Best Experiences in Georgia the Country
Slowing Down in Ushguli
Nestled high in the Caucasus Mountains in the Upper Svaneti region, the remote village of Ushguli seems mostly untouched by the modern world. Walking along the cobbled, twisting lanes past old stone houses and towers, it feels as if one has stepped back in time. The pace of life moves slowly here, as it has for centuries. The only sounds are the villagers leading their cattle to pastures, the rush of the nearby river, and the wind whistling through the valley. In Ushguli, life carries on as it always has, with a tranquil charm and disconnection from everything beyond these valley walls. And it is the reason why I believe the best experience one can have in Georgia.
Read the Story - Towers of Stone
Wandering the Caves of Vardzia
After a thorough and contemplative slow-down, a venture much further south to the dry canyons of Vardzia harkens to a period of instability and ingenuity. The Vardzia Caves are a sprawling cave monastery carved into the rocky mountainside in the 12th century as a stronghold for Queen Tamar and hideaway from the Mongol Army. Wandering through the network of cells, chapels and passageways, it is simply amazing the level of craftsmanship still visible in the stone walls despite their great age. Over 600 interconnected rooms exist of the near vertical slopes, a true testament to the ingenuity of mankind and the extremes we have taken to survive.
Explore the Vardzia Caves
Hiking in the National Parks
Georgia for a small country is blessed with an abundance of beautiful landscapes, filled with a great network of National Parks. From the Caucasus Mountains to temperate rainforest along the Black Sea and plateaus filled with lakes, there is an abundance of places to stretch your legs for a day hike or a long trek. Our two favorite hiking destinations in Georgia are Kazbegi National Park and Mtirala National Park, both showcasing vastly different sides to the nation. Kazbegi, with the towering and dormant volcano of the same name along the Russian border, has some absolutely dramatic scenery. Mtirala, just a short drive into emerald green hills from Batumi, has forested trails of waterfalls and rushing rivers.
Exploring the Old Town of Tbilisi
Capitals are generally the starting point for any venture to a country, but oftentimes not the highlight. Exploring Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, however, is undoubtedly one of the greatest experiences one can have in the nation. It has everything from historic old towns, ancient churches, vertigo-inducing castles, and quirky clock-towers. At the crossroads of Asia and Europe, this diverse city still evokes its Silk Road glory days while mingling with the bold future. Pop in and out of colorful shops, try freshly baked bread and Georgian treats, and gaze at some unique artwork, all in a compact, ever-changing area with multiple layers of history.
Step Into the Outpost of Tbilisi
Reflecting on the Medieval Heritage
During the 11th-13th centuries, Georgia experienced a renaissance in art, literature, and architecture under the rule of King David the Builder and Queen Tamar. Masterpieces from this era that still stand today include the Gelati Monastery and the cathedral of Svetitskhoveli, each holding their own legends. Walking past medieval fortresses overlooking winding valleys and into painted cave chapels where monks once prayed, I found it best to reflect on their legacy and how they have shaped Georgia. Though conquered by Mongols and Ottomans in later centuries, the medieval heritage of this small country remains one of Georgia's defining treasures.
Explore the Gelati Monastery or the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral