A holiday destination that is too good to be true, a destination that is pocket friendly, with relaxed visa regulations (visa on arrival for Indians, Yaay!)
Georgia- Sakartvelo to the locals, is on the crossroads of Western Asia & Eastern Europe. Its bounded by the black sea (West), Russia (North), Turkey/Armenia (South) & Azerbaijan (South
East). Tbilisi, the capital city is so vibrant and full of life with warm & friendly people. You might come across very few who speak english, yet they are more than willing to help you.
Here are my top things to do in Georgia in no particular order. The below places are listed solely because it is worth a visit, not because of its popularity.
1.Take a stroll through the town of Tbilisi
Tbilisi is a vibrant city full of life and with the most friendly people. Like other European towns, Tbilisi is characterised by its narrow cobble stoned pathways, quaint little cafe’s, loud bars and street artists.You might come across very few people who speak english, yet they are more than willing to help you & make you feel welcome. This town is best explored on foot and offers many attractions like the Old Town, Funicular, Freedom Square, Bridge of Peace, Sulphur baths, Narikala Fortress and the Mamadaviti Church to name a few. Ensure you spend at least 2 days in this spirited city.
2.Visit the wine cellars of Kakheti
Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world and hence a wine tour is a must. Kakheti produces some of the best wines in the region and there are many vineyards that offer tours. The popular vineyard in the area is that of Winery Khareba. Be sure to try the Kindzmarauli wine, a local favourite.
3. Trek to the Gergeti Trinity Church, Kazbegi
This church is at an elevation of 2170 m, under the glorious Mount Kazbegi.
It is believed that in the 18th century, this church turned into storage for main . Georgian relics that were transported there during the time of Persian invasion. The beauty of this church cannot be limited to words and needs to be experienced. The uphill trek takes 3-4 hours and the view that awaits you at the top is totally worth the effort.
4. Hike in Khevsureti Region
Do you want to get lost in nature? If so, this sparsely populated Khevsureti, bordering the former Chechnya(Russia) is highly recommended. In case you are a first timer at this, you need not worry as this is deemed as one of the easiest hike routes. This 7km hike promises offbeat routes far away from the touristy bustle and spectacular sights all the way.
5. Camp in Juta Village, Kazbegi
At an altitude of 2250 m, this village is considered one of the highest settlements and offers fantastic views of the snow capped mountain ranges and the river Bakurkhevi. Camp overnight at the Zeta Camping here.This is a definite must for nature lovers.
6. White water rafting on Aragvi River
River rafting season starts when the weather is warm enough to melt the snow and boost the water levels. Typically the season starts from mid April and continues till the month of October. You can choose from the various options depending on the difficulty level/grade. Rafting on Aragvi falls under the 2-3 level. Ensure that you book with a renowned tour company.
7. Paragliding in Gudauri
Paragliding over the stunning landscapes of Georgia is definite must as the birds eye view can leave you awestruck. This is something to definitely tick off your bucket-list here.Though weather dependant, paragliding is offered year round and lasts about 60 minutes.
8. Explore the coastal town of Batumi
An 8 hour drive from the capital city, Batumi is a seaside city by the Black Sea coast and the capital of Adjara Region. This is also the gambling haven of Georgia. The main attractions here include a cruise along the Black Sea, Batumi Boulevard and the exciting night life.
9. Learn how to Ski on the slopes of Gudauri
Skiing here is considered more affordable compared to Europe, hence its popularity. Winter in Georgia starts roughly around November and lasts till the month of March. Snow fall in the mountains vary from year to year and it is best to check the webcams on the Gudauri website for live updates. The slopes of Bukuriani & Mestia also attract many skiers.
10. Indulge in the local delicacies of Georgia
Georgian cuisine , though very unique, has a little European & Middle Eastern influences.Be sure to gorge on the many varieties of cheese filled breads called Khachapuri, meat stuffed dumplings called Kinkali, the sausage shaped candy called Churchkela and wash it all down with their fantastic selection of local wines.