The Most Beautiful Road Passes of Georgia

The Most Beautiful Road Passes of Georgia

As soon as you fly over the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus and pass through the clouds, the mountain slopes covered by serpentine roads peek through the porthole. 54% of Georgia's terrain is mountains, 33% percent is hillsides, and only 13% percent is plains. Historical and natural monuments are mostly in the mountains connected by passes. There are more than 100 designated passes in Georgia, many of them are passable by foot, and a small portion have roads.
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Rikoti Pass

The Rikoti Pass connects Eastern and Western Georgia and passes through the Likhi ridge, 996 meters above sea level. It is the busiest and highest-capacity pass in Georgia.

From Tbilisi, as soon as you pass Surami town and Chumateleti village, the Rikoti Pass begins. Years ago, a 1,722-meter tunnel was dug under the mountain, which made the trip comfortable and shortened the distance, but nature lovers and romantic travelers still prefer to go over the mountain because it passes through beautiful deciduous forests. 

Rivers and small tributaries cross the pass and many recreation and camping sites are in Dzirula and Rikotula valleys. Along the way are restaurants where you can stop and taste traditional dishes.

The Georgian pottery market resembles works of art in Shrosha village, where you can buy souvenirs, jugs, glasses, pots, bowls, and other items made of Georgian clay. There are also several places along the way where you can buy handmade baskets and wooden household items from the locals.

Near Ubisa village, a few meters from the road, stands the Ubisa Monastery, a unique monument of Georgian architecture.

Rikoti Pass soon transforms into a high-speed highway with 96 new bridges and 53 tunnels, creating a 52-kilometer highway. 

Jvari Pass

After the Rikoti Pass, the Jvari Pass in the northeast, 2,379 meters above sea level, is the busiest in terms of traffic. The Georgian military road passes through it, following the Aragvi valley, and it is one of the main transport arteries of the country.

On the southwestern slope of the pass lies the Gudauri mountain-ski resort. Snow covers this area in autumn and the winter season lasts until April. There are many beautiful places along the pass for mountain lovers.

Abano Pass 

In Kakheti, the Abano Pass sits on the main watershed ridge of the Caucasus at 3,000 meters above sea level, on the sky-lifted mountains.

The road full of adventures starts in Pshaveli village, Telavi region, and ends in Omalo, the administrative center of Tusheti. Travel from Pshaveli to Omalo by an SUV with high clearance in around 4 hours.

The paved section ends at Stori Valley and the dirt road continues with steep ascents. This road attracts visitors with its beauty and adrenaline because it is one of the most challenging road sections in Europe. In 2013, the BBC included the Abano pass that leads to Tusheti on the list of the most extreme roads in Europe. 

Snow lays even in summertime nearby rustic Torgva Bath - a covered mineral spring where one can have a dip. At 1,750 meters above sea level, the resort maintains a cool climate and has a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding mountains.

Due to heavy snowfall, the Abano pass is closed from the end of October to the end of May or beginning of June.

Datvisjvari Pass

Datvisjvari Pass in the Caucasus Range connects Aragvi Gorge (Piraketa Khevsureti) and Arghuni Gorge (Pirikita Khevsureti) in Khevsureti Region by road.

On the Georgian military road, turn right near Zhinvali village and take the road to the north. Pass the Zhinvali reservoir, leaving behind Bulachauri, Magharoskaro, and Chargali villages. Then pass the ancient village of Barisakho and keep going higher and higher. The green slopes of the mountains are dotted with white flocks of sheep, even if you reach the highest point of the pass.

As a rule, everyone stops and grabs a camera when the snow-capped peaks are within reach and alpine flowers are blooming on the mountain slopes at 2,676 meters above sea level.

If you look back from this point, Khevsureti can be seen, in front, there are still mountains, the beautiful valley of the river Arghuni and the road that leads to the mysterious villages of Shatili and Mutso.

Goderdzi Pass

Goderdzi Pass connects Samtskhe-Javakheti and Ajara regions by the Batumi-Akhaltsikhe road passing through it. The slopes of the pass are steep and surrounded by subalpine meadows. Goderdzi pass has relatively good infrastructure with many hotels and guesthouses open year-round.

Green Lake, Beshumi Resort, and Goderdzi Alpine Garden are all must-see sights along the way.

As soon as you cross the pass to the Ajara side, you encounter Goderdzi mountain and ski resort that has hotels and comfortable cottages. The Goderdzi resort has two cable cars operating in winter and summer and 8 kilometers of ski slopes.

Goderdzi pass is covered by heavy snow in winter. Snowfalls last from the beginning of November to April. 

Nakerala Pass 

Nakerala Pass is on the Racha Ridge, 1,218 meters above sea level, connecting Imereti and Racha Regions.

The Tkibuli-Ambrolauri road passes through Nakerala and the pass begins after Tkibuli and is followed by deciduous forests. As soon as you pass Nakerala, the first stop is Nikortsminda.

This road is beautiful in every season of the year. In Nakerala, there is often fog, snow sometimes falls in autumn, and in winter there is a lack of snow because due to active traffic, it is constantly cleaned with a snow plow.

People have been conquering passes since ancient times. As the old Latin civilizations used to say: via est vita, or the road is life.

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