Recently, we spent 10 days exploring The Republic of Georgia. Check out our itinerary for some inspiration!
Day 1 – Arrival in Tbilisi
We arrived in Tbilisi from Amsterdam at around 5:15 pm. Getting through customs was quick and painless – if you’re coming from the United States you do not need a Visa. Once we were outside in the warm air we started haggling with taxi drivers. They will try and charge you 100 GEL but try not to pay any more than 35 GEL. You can try and use a taxi app, but we thought it would just be easier and quicker to hop in a taxi that was already at the airport. After a couple of minutes of negotiation, we were on our way.
Once we were settled into our Airbnb in the Old City we changed clothes and headed down the cobblestone street to a tiny wine shop we had seen on our way in. We sat outside and tasted some wine and fresh cheese before moving on to a late dinner at Lolita and then drinks at a couple of bars in the Old City area.
Day 2 – Exploring Tbilisi
The next day was HOT. 87 degrees, sunny, and slightly humid. A great day to walk around and explore the city! We slept in, had a late breakfast (they aren’t big on breakfast here so we spent the rest of our time in Airbnbs making eggs before setting out), and then took a long walk along the river – passing The Peace Bridge, the Dry Bridge Market, checking out the Fabrika Hostel area, and then eventually ended up on Agmashenebeli Avenue where we sat in front of misting fans drinking rosé.
Day 3 – Wine Tasting in Kakheti
We set out around 10am to make our way out to wine country for the day with our private driver, David. We first stopped in Signagi and checked out the fortress wall, and then made our way to three wineries around Telavi before finally stopping to taste David’s homemade wine. It was interesting learning about how the qveri wine is made, and wine country is always relaxing and beautiful, but I would normally tend to skip a day of wine tasting for something else on the agenda since you can easily taste different wines at every meal in Georgia!
Day 4 – Armenia
Since we have no idea the next time we’ll be back in this part of the world, we thought it would be nice to try and check out another country. It seemed like the best way to check out Azerbaijan was to fly to Baku, so we opted for a day trip to Armenia. If I were to do it all over again, I would not do a day trip to Armenia. We drove for hours to Lake Sevan, which was beautiful, but a bit chilly, so after checking out the monastery there wasn’t much to besides buy souvenirs and have an overpriced lunch. I guess we can now say we’ve been to Armenia, but if I were to do it again, I’d keep going and spend the night in Yerevan.
Day 5 – Off to Kazbegi
Today we were driven to Kazbegi in the Caucauses Mountains close to the border of Russia. On the way we stopped at the Ananuri Fortress and the Russian-Georgian Friendship Monument. We arrived in Kazbegi in early afternoon and stayed at the Rooms Hotel (I cannot recommend this hotel enough) where we spent most of the day lounging around, eating and drinking, and visiting the spa. While we’ve stayed in other small, charming mountain towns, Kazbegi didn’t seem to have too much to offer in terms of things to do — besides getting outside of course!
Day 6 – Gergeti Glacier Hike
We woke before sunrise and hiked down, through town, and then up to the Gergeti Trinity Church. For the fact that many people apparently hike to this church (versus catching a ride) the trail wasn’t always obvious and was incredibly steep. We made it to the church for an, unfortunately, disappointing sunrise, but basically had the place to ourselves. After a few photos, we set off to continue hiking to the glacier, picking up some friends along the way. Afterwards, we grabbed some lunch in town and continued to enjoy lounging around Rooms Hotel.
Day 7 – Back to Tbilisi
We spent the morning taking in the views and enjoying a delicious breakfast before setting back off for Tbilisi with our driver. On the way home we stopped at the Jvari Monastery before continuing on. We wandered around Rustaveli Avenue that evening, admiring the architecture and enjoying the warm weather.
Day 8 – Hiking Birtsvisi Canyon
Today was supposed to be the day we hiked the Abudelauri Lakes. Unfortunately, in late May, the lakes were still frozen and even covered in some avalanche snow. Instead, we took a much shorter drive with our guide to Birtvisi Canyon where we hiked to an abandoned fortress. While it wasn’t the lake hike I had been dreaming of, it was a pretty cool experience after all! Once back in Tbilisi we bounced around a few restaurants and wine bars before torrential downpours came in and we called it an early night.
Day 9 – Georgian Independence Day
Unbeknownst to us, May 26th was Georgian Independence Day, and we just happened to be staying around the corner from Freedom Square. We spent a bit of the morning checking out the military parade before making our way to the cable car that would take us up to the Narikala Fortress. We spent some time wandering around before we walked ourselves back down to the old city to have some khinkali (dumplings) (just one of the must-eats while you’re in Georgia!). We had an early flight the next day so of course we ended up a dive bar for too many drinks and too many hours before eating pizza at midnight and trying to catch a few hours of sleep.
Day 10 – Heading Home
Our Day 10 was pretty uneventful. The streets were still closed around our Airbnb due to Independence Day so we had to walk to meet our taxi and then arrived at their small airport with plenty of time. They don’t seem to have any electronic way to check in, so even though we weren’t checking bags we had to wait in the same line as everyone else. Quickly through customs and then off to Dunkin Donuts (they have more Dunkins than San Diego does!) before starting our long journey home.
All in all, we had a fantastic time in Georgia. If we were to do it all over again, I’d probably skip the wine tasting and Armenia to explore another part of Georgia and opt outside a bit more. Of course, we couldn’t have predicted the lakes being frozen, but if you are traveling in May and that is on your bucket list it’s something to think about.
Spending more nights in Tbilisi did make for a more relaxing trip than we are sometimes used to, and I highly recommend Airbnb in the city — the places we stayed were great and inexpensive!
Stay tuned for more posts about our favorite spots eat and grab a drink and more!