Where to Go and What to See in Georgia
Georgia is a great country for Russian travelers. A visa is not needed, no English is needed, the climate is mild, people are welcoming, the kitchen and wine are excellent. Plus, the sea, beaches, mountains, ancient culture, relatively low prices and good infrastructure. What is not an ideal place for vacation? Find out where to go and how not to miss all the most interesting things in Georgia!
Tbilisi is a beautiful and atmospheric city. Sights are located quite compact, but scroll for inspection at least two full days to have fun and not to rush at a gallop.
What not to miss in Tbilisi:
- Narikala Fortress and the picturesque Old Town at its foot. You can go up to Narikale on foot, but it is more interesting to go by cable car.
- Abanotubani – sulfur baths, sung by Pushkin. On the opposite bank of the Kura from the baths stands the symbol of Tbilisi – the Metekhi temple.
- The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Tsminda Sameba) is the residence of the Patriarch of Georgia. The cathedral is modern and not very expressive, but it’s worth a look during a walk through the old district of Tbilisi – Avlabari.
- Museum of Art and State Museum of Georgia.
If traveling with children, take them by funicular to the amusement park on the top of Mount Mtatsminda. And on Rustaveli Avenue do not miss the funny miniature figurines.
Mtskheta is the ancient capital of Georgia and perhaps the holiest place for Georgians. In the tiny town 20 km from the center of the modern capital there are three UNESCO World Heritage sites at once. Getting to Mtskheta is convenient by bus or taxi.
The main attractions of Mtskheta are the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, the St. Nino Monastery and the tiny picturesque Jvari Monastery on a high rock at the confluence of the Kura and Aragvi.
On the way back to Tbilisi, be sure to drop by the restaurant “Salobiye”, famous for its khinkali and lobio since Soviet times.
When to go to Georgia
The ideal time to travel to Georgia is May – June and September – October. Spring is green everywhere and flowers in the fields and gardens. Autumn is the season of persimmon, grape, fig and, of course, young wine. In July-August in Georgia, especially in the east, it can be very hot, up to +40 ° C.
You can swim in the Black Sea in Georgia approximately from the beginning of June, when the water is already warm to + 19-21 ° C. In July – August, the water temperature usually fluctuates around +25 ° C, in September – around +23 ° C.
Georgian Military Road
One of the most scenic trails in the post-Soviet space goes from Tbilisi to the foot of Mount Kazbek. In addition to stunning mountain landscapes on the way, you will see the medieval fortress and the temple on the banks of the reservoir in Ananuri, a dramatic gorge near Gudauri and the Cross Pass. If time allows, from Stepantsminda (Kazbegi) rise even higher to the Gergeti church, from where, in good weather, there are beautiful views of Kazbek.
If you rent a car, you can visit Mtskheta in one day, drive along the Georgian Military Road and return to Tbilisi by evening.
Homeland of the most famous Georgian wines, where even road signs proudly read: “Tsinandali”, “Gurdjaani”, “Akhasheni”, “Mukuzani”. You can get to Kakheti from Tbilisi in an hour and, having left in the morning, visit key places and get back to the capital by evening.
In Kakheti it is definitely worth visiting Sighnagi, a lovely town with elegant houses, funny monuments and a wonderful view of the Alazani Valley. If time allows, visit the capital of the region – Telavi town, to the majestic Alaverdi cathedral and the ancient David Garedja cave monastery near the border with Azerbaijan.
Bad attitude towards Russians in Georgia is a myth. You will be met as a mother and surrounded with care, as if you are in the village with your grandmother. Friendly Georgia disposes to acquaintances and communication: do not close yourself up, and the country will reveal itself in all its beauty. To know what to expect, look at the selection of portraits blogger Sergey Prokhorov shot in Georgia.
Gori and Uplistsikhe
Uplistsikhe is perhaps the oldest cave town in Georgia. Labyrinths of tunnels and caves, a river under a rock, a lonely church, a place so fantastic that it looks more like a theme park than a historical landmark. But you can walk everywhere and touch everything with your hands, which the children will definitely appreciate. To Uplistsikhe ride through Gori, where you should look at the museum of Stalin and the ruins of the fortress Gorische.
It is not so easy to get to Vardzia, but this cave monastery from the time of Queen Tamara is much more interesting to Uplistsikhe and definitely worth a long (by Georgian standards) road. A nice bonus is the well-preserved fortress of Khertvisi nearby. On the way from Tbilisi to Vardzia, you can drink directly from the well of the real mineral water Borjomi in the city of the same name and visit the picturesque village of Bakuriani, which in winter turns into a ski resort.
The main attractions of the capital of Imereti are the Bagrati Temple and the Gelati Monastery, which are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not far from Kutaisi there are two interesting caves – Prometheus Cave and Sataplia. Both are famous for beautifully illuminated stalagmites and stalactites, but Sataplia in Georgia is called nothing less than the “Jurassic Park” – dinosaur footprints are well preserved here.
The best place in Georgia for nature lovers and beautiful landscapes. This remote corner of the country, little known even to the Georgians themselves, is entirely included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and in recent years has been turning into a star of tourism in Georgia. People come to Svaneti to admire the Svan towers against the background of snowy peaks and mountain rivers, to go hiking and horse trekking and mountaineering (the legendary Soviet mountaineer Mikhail Khergiani comes from these lands). In the plains of Georgia they say that the Svans still have the custom of blood revenge. But these rumors, of course, are outdated by a century or two.
In winter, in the flat part of Georgia, the temperature rarely drops below zero, and at this time it is not so much cold as it is sad. From mid-autumn to early spring many passes are closed: walking and even car trips to remote places will have to be postponed. But if you like skiing, then from mid-December to mid-March in Gudauri and Bakuriani you will find good trails.
There are almost more business centers and hotels of global networks in modern Batumi than in Tbilisi. And this is not surprising: the city is clearly turning into the financial capital of the country, like New York in the USA or Mumbai in India. But with all the gloss and luxury of modernity, the old Batumi neighborhoods have not lost their charm, and the new areas and houses only emphasize it.
It is interesting to go from Batumi to the local botanical garden and to the ancient Roman ruins in Gonio. From here you can continue the journey further – to Turkey.
You can swim in the Black Sea right in Batumi. This is an ideal option to combine a beach holiday with shopping, nightlife and interesting walks: Batumi is a big city where you won’t get bored.
If you want to relax on the sea in a quieter place, take a look at Kobuleti. In this resort village there is a pebble beach and a long, long promenade along the coast: choose the cutest restaurant, order a glass of wine and listen to the surf.
With children they usually go to Ureki: it is believed that the black magnetic sand on the beaches has healing properties. But at the height of the season it is crowded. If you like silence and nature, a good alternative is Shekveteli. There is a coniferous forest, a black sandy beach and few people. But one thing: infrastructure is poorly developed.