Khulo is a city in the Autonomus Republic of Adjara in Southwestern Georgia.
Khulo is a small and cozy city in the mountains of Adjara. In contrary to most of Georgia the habitants of Khulo are mostly muslim. This is caused by the Ottomans occupied this part of Georgia and forced them to change a religion. However, nowadays there is almost no conflict between religions in this region. At first you won't notice that there is a different religion untill you hear the call to prayer! Khulo has been isolated from tourism for a really long time. Only recently things have started to change as more and more people discover this hidden pearl in the Adjarian mountains.
In the city itself, population is only a couple of thousand, however with 78 surrounding villages total amount of residents reach up to 23,327 people. The locals are very friendly but due to the fact that they have been isolated for such a long time they are pretty conservative. It is thus adviced to not show to much affection in public. It won't be that big problem if you do since you are a guest but you might get some unpleasant stares.
The place is beautiful and a lot cooler than the sea and therefore the perfect escape from the busy seaside.
By minibus (marshrutka)
A minibus leaves every hour from the main bus station in Batumi. address: Shavsheti St, Batumi, Georgia. Buses operate from 8:00 - 18:00. It normally takes 2-3 hours, and costs 5 GEL.
There is no direct minibus from Akhaltsikhe to Khulo (August 2019). The minibus can take you only to Adigeni, which is half way to Khulo (before the Goderdzi pass).
Taxi from Akhaltsikhe to Khulo in the summer season is 100 GEL and takes roughly 3 hours.
Hitchhiking is easy if you know a few Georgian or Russian phrases, or you are good in the body language.
The road is paved and in a good shape up til Zarzma. Between Zarzma and Khulo the road is unpaved and in a much worse condition, with a lot of stones and holes. However in the summer season drivable even in a small car with a sufficiently high chassis and good driving skills.
When there is a heavy snow during the winter, Goderdzi pass is closed, which is around 3 months a year.
Khulo is a small city with a walking distances, but if you feel like getting a cab, There are several taxi drivers that can take you anywhere in Khulo. To get from the bus station/cable car to the main square on top of Khulo you should pay no more than 2-3 GEL.
Khulo cable car
The main transportation means for the population of Tago (village in the municipality of Khulo), is a ropeway cable car. This ropeway is the second largest in Europe, and has no supporting structure. The length of the ropeway is 1719 metres, and its height 280 metres.
The ropeway connects Khulo and Tago. According to the locals, the village would be abandoned if it were not for the ropeway, because the only road to the village was damaged and only two cars can move along it at one at a time. The situation is even more difficult in the winter. When it snows, it is almost impossible to drive on the road.
The cable car runs form approximately 9:00-19:00 depending on the weather and a daylight. A return ticket is 3-5 GEL. When arriving to Tago you have the possibility to rent one of the tents from Camping experience Khulo.
Tourist information office in Khulo can also give you a map of a short hike (9 km one way) from Tago to Skhalta.
Camp in Tago
On the other side of cable car there's a small Camping called Camping experience Khulo. on the hill some pre-pitched tents are located around a campfire. Tents can be rented quite cheap for around 15 GEL per person and give you an awesome experience. It's really basic but totally worth it.
Hike to Tago mountain
When you've taken the cable car, you will arrive in Tago, where you can hike at the mountains with an amazing view. One of the hiking destinations is the top of the mountain next to Tago. From here you will have views on the most of the surrounding mountain tops.
Hike to waterfall
This trail again start in Tago and is a little bit hidden so it's better to ask some of the locals to show you the way. It goes through the woods to the place where the village get's their water from.
Meet the locals
There is a fair chance that you will get invited by one of the locals. This way you can have a look inside the Adjarian village life.
Khulo is known for its homemade Tobacco which is very light and cheap.
There are few markets, some near the tourism information center and some close to the hospital where you can buy local fruits, vegetables, homemade wine and other food.
Georgian food is in the list of the world’s top cuisines. Adjarian dishes such as famous boat-shaped Adjarian Khachapuri, the king of Adjarian supra, stand out among various Georgian dishes. However many foreigners and even some Georgians do not know that beside khachapuri, there are far more delicacies that Adjarian supra can offer. It is noteworthy that milk products occupy special placed due to the climate, conditions and lifestyle of highland inhabitants.
There is a number of shops and restaurants located around the bus stop and in the upper part of the city.
So what to eat once you're in the restaurant?
Adjarian Khachapuri is another version of Georgian cheese bread. The dish originated in the seaside region of Georgia, Adjara. This kind of khachapuri has a boat-like shape and is served with a fresh egg in the middle of cheese along with a generous chunk of butter on the top.
Achma is a type of Khachapuri, Georgian cheese bread, from Adjara and Abkhazia, the western regions of Georgia. Achma is often compared to lasagna for its texture and appearance. This kind of Georgian cheese bread has both a crisp top crust and tender cheesy, buttery layers inside.
Sinori is a very rich Adjarian dish prepared using lavash that is combined with Georgian cottage cheese and butter. This dish is largely unknown outside Ajara but is very popular in Georgia’s western seaside region. One will rarely come across it in Tbilisi or other parts of the country; so once you have a chance to visit Adjara, don’t forget to try this delicious dish. It is ideal to start your morning with.
Borano is a traditional dish from Adjara region, made with Sulguni cheese and melted butter. Usually, melted butter is poured over soft cheese, causing it to melt and stretch. Borano is also often called Georgian fondue.
Adjarian halva is typical Adjarian staple that differs from the Turkish one. It melts in one’s mouth and it is extremely delicious and tender. So try it once you have a chance and judge for yourself.
Accomodation in Khulo:
At the moment in Khulo there are not a lot of accommodations for people to choose from. In Khulo you will find 3 kinds of accommodation: hotels, homestay and hostels.
Homestays are type of accomodation when families rent rooms which they are not using, to the travelers. A lot of travelers prefer homestay accommodation as you really get to know the life of the locals. You can find information about the homestays in Khulo Information center, which is located on the central square. Phone number: 577 90 90 93
Hotel Khulo is located in the center of Khulo at the square up the hill from the central road. It is one of the best options to stay in Khulo. Rooms are clean and comfortable with with nice views to the city and mountains, cable TV, private bathrooms and other hotel services. City’s new church, Khulo’s cable car entrance and several restaurants are in the walking distance. Price: (incl breakfast) standard room 60 GEL (21 euro), suite – 80 GEL (28 euro)
Hotel Toma is located in Khulo at the central highway (the first Hotel and Restaurant when you enter the town from the side of Batumi). Rooms are clean and comfortable. In the first floor there is a restaurant, in the second floor there are rooms with private bathrooms, the last floor has rooms with shared bathroom; City’s new church, Khulo’s cable car entrance and central highway are in the 10-minute walking distance. Standard room price: Summer Price - 50 (18 euro) Gel Winter Price - 40 Gel (15 euro).
Hotel Mate is located in the center of Khulo in front of the hospital up the hill from central road. Rooms are clean and comfortable, bathrooms in good repair, food at the restaurant is delicious, Hosts have a car to guide you to nearby sites; City’s new church, Khulo’s cable car entrance and central highway are in the 10-minute walking distance. Price per person: 30 GEL (10 euro), incl. breakfast – 40 GEL (14 euro)
Hotel Daviti is located in the center of Khulo at the central road in front of cable cars entrance (2nd floor of the building). 4 rooms, Shared kitchen, hot water are features of this budget motel. City’s new church, Khulo’s cable cars entrance and several restaurants are in the walk distance. Price per person: 20GEL (7 euro)
Hostel 13 is a newly opened hostel in the centre of Khulo. It is run by a young woman who opened this hostel as an extra income. The hostel has 2 dormitories with each 6 beds. As it’s run by someone who is young and has a university degree the marketing for the hotel is done in a better way than the hotels listed above. It will provide the basics things a traveller would need. Hostel 13 is a pretty basic hostel but it’s really cozy and the host is super friendly. Price per person: 14-22 GEL(5-8 euro). There is no breakfast included.
Camping Experience Khulo
Camping located on the top of hill of village Tago in the municipality of Khulo in the Georgian region Adjara. Camping is accessible only by two ways: 1. By the cable car that connects village with Khulo. It is the second largest cable car in Europe, and absolutely takes your breath away with its stunning views on the mountains of beautiful Adjara. It is the fastest means of transportation - takes 8 minutes. 2. There is a road from Khulo to Tago which takes relatively more time to get to the destination.
Camping experience Khulo gives travelers the opportunity to camp in the beautiful Adjara mountains. Once you’re on the other side of Khulo, you see the camping itself, with pre-pitched tipi tents and emperor’s tent as the common area. In the camping you can have continental or vegetarian breakfast each morning. Property features a shared bathroom, linen and towels. The camping offers a terrace, outdoor fireplace, picnic area and number of spots for hiking. Views are amazing, tents very comfortable and hosts very friendly. Definitely worth visiting.
Price per person 12 lari, for booking call +995 591 81 70 07 or email: [email protected]
Tourist information is located between the bus stop and the cable car.
Phone number: 577 90 90 93
Working hours: monday - Sunday, 10AM – 7PM.
The beautiful Green Lake is located in the northern part of the Arsiani Range near Beshumi in Georgia’s Adjara region. Situated between mountains lake is surrounded by spruce and beech trees. The clear and transparent water is slightly mineralized. Distance: 1 hour drive from Khulo.
Goderdzi Ski Resort
The ski resort Goderdzi is located in the Autonomous Republic of Adjara(Georgia). For skiing and snowboarding, there are 7.3 km of slopes available. 3 lifts transport the guests. The winter sports area is located between the heights of 1,700 and 2,364 m. Goderdzi Resort, located two hours drive from the popular seaside resort town of Batumi in Georgia, is ideally situated for the creation of a four-season mountain resort. At an altitude of 2000m, the mountains are snow-covered from November to April. 1 hour 10 minutes drive from Khulo.
The main sight of Khulo district lies in the south-west of the district near the Turkish border. Khikhani fortress (2200m) offers incredible views to Shavsheti range, to the mountain Adjara villages (Skhalta gorge), small lakes near border station, Goderdzi pass heights and impressive red rocks (2600m) in the background. Only thing it lacks is Mt.Elbrus in the background.The fortress was built in the 13th century and till the 19th century it was a strategic stronghold, inaccessible from 3 sides. Still it takes long serpentine and 40 minutes walk to ascend the fortress from mountain bottom. You will find lots of monuments: rectangular towers, walls, a bakery, wine storage area, a water well and a church. Distance: 1 hour 20 minutes from khulo.