Lake Ritsa in Abkhazia

All those who spend their holidays in Abkhazia or in the area of Sochi want to visit the Lake Ritsa, which may be quite rightly acknowledged the most beautiful one in the Caucasus. The lake is encircled by the picturesque mountains creating a beautiful rocky relief of the shores of the Lake Ritsa.

The road to the Ritsa is at least as beautiful as the lake itself. It branches off from the Primorskoye highway near Pitsunda and then zigzags 40 kilometers along the canyon of the river Bzyb. On the way one can see the Blue Lake, the waterfalls Male Tears and Maiden Tears, as well as the impressive Yupsharsky canyon with the rocks overhanging the road.

The groups of tourists are brought to the southern shore of the Lake Ritsa where a large recreation zone was created with a great number of various cafes and restaurants offering the dishes of the national Abkhazian cuisine. There are also two viewing points and and a boat station where one can rent a boat and have a ride on the lake. There are no places for swimming in that part of the Lake Ritsa. 

If you have a motor-car or take a jeep excursion, you can go as far as the northern shore of the Lake Ritsa, where fording a small river you will come to a sloping shore, which is easy to enter the lake. The Lake Ritsa is high in the mountains (about 1000 meters above the sea level), and also it is sourced by the mountain icy-cold rivers and streams, so the water in the lake is rather cold even in the hottest summer months. However, the sweltering people, as a rule, have a dip in the waters of the Lake Ritsa to cool down.

If you have enough time and forces, and if you travel by car in addition, you can plan a foot trip to the Lake Malaya Ritsa. From the recreation zone of the Lake Ritsa on the western you can go in your car up the serpentine climbing up high in the mountains as far as the old power station. 

From there you can go up a path to the Malaya Ritsa, and it will take about an hour to get to it. The Malaya Ritsa is a small lake with the shore of 230 meters long and 130 meters wide. The lake has a depth of about 80 meters and the surprisingly limpid water of light blue color. The landscapes of the Malaya Ritsa Lake are as beautiful as those of the big lake.