Once portion of the Soviet Union, Georgia is a destination filled with ancient history, stunning landscapes, and a lot of surprises. It’s home to an award-winning wine industry and the cool capital of Tbilisi, that includes a stunning Old Town and vibrant nightlife.
Also to top everything off, the Caucasus Mountains offer incredible hiking and climbing for anybody looking to explore the outside.
Georgia deserves all of the praise it gets. It truly is jam-packed with activities and attractions and is slowly needs to can get on people’s radar. I loved my time there, and my only regret is that I didn’t have significantly more of it (but I assume that’s only a reason to return, right?).
It could not be just about the most obvious places to visit, but if you’d like an eclectic destination that doesn’t have a whole lot of crowds and is safe, inexpensive, and filled up with great drink and food, Georgia could it be! I can’t recommend it enough.
Here’s a listing of what I consider to be the best what to see and do in Georgia:
1. Visit Tbilisi
Georgia’s capital houses just over a million people and has began to gain a reputation as a progressive city that provides an incredible mixture of old and new.
Tbilisi is surrounded by hills, among which houses the ruins of Narikala Fortress, which goes back to the fourth century. Take the cable car up for amazing views overlooking the town and the Mtkvari River. And the restored historic Old Town is filled with colorful window frames, gorgeous balconies, ornate spiral staircases, and intriguing alleyways to explore.
On the other hand with this history, additionally, there are plenty of modern sights to see in Tbilisi, just like the ultramodern bow-shaped Peace Bridge and an increasing number of trendy bars and restaurants. If you’re seeking to party the night time away, make sure to visit Bassiani, probably the most popular nightclubs around.
2. Get one of these Sulfur Bath
Tbilisi is well known because of its sulfur baths, natural hot springs with minerals that are thought to help with problems such as for example joint pain, arthritis, eczema, and dry skin. They have already been a staple of the town because it was founded and so are now a favorite pastime for tourists and locals alike. (There are over two thousand mineral springs throughout Georgia, so that you can have a spa day outside Tbilisi aswell.)
The baths within the Narikala Fortress will be the easiest spot to try out this popular Georgian tradition; you may also get yourself a traditional scrub and massage. The baths are easy to identify: they have large brick domes rising out of your ground that cover the healing waters.
Be prepared to pay at least 50 GEL (Georgian lari) ($17 USD) for a budget bathhouse or 100 GEL ($34 USD) for a nicer one.
3. The Chronicle of Georgia
Just outside Tbilisi, the Chronicle of Georgia comprises of 16 enormous pillars and columns with carved images that illustrate the nation’s history, each which has ended 30 meters tall! Some individuals call this “Georgia’s Stonehenge,” but there’s nothing ancient or mystical about any of it – the memorial was built-in 1985 by a Georgian sculptor (though it was never finished).
It’s easy to attain the Chronicle by firmly taking the metro and walking a brief distance. Furthermore to seeing this unusual monument (which is free), you’ll also get yourself a beautiful view over the town and the Tbilisi Sea.
4. See Mtskheta
Mtskheta was a historical capital of Georgia now is called the religious center of the united states. It’s in regards to a half-hour north of Tbilisi and houses historic churches and beautiful buildings from the center Ages (a number of them are UNESCO World Heritage sites aswell). The complete city was also declared a Holy City by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2014.
Among the best things you can do in Mtskheta is to move up to Jvari Monastery on the hilltop, most well-known to be where Christianity was declared the state religion in 319 CE. The monastery itself was built-in the sixth century and has survived nearly unchanged since that time. From here you’ll be treated to stunning views over the city and both rivers that meet at Mtskheta.
Also, don’t miss a visit to the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (which dates to the 11th century) and the fourth-century Samtavro Monastery.
5. Eat Khachapuri
There are a myriad of traditional Georgian foods you can test, but the one which all visitors appear to leave Georgia raving about is khachapuri. It’s basically a cheesy bread that may include various toppings and in a variety of shapes, sometimes looking a bit just like a pizza and other times similar to a big bread roll.
Every region of Georgia has its version, but essentially the most famous is Adjarian khachapuri. It will come in some sort of boat shape and is first filled up with cheese and topped with an egg.
Another popular food you’ll want to try is kudari, that is a large leavened bread pocket filled with meat (usually pork or lamb) and vegetables.
6. Go to the Vadrzia Cave Monastery
The Vadrzia Cave Monastery is situated near Aspindza in the south of Georgia, about four hours from Tbilisi by car. It’s the most famous monasteries in the complete country. Built-in the 11th century, it’s something of caves dug in to the side of Erusheli Mountain. Originally, the complex included 13 levels and over 6,000 apartments. They were used to greatly help protect the locals from the Mongols, who ravaged the complete region in the 12th century.
Nowadays – after earthquake damage and raids from invaders – there remain 3 hundred surviving apartments and halls that may be accessed. Additionally, the underground Church of the Dormition continues to be intact, which houses murals depicting historical scenes of Georgian royalty.
7. Hit the Slopes
Georgia probably isn’t your first thought for a skiing holiday. However, the united states is rapidly becoming popular in Europe and Asia as a great and affordable ski destination, and more lifts are being added each season. It shares the best mountain range in your community and has a lot of snow in the wintertime, making it an excellent spot to ski. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than many choices in Europe.
Right now there are four main ski resort areas: Gudauri, Mestia, Goderdzi, and Bakuriani. There’s a good ski school with English-speaking instructors in Gudauri, which is a two-hour drive from Tbilisi. You can find lift passes for less than 30 GEL ($10 USD).
8. Start to see the Katskhi Pillar
For an especially unique sight, check out western Georgia’s Katskhi Pillar. This huge limestone monolith is an all natural tower that stands over 130 feet high. You can reach Katskhi in a few hours from Batumi or in around three . 5 hours from Tbilisi.
But that’s not absolutely all – built at the top of the narrow pillar is a church complex dating back again to the seventh century. Until 2015, a monk actually lived through to top, but nowadays the monks sleep in the monastery in the bottom – and only monks are permitted to climb up the steel ladder privately within their daily pilgrimage to pray in the church. The buildings were refurbished recently, and a visitor center is in the works.
9. Go Hiking or Trekking
If you want hiking or trekking, then you’re likely to love Georgia. The Caucasus Mountains stretch from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea – over 1,000km – so there are numerous possibilities.
The most used multi-day trek is walking from Mestia to Ushguli (4 days). There are enough villages along the way that you don’t have to camp. And in addition, the scenery on the way is magnificent.
As Georgia is a hiker’s paradise, there are literally a large number of other hiking possibilities, so shop around and see the type of trek fits what you’re after. Some suggestions worth taking into consideration are Omalo to Shatili (5 days), Chaukhi Pass (1-2 days), and Svaneti to Racha (a challenging 3-4 days).
10. Try Georgian Wine
It’s said that Georgia gets the oldest winemaking history on earth. Georgians have already been making wine for over 8,000 years, to help you bet they’re very good at it right now. They use qvevri (clay pots buried in the bottom) to ferment grapes for a distinctive taste. The climate in Georgia is ideal for winemaking, too, so it’s no wonder that Georgian wine is needs to win awards internationally.
There are five main wine regions in Georgia, however the largest & most visited is Kakheti in the east. Technically you possibly can make it a excursion from Tbilisi, nonetheless it deserves more than just a couple hours. If you need to explore the vineyards, then pick either Sighnaghi or Telavi as a base.
11. Explore the Coast
If you’re looking for a few rest and relaxation, Georgia even includes a beach resort region along the coast. At Batumi, on the Black Sea, you’ll find subtropical temperatures ideal for swimming. It could get quite humid in summer too.
You can relax at a beach resort near Batumi or explore a few of the craziness this part of Georgia provides (it’s sometimes referred to as the NEVADA of the Black Sea). The spot houses some unique architecture and numerous casinos, though in addition, it gets the enormous Batumi Botanical Gardens, which boasts the most diverse ranges of flora you’ll see in a botanical garden anywhere.
12. Visit Gergeti Trinity Church
Built-in the 14th century, this church saved near Mount Kazbek is perched almost 2,200 meters above sea level and draws crowds from from coast to coast. It’s the most picturesque spots in every of Georgia, offering stunning views of the mountain range (which you’ve probably seen on Instagram).
When you can visit on a excursion from Tbilisi, an improved idea is to check out Stepantsminda and stay there overnight. That way, you can view the church each morning (that provides great light for photos) while beating the tourist crowds which will eventually arrive from the administrative centre.
13. The Caves of Gareja
Located close to the border with Azerbaijan, that is a Georgian Orthodox complex that goes back to the sixth century. Here you’ll find a huge selection of small rooms, small chapels, churches, and monastic living quarters carved out of your rock face.
The monastery survived incursions from the Mongols and Persians but was turn off under Soviet rule and used for military training (which caused a whole lot of harm to the buildings).
Today, you can travel to the complex on a excursion from Tbilisi. The journey takes around three hours by bus and bus tickets cost 25 GEL ($9 USD).
14. Visit Gori
Gori may be the hometown of Joseph Stalin, the brutal Soviet leader. Located 90 minutes from Tbilisi, the town is home to the favorite Stalin Museum, which includes plenty of artifacts (like the wooden hut where he was created) and information regarding his life – everything whitewashed and biased, of course.
Here you’ll also look for a World War II museum that targets the achievements of the Red Army, in addition to Gori Fortress, a citadel that goes back to the 17th century and will be offering a panoramic view of the spot.
Although it’s close enough for a excursion from Tbilisi, you can stay static in this small city of just 50,000 for a day or two if you would like to move away from the crowds.
15. Get Outdoors in Svaneti
That is probably the most beautiful regions in the complete country. Saved in the northwestern corner of Georgia, you’ll find many tiny villages and incredible hiking here. Additionally, there are several UNESCO heritage sites in the region, including watchtowers that date back again to the 12th century. You’ll also be completely enveloped by the Caucasus Mountains, which provide both a picturesque backdrop and stunning views.
Stay static in Mestia, a little village of less than 2,000 people, and leave by walking or by car to explore the spot. You’ll also find the best cheese in the united states, created by traditional methods kept alive by the Svans (an ethnic subgroup). The spot is probably the most remote areas in Georgia – view it prior to the tourists arrive.
This list just scratches the top in terms of the incredible what to see and do this Georgia provides. There are dozens more historical sites, monasteries, caves, and castles to see and many more stunning landscapes to explore. (And the united states is fairly safe too.)
Whether you merely have a couple of days to enjoy Tbilisi and its own surroundings or a week or two to cover more of rural Georgia too, you aren’t likely to be disappointed!
Book Your Visit to Georgia: Logistical Guidelines
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world and that means you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation For the best budget accommodation, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. You can book your hostel with Hostelworld because they have the most comprehensive inventory. A few of my favorite places in which to stay Georgia:
- Fabrika (Tblisi) – This hostel can be a bar and co-working space housed within an old Soviet warehouse. It’s got a cool vibe and the people listed below are wonderful. Here is the best spot to stay in the united states in the event that you ask me.
- Temi Hostel (Kutaisi) – This hostel is small however the staff are excellent and it’s clean and cozy. It’s in an excellent location too.
- Boutique Hotel and Medusa Hostel (Batumi) – This place is relatively new therefore the beds are comfy and also have curtains and the area is well maintained. The staff are super helpful and can ensure you have an incredible visit to Batumi.
Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to get the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I use to save lots of money when I travel – and I believe can help you too!
Want MORE INFO on Georgia? Make sure to visit our robust destination guide on Georgia for a lot more planning tips!
Photo credit : 3 – Marcin Konsek, 4 – orientalizing, 6 – Marco Verch, 7 – Tony Bowden, 8 – Paata Liparteliani, 9 – Levan Nioradze, 11 – tomasz przechlewski, 15 – Andrzej