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7 highlights of Georgia

If you're planning a trip to Georgia, add these must-see highlights to your itinerary. From exploring the lively capital city of Tbilisi and tasting local wine in Kakheti, to trekking through Kazbegi National Park and delving into ancient cave towns, Georgia is full of unforgettable experiences.
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1. Tbilisi

A fantastic starting point for any trip to Georgia is a visit to Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital city, which is a real melting pot of old and new. Follow your local guide to discover ornate synagogues, 18th-century mosques, Georgia’s oldest basilica, medieval Armenian churches and a Zoroastrian Fire-Worshipper's temple. For something more contemporary, head to the wave-shaped Peace Bridge that stretches across the Kura River, connecting Old Tbilisi with the city’s more modern districts. After a busy day of sightseeing, wander through quaint narrow streets and faded 19th-century wooden buildings, and kick back in a quirky street-side cafe to snack on some khachapuri while observing the hustle and bustle of local life.

2. Kakheti

Kakheti is Georgia’s most well-regarded wine region and one of the oldest in the world. With many natural springs and mineral-rich water from the Caucasian Mountains, as well as warm summers and mild winters, Georgia’s climate is ideal for wine production. Travel through a verdant countryside scattered with grapevines and incredible mountain panoramas to appreciate this perfect wine-crafting landscape. Discover locally-run wineries and head to Kondoli to learn about the organic farming methods used to harvest special bio wines. Georgia also has a unique wine-making process that involves storing the pressed grape juice underground in large qvevris pots (egg-shaped clay caskets) while it ferments. Join a local wine master to see this ancient craft in practice and tickle your taste-buds with samples of the local white, red and amber wines.

3. Kazbegi

Discover emerald-green alpine meadows and towering snow-capped mountains in the Kazbegi region of Georgia. Spanning over 8,700 hectares on the northern slopes of the Caucasus ranges, Kazbegi National Park is home to a variety of flora and fauna. You may also spot a pack of roaming wolves or a solitary bear foraging for food amongst the jagged peaks. Don your walking boots and trek along the dusty mountain paths to the dizzy heights of Gergeti village and make a pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Trinity set upon a blanket of green in a natural amphitheatre of craggy mountains. Cloaked in mythology and religious tradition, Mount Kazbegi is the place where the Greek Titan Prometheus was chained for all eternity, and ancient Abrahamic relics are said to have been discovered here.

4. Uplistsikhe Cave Town

Step back in time and head to the Silk Road cave town of Uplistsikhe on the banks of the Mtkvari River to uncover an entire town of streets, churches, palaces and homes carved into the mountainside. Dating back to the first millennium BC, the town became a prominent city on the trade route of Byzantium with India and China and age-old relics from the Bronze and Middle ages have been discovered here. Wander through vaulted chambers chiselled into the ivory-coloured rock, peer into hollow caverns that once housed the sacred shrines of religious ceremonies, and sit on the cascading tiers of a timeworn amphitheatre.

5. Sighnaghi

Set upon a verdant hilltop in the Kakheti region, the pretty town of Sighnaghi, also known as the ‘Paris of Georgia’, boasts far-reaching views of the Khaketi Winelands against a dramatic backdrop of the towering Greater Caucasus mountain ranges. Wander through the quaint cobbled streets lined with 18th-century dwellings, overhanging wooden balconies and terracotta tiled roofs, and visit a 16th-century wine cellar to sample some of the region’s delicious red and white wines that have been produced here for over 300 years. 

6. Vardzia Caves

One of the most popular highlights of Georgia is the ancient cave monastery of Vardzia, cut into a towering cliff face. King Giorgi III first established the fortification as a stronghold against the Turkish Sultanate and his daughter, Tamar the Great, later created a labyrinth of caves to further protect her people. Delve into the underground maze of subterranean candle-lit churches, halls, refectories and wine cellars interconnected by narrow tunnels and stone stairways within the mountain. It’s hard to imagine how a whole city managed to survive here. However, monks still reside in the mountain caves and the original irrigation pipes provide them with water so they can remain self-sufficient in this desolate landscape. 

7. Svaneti

Get off the beaten track with a trek into Georgia's Svaneti region. Set amongst the snow-capped peaks and deep gorges of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, indigenous communities reside in its remote villages. Medieval stone towers known as koshki are dotted within the verdant landscape of emerald green pastures, and mighty glaciers slide down the valleys toward the inky-blue lakes and rivers. Stay in the village of Becho in the dominating shadow of Mount Ushba known as the 'Matterhorn of the Caucasus,' and meet the local Svan people to learn about their unique culture and age-old traditions.

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