Georgia - Many Corners to Explore
Georgia’s diverse landscape provides plenty of opportunities for a tour before or after your race experience. Steeped in history and tradition, cultural, adventure and gastronomical tours are all on offer, enriching your experience of the fascinating country of Georgia. Georgia’s relatively small size means that there are possibilities for both shorter day-trips from Tbilisi as well as longer, more extensive tours that provide insight into this fascinating country at the crossroads of East and West.
Having visited host city Tbilisi, Georgia’s other main cities are also worth a visit. Located on the coast of the Black Sea, Batumi is Georgia’s second city and is at the foot of the Caucasus. The combination of mountain and sea make it the perfect place to unwind and soak up the sun, and some of the main attractions of this seaside resort include its old town as well as its botanical gardens.
Kutaisi is Georgia’s third city and is located on the Rioni River, 221 kilometres from Tbilisi. Once the capital of several historical kingdoms, Kutaisi is home to 150,000 people and serves as a base for those wishing to explore the Imereti region, which includes the stunning Sataplia and Prometheus caves, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery.
Closer to the host city of Tbilisi is Mtskheta (a former capital of Georgia), located about 20 kilometres northwest of the capital. The city includes historical monuments that have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the Jvari Monastery, the Svetitstkhoveli Cathedral and the Samtavro Monastery.
A day-trip away from Tbilisi is the town of Gori, popular with tourists as it is the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. The town features his house, which is now a museum, as well as the Gori Fortress. About 10km east of Gori is Uplistsikhe cave city, an ancient rock-hewn town which for 3,000 years played an important role in Georgia.
While all of Georgia produces wine (winemaking has been in existence here for more than 8,000 years), the country’s best-known region is in Kakheti, located in Georgia’s east and easily accessible from Tbilisi. This region also features plenty of charming villages, fields and rivers.
If you want to head north, then the Svaneti region is located in Georgia’s northwest and includes stunning mountains and remote villages such as Ushguli, a community of four villages located at an altitude of 2,100 metres. One of the highest continuously inhabited settlements in Europe, its remote location has helped the village preserve many of its characteristics.
The northern region of Kazbegi is easier to reach than Svaneti and also features the famous Gergeti Trinity Church, as well as mountains and gorges. The Kazbegi National Park covers 8,700 hectares and the Kazbegi Mountain is the third highest in Georgia. Travel in Georgia can be done by rail, taxis, bus and mini-bus, and by guided or self-drive tours. It is also popular to combine travel in Georgia with travel to Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia to experience three different countries and cultures of the Caucasus.