“Gamarjoba Genatsvale!” means “Hello, friend!” in Georgian, and literally everyone in this small country joyfully welcomes all the travelers. A tourist for a Georgian is not just a foreigner, he is a dear guest who needs to be fed, watered and brought to nature. Georgia is very difficult not to fall in love with, especially if you know its most interesting places and activities. Travellizy Team will talk about the main ones.
Take a walk in Tbilisi
In the capital of Georgia, the past, present and future are organically interwoven. There are no less historical sights than fashionable cafes, and after a visiting museums and galleries, you can have a fresh churchkhela outside or drink aromatic saperavi under hot lobio in one of the restaurants on Freedom Square.
The most colorful streets of Tbilisi are in the Avlabari area. Here, on the carved balconies twined with grapes, noble elders thoughtfully smoke, children play not with a smartphone, but with a ball in the courtyards, and in general, atmosphere is measured and calm. Walking along Avlabari, it’s a sin not to turn to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the residence of the Georgian patriarch. If you are so thirsty from the heat, then you can drink cold spring water in the courtyard of the old Metekhi church.
Having walked enough around the ancient streets, go along one of the bridges over the Kura River to the modern part of Tbilisi. True, there are interesting places and objects from the past of the country here as well. Wander between the squat buildings of the sulfur baths of Abantubani, take a deep breath and begin the ascent to the Narikala fortress, towering above the Georgian capital.
Don't you want to go uphill on foot? Then there is a cable car starting at Rike Park. Right beyond Narikala, there is a picturesque botanical garden, where you can walk for hours.
It is best to get acquainted with modern Tbilisi when walking from Freedom Square along Shota Rustaveli Avenue. If you are tired of the rhythm of the crowded capital, then you should go to the calmer corners of Georgia.
Relax in Mtskheta
It is worth driving away just 20 kilometers from Tbilisi, and you will find yourself in Mtskheta, a stunningly calm and picturesque place, which was once the capital of Sakartvelo (self-name of Georgia). In this town with a dozen streets, there are no fashionable clubs and noisy avenues, but there are views, which deserve to be painted by great artists. Or at least, they can be photographed on your smartphone.
At the confluence of the Kura and Aragvi rivers, there is a small but very colorful Jvari Monastery with stone walls of two more Georgian shrines - Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Monastery of St. Nino.
On the way from Mtskheta to Batumi, you can stop by Kutaisi. The town is quite small, it has a couple of interesting places that you can get around in an hour and a half.
Sunbathe in Batumi
Batumi is not only a resort city on the Black Sea, but also the business capital of Georgia. There are even more skyscrapers and trendy hotels here than in Tbilisi, and some new buildings are impressive in their unusual views. Take a walk along the long promenade to the Alphabet Tower, photograph the candle of the Chacha Tower skyscraper, look at McDonald's, which looks very unusual here. When you want something more comfortable and old, delve into the old districts of the city. The heart of Batumi is Abashidze Street.
It is very convenient to explore Batumi on a bicycle, which can be taken at one of the many automated rental locations. Admire the original clock on Europe Square, count all the unusual facades in the old city. And do not miss the statue of Medea, the one that holds the legendary Golden Fleece.
By the way, swimming in the sea is possible not only in Batumi, which is crowded with tourists. A much calmer place is the resort town of Kobuleti, and the black sand in Ureki is considered to be healing. The least populated seaside resort of Georgia is Shekvetli, surrounded by coniferous forest.
Go to the mountains
You can do this almost anywhere in Georgia, the country is famous for its picturesque mountains and trekking routes for every taste. If you drive a car, then you should definitely ride along the Georgian military road that goes from the capital to the foot of Mount Kazbek. You will catch your breath from the views around, as you will see the bright blue waters of the Ananuri reservoir, a gorge near Gudauri, and drive along the Cross Pass.
A perfect starting point for mountain hiking is the Svaneti region. Narrow paths pass by the well-preserved watch towers, which are also called Svan, and it seems that you can touch the snow-capped peaks with your hand. It is most convenient to stay in Svaneti in the village of Mestia, where the tourist infrastructure is well developed. Fans of wilder places will definitely like the village of Ushguli, which can be reached from Mestia by jeep.
Explore the caves
Ancient cave cities and temples are another feature of Georgia along with cuisine and mountains. So near the town of Gori, where Joseph Dzhugashvili was born, better known as Stalin, there are ruins of Uplistsikhe. The place is absolutely fantastic, a real paradise for lovers of tunnels in the rocks, caves and ancient ruins.
Another cave monastery, even larger than Uplistsikhe, is Vardzia. The temple-fortress of the times of Queen Tamara was built right on a cliff, there is always a pleasant coolness in its ridges, and next to the monastery, there is no less interesting Khertvisi fortress.
Visit the homeland of mineral water
Borjomi resort is not famous for ancient fortresses or active youth life. People come here to relax, drink the famous mineral water, take a walk in nature and breathe in the clear mountain air. The Borjomi River carries its waters here, and small but very beautiful waterfalls flow down from the rocks around it.
Enjoy kebab with wine
Georgia is a paradise for gourmets. Shish kebabs and lobiani, Adjarian khachapuri and kharcho soup make you salivate just from their names alone. Each region of the country has its own unique dishes or special recipes. A gastro tour in Georgia will be incomplete, if you do not try paired khinkali, poultry stew - chakhokhbili, chicken in garlic-milk sauce - shkmeruli.
You should wash down local goodies with wine. You can buy it in any cafe, but of course, the most authentic Georgian wine can be found in the markets. True, during the tasting process (which any self-respecting Georgians will offer you), it is easy to get carried away and drink more wine than to buy later. In order to absorb alcohol better, bite it with suluguni cheese.
The most wine region of Georgia is Kakheti. It is here that the famous Alazani Valley is located with the town of Sighnaghi in the center. You can easily hang out here for a couple of days, or even weeks. Make sure to drop by the museum of the famous artist Pirosmani and admire the surrounding landscapes from the ramparts.
Georgia is very simple to fall in love with. Take good wine and delicious cheese and go for a walk in the mountains. Then go down to the warm sea to wash off your tiredness, wander along the old streets. And do not be afraid to accept invitations from local people; in many ways, Georgia can be understood through its welcoming residents.