Major Tourist Attractions: Mount Kazbek, Lake Ritsa, Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, Uplistsikhe, Narikala
Whether you want to lie on a pebble beach, hike to remote villages or sample wine in the oldest winemaking region in the world, Georgia may be one of the best tourist destinations you’ve never heard of. A former Soviet republic bordering the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, it is now welcoming visitors with open arms.
Considered by some as the cradle of both Christianity and wine, Georgia’s distinctive culture has evolved over centuries. The historic influence of the Orthodox Church on Georgian art and architecture is evident in the dozens of churches and monasteries throughout the country. Georgian cuisine takes some cues from Mediterranean cuisine, but tends to be quite unique, with ingredients like walnuts and eggplant taking center stage.
The Georgian people are as friendly as they come and will be quick to share a bottle of wine or invite you into their home for dinner. Sharing a meal in a Georgian home is a great way to experience the different regional culinary traditions in the country.
Hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts have sprung up around the country in recent years, offering a range of accommodation options for any budget. Several day trips are available from Tbilisi, so many visitors stop there for a few days before moving on to the beach or mountains. Overnight trains run between Tbilisi and Batumi and Zugdidi, while mini-buses known as marshrutkas are an easy way to get around elsewhere.
Here is a sampling of what awaits travelers on a trip to Georgia:
- Get lost in Tbilisi’s Old Town.
- Marvel at the colored frescoes inside the cave monasteries at Davit Gareja.
- Ride the cable car up to the Narikala Fortress.
- Visit Georgia’s first capital, Mtskheta.
- Relax on the pebble beach or stroll along the boardwalk in Batumi.
- Hike to Ushguli, the highest village in Europe.
- Learn about the life of Joseph Stalin in the dictator’s hometown of Gori.
- Explore the unique cave city of Uplistsikhe.
- Tour wineries in Kakheti, the oldest winemaking region in the world, dating back to 6,000 B.C.
- Wander through the streets of the hilltop town of Sighnaghi.
- Try khachapuri, Georgia’s famous cheesebread.
Address: 11 George Balanchine Street
Tbilisi, Georgia, 0131
Phone: (995-32) 227-77-24
From the US: (995 32) 227-7000