For most Russians, the word Caucasus (Кавказ) summons up images of fiery mountain folk, the high-tempo lezginka dance and volatile regions such as Chechnya. But there's more to this ethnically diverse part of Russia than the stereotypes and the horror stories. Visitors to this area come to experience relaxing spa towns, breathtaking scenery and world-class ski resorts.
On top of that, there's superb trekking and horse riding amid soaring peaks, white-water rafting and paragliding, as well as the chance to climb Mt Elbrus, Europe’s highest mountain. Black Sea resort towns offer sun and sea, and festive nightlife, while the Caucasus also boasts its own regional cuisines.
For anyone looking to get off the tourist trail, the Caucasus offers wide-open spaces, bustling markets and rugged mountain roads with stunning views around every corner.