From Tbilisi, it is possible to travel to Kazbegi and Gudauri by car for a day trip. However, since it can be 6 hours or more roundtrip, a 2-day trip is better if you have time. Otherwise you need to worry about the tunnel traffic, and what time you can get back to the city.
On the way, there are some beautiful viewpoints including Jinvali reservoir and Aragvi River of Two Colours Viewpoint. The Aragvi river merging is interesting to see with its white and black rivers mixing together. The Georgian-Russian Friendship is located at the Gudauri viewpoint. Most Georgians do not like the name of the monument as they are not in support of Russia. Nevertheless, the monument is beautiful and there is a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. Luckily, we visited after a night of snowfall so we had a stunning, snowy view. Unfortunately though we had not worn proper shoes for trekking through 60 centimetres of snow!
Kazbegi is home to the beautiful Gergeti Trinity Church. On a clear day, the view of Mount Kazbek is beautiful. Below are the towns of Gergeti and Stepantsminda AKA Kazbegi.
- Gergeti Trinity Church and Monastery
- Mount Kazbek
- Gudauri Viewpoint
- Georgian-Russian Friendship monument
- Views from the Gudauri ski lifts
- Skiing in Gudauri
- Aragvi River of Two Colors Viewpoint
- Ananuri Fortress Complex
- Zhinvali or Jinvali Water Reservoir
Before you go
- In the winter or early spring, bring snow boots if there has been recent snow
- Some walking or hiking is needed to reach the view points
- The drive is long and involves tunnels, so travel times can be unpredictable
- Georgian Orthodox churches require long trousers for men, long skirts and a head covering for women
- For transport, I booked a private driver/guide named Karlo with Karlo-Georgia via Trip Advisor. However, we ended up combining with two other people so he bought us lunch. The journey is not easy as it is far, and relies on tunnels which sometimes close. It had snowed a lot the day before so there were thousands of trucks on the sides of the roads waiting to pass. We got stuck once in a long queue, so took a break and then tried again. The travel time can therefore be unpredictable!
- I didn’t stay overnight in this area. It’s about a 3 hour drive from Tbilisi so possible to do a day trip
- However, staying overnight would be better for a more relaxed trip
- Some people stay at the Gudauri Ski Resort
We had a wonderful lunch at Restaurant Khevi in Stepantsminda. It was our only meal in the area on the day trip.
Our guide Karlo ordered many Georgian dishes for us to try. We tried bread, baked beans, cucumber tomato salad, roast potatoes, cheese-stuffed mushrooms, beef stew, and chicken in garlic cream sauce called Chkmeruli. Everything was delicious and my favourite was the chicken. The potatoes were also very tasty and were spiced with cumin.
We also tried the local lemonade one of which was flavoured with an unusual fruit called feijoa.
For snacks and coffee, we stopped in Gudauri at სმარტი / Smart. It is a supermarket and cafe in one place.
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: Yes you need at least a driver to get there. A tour guide is useful to show you around, share history and other interesting facts
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Yes mostly as it’s a tourist destination
Q: Is it a walkable place?
A: No, the sights are quite spread out so you need a car. However, if you like walking then there are plenty of places to walk and hike
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