Since overhauling and fine-tuning our popular South Ossetia tours, we’ve received many inquiries for private tours to the hardest-to-visit unrecognized country in the former Soviet Union. One of the main questions that pops up is: ‘’how many days is enough in South Ossetia?’’ We found that the majority of other tour companies and people visiting only allocate two days to explore the country, which begs the question: is it enough?
In short, no. Unless you are a country collector who wants to dip their toe in the water and leave, two days is not enough to explore South Ossetia. This is a little-visited republic full of ancient traditions, Soviet relics and old-school travel experiences. To explore the country we suggest a minimum of three to four days. You’ve come all this way, so it’s only right to experience see everything there is to offer. Whilst other tour companies only touch on the capital of Tshkival, we take you to the forgotten corners of the country. Our Soviet Europe team recently conducted a research trip to expand our South Ossetia tours, accompanied by our guide – a veteran of three civil wars that have plagued South Ossetia since the early 1990s – we discovered a wealth of new sites in the country.
The journey into South Ossetia cuts through the Caucasus Mountains and is truly beautiful. If you don’t make time to stop once or twice on the way to take in the view and take photos, it is a wasted trip. The border has an abundance of security checks from the Russians and the South Ossetians, so a whole day should be dedicated to the journey from Vladikavkaz to Tshkinvali.
The sites around the capital can be seen in one day, from the war-torn old town to the Soviet train station and original, bullet-riddled InTourist hotel. Our annual tour takes in the South Ossetia Independence Day celebrations and its seriously impressive military parade featuring Soviet tanks, artillery and hundreds of troops storming down the street.
Whilst the capital is interesting, it is the dark and undiscovered corners of the isolated republic that are full of surprises. After a road trip through ancient monasteries in forgotten mountain passes, we visited Leningor on the volatile Georgian border. Populated by ethnic Georgians, it’s the only place in South Ossetia where you can buy ‘I love Georgia’ fridge magnets. After spending the night in this sleepy town, we headed back on a different route, enjoying an Ossetian feast in an ancient pagan ritual spot.
To truly travel to South Ossetia, do it the right way with YPT: the experts of off-the-beaten-track travel. We ensure an authentic, non-touristy experience in the republic. From front-row access to the military parade and hanging out with battle hardened veterans of the Russo-Georgian war, we ensure a South Ossetian experience you won’t forget!
Check out our annual South Ossetia national day tour which runs in mid-September, it can also be combined with our Chechnya and Stalingrad extension which runs directly after.