Georgia has long been one of Europe – and the world’s – most underrated countries. But it’s grown in popularity as a travel destination in recent years, as more and more people discover how much this small but beautiful nation has to offer. With the Caucasus Mountains on one border and the Black Sea on another, its filled with stunning natural beauty. And Georgia’s location at the crossroads of civilizations means there’s lots of history to uncover as well.
Did we mention the wine? It’s incredible. And there are plenty of friendly locals to share it with! So, without further ado, here are the 10 best places to visit in the country of Georgia. Tbilisi is the country’s capital and the home to its largest airport, so it’s only natural that we start our list here, since your trip probably will too.
But that’s not the only reason to visit Tbilisi, of course. From its ancient buildings, like Narikala Fortress, to more modern additions, like the Bridge of Peace, the architecture is one of the first things that catches the eye here. But hidden beneath the surface is something even, well, hotter. That’s the hot springs that the city is built upon, earning it the name “warm place” or Tbilisi. Make sure you take a dip while you’re in town.
Uplistsikhe was founded around 3,000 years ago, in roughly 1000 BC. And it’s lived through countless major events in Georgia’s history, from its rises to its falls and everything in between. Much of the city was destroyed by the Mongols in the 13th century, which led to its abandonment. But the surviving buildings and tunnels cut into the caves here make the “Lord’s Fortress” a truly unique tourist attraction.
Vardzia is an arguably more impressive cave city – but one that’s also a little harder to get to – than Uplistsikhe. The site was founded in 12th century as an underground fortress from which to resist invading armies. But after an earthquake basically ripped it in half, Vardzia was turned into a monastery.
These days, both the caves and the churches built into them make it a popular and impressive tourist site. One of nation’s oldest surviving cities, Telavi is also the largest in the Khaketi region. The area used to be its own kingdom. But these days it serves as the heart of Georgia’s wine country. In fact, archaeologists consider this area to be birthplace of wine, and the locals still use the same millennia-old techniques to make it.