Georgia's ancient and vibrant capital city spreads out on both banks of the Mtkvari River, and is surrounded on three sides by mountains. The most widely accepted variant of the legend of Tbilisi's founding says that in the mid-5th century AD, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali was hunting in the heavily wooded region with a falcon. The King's falcon allegedly caught or injured a pheasant during the hunt, after which both birds fell into a nearby hot spring and died from burns. King Vakhtang became so impressed with the hot springs that he decided to cut down the forest and build a city. The name Tbilisi derives from the Old Georgian word "tbili", meaning warm. Archaeological studies of the region indicate human settlement in the area early as the 4th millennium BC.
Mtskheta-Mtianeti is a region in eastern Georgia comprising the town of Mtskheta, which serves as a regional capital, together with its district and the adjoining mountainous areas. The western part is controlled by the breakaway Republic of South Ossetia since 1992 and the independence of Georgia.
Mtskheta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been inhabited since before 1,000 BC and was once the capital of the early Kingdom of Iberia (today’s Eastern Georgia). Just 20 km from Tbilisi, at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, the city is located on an ancient trade route. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of Mtskheta’s status as a major trading post. Glass perfume bottles, Greek and Aramaic writings, pottery, metalwork and jewelry have all been unearthed in abundance here, and many examples are on show in the town’s museum.
The ancient geographer Strabo described Mtskheta as a highly developed city with a water supply system, markets and stone houses. Mtskheta was also the religious centre of the country, with a number of major shrines to Georgia’s pagan pantheon; these would later be replaced by churches when St. Nino converted the country to Christianity in around 337 AD. Although the capital was moved to the more easily defended Tbilisi at the beginning of the VI century, Mtskheta continued to be the coronation and burial place of Georgian kings, and the seat of the Patriarch, who is also known as the Bishop of Mtskheta. Today, the lovely old town has a laid back, village feel, especially compared to the more hectic pace of Tbilisi.
Ananuri fortress is a sixteenth century castle complex on the Aragvi River. The fortress stands beside the famous Georgian Military Highway, overlooking a large Jinvali lake. Its high, turreted stone walls protect two churches, a watch tower and a reservoir. The main church facade is beautifully carved with animal, floral and Celtic style patterns.
Gudauri is the best ski resort in Georgia with well-developed infrastructure, the greatest difference in altitude, and unlimited possibilities for freeride and back country (ski touring). The resort is the highest settlement on the Georgian Military Road (the old name "Heavenly Gorge") at the altitude of 2000 m. The season in Gudauri begins in late December and lasts till the end of April. From Tbilisi Gudauri can be reached in approximately 2 hours. Adrenaline seekers also have the chance to try paragliding, speedriding (an extreme mix of skiing and paragliding) and heli-skiing.
Kazbegi Mountain (or Mkinvartsveri) is the third highest mountain in Georgia. Covered with 135 square kilometres of glacier, Kazbegi is a great place for ice climbing and mountaineering. The steep valleys either side of the gorge are great places for bird watching. Eagles, hawks and the massive griffon vultures all nest among the rocky outcrops. The town of Stepantsminda (also called Kazbegi) itself is charming and a wonderful base camp for exploring the region further. There are many guesthouses where locals are happy to treat you like family, rustic and beautiful with views of the mountains, and often the picturesque Gergeti Trinity Church.
This architectural complex from the XIV century is located in the village of Gergeti, 6 km from the town of Stepantsminda, at a height of 2200 m. The complex includes Holy Trinity Cathedral, constructed in the XIV century, the bell tower built in the XIV century, and clergy houses from the XV century. You can hike up to the complex in about two hours, hire a driver, or even rent a horse!
The eastern region of Kakheti is Georgia’s premier wine-producing area. Almost everywhere you go, you’ll be invited to drink a glass of wine and it’s easy to find yourself wandering around in a semi-permanent mellow haze. Kakheti is also rich in history: here you’ll find the picturesque hilltop town of Sighnaghi, many beautiful churches, castles and mansions around the main town, Telavi. Kakheti is the most important wine region in Georgia in quantitative, qualitative and even historic terms. Almost three-quarters of the country's wine grapes are grown here, on land that has been used for viticulture for thousands of years.
Telavi, the capital of the Eastern province of Kakheti, is home to several of the region’s world-famous wineries, art museums, castles and a theater highlighting folk singing and dancing. Telavi is located at the crossroad of the region and is an ideal place to stop for lunch or an excellent jumping-off point for two or three-day excursions.
Tsinandali Estate is the cradle of classical winemaking of Georgia, the place where Georgian wine was first bottled. During the 19th century, the Tsinandali complex belonged to renowned Georgian poet and public figure Alexandre Chavchavadze. The complex consists of a beautiful garden with over 1,000 varieties of trees and plants from all over the world. Furthermore, within the premise there are wine cellars with unique collections of wines.
The small, pretty town of Kvareli is located 150 kilometers from Tbilisi, and is both an interesting place for a day trip, and the starting point for a longer tour throughout Kakheti. Wine lovers, nature fans, and history connoisseurs will all find something for themselves here! Wine is the blood of Kakheti and of Georgia, and Kvareli is an important vessel.
City of wine and love, as it is being called in recent years, is very much appealing to those who are tired of rush and hustle, and like everything lovely, cute and small. Walking through Sighnaghi, you might feel like in Italy - the architecture is pretty similar to small Italian towns. Romantic cobbled streets, carved balconies, 24/7 marriage registration... What is there in this town for those who don’t want to get married right now?
The tongue-twisting southern flank of Georgia is a highly scenic region whose biggest attractions are the spectacular cave city of Vardzia and beautiful Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, which offers good mountain hiking. Landscapes are very varied, from the alpine forests and meadows around Borjomi and Bakuriani to the bare volcanic canyons of the Vardzia area.
Borjomi is famous for its mineral water industry (which is the number one export of Georgia). Archaeological excavations have revealed the existence of stone baths in the area, proving that these mineral waters have been utilized by people for thousands of years. Because of the supposed restorative and healing powers of the area's mineral springs, it is a frequent destination for people with health problems. Borjomi is also home to the most extensive ecologically-themed amusement park in the Caucasus.
Located at 1,700 m in the Borjomi region of Georgia, Bakuriani is nestled in the shadows of the breathtaking Caucasus Mountains, only a three-hour drive from Tbilisi. Home to dozens of alpine slopes and cross-country trails, it offers some of the most spectacular skiing and snowboarding in Europe. Originally developed as an Olympic training facility, unsurprisingly, Bakuriani is Georgia’s most popular winter sports and recreation destination. Enjoy the downhill ski runs, cross-country trails, horseback tours, sledding or simply take long walks through beautiful snowy forests.
Akhaltsikhe is a town in Southern Georgia, founded in Middle Ages. Its name means “a new fortress”, because the town’s fortress used to be the most important landmark of the region. Now, the huge freshly renovated fortress of Rabati remains the main landmark of Akhaltsikhe. Its upper part includes the castle of Jakeli family, where the Museum of Samtskhe-Javakheti region is situated; there are also an Akhmediye Mosque, an orthodox church, an amphitheatre and a citadel. The other part of Rabati includes touristic objects as hotels, cafes, restaurants, an information center, and even a marriage hall. It is a very beautiful place for a wedding ceremony and a romantic photo shooting, indeed!
If we talk about important landmarks of Samtskhe-Javakheti region, we can’t avoid mentioning Vardzia, an impressive cave town founded by King George III in the XII century. During its golden time it accommodated around 50.000 people. The infrastructure included living quarters, wine cellars, religious places like churches or monasteries, and even a library. There was even a sewerage system in the town! Hard to believe, that already in XII century far in the mountains people could live in such a developed town hewn in rocks… That’s why you have to go to Vardzia to see it with your own eyes!
Kartli is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari (Kura), on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical authors as Iberia, Kartli played a crucial role in the ethnic and political consolidation of the Georgians in the Middle Ages. Kartli had no strictly defined boundaries and they significantly fluctuated in the course of history.
Stalin State Museum is situated in Gori, in the town where Stalin was born. The complex of the museum was opened in 1957. The complex of the museum includes the memorial house, Stalin’s carriage and the two-storeyed exhibition building. In front of the building Stalin statue is situated (sculptor Silovan Kakabadze). Unique displays: memorial things, presents, canvases, photo- and film documents are gathered in the museum.
A permanent exposition telling about Stalin’s life and activities is presented in six halls.
Fortress is situated on a rocky massif in 15 km eastwards to town Gori on the left bank of the river Mtkvari. The fortress is mentioned in chronicles from earliest times. Living quarters and premises for communal purposes occupy a cliff territory of almost 8 hectares and are connected by footways. The majority of the caves are devoid of any decorations. The central ensemble, a big hall with coffered tunnel-vaulted ceiling, and the palace complex, is the most interesting one architecturally.
Imereti offers a number of tourist opportunities including: cultural-educational and eco-tourism, religious and archaeological tours. There are numerous castles, churches, monasteries, museums, examples of folk housing and wall paintings in Imereti, but a visitor does not have to travel far to see examples of the region's fascinating past. There is at least one significant monument close to every village - and some of villages themselves are worth a trip. Villages of Imereti have special charm and colour.
Kutaisi, the capital of Imereti, is Georgia’s second largest city after Tbilisi. Elegant, tree lined streets with 19th century houses stretching down to the banks of the Rioni River, along with several attractive parks, make Kutaisi a very beautiful place to stroll around and take in the many sights.
In the Jewish Quarter a number of synagogues demonstrate the long history of the Georgian Jewish community. The town’s largest synagogue, built in 1866, can seat 500 worshipers. The magnificent churches of Bagrati and Gelati (UNESCO world heritages site) testify to the importance of the region.
Kumistavi cave, also known as the cave of Prometheus, is located near the Georgian town of Tskhaltubo, 20 km away from Kutaisi in Imereti region in the West of the country. It takes about an hour to explore it. Inside there are underground lakes and rivers; rather high humidity and a lot of bats, which, however, do not bother tourists, as they fly very high. Cave is one of the most touristy spots of Georgia. It is a unique experience to feel the underworld atmosphere in all its glory and colors. Tourists may choose between walking tours along the 1600 meters route, and the boat ride along the underground river.
Prometheus cave 1 hour tourist route passes through Argonauts Hall, Kolkheti Hall, Medea Hall, Love Hall, Prometheus Hall and Iberia Hall. The trail finishes by pedestrian or boating tour on an underground flow of river Kumi. It takes 10-15 minutes.
Due to visitors' safety boating is prohibited if the water level rises in the cave.
Sataplia Managed Reserve is located in Tskaltubo municipality, Imereti region, where the footprints of Herbivorous and Raptor dinosaurs of different epochs are found. Sataplia dinosaurs are called “Satapliazaurus” and are different from Europian dinosaurs.
Easy pedestrian tourist routes are convenient for family travel and provide an opportunity to visit the conservation building of dinosaur footprints, exhibition hall, unique karst caves, Colchic Forest and the wild bee habitat area. A beautiful view of Imereti region overlooks from the glass panoramic construction.
Sataplia Cave is named after Sataplia Mountain, which gained its name from the local tradition of collecting honey from the bees that inhabit the mountain’s southern slope. Sataplia means ‘place of honey’.
Due to visitors' safety walking on panoramic view is not allowed in rainy and snowy weather.
Okatse Canyon Natural Monument is located in village Gordi, Khoni municipality, Imereti region. Okatse Canyon 2-3 hour pedestrian route passes through Dadiani historical forest, 780 m length hanging trail and finishes with panoramic view, where visitors can take memorable photos by “Smart Selfie” Camera. It is possible to take a local jeep, for an extra fee, to reach the canyon and reduce the hiking distance for up to 1km.
Due to visitors' safety walking isn’t allowed in rainy and snowy weather.
Notice: While visiting Okatse Canyon Natural Monument, visitor height must be more than 1m and 20 sm.
One of the tallest waterfall of Georgia – Kinchkha together with another water abundant waterfall nearby, Okatse Canyon natural monument (just a few km from Kinchkha in Gordi village) with recently built high quality tourist infrastructure – stairs, footpaths offering magnificent views to the canyon and its surroundings make a nice day out in the nature especially in spring when water levels are high and nature is in blossom with flowers all around.
The health resort Sairme is located in the south of Kutaisi, 950 meters above the sea level and administratively belongs to the Bagdati municipality. This place has the unique location, healing springs, ecologically clean environment and beautiful nature. It is located in the mountainous area of subtropical zone.
At the resort functions a day and night resort polyclinic, the clinic is equipped with the state-of-the-art standard corresponding laboratory-diagnostic equipment, at the guests service is an ultrasonography cabinet, a pharmacy, in the clinic are placed urology, endocrinology, cardiology and therapeutic cabinets where highly qualified doctors-specialists are at the patients service 24/7.
Samegrelo is a historic province in the western part of Georgia, formerly also known as Odishi. In English it has also been historically known as Mingrelia, based on the Russian exonym rather than the Georgian endonym. One of the richest and most beautiful regions of Georgia. People have their own language in Samegrelo.
Beautiful, wild and mysterious, Svaneti is an ancient land locked in the Caucasus, so remote that it was never tamed by any ruler. Uniquely picturesque villages and snow-covered, 4000m-plus peaks rising above flower-strewn alpine meadows provide a superb backdrop to the many walking trails.
One of the most beautiful regions in Georgia, Adjara is situated in southwest Georgia on the Black Sea coastline near the foot of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. Turkey borders Adjara to the south. Adjara’s visitors especially admire the region’s pristine and unaltered nature, and it is particularly intriguing for eco tourists. It is an important tourism destination and includes Georgia's second-largest city of Batumi as its capital.
Batumi—the “Pearl of the Black Sea,” as it is often called—is located in the autonomous republic of Adjara. European architects undertook numerous projects in Batumi at the beginning of the 20th century, and today it remains a hub of architectural innovation. Batumi’s interesting historical past has considerably influenced the architectural diversity of city (a number of projects were completed by European architects during the Porto Franco period). Old Batumi's most historical part is stretched between the seaport and the Boulevard, and features distinctive building facades and balconies.
24 km from Batumi is the second largest Adjarian city of Kobuleti - one of the best Caucasian resorts famous for curative mineral waters. It is located along the Black Sea coast on the wide strip of sandy and fine-pebble beach. The resort's climate is subtropical with lots of heat and humidity. The entire waterfront is occupied by cottages with cafes, bars, clubs and shops in front of them. Not far from them you will find the amusement park. In the evening Kobuleti turns into a noisy