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ŞAVŞAT (SHAVSHETİ)

Turkey's winter wonderland                                           Population: 7,700

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Şavşat should be a rustic beauty but instead it’s full of the usual concrete high-rises.

Still, it does make a useful base for getting to the Şavşat Meşeli Karagöl national park if you don’t have your own transport.

There are taxis here for exploring the surrounding area, and perfectly decent places to eat. All the hotels actually in the town are best given a wide berth.

The town's one sight, Şavşat Kalesi (Şavşat Castle), is a little north on the road to Artvin at the junction with the  old road to Veliköy.

The ruins are picturesquely perched on top of a rock. Yet to be restored despite a sign threatening such work, the castle still has one impressively intact tower topped off with a wooden roof and substantial stretches of outer wall.

Heading east towards Ardahan the road is extremely picturesque - try to get a seat on the righthand side of the bus so that you can admire the log cabins at the Yakarı Kocabey yayla (upland pasture) just before the Çamlıbel Pass (2640m). Note that this road is sometimes impassaable in winter.

Sleeping

Laşet Motel

In a great location just down the road from the entrance to the Sahara National Park and right by a river. Restaurant on site. Ardahan-Şavşat dolmuşes pass right by gate.

Tel: 0466-571 2136

Transport info

Şavşat otogar is on the eastern side of town and offers fairly regular services to Ardahan and Artvin plus once-daily services to Şavşat Meşeli Karagöl (leaving at 3pm, returning at 7.30 am) and Meydancık (leaving at 2pm).

Arrivals are often delayed by up to an hour at a time by road closures in the Artvin area.

Day trip destination

Ardahan

Artvin

Meydancık

Şavşat Meşeli Karagöl National Park

Veliköy

 

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