10 Day Georgia (Country) Itinerary

10 Day Georgia Itinerary

Description

The country Georgia located between the Greater and Lesser Caucasus is packed with diverse landscapes, stunning mountains, great food and nice people. We’ve spent 10 days in this small country in the early summer and it won’t be our last visit. Tourism is growing fast in Georgia, but it’s still far away from the crowds of other European countries. Georgia is cheap, diverse, safe and has that adventure touch of the post-soviet era.

Our 10 Day Georgia (Country) Itinerary
Day 1 & 2: Tbilisi
Day 3: David Gareja Monastery
Day 4-5: Signagi & Alazani Valley
Day 6-8: Stepantsminda & Georgian Military Road
Day 9: Mtskheta
Day 10: Armenia Day Trip

Gallery

Route

  • Distance Instructions

Overall costs

$ 1500

Duration

10 days

Rating


Itinerary:

Tbilisi


Georgia’s capital is the starting point for most travelers and an excellent place to get familiar with the country. It has many bars and restaurants on western standards serving local cuisine. We stayed a full day at the start of our trip and three nights at the end while we visited Mtskheta and Armenia during the daytime.
On this trip we used a rental car for one week and made an organized tour to Armenia for one day.

How to get there

By plane: Tbilisi International Airport is located 17 kilometers east of the city center and has direct connections to many European cities including the big hubs in London and Istanbul. A train runs twice a day between the airport and the city. The best and most flexible option is therefore a taxi which takes around 25 minutes for the ride and should not cost you more than 50 lari.

By train: Domestic connections go to Batumi at the Black Sea (5 hours) and several smaller cities. There are also overnight trains to Baku in Azerbaijan and Yerevan in Armenia.

Get around

By foot: Most attractions are located in a walkable distance so exploring the city by foot should be your first choice. There are also two cable cars if you want to get some great views without walking uphill.

By metro: The Tbilisi metro system has two lines which are in operation between 6am and 12 pm. For timetables and a link to the Metros Company App visit their official website http://ttc.com.ge/en.

By minibus (Marshrutka): As in all former soviet countries’ minibus are widely used by the Georgian people. They are operated independently on fix routes and their destination is mostly posted on the front window.

Things to do

Abanotubani: One of the oldest districts of Tbilisi is home to the famous Sulphur baths, a waterfall and the blue sealed Tbilisi Central Mosque.

Old town: The area between Abanotubani, Kura River and Liberty Square has pretty old buildings and countless dining and drinking opportunities. It’s a good place start your evening.

Narikala: The old fortress above the old town offers great views over the city. The structure dates back into the 4th century. It’s just a short steep hike uphill but you can also take the cable car from Rike Park.

Mtatsminda Park: The park is on top of Mount Mtatsminda and accessible by Tbilisi Funicular. Besides the nice views it also has an old soviet style amusement park with water slides, roller-coasters and a Ferris Wheel.

David Gareja Monastery


David Gareja is an old monastery which is partly hollowed out of a small mountain and dates back into the 6th century. It lies far away from any bigger settlement in a beautiful wide and open landscape. We visited the site on our way to Signagi.

How to get there

By car: We drove around 2 hours from Tbilisi to David Gareja, the last few kilometers through beautiful semi-desert hills.

By bus: Gareji Line offers a one-day tour to the monastery by bus. The drive takes about 3 hours one-way with some photo and lunch stops. Once you’re there you have 3 hours to explore the site on your own.

Things to do

Walk around: You can walk through most parts of the complex including the old caves and chapels. When we visited there was also a big BBQ going on inside, but we haven’t figured out what has been the reason for it 🙂

Hiking: Approximately one hour further uphill are some more caves with frescoes called Udabno Monastery. The first part is a very steep climb so make sure you have proper shoes and climbing experience.

Signagi & Alazani Valley


The Alazani Valley lies on the foothills of the Great Caucasus and has a pretty warm subtropical climate. The valley is packed with vineyards, orchards, lakes and farms. Signagi is a small village on the southern rim of the valley that overlooks the entire area including the snow-capped mountains in the back. Staying here is an excellent scenic choice and the village itself is also a wonderful place.

How to get there

By car: From Tbilisi follow S5 eastwards towards Signagi. It’s only a 1 hour and 40 minutes’ drive so you will have plenty of time for a stop on the way e.g. David Gareja.

By bus: There are only minibuses from Tbilisi to Signagi and once you’re there you should have some a car or an organized tour to get around. A rental car is in my opinion the better choice.

Things to do

Signagi: The village itself with its little houses and stunning views towards the Great Caucasus is worth a walking tour. There are also some museums and churches if you want to stay here longer.

Wine tours: We made a wine tour through the valley with the neighbor of our guest house owner. He didn’t speak any English but drove us to some churches and wineries where he talked to the people so that somehow there was always somebody who guided us through the sites. Just ask at your accommodation or at the official tourist office in Signagi for a tour.

Stepantsminda & Georgian Military Road


After the wine country we headed into the mountains via the famous Georgian Military Road. The road connects Tbilisi with the Russian border and is one of the most important routes to go through the Great Caucasus. You will drive over the Jvari Pass at an altitude of 2379 meters and pass the famous Russia–Georgia Friendship Monument. Stepantsminda is on the other side of the pass and famous for hiking, the gorgeous views of Mount Kazbegi and the Gergeti Trinity Church.

How to get there

By car: From Tbilisi follow the Georgian Military Road E117 north. The drive takes around 3 hours and will lead you directly into the village. Plan with some extra time for photo stops especially the Jvari Pass. Since we drove there from Signagi we first had to drive back to Tbilisi and then continue the route as described which adds another 2 hours.

By bus: There are minibuses from Tbilisi at least twice a day.

Get around

The village itself is pretty small so you can easily walk from your accommodation to any bar or restaurant.

Things to do

Hike to Gergeti Trinity Church: The church is located on a hill above the village with great views to Mount Kazbegi. From the bus station in Stepantsminda you first have to walk to the small village of Gergeti and then on a steep uphill path to the plateau on which the church is located. The uphill hike takes around 2 hours with photo stops.

Download GPS file here

Gergeti Glacier: A very challenging hike of 9 – 12 hours passes the Gergeti Trinity Church and leads to Gergeti Glacier which is the glacier running down Mount Kazbegi.

Download GPS file here

Sno Valley to Juta: We hiked from Sno to Juta when we were surprised by a big thunderstorm which forced us to stay in a small café in Juta for an hour before returning back into the valley. The hike is pretty easy on a gravel road. You can go a lot further through the valley on a good day.

Mtskheta


The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mtskheta is located 15 kilometers north of Tbilisi and the most important place of the Georgian Orthodox Church. It’s an easy day trip from Tbilisi and if you’re done with all the churches there are also some notable wine servings in many backyards.

How to get there

By minibus: Marshrutkas run between Tbilisi Didube Market and Mtskheta during the day and are the easiest option to get there.

By taxi: Taxis are of course also possible but make sure to arrange your return journey in advance.

Get around

The village is small enough to easily walk everywhere you want. If you plan to visit the Jvari Monastery which lies outside of town on a hill you should take a local taxi.

Things to do

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral: The cathedral is the main sight of the village and can’t be missed over overlooked. It actually is the second largest church in Georgia and served as burial place for kings.

Jvari Monastery: The widely visible church of the monastery is one of the few nearly unchanged medieval churches of the region. From the outside you have wonderful views into the valley below and the surrounding hills.

Armenia Day Trip


We made an organized day trip to Armenia which was a bit weird. It all started with a visit at a tourist agency in Tbilisi where they told us we will get an English-speaking driver and guide. However, the driver didn’t speak any English but drove us over the border and stopped at some churches. In the end it was a funny day and Armenia also seems to be a cool place but I would recommend to spend a bit more time researching the reviews of your tour agency.

Our day trip

We started in the morning and crossed the border at Bagratashen into Armenia. We then stopped at Kusanats Anapat Church and Sanahin Monastery close to Alaverdi. The tour followed the Debed River upstream until we asked the driver to stop at a big hotel where we used the guy at the reception as a translator. Since our driver had no further idea where to go we decided to turn around and go back to Tbilisi. I’m sure there are better tour operators so just read at least some reviews on TripAdvisor before you book anything.

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