1. Tusheti

Photo Source: toba.ge

Tusheti is our favorite place in Georgia, one of the most beautiful places on the planet Earth. It is not mere mountains or valleys, but the people and their history that form the unforgettable ambience of this place. Massive archeological works have never been held in Tusheti. However, the oldest crafts found here are dated back with XII-IX centuries B.C. Most of the facts known about Tusheti were gathered in IX century and collected from folk songs and poems of local people. It is obvious that Tushi people have participated in numerous wars to protect Georgia from conquerors, but in peaceful times they were shepherds.  They spend 7-8 months in deep snow, blocked from the world. Most of the locals have a mysterious, silent smile that is probably a consequence of turbulent past. Clouds surrounding them create an unreal world full of striking mystery.

Tusheti dangerous roads, Georgia

Tusheti Road
Photo Source: mapio.net

On your way from Alvani you can stop by in Torgvas Abano, natural hot spring location with picturesque view. You can take a bath here and have rest before you challenge the steep climb to the gate of Tusheti.

The next destination should be Omalo, the tourist hub of this area.  Here you can find lovely guesthouses for around 30 USD per double room including three meals, multicultural environment and pleasant wines with a glass of local wine or beer.

2.Abudelauri Lakes

Blue Lake
Photo Source: angel.ge

Three colorful lakes – blue, green, and white were formed from snow, rain, and mountain ice. Located at the elevation of 2,800m (9,185 foot) these lakes are frozen almost half of the year.

It is a tough hiking route that takes 1-2 days, but the beauty of the surrounding nature is worth every bit of it. Once leave Roshka, the last settlement on your way to the lakes, you first climb among huge rocks to get to the blue lake. According to the legend evil giant was killed in this lake. The tower of his conquer is located on the mountain overlooking this place.

Green lake
Photo Source: angel.ge

Next is the green lake. Pure and transparent it reflects surrounding mountains. This is a tranquil place, which is usually selected for the sleepover on the way to the most beautiful of the lakes – the white lake. You will freeze speechless seeing this picturesque scenery. Lakes are located very close to each other, in only 7km (4 miles) from the Roshka village. In this small settlement you can taste authentic Georgian beer and meet few locals who remain here to keep their ancient traditions. Abudelauri lakes are part of Khevsureti region – pride of every Georgian. It is around 120km (75 miles) far from Tbilisi and includes picturesque places like Shatili, Mutso, Barisakho, and Chaukhi.

3. Svaneti

Ushguli, Svaneti
Photo Source: maygutyasik.livejournal.com

These 20-25m (65-80 foot) stone towers have around 1m (3.3 foot) thick walls and an entrance from the second floor. They rise in the South Caucasus as guards of Georgia and its people. Only several dozen towers have survived and they are centuries old. These towers are part of UNESCO World Heritage and Georgians treasure them most. Svaneti is ancient part of Georgia, which is so remote that it had almost no influence from invaders and conquerors. Even Georgian Kings and Queens rarely had strong influence on Svani people. Well-preserved wild nature offers most beautiful tracks in the country. Green valleys and mountain peaks full of snow will make you feel in a medieval world.

Photo Source: maygutyasik.livejournal.com

First you should arrive to Mestia – the regional center, and then select your next destination. Mestia is almost 500km (310 miles) far from Tbilisi. The fastest and most comfortable way to get here is having a flight. Ticket costs around 30 USD and includes 20kg (44 pounds) baggage. Another option is to travel to Zugdidi by train and then take a minibus to Mestia for around 6 USD. Price of the train is similar, but you have to book in advance and be prepared to the night travel. The train arrives to Zugdidi at 7am. If you are travelling with friends, we would suggest to hire car with a driver for 60-80USD. Keep minibus as the least favorable option.
The last option is a direct minibus from Tbilisi to Mestia. You will have to arrive to Tbilisi Railway Station at 5am and book a place. Departure time is 6 am and the price is 15USD. Travel time exceeds 8 hours. Once you are in Mestia you can find well-developed tourist service centers, small hotels, an existing museum and friendly locals who will be glad to assist. To book a flight +995 322 400400 (ext. 500 or 501) or contact VanillaSky

Photo Source: maygutyasik.livejournal.com

4. Sataplia & Prometheus Caves

Dinosaur’s Tracks
Photo Source: ekofact.com

Sataplia is one of the 5 caves that serve as tourist destinations in Georgia. It is located in the Protected Territory of Sataplia, which in total is over 300 hectare. One can find a small museum here, see million-year-old traces of dinosaur’s footprints and see dinosaur model’s. This trip can be fun for your children, but it is hard not no notice the romantic vibes over here. You can overlook Kutaisi from a glass platform, find a heart shaped stalagmite, and even plan a wedding ceremony in Sataplia.

Sataplia Caves
Photo Source: georgia.travel.com

However, should you be interested in the caves, Prometheus Cave is an obvious option. 1,420m (4,658 foot) long walking path connects 17 caves which have a height of 20-25m (65-80 foot). It is possible to take a boat to cover the rest of the 20,000m (65,600 foot) distance. This place is 260km (161 miles) far from Tbilisi. If you wish to stay overnight, the best options are Kutaisi and Tskaltubo. A bus from Tskaltubo will cost less than 1 USD. Entry fee is around 3-4 USD, but you will have to pay double for a boat trip. Entry fee in Sataplia is around 3 USD. School and college students are half the price, while children below 6 years are for free. Tour guide in Russian or in English is provided for free. The place is open from 10:00 to 18:00.

5. Okatse and Martvili Canyons

Martvili Canyon samegrelo

Okatse Canyons
Photo Credit: Lukas Jonaitis

Okatse is 35-50m deep (115-165 foot) and less than 4m (13 foot) wide canyon. The footpaths feature magnificent views and feels like walking in the clouds. There is one of the tallest waterfalls in a 4km (2.5 miles) – Kinchkha. You can have a drive, which will last around 6 minutes, or you can walk and enjoy the breathtaking nature. The place is located in 280km (175 miles) from Tbilisi. This around 4 hours drive. A budget way to get here would be to arrive to Kutaisi and than get a bus for less than 2 USD. The bus station is in the city centre, near McDonalds. You will arrive in the nearby village Gordi, which is only 4km (2.5 miles) far from Kinchkha. From here you can either walk, or take a taxi for a few Lari.

Martvili Canyon
Photo Source: mapio.net

Another canyon nearby is located in Martvili. It is 2,400m (7,875 foot) long and 20-30m deep (65-100 foot). It is double the width of Okatse. Here you can find several small waterfalls and enjoy a boat tour in the river. Boat safari cost around 2-3 USD. One of the place – Oputskhole – also known as Dadiani Swimming Place, is the most picturesque part of the territory. According to the legend David Agmashenebeli, the most prominent king and local saint (1,073 – 1,125 years) used to bath here. Martvili is also around 280km (175 miles) far from Tbilisi. Best option is to plan a 2 day trip and stay overnight in Kutaisi, Tskaltubo, or in the city Martvili.

6. Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park

Borjomi Kharagauli National Park
Photo Source: georgia.travel

  • +995 577 64 04 44

    +995 577 10 18 94

  • Visitor Centers – 23 Meskheti str., Borjomi,

    17 King Solomon str., Kharagauli

Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is one of the largest in Europe. It occupies about 1% of the Georgian territory and covers 6 regions. There are entrances from all regions, but only 2 are considered main entrances – Borjomi and Kharagauli. Here, at the visitor centers, tourists have to register before entering the territory. Please have your passport with you. You can enjoy hiking, horse riding, biking, snow trails, picnics, guided tours. Total of 12 track, with short and long distances, create one striking network of trails. You can find camping and picnic location near the paths. Plan a long trip. This is a sightseeing that can never be enough. Sleepover place in the park will cost about 7 USD. There is a small hotel near the visitor centre in Borjomi, but it usually booked in advance. If you are not well equipped, you can always rent everything you need in the visitor centre. Prices are fair – a tent is less than 5 USD and a sleeping bag is even twice less. Renting a bike will cost around 15 USD, while a horse costs around 30 USD.

Borjomi Kharagauli National Park
Photo Source:wilderness-travel.org

We would advise to enter the park from the visitor center in Borjomi. Borjomi is developed better than Kharagauli, it is closer to Tbilisi and it is a bit easier to get here. You can either go from Didube Station in Tbilisi or by a train from the Railway Station in Tbilisi. Minibus from Didube station costs less than 4 USD and the ride takes 2 hours. Good thing is that minibuses leave every hour. However, a train is a more comfortable option. There is a train every day and the price is less than 1 USD. Though travel time is longer – 4.5 hours.

7. Vashlovani Protected Area

Photo Source: georgianjournal.ge

This once used to be a sea. You can still find shell fish remains and prehistoric fauna in the Bear Canyon of Vashlovani area. This small but diverse piece of land with desserts, forests, cliff, hills, and steppes has been formed due to hundreds of years of impact from nature.

Vashlovani is home for over 250 species of animals. Many mammals, birds, and reptiles are included in the Red List of Georgia. Here, you can also explore over 700 species of plants, including some endemic and Red List species. Birdwatching is recommended in April and October-November. Fishing is allowed April-July. Spring and Autumn are best seasons to see endemic trees blossom and change color.

This area is appropriate for 1 day and longer tours. One-day safari tours cost around 170 USD for 10 people. Should you need a sleepover, you can stay at the small hotel in the Visitors Center or in Bungalows located in Mijniskure which is about an hour drive from the Visitors Center in Dedoplistkaro. Another option is Signagi, the City of Love, which is full of beautiful hotels and guest houses.

Photo Source: Redix Travel

The territory includes several churches and temples from V to XVIII centuries, a complex of caves, and Pirosmai Museum (Georgian painter, primitivism in the period of Naïve Art, 1862-1918)

Please note, that this protected area is located on the border with Azerbaijan, so visitors are requested to register at the Visitor Center in Dedoplistkaro. It is 130km (80 miles) from Tbilisi. You can take a minibus either from Ortachala Station or from Isani Metro Station. Price is around 3 USD and the travel time is up to 2 hours.

8. Lagodekhi strict protected area

Lagodekhi in Spring
Photo Credit: G.Chanadiri

  • +995 577 101890 ; +995 577 907272
  • 17 Vashlovani str., Lagodekhi

Lagodekhi is a relatively small, but best preserved area. There are 2 waterfalls, a stunning lake, a medieval castle, and 5 trails for hiking. High season is from June to November.

Central entrance is located in Lagodekhi, which is 170km (105 miles) far from Tbilisi. You can get a minibus from Isani Metro Station for around 4 USD. The travel time is 2.5 hours. Since, minibus (the so called “Marshrutka”) is not the most convenient way to travel around, you can always call a private taxi. Taxi fares in Georgia are very low, one way to Lagodekhi would cost you about 45 USD.

9. Mtirala National Park

Mtirala National Park
Photo Source: panoramio.com

Mtirala is one of the most humid areas in the region. The name is translated from Georgian as “crying”. Frequent rainfalls formed beautiful chestnut and evergreen cherry forests and a stunning landscape of mixed woods.

The park offers one-day and two-day hiking routes, as well as horse riding, and guided eco-tours. There is a tourist shelter in the park and well-organized camping places.

The park is located in Adjara region, near the black sea. The distance from Tbilisi is over 350km (215 miles), but only 15km (9 miles) from Batumi. You can take a minibus or a train from Tbilisi train station. Price is similar, around 10 USD, but unless you had a trouble to book in advance, we would suggest you take a train. It is a faster, more comfortable, and safer way to travel to Batumi.

Mtirala National Park
Photo Source: wikipedia.org

You can book a train ticket at railway.ge, while minibus doesn’t need any booking. It leaves every 20 minutes from the Railway Station and Didube Station in Tbilisi. From Batumi to the Visitors Center you can take a minibus for less than 40 cents. Travel time is only 20 minutes.

10. javakheti National Park

Hiking in javakheti_cover-min

Paravani Lake, Poka, Javakheti
Photo Credit: Dimitri Silakadze

The park’s landscape is different from other National Reserves and parks. It is forestless area with an abundance of lakes. Five out of eight largest lakes in Georgia are located here. Most of the winter these lakes are frozen, as this area is the coldest in Georgia.

Bicycles, electric bicycles, horses, and fishing supplies are available at the Visitors Center. However, we would suggest you visit Javakheti National Park for bird watching. High season is April-November. If you are an experienced hiker, you can try climbing up the volcanic mountain and sea unique bird species.