Best Things to do in Georgia
What are the best things to do in Georgia? Of course, we mean the country and not the U.S. State. We are talking about the former Soviet republic located in the Caucus gateway between Europe and Asia.
This region has always had an important strategic location and Georgia has always been coveted by the region’s superpowers, Persia, Turkey and Russia. This is the perfect location for adventure travel and discovering unique places to visit, with the added bonus that traveling to Georgia is easier than you may imagine.
If you are visiting Georgia, there is plenty to keep the intrepid traveller interested, whether you travel to the Caucasus mountains, the Black Sea or stick to places in the city like historical buildings and botanical gardens. To follow our travel tips and explore Georgia is to delve into ancient history, experience proud traditions and be immersed in a dramatic landscape like no other.
From day trips and historical sites to outdoor activities and top attractions, here is our list of the Best Things to do in Georgia, compiled from our first-hand travel knowledge and experience of travelling throughout the country as a travel guide with our small group tours.
Spend time in Old Tbilisi
Tbilisi Old town, also known as Dzveli Tbilisi is a must for any traveller to Georgia and a key part of any complete guide to the country. You can easily spend days just exploring the winding, narrow old streets, the beautiful villas with intricate artwork and the crooked fairly tale churches. Tbilisi Old town is a melting pot of architecture with both European and Asian influences evident as you wander around.
Our first recommendation when visiting Tbilisi is to take the cable car to Narikala Fortress high above old Tbilisi. The ride up is spectacular and gives a great view of the Old town. Narikala Fortress dominates the views of Tbilisi and can be seen from almost all parts of the city. It is lit up at night which makes it seem even more impressive. The Fortress was first built in the 4th century and has been expanded numerous times by various rulers over the following centuries.
Having visited the Narikala Fortress via cable car, it is time to enjoy Dzveli Tbilisi. Meander through the streets, stop off at the myriad of cafes and watch life go by. Spend an evening at one of the great restaurants and sample some of the excellent Georgian wine. This is a way of life that has been enjoyed here for generations and one that you will find irresistible as you explore Georgia!
Take a walk to the Gergeti Trinity Church
Gergeti Trinity Church is one of the top attractions in Georgia and a unique symbol of the country. Dating from the 14th century, this ancient church stands at an elevation of 2170 meters, overlooking the small town of Stephantsminda in Kazbegi, in the North of the country.
The Telegraph named Gergeti Trinity Church in sixth place on its list of the world’s most stunning churches, and you can see why when you look at the location. Make sure you put this church on your itinerary when you plan your trip!
Overshadowed by Mount Kazbegi (5047m) it is a two hour walk to the church, although this can be shortened by taking a taxi for the less mobile. The newly built road is still a bumpy ride but if it means you get to visit then it is certainly worth it. Make sure that you have plenty of battery power in your phone or camera as this is a truly stunning location and one that will live long in the memory once you have left.
Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, Gelati Monastery is one of the largest medieval Orthodox monasteries in Georgia and is one of the country’s most treasured religious and cultural landmarks making it a top choice for one of the best places to visit in Georgia.
Situated just 11 km west of Kutaisi, Gelati Monastery is famous for its architecture as well as for the wonderful mosaics and frescos within. King David the Builder, the most celebrated King of Georgia, is buried in the yard of the monastery, but it is the mosaics and frescos that are the main reason for visiting this quite beautiful Monastery. When travelling to Georgia and exploring the collection of twelfth- to nineteenth-century mosaics, wall paintings, enamels, and metalwork it is easy to see why Gelati Monastery gained its place on the UNESCO list.
The Stalin Museum
An unusual site to include in a ‘Best Things to do in Georgia’ list maybe, but nonetheless worthy of inclusion. Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, the former ruler of the Soviet Union, was born in Gori, Georgia in 1878 and this museum is a homage to Stalin.
Travel through the various rooms as you make your way through the life of the dictator. In recent years, the museum has started to touch upon the purges, murders and ruthlessness of the Stalin regime but do not expect a balanced view as the hometown boy is still very much revered here.
A visit to the Stalin Museum is one of the more unique activities in Georgia highlights some of the contradictory feelings that can be found in Georgia towards Russia. For those who like their museums with a touch of the sinister then this is definitely the place for you.
In northeast Georgia is the wild and historic region of Tusheti. Bordering Chechnya and Dagestan, Tusheti is arguably one of the most beautiful of the many stunning areas of Georgia. One of the least developed regions of Georgia, travelling in Tusheti can sometimes feel like travelling back in time and is a great option for those seeking adventure travel experiences.
Many roads are impassable in the winter, so to explore Tusheti you need to plan to travel in the late spring or summer. For lovers of the outdoors, Tusheti has a bounty of experiences to enjoy. There is the wonderful hiking, with stops and overnights available in many converted barns and stone built buildings. Maybe horse riding is your thing and this region of Georgia offers great expanses of wild riding.
For a more gentle Georgia travel experience, maybe you would like to shadow a local shepherd and spend days looking after the flock and the nights in the shepherd’s huts sharing stories and drinking Chacha (a strong Georgian brandy).
Your travels in Georgia won’t be complete without trying Khachapuri, the local delicacy of bread, egg and cheese. That may not be the best description of this delicious national dish, but for any traveller who has tried it, it is certainly a highlight of a visit to Georgia.
This Georgian food consists of a yeasted dough formed into a rugby ball shape with the edges folded over. It is filled with a combination of cheeses and a single egg. The khachapuri is then baked until golden, with the cheese oozing out and the egg cooked like a well-done fried egg. This is then ideal for dipping bits of the crust into. Mouth-wateringly good!
There are many variations of Khachapuri throughout Georgia and one of the highlights of travelling around the country is getting the chance to try the local variations. This is certainly one of the best things to do in Georgia!
Georgian Wine Tasting
It is a little-known fact that Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Historians suggest that wine has been produced in Georgia for at least 8000 years. The rich and fertile land, combined with a mild year-round climate makes for excellent conditions for vineyards.
Around 150 million litres of wine are produced in Georgia every year but very little of that makes its way to the UK, where it is still a rarity. One of the best time to visit Georgia is just after the harvest when there is plenty of wine on offer across the country.
The production of wine takes place throughout the country of Georgia from Kakheti and Kartli in the east, and Imereti, Samegrelo, Guria, Ajaria, and Abkhazia in the west. The most important wine-producing region is Kakheti, which produces 70% of all Georgian wine.
Visiting local wineries is a real pleasure and private wine tours and day excursions are easily arranged from hotels in Georgia, including a driver, so you can relax and enjoy discovering what the Georgians have known for 8000 years – the wine here is exceptionally good!