Beaches may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Ukraine. And even though the Eastern European country does not border any of the Seven Seas, it has a considerable shoreline along the Black Sea.
Our guest Victoria Radchenko tells us about Odessa’s (Ukraine) only Blue Flag beach, that of Caleton in the culturally rich seaside city of Odessa.
Odessa, a historic jewel of the Black Sea coast
Modern Odessa – a famous Black Sea port in Ukraine, commonly known for multiethnic cuisine and global marine trade – for centuries worked as maritime economy city.
The territory of modern Odessa is saturated with up to 5,000 year old Copper Age inhabitant artefacts. Through history, the area belonged to a number of countries, like medieval Byzantine, The Ottoman empire, Poland and Lithuania, and also had cultural influences from various nomads from Northern Italy and the Eurasian grass-steppe, making this northern coast of the Black Sea a melting pot of different cultures which is still today apparent. The area is a place of ethnic peace and pragmatic stability, hospitality and business.
From sea trade to beach recreation
Always the settlements on these coasts were connected to the sea and trade. In modern times, when the city became Russian in 19th century and later – and Ukrainian from 1991 – maritime recreation became important here and the coastal line started to be transformed into recreational beaches. Nowadays, Odessa has dozens of popular sandy beaches such as Dolphin Beach, Chkalovsky Beach, Lanzheron Beach, and a nudist beach section, locally know as “Tikhy” (“Quiet” in Russian).
Caleton, Ukraine’s Blue Flag beach
However, only one of them – Caleton Beach (калетон) has been awarded as a Blue Flag beach for several years in a row and really deserves to be visited by any guest of Odessa.
Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label awarded to safe, clean and sustainable beaches around the world. Read more about the organisazationhere.
This beach is not large (roughly 200 m. long), and is situated very handy near the city center with coastal greenery providing shadow. Its main characteristic is that it’s operated by a bunch of really dedicated people, who create a unique and stylish aura of true care about each beach lover. Central to the beach is the Caleton Beach Club, providing chilly beach cocktails and comfy beach beds.
At Caleton beach, you will also find some of cleanest sand of the area’s beaches, numerous options of traditional local cuisine, and a microcosm of tranquility and unity with Nature, hidden just steps aside of the busy city streets. A real jewel of Ukraine in the midst of the current rough winds of change.
Georgia is a destination that is rarely on people’s dream lists. Maybe because it’s not as advertised as the likes of Italy, France, and others. Sadly, all these people are missing out.
The country, which shares influences from both Eastern Europe and Western Asia, is a true beauty. It has plenty of art, beautiful architecture, music, and more to showcase. That’s where you see the influences of the different continental sides. Adventurers like to overland in Georgia, crossing the land with their big vehicle and admiring all these beautiful places. But there’s one aspect that many probably overlook when thinking about Georgia: its beaches.
Georgia’s Black Sea Beaches
Having access to the Black Sea, the country of Georgia has a few beaches that will steal anyone’s heart. Most of the shores have pebbles and rocks instead of soft sand, so don’t forget to bring your slippers or beach shoes.
Common for Georgia’s beaches are that they are mostly visited by local and domestic tourists, so if you come as a foreigner you’re in for a treat to experience Georgian holiday life. Here are some of those amazing beaches that you should consider visiting if you ever go to Georgia.
Located in the Adjara region, near Batumi, Gonio is where the nightlife gets vibrant. It is definitely one of the most popular Black Sea resorts in Georgia, where a lot of locals tend to go for a fun night out with their friends. There are plenty of bars on the beach, where people can enjoy a drink or two. Not to mention that the music will always add a nice feeling to it, while the noise will raise your love for life. Overall, the beach has quite a hip and romantic atmosphere.
Although it’s mostly citizens nearby who frequently visit the beach, Gonio has actually had a boost in the number of tourists, with most of them being from Tbilisi. Sadly, the beach is not a good choice for skinny dipping, because water can be a little too dirty.
Kobuleti is also located in the Adjara region and is another beloved destination among the Black Sea beaches. Locals love this area because it offers a relaxing alternative for anyone who wants to sunbathe or swim. After Batumi, this is the second most popular beach destination for people to visit. Most of the time, you will see locals attending the beach here.
Batumi cannot be missing from this list, considering it is the most popular destination in terms of Georgian beaches. On this beach, the colors are vibrant, and you will feel the energy as soon as you step on its sand. The climate and atmosphere overall are very welcoming, being difficult to leave the area once you get to experience it.
Although locals enjoy this place, you see a lot of tourists coming from different parts of the country, and even visitors from other countries sometimes.
This seaside resort is part of the Samegrelo region. It used to be a fortified town, as well as a seaport and a fishing station.
The beach is just gorgeous, and watching a sunset here feels magical. It’s a great place to be in, especially when you’re looking for some relaxation. More often than not, there is a big number of tourists visiting the beach, as each year, the town hosts the GEM Fest. So, each August, the chances are there will be a lot of people sunbathing or just going for a walk to the beach.
Perhaps you’re one of those people who want to have a bar – or several – nearby when spending time at the beach. In this case, you will love Sarpi.
This beach used to be one of the cleanest and most peaceful ones, which is what made it so popular. However, over time, the number of tourists started increasing, not only due to the popularity of the location but also because of the nearby highway and bars. Even if it’s not the cleanest anymore, the beach can impress with its cliffs along the shore. They allow you to dive into the water if you want to take the experience to the next level. Not to mention that this beach is also close to the Turkish borderline.
There’s one thing that makes this beach unique – the dark sand. For people who suffer from various conditions, such as nervous system problems, cardiovascular diseases, rachitis, or others, this beach is a true gem. It’s said that the sand is amazing in treating these conditions. As such, people who live nearby tend to visit it frequently. It’s also a spot where you often see families with their kids.
Shekvetili is a village and sea resort, and it’s located in Ozurgety Municipality, Guria.
This beach is also located in Guria, being a famous seaside town, if not the most famous one in the area. Arguably, this is the beach with the softest sand.
Local families love this place thanks to the therapy offered by the sand, which is believed to be able to treat various problems. Not to mention that the place is great for enjoying a nice atmosphere thanks to the sun, sea, and subtropical climate overall. This is a great beach for relaxation.
Grigoleti is also located in the Guria region, but it’s in the municipality of Lanchkhuti. Interestingly, the sand on this beach is magnetic, as it contains titan-magnetite, small magnetite or ilmenite particles. Although it doesn’t have such a developed infrastructure, this town gets a few tourists from time to time, especially families.
Unfortunately, most of the beaches in Georgia are not the cleanest out there. You can find plastic rubbish here and there, as not many people know how to maintain the cleanliness of the places. Beaches will be cleaner during the high season of May to September, where either volunteers or resorts make an effort to clean them.
Even if the shores of Georgia’s Black Sea beaches are not always the cleanest, you will enjoy the freshness of the air and have the beautiful sea scenery in front of you. If you want to experience something different in terms of beach vacations, you can try Georgia’s magical seaside resorts.
About the author
Ferenc is an avid traveller with great overlanding experience. During his trip driving from Europe to Singapore he had the chance to visit beaches on the Black Sea.
His website, overlandsite.com is a great resource for anyone looking for tips and guides on overlanding, as well information on overlanding gear.