Experience the best of Georgia (country) in 15 days – 3 complete travel itineraries for backpackers, adventurers and culture lovers - Journal of Nomads

Georgia in 15 days – 3 complete itineraries for backpackers, adventurers and culture lovers

 

Here are the most comprehensive and unique travel itineraries for Georgia you’ll ever find on the web!

 

Georgia is a relatively small country but there are so many beautiful and interesting places to see that you could easily spend a whole year there (which we did…). But don’t worry if you don’t have that much time to explore the country. In this post, you’ll find three travel routes in which you can see the best of Georgia in 15 days. The itineraries include popular places and off-the-beaten-path destinations and you can easily mix and match the described routes to make your own personalized itinerary. Every route has details on how to get to the various places and where to stay.

 

All the routes start in Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia. In case you enter Georgia by land in Batumi or arrive at the international airport of Kutaisi or Batumi, have a look at the provided maps and adjust the itineraries according to your starting point.

 

Planning a trip to Georgia?

Read our Ultimate Travel Guide to Backpacking in Georgia with all the information you need to know before you go.

 

 

Overview Travel Itineraries:

 

 

Tbilisi (2 days) – Sighnaghi (1 day) – Davit Gareja (1 day) – Mtskheta (1 day) – Kazbegi (2 days) – Borjomi (1 day) – Kutaisi (1 day) – Svaneti (2 days) – Batumi (1 day) – Tbilisi

 

 

  • The Cultural Route: a day-to-day itinerary with the most interesting historical places of Georgia

 

Tbilisi (1 day) – Mtskheta (1 day) – Telavi (1 day) – Davit Gareja (1 day) – Khevsureti (2 days) – Uplistsikhe & Gori (1 day) – Akhaltsikhe (1 day) – Vardzia (1 day) – Chiatura & Katskhi (1 day) – Kutaisi (1 day) – Svaneti (2 days) – Tbilisi

 

 

  • The Adventure Route: an itinerary with the most beautiful off-the-beaten-path places in Georgia

 

Tbilisi – Lagodekhi Nature Reserve (3 days) – Tusheti (4 days) – Khevsureti (2 days) – Juta (1 day)– Dasbashi Canyons (1 day) – Martvili Canyon (1 day) – Bakhmaro (1 day) – Beshumi (1 day) – Tbilisi

 

 


 

The Backpacker’s Route: day-by-day trip planner

 

If you follow this itinerary, you’ll be able to see all the highlights of Georgia in 15 days. I call it the ‘backpacker’s route’ since it brings you to the most popular places in Georgia. All the destinations mentioned in this itinerary are easy to reach by public transport (mainly minibusses, also called mashrutka) so this route is perfect for backpackers, solo travelers and families.

 

 

 

Day 1 & 2: Tbilisi (1), overnight in Tbilisi

Tbilisi has been the capital of Georgia since the 5th century and its diverse architecture reflects its long and complicated history. When you walk through the city you’ll come across over-renovated and hyper-modern buildings but you’ll also find yourself in a warren of backstreets surrounded by ram-shackled buildings that are beautiful in their own unique way.

 

Tbilisi isn’t a huge city so you can definitely see all the highlights in 2 days.

Here are a few of the things you can do in Tbilisi:

  • walk around the cobbled streets of the Old Town
  • hike or take the cable car to Narikala Fortress to enjoy a stunning panorama over the city (tip: try to go just before sunrise or sunset!)
  • take a hot bath at the Sulphur baths
  • visit the Chronicle of Georgia, a Stonehenge-looking monument located just outside the city center. Despite its size, not many locals know about this place so it’s a secret worth discovering! Read here how to get there.
  • hang out in Mtatsminde Park and go on the Ferris wheel to reach the highest point of Tbilisi.
  • stroll around the Dry Bridge Market, a flea market where you can find colorful paintings and old Soviet treasures.
  • admire the golden roof of the Sameba Holy Trinity Cathedral, the tallest cathedral in Georgia.

 

If you need more inspiration on what to do in Tbilisi, read this excellent guide by The Brave Dame.

 

–> You can always book a tour to learn more about Tbilisi with Get Your GuideCheck out the tours in and around Tbilisi here.

 

Where to stay in Tbilisi:

Budget: Budget Hostel Zodiac  or   Hostel Terrace  or   M42 Hostel

Mid-range: Tina’s Homestay  or  Your Cosy Home  or  Georgian House

 

 

 

Day 3: Day trip to Sighnagi (2), overnight in Tbilisi 

Sighnaghi, also known as Georgia’s City of Love, is a small town in Kakheti, the eastern-most region of Georgia. It’s a charming town with cobblestone streets and colorful houses with wooden balconies.

 

Here are some things you can do in Sighnaghi:

  • walk on the walls of the Sighnaghi Fortress and enjoy the breathtaking views over the Alazani valley
  • learn more about Georgia’s culture and history in the Sighnaghi Museum
  • visit St. Nino’s relics in Bodbe Monastery
  • taste the delicious wine of Kakheti at one of the many family-owned wine cellars
  • get married in the Sighnaghi Wedding House. The Wedding House is open 24/7 so couples can get married here at any time of any day of the week. Sighnaghi is after all the City of Love!

 

How to get from Tbilisi to Sighnaghi:
Take a mashrutka (minibus) from Samgori Metro Station in Tbilisi. A ticket costs 6 GEL and it takes a bit less than 2 hours to reach Sighnagi. There’s an hourly mashrutka that will bring you back to Tbilisi in the evening.

 

-> or book a tour to Sighnaghi with Get Your Guide. Check out the options and prices here.

 

Amazing places to visit in Georgia - Sighnaghi - Journal of Nomads

Sighnaghi – photo by  Irma Laghadze

 

Day 4: Day trip to Davit Gareja (3), overnight in Tbilisi 

Davit Gareja is a monastery with hundreds of caves tucked away into the half-deserted slopes of Mount Gareja. It was built in the 6th century by Assyrian Priests to strengthen Christianity in Georgia. The whole complex consists of 15 monasteries spread out in the hills of the semi-desert area around the border between Georgia and Azerbaijan. It’s one of Georgia’s most remarkable ancient sites!

 

How to get from Tbilisi to Davit Gareja:
You can go from Tbilisi to Davit Gareja by taking a mashrutka or direct bus from Freedom Square to the nearby village Udabno. The Gareji line bus costs 25 GEL (return), leaves at 11 am and the journey takes about two hours. The bus will wait while you explore the site for a couple of hours.
You should be back in Tbilisi between 6 and 7 pm. Don’t forget to bring some snacks and drinks as there aren’t any facilities in the area!

 

-> or book a tour to Davit Gareja with Get Your Guide. Check out the options and prices here.

 

 

Day 5: Day trip to Mtskheta (4), overnight in Tbilisi 

Mtskheta was the previous capital of Georgia and one of the oldest cities of the country. It’s the spiritual heart of Georgia and home to three of the most important churches: Svetitskhoveli, Jvari and Samtavro Monastery.

Svetitskhoveli Monastery is one of the biggest and most important churches of the country. There’s also a legend that the robe of Jesus Christ is buried in the church.

The Jvari Monastery is located on a mountaintop with a great view over the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, as well as the entire city of Mtskheta. It’s also a popular spot for wedding shoots so you’ll see many people dressed in their finest clothes!

 

How to get to Mtskheta and Jvari Monastery from Tbilisi:
You can take a mashrutka to Mtskheta from the Didube Station in Tbilisi for only 1 GEL. The ride takes about 20 minutes and you can get off the minibus at the entrance of the Svetitskhoveli Monastery.

The Jvari Monastery is about 12km from the city center of Mtskheta but you’ll easily find a willing taxi driver to bring you there and back. The taxi costs around 10 GEL (for the taxi, not per person).

Once you’re back in Mtskheta, go to the main road and flag down a passing mashrutka. 9 out of 10 of the passing mashrutkas are going towards Tbilisi.

 

-> or book a tour to Mtskheta with Get Your Guide. Check out the details of the tour here.

 

How much does it cost to live and travel in Georgia - Mtskheta - Journal of Nomads

View over Mtskheta from Jvari Monastery

 

 

Alternative option or if more time: Uplistsikhe (day trip from Tbilisi – overnight in Tbilisi)

See day 7 of “ The cultural route” below

 

 

Day 6 & 7: Stepantsminda (Kazbegi) (5), overnight in Stepantsminda 

Stepantsminda is a small valley town in Kazbegi National Park, located on the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountain Range in north-east Georgia. It’s a very popular area, due to its spectacular nature. It’s worth spending at least two days here.

 

Here are some things you can do in Kazbegi:

  • walk along one of the many hiking trails
  • hike up to the famous Gergeti Trinity Church, located at an altitude of 1800m
  • admire the beauty of the Gveleti waterfall, about 7km from Stepantsminda
  • hike to the Gergeti Glacier
  • explore the national park on horseback

 

When you travel to or from Kazbegi along the Military Highway, you should also visit the unique and colorful Russia-Georgia friendship monument.

 

Hitchhiking in Georgia - Russia-Georgia friendship monument - Journal of Nomads

The Russia-Georgia friendship monument

 

 

-> or book a trip with Get Your Guide. Check out the options and prices for a tour to Kazbegi here.

 

How to get from Tbilisi to Kazbegi:
There’s an hourly mashrutka from Didube Station in Tbilisi to Stepantsminda for only 10 GEL. The journey takes around 3 hours.

 

Where to stay in Stepantsminda:

Budget:  Soul Kazbegi Guesthouse  or  Camp at Kuro

Mid-range: Nino’s Guesthouse  or  Terrace Kazbegi Guesthouse  

 

Amazing places to visit in Georgia - Journal of Nomads - Kazbegi - Trinity Church

Gergeti Trinity Church in Kazbegi – photo by Irma Laghadze

 

 

Day 8: Travel day – from Kazbegi to Borjomi, overnight in Borjomi

The best and cheapest way to get from Kazbegi to Borjomi is by taking a mashrutka from Stepantsminda to Didube Station in Tbilisi (3 hours, 10 GEL). Once you’re in Didube Station, take the mashrutka to Borjomi. (2,5 hours, 8 GEL).

 

Where to stay in Borjomi:

Budget: RiverSide Hostel Borjomi  or  Hostel Anna

Mid-range: Tamari Apartment  or  Guest House “Orange Pumpkin”

 

 

Day 9: Borjomi (6), overnight in Borjomi 

Borjomi is a small resort town in the Borjomi– Kharagauli National Park, one of the biggest national parks of Georgia. It’s known for its mineral water and hot springs. There are many hiking trails along impressive landscapes (ask for a map at the tourist information office) or you can visit the city park, bathe in one of the hot springs or swim in one of the small pools.

 

Alternative option or if more time: Vardzia (1 day, overnight in Borjomi or Akhaltsikhe)
See day 9 of “ The cultural route” below

 

Where to stay in Borjomi:

Budget: RiverSide Hostel Borjomi  or  Hostel Anna

Mid-range: Tamari Apartment  or  Guest House “Orange Pumpkin”

 

 

 

Day 10: Kutaisi (7), overnight in Kutaisi 

Kutaisi is Georgia’s third largest city and one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities. It’s the main cultural and educational center of Western Georgia.

Things you can do in Kutaisi:

  • get lost in the city streets and parks
  • visit the Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery
  • relax in the Botanical Garden
  • go on a day trip to the Prometheus and Sataplia Caves (read here how to get there)
  • go on a day trip to the Okatse Canyon and Kinchka Waterfall (read here how to get there)

 

-> or book a tour with Get Your Guide to explore Kutaisi and surroundings. Check out the options and prices here.

 

How to get from Borjomi to Kutaisi:
Take a mashrutka from Borjomi to Kashuri. In Kashuri you take another mashrutka to Kutaisi. There might also be a direct mashrutka from Borjomi to Kutaisi. Inquire at your hostel/hotel or at the tourist information office. The total duration of the trip is 3 hours.

 

Where to stay in Kutaisi:

Budget: Hostel Mandaria 

Mid-range: Hotel Balcony

 

Kutaisi – photo source: georgiastartshere.com

 

 

Day 11: Travel day – from Kutaisi to Mestia, overnight in Mestia

There’s a daily mashrutka that leaves from the main bus station McDonald’s) in Kutaisi to Zugdidi. It leaves at 9 am but it’s better to come earlier to secure your spot (around 8- 8.30 am would be perfect). A ticket to Zugdidi costs 8 GEL and the ride takes about 3 to 4 hours. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Zugdidi train station. There you can catch the mashrutka to Mestia. A ticket costs 20 GEL and the journey to Mestia takes between 3 to 4 hours.

 

→ tip: if you want to save yourself some travel time, you can always fly from Kutaisi to Mestia. Check this website for airfares and tickets.

 

 

Day 12 & 13: Mestia (Svaneti) (8), overnight in Mestia 

If you like snow-covered mountains, breathtaking scenery of alpine meadows and picturesque villages that are dominated by tower-houses then you’ll definitely enjoy Svaneti, a historical region in Northwest Georgia! Mestia is the central town and the starting point for many hikes and trips around the region.

Things to do in Svaneti:

  • hike to the Chaladi Glacier (5-hour hike)
  • take the chairlift to Mount Zuruldi and enjoy the panoramic views over the Caucasus Range
  • hike to the Koruldi lakes (4-hour hike)
  • go on a day trip to Ushguli

 

 

Where to stay in Mestia:

Budget: Jilieta

Mid-range: Bapsha Guesthouse

 

 

Mestia, Svaneti 

 

 

Day 14: Batumi (9), overnight in Batumi 

Batumi is a modern city on the coast of the Black Sea. It’s the second biggest city in Georgia and quite a unique place! The cityscape consists of a combination of European and Asian styles, mixed with fairy-tale like towers, statues and buildings created by some hallucinating architects. This is definitely visible at night when the majority of the buildings are lit up and bathing in the colors of the rainbow.

 

Things to do in Batumi:

Check our guide to a perfect stay in Batumi.

 

How to get from Mestia to Batumi:
Take the 8 am the mashrutka from Mestia to Zugdidi (20 GEL, 3 to 4 hours). At the station of Zugdidi, take the mashrutka to Batumi. This will cost around 12 GEL and the journey lasts about 2 hours. You should arrive in Batumi in the early afternoon.

 

Where to stay in Batumi:

Budget: Moonlight Hostel & Rooms

Mid-range: My Warm Guesthouse

 

Amazing places to visit in Georgia, the country - Journal of Nomads - Batumi

Batumi

 

 

Day 15: From Batumi back to Tbilisi

There are two trains leaving daily from Batumi to Tbilisi, one around 8 am, the other around 5 pm. A ticket costs around 18 GEL (2nd class) and the journey lasts about 5 hours. There’s also an overnight train every other day. You can check the schedule and book train tickets on this website.

 

 

Planning a trip to Georgia?

Calculate your budget by reading How much it costs to travel in Georgia!

 


 

The Cultural Route: day-by-day trip planner

 

This travel itinerary contains the most interesting historical places of Georgia and is made for the culture and history lovers. It’s a bit similar to the “Backpacker’s Route” but I added a few lesser known places that highlight Georgia’s unique culture. Most of the destinations on this route are reachable by public transport but some places are so off-the-beaten-path that you might have to rent a car or take a private taxi.

 

 

 

Day 1: Tbilisi, overnight in Tbilisi (1)

→ See day 1 & 2 of “The Backpacker’s Route” for more information.

 

 

Day 2: Day trip to Mtskheta (2), overnight in Tbilisi 

→ See day 5 of “The Backpacker’s Route” for more information.

 

 

Day 3: Day trip to Telavi (3), overnight in Tbilisi 

Telavi is located in the heart of Kakheti, the historical region of eastern Georgia. It’s one of the most ancient cities of Georgia and it used to be an important trading center on the Silk Route from China to Europe. Telavi has a collection of uncommon architectural sites that you can visit.

 

Things to do in Telavi:

  • visit the Batonis – Tsikhe fortress in the center of the city. This fortress used to be the residence of the Kakheti tsars and is now transformed into a history and ethnography museum
  • visit the Alaverdi Monastery, the second tallest church in Georgia
  • visit the Ikalto and Shuamta Monasteries
  • taste the delicious wine of Kakheti at the Shumi winery and learn more about the wine traditions in Georgia

 

–> or book a trip to Telavi and Kakheti with Get Your Guide. Check out the options and prices here.

 

How to get from Tbilisi to Telavi:
Take a mashrutka from the Ortchala Bus station in Tbilisi to Telavi. A ticket costs 10 GEL and the ride takes about 2 hours. This post by Lost with Purpose will help you get there.

 

 

 

Day 4: Day trip to Davit Gareja (4), overnight in Tbilisi 

→ See day 4 of “The Backpacker’s Route” for more information.

 

 

–> Alternative suggestion:
if you have minimum 4 extra days: Omalo, Dartlo, Parsma, Shenako (Tusheti)

Tusheti is one of the most beautiful and fascinating regions of Georgia, located in the Northeast of the country. There’s only one road that goes to the area over the treacherous Abano Pass which is only accessible from late May to early October.

Omalo, Dartlo and Shenako are some of the tower-dotted mountain villages that you can visit in Tusheti. Some of these villages aren’t even accessible by car so you’ll have to walk or go on horseback to visit these ancient fairy-tale like communities.

→ See “The Adventure Route” for more information.

 

How to get to Omalo:

Read our detailed guide to Tusheti.

 

Where to stay in Omalo:

Budget: Guesthouse Javakhe

Mid-range: Guest House Aluda

 

Backpacking in Georgia - everything you need to know - Journal of Nomads - ancients settlements in Tusheti

Omalo, Tusheti

 

 

Day 5 & 6: Barisakho, Shatili & Mutso (Khevsureti) (5), 1 night in Shatili, overnight in Tbilisi on day 6 

Shatili is a historic highland village with medieval towers in the remote region of Khevsureti. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site that used to serve as a fortress, protecting Georgia’s northern pass from invaders. The village is surrounded by huge green mountains and since it’s so remote, modern life hasn’t penetrated this region yet. You can reach Barisakho, Shatili and Mutso during summer but in the winter Barisakho stays accessible.

 

Where to stay in Shatili:

Budget: Shatili Guesthouse Mziani

Mid-range: Shatili Guesthouse Twins

You can also spend the night in one of the historical towers in Jurkha’s Shatili Tower, starting from $10 per night.

 

How to get from Tbilisi to Shatili and Barisakho:

Shatili is about 140 km north of Tbilisi. The road to this village is only accessible from May to October. You can take a mashrutka from Navtlughi Station in Tbilisi to Shatili (only on Tuesday and Friday at 9 am!) for about 40 GEL. The journey takes about 5 hours.

Barisakho is accessible all year round. There’s a mashrutka from Tbilisi to Barisakho every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 4 pm. The journey takes about 3 hours.

→ You can always rent a 4×4 car to get there.

 

Amazing places to visit in Georgia - Journal of Nomads - Shatili

Shatili – photo by Koba Petriashvili

 

 

Day 7: Uplistsikhe (6), overnight in Gori (7)

Uplistsikhe is an abandoned cave town near Gori, about 100km from Tbilisi. It literally means “Lord’s Fortress” and it more than 3000 years old. This cave city used to be continuously inhabited until the 13th century AD and it used to have a pharmacy, a bakery, an amphitheater and a prison. The whole complex is connected by tunnels.

 

Spend the evening in Gori. This town used to be an important military stronghold in the Middle Ages. The fortress is worth a visit during sunset. Gori is also known for being the birthplace of Joseph Stalin and there’s a museum dedicated to him in the center of the town.

 

–> or book a tour with Get Your Guide to Uplistsikhe and Gori. Check out the options and prices here.

 

Where to stay in Gori:

Budget: Guest House Marina

Mid-range: Gogi Dvalishvili Wine Cellar

 

How to get from Tbilisi to Uplistsikhe and Gori:

Take a mashrutka from Didube Station in Tbilisi to Gori for 3 GEL. The ride takes about 1 hour. Take another mashrutka from the bus station of Gori to the nearby village Kvakhvreli for 1 GEL. You can also ask the driver to take you to the entrance of Uplistsikhe for 1 extra GEL. After you’ve visited the cave city, walk back to Kvakhvreli to catch a mashrutka or stop a taxi (10 GEL) to get back to Gori.

 

If you’re with a group, it’s easier to take a shared taxi to Gori (5 GEL per person) or negotiate with the driver to bring you all the way to Uplistsikhe and back. This shouldn’t cost you more than 60 GEL in total (not per person!).

 

Amazing places to visit in Georgia, the country - Journal of Nomads - Uplistsikhe

Uplistsikhe

 

 

Day 8: Akhaltsikhe (8), overnight in Akhaltsikhe

Akhaltsikhe is a small city in the South of Georgia. It was founded in the Middle Ages and the newly renovated Rabati Fortress is it’s most important landmark. Akhaltsikhe is rather a sleepy town but definitely worth a visit if you are into culture, history and ‘weird’ places.

 

Things to do in Akhaltsikhe:

  • visit the Rabati Fortress. This fortress was built in the 13th century but has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. In 2012 there was a large reconstruction and the fortress turned into a town within a town.
  • Visit Sapara Monastery, a church hidden in the mountain forests, about 12km outside of Akhaltsikhe
  • visit the Khertivisi Fortress

 

–> or book a 2- day trip to Vardzia and Akhaltsikhe. Check out the details here.

 

Where to stay in Akhaltsikhe:

Budget: Old Street  or  Lile Hostel

Mid-Range: Hotel Almi  or  Light House Old City

 

How to get from Gori to Akhaltsikhe:

Take a mashrutka from the bus station in Gori to Akhaltsikhe. A ticket costs around 10 GEL and the journey takes about 2,5 hours.

 

 

Day 9: Day trip to Vardzia (9) – overnight in Akhaltsikhe

Vardzia is a spectacular cave monastery, dug out from the slopes of the Erusheti Mountain. It looks like one of the movie sets of Lord of the Rings, although it wasn’t the home of dwarves but of many monks. This underground monastery was built in the 12th Century under the reign of King Tamar. It used to be completely hidden until a severe earthquake exposed and destroyed the cave monastery. Read more about it in Vardzia, the ancient cave city of Georgia.

 

How to get from Akhaltsikhe to Vardzia:

There are daily 3 mashrutka’s that go from Akhaltiskhe to Vardzia. The first one leaves at 10.30 am and you can return with the last mashrutka from Vardzia to Akhaltsikhe at 3 pm. The ride costs 6 GEL and it takes about one hour to get there.

 

–> or book a 2- day trip to Vardzia and Akhaltsikhe. Check out the details here.

 

The ancient cave city of Vardzia - Journal of Nomads

Vardzia

 

 

Day 10: Chiatura (10) & Katskhi (11), overnight in Kutaisi (12)

Chiatura is a strange and charming city where you can still feel the ghost of the Soviet Empire. It’s nestled between steep valleys and deep gorges and it used to be a booming mining town. It’s known as the “cable car city” as every corner of the town was connected with the mines through a system of cable cars. Most of these cable cars have rusted away but there are still a few of these “air tramways” functioning today as a form of free public transportation. It’s quite a (frightening) experience to step into these rusty flying cabins that are known as the “death-defying metal coffins”. Read more about it in Visiting the ghosts of the past in Chiatura.

 

If you still have some time left, take a taxi from Chiatura to the Katskhi Pillar, a 40-meter high limestone monolith that is also known as “the Pillar of Life”. The most extraordinary thing is that there’s a church on top of this pillar in which a monk has been living there for 20 years! Read more about it in Katskhi Pillar, the most incredible cliff church in the world!

 

How to get from Akhaltsikhe to Chiatura:

Take first the mashrutka from Akhaltsikhe to Kutaisi. Get off in Zestaponi and take from there the mashrutka to Chiatura.

There are no mashrutkas going to Katskhi so you have to take a taxi in Chiatura to bring you there and back.

 

–> or book a trip to Chiatura & Katskhi. Check out the price & itinerary here.

 

How to get from Chiatura to Kutaisi:
There’s maybe one hotel in Chiatura but I don’t have any details about this. The best thing is to take one of the last mashrutkas in the evening to Kutaisi and spend the night there. It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Kutaisi and the ride costs 6 GEL.

 

Where to stay in Kutaisi:

Budget: Hostel Mandaria 

Mid-range: Hotel Balcony

 

Visiting ghosts of a distant past in Chiatura, the Cable Car City of Georgia.

An old cable car at Chiatura

 

The Katskhi Pillar – the Most Incredible Cliff Church in the World

Katskhi Pillar

 

 

Day 11: Kutaisi (12), overnight in Kutaisi

→ See day 10 of “The Backpacker’s Route” for more information.

 

 

Day 12: Travel Day from Kutaisi to Mestia, overnight in Mestia

→ See day 11 of “The Backpacker’s Route” for more information.

 

 

Day 13 & 14: Mestia (13) and Ushguli (Svaneti), overnight in Mestia

→ See day 12 and 13 “The Backpacker’s Route” for more information.

 

 

Day 15: Travel Day from Mestia to Tbilisi

It’s quite a long way to get back from Mestia to Tbilisi. You have several options depending on the time you have:

The fastest way is to fly from Mestia to Tbilisi. Find more information about it on the website of Travel Surf Repeat here.

 

You can also to take the (night) train from Zugdidi to Tbilisi. Find the train schedule here.
You can get from Mestia to Zugdidi by mashrutka. The ride takes about 3 to 4 hours and costs 20 GEL. The mashrutka drops you off at the train station.

 

If you have the time and you really want to go hardcore, you can always take a mashrutka from Mestia to Tbilisi (12 hours!). First, you get the mashrutka from Mestia to Zugdidi (20 GEL, 3 to 4 hours). You get off at the bus station in Zugdidi where you take a direct mashrutka to Tbilisi. This journey takes about 9 hours and costs 30 GEL.

 

 

Learn more about the traditional Georgian food in : 10 delicious dishes of the Georgian cuisine!

 


 

The Adventure Route:  detailed trip planner

 

This travel route is made for hikers and outdoor lovers who love to explore off-the-beaten-track destinations. To follow this route, you’ll have to be prepared to camp in the great outdoors of Georgia. Some of the destinations are so remote that it’s hard to get there by public transportation. You have to be willing to hitchhike – which is very easy in Georgia – or rent a car.

 

This itinerary is different from the ones above since it’s more of an overview of the various hikes and places than a fixed route. I mention the minimum amount of time you need in each place so you can mix and match my suggestions to make your own Adventure Itinerary for Georgia, depending on the time you have and your preferences.

 

 

 

Black Rock Lake, Lagodekhi Nature Reserve (1) – minimum 3 days

Lagodekhi is a national park in the Kakheti region, about 185km from Tbilisi. You can do multiple hikes in the park but the highlight is definitely the hiking trail to Black Rock Lake. This 50 km long hike takes about 3 days and will bring you along magnificent views over the Alzani Valley to the beautiful Black Rock Lake. You can also get there on horseback. For more information on the hike to Black Rock Lake, click here.

 

For more information on the different hikes in Lagodekhi, read here.

 

How to get from Tbilisi to Lagodekhi National Park:

Take a mashrutka from Isani Station in Tbilisi to Lagodekhi. A ticket costs 8 GEL and the journey lasts about 3 hours. Once you get off in the village of Lagodekhi, you’ll have to walk 2km to the main entrance of the park or you can take a taxi.

 

Where to stay in Lagodekhi:

There are several guesthouses in the village if you want to spend a relaxing evening before or after your hike.

Budget: Kiwi Guesthouse

Mid-range: La Deka Guesthouse

You can camp or spend the night in a shelter on the hiking trails. It costs 5 GEL per person per night to camp in the national park and 15 GEL per person per night to overnight in one of the shelters.

 

 

 

Tusheti National Park (2) – minimum 4 days

Tusheti is one of our favorite destinations in Georgia. It’s not only a fascinating place to visit the historical tower-dotted villages, you can also make some spectacular hikes or go on a horseback trek in the region! For more details on the different hiking trails, check out this detailed article by Trekking in Caucasus.

If you want to have a truly unique experience, ask the local shepherds if you can join them for a few days and learn more about the lifestyle of the Tushetians!

 

How to get to Tusheti:

The road to Omalo, the main village of Tusheti is only open from the end of May till the beginning of October. Read our detailed description of how to get there in our guide to Tusheti.

 

Where to stay in Tusheti:

There are some guesthouses in Omalo that you can book online (check here for info and prices), people will also offer you a room in the smaller villages. Just ask around and the locals will help you. If you prefer to camp, which we definitely would recommend if you go hiking, you can pitch your tent anywhere you like. Just don’t leave any garbage behind!!

 

Tusheti - Omalo – one of Georgia's most beautiful and fascinating regions - Journal of Nomads

 

Abudelauri Lakes, Khevsureti (3) – minimum 2 days

The three colorful lakes of Abudelauri in the Khevsuret region are a real magical experience! The lakes are located at an altitude of 2500m at the foot of the Chiukhi Massif. Due to their unique colors, there are lots of legends and myths connected to these lakes.

 

The trek to the three lakes is fairly easy and can be done in one day. The hike starts at the village of Roshka and it’s about 7 km to reach the first two lakes. Along the path, you will first reach Blue Lake. The Green Lake is just a bit further (and a great camping spot if you want to spend the evening there). From there it’s another 30-minute walk to reach the last lake, called White Lake. The paths are well marked so you don’t need a guide to do this trek.

 

How to get to Roshka and the Abudelauri Lakes:

There’s no public transportation that goes directly to Roskha. You first have to take a mashrutka from Tbilisi to Barisakho which runs every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 4 pm. The journey takes about 3 hours. If you want to get from Barisakho to Roshka, you’ll have to hitchhike (which might be tricky since it’s a very remote region) or ask around in the village if someone wants to drive you there. Most likely you’ll have to pay for the ride. Of course you can always rent a 4×4 car in Tbilisi and drive there yourself.

 

Where to stay:

You can either camp near one of the lakes or spend the night in the one and only Guesthouse Roshka.

 

→ If you have some extra time, go and visit the village of Shatili (see day 5 and 6 of The Cultural Route for more information).

 

→ If you want to take it a step up, you can always hike from Omalo in Tusheti to Shatili. It’s a difficult trek and don’t do it if you haven’t much experience. Trekking in Caucasus has a detailed description of this hike, which you can find here. The trek is 75km long, it takes 5 days and you’ll need to cross a 3400m high pass.

 

Abudelauri Lakes – photo by Nika Somkhishvili

 

 

Juta (4) – minimum 1 day

Juta is a small village in a valley 24km away from the popular town Stepantsminda in Kazbegi. If you want to enjoy the beauty of Kazbegi but you don’t feel like being between the tourists, go to Juta! You can hike, ride horses or just relax and enjoy the beauty of the northern Caucasus Mountains.

 

-> You can also go on an off-road cycling tour to Kazbegi and Juta. Click here for more details!

 

How to get to Juta:

There’s no public transportation going to Juta. You can take a mashrutka from Didube Station in Tbilisi to Stepantsminda for 10 GEL. Once you’re in Stepantsminda, you can take a taxi for 80 GEL to Juta or you can try to hitchhike there.

 

Alternative options: You can hike from Roshka to Juta or vice versa. There are two different trails that you can follow and you need at least one day to do this hike. Read more about these trails here.

 

Where to stay in Juta:

There are plenty of beautiful camping spots in Juta or you could stay at one of the wooden guesthouses for $10 to $15 per night. We recommend Zeta Camping and Juta Guesthouse.

 

 

Amazing places to visit in Georgia - Journal of Nomads - Juta

Juta – photo by Koba Petriashvili

 

 

Dashbashi Canyons (5) – 1 day

The Dashbashi Canyons is located in southern Georgia, about 110km from Tbilisi. The 8 km long canyon stands out for its natural diversity, beautiful landscapes and astonishing waterfalls. In summer this place looks like an oasis in the middle of a desert as the flora on the steep slopes of the canyon creates lush micro-landscapers. In winter the place becomes even more mesmerizing when all the waterfalls are frozen.

 

How to get from Tbilisi to the Dashbashi Canyons:
Take a mashrutka from the Navtlughi Station in Tbilisi (about 300m west from the Samgori metro station) to Tsalka. Walk the remaining 2 km from Tsalka to the village of Dashbashi. When you arrive at the church of the village, you’ll see a road descending into the Ktsia gorge. Follow the river in the gorge into the direction of Tsalka and you’ll arrive at the main touristic site of the canyon. From there you can walk further along the canyon.

 

Where to stay in Dashbashi:
There are no guesthouses in Tsalka or Dashbasi as far as I know. The closest town where you’ll find accommodation is in Bolnisi. You can always find a nice place in the surroundings to pitch your tent.

 

 

Martvili Canyon (6) – 1 day

Martvili is located in the Samegrelo region in western Georgia. The canyon, caves and waterfalls were formed over time by the Abasha River and you can enjoy the scenery and amazing views of this dark green canyon by going on a boat trip. There are also opportunities for rafting, swimming and hiking. The entrance to the canyon is 15 GEL (closed on Mondays), a boat trip costs 13 GEL per person. Ask in the local tourist office for more information if you want to go rafting.

 

-> You can also book a day trip with fun activities to the Martvili Canyon. Check here for all the details.

 

How to get from Tbilisi to Martvili:

There are daily mashrutkas leaving from Didube Station in Tbilisi to Martvili Canyon.

 

Where to stay in Martvili:
Budget: Hotel Kolkhi  or  Villa Kardwell

Mid-range: Guest House Mart Villa

 

Martvili Canyon in Georgia

Martvili Canyon – photo by photo by Beqa Tours

 

 

Bakhmaro (7) – minimum 1 day

Bakhmaro is known as the highest alpine resort in Georgia. It’s a small mountainous heaven in western Georgia, located at an altitude of 2000m. The area is characterized by lush valleys, beautiful pine forests and alpine meadows. If you’re lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the sunrise over a thick wave of clouds. It’s a stunning region to camp but you can also stay in one of the many cute wooden cottages that are scattered throughout the valleys. The unique climate of Bakhmaro with its mixture of sea and mountain air is therapeutic for people with respiratory problems.

The best time to visit Bakhamaro is from June to September due to the rough climatic conditions in the mountains.

 

How to get to Bakhmaro:
You can take a mashrutka from Tbilisi, Ozurgeti or Chokhatauri to Bakhmaro during the summer season. There isn’t much traffic going there outside of the summer season so you’re best bet would be to rent a car and drive there yourself.

 

Where to stay in Bakhmaro:
It’s highly recommended to camp in Bakhmaro but you can also rent one of the wooden cottages on a daily or weekly basis here.

 

Amazing places to visit in Georgia, the country - Journal of Nomads - Bakhmaro

Bakhmaro –  photo by Mariam Koshadze

 

 

Beshumi & Green Lake (8) – minimum 1 day

Beshumi is a mountain resort in Adjara, the coastal region of Georgia. It’s located at an altitude of 2000m, 120 km away from Batumi and the perfect escape if you want to get away from the heat and crowds of the city. Beshumi is a perfect place for hiking, horse riding and enjoying the therapeutic effects of the mineral springs. You can also visit or hike to the popular Green Lake, which is about 6km from Beshumi or go on a hike to the Kikhani Fortress (you can find a description of this hiking trail here).

 

How to get to Beshumi:
During the summer season, you can take a minibus from Batumi Bus Station to Beshumi for 13 GEL. There’s no public transport going there during winter and if you decide to drive there yourself, you’ll need to be prepared for rough road conditions.

 

Where to stay in Beshumi:
There are a few guesthouses in the area, mainly in Goderdzi/ Danisparauli which is a popular ski resort in the winter. Check out the prices for the guest houses here.

 

 

For more off-the-beaten-path hikes in Georgia, read: 7 Beautiful Hikes in Georgia

 

Tusheti – one of Georgia's most beautiful and fascinating regions - Journal of Nomads

 

I hope you’ll enjoy your travels in Georgia! If you have more questions or you like to add something to this itinerary, let me know in the comments below!

 

 

Don’t forget to check out our other guides and posts about Georgia here!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of the links, we get a commission at no extra costs to you! See it as a small donation to keep this blog going so we can create more awesome itineraries. Thank you!

 

 

Follow Cynthia:

Writer, photographer and co-founder at Journal of Nomads

I have Belgian roots but the world has been my home for the past 7 years. I'm an artist at heart and often get lost in my thoughts. I like to create some-thing out of no-thing and once I feel inspired, I'm unstoppable. I love telling stories and taking photos, showing the beauty and extraordinary of the world around me. Oh, and I love making the impossible elegantly probable. Once you realize that you're a creator and the world is your playfield, there's no limit to what can be done!

8
Leave a Reply

avatar
4 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
5 Comment authors
Jade FrancisClaudiaBagratCynthiaRose Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Jade Francis
Jade Francis

This is most helpful blog I’ve ever read, the complete set of itineraries and budget hostel with links is awesome. I’m going to Georgia alone this December 2018 for 45 days and all the places i like to visit are on you blog. I can’t wait to visit this country and this blog makes me more excited.

Claudia

I love to travel off the beaten tracks. Georgia has always been on my Bucket list and the pictures look beautiful. Your post is super helpful if I am going to go one day. Thank you so much.

Bagrat
Bagrat

Excellent article 🙂 I like the attention to detail and just the right amount of information 🙂 Note that Tusheti (probably) will not be accessible for a while this season. Cheers!

Rose

Wow! I wish I had this when I visited Georgia! Great article! There’s just so much I have yet to explore! Also thanks for mentioning me, it’s appreciated! 🙂