Georgia has been featured in many must-visit-lists over the last couple of years. As a result, many people have added the East European country onto their bucketlist.
To start off with, Georgia is a very affordable country to travel around in. Second to that, the food is amazing. But most of all, the nature, surrounded by medieval monasteries, green hills and rocky mountains, is stunning. When I flew to Georgia, I only had 4 days to see as much as I could. Some of the following must sees are mainstream, yet others are more Off the Beaten Track. Enjoy!
Georgia’s capital is the biggest surprise of Eastern Europe, undoubtedly. The city is filled with amazing restaurants, wine bars and trendy hotspots. If you visit, make sure you’ll stay at least 2 nights to enjoy the full experience. If you’re looking for a nice place to stay, I can recommend the Iota Hotel, which is located in the city center, yet, in a quiet street.
Photo by @saltinourhair
A little less known but a highly recommended lake because you’ll really get the local experience around this area, driving off road through several villages. When we arrived, there was no other person in sight. The lake is located between Borjomi and Akhalkalaki in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region.
In time, the ancient castle has been totally renovated, but you can still see the old stones and towers. Currently, Rabath (or Rabati) Castle houses a museum, mosque, church, restaurants and café’s where you can have lunch. You’ll find it in the Javakheti Region.
If you like abandoned spooky places, you’ll love this train wreck that was turned into a bridge that hangs over a river. Entering is at your own risk because the bottom of the train is old and rusty, so there is a risk you can fall into the river. However, I think definitely belongs on one of the must sees places in Georgia, especially because it’s Off the Beaten Track. You can find the train bridge on the road to Akhalkalaki.
First thing to remember is that this city carved out of a rock, was build in the 12th century so it is old, very old. For this reason alone, you need to see it to believe it. From Tbilisi, it’s about 2,5 hours drive to get there. There is a small entrance fee and you can take a small bus to take you up, or you can walk. Tip: Vardzia remains a popular attraction so visit the old monastery around 5pm to avoid the larger crowds.
Tip: Traveling by car through Georgia is the best option because there are so many places to stop along the way.
While driving to the mountains, stop for a photo opportunity at the Jinvali lake, which is used as a water reservoir. When the sun shines, the water shows an amazing colour blue.
The Russia – Georgia Friendship Monument
Firstly, you’ll pass the most popular stop; the Russia – Georgia Friendship Monument where you can take some great pictures of the view over the mountains. This spot is especially popular amongst paragliders and base jumpers and is part of a ski resort.
In the center of the Stephansminda region, you’ll find Gergeti Church. But we have to warn you, this famous Church is swamped by tourists, so it’s much better so look at Gergeti from a distance. Instead, go a little off road and visit the small Church of Prophet Elias. From here, you can see the mountains of very well, equally as the Gergeti chruch.
September is the perfect time to visit Georgia. Less busy, good temperatures and stunning colours!
This region is a Walhalla for every hiker because there are many scenic walks through the valleys and points of interests. Therefore, I have lined up the best parts of Kazbegi below:
Consequently, you’ll end up at the Russian border when you drive along the Dariali Road. Just before the border, there is a large and beautiful Church. The road isn’t in the best quality, so we advise you to drive carefully if you aren’t such an experienced driver. However, the road is beautiful and surrounded by rocky mountains.
The only way to get to this waterfall is by going off road with a 4 x 4 car that can handle the rocky road. After arrival, you need to hike upwards for about 400 meters (which seems a lot further if your fitness levels are below average!). The walk is totally worth it though, what a beauty!
Personally, I thought this was the icing on the cake when we visited the Truso Valley in Kazbegi on the last day. Surprisingly, this area is a volcanic region and you’ll smell the sulfate in the air. In the end you need to park your car (yes, the only way to get here is by car), and walk up besides a little restaurant. Eventually, the path will bring you to the “bubbly lake” caused by the gas. Consequently, the small lake looks amazing when the sunlight hits the water.
So are you ready to book you ticket to the country that has it all?