As the skiing season is approaching and the peaks of the Georgian mountains are getting nice white caps, the question of planning a winter trip to Georgia is becoming more essential. So you have studied the information about the resorts and pronounce “Goderdzi” and “Hatsvali” without stumbling upon the sounds, looked through the list of accommodation units and picked a cozy cottage or apartment. You might have even found a ski-tour guide or a heli-ski company, which are promising an unforgettable experience in the mountains. But the rest remains unknown. What should you do there, except of skiing? What is special about those resorts with difficult names? We will try to help.
1. Take a Cuckoo Train from Bakuriani
The oldest Georgian resort, where people go to ski, snowboard, skate, try backcountry and toboggan, Bakuriani is going to expand even more, adding biathlon infrastructure to the existing objects. It also has cinema, bars and restaurants, where the owners organize various kinds of entertainment for the guests… But what is really entertaining to try, is the retro train Kukushka, which is passing along the narrow gauge line Borjomi-Bakuriani. The train leaves from Bakuriani at 10:00 and 14:15, from Borjomi – at 07:05 and 10:55.
2. Taste pine cone jam and honey
The area around Bakuriani and Borjomi is famous for gorgeous pine forests. The locals also make jam of the cones. It is good for immune system and respiratory system (and very helpful, if one caught cold or suffers from bronchitis, but we hope it will never happen to any of our readers!). Pine cone honey is another sweet treat you will easily get in Borjomi and Bakuriani. Though, if the jam sellers can tell you the recipe, the local bees will keep their secret forever.
3. Visiting home-based museums in Svaneti
So far Svanetian resorts Hatsvali and Tetnuldi resorts are for sports only. Accommodation and fun is still in Mestia and surrounding villages. For culture diggers a visit to the Museum of History and Ethnography of Svaneti must be a pure delight! But there is always something more, something less explored. For example, the museum of famous alpinist Mikheil Khergiani in Mestia or two little ethnographic museums in Ushguli (if you manage to get there, of course). It gives much more impression about real life and culture of Svaneti!
4. Try real Ajarian cuisine
If you go skiing to Goderdzi, a dive into the local cuisine is inevitable. You must have heard about famous boat-like Ajaruli khachapuri, right? That one with an egg on top? Forget it! At least for some time, because Ajara has so many other regional dishes sounding like music and soaking with cheese! Taste achma, borano or sinori, and then we will talk… if you will be able to talk after eating all these delicacies at once!
5. See UNESCO Heritage
Well, if you find yourself in Svaneti, you are basically surrounded by the heritage objects, because those amazing grumpy-looking medieval towers were the reason, why the region was put on UNESCO map. But if your destination for winter sports is Gudauri, don’t miss the chance to visit little town Mtskheta, the old capital of Georgia. It is very close to Tbilisi, so if your route is going via the contemporary capital, take a small detour to be amazed by frescoes of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and the view from Jvari monastery. And if you arrived to the airport of Kutaisi, visiting Bagrati and Gelati monasteries won’t take you a lot of time. They are very impressive and very old. You might be skeptical about the official rankings and lists, but these two churches are really marvelous examples of medieval architecture!