Named on Lonely Planet’s list of must see destinations in 2018, it won’t be long before Georgia experiences a tourism boom.
The time to visit Georgia is now! You may not have heard of Georgia – and we’re talking the country – not the USA state – so here’s a quick geography lesson.
Georgia is bordered by Turkey to the west, Russia to the north, Azerbaijan to the east and Armenia to the south. It’s considered a transcontinental country as it straddles both Asia and Europe. It was once past of the Soviet Union – but these days it feels more European than Soviet, and doesn’t feel anything like Asia.
So what is there to see in Georgia? Let’s start with the mountains – then there’s the fortresses, the cave towns, the monasteries and the sulphur baths. And don’t forget the incredible food and wine.
Check out the following photos of Georgia and I bet you’ll be googling the cheapest flight there. (Hot Tip: A handful of budget airlines now fly from many European cities into Georgia’s Kutaisi International Airport.
Those mountain views
Head north of Georgia’s capital Tbilisi and you’ll enter a land of beautiful mountains.
The villages of Mestia and Kazbegi (also known as Stepmansminda) are the gateway towns to hiking trails across bright green meadows, up to moody monasteries, and traversing snow capped mountains.
Leading up to the summer months, you can get epic views of the snow capped mountains surrounding Mestia and even hike through the snow in the upper regions.
Craving cool cave cities?
Want to wander through a 12th century city carved out of rock? You can do just that in Vardzia, located a four hour drive from Georgia’s capital.
Get your tower fix
Unique to the Svaneti region of north-western Georgia are these medieval towers, which you’ll see all in all the mountain villages in the area. Dating back to the 12th century, the fortified towers were used by villagers to protect themselves from invaders. These days, the bases of most of the towers are used as storage areas – but they also offer a great view.
The hills are alive…
You’ll feel like you stepped onto the set of the Sound of Music when hiking through Georgia amid the green rolling hills and towering mountains.
Food, glorious food
Beware of the Georgian grandmother – unless you want to return from Georgia sporting a few extra kilos.
Those Georgians know how to cook and you’ll definitely get your fill of bread, cheese and jam.
And make sure you don’t leave Georgia without trying khachapuri – a heavenly mix of bread filled with melted butter, cheese and egg. I miss this traditional tasty dish every day.
Scramble up ancient fortresses
Take a look at a piece of history and check out stunning views while exploring Georgia’s fortresses. This is the Narikala fortress in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi – but there’s many other fortresses dotted across Georgia. You can hike and scramble your way up to the top of this fortress – or take the cable car up.
The views are priceless
Georgia’s monasteries and churches have taken hold of a lot of prime real estate in the country.
Many monasteries command hill top views looking out over mountains, rivers and villages.
Check out the views from the Gergeti Trinity Church in Kazbegi.
Foggy days, no problem
Weather forecast says it will be cloudy for your mountain hike? Don’t worry, it will just make for moody hiking photos.
There’s waterfalls too
Georgia is an outdoor lover’s dream. Not only is it a mountainous playground, you can even find waterfalls.
Only a short drive from Kazbegi and then a 30 minute hike, you’ll come across the Gveleti waterfall pictured above.
The villages are insanely beautiful
If you’re hiking through the mountains, you are sure to come across quaint villages with views to die for. Example A above.