Caucasus Georgia

How to Travel from Kazbegi to Tbilisi: Full Transport Guide

A man stands on a road in front of snow-capped mountains.

An up-to-date guide for travelling from Kazbegi to Tbilisi by marshrutka van, shared taxi or private car. Includes schedules, prices, detailed instructions, and everything you need to know about travelling to Tbilisi from Kazbegi.

Visiting Kazbegi and Gergeti Trinity Church is a highlight of any Caucasus travel itinerary – as is the trip up to Kazbegi from Tbilisi via the magnificent Georgian Military Highway.

In my Tbilisi to Kazbegi transport guide, I cover how to travel up to the mountains from the capital. If you’re looking for info about the different options for getting back to Tbilisi, this guide will show you how to do the reverse route with a few important modifications.

I’ll also show you how to efficiently transit through Tbilisi to other destinations across Georgia.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.

A mountainous landscape in Kazbegi, Georgia.

Kazbegi to Tbilisi distance

The distance between Kazbegi and Tbilisi is 154 kilometres (95.7 miles).

Kazbegi to Tbilisi travel time

It takes between 3 and 4 hours to travel from Kazbegi to Tbilisi by road depending on traffic, weather conditions, and the type of vehicle you take. Generally speaking, the journey down the mountain is a little faster than the trip up.

The fastest way to get back to Tbilisi from Kazbegi is by private vehicle (hire car or shared taxi), taking as little as 3-3.25 hours. Travelling by marshrutka bus, it takes a minimum of 3.5 hours to get back to Tbilisi.

How to travel from Kazbegi to Tbilisi: Transport overview

Here is an overview of the five different options for travelling from Kazbegi to Tbilisi. In the next section, I’ll go through each option in detail.

DepartsFrequencyPriceTravel timeTickets
1. Marshrutka vanKazbegi Bus Station11 vans per day10 GEL per person3.5-4 hoursBuy from the driver
2. Tourist bus (Kazbegi Bus)N/A (not running in 2020)N/AN/AN/AN/A
3. Private car & driver (GoTrip)Pick up includedOn demandFrom $47 per car3 hoursReserve here
4. Shared taxiKazbegi Bus StationOn demandFrom 25 GEL per person3-3.5 hoursBuy from the driver
5. Taxi + cable car + marshrutkaKobi6 vans per day70 GEL per person~ 3.75 hoursBuy at the station

Option 1: Kazbegi to Tbilisi by marshrutka van (the cheapest option)

The cheapest way to travel to Tbilisi from Kazbegi is by marshrutka minivan. Every day, there are 11 vans everyday departing Kazbegi’s bus stop and terminating at Didube Station in Tbilisi. This is the most popular transport method for locals and tourists alike.

As with the journey up, vans take 3.5-4 hours depending on traffic and road conditions. You may find the trip down the mountain is a little faster than going up (thanks, gravity!).

Along the way, vans make one 10-minute rest stop in Sakuriani where there are bathrooms and snack stands.

Tbilisi marshrutka schedule & ticket prices

Marshrutka vans to Tbilisi run on a set schedule that is signposted at the station. Vans run 7 days a week (including on public holidays). The schedule for Kazbegi to Tbilisi is as follows: 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm, 5pm, and 6pm.

I highly recommend you take one of the earlier vans and avoid being on the road at night. In winter, that means leaving Kazbegi by 3.30pm at the latest (this will get you to Tbilisi around dusk).

Marshrutka vans have limited space and only seat 15 or so people. Once they’re full, they leave – so there’s no use arriving at 9am on the dot and expecting to get a seat. I recommend arriving 30-45 minutes before your intended departure time to make sure you get a seat. Otherwise, you can try reserving a seat through your accommodation in Kazbegi (see the next section for more details).

Tickets for the marshrutka from Kazbegi to Tbilisi cost 10 GEL per person, and are purchased directly from the driver either before you board or once you arrive in Tbilisi. Note that it’s cash only, and drivers always carry change.

A red van parked in front of a bus shelter in Kazbegi.

Finding the bus station in Kazbegi

Kazbegi’s bus station is an informal road stand located in the centre of town on the eastern side of the river (see the exact location here). You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the signboard mounted on the shelter roof.

Vans wait at the front of the bus station. As soon as you arrive, someone will likely approach you and direct you to the van that’s due to depart next.

As you can see, there is a small snack stand and a currency exchange office next to the bus station. There is a larger grocery store called Market Ska 300m up the road (it has the best range of groceries in town).

If you need to withdraw cash for your bus tickets, there is a Liberty Bank ATM directly across the road from the market.

Can you reserve seats in advance?

Since there’s no centralised ticketing system, the only way to reserve a seat for the Kazbegi to Tbilisi bus is by phoning ahead to the driver directly. (It’s not possible to go down and buy tickets a day in advance, for example.) Your guesthouse host may be able to phone ahead on your behalf.

Locals usually call ahead to reserve their seats. Travelling on the morning vans particularly, you’ll make lots of stops on the way out of Kazbegi to collect people.

Generally speaking, there are enough departures throughout the day that you don’t need to worry about reserving a seat. Just arrive at the station nice and early and you shouldn’t have any problem.

A sign at the bus station in Kazbegi with the Kazbegi to Tbilisi bus times.

Arriving in Tbilisi

When you get to Tbilisi, the marshrutka will terminate at Didube Bus Terminal in the northern part of the city (see the exact location here).

Depending on the location of your accommodation and how much luggage you’re carrying, you can either jump on the metro (the First Line runs through Didube Metro Station and stops at Liberty Square), or you can take a taxi.

If you have a Georgian sim card, I highly recommend ordering a car through Bolt rather than picking up a taxi at the station. Didube is chaotic so it’s a good idea to exit the bus area and choose a pick up spot just outside. A Bolt to Liberty Square costs around 8 GEL.

If you’re travelling onward and need to go to a different bus or train station, I’ve include more information about transiting to other cities in the next section (skip to the section on transiting through Tbilisi).


Option 2: Kazbegi to Tbilisi by tourist bus

As of 2020, Kazbegi Bus is no longer running. I will update this section if the situation changes in the future.

A white car on a mountain road in Kazbegi, Georgia.

Option 3: Kazbegi to Tbilisi by private car with GoTrip (the efficient option)

My preferred way to travel from Kazbegi to Tbilisi is with a private car and driver booked through GoTrip.

GoTrip is a terrific service that matches professional English-speaking drivers with travellers for routes all around the country. It’s a door-to-door service, you can stop anywhere you want along the way for as long as you like, and all for flat fare that’s set before you travel and paid in cash to the driver.

Prices are very fair, and you can save up to 60% compared to hiring a taxi in person in Kazbegi.

Book a car from Kazbegi to Tbilisi with GoTrip here. For more information, read my review of GoTrip.

A car with a sign reading 'Tbilisi' on its dashboard.

Option 4: Kazbegi to Tbilisi by shared taxi (the upgraded option)

An upgrade on the marshrutka, a shared taxi certainly doesn’t provide the same flexibility or comfort as GoTrip. It will get you back to the city quicker than a van, though, and it’s cheaper than a private car.

A seat in a shared sedan taxi from Kazbegi to Tbilisi costs 20-25 GEL depending on the car and the driver. You have to wait until the car fills up, or pay for the empty seats yourself and depart without delay.

In addition, this is not typically a door-to-door service. A shared taxi will drop you at Didube Station in Tbilisi and not at your accommodation – although you may be able to negotiate a different drop off point for an extra fee.

Taxi drivers wait around Kazbegi Bus Station and in front of Stancia Hotel throughout the day. You can easily identify them by the plastic signs sitting on the dashboard (as with the car pictured above).


Option 5: Kazbegi to Tbilisi by taxi, cable car & marshrutka (the scenic option)

If you’re not in a rush and you want to make a day of the return trip, you can travel back to Tbilisi via Kobi and Gudauri. This involves riding the scenic cable car, which is particularly pretty in the winter months.

First, take a taxi from Kazbegi Bus Station to the village of Kobi, located 17km south (20 minutes’ drive). This should cost you no more than 30 GEL.

From Kobi, ride the cable car to Gudauri ski resort. The trip takes 15 minutes and tickets cost 30 GEL per person. You can take small luggage items on the cable car.

From Gudauri, you can either pick up a taxi or jump in a marshrutka bound for Tbilisi. Gudauri is more touristy (and more pricey) than Kazbegi, so expect to pay more for a taxi from here. To avoid being overcharged, I recommend booking a car from Gudauri to Tbilisi through GoTrip (prices start from $31).

Alternatively, there are 6 scheduled marshrutka vans travelling from Gudauri to Tbilisi at 9.30am, 12.30pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, and 5.30pm. Tickets cost 10 GEL, and the drive takes a little over 2 hours.


How to get to Tbilisi Airport from Kazbegi

If you’re flying out and you want to travel directly to the airport from Kazbegi without passing through the city first, the easiest option is to go by private car. Booked through GoTrip, a private transfer costs as little as $35.

Check prices for a Kazbegi airport transfer on GoTrip.


Transiting in Tbilisi to another destination in Georgia

GoTrip cars can take you directly from Kazbegi to anywhere else in Georgia. But if you’re using vans/shared taxis and you want to travel elsewhere on the same day, you will have to transit through Tbilisi first.

Vans and taxis to Gori, Mtskheta, Kutaisi, Batumi and Mestia all depart from Didube Station – the same place where Kazbegi marshrutky terminate. In this case, you can simply transit through the same station.

If you plan on travelling to Kakheti in Eastern Georgia, you’ll need to make your way to Samgori bus station (for marshrutky) or Isani Metro Station (for taxis). For full details, here is my guide for getting from Tbilisi to Sighnaghi or Telavi.

I prefer to travel between Tbilisi and Batumi by train. To get to the railway station from Didube, you can either take the First Line metro 3 stops south to Station Square (50 tetri per person), or call a taxi (approximately 5 GEL when booked through Bolt).


Where to stay in Kazbegi

Budget

Family-run Red Stone Guesthouse is warm and spacious. An incredible home-cooked breakfast comes included in the rate.

Check prices and availability for Red Stone Guest House on Booking.com.

Mid-range

For something more upscale, Hotel Stancia in the centre of town near the bus stop is chic, modern, and still very affordable.

Try on-site restaurant for lunch or dinner – it serves some of the best Georgian food I’ve eaten anywhere in the country. Breakfast, however, is underwhelming and not worth the extra change in my opinion.

Check prices and availability for Hotel Stancia on Booking.com.

Luxury

For a truly memorable Georgian mountain experience, don’t look past Rooms Kazbegi. Housed in a converted sanatorium, this is one of the coolest boutique hotels in the whole country. The front deck commands incredible views of the mountains, there’s a great restaurant inside, and there’s a spa complete with outdoor hot tub.

Check prices and availability for Rooms Kazbegi on Booking.com.

Where to stay in Tbilisi

Check out my guides to the best boutique hostels in Tbilisi and top guesthouses in the city.

Things to do in Tbilisi

If it’s your first time visiting Georgia’s capital city, here are my favourite things to do in Tbilisi, including the sulfur baths and the Dezerter Bazaar.

For more inspiration, check out these guides…


Kazbegi to Tbilisi: Final thoughts

For convenience and affordability, the best all-round transport option is to travel with GoTrip. If you’re on a tight budget, a marshrutka van is perfectly adequate provided you don’t have large luggage items. A shared taxi is a nice compromise, but just be aware that it doesn’t offer the same flexibility as a private car.

I hope this transport guide proves helpful! If you have any questions about travelling to Tbilisi from Kazbegi (or if you’ve made the trip recently and have something else to add), please consider leaving a comment below to help other travellers.

When planning the first part of your journey, remember check out my guide for travelling from Tbilisi to Kazbegi.

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