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A clamorous past, an unmatched high-altitude scenery, Georgia is a country sandwiched between Asia on one side and Europe on the other.
Technically, it is Eurasian, but when asked to Georgians, they prefer to say that they are the “balcony of Europe.” Well, that’s pretty much right because straddled on the Caucasus Mountains, Georgia is a window to Europe.
As of lately, Georgia is becoming one of the top tourist destinations in the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from both Europe and Asia. So, it can be technically called the melting pot of European and Asian cultures.
The country has everything – from snow-capped mountain peaks to glistening blue waters of Black Sea to shimmering beaches of shifting sands.
No doubt, it becomes incredibly challenging to curate a list of places to visit in Georgia. A little tenacity, however, does the trick. But, before we start with our incredible catalog of Georgia tourist attractions, how about a few fun facts about the “balcony of Europe”?
- Georgia is home to Voronya cave – the deepest cave in the world.
- One of the oldest traditions of Georgia is winemaking.
- Georgia has its renaissance period known as Georgian Renaissance. It lasted from the 12th century to the 13th century when the Kingdom of Georgia attained in political and cultural zenith under Queen Tamar and The Builder – King David.
- Georgia bites on to Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe, making it a transcontinental country.
- World Bank gave Georgia the title of world’s number 1 economic reformer.
- The ancient Silk Road passed through a Georgian port known as Phazisi.
- Georgia has two distinct parts – Western Georgia and Eastern Georgia. The Likhi Mountain Range is responsible for this.
- Georgia earned her independence in 1991 from USSR (Soviet Union).
This list can go on and on, but that’s not the purpose here. So, combing through the Georgia points of interest best suited for an international holiday tour makes sense. Ain’t so?
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Here’s the list of the top places to visit in Georgia
Tusheti National Park
Could there be a better way to start the list of best places to visit in Georgia other than by mentioning the Tusheti National Park? It is a country of immense natural beauty, and hence, a national park makes much sense for travelers who visit Georgia.
Sitting at the northern edge of Greater Caucasus Mountains, the Tusheti National Park is all about sweeping views of the formidable mountains on every side. It sits right on the cusp of the Russian and Chechnyan cusp and is the home to famous Tush people, after whom the park has been named.
Grass-clad hills do have a few roads that lead all the way up to the villages that sit in silence right in the middle of the misty mountain peaks. The area is famous for its cheeses and wool.
By the way, one shouldn’t be surprised to see rustic sheep farms encompassing the brick-built Dartlo and the likes that seem to have organically sprouted out of the rocky yet green face of the Greater Caucasus Mountains.
An echt showcase of the culture of the country, Tbilisi – the Capital City of Georgia, is a must-visit for those who travel to Georgia. Despite being the most significant Georgian town, Tbilisi often managed to trick its visitors into thinking that it is a small charming town, thanks to the little neighborhoods that look somewhat displaced in time.
Tbilisi aptly captures the architectural, cultural, and human history. A quick trip to the overwhelming market called bazroba is always suggested for the intrepid travelers, or they can directly go and take a detailed look at the Old Town that has been newly redone.
It will be an absolute shame if someone misses out the Narikala Fortress or the Kartvlis Deda statue. Up from the figure, one can catch a sweeping view of the metropolis.
Failure to visit Tbilisi Botanical Garden right at the foothills of Narikala Fortress will unmistakably mean leaving one’s Georgia travel incomplete. Spanning over 161 hectares, this botanical garden is home to 4,500 plus taxonomic groups that are worth exploring. A wealth of knowledge is hidden in the garden.
128 kilometers away from Zugdidi – the nearest large town, Mestia can rightly be called a mountain paradise that will enchant the hiking-crazy tourists.
It takes 4 hours by car from Zugdidi to reach the place that is inhabited by the Svans that have their very own cuisine and their very own language. Undoubtedly, Mestia remains one of the top places to visit in Georgia.
Those who make it further uphill may be lucky enough to encounter an old Svan Tower that has been around for several centuries and still put to use even today by the inhabitants. Streams of somewhat murky water tearing through the towering rocks clad with a coat of shades of green is a welcome site.
For the starters, Borjomi is the place from where the semi-sparkling and salty brew of mineral water by the same name once pleased the Soviet masters of Georgia. Yes, it is the place where the volcanic sulfuric springs responsible for providing the famous frizzante brew.
However, Borjomi is far more than that. Those who embark on Georgia travel and head for Borjomi are first taken by surprise by the magnificence of the natural setting. The town is nestled and neatly tucked between the Borjomi Gorge ridges and stays almost hidden due to the towering green trees on every side.
And the floating clouds and the mist added to the surreal magic. Once in the town, people are greeted by imperial Soviet architecture, grassy lawns, and scores of fountains. Reaching out to the edge of the city, one is greeted by the mysterious Green Monastery that oozes the eerie tales of monkish slaughter that took place somewhere during the Middle Ages.
Borjomi is one of the best options for sightseeing in Georgia.
Stepantsminda remains as the screaming testament of how determined humans can become. This place is a must-visit during the days of travel to Georgia. The area has been named after a Georgian Orthodox monk who went to place and built a hermitage.
Perched in the middle of Greater Caucasus, Stepantsminda’s most iconic site is the Gergeti Trinity Church sitting atop a hill. A road directly leads to the foothills, but to reach the church, one needs to trek uphill. Though the trek isn’t precarious, it is a tiring and difficult one.
Once a traveler reaches the top, he or she invariably asks one question – what type of labor did it take to build a church in a location like that?’. Once at the top, one can inhale air so fresh that it honestly rejuvenates a person to his / her very core.
Those who reach Stepantsminda are also awarded the sweeping views across the enormous mountains – a sight that one will remember forever… No doubt, Stepantsminda is one of the best Georgia points of interest among the tourists.
For those who travel to Georgia and hunt for a dramatic site in Georgia, the Vardzia comes out with flying colors. This seriously ravishing place has layers of historical narratives that history buffs will prefer to comb through.
It is said that starting mid-12th-century, Bagrationi dynastic kings ordered constructions on Mount Erusheti’s edge. Ever since then, shrines, caves, and monolithic churches have been inhabited.
Vardzia is home to Dormition church – a must-see for those who have a slight religious bending and for those who want to enjoy the exquisitely beautiful iconostasis and murals with fused Romanesque, Byzantine, and Oriental styles. The church has been carved out of rocks!
For those who want to indulge in exciting winter sports, Gudauri is in the heart of the Greater Caucasus. 2,000 meters below are the gorgeous valleys that cut through the Greater Caucasus range in northern Georgia.
Not indeed a threatening challenge to Alps’ ski fields, the Gudauri ski fields are a good alternative for beginners and enthusiasts alike. Sitting on the list of best places to visit in Georgia, Gudauri is perfect for rookie skiers who get 22 kilometers of the blue run, and for somewhat experts, another 10 kilometers of black race works magic.
For skiers who are on their first ever Georgia travel, Gudauri is a snow-sure zone. It means, the place always plates skiable pistes during the winters and all the way up to April.
It may be hard to believe that Lake Ritsa, with its shimmering icy waters and its dense Normand firs and buxus, belongs to Georgia. That’s a common mistake that many people, who visit Georgia for the first time, make.
The truth is, the picture-perfect Lake Ritsa meandering through Abkhazia mountains is a Georgian alpine retreat that looks like it has been just cut out from British Colombia’s Rockies or the Austrian Alps.
Its scenic beauty and the opportunities to hike through less-trodden paths make Lake Ritsa a shining star on the list of places to visit in Georgia. Yes, sir! Wild swimming and boating are two other options that are always available for travelers.
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Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.