All of Uzungol is a tourist trap, which is unfortunate as it is a pretty place. I went on a weekday in June, hardly peak season, and counted twenty tour buses by lunchtime...there is nowhere for the people to go, so the lakeside can get a bit too crowded. The whole village seems to have been devoted to tourism...all the buildings are either pansiyons, trout restaurants or trinket shops. The local government has begun a series of "improvement" schemes, which mostly consist of building car-parks and roads, as far as I could see, so maybe the idyllic Uzungol of all the posters and postcards has been lost forever.
Unique Suggestions: Go on a weekday...it was crowded enough on a thursday, so I can only imagine what it is like at weekends. Also try to avoid the summer months...maybe Uzungol's charm goes on holiday for June, July and August, and returns to delight autumn and winter visitors? If you have your own car, head up here early morning before the tour groups arrive.or late afternoon once they've gone. Maybe the answer is to stay a few days...there are certainly enough pansiyons around the lake, and this way you could spend all day hiking in the mountains, only returning to the village for dinner in the evening.
Fun Alternatives: If you have your own transport, then there look to be several valleys in the area worth exploring. In fact, anywhere in these mountains behind the Black Sea would count as off the beaten track...only Uzungol, Sumela and Ayder are spoilt so far, the rest remaining fairly unexplored. Unfortunately, those relying on public transport will find their options severely restricted.bus timetables suit villagers, who descend to the cities for daytime shopping in the market and return in the evening, ruling out day trips for tourists altogether.
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