Day Trips in Georgia: Kazbegi
Georgia is an underrated country with stunning landscapes and a robust culture. Although most people in the country live in Tbilisi, there is more to see than just the capital city. Day trips in Georgia have a lot to offer. Try Kazbegi!
Kazbegi is a district in the northeast of Georgia, right on the border with Russia. It is known for its gorgeous views in the Greater Caucasus mountains. Hikers and mountain climbers will have a field day here, but even the average traveler is guaranteed to have an amazing time.
Gamarjoba Georgia Tours offers a great day trip to Kazbegi. It lasts 12 hours, but the guides are so fun and friendly. In fact, my guide provided a generous amount of chacha, a Georgia brandy. It probably isn’t the best beverage to drink when you’re taking photos on a cliff. But time flew by.
You can book a tour with Get Your Guide. The tour costs $34, which is an amazing deal. But you will need to pay extra for food and a 4WD car up the mountain. Anyway, let’s get to the trip!
Zhinvali Water Reservoir
The first stop is to the Zhinvali Water Reservoir. The dam was created by the Soviets in the 1980s to serve as a water supply for the rapidly growing Tbilisi. And in so doing, the Soviets also flooded the centuries-old remains of the historical city of Zhinvali.
History aside, the reservoir is a beautiful sight to see. It is a gorgeous lake with perfect, blue waters and verdant, green forest. It’s the perfect start for your day trip in Georgia.
Along the way, you may stop to see the Black and White Aragvi River. Here two streams meet: one black and one white. But they don’t blend, so you get a surreal black and white river. The novelty wears off after a while. Even so, it’s a great place to stop and stretch your legs.
Gudauri Ski Resort
By now, your tour group has entered the mountains. No matter where you look, you are treated to breathtaking views. You’ll stop next at Gudauri Ski Resort. If you visit Georgia in winter, everything here is covered in snow. It’s a snowy wonderland.
Outdoor lovers may consider staying here for their next ski trip. After you take your amazing day trips in Georgia, book a stay at the resort. That way you can enjoy the beauty of the mountains all winter long.
In spring, the Gudauri Ski Resort is covered in brilliant, green grass and blooming flowers. It won’t look like a ski resort at this time, but it’s still beautiful. And since it’s not ski season, the area will be less crowded.
Gergeti Trinity Church
The climax of the day is the Gergeti Trinity Church. The church stands 2170 meters above ground in the heart of Kazbegi. You can hire a 4WD car to take you up, or you can hike the mountain yourself. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to meet up with the tour later if you decide to hike.
The Gergeti Trinity Church is worth a look inside. Girls will have to cover their heads and legs in accordance with religious rules. Eastern Orthodox churches have a certain charm with their beautifully painted icons.
But the real holy treasure is all around you. At the church, you will get an astounding view of the mountains and the town of Stepantsminda below. Seriously, it is an experience you won’t forget. The views alone make this one of the best day trips in Georgia.
For lunch you have two options. The first option is to bring your own lunch and walk around Stepantsminda. Obviously, this is a better choice if you want to save money. But there isn’t much to do in the town, and it’s quite small. So I recommend option two.
Option two is to eat lunch with a local family. Yes, you need to spend a little money. But this is an amazing way to get delicious and authentic food. Chances are there will be chacha. People in Georgia are super friendly, and their food is super delicious. I always say that travel is all about experiences. This is an unforgettable experience.
Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument
The penultimate stop on the Kazbegi day trip is a visit to the Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument. The monument is a work of art and educational too. You can learn all about the history of Russia and Georgia.
But again, the views steal the show. The monument overlooks the Devil’s Valley in the Caucasus Mountains. If you want a dramatic photo, you can actually sneak under the side of the monument. There is a very short path on the cliff. But please. Be careful! If you fall … well, let’s not think about it.
Last of all is the Ananuri Fortress. This was the site of the dukes of Aragvi, a dynasty that ruled the region in the 13th century. The tour guide will explain to you the history while showing you the fortress.
And did I mention the fortress is on the Zhinvali Reservoir? That’s right. You get one last look at the beautiful reservoir. It’s a perfect way to end the day.
I’ll be honest. When I planned this excursion, I didn’t think I’d like it. As far as day trips in Georgia go, I thought an excursion in the mountains would be boring. But this was easily one of my favorite days in Georgia. Between the friendly tour group and the breathtaking views, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.