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

The town of Kazbegi, sometimes referred to by its new name, Stepantsminda, is one of Georgia’s premier mountain regions and a must-visit destination.

Located due north of Tbilisi in the Greater Caucasus, Kazbegi is accessed via the magnificent Georgian Military Road, the only thoroughfare that connects Georgia and Russia.

The highway is an attraction in and of itself, featuring spectacular scenery and lots of points of interest to visit along the way. Whichever means of transport you choose to travel from Tbilisi to Kazbegi, I guarantee this is one journey you won’t soon forget.

There are lots of different options available to travellers, ranging from fast private cars (perfect if you’re doing a day trip from Tbilisi) to slower and more affordable local vans. In this post, I’ll explore each option in detail and show you exactly how to travel fuss-free.

Important note: When making your decision, remember that road safety is a serious issue in Georgia. The Military Highway is considered one of the most dangerous roads in the country because of the constant freight trucks and risk of avalanche/landslide. Personally I have had one too many hairy marshrutka trips and now prefer to travel with a GoTrip car whenever possible.


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Tbilisi to Kazbegi distance

Kazbegi is located 154 kilometres (95.7 miles) north of Tbilisi city.

Tbilisi to Kazbegi travel time

It can take anywhere from 2-4 hours to travel from Tbilisi to Kazbegi by road depending on traffic, weather conditions, and the type of vehicle you use. The average travel time is 3-3.5 hours.

The fastest way to get to Kazbegi from Tbilisi is by private car (GoTrip, hire car or shared taxi), which takes 2 hours and 45 minutes on average in summer (without stops). Travelling by marshrutka van, it takes a minimum of 3-3.5 hours to reach Kazbegi in summer. Winter travel times are always a touch longer.

Essential reading: The perfect Georgia itinerary for 1-4 weeks.

When is the road from Tbilisi to Kazbegi open?

Unlike other mountainous areas in Georgia that get cut-off during the winter, the highway to Kazbegi is open year-round. This is mainly because the Military Road is an important trade thoroughfare used to ferry cargo between Russia, Turkey and further afield.

Ski resorts in Gudauri near Kazbegi have their peak season in winter, which means the roads need to stay open even in poor weather.

Kazbegi is a year-round destination, but conditions differ depending on the season. If there is heavy snowfall, an avalanche or a rock slide, the last part of the road between Gudauri and Kazbegi may be temporarily closed. This usually only lasts for a few hours to a day or two at most. In winter 2020/21, the road was closed several times and on one occasion, Kazbegi was inaccessible for almost a week.

When this happens, there is an option to jump out in Gudauri and ride the 7.5km cable car to Kobi village before taking taxi the rest of the way to Kazbegi.

If you’re planning on hiking to Gergeti Trinity Church, the best time to visit Kazbegi is in late spring/early summer or in autumn (May/early June or September/early October is ideal).

Winter in Kazbegi is perfect for skiing (or chilling out in a cosy cabin), while the summer months are best for longer hikes and other outdoor activities.

A stone church and a cross atop a snowy mountain in Georgia.
Gergeti Trinity Church.

How to travel from Tbilisi to Kazbegi: Transport overview

Here is a quick overview of the 5 different ways to travel from Tbilisi to Kazbegi. In the next section, I’ll go through each option in detail.

Note: The company Kazbegi Bus that previously ran tourist coach buses from Didube Station is not operating at present. I will return to update this section if and when services resume.

1. BEST OVERALL OPTION

GOTRIP TRANSFER

  • 24/7 on demand
  • 2.75-3.5 hours travel time (without stops)
  • From 170 GEL/car

2. CONVENIENT OPTION

DAY TOUR TO KAZBEGI

  • Daily departures
  • 11-12 hours total with transfers
  • From $35/person

3. AFFORDABLE OPTION

MARSHRUTKA MINIVAN

  • 11 daily departures
  • 3-4 hours travel time
  • 13 GEL/person

[Buy tickets from the driver]

4. UPGRADED OPTION

SHARED TAXI

  • Morning departures
  • 3-3.5 hours travel time
  • From 25 GEL/person

[Buy tickets from the driver]

5. DIY OPTION

HIRE CAR

  • On demand
  • 3-3.5 hours travel time (without stops)
  • From $15/day
A white car on a mountain road.
Our GoTrip car on the road to Kazbegi.

Option 1: Tbilisi to Kazbegi by private car with GoTrip

My preferred way to travel from Tbilisi to Kazbegi is with a private car and driver booked through GoTrip. One-way and return transfers are available.

GoTrip is a terrific website that matches professional English-speaking drivers with travellers for routes all around Georgia. 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 finalised before you book and paid in cash to the driver.

Prices are very fair, and you can save up to 40% compared to hiring a taxi at Didube Station. It’s completely flexible and you can design your own itinerary on the platform to make sure you don’t miss out on anything.

Book a car from Tbilisi to Kazbegi with GoTrip here. For more information, read my review of GoTrip, which includes a detailed trip report about the journey from Tbilisi to Kazbegi.

Beautiful mountains in Kazbegi, Georgia.
Looking down at the town of Stepantsminda.

Option 2: Tbilisi to Kazbegi day tour

If you’re short on time and you want to visit Kazbegi on a day trip from Tbilisi, joining an organised tour is by far the best option. If you’re travelling in shoulder season or low season when daylight hours are short, joining a tour with pre-organised transfers is the only viable way to get to Kazbegi and back in a day.

On an organised day tour, you’ll get a chance to visit Gergeti Trinity Church and stop off at a few sights on the Georgian Military Road. Having a guide to narrate the journey and enjoy a local lunch with is a bonus.

If you prefer a DIY day trip, it’s also possible to plan your own round-trip route with stop offs using GoTrip (see above).

Recommended Tbilisi to Kazbegi day trips

I recommend booking day trips and tours in Georgia using Get Your Guide. The site offers dozens of different Kazbegi day tour options from local providers. You can pay securely online, and cancel up to 24 hours in advance if plans change.

These Tbilisi to Kazbegi day tours all follow a sensible itinerary and are highly rated by other travellers.

Tip: When booking a Kazbegi day trip, remember to check if the price of an off-road car to Gergeti Trinity Church is included in the price. It’s sometimes added on as an extra for around 15 GEL per person. If travelling with GoTrip, you will have to organise and pay for a car up to Gergeti Church separately – sedans are currently not permitted to drive up.

Three white vans in a row at Didube Bus Station in Tbilisi.
Didube Bus Terminal.

Option 3: Tbilisi to Kazbegi by marshrutka van

If your plan is to spend a night or two (or three) in Kazbegi and you want to save some cash on transport, the cheapest way to travel to Kazbegi from Tbilisi is by marshrutka.

If you’re unfamiliar with marshrutky, they are intercity minivans used to travel around Georgia and other former Soviet Republics (see my marshrutka guide for more info and travel tips). Seating can be cramped, luggage space limited – and the driving nail-biting to say the least. But they get the job done.

Tbilisi to Kazbegi is one of the most popular tourist routes in Georgia. Thus, there are regular van departures from Tbilisi throughout the day, including on weekends and holidays.

Kazbegi marshrutka schedule & ticket prices

Marshrutka vans to Kazbegi run on a set schedule that is signposted at Didube Station. Vans run 7 days a week (including on public holidays). The 2022 schedule for Tbilisi to Kazbegi is as follows: 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 5pm, 6pm, and 7pm.

I highly recommend you take one of the earlier vans and avoid being on the road at night. In winter, that means leaving by 2.30pm at the latest (this will get you to Kazbegi 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 8am on the dot and expecting to get a seat. I recommend you get to the station 30-45 minutes before your intended departure time. If there’s not enough room, you’ll have to wait for the next van – but at least you’ll be first in line!

Tickets for the marshrutka from Tbilisi to Kazbegi cost 13 GEL per person and are purchased directly from the driver either before you board or once you arrive in Kazbegi. Note that it’s cash only (Georgian lari). Drivers always carry change. If you need to withdraw money, there is a Bank of Georgia ATM at Didube on the west side of the metro as you exit.

Kazbegi marshrutka times and fares at Didube Bus Station in January 2022.
Kazbegi marshrutka times and fares. Photo taken in January 2022.

There is now an option to pre-purchase tickets online via AllBus for 16 GEL. I have not used this service yet personally so I can’t recommend it – however, the option is there if you want to try it. (If you do, please leave me a comment below and let me know how it went.)

Getting to Didube Bus Terminal & finding the right van

Marshrutka vans going to Kazbegi depart from Tbilisi’s Didube Bus Terminal AKA Okriba (see the exact location here). To get to Didube from Liberty Square, take the metro (First Line) north to Didube Station (1 GEL per person), or use your local sim card to order a taxi through Bolt (the fare from Liberty Square is around 8 GEL).

Didube Station is… Chaos! You will be approached by flocks of persistent (though usually friendly) drivers as soon as you set foot outside the metro station.

Here’s exactly how to find the marshrutka vans bound for Kazbegi: Once you get off the metro, head down the stairs and make a hard right through the underpass. When you come out the other end, you’ll find yourself inside a small undercover market. On your left, you’ll see a row of taxis, some of them going to Kazbegi. (In the next section, I’ll give you the instructions for taking a shared taxi.)

For the marshrutka vans, you’ll need to keep walking straight, cross the road, then continue a little further through the market. After a few metres it opens up into a car park. You’ll notice a big yellow sign posted high up on your right (see photo below). This is the waiting area for vans to Kazbegi.

Again, someone will probably approach you first. If not, just ask the nearest person for Kazbegi and they will point you towards the next scheduled van.

There are public toilets in the building directly behind the waiting area (squat toilets; clean; 30 tetri per person). There’s also a ‘luggage storage office’ in front of the waiting area, although I’d be reluctant to leave anything too valuable in there (here are some alternative options for storing luggage). There are plenty of snack stands and bakeries inside the market in case you skipped breakfast and need a quick bite.

A sign for the Tbilisi to Kazbegi bus at Didube Station in Tbilisi.
Departure times for Tbilisi to Kazbegi. Photo taken in January 2022.

What is the drive to Kazbegi like?

First of all, know that you’ll be packed in tight. It’s not the most comfortable way to travel, but it’s cheap and straightforward. The road is a tad windy in parts, so if you suffer from motion sickness, it’s a good idea to have your preferred remedy on hand.

The worst thing about travelling this route by marshrutka is that there’s no opportunity to stop along the way for photos. This is one of the most scenic parts of the country, so I highly recommend taking a car or shared taxi at least one way so you can do some sightseeing along the Military Highway.

Tip: Occasionally in high season, ‘tourist marshrutky’ also depart from Didube Station and incorporate two 20-minute stops at Ananuri Fortress and the Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument. These vans are double the price.

Otherwise, vans make just one 10-minute rest stop along the way in Sakuriani. Here, there are bathrooms and snack stands selling packaged goods, coffee and cold drinks.

The journey from Tbilisi to Kazbegi by marshrutka takes 3 hours on average. If there is heavy traffic or poor road conditions (especially in winter), it could take longer. And if your driver is particularly zealous, you might get there in as little as 2.5 hours!

Arriving in Kazbegi

When you get to Kazbegi, the van will terminate at an informal roadside bus station in the centre of town (called ‘Kazbegi Bus Station’ on Google Maps – see the exact location here).

Depending on the location of your accommodation, you might need to take a taxi the rest of the way. Drivers will be waiting around the station to meet passengers. Expect to pay around 7-10 GEL for a taxi. Note that taxi booking apps such as Bolt don’t work in Kazbegi.

A taxi with a sign reading 'Kazbegi' on its roof.
Shared taxis waiting at Didube to take passengers to Kazbegi.

Option 4: Tbilisi to Kazbegi by shared taxi

The first time I visited Kazbegi, I arrived at Didube Station with the intention of taking a marshrutka. However, we were persuaded to take a shared taxi instead, mainly because we wanted to stop for photos along the way (GoTrip didn’t exist yet).

An upgrade on the marshrutka, it certainly doesn’t provide the same flexibility or comfort as GoTrip. It will get you there more quickly than a van, though, and a shared taxi is cheaper than a private car.

A seat in a shared sedan taxi costs 25-30 GEL depending on the car and the driver. You have to wait until the car fills up or pay for the empty seats yourself if you want to depart without delay. If there are other passengers in the car, they might not want to stop for photos, so this is at the driver’s discretion.

In addition, this is not typically a door-to-door service. A shared taxi will drop you at the bus station in Kazbegi and not at your accommodation (although you may be able to negotiate a different drop off point for an extra fee).

Shared taxis depart from Didube Station and can be found in the parking lot on the left as you exit the market area from the metro station. If in doubt, just ask around.

A wide road with a church in the background.
On the road to Gergeti Trinity.

Option 5: Driving to Kazbegi from Tbilisi

Driving in Georgia is not as bad as you might think provided you familiarise yourself with the road rules and local driving style. This guide covers everything you need to know.

From my days travelling around the country as a passenger, I think you’d be brave to want to drive this particular road yourself. However, it is possible. Just take extra safety precautions and ensure you do your research on conditions in advance. The weather changes very quickly in the mountains, so be prepared for thick fog, driving rain and low visibility.

Tip: For weather reports and info about road closures, call the Roads Department hotline on +995 322 313 076.

The worst thing about this road is the trucks. On any given day there are hundreds if not thousands of lorries ripping up both sides of the highway and parked alongside the road waiting to use the tunnels. It creates bottlenecks and can make driving stressful. Currently work is underway to build a new tunnel and road to Kazbegi. It should be open by 2023.

I recommend using MyRentACar to search for a hire car in Tbilisi. I always use this website when hiring cars in Georgia – they have the lowest prices by far.


How to get from Tbilisi Airport to Kazbegi

If you’re flying into Tbilisi and you want to travel directly to Kazbegi without passing through the city first, the easiest option is to go by private car.

Unfortunately, tourists regularly get scammed by airport taxi drivers. I recommend avoiding airport taxis at all costs.

When booked through GoTrip, a private transfer from Tbilisi Airport to Kazbegi starts from 180 GEL for the whole car. You have the flexibility to choose your departure time (friends of ours recently took a car to Kazbegi from the airport at 3am), and when you book through GoTrip, you have the security of knowing the price is fixed.

Check prices for a Tbilisi Airport to Kazbegi transfer on GoTrip.


Tbilisi to Kazbegi transport summary

1. BEST OVERALL OPTION

GOTRIP TRANSFER

  • 24/7 on demand
  • 2.75-3.5 hours travel time (without stops)
  • From 170 GEL/car

2. CONVENIENT OPTION

DAY TOUR TO KAZBEGI

  • Daily departures
  • 11-12 hours total with transfers
  • From $35/person

3. AFFORDABLE OPTION

MARSHRUTKA MINIVAN

  • 11 daily departures
  • 3-4 hours travel time
  • 13 GEL/person

[Buy tickets from the driver]

4. UPGRADED OPTION

SHARED TAXI

  • Morning departures
  • 3-3.5 hours travel time
  • From 25 GEL/person

[Buy tickets from the driver]

5. DIY OPTION

HIRE CAR

  • On demand
  • 3-3.5 hours travel time (without stops)
  • From $15/day

Giant stone sculptures in Sno village, a great place to stop on the drive from Kazbegi from Tbilisi.
Sno village is a great place to stop on the drive to Kazbegi from Tbilisi.

Where to stop between Tbilisi and Kazbegi

This post is all about getting from A to B – but I’d be remiss if I didn’t end by emphasising that the road from Tbilisi to Kazbegi is an attraction in itself.

You can easily make a full day of it by exploring some of the sights along the way. This is another reason why GoTrip is my preferred way to travel.

Key places to see between Tbilisi and Kazbegi include Ananuri Fortress, the impressive Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument and views of Jvari Pass, Sno village, and Gudauri ski resort. You should also make time to stop at a restaurant in the town of Pasanauri, which is often referred to as ‘the birthplace of Khinkali’.

If you have time, you can also combine a visit to Mtskheta, Georgia’s ancient capital, which is a short detour off the highway just as you leave Tbilisi.

For more inspiration, photos, and trip planning tips, check out my full write-up about driving the Georgian Military Road from Tbilisi to Kazbegi.


How to get from Kazbegi to Gergeti Trinity Church

Gergeti Trinity Church is far and away the most popular attraction in Kazbegi. To get there, you can either hike from town (highly recommended – I’ve done it twice now), or take a special Delica taxi from Kazbegi.

Drivers wait around the bus station and outside Hotel Stancia. A taxi costs around 50 GEL per car (or 15 GEL per person), including wait time at the top and return to Kazbegi. In low season, you may be able to negotiate the price down to 40 or even 30 GEL per car.

In summer 2021, the road up to Gergeti church was damaged, making it impossible for sedans to go up. At present you cannot drive yourself to the church – you need to go by off-road taxi.

A hotel room with a large bed.
Our room at Hotel Stancia.

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.

Find more Kazbegi recommendations in my comprehensive accommodation guide.


Tbilisi to Kazbegi: Final thoughts

Kazbegi is within easy reach of Tbilisi and definitely deserves a place on your Caucasus itinerary. You can visit as a day trip from the capital, but I highly recommend staying for at least one or two nights.

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. 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 Kazbegi from Tbilisi (or if you’ve made the trip recently and have something else to add), please consider leaving a comment below to help other travellers.

For planning the return journey, check out my guide for travelling from Kazbegi to Tbilisi.

If you’re also planning to travel to Kakheti, Georgia’s wine region, check out my comprehensive transport guide for getting to Sighnaghi or Telavi from Tbilisi.

And if you’re headed to the Black Sea Coast next, here’s the best way to travel to Batumi from Tbilisi.

You might also be interested in…

The ultimate Georgia itinerary: Four detailed & custom designed itineraries

Georgia Travel Guide: All of my 50+ posts plus my top travel tips

Georgia travel tips: 23 things to know before you go

Places to visit in Georgia: 35+ unique destinations around the country

The best things to do in Tbilisi: Favourites, hidden gems & local picks

35+ best restaurants in Tbilisi: Where to eat Georgian food

15 best day trips from Tbilisi: Includes detailed transport instructions

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4 Comments

  1. Hi! I’m finding your posts extremely helpful as I just moved to Tbilisi and am trying to explore as much as possible. Is it possible to use gotrip for a weekend trip? I’m on their site but don’t see an option for selecting more than one day. I’d like to do this hike, but stay overnight and return to Tbilisi the next day.

    1. Great to hear that Dana! Welcome! GoTrip is just for 24-hour transfers so as far as I know, you’d have to book a separate return trip with either the same driver or a different driver.

      I hope this helps! Safe travels and enjoy!

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