Primarily a winter resort known for its gentle slopes, Bakuriani is a popular cold-weather travel destination for beginner skiers and families alike. Outside of winter, Bakuriani promises visitors fresh air and spectacular views of the Lesser Caucasus.
Bakuriani is a short 40-minute drive from the nearest major town of Borjomi. If you’re travelling to Bakuriani from Tbilisi, there’s a good chance you will pass through Borjomi first, as most transport options involve making a connection there.
In this guide, I’ll show you the fastest, the safest and the easiest ways to travel to Bakuriani from Tbilisi, including the best options for wintertime.
- Must-read: The best things to do in and around Borjomi
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Tbilisi to Bakuriani distance & travel time
Bakuriani is located in southern Georgia’s Samtskhe-Javakheti region, 185 kilometres (115 miles) south-west of Tbilisi.
Travel time from Tbilisi to Bakuriani averages 2-3 hours by road depending on the type of car you use and the weather conditions.
How to travel from Tbilisi to Bakuriani
There are currently 5 options available for travelling to Bakuriani from Tbilisi: Day tour, private transfer, train via Borjomi, marshrutka minibus, and self-driving.
The cheapest way to get to Bakuriani from Tbilisi is by marshrutka van, costing 15 GEL per person.
The fastest way to get to Bakuriani is by private transfer, taking a little over 2 hours.
Option 1: Group tour to Bakuriani from Tbilisi – day trip option
Much like Gudauri, Bakuriani is primarily a ski resort. Aside from winter sports and riding the ski lifts, there isn’t a whole lot to do there. If your main objective is to soak up some mountain scenery, then a day trip from Tbilisi might suffice.
There are dozens of different companies that offer Bakuriani tours, normally combined with other nearby attractions such as the mineral water town of Borjomi.
My top pick is this Bakuriani and Borjomi full day tour with Gamarjoba Tours. I have travelled with Gamarjoba myself and know their guides to be engaging and very professional. This particular tour includes transfers to and from Tbilisi, and spends a whole 3 hours at Bakuriani ski resort.
Option 2: Private transfer to Bakuriani with GoTrip – efficient option
If you prefer to travel at your own pace in the comfort of a private car, but you don’t feel comfortable driving yourself, then GoTrip is a great compromise. It’s also the best option for families and small groups.
You can use this website to book a driver for the day and travel to any destination in the country, either one-way or round-trip. Drivers are available 24/7, and they are vetted to ensure higher safety standards. You can book a direct door-to-door transfer, or use the GoTrip Trip Planner to create an itinerary that includes as many sightseeing stops as you wish.
When travelling with GoTrip, you’ll have plenty of room for all your luggage (including winter gear and skis, if you have them). They can even provide car seats for kids on request. Best of all, the price is locked in at the time of booking and won’t change. Payment is made in cash directly to the driver once the trip is complete.
A private transfer to Bakuriani from Tbilisi starts from 210 GEL per car. Click here to check prices for your travel dates. I recommend booking at least a few days in advance, or a few weeks in advance if you’re travelling during the Christmas/New Year holiday period.
Option 3: Tbilisi to Bakuriani train via Borjomi – slow travel option
In 2020, Georgia’s one and only scenic railway, the 1902 Kukushka train from Borjomi to Bakuriani, sadly ceased operating and has not started up again. This means it’s no longer possible to travel all the way to Bakuriani by train.
Now, you can only go as far as Borjomi. The train to Borjomi is an old electric train that stops at every station. Because of this, it’s very slow – and it’s not very comfortable either! But on the plus side, the scenery on the journey is very beautiful.
There is one daily train to Borjomi that departs from Tbilisi Central Station (near Station Square) at 6.20pm in the evening and arrives at 10.40pm at night. Tickets cost 2 GEL and can only be purchased on board the train from the machine (be sure to have enough coins on you).
Once in Borjomi, alight the train at Borjomi Park Railway Station. To get to Bakuriani from there, you will need to take a taxi. This should cost around 50-70 GEL. I recommend using Bolt app to book a taxi or asking your accommodation in Bakuriani to organise a driver.
If you decide to stay the night and continue on the next morning, you can take a local bus (marshrutka van). There are 6 daily departures to Bakuriani from Borjomi Bus Station (see the exact location here), leaving at 8.30am, 9am, 10.30am, 12.15pm, 3pm and 4.30pm. The trip takes 45 minutes and the fare is a couple of GEL. Double-check times locally.
Bus is also a good option if you plan to do a day trip from Borjomi to Bakuriani.
Option 4: Tbilisi to Bakuriani by marshrutka van – adventurous option
Since there are no coach buses that go to Bakuriani, the only option here is marshrutka minivan. Marshrutka vans can be cramped and uncomfortable. Because they aren’t terribly safe, I normally don’t use them to travel long distances or for trips into the mountains.
If you do decide to go by van, you will find a couple of direct vans to Bakuriani from Tbilisi’s Didube Bus Terminal. To get to Didube, take the metro to the station of the same name and exit into the market.
The area you want, Bus Station Nige, is immediately on the left as you exit from the last tunnel. The ticket desk is located near the orange Bank of Georgia branch.
There are four daily direct vans, including departures at 8am and 9am. The fare is 15 GEL.
An alternative option is to take a van to Borjomi (every hour on the hour between 7am and 7pm; 12 GEL) then transfer to another van or take a taxi the rest of the way, as described above.
Option 5: Driving to Bakuriani – DIY option
Renting a car and driving in Georgia can be a great experience, as long as you’re confident on the roads.
As always, I recommend renting through Local Rent, a platform that offers lower priced cars from local agents (as an alternative to big-name companies). Insurance is standard, and usually there is no deposit.
Another major advantage of Local Rent is that you can pick your car up from any address in Georgia. You can organise for the car to be delivered to your accommodation in Tbilisi – or more conveniently, you can meet the agent somewhere on the highway so that you don’t have to drive through the centre of the city.
For information about the road to Bakuriani, see the next section.
The reverse route: How to travel from Bakuriani to Tbilisi
A door-to-door transfer from Bakuriani to Tbilisi starts from 210 GEL per car when booked through GoTrip. This is the best option if you’re travelling in a group or if you want to depart on your own schedule.
To travel back to Tbilisi using public transport, the easiest option is to first take a van or taxi back to Borjomi then connect to a marshrutka or train from there.
Marshrutka vans to Tbilisi depart throughout the day from Borjomi Bus Station. The timetable is as follows: 7am, 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3.30pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm. I recommend arriving at least 30 minutes early to make sure you get a seat. Double check times locally.
The fare to Tbilisi is 8-12 GEL, and travel time is around 2.5 hours. In Tbilisi, vans terminate at Didube Bus Terminal.
The daily train to Tbilisi departs from Borjomi Park Railway Station at 5.50am and takes 4.5 hours to reach Tbilisi Central Station. Tickets cost 2 GEL and can only be purchased on the train.
Tbilisi to Bakuriani FAQ
What is the road to Bakuriani like? Is the road safe?
The road to Bakuriani is fully sealed and reasonably easy to navigate. You first start by following the main east-west highway out of Tbilisi, past Gori, and when you reach Khashuri you make a turn-off to follow the highway south along the Mtkvari River.
The last part of the drive up the mountain from Borjomi (around 30 kilometres) is steeper and more challenging. There are several tight turns. Watch out for vehicles overtaking and oncoming cars crossing over to the wrong side of the road.
Is the road to Bakuriani open in winter?
Yes, the road to Bakuriani is open year-round, including in the winter months. The road is regularly cleared to ensure cars can get to and from the ski resort.
The road might close temporarily if there is heavy snow or avalanche risk. For accurate information about road closures or weather events, I recommend contacting the GeoRoad hotline on +995 32 2 31 30 76.
What is the best way to get from Tbilisi Airport to Bakuriani?
When you book, enter your flight details in the comments field. The driver will wait for you if your flight is late, and when you land, they will be there to meet you in the arrivals hall to take you directly to your hotel in Bakuriani.
You should never take a regular taxi from Tbilisi Airport to Bakuriani.
Where to stay in Bakuriani
Top choice: Rooms Hotel Kokhta is a beautiful boutique-luxe chalet hotel in the mountains, close to the ski resort. Created by the same team as Rooms Kazbegi, one of the finest accommodations in Stepantsminda, and Rooms Hotel, Stamba and Fabrika in Tbilisi, you can expect the same degree of quality finishes and service. Check rates & availability here on Booking.com.
Mid-range hotel: Komorebi Bakuriani Resort offers suites and double rooms with tidy, modern furnishings. Its location in Upper Bakuriani ensures easy access to the ski lifts and runs. Check rates & availability here on Booking.com.
Private house: Villa Mtashi offers cute cabin-style houses for families, with the largest sleeping up to 8 adults and 4 children. Some villas have private saunas, while all have separate living rooms, fully appointed kitchens, and balconies. Check rates & availability here on Booking.com.
Here are the websites and services I personally use and recommend for Georgia. Check out my full list of travel resources for more tips.
FLIGHTS: Search for affordable flights to Tbilisi, Batumi or Kutaisi on Skyscanner.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: Insure your trip with HeyMondo, my preferred provider for single-trip and annual travel insurance (get 5% off when you book with my link).
SIM CARD: Magti is my preferred provider, with prices starting from 9 GEL/week for unlimited data. See this guide for all the details about buying a Georgian SIM card.
AIRPORT TRANSFERS: Most flights into Georgia arrive in the early hours. For ease, pre-book a private transfer from Tbilisi Airport to your hotel (from $17) or from Kutaisi Airport to Tbilisi (from $90) with my partners at GoTrip.ge.
ACCOMMODATION: Booking.com is the most widely used platform in Georgia. Use it to find family guesthouses, private apartments, hostels and hotels around the country.
CAR HIRE: Find a great deal on a rental car in Georgia – use the Local Rent website to book through a local agent (prices start from $20/day).
DAY TRIPS & CITY TOURS: Use Viator or Get Your Guide to browse a range of day trips and city tours. For off-beat programs, I recommend Friendly.ge (use the promocode wanderlush for 10% off). For in-depth day trips to Georgia’s wine regions, I recommend Eat This! Tours (use the promo code wanderlush for 5% off).
PRIVATE TRANSFERS: GoTrip.ge is a terrific service for booking a private professional driver and car for the day. Use it for A-to-B transfers, a customised round-trip itinerary, or a multi-day trip. You can stop wherever you like for as long as you like without the fixed price going up.
NEED SOME HELP?: Need feedback on your itinerary or personalised travel tips? I offer a one-on-one consultation call service for Tbilisi and Georgia. More information and bookings here.