Georgia Travels: Must-See Places

February 20th 2023 in Travel
Georgia Travels: Must-See Places

10 Best Places To Visit Georgia's

Georgia, which is still mostly unknown to travellers outside of Eastern Europe, will gain international notice as an outdoor and adventure tourism hub when it eventually receives it. There's a landscape and myriad activities to suit just about every taste, from the peaks of the Caucasus highlands to Kakheti's undulating semi-deserts, the stony Black Sea shoreline, to Imereti's lush inland forests. Add to that a vibrant history of kingdoms and conquest, a cruel but necessary Communist past, and a progressive arts and cuisine culture, and there's a solid case to be made for Georgia's towns and cities.


Europe, Asia, or the Middle East? Tbilisi, Georgia's capital city, is a mash-up of numerous influences. You may be forgiven for being confused. Tbilisi may be at a crossroads (both geographically and figuratively), but that doesn't imply it's lost its character — far from it. Religion, culture, gastronomy, vernacular architecture, and the basic manner of life are all intrinsically Georgian. If you have no idea what that implies, you'll have a great time figuring it out.

The old town's dilapidated courtyards and magnificent balconies. Abanotubani's Turkish-stle domed baths and Tbilisi's Jewish enclave, Betlemi Street, are nearby. Soviet-era bars, underground bakeries, renovated factories, and world-class restaurants. Provocative street art and an emerging fashion and electronic music scene. From Bangkok-stle food markets to Parisian-stle boulevards, Georgia's largest city provides an appealing blend of East and West. Spend a few days getting to know Tbilisi, an emerging capital, to watch.


Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) has long been a favourite high-altitude hideaway three hours north of Tbilisi via the beautiful Georgian Military Route. If you're on a tight schedule, it's the ideal site to get a taste of Georgia's stunning mountain landscape without venturing too far from the city.

The bizarre, perpetually snow-capped Greater Caucasus mountains encircle the small village of Kazbegi. Gergeti Trinity Church positioned 2,000 metres above sea level over Kazbegi, is a must-see. Outside of winter, a two-hour hike across alpine meadows leads to the church. For the more adventurous, there are plenty of single and multi-day hikes along the Russian border.

Back in town, unwind at a homestay or book a suite at Rooms Kazbegi, a former Soviet spa turned into Georgia's top boutique hotel.


In case you didn't know, wine is a big deal in Georgia, one of the first countries in the world to pioneer viniculture. Georgian wine is prepared by fermenting whole grapes (stems, skins, and all) in an underground clay tank called a qvevri. After a few days in Kakheti, Georgia's wine country, you'll be highly familiar with this particular technique and the particular vino it produces.

Stay in old Sighnaghi, a picturesque village surrounded by towering stone walls and watchtowers. Arrange a driver and visit dozens of vineyards and cellar doors, including Kindzmarauli and Shumi. The spectacular Khareba winery comprises lengthy tunnels dug into the mountainside. It was designed to be a bomb bunker, but natural climate control produces ideal conditions for preserving wine!

Alcohol and worship are inextricably linked in Kakheti. The area is also known for its churches situated boldly on mountain tops, such as Gremi and Nekresi Monastery.

Lagodekhi Protected Areas

The Lagodekhi Protected Areas, located at the crossroads of Georgia's Kakheti region, Azerbaijan, and Dagestan (Russia), encompass 24,000 hectares of pristine forest and excellent trekking habitat.

Georgia's oldest wildlife reserve is home to East Caucasian tur and brown bears, beech woodlands, and alpine zones. The park's prominent feature is the latter of the four hiking paths (Black Grouse Waterfall, Ninoskhevi Waterfall, Machi Fortress, and Black Rock Lake). The 50-kilometre circle is doable in three days if you sleep in shelters. The lake is shared by Georgia and Russia; no visa is required, but you must carry your passport in case border security stops you. These routes are weather sensitive, so research and check in with the visitor centre in Lagodekhi before starting out.


Georgia's location at the crossroads of Asia and Europe has created a perpetual threat of invasion. For generations, Georgians sought refuge in cloisters and secret towns, none more remarkable than Vardzia, a massive self-sufficient 'cave community' in Georgia's south.

Vardzia, located on the slopes of Erusheti Mountain, was built in the 12th century by villagers seeking refuge from invading Mongols. Vardzia was 500m long and 13 levels high at its peak, with almost 6,000 separate grotto apartments, an irrigation system, a church, and a throne room for Queen Tamar, the ruler who ordered this astounding feat of architecture. Most of the complex was destroyed by an earthquake less than a century after its completion, but much of the stone architecture may still be seen and admired today.


Visit the hometown of one of Georgia's most notorious exporters, Joseph Stalin, if you're not afraid of gloomy tourism. The infamous Soviet Union leader was born and raised in Gori, about 100 kilometres east of Tbilisi. Unlike almost everywhere else in Georgia, the former tyrant is not universally reviled in Gori.

A large Stalin poster advertising the local grocery store is one of the first things you see when you arrive in Gori. Stalin's name is retained on the eponymous main avenue, the city park and several civic buildings. The Joseph Stalin Museum is the pinnacle of Gori's Stalin subculture, devoted entirely to preserving his memory through images, documents, and artefacts. The Museum's grounds include the wooden cottage where Stalin was born and his armoured train carriage, which he used later in life. Tour guides do an alarmingly fine job of glossing over the gruesome aspects of Stalin's tenure to present him as a kind leader.


Chiatura, another throwback to Georgia's Soviet past, was once a prosperous industrial town where 60% of the world's manganese was extracted. Chiatura is a fantastic off-the-beaten-path place you won't find in your travel book.

Its prominent feature is the network of historic cable cars crisscrossing the deep valley. The 'Stalin's ropeway,' as it is frequently referred to, was built on Stalin's orders in 1954 to increase mine production. Chiatura's colourful apartment buildings and marketplace were linked by seventeen distinct cable cars to mines high above the town. Surprisingly, a few of the original cars are still in operation today. The rusting wires may frighten even the most experienced traveller. Still, if you can find the bravery, riding on Stalin's ropeway is an unforgettable experience (ride at your own risk!).

Chiatura is best visited as a day excursion from Kutaisi. If you're taking a marshrutka (public minibus), request that the driver stops at Katskhi pillar on the way so you may see this unique monastery.

Martvili Canyon

Georgia's western Imereti, Adjara, and Svaneti areas have lush, forested landscapes that contrast sharply with the country's East. This is most noticeable in the waterfalls, caves, and canyons surrounding Kutaisi.

Okatse Canyon is famed for its ropewalk, which reaches 140 metres above the valley level. The Martvili Canyon, which is close, is less well-known but equally magnificent. This magnificent setting of endless shades of green, mossy and overgrown, was formerly treasured as a Pagan worship site and used as private baths for the noble Dadiani family. Today, you may tour Martvili by foot on the walkways and picturesque bridges that interlace above the canyon, or you can hop in a canoe and paddle down the canal for a closer look at the rock formations and trickling waterfalls.


Batumi, Georgia's Black Sea resort town and the seat of the autonomous Adjara region, is well regarded as a haven for gamblers and sun worshippers. It's only for some because it's much more flashy than other sections of the country, but Batumi has a unique appeal.

From the Alphabet Tower, a tribute to the Georgian mother tongue, to a world-famous McDonald's and the Disneyland-esque Europa Plaza with its belle époque facades, the architecture is inventive and plain bizarre. Batumi is home to the majestic Orta Jame mosque (about 30% of Adjarians are Muslim), a fantastic international restaurant scene, two bustling local markets, and the world's second-largest botanical garden. Cycling along the promenade is one of the most remarkable things to do. If you're ready for a challenge, you may bike down to the Turkish border crossing at Sarpi on the 16km water-front route.


Svaneti, the original homeland of the Svans, an ethnic minority that has lived in Georgia's mountains since immemorial, is home to some of the country's most beautiful scenery and unique cultural experiences.

Svaneti's distant hamlets are distinguished by their stone towers in sheltered valleys. They are not fortresses but family dwellings, some of which are still occupied today. Mestia, Svaneti's largest town, boasts excellent tourist infrastructure and a charming ethnography museum. Hikes throughout the region can be taken from here, including a famous three- to four-day journey to Ushguli, Europe's highest hamlet by some measures. The treacherous cliff route connecting Mestia and Ushgul is not for the faint of heart, but when open, it allows for a day journey to Ushguli.