The perfect Georgia itinerary for 1-4 weeks of travel in the Caucasus. Includes detailed transportation info, recommended things to do in Georgia, and up-to-date travel advice for 2021.

Oh Georgia. Where do I begin?

Georgia is a place that first captured my heart in 2017 and has been pulling me back ever since. I eventually gave in and moved to Tbilisi at the beginning of 2020.

I’ve been lucky enough to experience Georgia in every season from the perspective of both a tourist and an expat. Now that I’ve seen almost everything this country has to offer, I finally feel qualified to recommend the perfect Georgia itinerary for first-time visitors, with options for 1, 2, 3 or 4 weeks of travel.

Clay qvevri jars lined up against a brick wall leading to a church in Kakheti, Georgia.
Ikalto Monastery in Kakheti, an essential stop on any Georgia itinerary.

These itineraries aren’t copied out of a guidebook, and they certainly weren’t designed for me by a tour company. Each one is cobbled together from my various travels around Georgia and based on my personal experiences, mistakes and successes. I’ve personally visited each and every place mentioned here, and I’ve done everything I can to make sure these itineraries are both realistic and up-to-date.

I’ve tried to balance the must-sees and not-so-popular spots for a good mix of nature, culture, history and adventure. For each destination, you’ll find detailed transportation instructions, personal recommendations for where to stay, and my insider tips for making the most of your time.

This guide includes:

First time in Georgia? Read my 23 Practical Georgia Travel Tips.

Want to see more of the Caucasus? Check out my epic Georgia Armenia Azerbaijan itinerary for the perfect route through all three countries.

Hiring a car? See my alternative adventurous Georgia road trip itinerary and tips for self-driving.

Questions? My Georgia Travel Guide has more FAQ, tips and advice.

Want more Georgia travel goodness? Please consider subscribing to my e-newsletter for regular updates from Georgia.


5 things to consider when planning a Georgia itinerary

There are a couple of crucial things to consider in the early planning stages that will affect how your Georgia itinerary comes together. To give you a heads up – and to put my own itineraries into context – I’m going to briefly touch on just five.

If you’re all over the logistics and you want to get straight to the fun stuff, click here to skip to my Georgia itinerary.

Remember you can find tons more valuable information about trip planning here in my Georgia Travel Guide.

1. How long should you spend in Georgia?

Many people start planning a short trip to Georgia thinking they can see the whole country in a couple of days. But it’s important to understand that moving around chews up a lot of time.

Anything less than one full week and you’ll just want to base yourself in Tbilisi and stick to day trips (possibly with an overnight stay in Sighnaghi or Kazbegi). It’s possible to see a decent amount of the country in 2-4 weeks – but even then, you’ll be travelling at quite a fast pace and with several long travel days back to back.

The itineraries I’ve created don’t include specialty activities such as multi-day treks. If this is of interest, you’ll have to carve a few days out of your itinerary to fit it in. (I’ve included a couple of key multi-day hikes and where to do them below.)

If you have extra days, I recommend using them to slow down your overall pace and spend a bit longer in each place rather than trying to squeeze more in.

2. When to visit Georgia

There is no ‘bad’ time to visit Georgia – every season offers something different. Spring is nice for mild weather, wildflowers and Orthodox Easter celebrations, fall for the rtveli wine harvest and festivals, summer for hiking and outdoor activities, and winter for experiencing Tbilisi’s cosy side and Christmas festivities plus skiing/snowboarding.

The only time I suggest avoiding is peak summer – July/August – as it’s very warm in the cities and many places (including Tbilisi and Batumi) are overcrowded. My absolute favourite time to visit Georgia is late spring (late April/May) or fall (late September/October). If you want to hike or visit remote mountain regions, avoid the colder months as many roads snow over and are impassable.

My itineraries are specifically designed to be trans-seasonal. The only exceptions are Ushguli and the Goderdzi Pass, which may be inaccessible in the middle of winter.

For more insights, see my month-by-month guide to the seasons in Georgia.

3. Where to start your Georgia itinerary

If you’re flying into Georgia, you have a choice between starting your itinerary in either Tbilisi or Kutaisi. Both cities have international airports with regular connections to Europe, Turkey and the Middle East. Budget travellers usually choose Kutaisi, which is serviced by WizzAir. Tbilisi, meanwhile, has regular connections from Istanbul, the UAE and Qatar.

I love Kutaisi, but I generally recommend starting your trip in Tbilisi, the capital. The itineraries I’ve designed all start and end in Tbilisi. If you’re flying into Kutaisi, I recommend heading straight to the capital by coach. Georgian Bus runs buses direct from the airport that are timed to leave when planes land. The trip takes around 4 hours and tickets cost 20 GEL. See here for more info.

Do NOT take a taxi from Tbilisi Airport to your accommodation. Refer to my Airport Guide for information about using the airport bus and organising a reliable transfer.

4. How to get around Georgia

Intercity transport is something you want to consider well in advance as it will impact how long you need to spend in Georgia to see everything you want to see.

That’s because Georgia is small, but transportation is quite basic – it can take a long time to get from place to place if you’re using ‘public’ transport. Marshrutka vans are affordable, but schedules are flexible. Road safety is a concern in Georgia, so I strongly suggest you only travel by road during daylight hours and avoid using marshrtuka vans for long journeys or dangerous mountain roads.

Unless you hire a car (recommended for maximum flexibility, but only if you’re a confident driver), you’ll probably end up using a combination of marshrutka vans and trains, with a few transfers for more complex journeys.

If you do plan on self-driving in Georgia, you can broaden your itinerary even more. Here is my suggested road trip itinerary for 10 days in Georgia, focusing on harder-to-reach corners and hidden gems.

Organised day trips are very affordable in Georgia. They’re a good way to make the most of your time, and to get access to harder-to-reach areas without self-driving. Even if you’re not a tour person, I suggest you at least consider an organised day trip from Tbilisi.

I recommend booking day trips through Get Your Guide, as vendors are vetted and more likely to observe good road safety practices. The platform also has a generous refund policy. There isn’t a huge variety on offer currently but more itineraries are added every month.

Friendly.ge is my preferred day tour operator in Tbilisi. Their itineraries are top-notch, as are the expert guides. Browse their private and small group tours here, and use the code wanderlush at checkout to get 10% off when you book direct.

I’ve sprinkled some specific day trips throughout these itineraries – or you can browse all Georgia day tours using the links below.

Most cities and towns in Georgia have a local bus system that is cheap and easy to use. I highly recommend downloading a taxi app (Grab works in most major cities) rather than hailing taxis on the street – they’re unmetered and can be difficult to navigate if you don’t speak the language. See my taxi tips here.

5. Budgeting, insurance, visas & other logistics

Georgia offers visa-free travel for passport holders from 95-plus countries (including Australia, the US and all EU citizens) – and you can stay for up to one year.

Passport holders from most countries in Asia and Africa are required to obtain either an e-visa or a visa in advance. I recommend using iVisa to check if you need a visa for Georgia and to apply for an expedited visa if you do.

You might like to bookmark these helpful guides for future reference:

Recommended pre-trip reading
How to get from Tbilisi airport to the city
How to buy and activate a Georgian sim card
12 things I wish I knew before I visited the Caucasus


Georgia itineraries for 1-4 weeks of travel

Here is a brief outline of the four itinerary options included in this guide.

Under each section, you’ll find a day-by-day breakdown including things to do, recommended accommodations, and detailed transportation instructions for travelling from place to place.

One week in Georgia
[Click here to jump to the full itinerary]

Days 1 & 2: Tbilisi
Day 3: Day trip to Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe
Days 4 & 5: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region
Days 6 & 7: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi

Two weeks in Georgia
[Click here to jump to the full itinerary]

Days 1 & 2: Tbilisi
Day 3: Day trip to David Gareja
Day 4: Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe
Days 5 & 6: Kutaisi, Chiatura & Tskaltubo
Days 7, 8 & 9: Mestia & Ushguli
Day 10: Zugdidi
Days 11 & 12: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region
Days 13 & 14: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi

Three weeks in Georgia
[Click here to jump to the full itinerary]

Days 1, 2 & 3: Tbilisi
Day 4: Day trip to David Gareja & Udabno
Day 5: Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe
Days 6 & 7: Kutaisi, Chiatura & Tskaltubo
Days 8, 9 & 10: Mestia & Ushguli
Day 11: Zugdidi
Days 12 & 13: Batumi
Days 14 & 15: Khulo & Upper Adjara
Day 16: Akhaltsikhe & Vardzia
Day 17: Borjomi
Days 18 & 19: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region
Days 20 & 21: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi

One month in Georgia
[Click here to jump to the full itinerary]

Days 1, 2 & 3: Tbilisi
Day 4: Day trip to David Gareja & Udabno
Day 5: Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe
Days 6 & 7: Kutaisi, Chiatura & Tskaltubo
Day 8: Martvili
Days 9, 10 & 11: Mestia & Ushguli
Day 12: Zugdidi
Days 13 & 14: Guria
Days 15, 16 & 17: Batumi & the Black Sea Coast
Days 18 & 19: Khulo & Upper Adjara
Day 20: Akhaltsikhe & Vardzia
Day 21: Borjomi
Day 22: Tsalka & Javakheti
Days 23 & 24: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region
Day 25: Telavi
Days 26 & 27: Pankisi Valley
Days 28, 29 & 30: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi

Georgia itinerary map

Click here to open an interactive map of my Georgia itinerary in a new tab. Each of the four different options is included as a separate layer.

Screenshot of a Georgia itinerary map.
Georgia itinerary map. Screenshot via Google Maps.

One week in Georgia itinerary

This itinerary for one week in Georgia offers a good introduction to the country. It’s perfect for first-time visitors who want to see the highlights and get a good feel for Georgian culture, food and wine.

If you only have 7 days in Georgia, don’t worry about trying to squeeze too much in – you will almost certainly be back!

Tbilisi – [Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe] – Sighnaghi & Kakheti –Kazbegi – Tbilisi

  • Days 1 & 2: Tbilisi – overnight in Tbilisi
  • Day 3: Day trip to Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe – overnight in Tbilisi
  • Days 4 & 5: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region – overnight in Sighnaghi
  • Days 6 & 7: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi – overnight in Kazbegi

Days 1 & 2: Tbilisi

A panoramic view of the city of Tbilisi.
Every good Georgia itinerary begins in Tbilisi.

Tbilisi – the coolest city in the Caucasus and one of Europe’s most talked about up-and-comers – is the logical place to begin your Georgia itinerary. This is where you’ll find some of the country’s best museums, restaurants and wine bars.

It might be the capital, but Tbilisi has an intimate feel – especially around Sololaki, the oldest neighbourhood, and in the historic Old Town proper. Tbilisi is a layer cake of different histories and influences collected over a lifetime spent sitting at the nexus of East and West, Asia and Europe.

Ottoman-Persian style bathhouses fed by sulfur springs and an urban waterfall, opulent mansion homes built by Armenian merchants and beautiful Orthodox churches sit side by side with Zoroastrian fire temples, grand synagogues and leftovers from Georgia’s Soviet period. The cherry on top – the thing that gives the Tbilisi of today its unmistakable character – is a slew of quirky additions to the city’s skyline in the form of ultra-modern architecture.

Scaling the walls at Narikala Fortress, watching the sunset at Mtatsminda, and rummaging the Dry Bridge Market for the perfect souvenir are all must-dos. Spend some time in the trendy Vera neighbourhood visiting coffee shops and cocktail bars, and pop over the river to Chugureti, the old German district, for unique architecture and the Fabrika creative space.

Two full days is the perfect amount of time to revel in the contrasts between old and new Tbilisi. For a full list of things to do in Tbilisi – including alternative attractions and local favourites – refer to my Tbilisi city guide.

Recommended reading
51 unique things to do in Tbilisi
35+ best Georgian restaurants in Tbilisi
Recommended Tbilisi walking tours
Best day trips from Tbilisi

A plate of khinkali dumplings.
First stop: Khinkali.

If you’re not a huge fan of cities and two full days in Tbilisi feels like too much, you might choose to do a day trip on day 2, or dedicate another day to Kakheti or Kazbegi later in your itinerary.

Where to stay in Tbilisi

There is no shortage of accommodation options to choose from in Tbilisi, ranging from boutique hotels to budget-friendly hostels. My Tbilisi neighbourhood guide explores the different districts and accommodation options in details. Here are a few of my favourites.

Budget hostel: Fabrika Hostel & Suites is Tbilisi’s most popular hostel and hangout. The space, a converted Soviet sewing factory, houses a cafe/bar/co-working area, boutiques and restaurants, and hosts regular events. Accommodation options include hotel dorms and private doubles.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com or read my full review of Fabrika.

Mid-range hotel: Le Caucase is well-positioned in the Old Town close to Freedom Square. It’s a good all-round option if you want to stay central. Rooms are tastefully decorated and breakfast comes included.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Boutique hotel: Located opposite the Dry Bridge Market, Museum Hotel Orbeliani offers modern and minimal suites inside a refurbished royal home. Heritage details – such as the peacock floor mosaic in the lobby – give this place a real sense of old-world glamour. The rooftop cocktail bar overlooking the river and cellar restaurant are both excellent.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com or read my full review of Museum Hotel Orbeliani.

Self-contained apartment: Airbnb is hugely popular in Tbilisi and you can find dozens of well-priced studios and one or two-bedroom apartments in the Old Town and beyond. This gorgeous sun-lit apartment in a traditional building with a typical Tbilisi courtyard behind Rustaveli Metro Station is one of my favourites. I actually stayed in this place for a month myself.

View my shortlist of the city’s best Airbnbs.

Day 3: Day trip to Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe

Jvari Monastery in Mtskheta, Georgia viewed from above.
Jvari Monastery in Mtskheta.

Georgia’s capital city from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD, Mtskheta is home to the country’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Monuments of Mtskheta. This is one of the most important places to visit in Georgia in terms of both religion and culture. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, one of the oldest and most important Orthodox churches, and the stunning Jvari Monastery that overlooks the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, are both located here.

Mtskheta is a short 45-minute drive from Tbilisi, so to make it a full day trip, it’s usually paired with a visit to Gori and Uplistsikhe. Gori is a small city famously known for being the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, who is remembered in an oh-so-Soviet museum dedicated to his life. Uplistsikhe is Georgia’s oldest cave city and an impressive introduction to the country’s medieval history and the legacy of the much-beloved Queen (King) Tamar.

Recommended reading
10 best things to do in Mtskheta
15 excellent things to do in Gori
What to expect when you visit the Stalin Museum
Tips for visiting Uplistsikhe

A statue of Stalin in the yard of the Stalin Museum in Gori, Georgia.
The Stalin Museum in Gori.

→ If this day trip doesn’t take your fancy, there are plenty of other options to choose from. See my guide for the 15 best day trips from Tbilisi for more ideas.

How to do a Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe day trip from Tbilisi

You have three options here: Join an organised day tour from Tbilisi, hire a private driver, or go DIY by marshrutka.

An organised tour is the most time-efficient option, but you don’t get much flexibility. In Gori, guides tend to focus almost exclusively on the Stalin Museum, so you won’t get to see any of the city beyond that. Still, having a guide and guaranteed comfortable transport is the best option for some travellers. I recommend either this budget-friendly 10-hour group tour or this flexible-start, 10-hour private tour. Both visit Mtskheta (including Jvari), Gori and Uplistsikhe, with a stop for lunch in either a local home or restaurant.

Doing this trip DIY by marshrutka is possible, but it will be very rushed. I would recommend eliminating Mtskheta and focusing just on Gori and Uplistsikhe (or vice versa). If you want to try this day trip DIY, jump to full transport instructions in the 2-week itinerary here.

The better option in my opinion is to hire a car and driver for the day through GoTrip. You won’t have a guide, but you will have a lot more flexibility to depart Tbilisi when you want, explore Gori at your own pace, and make extra stops whenever you like.

This example itinerary I designed for Mtskheta, Gori and Uplistsikhe starts from a very affordable $38 per car, inclusive of transfers to and from your front door in Tbilisi. You can design your own route with different stops using the GoTrip platform.

Days 4 & 5: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region

Stone walls in the town of Sighnaghi.
The walled city of Signaghi.

Now that you’ve experienced the best of the capital and surrounds, it’s time to escape Tbilisi and head east to Kakheti, the country’s most productive wine region. The Alazani Valley is a stunning landscape of vineyards and mountain-top churches.

You could easily spend a week or more travelling the tributaries of Kakheti’s Wine Route, visiting the different family-run maranis (cellars) that still make wine the old-fashioned way in clay qvevri and the many larger European-style vineyards. With two full days, you can see a good selection of the region’s most important churches and indulge in a healthy number of wine tastings.

Sighnaghi, the most charming town in the wine region, or Telavi, the biggest city and transport hub, are both ideal places to stay. There are plenty of guesthouses that specialise in good old-fashioned hospitality (and home cooking), so you have that to look forward to on your first night outside the capital.

In Sighnaghi, climb the City Walls, visit the local museum to see the exhibit of Pirosmani paintings (Georgia’s favourite artist was born in this region), walk to the exquisite Bodbe Monastery, and drink in the panoramic mountain views from any of the restaurants and wine bars in town. On a clear day you can see across the valley all the way out to the Greater Caucasus.

Recommended reading
Suggested itinerary for Kakheti
Telavi City Guide
Kakheti accommodation guide

A woman holds a glass of wine in front of a mountain in Kakheti, Georgia.
Wine tasting in Kakheti.

Where to stay in Sighnaghi

For this itinerary, I recommend staying in Sighnaghi rather than Telavi. Sighnaghi is the more ‘atmospheric’ of the two major hubs in Kakheti and has a good range of comfortable guesthouses.

Telavi has more boutique hotel offerings so if that’s more your style, you might consider staying there instead. Seventeen Rooms and Communal Hotel are my personal favourites. 

Budget-friendly guesthouse: Zandarashvili Guest House is a typical family-run guesthouse that’s been welcoming tourists for years. Rooms set over the family’s three-level home are all comfortably decorated and spotlessly clean. Mum cooks, dad drives (you can hire him for the day to take you around Kakheti), and son David plays the role of toastmaster at their nightly supras.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Boutique hotel: Boutique Hotel BelleVue is centrally located and has a huge balcony with sweeping views over the Alazani Valley. Some of the larger rooms have private balconies too.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Ranch: If you don’t mind staying a little further from the centre of Sighnaghi, Lost Ridge Inn is one of the coolest accommodations in Kakheti. Rooms are thoughtfully decorated and all have a garden-facing balcony. There’s a restaurant and even a brewery onsite – and they can organise horseback riding tours around the valley. You’ll need a taxi to get here from the centre of town because the ranch is located behind Bodbe Monastery.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com or read my full review of Lost Ridge.

Find plenty more options in my Kakheti Accommodation Guide.

The grounds of Bodbe Monastery outside Sighnaghi, Kakheti.
Bodbe Monastery outside Sighnaghi.

How to get to Sighnaghi from Tbilisi

Sighnaghi and Kakheti Region in general is very easy to get to from Tbilisi with either a marshrutka or shared taxi. Vans depart throughout the day (roughly every 60-90 minutes) from the bus station near Samgori Metro. Shared taxis leave on demand from behind Isani Metro Station.

One thing to be aware of is that there are two possible routes drivers may take. It’s faster to take the Kakheti Highway rather than the Gombori Pass through Telavi, so try to make sure your driver is heading this way.

The first marshrutka is scheduled to leave Tbilisi at approximately 7am. Tickets cost around 7 GEL, and the journey takes 2-2.5 hours via the Kakheti Highway.

A seat in a shared taxi from Isani Metro Station costs around 15 GEL per person. Travel time is slightly faster, and the driver will drop you off closer to your accommodation in Sighnaghi rather than at the bus station.

→ For schedules and fares, see my full guide to travelling between Tbilisi and Kakheti.

How to get around Kakheti & travel the Wine Route

The wineries and churches around Sighnaghi are spread out across the valley so you really need your own car to explore the area properly.

The easiest option is to organise a driver for the day through your guesthouse, which you can either do in advance or during your stay. This should cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of 25-35 GEL per person for a full day depending on the number of people you have and how far afield you’re going. It’s cheaper if you pool with other travellers, so you might want to wait until the day and see who else is up for a road trip.

Normally your host will recommend a standard route, but you can always make special requests if there’s a particular winery or monastery you want to see (or skip).

Days 6 & 7: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi

Gergeti Trinity Church in fall.
Gergeti Trinity Church.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Georgia without an up-close look at the Greater Caucasus mountains. Just three hours by road from Tbilisi, the town of Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) is the most convenient place to immerse yourself in picturesque scenery and do a day trek or two. The Alps without the crowds (or the price tag), this is one of the most beautiful and underrated mountain regions in Europe.

Gergeti Trinity – arguably Georgia’s most iconic Orthodox church – is perched in the hills above town against the snowy peak of Mount Kazbegi. End your Georgia itinerary on a high (literally) by hiking up to the church from town (just make sure you follow the right trail – directions here). This is one of my absolute favourite things to do in Georgia, especially when you treat yourself to lunch at Rooms Kazbegi afterwards.

The road that links Tbilisi and Kazbegi (and continues up into Russia) is an attraction in and of itself. There are a dozen or so places to stop along the Georgian Military Highway, ranging from Soviet mosaic monuments to scenic viewpoints, important medieval churches, and even a small village that many believe is the birthplace of khinkali!

You really want to take your time on this route so set aside a full day to make the most of it. Hire a car and driver (details below) so that you can make as many stops as possible.

Recommended reading
21 things to know before you visit Kazbegi
Where to stay in Kazbegi, the best accommodations for every budget
Guide to the Georgian Military Highway
Essential guide to the Gergeti Trinity Church hike (must read!)

The Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument in Gudauri is something that should be on your Georgia travel itinerary.
The Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument is a must-see on the Military Highway.

How to travel the Georgian Military Highway to Kazbegi

This is the one route I definitely recommend hiring a car and driver for. There are lots of places to see along the Georgian Military Highway, and if you’re travelling by marshrutka, you simply won’t get to stop. Even if you take the special ‘tourist’ van from Tbilisi that stops in Ananuri and Gudauri, you’ll still feel rushed.

GoTrip is the most convenient way to book a car. If you’re coming from Sighnaghi, you should organise for your driver to pick you up from your guesthouse as early as possible. The journey up to Kazbegi takes the better part of 5 hours without stops.

A flexible transfer with GoTrip from Sighnaghi to Kazbegi via the GMH – with as many stops along the way as you like – starts from $70 per car. Customise your own itinerary and book here.

Where to stay in Kazbegi

Budget guesthouse: Red Stone Guest House is a lovely little family-run place near the trailhead to Gergeti Trinity. The home-cooked breakfast here is one of the best I’ve had anywhere in Georgia – I’ll never forget sitting in the tiny kitchen while the owner cooked us a magnificent meal on her tiny gas stove. If you’re doing the hike, she simply won’t let you leave without a stash of khachapuri to take with you.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Mid-range hotel: Hotel Stancia offers minimalist Scandi-style rooms in a very convenient location opposite the bus station in the centre of town. The onsite restaurant is really good. Think of it as a budget version of Rooms.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Boutique hotel: Rooms Kazbegi is probably Georgia’s most iconic accommodation and is definitely worth the splurge if you can afford it. Set inside a renovated sanatorium, every little detail is on-point – right down to the outdoor hot tubs. The wide verandah offers one of the best views of Kazbegi. The only downside is that it’s a bit of a walk from the centre of town. Even if you don’t stay here, it’s worth visiting for a meal at the restaurant.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

If A-frame is more your style, there are some stunning luxury mountain cabins and bungalows in and around Kazbegi. Here are my favourite mountain cabins in Georgia.

→ Find plenty more accommodation recommendations in my guide on where to stay in Kazbegi.


When it’s time to say farewell to Georgia, head back to Tbilisi by marshrutka or taxi. If your flight leaves from Kutaisi, take a Georgian Bus directly to Kutaisi Airport. 


Two weeks in Georgia itinerary

Two weeks is enough time to explore both Eastern and Western Georgia in some detail. You won’t see everything, but you will get a small taste for the regions.

For this itinerary, I’ve switched things around to visit Kakheti towards the end of the trip because it makes more sense logistically. If you prefer to visit the wine region on day 3 as in the previous itinerary, you can easily adjust this.

I’ve also chosen to leave out Batumi as you need a full day to get to the Black Sea. I personally love Batumi and Adjara region, but I don’t consider it a must-see if you only have 14 days in Georgia. If you really want to, you could trim a day off Kutaisi and swap out Zugdidi for 2 days in Batumi instead.

This route builds on the previous 7-day itinerary. Additions are bolded:

Tbilisi – [David Gareja & Udabno] – Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe – Kutaisi, Chiatura & TskaltuboMestia & UshguliZugdidi – Sighnaghi & Kakheti – Kazbegi – Tbilisi

  • Days 1 & 2: Tbilisi – overnight in Tbilisi
  • Day 3: Day trip to David Gareja & Udabno – overnight in Tbilisi
  • Day 4: Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe – overnight in Gori
  • Days 5 & 6: Kutaisi, Chiatura & Tskaltubo – overnight in Kutaisi
  • Days 7, 8 & 9: Mestia & Ushguli – overnight in Mestia
  • Day 10: Zugdidi – overnight train to Tbilisi
  • Days 11 & 12: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region – overnight in Sighnaghi
  • Days 13 & 14: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi – overnight in Kazbegi

Days 1 & 2: Tbilisi

Refer to days 1 & 2 of the one-week itinerary above.

Day 3: Day trip to David Gareja & Udabno

David Gareja Cave Monastery in Georgia.
David Gareja Cave Monastery.

David Gareja and Udabno is probably my favourite day trip from Tbilisi. The David Gareja cave monasteries are a set of religious sanctuaries composed of chambers and cloisters hewn from rock. The most famous, Udabno Monastery and Lavra Monastery, straddle the border between Georgia and Azerbaijan, and also house a collection of important religious frescoes painted directly onto rock. As of 2022, the complex is partially closed due to an ongoing border dispute – but it’s still worth visiting.

The semi-desert around Udabno is absolutely unreal. Unmarked hiking routes can be found in the rainbow hills, a wild landscape of multi-coloured striations created by mineral deposits. It’s best to avoid visiting this area in summer as venomous snakes are common.

Recommended reading
Guide to visiting David Gareja (with up-to-date information about closures)

How to do a David Gareja day trip from Tbilisi

In the absence of a marshrutka service, there are two ways to get to David Gareja from Tbilisi: Either by joining an organised day trip, or by using the Gareji Line transfer. 

Gareji Line is the best option for budget travellers or anyone who is content with just visiting the main monastery. It’s essentially a transfer van that runs between Tbilisi and David Gareja, with a stop for dinner on the way back at the Oasis Club. Vans run daily in high season and on-demand in shoulder/low season. The cost is 30 GEL per person. More details can be found on their Facebook Page.

If you want to visit the monasteries with a guide and explore more of Udabno, including the rainbow hills, you’ll need to either hire a car and/or driver, or more conveniently, join an organised day tour from Tbilisi.

There are several different itineraries offered through Get Your Guide that combine a visit to David Gareja with either hiking in Udabno or a wine tasting in Sighnaghi. My top choice is the off-road tour with Friendly.ge.

Day 4: Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe

Since Gori is located between Tbilisi and Kutaisi, I suggest spending a night here as you transit from east to west rather than visiting as a day trip like I recommended for the one-week itinerary.

The easiest option is to book a one-way transfer with GoTrip (Tbilisi-Mtskheta-Uplistsikhe-Gori) so that you can leave your bags in the car while you explore Mtskheta and Uplistsikhe. This itinerary I created starts from $50/car and includes Zedazeni, another spectacular monastery near Mtskheta that you can only reach by car.

Once in Gori, use your extra time to explore the city beyond the Stalin Museum, starting with the impressive Gori Castle, the unexpected old town, and the Great Patriotic War Museum, which chronicles the city’s experience of the South Ossetian conflict in 2008.

Where to stay in Gori

Nitsia Guest House, run by the lovely Lia, embodies everything I love about Georgian homestays: Bucketloads of hospitality, homemade wine and jam on tap, and extremely comfortable and clean rooms. She really is one of the sweetest hosts I’ve stayed with. During our most recent visit, we stayed up late drinking and dancing with her and her school friends, and I know other guests who’ve been invited back to join in the family wine harvest.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

How to get to Mtskheta from Tbilisi

If travelling by public transport: Marshrutka vans pass through Mtskheta on the way to Gori. This is one of the most popular routes from Tbilisi, so vans depart frequently – at least every 30 minutes – throughout the day from Didube Station. Travel time to Mtskheta is 45 minutes and tickets cost 1.5 GEL.

How to get to Gori from Mtskheta

To travel onwards to Gori, it’s simply a matter of jumping back on a west-bound van. You can easily flag a marshrutka on the roadside. Travel time is roughly an hour, and tickets cost around 2 GEL.

When you arrive in Gori, jump off near the park and Stalin Museum. If the marshrtuka terminates at the bus station in Gori, you’ll need to take a taxi into the centre of town.

How to get to Uplistsikhe from Gori

Uplistsikhe is located 14km (around 20 minutes by road) from the centre of Gori. To get there, you can take a local bus from Gori’s Central Bus Station (see location here) to Uplistsikhe village (1 GEL) and then walk 700m to the cave entry point.

Or you can take a taxi from Gori, which should cost around 30-40 GEL round-trip including wait time. Taxis wait behind the Stalin Museum near Chinebuli restaurant. Your guesthouse owner can usually organise a reliable driver for you.

Days 5 & 6: Kutaisi, Chiatura & Tskaltubo

A large wall mural on the central market in Kutaisi, Georgia.
Kutaisi’s central market.

Kutaisi is Georgia’s third-biggest city and the main hub in the country’s west. It has a completely different vibe to the capital – it’s much quieter, and the lush forests of Imereti give it a unique backdrop.

I love Kutaisi, not least of all because there are so many cute restaurants and wine bars around town. UNESCO-Listed Gelati Monastery and Motsameta Monastery, linked by a forest walking trail, are both must-sees – as is watching the sunset from the grounds of Bagrati Cathedral.

In the city centre, the sparkling Colchis Fountain pays tribute to the ancient kingdom that once enveloped Kutaisi, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in Europe. The synagogues, cable car and bustling undercover market are just a few more of my favourite spots.

Tskaltubo is located 20 minutes by road from Kutaisi and is an ideal side trip. A popular summer retreat during Soviet times, it’s home to a collection of sanatoriums that were used for state-mandated health treatments. Many of these sanatoriums and bathhouses now lay abandoned – a real playground for urbexers and photographers. You can even visit Stalin’s dacha, his former suite at the old Military Sanatorium and Stalin’s personal bath, which is located inside one of the spas that remains open.

Some of the larger buildings were converted into temporary accommodation for IDPs who fled Abkhazia in the 1990s. When exploring Tskaltubo, be a responsible traveller and keep in mind that many families still live here and that some buildings are off-limits (it’s fairly obvious which ones to avoid).

A tiled bathroom in an old Soviet sanatorium in Tskaltubo, Georgia.
Stalin’s private bath in Tskaltubo.

While you’re in Kutaisi, I also suggest taking a full-day trip to Chiatura and Katskhi Column. Chiatura is a small mining city that flourished in Soviet times but has since gone into decline. In the 1950s, the state erected a network of 17 cable cars across Chiatura to ferry workers to and from the manganese mines.

Some of the original cars were still running up until just a few years ago (I was lucky enough to ride on ‘Stalin’s Rope Roads’ back in 2017), but in 2021, they were replaced with a new set of gondolas. If you’re interested in Soviet nostalgia and brutalist concrete architecture, this is the perfect day trip for you.

On the way to Chiatura, stop off at Katskhi Column, a striking monastery that sits atop a tall limestone stalactite.

Recommended reading
Things to do in Kutaisi
Best Kutaisi restaurants
Detailed guide to Tskaltubo
How to do a Chiatura day trip from Kutaisi

A gold-coloured cable car in Chiatura. Georgia.
One of the old Soviet cable cars in Chiatura.

Where to stay in Kutaisi

Budget hostel: Black Tomato Kutaisi offers bright and airy dorms and private rooms in the heart of the city. Street art-style murals and antique furnishings give this place a unique feel. The kitchen is particularly lovely, as are the outdoor balconies and terraces.

Click here to check rates & availability on Hostel World.

Budget-friendly guesthouse: Artists House is a fine option for an affordable, comfortable private room. The location is a short walk from the centre of the city, and the views from the balcony are wonderful.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Boutique hotel: Hotel Memoire is a new hotel on Newport Street, footsteps from the Colchis Fountain and Kutaisi’s historic Jewish Quarter. Rooms are beautifully styled in an ‘old-world Kutaisi’ theme.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Up-scale hotel: Set on the riverside at the end of the White Bridge, the best thing about Best Western Kutaisi is the rooftop bar with superb city views. Rooms are modern, sparse and reliable – what you’d expect from a chain.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

How to get to Kutaisi from Gori

There are regular marshrutka minivans and shared taxis departing Gori bus station for Kutaisi throughout the day, starting from as early as 7am. Travel time is around 2.5-3 hours, and the fare costs approximately 12 GEL.

Kutaisi’s main bus station where most vans terminate is located next to the McDonalds, around 4km from the centre (see location here). City bus #1 will take you from the bus station to the Colchis Fountain for 40 tetri.

How to visit Tskaltubo from Kutaisi

Vans to Tskaltubo depart from the end of Rustaveli Bridge (near Kutaisi Tourism Info) every 15-20 minutes between 8am and 7pm. Travel time is 25 minutes, and the fare is 1.20 GEL. When you arrive in Tskaltubo, jump out at the park. Alternatively, a taxi to Tskaltubo costs 15 GEL when booked through Bolt.

To get back to Kutaisi, just flag down a van travelling the opposite way. The fare is the same.

How to visit Katskhi Column & Chiatura from Kutaisi

There are a dozen daily vans to Chiatura from Kutaisi’s main bus station starting from 7am and departing every 40-60 minutes until 5pm. Drivers normally make a short stop in Zestafoni on the way, and they can drop you off on the highway at the trailhead for Katskhi Column on request. Travel time is 1.5 hours to Chiatura or just over an hour to Katskhi Column. Tickets cost around 7 GEL.

After you’ve visited Katskhi, you can just jump back in a van to continue to Chiatura. See my detailed instructions for visiting Katskhi and Chiatura from Kutaisi for more tips and important information about getting back to Kutaisi at the end of the day.

Top tip: Visit Kutaisi is one of the more proactive regional tourism offices in Georgia. Staff at the Tourism Center office near Rustaveli Bridge (see location here) are exceedingly helpful.

Days 7, 8 & 9: Mestia & Ushguli

A mountain village in Svaneti, Georgia.
Ushguli in Svaneti.

Remote Svaneti Region is one of the most ruggedly beautiful corners of Georgia. Located in the country’s far north-west, the stunning scenery here is matched by a fascinating cultural mix that comes from the diverse ethnic groups who have lived in the mountains and valleys for eons. Svaneti offers the best mountain hiking in Georgia. You won’t have enough time for the multi-day Mestia to Ushguli trek on this itinerary, but there are a range of alternative day hikes available.

Mestia is the main hub for Svaneti and has a good selection of guesthouses and restaurants, along with frequent transport connections. This is the place to indulge in hearty mountain fare (kubdari beef pie and spiced Svanetian salt are two regional specialties that you must try), and learn about the legendary Svans at the wonderful Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography.

Ushguli is just a day trip away from Mestia. One of the highest inhabited villages in Europe (by some measures), it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognised for its iconic medieval stone fortified towers. In the village of Chazhashi, more than 200 towers still stand proud today.

Stone tower houses in Ushguli, Georgia.
UNESCO World Heritage Site Ushguli.

Where to stay in Mestia

Budget-friendly guesthouse: Manoni’s Guesthouse is one of the longest-running in Mestia, and the family really know how to treat their guests. Rooms are very comfortable, especially the private doubles with ensuite. Meals are served in a cosy dining room. They can organise anything and everything on your behalf, including shared vans to Ushguli.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Boutique hotel: Hotel Lahili is a 5-minute walk from the museum, with modern and stylish rooms, comfortable common spaces and a generous breakfast.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Cabin: If you’re looking for something more secluded, Bude Mestia Cottages offer gorgeous self-contained A-frame cabins set in the forest 3km from the main square.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

How to get to Mestia from Kutaisi

Kutaisi to Mestia is quite the journey so be prepared for a long and winding day of travel. Depending on the time of year, you might have to change vans in Zugdidi as direct marshrutky only tend to run in the high season. This is nothing to worry about though – mention your final destination to your first driver in Kutaisi and they will phone ahead to another driver and ensure you make the transfer.

Travel time by marshrutka to Mestia from Kutaisi is approximately 5-5.5 hours. There is one direct van from Kutaisi Central Bus Station at 9am, and the fare is around 25 GEL. Alternatively, take a van to Zugdidi (every 40-60 minutes starting from 6am; 8 GEL) and change to a Mestia van from there.

This road was recently upgraded, but it’s still a nail-biter. If you prefer to go with a driver (not a bad idea, especially in winter), a private transfer with GoTrip starts from $120.

How to visit Ushguli from Mestia

Ushguli is located 50km east of Mestia deeper in the mountains. Unless you’re trekking, you can travel between the two by road in around 2 hours. Most people visit Ushguli as a day trip. It’s possible to stay overnight (there are plenty of guesthouses) but in my opinion, a day is enough.

Tourist vans ply this route and there are always a couple of daily departures leaving Mestia at around 9am and returning before nightfall. The going rate for a seat is 25 GEL per person, and itineraries usually include lunch and a few scenic pit stops on the way to Ushguli. Your guesthouse owner should be able to phone ahead and save you a seat the day before – or you can try your luck by approaching a driver near the main square (there are usually 4WDs waiting here as well if you prefer to go in a private car).

This road has improved considerably in recent years, but about 10km is still unpaved. Note that if snow is particularly heavy or there’s a landslide, the road to Ushguli may be closed for several days or more.

Day 10: Zugdidi

Dadiani Palace, a beautiful castle surrounded by a park in Zugdidi, Georgia.
Dadiani Palace in Zugdidi.

Zugdidi is a convenient place to stop for a few hours on the way down from Svaneti before you cross back into Eastern Georgia. I have a soft spot for the biggest city in Samegrelo Region, a part of Georgia that’s very culturally distinct from the rest of the country. It also happens to be home to my favourite regional cuisine. Mingrelian specialty restaurants such as Diaroni serve up kharcho (beef stew with walnuts) and elarji (cheesy cornmeal), or you can opt for a home-cooked meal at Folk House.

The biggest attraction in Zugdidi (apart from the food) is the Dadiani Palace, a former royal residence-turned-museum that holds a rare Napoleon death mask in its collection (weird, I know). Zugdidi Botanical Garden, the former palace grounds, is now a beautiful public park. The city’s aristocratic heritage and connection to the French royal family is quite fascinating.

If you have time, take a 20-minute bus ride to Rukhi Castle for a view of Abkhazia before boarding the train back to Tbilisi.

Recommended reading
15 things to do in Zugdidi
Visiting a traditional Mingrelian pottery workshop in Zugdidi
– The perfect day trip around Samegrelo region (coming soon!)

A spread of traditional Mingrelian food at a restaurant in Zugdidi, Georgia.
Mingrelian food at Diaroni.

How to get to Zugdidi from Mestia

There are at least three direct vans from Mestia to Zugdidi daily departing from the bus station off Seti Square (see location here). Check times when you arrive in Mestia – the owner of your guesthouse should know. Travel time to Zugdidi is around 3 hours with a stop at Enguri Dam, and the fare is around 25 GEL.

Taking the sleeper train from Zugdidi to Tbilisi

Please note: As of 2022, the sleeper train is still not running. There is only one day train departing Zugdidi in the afternoon.

The rest of this two week Georgia itinerary is based in the east of the country. You’ll need to transfer through Tbilisi to get to Kakheti, so I recommend taking advantage of the night train to get back to the capital from Zugdidi. This will save you a full day on the road.

The train departs Zugdidi nightly at 9.15pm and arrives in Tbilisi at 6.30am the following morning. Tickets can be purchased online in advance on the TKT.GE website or in-person at the station in Zugdidi.


When you arrive in Tbilisi on day 11, take a metro or taxi to Samgori/Isani to catch a marshrutka/taxi straight to Kakheti (the first van of the day is scheduled for 7am). You’ll arrive bright and early in Sighnaghi, so you can afford to have a rest morning to recover from the long journey. Make sure you organise an early check-in with your guesthouse in advance.

Days 11 & 12: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region

Refer to days 4 & 5 of the one-week itinerary above.

Days 13 & 14: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi

Refer to days 6 & 7 of the one-week itinerary above.


Three weeks in Georgia itinerary

Three weeks in Georgia is ideal for travelling at a slightly slower pace. You’ll have more time up your sleeve for specialty activities such as hiking, and you’ll be able to visit a few of the more remote corners of the country that take longer to reach by road.

This route builds on the previous 2-week Georgia itinerary. Additions are bolded:

Tbilisi – [David Gareja & Udabno] – Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe – Kutaisi, Chiatura & Tskaltubo – Mestia & Ushguli – Zugdidi – BatumiKhulo & Upper AdjaraAkhaltsikhe & VardziaBorjomi – Sighnaghi & Kakheti – Kazbegi – Tbilisi

  • Days 1, 2 & 3: Tbilisi & day trips – overnight in Tbilisi
  • Day 4: Day trip to David Gareja & Udabno – overnight in Tbilisi
  • Day 5: Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe – overnight in Gori
  • Days 6 & 7: Kutaisi, Chiatura & Tskaltubo – overnight in Kutaisi
  • Days 8, 9 & 10: Mestia & Ushguli – overnight in Mestia
  • Day 11: Zugdidi – overnight in Zugdidi
  • Days 12 & 13: Batumi – overnight in Batumi
  • Days 14 & 15: Khulo & Upper Adjara – overnight in Khulo
  • Day 16: Akhaltsikhe & Vardzia – overnight in Akhaltsikhe
  • Day 17: Borjomi – overnight in Tbilisi
  • Days 18 & 19: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region – overnight in Sighnaghi
  • Days 20 & 21: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi – overnight in Kazbegi

Days 1, 2 & 3: Tbilisi & day trips

The ornate facade of a bathhouse in Tbilisi.
The Tbilisi sulfur baths.

For things to do in Tbilisi, refer to days 1 & 2 of the one-week itinerary above.

This itinerary allows for an extra day in Tbilisi. You might choose to spend it visiting the Chronicles of Georgia and Tbilisi Sea, exploring the outdoor market at Navtlugi and visiting the Stalin Printing House Museum, or by venturing up to the Open Air Ethnography Museum, Turtle Lake, and one of my favourite restaurants in Tbilisi, Rachis Ubani.

Or you might choose to add on an extra Tbilisi day trip instead.

Day 4: Day trip to David Gareja & Udabno

Refer to day 3 of the two-week itinerary above.

Day 5: Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe

Refer to day 3 of the one-week itinerary above.

Days 6 & 7: Kutaisi, Chiatura & Tskaltubo

Refer to days 5 & 6 of the two-week itinerary above.

Days 8, 9 & 10: Mestia & Ushguli

Refer to days 7, 8 & 9 of the two-week itinerary above.

Day 11: Zugdidi

For things to do in Zugdidi, refer to day 10 of the two-week itinerary above.

For this itinerary, I recommend spending the night in Zugdidi before you continue down the coast to Batumi.

Where to stay in Zugdidi

Guesthouse: Casa de Khasia is a gorgeous boutique guesthouse that’s run by a local couple who are extremely active in advancing the rights of Abkhaz IDPs and promoting Zugdidi as a tourist destination. Rooms are large and beautifully furnished, and the outdoor common spaces are delightful. Breakfast is included.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Days 12 & 13: Batumi

People watch the sunset on Batumi beach in Georgia.
Sunset on Batumi Beach.

Batumi is Georgia’s biggest Black Sea resort city. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (it wasn’t mine either at first) – but with three weeks in Georgia, it would be a shame not to visit the Black Sea region, which is very important to Georgian culture.

Adjara (the region Batumi is part of) is another culturally distinct pocket of the country with a strong Turkish influence, a distinct language, and yet another scrumptious local cuisine to its name. Adjaruli Khachapuri – that iconic boat-shaped bread oozing with molten cheese, butter and a gooey egg – was born in Adjara.

Batumi revolves around the stony beachfront and Batumi Boulevard, a scenic park that traces the sealine and has been a fixture of the city since 1881. Hire a bike and cycle along the foreshore – all the way to Sarpi and the Turkish border if you’re game.

Batumi Botanical Garden was the largest in the Soviet Union and is a must-visit for easy hiking and sea views. Eat lunch at the Fish Market, walk the old town, then take a bus down the coast to Gonio Fortress or north to Petra Fortress, Seaside Shukura at Tsikhisdziri Hidden Beach and the magnetic black sand beaches around Ureki.

Some of Georgia’s best national parks (and the country’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands), are a day trip away. Go hiking in Mtirala National Park or take a boat ride at Kolkheti National Park.

Admire Batumi’s street art and imaginative architecture, then finish your day with sunset drinks at high-rise Kartuli. As long as you’re visiting outside of peak summer season, you’ll no doubt find plenty of reasons to love Batumi.

Recommended reading
35 things to do in Batumi
10 excellent day trips from Batumi
Guide to visiting Batumi Botanical Garden
Where to find Batumi’s best street art
Cycling to Sarpi and the Turkish border from Batumi
Guide to the best short hike near Batumi

A large street mural in Batumi, Georgia, depicts a woman swimming.
Street art in Batumi.

Where to stay in Batumi

Kartuli Hotel is my top choice of accommodation in Batumi for any budget. Rooms range from very affordable doubles all the way to luxury suites. The location on the 37th floor of Orbi Tower is mind-blowingly good – the sea views, especially at sunset, are insane. Every little design detail is on-point and the breakfast is also top notch.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com or read my full review of Kartuli.

How to get to Batumi from Zugdidi

There are at least eight daily vans to Batumi departing from the bus depot near Zugdidi Railway Station (see location here). Travel time is 3 hours and the fare is around 13-16 GEL. If there’s no van available when you arrive at the station, you can always transfer through Poti.

The journey down the Black Sea Coast is a real treat. Grab a seat on the righthand side of the van for the best views.

Days 14 & 15: Khulo & Upper Adjara

A red cable car sails over a leafy valley in Khulo, Georgia.
Public transport in Khulo.

Upper Adjara is the mountainous region east of Batumi. Majority Muslim, it’s known for its opulent painted mosques. In summer, shepherds come here to pasture their flocks. In winter, picturesque mountain towns dotted with sweet cabins transform into ski slopes.

Khulo is the biggest city in Upper Adjara and offers a good selection of accommodation and food options. They do things a bit differently here – one of the ways to get around town is using a cable car to travel across the valley.

Where to stay in Khulo

I have never stayed overnight in Khulo myself (I’ve only visited as a day trip), but there are a few simple guesthouses in town to choose from. Guest House Karati is good value for money and has great reviews from other travellers. The mountain views are a big plus.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

For something different, Upper Adjara has a few ‘glamping’ luxury tents and geodesic domes. Glamping Tago is located in the small village on the opposite side of the valley and can be reached via cable car from Khulo. The spectacular mountaintop location makes it one of the most memorable accommodations in Georgia.

A white Lotus Belle tent framed by white daisies in the mountains of Upper Adjara in Georgia.
Glamping Tago.

How to get to Khulo from Batumi

Marshrutka vans bound for Khulo and the villages in Upper Adjara leave every 30-60 minutes from Batumi’s old bus station (see location here). Travel time is around 2.5 hours and tickets cost approximately 7 GEL.

The road into the mountains is windy and a bit rough, so if you suffer from motion sickness remember to have your medication on-hand.

Day 16: Akhaltsikhe & Vardzia

Vardzia cave city, a must-visit on any Georgia itinerary.
Vardzia Cave Monastery.

Akhaltsikhe is a small city in Georgia’s Samtskhe–Javakheti region, a culturally diverse part of the country that’s loaded with historical monuments and archaeological sites. The most famous of them all is of course Vardzia, Georgia’s biggest cave city, which lies just east of Akhaltsikhe.

Composed of more than 4,000 individual cells and chambers hewn from a sheer rock wall, it cuts an impressive figure. It’s enthralling to explore on foot, especially when you have a guide to point out the copper pipes, bread ovens and clay qvevris – ancient amenities that once supported a large community of resident monks.

Recommended reading
Things to do in Akhaltsikhe (city guide)
My tips for visiting Vardzia

The grounds of Rabati Castle in Akhaltsikhe, Georgia viewed from above.
Rabati Castle.

The biggest attraction in Akhaltsikhe city is Rabati Castle, a massive fortification that was originally built by the Ottomans in the 9th century. Some say the recent renovations went a step too far and left the castle feeling like a theme park. I still think it’s quite beautiful, despite not being able to tell where history ends and fantasy begins! I’ll let you be the judge.

Khertvisi Fortress near Vardzia.
Khertvisi Fortress near Vardzia.

Where to stay in Akhaltsikhe

Located on the steep street that leads to the castle, Old Street offers a handful of large and very comfortably furnished rooms, all with ensuite bathrooms. The family live onsite and are very helpful with organising drivers, transport and the like. A fulsome breakfast is included in the nightly rate. We had to wake up at dawn to catch a van when we stayed here and they very kindly prepared breakfast for us the night before so that we wouldn’t miss out.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

How to get to Akhaltsikhe from Khulo

The road between Khulo and Akhaltsikhe is still unpaved in sections and quite slow-going as a result. A vehicle with high clearance is required, and it’s not recommended to travel after heavy rain. If in doubt, call the Roads department hotline (+995 322 313 076) to check conditions.

There is only one daily direct marshrutka van during summer that I’m aware of – check times locally – or else you can travel by shared or private taxi. The trip takes around 3.5-4.5 hours via a beautifully scenic stretch of mountain road that passes Goderdzi ski resort.

Note that the high pass is normally closed in winter, so some forward planning is required for this journey.

How to visit Vardzia from Akhaltsikhe

Vardzia is 30km east of Akhaltsikhe and can be reached in around 60 minutes by road. There are infrequent marshrutka vans to Vardzia from Akhaltsikhe’s bus station (see location here) for around 7 GEL one-way, but the more convenient way to travel is by hiring a car and driver to take you there and back. This should cost around 60 GEL including wait time, and your guesthouse in Akhaltsikhe will be able to organise it for you.

For times and fares, see this guide on how to get to Vardzia.

Day 17: Borjomi

Two children walk through Borjomi Central Park.
Borjomi Central Park.

In Georgia and across the former USSR, Borjomi is associated with one thing: Mineral water. Natural carbonate springs were ‘discovered’ here in the 1850s, but archaeological evidence suggests the waters have been used for health purposes since at least the 7th century BC. Today you can visit the original spring inside Borjomi Central Park – a leafy slice of parkland with walking trails, a cable car and open-air thermal baths – and fill up a bottle with water straight from the source. 

Borjomi has traditionally been a place for rest and respite, so it’s a good place to pause for a day. There isn’t a whole lot to do here, but there is lots to see on the outskirts of the city. From Borjomi, you can ride Georgia’s only scenic railway, the Kukushka train, to the mountain resort of Bakuriani where you’ll find beautiful resorts and skiing in winter. (Please note, the train is currently not running).

The stunning Romanov Palace in nearby Likani (currently closed for renovations) is worth visiting, and outdoor enthusiasts can find easy hiking trails in Borjomi National Park. In Borjomi, don’t miss eating Meskhetian cuisine at Pesvebi, one of my favourite restaurants in all of Georgia.

A man pours mineral water into a glass at a restaurant in Borjomi, Georgia.
Drinking Borjomi in Borjomi.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Borjomi, Abastumani is another old spa resort around 40 minutes north of Akhaltsikhe in the mountains. It has hot springs, Romanov palaces, heritage architecture and a Soviet-era mountain observatory, where you take a tour of the restored telescopes or book in for an evening stargazing session. See my Abastumani guide for more information, transport tips and accommodations.

Where to stay in Borjomi

Self-contained apartment: Borjomi Cottages (formerly called Guest House on Erekle) is a terrific choice for singles or couples. They offer several self-contained studio apartments set inside little cabins, complete with a kitchenette and modern bathroom. It’s walking distance from the train station and Central Park, and Pesvebi – which happens to be run by the guest house owner’s sister – is just footsteps away.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Budget-friendly guesthouse: Guest House Besarioni is another solid choice in Borjomi. Private rooms are set inside a family home on the hill above town, accessed via a flight of stairs from the main street. Rooms are comfortable, there’s a washing machine, and the owner is extremely friendly and helpful. There are a number of short hiking trails in the hills above the guesthouse too.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Boutique hotel: Set in one of the most beautiful old buildings in Borjomi – a house built for the Iranian Consul – Golden Tulip Borjomi is steps from Central Park. Rooms are furnished in the same opulent style as the exterior. The upstairs breakfast terrace affords lovely views.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

How to get to Borjomi from Akhaltsikhe

Borjomi is 50km (around an hour by road) from Akhaltsikhe. There are minivan connections from the bus station in Akhaltsikhe throughout the day – check times the day before. The fare is around 5 GEL.

Days 18 & 19: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region

Refer to days 4 & 5 of the one-week itinerary above.

Days 20 & 21: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi

Refer to days 6 & 7 of the one-week itinerary above.


One month in Georgia itinerary

If you’re able to budget four whole weeks for Georgia, you’re setting yourself up for a really wonderful trip. I call this the ‘Ultimate’ Georgia itinerary because it touches on all the major cities, historical and cultural sites and landscapes. It includes 21 cities and towns, 9 out of the 12 regions, and all 4 UNESCO Sites (plus 8 of the 15 Tentative sites).

This itinerary follows the same format as previous routes but with more stops included. Additions are bolded:

Tbilisi – [David Gareja & Udabno] – Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe – Kutaisi, Chiatura & Tskaltubo – Martvili – Mestia & Ushguli – Zugdidi – Guria – Batumi – Khulo & Upper Adjara – Akhaltsikhe & Vardzia – Borjomi – Tsalka & Javakheti – Sighnaghi & Kakheti – TelaviPankisi Valley – Kazbegi – Tbilisi

  • Days 1, 2 & 3: Tbilisi & day trips – overnight in Tbilisi
  • Day 4: Day trip to David Gareja & Udabno – overnight in Tbilisi
  • Day 5: Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe – overnight in Gori
  • Days 6 & 7: Kutaisi, Chiatura & Tskaltubo – overnight in Kutaisi
  • Day 8: Martvili – overnight in Martvili
  • Days 9, 10 & 11: Mestia & Ushguli – overnight in Mestia
  • Day 12: Zugdidi – overnight in Zugdidi
  • Days 13 & 14: Guria – overnight in Ozurgeti
  • Days 15, 16 & 17: Batumi & the Black Sea Coast – overnight in Batumi
  • Days 18 & 19: Khulo & Upper Adjara – overnight in Khulo
  • Day 20: Akhaltsikhe & Vardzia – overnight in Akhaltsikhe
  • Day 21: Borjomi – overnight in Borjomi
  • Day 22: Tsalka & Javakheti – overnight in Tbilisi
  • Days 23 & 24: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region – overnight in Sighnaghi
  • Day 25: Telavi – overnight in Telavi
  • Days 26 & 27: Pankisi Valley – overnight in Jokolo
  • Days 28, 29 & 30: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi – overnight in Kazbegi

Days 1, 2 & 3: Tbilisi

Refer to days 1, 2 & 3 of the three-week itinerary above.

Day 4: Day trip to David Gareja & Udabno

Refer to day 4 of the three-week itinerary above.

Day 5: Mtskheta, Gori & Uplistsikhe

Refer to day 4 of the two-week itinerary above.

Days 6 & 7: Kutaisi, Chiatura & Tskaltubo

Refer to days 5 & 6 of the two-week itinerary above.

Day 8: Martvili

Tables and chairs on a brightly lit verandah at Karma Hostel in Martvili, Georgia.
Karma Hostel in Martvili – a terrific place to chill out for a day.

This one month Georgia itinerary is full to the brim, so I recommend enjoying a bit of downtime whenever you can. Martvili, a small town in Samegrelo region, is the perfect place to pause between Kutaisi and Svaneti, giving you a chance for some much-needed rest between long drives. If you want to power through, you can easily travel directly from Kutaisi to Mestia and enjoy an extra day in the mountains.

There are a couple of noteworthy attractions in and around Martvili, including Martvili Monastery and two popular canyons, Martvili and Okatse. I’m not a huge fan of the canyons (or the nearby Kinchkha Waterfall) – all of these sites are overdeveloped in my opinion and charge a hefty entrance fee.

Personally I would suggest using your time in Martvili to relax at Karma Hostel, visit lesser-known canyons such as Balda and perhaps the hot springs at Nokalakevi, enjoy a meal at Oda Family Marani, and maybe visit the Martvili tea fields instead. Don’t miss the monastery and if you happen to be in town on a Friday, be sure to attend the weekly farmers’ market.

Where to stay in Martvili

Karma Hostel offers dorms and a private room for two on the outskirts of Martvili. This is an excellent place to chill out for a day or two, drink wine on the verandah and eat meals made with fresh produce from the neighbour’s garden.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com or read my full review of Karma Hostel.

How to get to Martvili from Kutaisi

There a dozen daily vans to Martvili from Kutaisi starting from around 7.30am and leaving every hour until 6pm. The trip takes around an hour, and the fare is approximately 4 GEL. In Martvili, vans terminate in the centre of town. If you’re staying at Karma Hostel, you’ll want to jump off early at or near this gas station.

Days 9, 10 & 11: Mestia & Ushguli

Refer to days 7, 8 & 9 of the two-week itinerary above.

Day 12: Zugdidi

Refer to day 11 of the three-week itinerary above.

Days 13 & 14: Guria

An old Soviet poster used as a gate at a tea field in Guria, Georgia.
Exploring the tea fields in Guria.

Western Georgia’s Guria Region is well and truly off the beaten track. I didn’t know anything about this part of Georgia before I visited this summer, but it quickly became one of my favourite places. I’ve been back several times since. The train station in Ozurgeti has passenger connections to Batumi and Tbilisi, making it relatively easy to get in and out.

As soon as you arrive in Guria, you immediately notice the change in climate. This part of the country is very warm and humid, perfect conditions for growing hazelnuts and tea, the two crops this area is famous for. Georgia’s little-documented tea heritage is absolutely fascinating and it all begins in Guria, where massive plantations and factories were built to furnish the entire Soviet Union with provisions for their daily cuppa.

A woman pours tea from a glass pot into cups.
Tasting Georgian tea at Komli in Guria.

There isn’t a whole lot of infrastructure in Guria, so I recommend staying centrally in or near Ozurgeti, the region’s small capital. It’s worth coming this way just to spend a few nights at Komli, a family run guesthouse and tea farm 10 minutes from Ozurgeti.

To explore further afield – such as the tea fields in Anaseuli, the Soviet mosaics around Meria and the incredible Soviet architecture in the village of Shroma – you’ll need to organise a car and driver. Don’t miss visiting either Gomismta or Bakhmaro, Guria’s twin mountain-top summer resorts that both offer stunning views (roads open in the warmer months only, unless you want to travel by snowmobile!).

Recommended reading
Things to do in Ozurgeti & Guria

Cloud cover tiny houses on a mountain in Georgia.
Chasing the clouds on Gomismta.

Where to stay in Guria

Komli is one of the best accommodations in all of Georgia. Hosts Mariam, Lika and Mary – three generations of women – are personal friends of ours. There are just two guest rooms set inside their wooden home outside Ozurgeti, or you can sleep inside a giant wine barrel in the yard that’s been fitted out with a double bed.

The family has an intimate relationship with the tea industry and they keep a small field on the property where they harvest leaves. The only thing better than the tea is the home-cooked Gurian fare, served up in plentiful quantities on the outdoor deck.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

How to get to Guria from Zugdidi

Ozurgeti, Guria’s biggest city and main transport hub, is 100km south of Zugdidi via Poti and the Black Sea Coast. Travel time by marshrutka is around 2.5 hours. Check times and fares at the bus station in Zugdidi.

Days 15, 16 & 17: Batumi & the Black Sea Coast

Unusual architecture in Sarpi, Georgia.
Explore the Black Sea Coast by cycling from Batumi to Sarpi.

For things to do in Batumi, refer to days 9 & 10 of the two-week itinerary above.

This itinerary allows for an extra day on Black Sea Coast, which you can use to explore another of Adjara’s national parks. My personal favourite is the Machakhela Protected Areas, a magical landscape of primary Colchic forest along the Turkish border.

Recommended reading
10 day trips around Adjara (with transport instructions)
How to visit the Machakhela Protected Areas

How to get to Batumi from Ozurgeti

To get from Ozurgeti to Batumi, I recommend taking a direct marshrutka van (2.5 hours) or marshrutka via Ureki.

Days 18 & 19: Khulo & Upper Adjara

Refer to days 14 & 15 of the three-week itinerary above.

Day 20: Akhaltsikhe & Vardzia

Refer to day 16 of the three-week itinerary above.

Day 21: Borjomi

Refer to day 17 of the three-week itinerary above.

Day 22: Tsalka & Javakheti

A lake and volcanic mountains in Georgia's Javakheti Protected Areas.
The Javakheti Protected Areas.

Another of Georgia’s lesser-visited areas, the Javakheti Protected Areas is a high-altitude plateau of volcanic lakes and endless plains. This is one of Georgia’s most majestic landscapes – a complete contrast to the lush west and mountainous north – and absolutely worth the detour if you have time. You can see a lot in the space of a day if you hire a car and driver to take you through Javakheti on your way from Borjomi back to Tbilisi.

This area is known as the ‘Georgian Arctic’ because of the unforgiving climate. The landscape is covered with deep snow for much of the year, so make sure you have the right gear if you’re travelling in the colder months. In late summer and fall it becomes one of the region’s most important nesting grounds for endemic and migratory birds.

Each of the lakes has a bird watching tower and short hiking routes nearby. If you only have time for a couple of lakes, I suggest visiting Bughdasheni Managed Reserve and the nearby Doukhobor village of Gorelovka, plus Paravani Lake and Poka St. Nino Monastery (don’t miss the convent shop that sells delicious preserves and skincare products made from local beeswax and botanicals). If there’s time, stop off in the city of Tsalka for lunch at Restaurant Pontia before visiting Dashbashi Canyon and the petroglyphs in Trialeti. Birtvisi Canyon and Samshvilde Canyon are two alternatives.

A beautiful blue house in the village of Gorelovka, Georgia.
The Doukhobors house in Gorelovka.

If you have time, drop by the historic German villages of Asureti and Trialeti in Kvemo Kartli region, and make a stop at Manglisi Cathedral the spectacular Didgori Battle Memorial before arriving back in Tbilisi.

If the lakes district doesn’t interest you, you can always head straight back to Tbilisi from Borjomi by marshrutka or train and spend an extra day in the capital instead.

Recommended reading
Things to do in Tsalka and Javakheti

Aerial view of the Didgori Battle Monument, a large stone monument on a hill in Kvemo Kartli, Georgia.
The incredible Didgori Battle Memorial in Kvemo Kartli region.

How to get to Tsalka & Javakheti from Borjomi

To travel between Borjomi and Tbilisi via Tsalka and Kvemo Kartli, you’ll need a car. I recommend hiring a driver for the day through GoTrip for this route so that you can make as many stops along the way as you please.

Prices for Borjomi-Tsalka-Asureti-Didgori-Tbilisi start from $70 per car. Customise your itinerary and book a driver here.

Days 23 & 24: Sighnaghi & Kakheti wine region

Refer to days 4 & 5 of the one-week itinerary above.

Day 25: Telavi

Tsinandali Estate in Kakheti, Georgia.
Tsinandali Estate outside Telavi.

This extended Georgia itinerary allows for an extra day in the wine region. I recommend you spend it in Telavi, Kakheti’s biggest city. You can find dozens more wineries in and around town for tours and tastings (Akido and Togonidze’s Wine Cellar are two of my favourites). If you skipped it on your first days, the historic Tsinandali Estate outside Telavi is a must-visit.

Telavi city itself is a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon. Wander beneath the balconies of the old town, visit the Giant Plane Tree – Telavi’s pride and joy – and explore the mammoth undercover market.

Where to stay in Telavi

Budget-friendly guesthouse: Guesthouse Lilia is a simple, warm and spotlessly clean family guesthouse in the centre of the city. The back garden and onsite wine cellar are a treat. Owner Lilia is very hospitable and can help with organising a car and driver to take you around for the day.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Mid-range hotel: Hestia Hotel, Wine and View offers the best of all three. Rooms are neat and stylish, and the panorama from the rooftop restaurant/bar is stunning.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Boutique hotel: Seventeen Rooms offers stylish modern rooms, an outdoor pool and delightful common areas, including a comfortable lounge with an open fireplace in winter. Some rooms have balconies overlooking the city. A generous breakfast is available, while lunch, dinner and local wines are served at the onsite restaurant.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

Luxury hotel: The Radisson Tsinandali on the grounds of the Tsinandali Estate is a little bit pricey, but it’s worth every penny. Rooms are amazing, as is the buffet breakfast, and guests get unfettered access to the estate gardens. If you’re going to splurge on one hotel in Georgia, this is a great choice.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com or read my review of the Radisson Tsinandali.

How to get to Telavi from Sighnaghi

There are only a handful of marshrutka services from Sighnaghi to Telavi – and the journey is quite slow as they stop frequently to pick up passengers from the villages along the highway.

It’s much more convenient to take a taxi between the two towns. This should take around 1.5 hours and cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of 60 GEL for a car. In Sighnaghi, taxis wait at the top of the park and down the road in front of the large building near the donkey statue.

If you’re already travelling the Wine Route, it might make more sense to throw your bags in the back of the car and ask your driver to drop you off in Telavi at the end of the day.

Days 26 & 27: Pankisi Valley

A mosque in Pankisi Valley with decorative brickwork.
The Old Mosque in Duisi, Pankisi Valley.

Visiting Pankisi Valley is one of the most memorable and enriching experiences you can have in Georgia. Located in the north-eastern corner of Kakheti, the valley is defined by a series of small villages inhabited by families from the Kist community, whose ancestors migrated to Georgia from Chechnya 200 years ago. The area only opened to tourism relatively recently – it’s a real privilege and an honour to be able to observe the Kists’ rich and beautiful culture as a guest of the community.

Nazy’s Guest House in the village of Jokolo is the leading accommodation provider here. As well as offering comfortable rooms, Nazy can organise activities around the valley including guided cultural walks. If you’re visiting on a Friday, you can attend the women’s zikr, a fascinating Sufi ritual that takes place every week. Eat copious amounts of delicious Kist food, and visit some of the many watchtowers, mosques and other historical monuments that dot the landscape.

Pankisi lies in the shadow of the Tusheti Protected Areas and is right on the doorstep of some immaculate nature. Marked hiking trails, guided mountain biking and horse trekking are all available.

Recommended reading
What to expect when visiting Nazy’s Guest House

Women perform a sufi zikr ceremony in a house in Pankisi Valley, Georgia.
A woman’s Sufi zikr ceremony in Pankisi.

Where to stay in Pankisi

Nazy’s Guest House in Jokolo is the place to stay in Pankisi. Nazy has spearheaded tourism in the region and her family guesthouse is one of the longest-operating. Rooms are comfortably furnished, home-cooked meals are available, and Nazy can help organise everything from culinary classes to walking tours and guided horseback riding.

Click here to check rates & availability on Booking.com.

How to get to Pankisi from Telavi

Pankisi Valley is located less than an hour’s drive from Telavi. Marshrutka vans to Jokolo and Akhmeta, the nearest city to Pankisi, depart frequently from Telavi’s new bus station (see location here). The fare should cost around 7 GEL.

Alternatively, there are plenty of taxi drivers that know this route and will take you to Jokolo for around 30 GEL. They tend to wait near the bus station – just ask around and you will find someone.

Days 28, 29 & 30: Georgian Military Highway & Kazbegi

For things to do in Kazbegi, refer to days 6 & 7 of the one-week itinerary above.

This one month itinerary allows for an extra day in Kazbegi which you can either use for an additional day hike or for relaxing in town at Rooms. For alternative hiking routes, Juta and Truso are both popular choices and easy to reach from Stepantsminda (see more in the next section below).

How to travel the Georgian Military Highway to Kazbegi from Pankisi

It’s possible to get onto the Georgian Military Highway from Pankisi without having to double-back through Tbilisi. Since I recommend using GoTrip for this route even if you are travelling from Tbilisi, you can simply organise for a driver to pick you up from Jokolo instead.

They will likely cut through to Tianeti, a very scenic drive with a few places to stop along the way (including Kvetera Fortress’s Church). When I last travelled this road there were a few unpaved sections but my guess is that it will be completely finished by the time you get there.

From Tianeti, the road continues to the base of Zhinvali Reservoir and the start of the Georgian Military Highway, which you can then follow all the way up to Kazbegi with all the stops mentioned previously.

Total travel time from Jokolo to Kazbegi is just under 4 hours without stops. A car and driver for the day starts from $65 when booked through GoTrip.


More places to visit in Georgia

These itineraries hit on all the major highlights – but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. If you have more time in Georgia (or you’re already planning your return trip), there are lots more places that are worthy of your time.

Here is a small handful. I’ve also included suggestions for where to slot these into your Georgia itinerary so as to avoid backtracking.

Tusheti – add 4-5 days

Tusheti Protected Landscape is located in far north-east Georgia along the border with Russia. It’s extremely remote – and extremely beautiful – but you need a good amount of time and an experienced driver to get there.

Tusheti is all about dramatic peaks and valleys, clusters of stone tower houses and massive herds of sheep, all shrouded in mist because of the high altitude. Remote villages are only inhabited during summer and offer basic guesthouses, but infrastructure is overall pretty limited. This of course is part of the appeal. The main things to do in Tusheti are hike, horseback ride and enjoy the mountain hospitality.

The road up to Tusheti is only open in the warmer months, meaning you only have a small window to visit. The season changes year to year depending on the weather but it’s usually from late May until early October.

You must go with an experienced local driver who knows the roads and has a good car. Shared and private cars can be arranged from Telavi, thus it makes the most sense to visit Tusheti after Kakheti wine region. Adventurers can travel up by horseback from Pankisi Valley.

Stone tower houses in Omalo, a village in Tusheti Protected Landscape in Georgia, Greater Caucasus mountains.
Tower houses in Tusheti.

Khevsureti – add 3-4 days

Similar to Tusheti, Khevsureti is a remote region of the Greater Caucasus in Georgia’s north-east. It’s sandwiched between Kazbegi and Tusheti.

The main attraction here is the village of Shatili, home to yet more stone tower houses. It takes at least 5 hours to reach Shatili from Tbilisi by road via Roshka, so it’s recommended to spend at least 2 nights in a local guesthouse to make the most of it.

Racha-Lechkhumi – add 2-3 days

Racha is a mountainous region in Western Georgia between Svaneti and South Ossetia. It’s very popular with locals but doesn’t attract many foreign visitors, mainly because it was always a bit trickier to get to without a car. That changed in 2021 when a new road opened from Sachkhere in Upper Imereti, making it possible to reach Oni in under 4 hours from Tbilisi.

Oni is a magical town with a stunning old synagogue. Shovi, an old Soviet summer retreat, is home to ‘Stalin’s Dacha’, and the more remote villages such as Ghebi offer hiking and homestays where you can eat ‘real’ Rachan cuisine and sip famous Khvanchkara wine pressed from grapes that only grow in Lower Racha.

It’s possible to get to Racha by marshrutka van from Kutaisi to Ambrolauri or Oni. But once you’re there, it will be difficult to get around. The wonderful Guest House Gallery in Oni can organise day transport but it’s much better to go up with your own car.

Adjacent Lechkhumi has magnificent rock karst formations and high-altitude villages. This is where you’ll find the Instagram-famous Lailashi Secret Pool.

→ Read my full guide to Racha-Lechkhumi.

A woman rides a bicycle past Oni Synagogue in Oni, Racha.
Oni Synagogue in Racha.

Vashlovani – add 3-4 days

The far south-eastern corner of Kakheti region, approaching the border with Azerbaijan, is a wicked landscape of savannah plains and mud volcanoes. Vashlovani Nature Reserve is definitely an off-the-beaten track destination and only for the adventurous. You need your own 4WD to make the most of it.

I’m yet to visit Vashlovani myself. This guide tells you everything you need to know about planning a trip.

Lagodekhi – add 2-3 days

Also in the eastern corner of Kakheti, Lagodekhi Nature Reserve is a lush forested landscape with plenty of hiking trails. One of the most popular routes is Black Rock Lake, a 2-day hike to the border with Azerbaijan and Russia. Duende Hotels offers delightful A-frame cabins on the edge of the park and is a great place to base your stay.

If you’re travelling to Azerbaijan next, you’ll pass right through Lagodekhi on your way to the border. Otherwise you can easily get to the villages around the park from Tbilisi or Telavi by marshrutka.

Juta or Truso – add 1-2 days

If you’re looking for more hiking opportunities in the Greater Caucasus, Juta is an easy addition to your Georgia itinerary after Kazbegi. Fifth Season is a popular cabin accommodation in Juta and a good place to pair up with hiking buddies to tackle the trails around the valley.

Mountain Freaks organises transfers to Juta and Truso from Kazbegi throughout the trekking season.


Georgia essentials

Here are some of the websites and services I use when I’m planning a trip to Georgia and the Caucasus. Remember to check out my full list of travel resources for more tips.

– Find affordable flights to Tbilisi, Batumi or Kutaisi on Kiwi.com, a booking site that mixes and matches airlines to find the best route (there’s a money back guarantee if you miss a connection).

– Use iVisa to check if you need a tourist visa for Georgia and apply for an expedited visa online.

– Pre-book a private transfer from Tbilisi Airport to your hotel or from Kutaisi Airport to Tbilisi with my preferred partners at Friendly.ge.

– Get a great deal on a rental car in Georgia by using MyRentACar to find a local agent.

– Buy your tickets for the Tbilisi to Baku or Yerevan sleeper train online in advance through my partners at Geotrend (get a discount when you use the code in this post).

– Find the best Georgia hotel deals on Booking.com, book a Georgia hostel, or find a unique Airbnb.

– Find the best city tours and day excursions in Georgia.

– Compare mobile providers and pick up a local Georgian sim card.

– Order a copy of the new Lonely Planet Caucasus guidebook (published July 2020).

The ultimate Georgia itinerary – 1 to 4 weeks of travel in Georgia (country). Includes things to do, detailed travel instructions and recommended accommodations. #Georgia #Caucasus #Tbilisi | Things to do in Georgia | Georgia travel guide | Georgia Europe | Georgia Caucasus

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12 Comments

  1. Hi Emily,
    Do you think staying in Shekhvetili and touring batumi is possible? or would be a long journey? As we liked the paragraph hotel but its showing 50 mins away from the batumi city?
    Below is our itinerary for Georgia trip;
    Tbilisi (2 nights – city & borjomi & bakuarini train journey) – Kazbegi (2 nights – trinity church & gudauri ski) – Shekhvetili (4 nights – Batumi, Kutaisi) – Tbilisi (2 nights – city tour)
    Please advice us your suggestion and if any changes needed on this itinerary. Appreciate your help.

    1. Best to stay in Batumi and Kutaisi to explore those cities. I would do one night in Kutaisi, one in Shekvetili and two in Batumi. Also note that the train in Borjomi/Bakuriani isn’t running at the moment – hopefully it will start up again soon but it’s been closed for a long while now.

  2. Hi Emily, thank you very much for your detailed guide for Georgia. With reading it I just become more sure that I must visit this beautiful country.
    I need one advice from your side.
    We (me and my husband) would like to visit Georgia for 2 weeks in April/May next year. But we don’t want too often to change the base cities where we stay. So we would prefer for 2 weeks to have base in only 2 cities. Are Tbilisi and Kutaisi good enough as base. Or could you suggest some other. Thanks again. All the best, Zlata

    1. Hi Zlata,

      Tbilisi and Kutaisi are both good bases – from Tbilisi you can do Kakheti and Kazbegi, and from Kutaisi the west and south of Georgia. If you want to explore the coast as well, I would recommend a few days in Batumi. Just know it’s quite rainy on the coast during spring!

  3. Hi Emily,

    First of all, thank you for your great effort on the extremely detail blog.

    I have almost finish reading your blog and planning to visit Georgia on either 14~27 Oct OR 27 Sep~10 Oct (hire car). May I have your advise on which is the best time if I wish to see the better autumn foliage color? I’m a bit confuse on the timing as I saw Svaneti region have earlier foliage than lower region.

    Any advise?

    My flow will be basically (stay: means places with overnight stay): Tbilisi (stay)- Tsalka-Paravani Lake- Vardzia (stay)- Akhaltsikhe- Kutaisi(stay)- Martvili(stay)- Mestia+Ushguli (stay)- Zugdidi- Baghdadi (Baia’s Wine-stay)- Chiatura- Gori (stay)- Kazbegi (stay) – Sighnaghi (stay) – Tbilisi (flight)
    It seems Svaneti will have earlier foliage than other region?

    1. Hello Aeneas, thank you for the kind words! Your itinerary sounds absolutely wonderful, great job putting it together.

      I’m not super familiar with Svaneti, long overdue for another visit, but I would say the earlier time slot would be safer. You’re right that fall does get an early start up there and since it’s near the middle of your itinerary, it may already be too cold if you go in late October.

      You might even catch some post-wine harvest activity in Kakheti on your way out!

      I really hope this helps! Have a fantastic trip and don’t hesitate to ask if there’s anything else I can assist with.

  4. Your Georgia section is phenomenal. I am planning a trip there for next year, and your articles gave me everything I needed in order to decide where to go.

    I hope I’ll be able to spend those 20 says there soon, the country looks incredible for photography

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Luca – thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I’m really glad to hear you’re planning a trip to Georgia! And even happier that my posts have been helpful. 20 days is a nice amount of time. I can’t wait to see your photos of the country!

      Don’t hesitate to reach out if there’s anything at all I might be able to help with. Enjoy your trip planning!

      Kindest,
      Emily

      1. Hi Emily,

        20 days should be enough for a first visit, but I plan to visit many more times as the places to explore are a lot. Also, I much prefer to visit less cities, spending more time in each one, rather than rushing through the country.

        I actually have something to ask you; In my itinerary draft I put Sighnaghi right after Akhaltsikhe, and I was wondering about the best way to get from point a to b.
        Should I take a van/taxi to Tbilisi and then follow your instructions to get to Sighnaghi from there? I can’t find any precise information about a direct Akhaltsikhe to Tbilisi van.

        Thank you.

        1. Hi Luca, that’s what I tell everyone – don’t try to fit too much into your first visit because there’s a 99% chance you’ll be back!

          There is no direct transport from Akhaltsikhe to Kakheti, so yes you should take a van to Tbilisi first then continue by van/taxi to Sighnaghi. Marshrutka vans from Akhaltsikhe to Tb should be fairly frequent, I don’t have the update times on me but I’d guess there are at least 6/day. Best to check times when you arrive – Akhaltsikhe has a small bus station on the main highway with times posted.

          I hope this helps!

  5. Fantastic detailed guide. Wish I had that on my first visit. It would have saved us hours and days of research and planning.
    I have been to Tushsto twice now. It doesn’t take that much time, count on half day up and half day down. The road is spectacular, pot holed and hair raising but a good local driver with a decent car/van can make it safely.
    There are now a handful of nicer bed and breakfasts. You can ask the driver bringing you up to take you by car to one or two side valleys. A special experience is horse back riding in the area, though most of the time you will rode on dirt roads as it is hard to go bybjorse into the woods and mountains. Happy to provide some recommendations if interested.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Ksenija, I’m really glad you found the itinerary helpful!

      Tusheti is at the top of my list for this summer. I’ve planned it so many times but always miss the window. This year it’s going to happen! Would love to hear you recommendations for driver and guesthouse.

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