Georgia is becoming a popular country among tourists and backpackers in recent years. From magnificent mountains to splendid cities and chill beaches, this country offers some unique places to explore. Let’s look at our list of 11 best places to visit in Georgia.
The capital city of Georgia, Tbilisi, is dramatically located in a beautiful valley setting. The Tbilisi old town is very picturesque with the old Georgian architecture, narrow lanes and old residential houses with wooden balconies.
Have a walk in the old city, roam on the Rustaveli Avenue, get a cable car to Narikala Fortress, treat yourself with a sulfur bath, Tbilisi has got a lot of interesting experiences to offer. A great starting point for anyone visiting Georgia for the first time.
Also Read: Top 9 things to do in Tbilisi.
Narikala Fortress in a distant view © Somesh Rai / @worldnestler
Arguably one of the most beautiful places to visit in Georgia, Stepantsminda, formerly Kazbegi, is a paradise and home to the third highest mountain in Georgia (Mt. Kazbek). It’s a charming town and a great base camp for exploring the region further.
Enjoy the view of Mt. Kazbek from your guesthouse balcony in Stepantsminda, do a hike or take a taxi to the picturesque Gergeti Trinity Church, hike in Juta valley, visit glaciers, waterfalls near the town or if you dare go climb the Mt. Kazbek. One thing is for sure, you are going to love your time in Kazbegi.
How to reach Kazbegi: Get a marshrutka (minibus) for 10 GEL per person from Didube bus station in Tbilisi. The ride takes around 3-4 hours.
View of Mt. Kazbeg from the town of Kazbegi © Somesh Rai / @worldnestler
A beautiful small town located in the Svaneti region is a good starting point for most trips in this region. You can go hiking to the gorgeous Koruldi lakes, located at the base of Mount Ushba at 2200 meters above the sea level. The track itself is full of beautiful views around, is very well marked, has several other viewpoints on the way and takes about 4 hours of hiking. The trek is mostly easy, though can be difficult in the winters because the whole mountain is snow-covered.
In summers you can rent a horse and take the horse into the alpine covered mountains. In winters, this region is a hub for skiers as there are two popular ski resorts nearby, namely Hatsvali and Tetnuldi.
How to reach Mestia: The only way to reach Mestia is from Zugdidi. You can reach Zugdidi from Tbilisi by train (overnight train is recommended) costing 13.5 GEL or a marshrutka to Zugdidi. Once you are in Zugdidi, take a Marshrutka available outside of the Zugdidi railway station to Mestia costing 20 GEL. The ride from Zugdidi to Mestia takes around 4 hours, depending on the weather condition. Alternatively, if you are lucky, you can get a flight from Tbilisi or Kutaisi to Mestia for around 40 GEL.
Lenticular cloud forming over a mountain peak in Mestia © Somesh Rai / @worldnestler
Situated at the foot of Skhara mountain, Ushguli is a community of four villages. It’s the highest settlement in Europe with a height range from 2060-2200 meters above sea level. It’s a very cute village with dozens of ancient watchtowers offering breathtaking views of mount Skhara. Make a day trip to Ushguli from Mestia or say in one of the few guest houses available here.
How to reach Ushguli: Get a 4×4 taxi on rent from Mestia as the road to Ushguli is not well kept. The taxi costs 200 GEL one way. These taxis can fit 6 people so if you can share the taxi you can make the trip one way for 33 GEL each.
Tip: Don’t forget to try the Svan cuisine while you are in the region of Svaneti.
Ushguli’s Lamaria © Jaba1977 / Wikimedia Commons
The coastline city Batumi, aka “Pearl of the Black Sea” is situated in the Adjara region in South-West Georgia. It’s a city of nightlife and neon lights during summer. Here you can see the old European architecture next to the modern buildings of Batumi.
Alphabetical tower, a modern artistic moving statue of Ali and Nino, and Batumi Boulevard are few of the main attractions in Batumi. Batumi is close to Turkey border thus popular among tourists for crossing the border to Turkey. Rent a bicycle or walk the 7 km long Batumi Boulevard next to the seashore enjoying the art-pieces and few small parks on the boulevard.
Don’t miss the opportunity to try the Adjarian Khachapuri while you are in Batumi, as this Khachapuri originated in this specific region of Adjara.
Also read: Top things to see and do in Batumi
How to reach Batumi: It is one of the biggest cities in Georgia, therefore, you can reach here from any other big cities like Kutaisi, Zugdidi or Tbilisi by train or marshrutka; marshrutka being the cheapest option but also more time-consuming. Trains are available between Tbilisi and Batumi, the modern express train takes around 5 hours and costs 25 GEL.
Picture taken at Europe square in Batumi © Somesh Rai / @worldnestler
Sighnaghi, the city of love, located in Georgia’s easternmost region of Kakheti, offers marvelous views over Alazani valley. It is the best place in Georgia to enjoy homemade wine and delicious Kakhetian food, and certainly the best base for further exploring the Kakheti region through day trips. Visit wineries in the region or go visit David Gareja monastery on the Azerbaijan border.
How to reach Sighnaghi: Take a Marshrutka ride for 1 hour 45 mins. from Tbilisi (Samgori metro station) to Sighnaghi for 6 GEL.
Sighnaghi, Kakheti © 自由馴鹿 (ZiYouXunLu) / Wikimedia Commons
The religious capital of Georgia, Mtskheta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracts a huge crowd of locals and tourists. Acclaimed for its many Christian sites, this town is home to Georgia’s three most important churches: Svetitskhoveli, Jvari, and Samtavro Monastery. Jvari monastery, located on the hill overlooking Mtskheta, is the most important site to visit.
Note: Dress appropriately if you are entering churches and cathedrals. Men are not allowed to wear hats or shorts. Women are advised to wear a long skirt and cover their head with a scarf.
How to reach Mtskheta: Mtskheta is 30 mins ride away from Tbilisi. Marshrutkas are available form Didube bus station for only 1 GEL.
Zugdidi is the stopping point on your travel to Svaneti region, this city is home to the beautiful Dadiani Palace. If you decide to spend one or two days here before heading to Svaneti region, you can visit the Martvili canyon or the hot springs near the city. A trip to Martvili canyon can be done in a day, it is a natural wonder you won’t want to miss.
How to reach Zugdidi: Trains and Marshrutkas both are available from Tbilisi to reach Zugdidi. Certainly, the most popular option among tourists is the night train from Tbilisi which departs at 21:45 and arrives in Zugdidi early morning at 06:05. The price of the ticket per head is 8.50 GEL.
Martvili Canyon Natural Monument © Lasha ge / Wikimedia Commons
Located in North-East Georgia, Tusheti is one of the least explored regions in the whole country. However, this region is arguably Georgia’s most picturesque region too. Tusheti is known for its gorgeous high mountains.
Road to Tusheti opens only for about 5 months starting from around late May to early October. The road to Tusheti is unpaved and you need to get on 4×4 to reach this beautiful region.
Trip to Tusheti region is not complete without visiting the rich biodiverse Tushet National Park. Omalo village is popular in Tusheti region among tourists and locals.
How to reach Tusheti: Get a jeep taxi from Telavi or Alvani in Kakheti region. If you manage to share the taxi, the price for one way is around 50 GEL per person. The journey can take anywhere between 4 and 7 hours depending on the road condition.
Tusheti National Park – Morning in the Upper Omalo © Moahim / Wikimedia Commons
Uplistsikhe, literally meaning “Lord’s fortress”, is an abandoned ancient cave town in eastern Georgia, about 100 km from Tbilisi. This town is famous for its unique blend of their various styles of rock-cut cultures from Iran and Anatolia. This town is very popular among tourists for its monolith cave residences scattered across 8 hectares of land. It is the closest cave town to Tbilisi.
Entrance fee: 5 GEL
How to reach Uplistsikhe: There are two options: a shared taxi (5 GEL pp) or a marshrutka (3 GEL pp) from Tbilisi (Didube station) to Gori. After that, from Gori you have to get another marshrutka to Kvakhvreli, which is a nearby village to Uplistsikhe, for 1 GEL. However, you can also talk with your driver to drop you to the cave town for another 1 GEL.
Uplistsikhe view from the south © Aleksey Muhranoff / Wikimedia Commons
Another remarkable cave town, Vardzia, is located near Aspindza in Southern Georgia. Vardzia is often called the Georgian Jewel of Medieval Architecture. This whole town is carved into a steep wall of the mountain at an altitude of 1300 meters. It offers different layers of monolith churches, shrines, and caves that date back as early as the 12th century.
Entrance fee: 3 GEL.
How to reach Vardzia: There are four marshrutkas a day from Akhaltsikhe, leaving at 08:30, 09:30, 13:00, and 15:00, costing 6 GEL per person, and takes around 1 hour for one way. The ride back from Vardzia to Akhaltsikhe leaves at 09:00, 13:00, and 15:00.
Vardzia © Lidia Ilona / Wikimedia Commons