One day in September, I feel like the mountains, rivers, seas, lakes, and waterfalls are calling me. I feel like going home, but work and other circumstances wouldn’t allow me to have enough time. Here’s my guide to Awsome Places in Georgia.
Flights from Abu Dhabi to Manila, then to General Santos would take much of the few days I am allowed to take leave. Not to mention the pricey airfare tickets. But I know deep in my subconscious mind, that I wanted to be with nature. I wanted to be free from work-related stress and everything that bothers me.
Here comes Georgia which keeps on popping from my Facebook newsfeed. Promos from Holiday Factory and other travel agencies won’t leave my wall so I decided I will take a break.
Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Georgia.
I searched on the internet about Georgia. I even asked strangers thru social media. Every feedback was positive. Not even a single person tried to hold me back. So it worked. Surround yourself with positive people and feed your mind with positive thoughts ONLY.
I flew to Georgia as a solo traveler. As a first-timer who was always limited by my fears, I had my own share of anxiety. I prayed for my safety. I declared blessing over my limited budget.
Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. It is located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It is bounded to the West by the Black Sea, to the North by Russia, to the South by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. (Wikipedia). I have crafted my own beautiful story but words won’t be enough to express it. Though I can tell you what amazing things to do and places to explore in Georgia are based on my 5-day stay there. This wouldn’t be about my travel for now. This would be about your story sooner or later. You can even make it better.
Assuming you are already in Tbilisi Airport, feeling alone in the midst of other passengers, anxious and nervous. Cope up, you are here to enjoy.
Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Tbilisi / Tbilisi.
Let me guess what will make you at ease. I think it is when you are going out from the airport to the waiting area, searching for a guy that you don’t know that your host sends to pick you up. And out of a number of people waiting there, you will see in an A4 size bond paper written “Kala D Karin, Hotel Gomi 19.” That’s you, right? Feel secure now.
Most Georgians are familiar with the history of their place and they are more than willing to tell you about this. As a Kaladkarin (someone you can bring anywhere), I know you are more eager to listen and find different ways to discover more of this country endowed with beauty.
Wherever you plan to stay, either in a hotel or a hostel, for sure you will receive a warm welcome. And it’ll make you feel at home during your entire stay. Here’s our list of best backpackers hostels in Georgia.
Awesome Places To Explore in Georgia
When you are in Tbilisi, take a hike to Narikala Fortress. You’ll never forget it, I guarantee you. Why? When is the 4th century? I don’t even know. It was at this time that it was built. But I have an idea that it is so old. Imagine a fortress that has passed the test of time and protected a city from wars.
Why not try to seat, walk, climb, hug, and even take a selfie on the ancient walls. Won’t you feel proud of yourself that you’d been able to set foot in the city’s witness its history while enjoying the overlooking view of Tbilisi?
Inside Narikala is St. Nicholas Church, newly built in 1996. You are allowed to go inside the Church. For women, just make sure to wear a head scarf and a long skirt (available from the entrance.) And shorts are not allowed for men. Taking photographs is not allowed as well inside the Church. But you are very welcome to say a prayer.
From Narikala, don’t go back afterward. Continue to take a walk going to Sololaki Hill where Kartvlis Deda or Mother of Georgia is standing tall and proud. She is a beautiful and courageous 20-meter statue of a Georgian woman clad in their National Dress.
Look at her and let her welcome you with a bowl of wine from her left hand. Never mind the sword she is holding in her right hand, it is reserved for those who come as her enemy.
By walking to the other side of the hill, you can reach Botanical Garden wherein at the heart of it is a spectacular waterfall.
Vardzia Cave Monastery
Going to the Southern part of Georgia, you can visit a cave monastery, Vardzia. Unleash your inner child. Walk around and even play hide and seek here. (Even though you are alone and regardless of your age.)
According to etiological myth, young Tamar went hunting with Giorgi and got lost. Put yourself in her case, imagine you are the young heiress, Prinsesa Kk, and being lost. Then you heard somebody calling your name. Your reply is “ac var dzia,” which means “I am here, Uncle.” From this myth, Vardzia Cave Monastery derived its name.
Back to reality, Tamar became the first woman to rule Georgia. She is known as the Holy Righteous King Tamar. In the Georgian language, she was called KING because SHE ruled as a monarch and her father had no male heir.
From the monastery, you can go down where a refreshment store is found. Beside it, is the Mtkvari River that invites you to sit on its side, relax and tell you to let your worries flow with its waters.
If you’d been traveling for how many hours, it’s inevitable that you might fall asleep in between trips. You missed what your tour guide was telling about the place and its history. Out of tiredness, sometimes you’re dreaming you are a princess trapped in a castle. Then the bus took a stop. You woke up, still feeling sleepy. But everybody’s stepping out of the bus. And you should have too.
Rabati Castle, Akhaltsikhe
Still getting back to your senses, you look around. Whoa! You’re mesmerized. It’s another castle. The adrenaline rush is back in your system. You want to walk, run and jump for joy. Dream comes true? You are now in Rabati Castle, Akhaltsikhe.
You are taking a flight of stairs after stairs, while enjoying the view of every hall as you ascend, trying to capture pictures here and there. You’ll really get crazy if your battery gets empty or your memory is full.
You kept on moving and taking steps and now you’re taking sets of ladders going up to the highest peak of the tower. And you see from above the beautiful place of Akhaltsikhe and the rest of the castle below.
Tell me now, does it need to become a real princess first to be able to explore and feel the joy of being in a castle? I don’t think so; a Kaladkarin can do it as well.
It’s a must experience also to have a stop in Borjomi and drink from free-flowing mineral water that is known for its healing and restorative properties.
David Gareja Monastery
Do you love hiking? Then head to the Eastern part of Georgia and visit David Gareja Monastery on the borders of Georgia and Azerbaijan.
During the travel, if you are coming from Tbilisi, you might feel you are being lost along the way. Desert and hill after hill, you might think there is nothing to see in that place. Indulge yourself in the stillness and silence of the place as you continue your journey and reach the place.
David Gareja Monastery Complex was built during the 6th century. You can also visit the tomb of St David Garejeli, the first monk who lived in this cave monastery.
Your visit isn’t complete without taking a hike up to the hill. When you reach the hilltop, an unexplainable feeling will embrace you, it might be the wind, the sun, the view, or maybe because angels do exist there. You might feel like singing the song of The Carpenter’s Top of the World, you are free to do so. Or you can throw out your “hugot” lines and let them vanish in the wind or be absorbed in the vast array of the land.
Traveling to the Northern part of Georgia through the Georgian Military Road will amaze you as well. Along the way, you might be busy looking at the scenic views through the window. Enjoy every moment and scenery that you are passing by. Expect something.
Great Lake Jinvali
For sure, the next breathtaking panorama will amaze you, the Great Lake Jinvali. You might not believe what your eyes are seeing. But yes, great creation is just within your sight. Seize the moment.
The Caucasus Mountains and Gergeti Trinity Church
As you continue traversing the Georgian Military Highway, you will be awed by the majestic Caucasus Mountains. Till you reach a small town, Kazbegi.
In the photo shown above, we can see the Gergeti Trinity Church on top of the mountain. And it’s a must to visit the place. As for me, if I had enough time, I’ll do hiking to reach the top. And yes, I will really take a hike next time. I won’t tell you why. But riding a car going there is surely an adventure and I think you will never forget it as well. Find out why.
Mt. Kazbek is the third highest peak in Georgia with an elevation of 5, 047m. It is a stunning, snow-capped mountain and it is very easy to notice. He is like a King that sits on his throne. Say “Hi” and send your wishes to this prominent, beautiful dormant stratovolcano. Who knows, one day, you’ll be able to trek this splendid peak of Caucasus.
If you are on a day tour, you may wish to extend or wish the hours to slowly pass by. Our capacity as human beings might not be enough to absorb all the overwhelming superb experiences of this day. Life goes on, and everything passes by but we have the ability to cherish these little and great things.
Travertines of Georgia
When I was in Georgia, I said farewell to Mt Kazbek with the hopes to return soon. After enjoying the lush, green Caucasus range and feeling a bit anxious about the winding mountain road, I didn’t notice that we passed another way.
I fall asleep and wasn’t able to understand what our guide was telling us. That’s why I’m not aware of where we are. 🙂 Then we had a stop.
A fascinating view greeted me. Is it real? What is this? Is it a mini-waterfall beside a road? A unique kind of river? Or a spring from orange porous rocks? What are they? (The price of a sleepyhead, lost in somewhere.)
As I come closer, there are really waters being produced like that of spring from those creamy porous rocks then dropping by like a waterfall then flowing as a river. And the water is so cold and refreshing.
As I am writing this, I have to ask somebody about this place. Thanks to Georgia and Travel for accommodating my query and giving me a comprehensive reply.
So, these are the wondrous travertines of Georgia. They are a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs. It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate. (Wikipedia)
Awesome Things To Do in Tbilisi, Georgia
When you are staying in Tbilisi, pamper and entertain yourself as follows. You can add up our list as well.
Wear traditional Georgian costume and go back in time
Try different varieties of nuts
Feel the joy of shaking a branch of a walnut tree to let the ripe ones fall. Then using a stone to break its shell and able to extract the nuts. Some locals just grew it from their yard.
Related Article: Looking for affordable accommodation? Check out our Ultimate List of Best Hostels in Georgia.
Eat fresh fruits
Figs, grapefruit cranberry, raspberry, blueberry, and grapes can be picked from their vine as long as you ask permission.
Dine in a Georgian Restaurant
Try their cuisines like khachapuri, Soko seize, and khinkali while listening to Georgian songs played by a band with alternating performances of traditional dance.
Stroll around Rustavali Avenue and Freedom Square
Visit Abanotubani and have a sulfur bath
Soak in the water and have a good scrub and massage afterward.
Walk around in the Flea Market Dry Bridge
Buy something unique stuff or antiques and souvenirs.
Feel the peace of walking or crossing the Bridge of Peace
And if I still had enough time, I should have explored the Prometheus cave, visit Signagi and Bodbe and gone around Georgia.
Until next time.
For now, my heart is full of gratitude because, through the roads of Georgia, I found myself as a solivagant going on the path of wanderlust.
About the Writer:
Louie Ann Analista is an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) based in the United Arab Emirates. She loves nature trips. Lately, she traveled alone and the journey was successful. Thus, she is fond of calling herself Miss Solivagant.