmark of Abkhazia is situated.
Located monument of nature in the mountains, at an altitude of 950 meters above sea level. It is separated from the capital of the republic, Sukhum, about 110 kilometers.
The origin of this water massif is glacial and tectonic – it was formed as a consequence of the collapse of mountain Pshegishkhva, a part of which blocked the river Lashipse. This natural reservoir of crystal clear and cold water is surrounded on all sides by mountains:
- from the north – Agepsta and Atsetuk, the height of which reaches 3256 m and 2542 m, respectively;
- From the east – Achibah, or Arttara, which is the top of Rychwa plateau, 2,377 m high;
- from the west – Przegishkhva, which reaches 2217 m.
If you look at Lake Ritsa on the map, you can see this elongated body of water surrounded by high mountains on the territory of Ritsa National Relict Park. The map clearly shows the Yupshara River, which carries its swift waters from Lake Ritsa, Abkhazia. The map of this protected area also shows that the water body is fed by several small rivers at once:
- Four Cherkes;
Several other small streams flow into it.
Can you get there by public transport
If you are vacationing in Sochi or Adler, on Russian territory, you first need to get to the border crossing point – checkpoint “Psou”. You can do it by buses №125 and 125c. After passing through passport control, go to a stop nearby. In the direction of Gagra there are two bus routes – № 565 and 566. Further public transport doesn’t go further. But there are a lot of private drivers in Gagra, you just have to come up and call a landmark – Lake Ritsa, there are a lot of drivers in Abkhazia engaged in transportation, so you do not have to look long.
From other cities of Abkhazia you can get to Gagra by shuttle bus or bus Psou – Sukhum. But the bus is rather rare, minibuses are more frequent. Once in Gagra, then you must act according to the same plan – to find a private driver. Any local driver knows, where Lake Ritza is, and will take you there.
TAKE A NOTE! You can call a cab in Abkhazia through “GT Abkhazia” or “A-Taxi” apps. “Yandex.Taxi”, as well as other Russian services, does not serve the population here.
Only 53 kilometers separate Gagra and Lake Ritza, and on the map of Abkhazia you can see very well the road to this place. It can be overcome in 60-90 minutes.
The most convenient way is tour bus. There are many organized tourist routes from Sochi, Adler and other cities of Abkhazia to this place.
How to get there by car
You can also get to this natural monument of Abkhazia by car. If you go from Sochi or Adler, you must first pass the border. From checkpoint Psou go by highway E-60 towards Gagra. Next, at Blabyrhua village turn according to the sign. The further road will pass through beautiful places.
You have to drive through gorges, along mountain rivers. The quality of the road is not bad, but you don’t have to drive fast, as on the way you will have a desire to stop many times – to admire the beautiful sights, no less fascinating than the mountain pearl Ritsa. You will definitely want to take a picture of these places as a souvenir. Still you may wish to stop at the numerous apiaries, whose owners offer real mountain honey.
The road from the cities of Abkhazia will take the same route, starting from Gagra. Get to Gagra from Sukhum, Pitsunda and New Athos by the same route E-60.
Things to do and see near the lake
And here in front of you is a natural wonder – Lake Ritsa (Abkhazia), the photos of which will decorate your gallery. But, in addition to the beauty of the water surface, there is something else to admire and what to visit, including in the immediate vicinity:
- Maiden’s Tears Falls, which is a sheer cliff with flowing streams of water. It is believed that if you make a wish and tie a colored ribbon on a specially stretched rope, it will come true.
- Wine and cottage cheese tasting place, located in a private winery.
- Viewing platform with the telling name “Farewell, Motherland. Located on the road to Lake Ritsa. Abkhazia can rightly be proud of this view of the Yupshar Gorge.
- Stalin’s Dacha. You can visit the residence of this grim figure of the modern history of Russia and Georgia.
In addition to viewing natural and man-made sights, you can find many other things to do on Lake Ritsa:
- Take a ride on a catamaran on the sparkling water surface;
- Enjoy the dishes of national cuisine;
- stroll around the picturesque surroundings;
- Climb the observation decks overlooking the surroundings.
Lake Ritsa is beautiful at any time of the year. Photos of Lake Ritsa taken in this reserve will leave you pleasant memories.