a lot of the cheaper hotels in Trabzon are full of “natashas”, prostitutes from the former Soviet Union, so it is worth paying a bit extra for a hotel which advertises itself as an “aile” or family hotel. there is a good place called Hotel Nur, just off the main square (ataturk alani)…but as it is small, it is often full. Next door is the hotel Benli, which is cheaper, more basic, but friendly enough.
Hope this helps :)
www.virtualtourist.com is also very useful for this sort of question
You could try the Black Sea coast, where very few foreign tourists go. Probably the most beautiful resort is Amasra, a collection of red-roofed houses on a tiny rocky peninsula, backed by steep green hills. It is not a big resort (the geography limits its size) and is only really popular with Turks from Ankara and Istanbul. There are no big hotels, just lots of small pansiyons which are family-run B&Bs.
There is a beach in town which isn’t bad, but a couple of kilometres along the coast is Bozkoy where there is a great white sand beach, almost deserted save for a couple of small beach cafes. There are minibuses (dolmus) from Amasra throughout the day in the summer.
Nearby, you can visit Safranbolu, which is a really beautiful town about an hour inland…hundreds of old Ottoman houses in a valley.
Maybe the reason why it is not popular with foreigners is that Amasra is not that easy to reach. The nearest airport is Istanbul, about 7-8 hours by bus…but then you have the excuse to spend a couple of days in that city!
Another reason is that the weather on the Black Sea coast isn’t as reliable as the other Turkish coasts…it rains a lot more, but summer weather is usually better.
A couple of links:
Pictures and info about Amasra:
Might not be exactly what you’re looking for, but if you want a completely Turkish resort, Amasra is a good one :@P
Georgia is easy to get to, although direct flights from anywhere are usually expensive. The cheapest way is to fly to Istanbul, then either fly or take the bus to Trabzon on the Black Sea coast. From there, the border is only about 4 hours away…it is easy to cross, especially now that EU citizens don’t need visas, and just over the border is Batumi, which is a really nice seaside town.
In georgia, you should definitely spend a few days in Tbilisi, the capital, which used to be known as the most beautiful city in the former Soviet Union. Just outside the capital is Mtskheta, an ancient town and former capital.
An easy trip into the mountains is along the Georgian Military Highway to Kazbegi, passing the lakeside church of Ananuri and the ski resort of Gudauri. Kazbegi has a tiny church on the top of a mountain with amazing views of Mt Kazbek and the town below.
Other mountainous areas are a bit more difficult to visit by public transport, but are more remote and more stunning…Tusheti, Khevsureti, Racha and the famous region called Svaneti.
Gori was where Stalin was born, and there is a strange museum dedicated to him there, something you should not miss. Another place worth visiting is the cave monastery of Vardzia in the south of Georgia, in a remote valley very close to the Turkish border.
The main towns all have hotels…Batumi and Tbilisi have everything from 5* hotels down to very cheap budget places, but elsewhere you won’t have much choice. Accommodation can seem quite expensive after Turkey, with basic places (often old Intourist hotels) charging US$20 or $30 for a dirty room…but as more travellers go to Georgia, things are improving. Homestays are also possible…you can arrange them beforehand through one of the travel agencies in Tbilisi, or in smaller towns where there is no hotel, you might be invited by someone you met on the bus! If you can get a guidebook, the Lonely Planet and Bradt guides both list a few homestays.
Getting around between the main towns is easy enough…I used marshrutkas, which are minibuses…they are a bit more expensive than buses, but more comfortable and quicker. If you can afford to, a 4WD with a driver would make travelling to the remoter regions a lot easier.
Hope this helps and have a great trip if you decide to go ;@P
I’ve been to Georgia twice for about a month each time, and heard all the rumours about rising crime and travellers being robbed before I went…had no problems though. Tbilisi is like any other big city at night, although perhaps a little less lit up…just take precautions like you would in any other unfamiliar city.
The language is difficult, although you can pick up the basics quite easily. I found learning the numbers and question words before arriving very useful. The Lonely Planet guidebook has a useful language section, so you can try to learn a bit before you go, and once you’re in Tbilisi, go to the Prospero Bookshop on Rustaveli (the main street), which sells a small Georgian conversation book and a Survival Georgian phrasebook…some of the phrases are completely ridiculous, but with a bit of work, you can have a conversation of sorts with Georgian speakers. Learning the alphabet isn’t essential, but will help with finding out where buses are going.
English speakers are quite hard to find, although most people who work in tourism (agencies, museums, etc.) speak English and other languages well. But mostly, you’ll need to use Georgian or Russian to communicate. Russian is spoken by nearly everyone, and there doesn’t seem to be a reluctance to speak it like you find in some other ex-Soviet countries.
Travelling outside Tbilisi, there are places that are not always safe…although it depends on who you talk to. Some of my Georgian friends in Tbilisi warned me not to go to certain mountain regions, others told me it was safe. It is quite hard to find out what is true and what is exaggeration.
I would advise you to use the Lonely Planet thorn Tree forums to try and get information from travellers in the country recently, as well as joining one of the many online travel communities and making contact with some of the Georgian members…one I cna recommend is Virtualtourist.com which has a number of helpful and friendly georgians who know a lot about travelling in their country.
Hope you have a successful trip…Georgia is an amazing place ;@P