A guide to the best places to visit in Georgia so you can create your own Georgia itinerary for one, two or three weeks.
Georgia is quickly becoming the hottest new tourist destination and it’s easy to see why. This country has it all! Stunning mountain vistas, coastline, vibrant cities and an abundance of wine, what more could you want?!
Visiting Georgia is a brilliant idea and planning a Georgia travel itinerary is probably a good start but it’s hard to know what to fit into your trip. We read so many things about the different parts of Georgia and even in five weeks we didn’t see it all! So I’ve compiled this guide to the best places to visit in Georgia along with a recommended time for each and suggestions for one, two and three-week itineraries so you can pick and choose what works for your time, budget and interests.
How long do you need to visit Georgia?
How long have you got? Many nationalities enter visa-free for a year and you could easily spend that long. But ideally you’ll have 2-3 weeks. If not, you can still explore Tbilisi in a couple of days and a few of the most impressive areas in about a week.
Transport in Georgia
Georgia has (mostly) decent roads and if you plan your route carefully driving times are short. You can hire a car which gives you the ultimate freedom, take minivans from place to place or even hire a driver. There are also trains linking some parts of the country such as Batumi and Tbilisi.
We drove our van there and can safely say Georgia has some of the craziest drivers we have come across! It can be a bit stressful driving in the cities so make sure you have steady nerves.
Hitchhiking is possible in Georgia, the people are very friendly but often don't speak English outside of the cities but you can always give it a go!
Basic Information About Georgia
Population: around 4 million
Currency: Georgian Lari (GEL) €1 = 3GEL
Borders: Russia, Armenia, Turkey, Azerbaijan
Language: Georgian, most people speak Russian, there are varying levels of English throughout the country but many people in the cities speak very good English.
Thank you in Georgian: Madlobah
Drinking water: It is safe to drink the tap water in most parts of Georgia. If you're unsure, check with your hosts.
Quick Glance – Best Places to Visit in Georgia
Tbilisi - Capital city.
Batumi - City on the Black Sea coast.
Signaghi - East Georgia in the wine region, old town also known as the city of love.
Mtskheta - Historic capital near Tbilisi.
Kazbegi - Central North in the moutains, nice day hike and beautiful views.
Mestia - North West in the mountains, great for hiking.
Kutaisi - West Georgia, many monasteries and an international airport.
One Week in Georgia
If you only have one week in Georgia you can still see a fair bit of the country from a base in Tbilisi. I recommend seeing as many of these as you can comfortably fit into your one-week Georgia itinerary. If you have longer, start with these and then read on for more Georgian awesomeness.
In no particular order, the best places to visit in Georgia are...
Recommended time: 3-5 days
Tbilisi is the heart of the country and is connected to everywhere. You can either use it as a base and visit other areas from there or include it as part of your route throughout the country. The city is quite large but most of the centre is walkable and there is good public transport options as well as cheap taxis
We fell head over heels for Tbilisi and would love to live there one day. It’s a really affordable city with something for everyone. Highlights include the beautiful balconies of the old town, a soak in the sulphur baths and visiting the theme park on top of the hill. There is also no shortage of cafes, wine bars and restaurants to wile away an hour or three. We spent almost three weeks in Tbilisi and were still discovering new things. For a cosy, central hostel with free pancakes, dorm beds with curtains and a comfortable private room check out Pushkin 10.
Recommended time: 1 day
The ancient capital of Georgia lies just 30 minutes away from Tbilisi and can be easily reached as a day trip. The main drawcards are the two stunning cathedrals. One in the centre of the town and the other on the hill overlooking it.
The town is very small and has a couple of restaurants and some souvenir shops. We stayed three days because we were waiting for good weather to head to the mountains but there is really only one day’s worth of things to do! Visiting Mtshketa is a popular day tour from Tbilisi.
We stayed at Hotel Prime which had a balcony with great views of the cathedral and super friendly hosts.
Recommended time: 1-2 days
This is known as the city of love and lies in the middle of the wine region in the East of the country. It’s about two hours from Tbilisi and is a popular spot for wine tasting tours. The town is surrounded by old castle walls and there are some beautiful churches, it’s Georgia after all! It doesn’t take more than a day to wander the town but there are lots of nice restaurants and wine shops so many people spend the night. We camped in our van with views of the town. It gets busy over summer so book your accommodation in advance!
A day tour from Tbilisi costs around €20 per person. You can also combine a wine tasting in Signaghi with a visit to the David Gareji monastery in a cliff. Check out tour prices.
Fun fact: You can get married here just by showing up with your passport if anyone is keen for a shotgun wedding!
Recommended time: 2 days
This beautiful little mountain town will charm your sock off! The town itself is made up of a few restaurants and guest houses but the real drawcard is the hilltop church and the mighty peak of Mt Kazbegi. The hike to the church takes around two hours and has some amazing views. Back down in the town make sure to head for a coffee at the beautiful Rooms Hotel. Both the cafe interior and the views are incredible!
For those feeling a bit more adventurous, you can take a tour up the mountain. We were there in late October and it was probably the last week before the place was covered in snow. It’s still possible to visit later in the winter but make sure you have warm clothes and hiking boots.
2-3 Week Itinerary for Georgia
If you have more than a week you can choose to spend a bit longer sipping wine in Signaghi or hanging out it cafes in Tbilisi. But you could also add another few spots to your Georgia itinerary. Here are some other suggestions for more places to visit in Georgia.
David Gareta Monastery and Udabno
Recommended time: 1 day
We drove here on our way back from Signaghi to Tbilisi. The monastery was under construction so we couldn’t see parts of it but it was very cool to see the old rooms built into the rock. The area around is also stunning with vast plains and colourful rock formations. If we were doing it again we would stay in the little village of Udabno and hike to the monastery which takes about 2.5 hours.
There isn’t much in Udabno but for one night all you need is the wonderful Oasis Club. This is a hostel and restaurant run by volunteer staff and local cooks. There is a dorm room, spots to camp and adorable little ensuite cabins looking out over the views. The food is amazing, there is a book for beer swap and some adorable kittens that roam around the place. It’s a great place to spend the night but be careful you don’t end up there for years! You can book a cabin here.
Note: The roads are shocking! Like, possibly the worst condition of any roads we drove in our 3 months driving through the Balkans to Georgia. Huge potholes and so many that you can’t avoid them so you have to drive incredibly slowly. It took us an hour to go 14km. But there was a small stretch that had been newly sealed so maybe they have plans for the rest? (Oct 2017)
Recommended time: 2-3 days
This chill little city lies between Batumi and Tbilisi and is great base for seeing some interesting sights in the surrounding area. We had a day out exploring the Gelati and Motsameta monasteries which are both beautiful. There is also a monastery on a pillar nearby is interesting to see and can be combined with a visit to the eerily intriguing mining town of Chiatura.
We had a very comfortable stay at Sun Guesthouse which was in a great location!
Recommended time: 2-5 days (depending on if you do the 4 day hike)
We didn’t make it here due to the weather but when we return to Georgia (and we will!) this will be first on our list. This tiny village is nestled in the mountains in the North West of Georgia and is the base for a four-day hike. Each day takes you to a new village and the views along the hike look insanely cool. There are guest houses in each village and taxis or minivans escort hikers back to Mestia from the final village.
To get to Mestia you can take a minivan from Tbilisi (or Kutaisi) or take an overnight train to Zugdidi and get a minivan from there. There are also flights every second day for only 65GEL (around €22). There is a website for booking these flights but we haven’t heard any success stories so better to head to a travel agent (the price is fixed). The flights are very weather dependent so in the off season you have to be lucky to get a good flying day.
For more information read this post about hiking in the Svaneti region.
*Update* We did this hike in July 2018 and it was every bit as awesome as promised!
In Mestia we stayed at Guest House Khergiani which had really comfortable rooms with private bathrooms and excellent breakfast. They also stored our stuff for free while we were hiking. Check availability here.
Recommended time: 2-3 days
The Black Sea casino city is your first impression of Georgia if you arrive over the Turkish border. It’s not exactly a typical Georgian city or a place to rave about but it has its own weirdly charming personality. We spent three days there and really enjoyed it. There’s all kinds of odd sculptures and attractions to see including the Alphabetic tower and a Ferris wheel in the side of a building. If you’re there during the summer expect lots of Russian tourists but also nice weather for enjoying the beach!
We had a great stay at Lemon Tree Guesthouse. It's a bit out of the city centre but there is a bus stop, supermarket and restaurants nearby. The owners are lovely and at under €10 for an en-suite room, it's a steal. More details and prices here.
Recommended time: 1-2 days
This town is famous for being the birthplace of Stalin and is home to the Joseph Stalin Museum. There is also a plaque at his birthplace and a statue in the main square. A must see for Communists and anyone else interested in a bit of obscure history! The town also has a castle and a cathedral. You can get there by mini-van from Tbilisi and see Gori as a day trip or spend the night.
For more info read our full post about our day trip to Gori from Tbilisi.
Borjormi and Vardzia
Recommended time: 2-3 days
Image: © Levan Gokadze
For the luxury travellers, Borjomi is a resort town famous for its mineral water which is bottled and sold all over the former Societ Union. The area also has many spas with supposed healing qualities and you can easily spend a few days having relaxing treatments. Have a look at your option here!
Borjomi is also a good base for visiting Vardzia, an ancient cave town and monastery dug into a cliff face. We didn't make it here but the photos look really cool.
If you have time you might also like to consider heading to Armenia or Azerbaijan which both have easy transport connections. We visited Baku by overnight train and enjoyed two days in the Azeri capital.
So now you're ready to start planning your trip to Georgia. These are just the places we experienced and heard about during our months in Georgia. There are plenty of other areas to be explored if you stay longer, and trust me, you'll want to! If you’re travelling to Georgia for a longer period of time our friend Joan at Against the Compass has written a detailed guide book full of off the beaten path info. You can buy it here.