Khulo is a cozy and small town, nestled 80 km east of Batumi at an altitude of 2,000 meters above the sea level. It is a distinctive place throughout Georgia where you can experience true village life, customs, traditions, culture and local delicious cuisine. In Khulo Christianity meets Islam. You can explore wooden houses, domestic animals, agriculture, beekeeping and Adjarian tobacco plantations. All this gives you the feeling that time is going differently in this region and that it is completely missing the fast and hectic life of the city.
How to get to Khulo?
From Tbilisi to Khulo
If you want to start your road trip to the mountains of Adjara from the capital, choose the road from the Akhaltsike side through Beshumi resort. The road is paved and in good shape till Zarzma. Between Zarzma and Khulo the road is unpaved and in a worse condition with a lot of stones and holes. However, in the summer season it is 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 for around three months per year.
It is also possible to get to Khulo by public transport from Akhaltsikhe. There is one shuttle per day which departs at 09:00h and costs 8.00 GEL (2.50 EUR).
From Batumi to Khulo
If you want to drive to Khulo from Batumi, it will take about 2h 30min. The road is full of incredibly beautiful views of the mountains. On the way, you might have a stop-over to visit the Makhuntseti Waterfall and Queen Tamar's stone bridge. On the way to Khulo there are also some cafes from time to time where you can have a break. There are Marshutka connections to Khulo from Batumi bus station as well (5 GEL).
What to do in Khulo and Adjara?
In Khulo and in the surrounding Adjarian mountains there are several sights worth visiting and many activities you can do. Let's start,
By cable car from Khulo to Tago
On the opposite slope, beyond the gorge, there is a small village called Tago. The only way to get there is a cable car which starts in Khulo and was established in 1985. Without this connection, the village might already be abandoned. With its length of 1,720 meters, it is one of the longest ropeways without supporting structures in Europe. The ride from one village to the other takes 8 minutes. It is also possible to hike from Khulo to Tago, which is about 9 km.
Hike to the Green Lake
A very nice hiking trail is the one to Green Lake (Georgian: mtsvane tba). The lake is located in the northern part of the Arsiani mountain range, 6 km from the Goderzi mountain pass at an altitude of 2,058 meters. The Green Lake lies at the foot of the Naomvari mountain range in the middle of the ridge. The cold lake is fed by snow, rain and groundwater. The water is suitable for drinking, though there is no fish in the reservoir. The lake is surrounded by coniferous and beech trees, which is why the water has a green tint.
The Green Lake can be reached in late spring, summer and the first half of autumn. It is a prominent and favorite spot for hikers and extremists. It is also the best place for picnics and camping.
A distinguished pride of the Adjarian mountain resorts is the Beshumi Resort, located on the eastern slope of the Arsian Range at an altitude of 1,850 - 2,000 meters. The travelers coming to Beshumi are filled with unusual impressions as they traverse the beautiful valley of Adjaristsqali, where the typical vegetation of the Colchis is still preserved.
The resort is the best resting place for those looking to get away from the noise and heat of the city and taking care of their health. The beautiful combination of alpine and coniferous plants at the resort creates an attractive environment for relaxation and it is a great picnic and camping area for hikers.
Beshumi is also a mountain climatic and balneological resort. The main healing factors are transparency of air and slight humidity, healthy mineral water and healing mud. In the surroundings of the resort, the coniferous forest provides a special ionization of air. Pure oxygen-saturated air is great to treat cardiovascular diseases. Beshumi is the best resort for those suffering from chronic respiratory diseases and bronchial asthma. The mineral springs in the resort area are also a good way to treat the digestive system.
The Beshumi Resort is mainly open during summer, from mid-June to early September. The resort attracts thousands of holidaymakers throughout the season. In winter it is closed as the snow cover reaches 5-6 meters near Goderdzi Pass at this time of the year.
Goderzi Ski Resort
The Goderdzi ski resort was opened in 2015 and is visited by over 20,000 people per year. Due to several reasons Goderzi stands out from other ski resorts in Georgia. The first snow here falls already in November and the ski season runs from December to April. Goderdzi is an ideal place for extreme winter sports enthusiasts. The beautiful views, the fresh air and exciting ski runs attract many skiers. The snow-capped slopes of the resort are a real delight for the lovers of powder snow.
With a total lenght of 8 km the resort offers the longest ski tracks in the region. There are two types of ropeway: the eight-seat gondola and the six-seat bubble. In Goderzi it is possible to rent skis, snowboards as well as instructor services. Soon the resort will be able to accommodate 7,000 skiers at a time. They have comfortable cottages and hotels and a quite well-equipped infrastructure. The season in the Goderzi Ski Resort even continues when the snow melts and the skiers leave. In summer, hiking, horseback riding and biking can be done there.
Between Khulo and the Goderzi Resort, there is a small village called Ghurta, which is worth visiting because of a nice waterfall located there. The waterfall is located in the village's district called Belgar. It is known that from this place in ancient times the whole village was supplied with drinking water. The waterfall is 8 meters high and has a special beauty in spring and autumn. During the summer, the water level decreases and the waterfall drops significantly. There are also plenty of picnic areas near the waterfall. To find the waterfalls, just ask one of the local people.
To reach the Skhalta Monastery, you drive down from Goderzi Mountain Pass down to Batumi and turn sharp left in Zamleti, which is located around 8.5 km after Khulo. From there it's another 20 minutes on the Zomleti-Khikhadziri road till Skhalta.
The Skhalta Monastery dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. The monastery's main church consists of a hall-like structure. Especially noteworthy are the frescoes of the 14th and 15th centuries. The Skhalta Monastery is a historical monument, which has preserved its original appearance to this day.
Camping sites near Iakobadzeebi
In the village of Iakobadzeebi, in the district of Skhata Vake, beautiful picnic and camping sites are located. The ideal space is three kilometers away from the main road at the top of the village. It covers more than 4 hectares. There are abundant springs as well as many different tree species, including pear and cherry trees. From here you can enjoy beautiful views of the Gorjomi Gorge. This place is for those who want to spend their holidays in the cool, green surroundings in the fresh air.
Khimshiashvili Ancestral Cemetery
The Khimshiashvili Ancestral Cemetery is located in the village of Dekanashvili in the vicinity of the mosque. Local people can help you to find it.
Khulo Museum of Lore
The Khulo Museum of Lore (Ethnographic Museum) was founded in 1983. The museum mainly preserves the materials of Adjara's existence and ethnography, tools from the 19th and 20th centuries, copper and clay vessels, applied arts, history materials, embroidery, numismatics and photographs from local artists.