Breathtaking and beautiful, Georgia is a country that deserves to be on every traveller’s bucket list. With visa on arrival for UAE nationals and residents and a travel time of just three and a half hours from UAE, Georgia is a holiday destination that’s perfect for us desert dwellers. It isn’t as expensive as Europe or Australia, either.
Georgia, also known as Sakartvelo to the locals, is on the crossroads of Western Asia & Eastern Europe and is the perfect blend of both cultures. You will also find glimpses of Russian and Turkish influences in Georgia’s rich culture.
Here’s a list of top things to do in Georgia in no particular order. This list is, in no way, exhaustive. Even a book would probably not do justice to this enchanting country.
Looking to plan a week long vacation to Georgia? Read on.
1. Take a stroll through the capital 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 cafes, 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. Ensure you spend at least 2 days in this spirited city.
What to see: Old Town, Funicular, Freedom Square, Bridge of Peace, Sulphur baths, Narikala Fortress and the Mamadaviti Church.
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.
How to reach: By bus, private taxis, and train. Kakheti is about 80 km from Tbilisi.
Insider tip: 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 but the view that awaits you at the top is totally worth the effort.
How to reach: Kazbegi takes about 3-4 hours by road from Tbilisi.
Insider tips: The journey to Kazbegi is very picturesque so keep your cameras fully charged!
4. Hike in Khevsureti Region
Do you want to get lost in nature? If so, this sparsely populated region of 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 considered 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
If you crave a disconnect from civilisation, head to the Juta village. 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 Zeta Camping here overlooking Mt. Chiukhi. This is a definite must for nature lovers & adventure travellers.
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 this season starts from mid April and continues till the month of October. You can choose from the various options depending on the difficulty levels/grades. Rafting on Aragvi falls under the 2-3 level. Ensure that you book with a reputed tour company.
7. Paraglide in Gudauri
Paragliding over the stunning landscapes of Georgia is a definite must. If the worms’ eye view hasn’t left you awestruck, the birds eye view will surely do. This is something to definitely tick off your bucket-list. Though weather dependant, paragliding is offered year round and lasts for 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 a stark contrast from the rest of the country. This party town/gambling haven is a fresh change from the rustic, natural wonders of the rest of the country.
Don’t miss: Cruise along the Black Sea, Batumi Boulevard, and revel in the exciting nightlife.
9. 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. Snowfall in the mountains vary from year to year and it is best to check webcams on their website for live updates. The slopes of Bukuriani & Mestia also attract many skiers.
10. Indulge in local delicacies
Georgian cuisine, though very unique, has 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.
Fly Dubai & Air Arabia operate regular flights to the cities of Tbilisi and Batumi. When are you booking your flight then?
Have you ever been to Georgia? Share your travel experiences with us in the comments below!