In recent years, Georgia has made a major breakthrough in terms of winter recreation – now in addition to Bakuriani, which was the Olympic training camp in Soviet times, and Gudauri, an attractive destination for freeride lovers, Georgia boasts with three new resorts: Svanetian Hatsvali and Tetnuldi, and Ajarian Goderdzi. But what if you don’t know or don’t like skiing, and trips to Tbilisi and Batumi are already done? We offer some interesting options.
Uplistsikhe, the "Fortress of God", is an ancient cave town, which used to be inhabited 3000 years ago. After so many centuries, only 150 caves out of 700 remained until now. However, the structure of the settlement is still clearly visible!
Gori is famous for its fortress and the fact that Joseph Stalin was born and raised there. His museum is located in the heart of the town.
Perfect for a day trip, the ancient capital of Georgia, Mtskheta is just in half an hour drive from Tbilisi. The charming old town, the majestic cathedral Svetitskhoveli and the oldest cathedral Jvari on a hilltop - all those places are holy for every Georgian, because this is where Christianity began to spread across the country.
By the way, you should try lobio (beans) in one of the restaurants: Mtskheta is famous for that too.
- Dmanisi and Bolnisi
The ancient settlement Dmanisi, where traces of primitive people have been found, is an important historical place, as these archaeological finds are evidence of Homo erectus migration from Africa to Europe. In the scientific literature, this type of primitive people is called Homo georgicus - Georgian people. It is believed that those were actually the first Europeans. In addition to the reconstructed images of primitive men and women, at the territory of Dmanisi settlement there is an interesting archaeological exhibition.
In Bolnisi, and namely in Sioni Church, the first samples of Georgian alphabet have been discovered. This VI century church is considered to be one of the oldest in Georgia.
Near Kutaisi, the second largest city of Georgia, there are several important historical churches, which belong to UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage. The first of them, Bagrati, is a symbol of united Georgia. It was built by King Bagrat on the dawn of the Georgian Golden Age (1003 AD). You can see it almost from any place in Kutaisi.
Monastery complex Gelati, which used to be an educational, theological and philosophical center of medieval Georgia, is in 15 minutes' drive from Kutaisi. The great ruler of Georgia, King David the Builder, is buried there.
Two beautiful natural monuments, Sataplia and Prometheus’ caves, are located not far from Kutaisi. In the first cave you can see fossilized footprints of dinosaurs, and the second is one of the longest in Europe - its total length is about 11 kilometers. Though, at the moment a little more than 1,000 meters is opened for the visitors: the other parts are still being researched. In the Prometheus cave you can take a boat ride along the underground lake, or even get married in one of the halls!
Akhaltsikhe fortress was destroyed during the Russian-Turkish war, but now it is restored and is established as a great tourist destination. The complex consists of fortress, church, synagogue, mosque, bathhouse, rich museum exhibition and few hotels and cafes. There is even registry office there: this beautiful multicultural place is perfect for getting married!
Kakhetian town Kvareli is an attractive place for different categories of tourists. First of all, there are XVIII century castle, house-museum of the great Georgian Ilia Chavchavadze, “Kindzmarauli" wine factory and wine tunnel of “Khareba” company.
Second, there are beautiful lakes around the town. Near the municipal lake named after Ilia Chavchavadze you can ride a bike and have a nice walk. Kvareli Lake is a resort area, which attracts those seeking for relaxation, spa and a peaceful corner. Also near Kvareli there is hotel where you can enjoy spa services, based on the Georgian wine.