10 Wonderful Days in Georgia: The Complete Guide

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    Explore Where to Go, What to See, and How to Get There in Georgia

    From its diverse landscape and natural wine scene to its rich history and generous people, Georgia is one of Europe's best-kept secrets and ideal for a road trip. Georgia has a lot to explore, easy to navigate with a rental car, and a recently restored highway system.

    If you have 10 days to stay, you can visit Tbilisi; Kakheti, which is Georgia's wine country; the impressive Svaneti in the Caucasus Mountains; and Vardzia, a spectacular cave monastery in the south. (If Svaneti adds too much distance or car to your trip, you might consider the Kazbegi region to shorten the trip - Svaneti is worth the extra effort, however.) Tbilisi is most easily explored on foot, by taxi, or in Bolt (Georgia "Uber"), making it easier to rent a car before leaving Tbilisi.

    Here's your unusual guide to where to go, what to see and do, and where to stay during each stop along the way. If you are a faster traveler, it is easy to do it in 10 days, as described, but if you want more time to relax and unwind, you can extend it to two weeks.

    Day 1: Tbilisi

    Fly to Tbilisi and take a taxi from the airport to the hotel. Fabrika Hostel has simple but artistic private rooms and allows you to leave your bags before check-in. Then, take a stroll through the Dry Bridge Market, which opens at 11am. M. This flea market emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union, and here you can find all kinds of Soviet souvenirs, from old jewelry to Soviet medals and old fur hats. Then have a look at Shavi Lomi for lunch, be sure to order "Gobi", the unique shared dish that includes jonjoli (a variety of cheeses), mchadi (cornbread) and phkali (beet paste, walnuts) and spinach ). After lunch, return to Fabrika.

    This former sewing factory is now a cool urban space that includes areas for relaxing, drinking, eating, socializing and shopping. After a few hours of rest (depending on your departure country, which can leave you jetlagged) and exploring Fabrika, you can take a 15-minute (or five-minute Bolt) ride to Barbarestan, a family restaurant with starters based on feminists. the poet Barbare Jorjadze, for dinner. End the evening by walking to the Movement Theater, a modern and artsy venue for performances including dance, comedy, theater, movies, and more. If you have the strength to go out at night, check out Bassiani, a famous sports hall that has become a political techno club, or have a drink in one of the bars located in the common area of ​​Fabrika and finish off the night.

    Day 2: Tbilisi

    Start your day with some caffeine at Milk Coffee Shop before heading to Old Tbilisi, which can be explored on foot. Start at the renowned Gabriadze Theater, where an angel comes out every hour to ring the bell of an otherwise elaborate world clock tower. Enjoy the beautiful neighborhood around the theater before walking south to cross the Peace Bridge, designed by the famous architect Michele De Lucchi, to Rike Park, which, if viewed with a panoramic view, is itself a map. with the shape of Georgia. Continue south to the Abanotubani district, known for its sulfur baths and saunas. If you're interested, check out Chreli Abano, who has spa options available to reserve. Along the way, feast on Georgian street food and candle-shaped sweets called churchkhela.

    Walk through Narikala Fortress, overlooking the city, and you will also see the Central Mosque and the Church of the Virgin of Metekhi. If you wish, climb the steps of the statue of Kartlis Deda (the Mother of Georgia) for a breathtaking view of the city. You must have quite an appetite at this point, so head northwest, stopping at Gallery 27 to take pictures between beautiful stained glass windows, for a late lunch at Café Littera, a small garden behind a 120-year-old house for a literary man. and a culinary twist on Georgian cuisine. Continue your day by walking through Praça da Liberdade on Avenida Rustaveli. Numerous museums and government buildings like along this route, although I recommend visiting MOMA, where you can have a small taste of Georgia's contemporary art scene. Before heading back to your accommodation, stop at Café Gallery for coffee or happy hour.

    Explore the street art around Fabrika, and after a break, head to Poliphonia for an ultra-local dinner, featuring an exquisite selection of natural wines and seasonal surprise menus, including a delicious Georgian salad. Try the homemade chacha, a popular Georgian brandy that is not for the faint of heart. If desired, finish dinner with a glass of wine at Vino Underground or a cocktail at the sassy Art Café.

    Day 3: Tbilisi to Telavi

    Plan to take a taxi to the airport to pick up your rental car around 8:30 am, and it will be a leisurely drive to Kakheti, possibly the oldest wine region in the world. Around 11am, you can leave your bags at your accommodation in Telavi. Many love Neli & Zaal Guest House, a quaint guesthouse with rave reviews, though there are plenty of great options to choose from. Talk to your host about hiring a driver (you can own your hostel!) To take you to the local wineries in Telavi. A driver will let you taste as much wine as you like for free, as there is a zero percent tolerance for alcohol in Georgia while driving.

    There are coordinated tours of large-scale wineries, but for wine lovers, less commercial local wineries will offer a more exclusive and intimate experience. Georgian wine is traditionally made from "qvevris", or clay pots buried in the ground. Take a look at the Makashvili Wine Cellar winery (may appear as Vazian on Google maps) and start your day with their award-winning dry white Khikhvi. Lagazi Winery, recently opened by a young entrepreneur, is worth tasting its locally sourced food paired with amber wine. End the day in the Teliani Valley to enjoy award-winning wines on the balcony of your beautiful tasting room. In Kakheti, a fun option is to choose a hostel that includes a Georgian culinary experience. At the recommended hostel, you can learn how to make Georgian dumplings, known as "khinkali".

    Day 4: Sighnaghi

    Start with a relaxed morning with a Georgian coffee and local breakfast delivered to your guesthouse before traveling to one of Kakheti's highlights, Sighnaghi. This charming town is situated on the top of a hill overlooking the surrounding mountains, and you can spend hours walking the cobbled streets exploring wineries, small bakeries, artisan shops, and landscapes. The must-visit winery and restaurant are Pheasant's Tears, a favorite of the late Anthony Bourdain. Try a Saperavi to pair with your dish of beetroot and wild plum sauce.

    Spend the day exploring, and if you wish, visit the Sighnaghi Museum to follow Georgia's history from the perspective of artifacts and crafts. You can dine at Okro's Natural Wine Restaurant, which offers panoramic views of the village and countryside around the balcony, before heading home for the night.

    Day 5: Sighnaghi to Gori to Zugdidi

    While today will lead towards the best part of the trip, the drive is long! (Flights are an option, but prices can be high.) While many blogs warn of poorly maintained roadways, these are outdated, and you'll find that Georgia has upgraded much of its highway system over recent years.

    Your drive west to Zugdidi should take about seven hours. Recommended stops on the way include the Ananuri Fortress, a 17th-century castle displaying a mix of architectural styles that was once the site of Silk Road commerce as well as many battles. Also on the route to Zugdidi is Gori, a city with fortresses galore and the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. You can eat a quick Georgian lunch at Café 22 and peruse the Stalin Museum and be on your way out. End the day with an early bedtime in Zugdidi, as you will rise early to drive to the town of Mestia in the Svaneti region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to begin the outdoor enthusiast part of the trip.

    Day 6: Mestia to Adishi

    Head towards Mestia around 6:30 am and enjoy the beautiful mountainous scenery on your way. Upon arrival, take a deep breath and stretch your legs. Although it took a bit of energy to get here, you won't regret it at all.

    During this part of the trip, you will walk through the picturesque Svaneti region, through miles of hills of yellow flowers in bloom (depending on the season), alpine meadows, with views of snow-capped peaks and glaciers, as if you were a character from "The Sound of music ". Svaneti is an ancient landlocked area so remote that no ruler has altered it, and between walks, you will spend your afternoons and evenings in small local villages (usually inhabited by a handful of families) with ancient stone towers, view of the Svan preserved. culture and gastronomy.

    The options to complete this part of the trip include hikes, walks to dig (a unique highly recommended experience that allows you to quickly cover more ground) or a combination of direction and hike or hike - all depending on the amount of time that you have and how many villages you have. I would like to see. A guide is not always necessary but recommended for hiking and mandatory for horseback riding. The guides are also helpful in booking the best homestays throughout your trip.

    Be sure to bring warmer clothes for the cold nights in this region. If you explore on horseback like we did, on the first day, you will hike among the views of the Ushba and Tetnuldi mountains before stopping in Adishi village for the night. Sample the local chvistari, cheese-filled cornbread, at your homestay, and make sure you don't drink the homemade wine until the head of the table does. When they drink, you have to drink until they stop, so be prepared!

    Day 7: Adishi to Ushguli

    Breakfast and snacks are offered as you leave around 8am through the Adishi Valley and the Ckhutnieri Pass, now 2,400 meters above sea level. You will pass rivers, endless vegetation and majestic but humble cities, while seeing impressive mountains and glaciers all around you. After reaching the town called Kala, a jeep will transport you on a road to the town of Ushguli. This section can also be done by an alternative route, but this is a good option, since you have completed the most picturesque part of the walk on foot and on horseback. Ushguli is a larger town with about 70 families and an iconic stone tower. Once you are here, it will be difficult to put your camera away. Guesthouse Angelina is known for its amazing local dishes and welcoming hosts who can even play local instruments for you, if you're lucky.

    Day 8

    Today begins with a morning visit to the Shkhara Glacier on the Inguri River, on the border between Russia and Georgia. The distance is doable without the horse and breathtaking mountain views like no other. After exploring, car transportation will take you back to Mestia in the early afternoon. You will spend the night here. For dinner, almost all local restaurants offer "kubdari", a delicious pie filled with pork and beef with onion and Svan salt, including cumin, fennel and red pepper, illustrating the multicultural influence on Svan cuisine.

    Day 9: Mestia to Kutaisi

    After a good night's sleep, your destination today is Kutaisi, about a four and a half hour drive away. Along the way, stop in a local town for a quick lunch, and if you want more nature, visit Martvili Canyon, which features beautiful shades of green and blue water and foliage, a waterfall, and if desired, a leisurely boat ride ( without having to take a walk). Once in Kutaisi, explore the Green Bazaar, an eclectic market with delicious khachapuri, a buttery and flamboyant delicacy in the shape of a boat, and relax in one of the many cafes in the city.

    Day 10: Kutaisi to Tbilisi via Vardzia

    Today you will embark on a three-hour drive to Vardzia, a must for any trip to Georgia. Along the way, stop for a late breakfast or lunch at Borjomi, Borjomi's water house, before continuing to Vardzia. This monastery, known as the “queen of the mountain”, is made up of caves carved into the rock on the slopes of Mount Erusheti. It was built in 1185 at the request of Queen Tamar, to resist the attack of the Mongols, and survived the earthquakes. Take the audio tour to fully appreciate the fascinating history of Vardzia and how many aspects of the complex were used for living, communicating and defending oneself. If Vardzia were located in Western Europe, tickets would be sold out for weeks. After Vardzia, you are back in Tbilisi! On the way to Tbilisi, stop at Phoka St. Nino Monastery, known for its fresh cheese and honey made by nuns, for refreshments and souvenirs. You will return to Tbilisi before flying home the next morning! Marina's Guesthouse is a cozy place to spend your last night to relax and immerse yourself in one last Georgian meal. Visit Ezo, a great garden-style restaurant with natural wines, or the trendy Black Dog Bar, where you can have a beer to celebrate the end of an unforgettable, action-packed trip.

    We hope you enjoy watching this video about the Most Incredible Places to Visit in Georgia

    Source: Tolt around the world

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