Georgia is one of the most fascinating and beautiful countries I’ve visited. It was my first foray into the Caucasus region and I absolutely loved it. I’m still not sure whether to consider Georgia Europe or Asia but what I do know it was squarely in the middle between countless empires throughout time. This ensured an incredible mix of culture, food, and history that you won’t find in many other places.
Georgia is not a big country by land mass but it packs a ton of sights. Whether you want city life, mountain life, or beach life, it has everything. The diversity of landscapes in Georgia is quite incredible and you can seemingly travel between two worlds figuratively within a few hours.
The food in Georgia is one of my favorites as they really got the best influences of east and west over time. I spent about three weeks total in Georgia. One and a half weeks in Tbilisi to just relax and soak in the city life. Tbilisi has quickly become the digital nomad hotspot of Europe and it’s not hard to see why. Then I spent another two weeks or so traveling around the country.
If you’re planning a trip to Georgia, this itinerary and guide will help you with everything along the way. I will give you ideas of how to plan your trip depending on the amount of time you have!
A list of all my Georgia Posts:
- Tbilisi City Guide
- Where to eat the best Khinkali in Tbilisi
- Guide to Mobile phones in Georgia
- Best Gyms in Tbilisi
- 1 Where I went in Georgia
- 2 What to know about Georgia
- 3 Planning a Georgia Road Trip
- 4 Full Georgia Travel Itinerary
- 5 Day 1-3: Tbilisi City
- 6 Day 4-5: Kutaisi
- 7 Day 6-8: Svaneti Mountain Range
- 8 Day 8-9: Batumi and the Black Sea
- 9 Day 10-12: Kakheti Wine Region
- 10 Day 12-13: Kazbegi Mountain Range
- 11 Day 14: Fly Out of Tbilisi
- 12 Day By Day Georgia Itinerary
- 13 Georgia One Week Itinerary
- 14 Add on Armenia or Azerbaijan to the trip
Where I went in Georgia
I spent almost four weeks in Georgia. I spent plenty of time in Tbilisi doing the digital nomad thing but I absolutely loved the rest of the country. I spent just under two weeks traveling through the country which I think was enough. I did my trip via rental car which is definitely the fastest way to see the country (and my preferred). The countryside of Georgia is absolutely stunning and worth a road trip.
These are some of the highlights of my trip to Georgia:
- Katskhi Pillar
- Promethius Caves
- Vardzia Caves
- Svaneti Region (Mestia and Ushguli)
- Kakheti Wine region
- Kazbegi Mountain Range (Gergeti Church, Stepantsminda town) via Georgian Military Road
If these places sound like places you want to visit, then this is the itinerary for you! There are not many small cute towns to speak of in Georgia. It’s not like other European countries where small villages tend to be surprising highlights. The towns in Georgia are mostly former Soviet style towns that are less than inspiring.
Areas of Georgia to remember:
When I started planning my trip, I had a hard time remembering all the names of the different regions and towns in Georgia since the language was so different sounding. I couldn’t keep track of which areas I had to go to and such. So in this section I will summarize all the areas you need to know to plan your trip
- Tbilisi: The capital city. A must visit and likely your starting off point in Georgia
- Kazbegi Mountain Region: This is one of the most famous places in Georgia, it’s to the north of Tbilisi and the nearest town is Stepantsminda. This is also where the famous Gregeti church is.
- Svaneti Mountain Region: Another ultra picturesque, famous, and must visit region of Georgia to the northwest. The towns to know here are Mestia and Ushguli
- Batumi: Batumi is the 3rd largest city in Georgia and is the main port town along the Black Sea. This is a popular place for beach goers in the summer months
- Kutaisi: The second largest city in Georgia and is located in the center of the country. Nearby attractions are Prometheus Caves, Katskhi, and Vardzhia Caves (this is acutally about 3 hours driving from Kutaisi)
- Kakheti Wine region: Located to the east of Tbilisi, this area is the most well known wine region of the country.
What to know about Georgia
Georgia is a small country but packs in so much. There is an incredible amount of diversity in the landscapes as well as the culture.
Food in Georgia
My oh my, the food in Georgia is absolutely amazing. Food is literally one of the main reasons I travel and Georgia has all the good stuff that I want to keep me happy. Like the landscapes and cultures, different foods are popular in different areas.
Khinkali is the national dish of Georgia and it is essentially a soup dumpling. How soup dumplings made it to just this country in this part of the world is one of the fascinating things about history and culture. My theory is that it was brought over from China by the Mongol empire which controlled these lands centuries ago.
Khatchapuri is another very popular dish in Georgia that you must try. Being the gateway between east and west meant you had all the influences of Middle Eastern civilizations which means you can expect delicious grilled meats. Soups, stews, and various other dishes mean you will not go hungry at any point in time.
English is not widely spoken
As big of a tourist attraction as Georgia is becoming for the world, the English spoken in the country is quite bad. Georgia was part of the Soviet Union for so long and although they had a conflict in 2008 resulting in severed political ties, cultural ties still dictate that most people here speak far more Russian instead of English.
In fact, I had many people speak Russian to me (and I’m not even white). The English in Tbilisi is not bad but once you leave the main cities, there isn’t much English to be spoken of.
Planning a Georgia Road Trip
Now that you know Georgia is a small country with incredible diversity of sights and sounds, it’s time to decide how you want to plan your trip. First thing is first, how much time do you have to allocate to this wonderful country?
If the answer is one to two weeks, then you’ll need to plan your attack accordingly.
Tbilisi is your starting point
It’s most likely your adventure through Georgia will start in Tbilisi. The international airport is well connected with cities like Istanbul and is located only 20 minutes from the city.
Tbilisi has a lot of history old world charm as well as a fast growing modern side as well. The city is quickly becoming one of the digital nomad hotspots of the world and it’s easy to see why. Tbilisi offers first world infrastructure like amazing gyms and cinemas, loads of cute cafes and restaurants, beautiful views, and incredible cheap prices.
I would recommend spending a few days in Tbilisi at the beginning of your trip to get a taste of Georgian culture before heading off for the remainder of your trip.
Read my detailed Tbilisi, Georgia travel guide which has everything you need to know from where to stay to where to eat.
Buy a mobile sim card
If you’re planning to spend some time in Georgia and/or doing a longer trip, I would highly recommend buying a sim card. I spent almost a month in Georgia and I experimented with all of the mobile providers in Georgia.
Magti and Beeline are the only ones you should bother considering. Magti is the best service and it is incredibly cheap. Seriously for 1 week, I paid 5 GEL for unlimited data. That is not even $1.50 for a weeks worth of unlimited data. If you’re traveling for two weeks, you’re paying 10 GEL!
This will be incredibly hand for you especially when traveling to lesser developed parts in the mountains. The service in the country is generally quite good and the speeds are very fast.
I wrote about Georgian mobile sim providers in detail here.
Rent a car or travel by public transport?
Georgia is not a huge country but there is a lot of ground to cover if you want to see all the main sights. I always prefer to rent a car to explore the country but understand not everyone’s budget allows for it.
The cost of renting a car in Georgia is about $25-$30 a day with all insurance included. If you are a solo traveler or don’t want to spend this much, don’t worry, the country is well connected by buses as well as Marshrutka, group van transfers used by locals. I only took a Marshrutka one time which was for a day trip between Tbilisi and Mtshketa.
I highly recommend parent.ge for your car rental. I had a great experience with them and they even delivered the car to my Airbnb the morning I wanted to leave.
How are the roads in Georgia?
The roads in Georgia are generally quite good. The main highways used to connect Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Batumi on the Black Sea are good roads but nothing to write home about. Certainly nothing like the ultra modern roads I saw while traveling Kosovo. As you venture into more remote places like the Svaneti mountain region, the roads become smaller and generally less developed.
Note that if you travel in the winter, snow can sometimes block entrance into the mountain towns like Mestia or Ushguli.
How much do things cost in Georgia?
Georgia is one of the cheapest countries you’ll visit. It’s a western country with first world amenities at a fraction of the price. You can get high quality meals and wine here for a very fair price.
Khinkali are the national dish and one large khinkali dumpling is 1 GEL (~$0.30). My dinners always amounted to something between $10-15 which included wine, a large meal and maybe even a started. Accommodations are also quite affordable. Airbnbs and boutique hotels in Tbilisi can be easily had for under $50 a night, with prices even lower the further you’re out in the countryside.
All in all, for my two week trip road tripping around Georgia, I paid about $1500 which included car rentals, gas, accommodations, food, alcohol and the like.
Full Georgia Travel Itinerary
The trip starts off in Tbilisi, the wonderful capital city of Georgia. Tbilisi has loads to offer from beautiful historical sights, bathhouses, museums, top quality restaurants and bars, and much more. It’s definitely a city you can spend an extended amount of time in.
From Tbilisi, I drive to Kutaisi which has various sights around the town (the town itself is nothing exceptional). From Kutaisi, I drove north to the Svaneti region which is famous for its incredible mountain landscapes. Mestia and Ushguli are the main towns you’ll want to visit here.
From the Svaneti region, I drove towards the coastal capital of Batumi. The contrast between Svaneti and Batumi is absolutely one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen in a day. Batumi is not for everyone but having visited in November during the off season, I actually liked my stay.
From Batumi, the next stop is to drive back east towards to the wine country of Kakheti. Georgian wines are famous worldwide and this is actually the birthplace of wine making. From the wine country, drive north to the Kazbegi mountain region which is another famous mountain region of Georgia. Kazbegi honestly reminds me more of Death Valley than any other mountain range.
From Kazbegi, drive back towards Tbilisi to end the trip.
Day 1-3: Tbilisi City
Tbilisi, Georgia’s vibrant capital city is where the trip starts. It’s easy to write off Tbilisi in favor of visiting Georgia’s wild country landscape but that is a mistake. There is so much to see and do in Tbilisi that you could easily spend way more than 3 days. I spent over a week in the capital city to do the digital nomad thing as it has quickly become the digital nomad hotspot in Europe.
It is also the culinary capital of Georgia. Whether you’re looking to try the best khinkali in Georgia, or eat delicious grilled meats, there is something for everyone in Tbilisi.
There’s a lot to see in Tbilisi. The capital city has seen numerous empires move through over the centuries leaving its mark. Tbilisi is not a “beautiful” city by European standards. You won’t see huge museums or cathedrals but I find it breathtaking for its views and history. I will touch on the highlights of Tbilisi, but make sure to read my detailed Tbilisi guide to understand everything the city has to offer including the best places to eat and drink!
Free Walking Tour
As with any city, I always love to do the free walking tour when I get in just so I’m familiar with what’s around me. The free walking tour in Tbilisi meets in the Freedom Square every day at noon.
The tour walks primarily around the old town with the guide giving you insider details on things you would never know about otherwise. The tour gave me a good base and understanding of the history of Tbilisi. Personally I found it very fascinating that the Georgian language is completely unrelated to any other family of languages and spoken by no one else. The alphabet looks like a cave painting and is also not utilized anywhere else in the world, not even Armenia to the south. This reminds me of my trip to the Baltic states where it was a similar situation with Lithuanian and Latvian.
We visited a variety of different sights around the old town ending in the sulfur baths area. I highly recommend this tour when you arrive.
Sulfur baths are one of the must visit highlights of Tbilis. The legend tells that the baths are connected with the foundation of Tbilisi. According to the myth, in the second half of 5th century the king of Georgia found the thermal springs. He was impressed with the sulphur hot springs and ordered to build the baths and a city around them. The city was named Tbilisi that means “warm”.
The water in the baths comes from mineral sulphur springs which are hot, from 37 to 50 degrees. All the baths are situated below the ground level. The architecture of the houses is traditional Persian, each bathhouse has its own style and features.
I went to the Chreli Abano sulfur baths (there are numerous houses/companies) which is famous for its beautiful blue marble facade. I spent one hour in a room with a hot and cold bath. The smell of the sulfur is initially quite pungent but you get used to it quickly. The water is very refreshing and you can even feel how soft your skin is after a session.
I think one hour is plenty of time to experience it but two hours is better if you want to really relax and get into it. The cost for the specific room I booked was 150 GEL per hour. The smaller rooms are cheaper starting at 70 GEL. The rooms are entirely private and you can order drinks or tea to your room from the front desk.
Visit the Leghvtakhevi Waterfall
There is a waterfall in Tbilisi city! Yes, it is located in the old town past the sulfur baths. Just follow the walking path and you’ll stumble upon a large 20 meter waterfall in the middle of the town.
It’s a great place for a romantic stroll or a break from the urban garden of Tbilisi.
Holy Trinity Church
Without a doubt, a visit to the Holy Trinity church of Tbilisi is a must. This Orthodox church is the biggest in Georgia and definitely one of the largest Orthodox churches I’ve ever seen. This church is actually one of the newest churches built of such statue.
The church started construction after the fall of the Soviet Union as a way for Georgia to commemorate their Christian traditions. It was only completed in 2004 and is now visible from almost everywhere in the city. The church is almost 100 meters high and upon first glance, it towers in comparison to the other many churches in the city.
Entrance inside is free and while enormous, it is not that impressive compared to say the church in Mtskheta. The detailing inside is not as pronounced which makes sense given that it is a new church. Nevertheless, it is a must visit attraction!
Day 4-5: Kutaisi
From Tbilisi, the first stop on this trip is to towards Kutaisi, the second largest city in Georgia. This road is on the main highway of Georgia and the drive is 3 hours or so.
There are a few stops to make along the way before getting to Kutaisi which is perfect if you start this drive in the morning.
Gori Town, birthplace of Stalin
Since I already visited Mtksheta as a day trip from Tbilisi, the first stop is to the town of Gori, about 1.5h from Tbilisi. Gori is the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, the famous Communist dictator of the USSR. Yes that one! I never knew the guy was Georgian until this moment!
There isn’t much to do in Gori as it’s just a small local town. It’s not so pretty so you don’t need much time here. The only thing you do need to do here is to visit the Joseph Stalin museum.
This museum is essentially a shrine to the late ruler of the USSR. It talks about his early history in Georgia where he attended school in Tbilisi before venturing further into Russia.
I would recommend having lunch in Gori before venturing further. The next stop is the famous Katskhi pillar. This natural limestone column stands tall and alone overlooking the valley of Katskhura. The pillar was only first climed and surveyed by researchers in 1944 and then studied more closely only in the last few decades. The studies conculded that there was an early medieval hermitage dating from the 9th or 10th century BC.
This 40 meter column has a monastery on top that was only built in 2009. While it is active, it’s nowhere near as historic as the limestone columns of Meteora in Northern Greece. The Katskhi pillar reminds me a lot of the incredibly dramatic landscape of Meteora. However, you cannot visit the top of this pillar unlike the monasteries all throughout Meteora.
The Vardzia cave complex in south western Georgia is the largest and most impressive of the ancient cave towns in Georgia. Construction first began in the 12th century and continued to expand under Queen Tamar into one of the largest cave cities in the region. At its peak it was home to up to 50, 000 people within its 6000 rooms and for many years it was safe from impending Mongol attacks.
The caves are open every day from 10am to 7pm and costs 7 Lari for the entrance.
It takes roughly 4 hours driving from Kutaisi to reach the caves in the very south of the country. The roads are okay but very windy so you don’t cover much distance with your speeds. You only really need about 1-2 hours to see the caves themselves so you can feasibly complete the day trip without much trouble.
Leave around 8am, arrive at noon to the caves. Have lunch in the nearby cafes and then visit the caves for 1-2 hours. Drive back around 14:00 and then be back in Kutaisi for dinner.
For the most part, you are free to roam through the tunnels and in the caves. The Church is one of the places you’ll come across at the beginning and then you can make your way through the place at your leisure. At the other side of the complex, you’ll find a tunnel that leads to the bottom and loops back to the entrance and ticket office.
Day 6-8: Svaneti Mountain Range
From Kutaisi, your next destination is the famous Svaneti mountains. This was probably my favorite part of the entire trip. The Svan region of Georgia is famous for its natural beauty. The mountains, lush landscapes, and towns transport you back in time.
The drive is roughly 5 hours from Kutaisi to the town of Mestia which I chose as my base for exploring the nearby sights.
Along the way to Mestia you’ll find the famous Prometheus Caves. These natural limestone caves were discovered in the 1980s and turned into a tourist attraction only recently. The caves are 11km long and 40 meters below sea level. 1.6km of caves are open to tourists.
They are quite impressive with some very unique formations. However, having just been to the Jaita Grotto in Lebanon a few months earlier, it was not as impressive. Nevertheless, the guided tour (done in English and Russian at the same time) was 25 Lari and worth a short stop to break up the drive to Mestia.
The Svan towers are the symbol of the Svaneti region. These large rectangular brick structures can be seen everywhere in the region. These iconic stone structures were used in medieval times as defense structures against enemy invaders. Each family had at least one of these in their land as fighting and feuds between the tribes were incredibly common. They were also used sentry posts and fires would be lit to inform of impeding dangers.
These towers all look relatively the same. They are about 25m high and 5x5m around. Most of the surviving Svan towers are located around Mestia and Ushguli. They are no longer used for any purpose (even storage) but are kept to honor the history of the people. The youngest tower is over 200 years which makes the fact that they stand so proud after so long an impressive feat!
Drive slowly in the winter months!!!
The roads leading up to the Svan region are windy and ice down very easily during the colder months. Ice forms quite easily and there are not many ice crews working these roads to speak of.
Do not be like me who was driving too fast along a curve and ended up completely crashing my car into the side. I was unharmed but it was quite the scary experience.
Thankfully, the experience with the police and rental car was quite good and I was on my way towards my next destination within a few hours. Everyone that passed also stopped and helped me out even though no one spoke any English. It was quite endearing to see!
Mestia is the main town in the Svaneti region. Don’t expect a big place however. The main road is only 1-2km. Alternatively, don’t expect much in terms of a picturesque cute mountain village. The buildings are mostly built for functional puroses and nothing is too old.
Nevertheless, the town has a handful of restaurants and bars that will keep you entertained as you use it as a base to explore the Svan region. For restaurants, I recommend going to Cafe Laila and Sunseti restaurant and bar. These restaurants serve traditional Georgian dishes as well as typical Svan dishes.
For Svan dishes, make sure to try the kubdari which is a pie stuffed with meat, onions, and spices. It’s quite tasty and immensely filling. One kubdari is probably enough for two people and you won’t have much appetite for anything else. Nevertheless, it is the national dish of the Svans so a must try.
Drive to Ushguli for the day
Ushguli is without a doubt the crown jewel of the Svaneti region. The famous pictures of the mountain town with the rolling hills and rocky mountain peaks in the distance is from Ushguli.
Most people come here as a day trip from Mestia. You can either join a day tour from Mestia, or catch a Mashruka from the town. The ride is about 2 hours one way through less than desirable roads.
If you’re driving a car, I would definitely recommend taking a 4×4, especially if you’re not traveling in the warm summer months. The roads are very bad especially the last 10km of the journey. In fact, there really is no paved road to speak of in the last 10km. Just take a look at these photos of the place!
Once you do get to the town however, you knew it was worth it. The views are nothing short of breathtaking. You feel like you’re on the edge of the world. The town of Ushguli feels like you’ve stepped back in time. There are no roads here like there are in Mestia and it makes you wonder how people survive here (especially in winter).
There is a lot of hiking to be done here including the hike to the famous Shkara Glacier. However, if you’ve seen any other glaciers in the world like in Patagonia, Iceland, or Canada, then this is not really worth it. There may have been a legit glacier here many years ago, but climate change has definitely changed it completely.
Make sure to have lunch at Cafe Koshki with their perfect views of the town and mountains. For even better views, go up to Queen Tamar Castle which has the most iconic views of the valley.
Day 8-9: Batumi and the Black Sea
The following day is a long drive from the Svaneti region to the Black Sea coast of Georgia. This drive is long and takes about 5h or so. You’re essentially backtracking your way through Zugdidi (which is a good lunch stop) before heading on to Batumi.
The contrasts in Georgia are never more stark
Before I talk about Batumi, I need to just say how incredible and how stark the contrasts are on this day. Driving from Mestia to Batumi literally feels like you traversed countries, time, and planet in the same day. Literally having just been through the Svaneti region where people still live the old ways and paved roads are not a concept in many villages, Batumi couldn’t be any more different.
Batumi is widely viewed as the Las Vegas of the Caucusas. As soon as you drive toward Batumi, you’ll see the incredible huge skyscrapers, the giant ferris wheel, and the unusual but futuristic looking buildings that dot the skyline. Batumi is ultra developed and you feel like you’ve stepped forward in time a century. If you arrive at night, you’ll notice even more of a contrast given how bright and lit up the city is.
Batumi is the main coastal city of Georgia
Batumi is not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s understandable. This place attracts huge crowds from around the Caucusus, Russia, and other former Soviet states. In the summer time, it gets very packed and everyone who wants to be seen does it up here. I’m talking old rich Russian dudes with the gold chain and the hot, young, model girlfriend. Then you have all the Instagram partygoers trying to influence their way to the top.
I visited Batumi in November where the temperatures were still warm, but nowhere near the summer vibes that it normally is known for. This also meant the crowds were a fraction of the summer which I liked. To be honest, I actually liked staying in Batumi for a few days. Having an sea escape is refreshing, even though I don’t find the Black Sea particularly beautiful. Knowing that the Bulgarian coast (which I spent a lot of time traveling) is on the other side is also quite cool.
To be honest, I just liked walking around the town soaking in the crazy contrast between these ultra futuristic and modern buildings, as well as old Gothic style architecture.
What to see in Batumi
There isn’t much to “See” in Batumi. To be honest, the city is quite new and was a big project that started during Soviet times to make this the Vegas of the Black Sea. While Batumi has a storied history that dates back centuries, most of the buildings in the city are built in the last few decades. Even the old and beautiful “European style” buildings are built new.
However, there are a few things to do in this city:
Visit the Batumi Tower: This tower is probably the most recognizable tower in the city. It’s the highest building and has a golden ferris wheel sticking out the side of it near the top of the building. Not a joke. It doesn’t run as far as I know.
Georgian Alphabet Building: This building is near to the Batumi Tower and is a giant skeletal style building with the Georgian alphabet written in huge letters encircling it.
Cha cha tower: Nearby as well is the chacha tower located in its own park. Chacha for those that don’t know is the local brandy spirit of Georgia, similar to that of Rakja in the Balkans. This building’s purpose was originally to provide for one hour every week a chacha water fountain serving chacha to everyone. No joke. Sadly, this never happened and now it’s just a strange monument in the center of the city.
Where to eat and drink in Batumi
Batumi is a big city so there is no shortage of places to eat and drink. There are plenty of high quality restaurants and the prices are still very affordable.
Batumi is the birthplace of the Ajarulian Khatchapuri. Yes, if you’re a khatchapuri fan (how can one not be?), this is the homeland of the Ajarulian style which is by far the most well known style of khatchapuri around the world. The big boat like bread bowls with cheese with an egg on the top is the specialty in Batumi. Mix it all up and you have a delicious hot cheese and egg dip with the fluffiest bread straight out of the oven.
360 Sky Bar: Amazing views and best place to watch the sunset.
Chacha time: Great cocktail bar that specializes in cocktails from Chacha (and other stuff)
Fish Market: Local fish market where you can buy fish straight from the market and bring it to a nearby restaurant for them to grill up.
Stay at the Kartuli Boutique Hotel
There are endless places to stay in Batumi. From the ultra luxury to the most budget hostel. I decided to stay in the Kartuli Boutique Hotel which is located on the 37th and 38th floor of a modern highrise building. This hotel, especially for the price was absolutely amazing. Every room has a balcony and views of the ocean. The common space is very industrial chic and there’s plenty of coworking space for those that value this.
They even provided me with a free e-scooter to explore the city! This is only available in the winter months but it was a great way to see everything.
Day 10-12: Kakheti Wine Region
Next up after Batumi is the beautiful and famous wine region of Georgia. The drive is a long one from Batumi to Kakheti (roughly 7 hours) so you’ll want to start this drive early.
I could spend much more than 2-3 days in the wine region of Georgia but this was unfortunately all the time I had. It’s not stupid beautiful like the wine regions of Tuscany or Cape Town, but Georgia’s wine region is unique in its own way.
Georgia is the birthplace of wine
The area in the Caucasus including Georgia and Armenia is in fact the birthplace of wine. There are records showing wine was made in these parts some 8000 years ago. I had always heard from the countless wine regions I’ve been to that they were the oldest, but in fact it is the Caucasus region that holds the crown.
Wine is a way of life in Georgia and you can’t go to any restaurants without seeing delicious reds made with saparavi grapes.
Learn how Qvevri wine is made
Traditional Georgian wine is made in a Qvevri. This is an egg shaped vessel meant for storing, aging, and making the wine. This process dates back thousands of years and it is still a common method to make wine in villages today.
Wine Tasting and Cellar Tour
No matter the various options and things to do in Kakheti, you simply cannot leave without going on a wine tasting and cellar tour.
Crushed grapes with skin and seeds are fermented underground in an earthen vessel for 5 to 6 months before the wine is ready to drink.
Day one in Kakheti surely has to be spent sampling wine and learning about the traditional winemaking process which is passed on by generations and is a vital part of Georgia’s history (and now their economy).
Day Trip to Sighnaghi
A gem of the Kakheti region is the lovely city of love – Sighnaghi. With its cobbled paths and pastel-colored houses perched on a hill, Sighnaghi attracts a lot of day tourists.
There are many things to do in Sighnaghi. You can visit the Bobde monastery, eat at Pheasant’s tears, walk on/ along the city walks, check out the cathedrals, and more. Sighnaghi is definitely the most picturesque village in Georgia. I thought there would be a lot of historic and picturesque villages in Georgia but that is not the case. I didn’t see any village that I thought was pretty until I came to Signaghi. This is where you can get your fix of Georgian architecture at its finest!
Day 12-13: Kazbegi Mountain Range
The Kazbegi mountain range is the last and final stop in the road trip through Georgia. From the Kakheti wine region, it is a roughly 4 hour drive to your last destination in the town of Stepantsminda.
The road along the “Georgian Military Highway” is quite scenic and with a few stops you’ll wan tto see along the way.
Gergeti Holy Trinity
One of the most iconic sights of Georgia is without a doubt the Gergeti Monastery. Perched up high in the Kazbegi mountains, this old monastery from the 14th century stands stunningly alone. It offers views of the nearby mountains and the towns of Gergeti and Stepantsminda down below.
This monastery stopped having church services during Soviet times but always remained a popular tourist attraction because of its natural beauty. From the town of Stepantsminda, there are endless taxis willing to take you up to the church for a price. Otherwise, if you’re driving, it is an easy road up. During the winter months, the roads can be very icy so drive carefully!
The church absolutely photographs beautifully and I particularly loved photographing it from the parking lot getting the mountains in the background. It’s just an amazing place.
Stay at the Rooms Kazbegi Hotel
The best hotel in all of Kazbegi is without a doubt at the Rooms Kazbegi Hotel. This upscale hotel has many comfortable hotel rooms with balconies facing the mountains and the Gergeti monastery. The hotel itself offers a huge outdoor terrace, large swimming pool, sauna, gym, and the likes.
The hotel always has an amazing restaruant that serves a killer breakfast. I visited in November and most of all the restaurants in town were closed so I ended up eating here the entire time. I absoluteyl loved the food and had no troubles eating all my meals here.
Day 14: Fly Out of Tbilisi
At long last, the itinerary for Georgia is completely. From Stepantsminda, the drive back to the Tbilisi airport is about 3.5 hours. There isn’t much to see along the way that you haven’t already seen.
Of course, you could always continue on your journey to a place like Armenia or Azerbaijan! I went to both countries after visiting Georgia to complete my Caucusus adventure so make sure to read my itinerary for Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan!
Day By Day Georgia Itinerary
Here is a day by day breakdown of my trip through Georgia. Again, this is simply just how I structured the trip with a rental car. If I didn’t have a rental car and relied primarily on Marshrutkas, I would add another 2-3 days there just to account for transportation.
Day 1: Land in Tbilisi, explore Tbilisi
Day 2: Full day in Tbilisi
Day 3: Full day in Tbilisi, day trip to Mtskheta
Day 4: Drive to Kutaisi, stop at the Katskhi Pillar
Day 5: Full day to Vardzia Caves
Day 6: Drive to Svaneti region (overnight in Mestia), stop in the Prometheus caves
Day 7: Full day to Ushguli and exploring Svaneti region
Day 8: Svaneti to Batumi drive, lunch stop in Zugdidi
Day 9: Full day in Batumi
Day 10: Batumi to Khaketi (Long day of driving)
Day 11: Full day in Khaketi
Day 12: Khaketi to Kazbegi (Stepantsminda)
Day 13: Full day in Kazbegi
Day 14: Return to Tbilisi
If you have another day or two, I would add an additional day to the Khaketi wine region (just to enjoy it more), and the Svaneti region so you can do a hike or two. In addition, I’d probably also make a day trip to the David Gareji desert which is something that everyone raves about. This is an easy day trip from Tbilisi with a car. The monastery and desert like landscape is about 2 hours from the capital and near to the border with Armenia.
Because I visited in November, most of the areas were quite cold and me being a warm weather person meant I didn’t want to spend so much time. In addition, the wine region in November is not very beautiful as the grapes have all been harvested which means two days is more than enough.
Georgia One Week Itinerary
What if you only have one week to travel around Georgia? Don’t fret, you can still see a lot of beautiful sights. You will have to decide what you want to focus on. Mountains? Beach life in Batumi? Wine country in the eastern Khaketi region? What are you most interested in. The next question to ask yourself is if you want to rent a car.
Renting a car will mean you can see significantly more than taking Marshrutkas around the country.
One week Georgia itinerary focusing on mountains
Day 1: Land in Tbilisi
Day 2: Full day in Tbilisi
Day 3: Tbilisi to Kutaisi, stop in Mksheta along the way
Day 4: Kutaisi to Mestia (Svaneti Mountains)
Day 5: Full day Mestia and Ushguli
Day 6: Mestia back to Kutaisi or Gori
Day 7: Drive to Stepantsminda to visit the Kazbegi mountain Range
Day 8: Drive back to Tbilisi
One week Georgia itinerary with Wine focus
Day 1: Land in Tbilisi
Day 2: Full day in Tbilisi
Day 3: Tbilisi to Kakheti wine region
Day 4: Full day exploring wine country
Day 5: Another day exploring wine country
Day 6: Kakheti to Stepantsminda (Kazbegi region)
Day 7: Drive back to Tbilisi and stop in Mksheta along the way
Day 8: Depart from Tbilisi
One week Georgia itinerary with beach focus
Day 1: Land in Tbilisi
Day 2: Full day in Tbilisi
Day 3: Tbilisi to Mksheta to Kutaisi
Day 4: Kutaisi to Batumi
Day 5: Full day Batumi
Day 6: Full day in Batumi, visit Mirveti waterfalls
Day 7: Drive back to Tbilisi and stop in Gori along the way
Day 8: Depart from Tbilisi
Add on Armenia or Azerbaijan to the trip
Here are some itinerary ideas if you are keen to travel the central and southern parts of the country. I visited both Armenia and Azerbaijan on the same trip which were absolutely wonderful. Make sure to read my Yerevan, Armenia guide and Baku, Azerbaijan guide. If you are planning to visit all three countries on the same trip, absolutely read my three week Caucasus itinerary!
Armenia has some of the most beautiful monasteries I’ve ever seen. The city of Yerevan is also totally underrated with amazing restaurants.
Baku and Azerbaijan are also totally different. Baku is the ultimate city of contrasts and a prime demonstration of what a city can achieve when they discover seemingly unlimited oil wealth.
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