MY 15 favorite things TO SEE and do in GEORGIA
Last Updated: 2/2/2020 | 2 februari, 2020
Once part of the Soviet Union, Georgia is a destination full of ancient history, spectacular landscapes, and plenty of surprises. It’s home to an award-winning red wine industry and the amazing capital of Tbilisi, which has a spectacular Old town and dynamic nightlife.
And to top it all off, the Caucasus Mountains offer amazing hiking and climbing for anybody wanting to explore the outdoors.
Georgia is worthy of all the praise it gets. It really is jam-packed with activities and attractions and is slowly starting to get on people’s radar. I loved my time there, and my only regret is that I didn’t have much more of it (but I guess that’s just a reason to go back, right?).
It may not be one of the most apparent places to travel, but if you want an eclectic destination that doesn’t have a lot of crowds and is safe, inexpensive, and filled with terrific food and drink, Georgia is it! I can’t recommend it enough.
Here’s a list of what I consider to be some of the best things to see and do in Georgia:
1. check out Tbilisi
Georgia’s capital is home to just over a million people and has started to acquire a credibility as a progressive city that provides an amazing blend of old and new.
Tbilisi is surrounded by hills, one of which is home to the ruins of Narikala Fortress, which dates back to the fourth century. Take the cable television automobile up for amazing views overlooking the city and the Mtkvari River. and the restored historic Old town is full of colorful window frames, beautiful balconies, ornate spiral staircases, and interesting alleyways to explore.
In contrast with this history, there are also lots of modern sights to see in Tbilisi, like the ultramodern bow-shaped peace Bridge and a growing number of trendy bars and restaurants. If you’re wanting to party the night away, be sure to check out Bassiani, one of the most popular nightclubs in town.
2. try a Sulfur Bath
Tbilisi is known for its sulfur baths, natural hot springs with minerals that are said to help with problems such as joint pain, arthritis, eczema, and dry skin. They have been a staple of the city because it was founded and are now a popular pastime for tourists and locals alike. (There are actually over two thousand mineral springs throughout Georgia, so you can have a medspa day outside Tbilisi as well.)
The baths underneath the Narikala Fortress are the easiest place to try this popular Georgian tradition; you can also get a conventional scrub and massage. The baths are easy to spot: they have large brick domes rising out of the ground that cover the healing waters.
Expect 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 is made up of 16 huge pillars and columns with carved images that illustrate the nation’s history, each of which is over 30 meters tall! Some people call this “Georgia’s Stonehenge,” but there’s nothing ancient or mystical about it — the memorial was built in 1985 by a Georgian sculptor (although it was never finished).
It’s easy to reach the Chronicle by taking the metro and then walking a short distance. In addition to seeing this unusual monument (which is free), you’ll also get a stunning view over the city and the Tbilisi Sea.
4. See Mtskheta
Mtskheta was an ancient capital of Georgia and today is known as the religious center of the country. It’s about a half-hour north of Tbilisi and is home to historic churches and stunning buildings from the middle Ages (some of them are UNESCO world Heritage sites as well). The entire city was also declared a holy City by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2014.
One of the best things to do in Mtskheta is to go up to Jvari Monastery on the hilltop, many well-known for being where Christianity was declared the official religion in 319 CE. The monastery itself was built in the sixth century and has survived nearly unchanged because then. From here you’ll be treated to spectacular views over the town and the two rivers that meet at Mtskheta.
Also, don’t miss a check out to the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (which dates to the 11th century) and the fourth-century Samtavro Monastery.
5. eat Khachapuri
There are all kinds of conventional Georgian foods you can try, but the one that all visitors seem to leave Georgia raving about is khachapuri. It’s essentially a cheesy bread that can come with various toppings and in various shapes, in some cases looking a bit like a pizza and other times much more like a big bread roll.
Every region of Georgia has its own version, but probably the most well-known is Adjarian khachapuri. It comes in a kind of boat shape and is first filled with cheese and then topped with an egg.
Another popular food you’ll want to try is kudari, which is a large leavened bread pocket stuffed with meat(usually pork or lamb) and vegetables.
6. check out the Vadrzia Cave Monastery
The Vadrzia Cave Monastery is located near Aspindza in the south of Georgia, about four hours from Tbilisi by car. It’s one of the most well-known monasteries in the entire country. built in the 11th century, it’s a system of caves dug into the side of Erusheli Mountain. Originally, the complex included 13 levels and over 6,000 apartments. These were used to help safeguard the locals from the Mongols, who ravaged the entire region in the 12th century.
These days — after earthquake damage and raids from invaders — there are around three hundred surviving apartments and halls that can still be accessed. Additionally, the underground Church of the Dormition is still intact, which is home to murals depicting historical scenes of Georgian royalty.
7. hit the Slopes
Georgia probably isn’t your first thought for a skiing holiday. However, the country is rapidly becoming well known in Europe and Asia as a fun and affordable ski destination, and much more lifts are being added each season. It shares the highest mountain range in the region and has plenty of snow in the winter, making it a terrific place to ski. Plus, it’s a whole lot less expensive than numerous options in Europe.
At the moment there are four main ski resort areas: Gudauri, Mestia, Goderdzi, and Bakuriani. There’s even a ski school with English-speaking instructors in Gudauri, which is only a two-hour drive from Tbilisi. You can get lift passes for as little as 30 GEL ($10 USD).
8. See the Katskhi Pillar
For a particularly distinct sight, head to western Georgia’s Katskhi Pillar. This substantial limestone monolith is a natural tower that stands over 130 feet high. You can reach Katskhi in a couple of hours from Batumi or in about three and a half hours from Tbilisi.
But that’s not all — built on the top of this narrow pillar is a church complex dating back to the seventh century. until 2015, a monk actually lived up on top, but these days the monks sleep in the monastery at the bottom — and only monks are allowed to climb up the steel ladder on the side as part of 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 like hiking or trekking, then you’re going to love Georgia. The Caucasus Mountains stretch from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea — over 1,000km — so there are plenty of possibilities.
The many popular multi-day trek is walking from Mestia to Ushguli (4 days). There are enough villages along the route that you don’t need to camp. Not surprisingly, the scenery along the way is magnificent.
As Georgia is a hiker’s paradise, there are literally dozens of other hiking possibilities, so look around and see what kind of trek fits what you’re after. Some ideas worth considering 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 has the oldest winemaking history in the world. Georgians have been making red wine for over 8,000 years, so you can bet they’re pretty good at it by now. They use qvevri (clay pots buried in the ground) to ferment grapes for a distinct taste. The climate in Georgia is ideal for winemaking, too, so it’s no wonder that Georgian red wine is starting to win awards internationally.
There are five main red wine regions in Georgia, but the largest and many went to is Kakheti in the east. Technically you can make it a day trip from Tbilisi, but it is worthy of much more than just a few hours. If you want to explore the vineyards, then pick either Sighnaghi or Telavi as a base.
11. explore the Coast
If you’re searching for some rest and relaxation, Georgia even has a beach resort region along the coast. At Batumi, located on the Black Sea, you’ll find subtropical temperatures ideal for swimming. It can get quite humid in summer too.
You can chill out at a beach resort near Batumi or explore some of the craziness this part of Georgia has to offer (it’s in some cases described as the Las vegas of the Black Sea). The region is home to some distinct architecture and a number of casinos, though it also has the huge Batumi Botanical Gardens, which boasts one of the most diverse ranges of flora you’ll see in a botanical garden anywhere.
12. check out Gergeti Trinity Church
Built in the 14th century, this church tucked away near mount Kazbek is perched practically 2,200 meters above sea level and draws crowds from all over the country. It’s one of the most picturesque spots in all of Georgia, providing spectacular views of the mountain range (which you’ve probably seen on Instagram).
While you can check out on a day trip from Tbilisi, a better idea is to head to Stepantsminda and stay there overnight. That way, you can see the church in the morning (which provides terrific light for photos) while beating the traveler crowds that will eventually arrive from the capital.
13. The Caves of Gareja
Located near the border with Azerbaijan, this is a Georgian Orthodox complex that dates back to the sixth century. here you’ll find hundreds of small rooms, small chapels, churches, and monastic living quarters carved out of the rock face.
The monastery survived incursions from the Mongols and Persians but was shut down under Soviet guideline and used for military training (which caused a lot of damage to the buildings).
Today, you can check out the complex on a day trip from Tbilisi. The journey takes around three hours by bus and bus tickets cost 25 GEL ($9 USD).
14. check out Gori
Gori is the hometown of Joseph Stalin, the brutal Soviet leader. located 90 minutes from Tbilisi, the city is home to the popular Stalin Museum, which has lots of artifacts (including the wooden hut where he was born) and information about his life — all of it whitewashed and biased, of course.
Here you’ll also find a world war II museum that focuses on the achievements of the Red Army, as well as Gori Fortress, a citadel that dates back to the 17th century and provides a panoramic view of the region.
Although it’s close enough for a day trip from Tbilisi, you can stay in this small city of just 50,000 for a day or two if you want to get away from the crowds.
15. get Outdoors in Svaneti
This is one of the most stunning regions in the entire country. tucked away in the northwestern corner of Georgia, you’ll find numerous tiny villages and amazing hiking here. There are also several UNESCO heritage sites in the area, including watchtowers that date back to the 12th century. You’ll also be completely enveloped by the Caucasus Mountains, which offer both a picturesque backdrop and spectacular views.
Stay in Mestia, a tiny village of fewer than 2,000 people, and head out on foot or by automobile to explore the region. You’ll also find some of the best cheese in the country, made by conventional methods kept alive by the Svans (an ethnic subgroup). The region is one of the most remote areas in Georgia — see it before the tourists arrive.
This list just scratches the surface when it concerns the amazing things to see and do that Georgia has to offer. There are dozens much more historical sites, monasteries, caves, and castles to see and a whole lot much more spectacular landscapes to explore. (And the country is quite safe too.)
Whether you just have a few days to delight in Tbilisi and its surroundings or a couple of weeks to cover much more of rural Georgia too, you are not going to be disappointed!
Book Your trip to Georgia: Logistical suggestions and Tricks
Boek uw vlucht
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a low-cost flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search sites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. start with Skyscanner first though because they have the most significant reach!
Boek uw accommodatie
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the most significant inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the most affordable rates for guesthouses and low-cost hotels. Mijn favoriete plekken om te verblijven zijn:
Temi Hostel (Kutaisi)
Boutique hotel and Medusa Hostel (Batumi)
Vergeet de reisverzekering niet
De reisverzekering zal u beveiligen tegen ziekte, verwonding, diefstal en annuleringen. Het is uitgebreide bescherming voor het geval er iets misgaat. Ik ga nooit zonder een reis zonder dat ik het in het verleden vele malen moest gebruiken. Mijn favoriete bedrijven die de beste service en waarde aanbieden zijn:
Veiligheidsvleugel (voor iedereen onder de 70)
Verzeker mijn reis (voor die ouder dan 70)
MedJet (voor extra repatriëringsdekking)
Op zoek naar de beste bedrijven om geld mee te besparen?
Bekijk mijn resourcepagina voor de beste bedrijven om te gebruiken wanneer u reist. Ik vermeld alle mensen die ik gebruik om geld te besparen als ik onderweg ben. Ze zullen je geld besparen als je ook reist.
Want much more information on Georgia?
Be sure to check out our robust destination guide on Georgia for even much more planning