I am in the Caucasus lived for almost two years and often spent weekends in Dagestan. For me, the region has become like a native. I studied the routes and natural beauties well and made conclusions about how best to travel around these – for many still unexplored – lands.
I even wrote a large guide for an independent trip to Dagestan (I will leave the link below in the text), but I still advise my Muscovite friends and everyone who is used to flying abroad on a tour to come to Dagestan on a tour. No, not the one from the tour operator, but through author's tour agencies.
Why custom tours?
The content of the article:
Author's tours are a relatively new direction in tourism. Both in the domestic, in Russia, and abroad.
And in short, it's like a trip to the sea with your parents as a child: when the entire organizational part – the schedule, program and worries – is on the shoulders of the elders, you are only supposed to relax and gain strength after the school year. But with the difference that such comfort must be paid for in advance. But no one will forbid slipping out of the room after 9 pm 🙂
What's so special about author's tours?
- Unusual: it's not just a “package” with flight + hotel + insurance, and unique tours with an excursion program. You don't even need to google what to see, everything is thought out (and organized) for you.
- Total immersion:explore the direction not only through beautiful places, but also through people, their customs and stories; the routes are made up of indigenous people and those who are well acquainted with the region.
- Community: you can go on an author's tour for two, of course, but find yourself in a group of strangers who are passionate about the same idea … Don't they make friends as adults?
- Carelessness, after all: you are driven, fed, introduced to the most interesting, and you watch, learn, enjoy.
And trusting the author and his proposal is one of the ways to see hard-to-reach places in Russia. And as a bonus, save dozens of hours flowing away on organizing such trips with your own hands. And Baikal, and Altai, and Kamchatka, and much more in our vast expanses. In such difficult directions, author's tours are especially popular.
Cons can also be found. As a rule, these are:
— The need to adapt to dates,provided by the organizers. Still, it's not to fly to Turkey tomorrow. The program is tied to a clear schedule.
— The need to get to the starting point of the trip yourself; author's tours to Dagestan with a flight are a rarity.
— Small mistakes on the spot, which can be in any product created by people and for people. Uncomfortable bus, too talkative guide … but to warn you, there are reviews.
You can really see Dagestan only in motion, moving from one fabulous view to another. A slow search for transport will eat up a good part of the time that can be spent on a ready-made, well-built program. That's what author tours are for.
You can read more about an independent trip and places that you must visit in Dagestan in my separate article
Where to look for tours in Dagestan? Reviews of services
There are two large sites of author's tours in Russia:
- Big Country
From time to time I go over new offers – tours to Dagestan are very popular now – and mark interesting ones and throw them off to those who expressed a desire to go ” to where you were in the Caucasus.”
I don't want to sound like an old grumbler, but I don't really trust most social media bloggers who advertise tours with the urge “come with me, it's going to be fun!”. As a rule, the site is assembled there on the knee, and you won’t find reviews like that, and knowledge about the region raises questions.
The above-mentioned services cooperate with professionals – the authors create filled routes, and not a minute will be wasted. You can choose from the list according to many individual parameters – there will be tours to the abandoned villages of Dagestan, and yoga tours, and trips in the company of experienced jeepers.
- Prices for tours to Dagestan start at 20,000 rubles per person.
- You can book a tour by paying in advance only a part of the amount. The rest – the day before the tour is also online or in the hands of the guide.
- Travel experts are verified, friendly and open for dialogue. You can write to them directly in the tour search program and clarify all your questions.
- There are also reviews on Yutrevelmi from travelers who have already managed to buy a tour to Dagestan and go – you can trust.
The cost of the tours does not include tickets to Makhachkala (a plane from Moscow costs 10-12 thousand rubles in both directions). You can cancel the trip and return the cost 15 days before the start of the trip. The “Guaranteed tour” checkbox will protect you from canceling trips.
A week-long tour will be enough for you to study the republic in depth, and 4–5 days will be enough to boldly say “I was/was in Dagestan.”
Dagestan All Inclusive Tour
What's different?Reviews, program and convenient frequent dates – this is the best option to see Dagestan.
How much? For 5 days, Monday-Friday.
Price: 35 000 rubles per person.
I understand why the offer 🏔️ Dagestan – All Inclusive tour has become the most popular on YouTravelMe. When you really want to go on vacation, and out of organizational concerns, you only agree to buy tickets to Makhachkala, such tours to Dagestan, where everything is included, this is the same magic pill. Relax and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Dagestan with your head – all that is required of you.
What awaits? See everything at once? No problem! From the obligatory walk around Derbent to the Goor towers and the Troll's Tongue. The guides took care of your time and made the most intense route. It seems that no place was missed.
The journey will begin in Makhachkala, from where you will get to the canyon and the reservoir. The next day – Troll's Tongue, ancient settlements and an atmospheric lunch. The third day will be the brightest and most extreme: horseback riding and catamarans await you. It is paid separately, but it's worth it.
Why in Dagestan do they focus so much on antiquities? Because Dagestan is the most ancient part of Russia and one of the oldest civilizations in the whole world. Once there was the kingdom of Alania and mountain tribes. Be sure to ask the locals about the history of the region – you will see how enthusiastically they will tell you about the intricacies, wars and flourishing of their peoples.
Weekend tour to Dagestan
How is it different? Rich and inexpensive: the weekend is not in the country, but in Dagestan!
How much? For 3 days, Friday-Sunday.
Price:18,000–25,000 rubles per person.
If there is very little time, and a tour for a week seems like an unaffordable luxury, fly to Makhachkala and go on a 🏔️ short weekend tour of the main places of Dagestan. The authors of the tours know how to fit all the most important in a few days – from Friday to Sunday, an excellent schedule for a busy person.
What's next?The standard program canyon-village-waterfalls-barkhan is complemented by a rest in a hotel in the mountains and a boat ride along the Sulak. On the canyon, carefully look under your feet: there is a high probability of meeting a fossil 🙂 A weekend tour can be found both as part of a group of 17 people (comfortably divided into three minibuses during transportation), or just for two.
Entertain you there will be master classes on cooking national dishes, coffee drinking in nature and horseback riding. Main stops: canyon with a view of Sulak, Chirkey reservoir, Gamsutl, underground waterfall, Sarykum dune, Avar mountains.
Tour to Dagestan by the sea
What is different? Swimming and sunsets by the Caspian Sea.
How much? For 5 days, Monday-Friday.
Price: 52,000 rubles per person.
Usually people go to Dagestan for the sake of mountains and local color, but in summer and early autumn the weather here is so wonderful that you can relax on the shores of the Caspian Sea – for example, as part of the tour 🏔️ South Dagestan. A great alternative to the boring Black Sea coast.
Such a vacation is like a mixture of Batumi and Kislovodsk: warm, tasty, wild mountains are not far away. I advise you to come for swimming with a rest on the sea in July-August, and I recommend that girls get a pareo – I personally feel more comfortable hiding behind in the Caucasus, although no one requires this on the beaches.
What awaits? The main attractions, of course, will be! The cost of the tour includes meals, tickets to museums, travel by boat, accommodation in a three-star hotel. The tour program starts in Makhachkala. On the first day you will meet the dawn in the Sarykum desert, see the Sulak canyon and try fish in a trout farm.
You will spend several days on various coasts of the Caspian Sea, visit the ghost village of Kala-Koreish, master classes, hot springs, Naryn-Kala and shrines. Of course, the guides will not forget to introduce you to the local cuisine. I never tire of repeating that the Caucasus needs to be explored with your feet and stomach.
The tour program is designed for people with minimal and average physical fitness. Climbing the falls can be difficult, so bring comfortable shoes and clothing. You will live in a 2-4-bed room, agree on individual accommodation in advance.
Author's tours with an unusual program
Author's tours to Dagestan are always about creativity. Guides make routes and come up with entertainment for the most demanding travelers.
Dagestan itself surprises with its landscapes, but there are inspired people who go much further than the main attractions and create trips where some kind of hobby is the leitmotif. It can be yoga, jeeping, photo shoots or even wine!
Here is a list of author's tours to Dagestan – unusual, with a theme – compiled according to the reviews of tourists.
- 🏔️ Wine. Lakes. Dinners overlooking the sea
For how much? For 6 days.
Price: 43,200 rubles.
< strong>What's next?I recommend it to connoisseurs of wine and warm communication. The authors made the tour as relaxing and friendly as possible. The route runs through the high-mountainous Gunib, ancient Derbent, the Khunzakh plateau, the Tobot waterfall and the Sulak canyon.
While traveling in Dagestan, you will meet like-minded people who are in love with the Caucasus and, of course, with wine. You will return from the tour as a real sommelier and you will easily be able to distinguish Riesling from Chardonnay, tell you what sweets you should drink Dagestan saperavi with, and what meat goes well with Cabernet.
The tour includes a trip to the Caspian Sea, and the services of a guide include creating an atmosphere and a desire to return for a new portion of impressions about Dagestan.
- 🏔️ Non-touristic Dagestan
strong> For 5 days.
Price: 35,000 rubles.
What to expect? Accommodation in a stylish house with a fantastic panorama to the mountains, walks with herds of sheep, iodine saturation in the Narzan waters, the sands of Sarykum and picturesque gorges.
The tour is suitable for those who are not in Dagestan for the first time or those who love a wild (in the best sense of the word) vacation. You will be shown places that are not in the guide. For example, the Andean Koisu is a bright blue river located between sharp peaks. It looks like the Sulak Canyon, but here it is much more unusual. And that's just one of dozens of places you'll be taken to.
- 🏔️ Photo tour of Dagestan
How much? For 5 days.
Price: 35,000 rubles.
What's next?Your goal is beautiful photos for a social network that cannot be named? Your decision is a photo tour of Dagestan. Along with the “mountain in the palm of your hand” photos, you will also get the same mountain of impressions: Gamsutl, Sulak, Tobot, Lun, Juma Mosque, Fortress of Seven Brothers and One Sister and other names that will make sense (and perpetuate in the phone or camera). I especially recommend coming for photos in October, when the forests turn red and the slopes are extraordinarily beautiful.
- 🏔️ Yoga weekend
For how long? For 3 days.
Price: 34,000 rubles.
What's next?The tour route is scheduled by the hour – there is no time for boredom. Stopping after a walk in the Sulak district in the Avar village, you will fill your lungs with the purest mountain air, and your stomach with a fresh miracle.
In the evening, hatha yoga and meditation practice. Yes, you can fill yourself up over the weekend and find Zen not only in Bali, but also in the south of Russia, namely in the mountains of Dagestan. It is calm, easy to breathe and feel all the wisdom of the Caucasus.
In addition to spiritual food, the tour is filled with stories about medieval kings, a trip to Gamsutl and Derbent. I highly recommend taking spf and comfortable shoes with you – in Derbent the streets are slippery in places, and the sun is aggressive during the day.
- 🏔️ To the mountains with jeeps
For how long? For 4 days.
Price: 39 600 rubles.
< strong>What's next?Those who travel by car see much more. To get to some places – for example, Zaiba and Kahib settlements – is possible only by jeep and always with an experienced driver. As part of the tour, you will find yourself at the highest points, from where you will have a view of the Caucasus Range.
Spend one of the days in the most ancient village in Russia – Chokh. People appeared here more than 7 thousand years ago and still live. Here you will be treated to the most delicious Dagestan dish – berkal. This pie with cottage cheese filling is a real thunderstorm of diets. No man can stand.
The trip will end with a walk to the Dagestan wonder of the world – the Saltinsky underground waterfall. Some swim in it and even jump into an underground lake (but if you can swim, then I would not advise jumping).
- 🏔️ From Chechnya to Dagestan
strong> For 5 days.
Price: 30,000 rubles.
What's next?Journey through the reserved places of the Caucasus for those who do not have enough Dagestan. The route starts in Grozny, the heart of Chechnya. In 5 days you will see the modern and ancient North Caucasus, feel like a welcome guest in the Ocean and Berkat hotels.
Tourist reviews advertise the trip as moderately difficult, the group travels by a comfortable bus, which is convenient even with children. You should not worry about food either – a buffet with Caucasian cuisine is provided, you will return home happy and strengthened.
The tour program includes a walk near Lake Kazenoy-Am, which is located on the border of Chechnya and Dagestan at an altitude of about 1800 meters, boating on the reservoir, acquaintance with Derbent, museums and abandoned settlements.
- 🏔️ Christmas in Dagestan
For how long? For 4 days.
Price: 25,000 rubles.
What's next?As strange as it may be, spending the Christmas holidays in Dagestan, where Islam is practiced, can be an interesting experience. Allowing a different look at the friendship of peoples! In winter, the North Caucasus is a bit harsh, but mysterious and curious land. Snow in the mountains is a special sight. Fog, frozen waterfalls, large flakes of snow and alpine lakes.
The authors of the tour will take you to Lake Mochokh, where they will offer to ride on cheesecakes and horses, hold master classes in cooking New Year's dishes of national cuisine and arrange warm evenings with tea and baklava.
On Happy People Street, you can make a wish for the next year – for example, to return to Dagestan again (and this time in the summer, best of all in June-August).
My tips for Dagestan
The friendliness of the Dagestanis is not a myth, you really won’t get lost here, but independent rest in Dagestan is still more like … extreme. Therefore, if you don’t want to devote your vacation to finding minibuses, compiling a route from Sarykum to Derbent, or dashing winding along the serpentine on a Lada Grant with a handle and an inoperative air conditioner (personal experience :)), trust author’s tours to Dagestan. Especially in 2022, when everything is local and original.
For the very first time in Dagestan, I also got into a kind of author's tour for five. Our driver was a woman – an avid game lover. I would call this type of holiday “detox from civilization and .. the holiday itself.” Here is such a pun 🙂 During the trip, I realized that it is best to go here in the company, if not local, then at least people who know the area.
About safety. Even women companies on their car have nothing to fear. You don’t need to cover your head, but walking around with a deep neckline is uncomfortable. It is advisable to superficially, but familiarize yourself with the traditions of the North Caucasus in order to feel safe.
About driving. stripes, stock up on valerian. In Dagestan, only those who are not shy or who are used to jigits on the road will “survive”.
About weather conditions.Dagestan is an unexplored and sometimes dangerous land. The reason for this is relief. Travel here depends on weather conditions, so if the Ministry of Emergency Situations warns of danger, you should not beg the guide to take you to admire the four-thousander. No luck.
About money.Cheap in Dagestan. A couple of years ago, 2,000 rubles per day for two was enough for us. This amount was enough to indulge in food and souvenirs. Now I would increase it to 3000 for peace of mind. And remember that there are problems with contactless payment in Dagestan – it’s better to take cash.
About alcohol. Yes, the famous Derbent cognac is made here, but don’t insist on drinking together. You'll be lucky if you're just tactfully denied. Many of the locals don't drink for religious reasons, but you won't be banned.
About documents.You do not need a passport to travel to Dagestan, but if you are going to climb in the border area, you will need one. In addition, you will have to prepare documents for the ascent in advance. This does not apply to ordinary tourists, only climbers.
About traditions.In my previous text about Dagestan, I mentioned several times the strong traditions of the region. Dagestan is different from the rest of Russia. The secular customs of Moscow and other large cities may surprise Dagestanis. Kissing on the street, cursing, disrespectful to women and elders – you can’t! Men can smoke outside, but women should refrain. Also, ask them to tell you local myths. Caucasian folklore is a separate art form.
For lovers of food.< /strong>Unlike the Black Sea and Mediterranean cuisine, the dishes of Dagestan do not abound with fish. Therefore, if you are coming here for eating-grilled fish purposes, be sure to visit the Trout farm, which is open to the public. Preferably in April-September – the road is better.
About non-author's tours. like in Turkey. This summer season, charters fly from many cities of the Russian Federation. See departures, hotels and prices for tours to Dagestan in 2022 on aggregators:
Everyone perceives Dagestan differently. If one sees menacing men here holding “their women” in check, then others will discover a traditional society that is different from ours. The difference in morals and customs can leave an imprint on the impression of the republic, but I advise you to look around more and enjoy the views, which are more than enough here.
Where to look for excursions on the spot?
Photo by moiseev. evgeny (instagram)
If you are still not convinced by excursion tours to Dagestan from local experts, and you do not plan to rent a car on the spot, then you can just book an excursion. This is also an acceptable way to explore the region. All the famous sights of Dagestan can be covered in a few days, and choose excursions and guides in advance on the sites:
|🏔️ ️Constructor Sightseeing Tour||6500 rubles per tour, group up to 20 people||The whole day through the brightest places of Dagestan, which you choose yourself. Guides offer to make a wishlist, and along it a convenient route. Canyon, ekranoplan, waterfalls, Gamsutl and Samur Forest — will tell and show whatever you want. Suitable for a first acquaintance.|
|🏔️ The ghostly village of Gamsutl and the Salta Gorge||3000 rubles per person||The ancient ghost village attracts travelers with its mysterious view and empty housing. Important note: climbing enthusiasts should go here. If climbing to the fourth floor makes you short of breath, I recommend choosing tours with jeep climbs. For example, this one.|
|🏔️ DagDiesel Workshop No. 8 Tour||2500 rubles per person||Did you look at Ford Boyard as a child? Welcome to shop #8 DagDiesel. This attraction is not often mentioned, but stalkers and lovers of abandoned places will love to spend a day exploring the Soviet-era secret object.|
|🏔️ Gastronomic tour of Makhachkala||6000 rubles for a tour up to 4 people||The biggest crime in the North Caucasus is not to do justice to the local cuisine. Dagestan dishes are different from Georgian or Armenian ones. Be sure to try local masterpieces: chudu, cheeses, khinkal, pies, sweets, and listen to the stories of a gastronomic guide.|
Author's tours in Dagestan or a solo trip are all great alternatives to abroad in 2022. You will see a different culture and feel the hospitality with which the air is literally saturated here. The rich region will not let you get bored and will allow you to choose the type of recreation that attracts you the most: active climbing in the mountains and canyons, thoughtful trekking in the Samur forest, stomach holidays or a relaxing holiday on the Caspian coast. Come to Dagestan and take away souvenirs and warm memories for years to come!