Vacation in Georgia - Where to go
17 July, 2014
Vacation in Georgia - Where to go
If you want to spend an interesting summer in Georgia, this article might as well be your guidebook. Our country contains immense cultural and historical heritage, being host to 150 museums and 12,000 historical landmarks, 3 of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Georgian traditional cuisine is one of the richest in the entire world. If you are ready for an unforgettable adventure, then let us begin!

Eastern Georgia

Tbilisi and surrounding areas

If you do not
have an opportunity to leave Tbilisi, don’t worry, there are a lot of places to rest and relax here as well. Besides a wide selection of both outdoor and indoor swimming pools, there is also Turtle Lake, Lisi Lake, Tbilisi Sea and Mtatsminda Park. Within several minutes of Tbilisi lies the city-museum of Mtskheta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A few kilometers away from Tbilisi are the towns of Tskneti, Kojori, Manglisi, Kiketi and Bazaleti, all of which boast excellent climate and are some of the best places to avoid the summer heat. Prices for family-type hotels start at 30 GEL there.

Sighnaghi

Eastern Georgia in general has a dry climate, extremely beautiful nature, a lot of cultural landmarks and numerous health resorts. If your vacation destination lies in Kakheti region, you should absolutely visit Sighnaghi, also known as the city of love. It is located on the right bank of Alazani River on a large, picturesque hill. Sighnaghi is surrounded by a fortress wall featuring 23 towers and eight gates. The city is distinguished by its old churches, beautiful Georgian brick houses and wine cellars. Each of them possesses their own history, secrets, and traits that make them stand out. Sighnaghi Wedding House is one of the few houses in the world where one you can marry your beloved at any time of the day or night. Sighnaghi has numerous hotels, with prices starting at $30. Bodbe Monastery, the final resting place of Nino, the Cappadocian who brought Christianity to Georgia, is also located here. Sighnaghi is 113 kilometers away from Tbilisi; minivans that course between the two cities depart from Isani-Samgori station. The ticket costs 5 GEL.

Lagodekhi

Lagodekhi is located in Northeastern part of Georgia, along the Azeri border. Lagodekhi Preserve, which is a protected area, has five picturesque, breathtaking tour routes going through it, namely: “Rotcho Waterfall”, “Nino Gorge Waterfall”, “Matchi Fortress”, “Black Cliff Lake” and “Path of Introduction to Nature.” There are 170 kilometers separating Tbilisi from Lagodekhi (approximately 2.5 hours by car), with minivans that work the route departing from Isani-Samgori station. Price of the minivan ticket is 8 GEL, while hiring a private taxi costs 10 GEL. Prices for family-type hotels begin at 40 GEL, while individual rooms cost 200 GEL and above.

Kvareli Lake

Kvareli Lake is located within several minutes of walking from the city of Telavi. A tiny lake is surrounded by a multifunctional resort complex, with amazing views unfolding from windows of its spacious, terraced rooms, 19 of them in total. Here you are safely insured from ever getting bored – the complex includes a bar, a fishing zone at the lake, cycling tracks, hiking paths and so on. Price of a standard room begins at 200 GEL.

Ilia Lake

The lake was named after Ilia Chavchavadze, a great Georgian writer. The lake is artificial and is located in a unique Kindzmarauli microzone, with deciduous woods at one side and a park at another, along with cafes and restaurants. The price of an individual room begins at 190 GEL here.

Lopota

Lopota Lake is also located in Kakheti, 26 kilometers away from the city of Telavi. The area’s amazing landscape, along with a nearby resort complex offering European standards of comfort make the location one of the best places to rest and relax. The complex has eight hotel buildings, with a capacity of accommodating 200 visitors total. Vacationers are given opportunities to ride horses, fish, cycle around the lake’s shore, pedal boat through its waters, play tennis or mini golf. You can participate in traditional Kakhetian wine degustation and churchkhela making. Price of a room begins at $140.

Tusheti

This is what Jonny Bealby, founder of Wild Frontiers adventure travel company writes about Tusheti:
”A land with centuries-old defensive towers, mountaintop castles, and stone shrines, some of which, like Guest House Lamata, are being transformed into basic lodgings with simple wooden furniture.
Tusheti can be explored on foot or from the saddle of a sure-footed horse. In fact, livestock is as common here as the fog. There are sheep grazing in almost every nook and cranny, from the rolling grasslands up near the ridged peaks down to the glacial lakes below them and all around the gorges coursing with white-water streams.
At night, you’ll be well entertained by the locals, the most hospitable and fun people in the world. There will be lots of toasting and playing of accordions. And you will find yourself drinking chacha, the local firewater, out of a ram’s horn. You will just have to go with it. tourism-association.ge, doubles $15, doubles with three meals $30, horse rentals $21 a day, guides an additional $21 a day.

Khevsureti

Khevsureti is a mountainous region located 165 km away from Tbilisi. Tourist companies frequently conduct several daylong tours there, with travel, food and guide services included. A two-day camping tour, which will introduce you to breathtaking sights of Barisakho, Shatili and Mutso will cost you only 95 GEL.

Gudauri-Kazbegi

Gudauri is located in the mountainous Kazbegi municipality. Despite being a ski resort, it boasts crisp air and marvelous sights even in summer. The road from Tbilisi to Gudauri is 120 km long, with the city of Kazbegi several kilometers away from the ski resort. Kazbegi is home to an immense National Park, 35 percent of which is covered by forest, while the rest consists of Alpine pastures, slopes, peaks covered in eternal snow and cliffs that are impossible to climb. Kazbegi National Park holds a special place among Georgia’s protected locations. It takes three hours to get to Kazbegi from Tbilisi by car. Both minivans and private taxis depart to Gudauri and Kazbegi from Didube station with prices at 10 and 15 GEL, respectively. Prices at the hotels range from 20 to 200 GEL.

Gori

Gori is located in Shida Kartli, 76 kilometers away from Tbilisi. This city is home to an extremely old Gori fortress, which stands on a rocky hill. The museum of Ioseb “Stalin” Jugashvili, the notorious Georgian ruler of the USSR, is also located here. The museum includes the house where Stalin was born, a gallery and an armored carriage that Stalin used to travel to Teira, Italy and Potsdam. The museum includes many of Stalin’s personal items as well. There are a lot of hotels in Gori, with prices starting at 40 GEL.

Borjomi-Bakuriani

160 kilometers separate Tbilisi from Borjomi, and it takes two hours to cover them by car. There are minivans leaving from Tbilisi to Borjomi every hour daily, with Didube station being their depot. The price of a ticket is 8 GEL. There is also a train coursing between two cities, which can be boarded at Tbilisi’s Central Railway Station.
What makes Borjomi a health resort is not only its salubrious climate, but its mineral waters, for which it is known worldwide. Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park features a wide network of available tour routes. Paths are marked and well maintained, while in their vicinity a number of shelters, picnic locations and camping spots are situated, complete with designated spots for fires. The park offers its visitors hiking tours, horseback tours and cycling tours, as well as cultural and educational tours.

Bakuriani

The town of Bakuriani is 30 kilometers away from Borjomi. The uniqueness of its climate is defined by its location in a subtropical zone. Mountain air is accentuated by aroma of coniferous trees. Prices at local hotels begin at 30 GEL. For a day of fun bring the family to Joyland in Bakuriani, which has exciting tubing slopes in the summer for the kids and a European-style bar for the adults along with a full kitchen.

Surami

Surami is located 120 kilometers from Tbilisi. Due to its specific, reasonably humid climate, Surami is one of the most popular resorts in Georgia. Surami is entirely surrounded by both deciduous and coniferous trees. Another part of Surami’s natural resources is represented by the unique chemical composition of its waters, which possess healing properties. It costs 6 GEL to travel to Surami from Tbilisi via minivan, which departs from Didube station. It is also accessible by almost any train going westward.

Western Georgia

Svaneti

Svaneti is one of the most beautiful places not only in Georgia, but in the entire Caucasus. Watchtowers that were built on its cliffs during the Middle Ages make for some truly amazing sights. Svaneti is, to put it simply, a hiker’s paradise. It is rife with historical landmarks from the feudal era, shrines and churches and unique frescoes; its museums hold coins that date back to antiquity and Svaneti’s villages are under protection of UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Preservation program.
Lower Svaneti, namely the valley through which Tskhenistskali River flows, is home to major peaks of Caucasus Ridge: Shkhara, Tetnuldi and many others.
Tbilisi and the region of Svaneti are 490 kilometers apart. However, it is accessible by car, by minivan or by plane, with former two requiring from 7 to 8 hours of travel. Minivans depart from Tbilisi’s Central Depot at 6 o’clock every day, with tickets priced at 30 GEL. If you choose to travel by plane, it will cost you 75 GEL.

Tskaltubo – Sataplia and The Cave of Prometheus

The resort of Tskaltubo, located in Western Georgia, is several kilometers away from the city of Kutaisi. Its surrounding hills are covered with a variety of subtropical plants, evergreen shrubs and deciduous forests. The resort derives its name (“tskali” means water in Georgian) from its mineral waters, which have been famous among Georgians since antiquity.
Sataplia cave is located near Tskaltubo. An immense karst cavern, it is located on the territory of the preserve. Along with a group of caves, the area also contains an ancient Colchian forest, with numerous relic plants not found anywhere else, as well as dinosaur footprints. The cave is located at a Samgurali mountain ridge, which is 900m long, with large amounts of stalactites and stalagmites inside it creating a wondrous sight. It is quite popular with tourists.
The area is also home to another interesting sight, which is located in the village of Kumistavi. Past the first 60 (?) meters from the entrance, “The Cave of Prometheus” is occupied by an underground lake, boat trips across which are very popular with visitors.
Bagrati and Gelati monasteries, both included into UNESCO World Heritage list, are also located here. All the aforementioned locations are linked together by Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city, which is accessible by car, train and plane. In addition to local flights, Kutaisi Airport manages international ones as well.

Bakhmaro

At over 2000 meters above sea level, Bakhmaro in Guria region is the highest alpine climatic resort in Georgia. The average annual relative humidity is 73 per cent and the mixture of sea and mountain air is beneficial for people with respiratory problems.
The surrounding mountains are a source of Bakhmaro bottled spring water, which is similar to Borjomi water in its chemical composition. Every year, on August 19, dozens of riders compete in a horse race in Bakhmaro as part of the celebration of the Transfiguration of Jesus.
How to get there: Bakhmaro is located in the district of Chokhatauri on the Meskheti mountain range in the Guria region. Distance from Tbilisi is around 360 km – a journey time of around four and half hours.

Batumi – Kobuleti – Ureki – Gonio and Green Cape

Batumi has become Georgia’s biggest tourist attraction lately. The flow of tourists from various countries to Batumi increases every year, with both local and international flights landing at Batumi airport. A multitude of hotels and leisure centers of various brands has been built recently in the city, with its humid subtropical climate making it ideal for holidaymaking.
Tbilisi has minivans leaving for Batumi every day, with tickets priced at 20 GEL. Also there is a train coursing between the two cities daily, with prices ranging from 18 to 30 GEL, depending on the ticket class.
Kobuleti is located near Batumi and just like its neighboring city, its climate is also mild and humid. Up to 100,000 tourists visit Kobuleti annually. Along with family-type hotels, Kobuleti offers several modern ones, built to a European standard. In both cities, hotel prices begin at 20 GEL and increase in accordance with comfort.
Ureki is located very close to Kobuleti. Its coast is different from Batumi’s and Kobuleti’s because it is covered in magnetic sands instead of pebbles. Ureki’s “black sands” are said to possess healing properties. Prices at family-type hotels begin at 20 GEL.
Gonio, near the Turkish border, is one of the most beautiful places on Georgia’s coast, with mountains on one side and sea on another. It is also home to an extremely ancient Gonio Fortress, which is a popular sightseeing location. Hotel prices begin at 30 GEL.

Georgian Journal wishes you a pleasant vacation!

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