Things to do in Georgia

Walking in the Caucasus

Walking and hiking in the ruggedly beautiful countryside is one of the highlights of a visit to Georgia. The dramatic Caucasus Mountains are home to rustic stone villages and endless views stretching across the border into Russia, while national parks such as Lagodekhi are hide glaciers, waterfalls and tons of bird and animal life.
There’s a wide array of trekking routes ranging from easy one-day strolls, to more challenging multi day hikes, often at high altitude. There aren’t facilities for self guided walking in Georgia just yet, so you’ll have either join a small group tour or arrange a tailor made excursion complete with a guide. Often, you’ll be wild camping, or walking from village to village and staying in local homestays. Either way, Georgian hospitality will be a high point.

Tbilisi hot springs

Tbilisi means ‘warm place’ – it was founded in this location because of the natural hot springs here, and consequently some Georgia vacations include a visit to the subterranean sulphur bathhouses in the Abanotubani district. There are dozens to choose from, and in winter the locals flock to get clean in the traditional way, with a sulphur scrub and plunge pool – they’re not spas. If you go to a public bathhouse, you’ll want to be comfortable with nudity, and they are segregated by sex. Private rooms are usually available too, which often have their own sauna attached.
Closer to the food of Turkey or Iran than Russia, Georgian cuisine features plenty of grilled meats, garlic, coriander, walnuts and a plethora of breads, many stuffed with cheese, herbs or meat.

Eating & drinking

Cuisine is central to the Georgian lifestyle and the local fare is so delicious that some people even head here just for a food tour. The wines aren’t bad either – almost everyone consumes large quantities and will urge you to do the same. If you have the chance, visit the wine producing region of Kakheti for a visit to a winery.

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Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan highlights tour

Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan highlights tour

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Soaking up the culture

Art, architecture and history buffs are well served in Georgia, both in the cities and in the more remote areas, so it’s the ideal place for a cultural tour. In Tbilisi there are churches, synagogues, mosques and fortresses to explore, in nearby Mtskheta, you can wander ancient streets and visit the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and in Kutaisi to the west are monasteries, theatres and museums. Out of town there are the cave structures of Davit Gareja and Vardzia as well as the medieval towers of the Svaneti Region, to name a few. If culture to you means dining, shopping, galley visits and bar hopping, you can do so back in Tbilisi.
Written by Nana Luckham
Photo credits: [Page banner: Creative Travel Projects] [Hiking - Caucasus: Max Dawncat] [Horse trekking: Wild Frontiers] [Making bread: Jonathan Howard Kemp] [Tbilisi - zoom: Vladimer Shioshvili]