Top 5 Unmissable Destinations In Georgia
|Ushguli. Photo: Gallop around the Globe|
According to Travel Lemming, Ushguli is a tiny collection of villages high in the Caucasian mountain region of Svaneti. I really think Svaneti, and especially Ushguli, is one of the most incredible places to visit not just in Georgia but in all of Europe.
Dozens of ancient watchtowers guard the entrance to this surreal area, which is hemmed in by jagged and imposing mountains.
It’s still possible to spend a night staying with a Svan family here for a small fee, where you’ll likely be treated to a delicious dinner and copious wine while a fire crackles in the background. I generally shy away from calling anything a “Must See,” but I’ll make an exception here: if you can, Ushguli is a must see in Georgia.
Note you can only access Ushguli via 4×4 on a single dirt road from Mestia, or via a four day trek on foot, but I promise it’s well worth the journey.
Pro Tip: Be sure to bookmark my mega travel guide to Svaneti Georgia to plan your trip – it covers everything you need to know to make the challenging journey to Svaneti.
|Ushguli. Photo: NYT|
Tbilisi is definitely the top city to visit in Georgia, and probably the first stop on your Georgia itinerary.
Almost every tourist traveling to Georgia will make a visit to Tbilisi at some point, and the city, despite being so popular with the traveler crowd, won’t disappoint. Tblisi contains a charming old town situated on a dramatic cliff-side, which makes for some awesome views.
It offers first-class dining options at affordable price, vibrant nightlife, abundant quality accommodation, and tons of great historical sites.
|But the best thing about Tbilisi? Its strategic location makes it the perfect base for taking day trips to explore the nearby mountain, desert, and wine regions of Georgia. In fact, many tourists to Georgia opt to book a hotel in Tbilisi for their whole stay and take a different day trip or tour each day.|
|Mtskheta. Photo: Get Your Guide|
Mtskheta is the religious capital, the spiritual heart and therefore the most important city of Georgia. It used to be the capital city before King Gorgasali changed his base to Tbilisi.
It’s also one of the oldest cities in Georgia, where 4000-year-old traces of human settlements were found. Mtskheta is home to three of Georgia’s most important churches: Svetitskhoveli (try to say this 3x in a row…), Jvari and Samtavro Monastery.
Saint Nino lived in this city. She’s known as the Enlightener of Georgia, is one of the most important saints in this country (many girls are named after her). She’s the woman who preached Christianity in Georgia and the reason why this religion was adopted as the state religion in the year 330, as said by Journal of Nomads.
Important Note: if you want to enter the churches, dress appropriately! Men aren’t allowed to wear shorts or hats while women have to wear a long skirt and cover their hair with a scarf.
|Mtskheta. Photo: Georgia Tours|
Georgia has its share of big cities and tourist attractions but what’s really special about my country, are the small towns. Sighnaghi is one of them.
Here you can experience the best that the region of Kakheti has to offer: some of the best food & wine, beautiful tiny streets and houses with colorful wooden balconies, breathtaking views over the Alazani valley, the smell coming from the bakeries, a variety of fancy castles and small family-owned wine cellars and vineyards.
|Vardzia. Photo: Viator|
Vardzia is a spectacular cave monastery near Aspindza in southern Georgia. It looks like one of the movie sets of Lord of the Rings, although it wasn’t the home of dwarves but of many monks.
This underground monastery was built in the 12th Century, under the reign of King Tamar, the first woman that was ever crowned as a king (not a queen!) in Georgian history. It used to be completely hidden until a severe earthquake exposed and destroyed the cave monastery.
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