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Georgia: interesting places near Batumi and Tbilisi

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Summer has arrived – the hot season for hiking and climbing in Georgia. It’s hard to overestimate this country in terms of hiking opportunities! But in connection with the need to pass the Covid test in 48-72 hours after crossing the border, the question arose: what to do in Georgia these two or three days? We’ll tell you right away that you won’t be bored at the hotel and hostel 🙂

What to see near Batumi and Tbilisi: Where to go on a tour?

There are three international airports in Georgia: in Tbilisi, in Batumi, and in Kutaisi. Depending on the place of arrival and the gathering point in the chosen program, it is worth planning your leisure time. For climbing Kazbek, the group gathers in one of the hostels in Tbilisi. For hiking in Svaneti and Mingrelia it is convenient to fly to Batumi or Kutaisi. At the moment there are no direct and inexpensive flights from Ukraine and Russia to Kutaisi, so we moved the gathering of “Svaneti” groups to Batumi, at the seashore. The Kazbek climbers can also fly to Batumi, swim in the sea and then take a shuttle bus to Tbilisi.

What to see near Batumi?

In addition to the traditional beach vacation, strolling along the promenade and hanging out in local cafes, there are several very beautiful places near Batumi, definitely worth your attention. We will tell you about the most interesting and easily accessible.

1. The Botanical Garden in Batumi

The botanical garden is very large, and you can devote practically a whole day to a leisurely tour of it. The park is impressive in size, and there is even a tour by electric car. The park has many viewing platforms with panoramic views, beautiful flowers and rare trees.

Ботсад Батуми
Batumi Botanical Garden – views from the observation deck

The space of the Botanical Garden is divided into zones-sectors. In total there are about 20 of them: Lower and Upper Parks, South American, Australian, Himalayan, Mexican, Transcaucasian and other sectors. Six climate zones are represented! Among the huge century-old trees you can see representatives of flora and fauna from different parts of the world. Amazing mixture of aromas of the garden, mountains and sea! The huge eucalyptus and powerful, majestic sequoias and a bamboo grove are impressive. And if you walk not along the main route, but along a lot of not the most popular paths and trails, you get the feeling that you are in absolutely wild forests.

How to get to Batumi Botanical Garden?

The best way is to take shuttle number 31. You can take it near the bottom station of the cable car in Batumi. The time to get there is about 15 minutes from the city. If you go by cab, we advise you to drive up to the far entrance, in order to return to the main entrance in the process of walking. That way you can get into town on an inexpensive shuttle service. Near both entrances you can go down to the sea, to the beach.
The cost to enter the botanical garden is 15 GEL. Water and snacks are better to take with you. However, there are springs with drinking water in the botanical garden itself.

2. Waterfalls and arched bridges of Adjara

There are many ancient bridges and beautiful waterfalls in Georgia and, in particular, in Adjara. But especially popular because of their accessibility, are the arched bridge of Queen Tamara and the Makhuntseti waterfall. There are more than 20 arched bridges in Adjara, but the bridge of Queen Tamara is the largest (the span is 29 meters) and most visited. He was built presumably in the XI-XII centuries.

Queen Tamara Arch Bridge

The popularity is also due to the fact that just 400 meters from the bridge is the impressive Makhuntseti waterfall. The waterfall is about 20 meters high and you can swim under it.

Makhuntseti Falls

If you go to these waterfalls from Batumi, it is best to take a cab, or hire a car with a driver. It is not far from the city – about 30 km. Also thanks to this solution, you can drive upstream of the river Ajaristskali and find a couple of other similar structures.

After visiting the bridge and waterfall, we recommend visiting the Mahuntseti Ethnographic Museum and stopping at the Adjara Wine House on the way back. After all, Georgia and wine – inseparable concepts 🙂 The house of wine is built on the ruins of the winery, which existed on this site in the XVIII century. You will see a small factory that produces several kinds of wine: white dry and semi-dry, and also the exclusive Porto-Franco rose wine. You can sit down, relax, drink some wine and have a delicious lunch on the territory of the wine house.

And at the end of the trip it is worth stopping by another waterfall – Mirvety. It is hidden in a real Colchis forest, and on the way to it you will walk through another ancient 15-meter arch bridge. These places are also interesting because here two rivers merge: Chorokh and Adzharistskali. The water in the river Chorokh, which flows from Turkey, is almost always bright and clear, and the water in Adzharistskali is quite muddy. A clear line of the confluence of the two rivers is very well traced.

Mirvety Falls

What to see near Tbilisi?

It is best for participants of the Kazbek ascent to arrive in Tbilisi. The day can be spent walking around the city. Read about what to see in Tbilisi in the article.

We suggest you to go to Mtskheta and look at the turquoise water of Zhinvali Reservoir from the ancient fortress of Ananuri. Ananuri castle is perfectly preserved in spite of its ancient history. It is said that one of the towers was built in the 13th century. On the territory of the fortress is the Church of the Assumption. It was built in the 17th century.

Аннанури
Ananuri

The fortification is surrounded by beautiful nature. The fortress is located on the shore of a large reservoir, and the water surface is surrounded on all sides by green mountains. The castle is located in close proximity to the Georgian Military Road, the distance from Tbilisi is 65-70 km.
You can reach Ananuri by any shuttle bus, which goes from Tbilisi to Stepantsminda or Gudauri. Minibuses leave from bus station, which is located at Didube metro station. The fare is up to three dollars.

If you take a cab for this trip, be sure to stop by Dzhvari Monastery on your way to Ananuri. From its height you can also enjoy a stunning view of Mtskheta. Mtskheta is one of the oldest cities in Georgia. It was founded in the 5th century B.C. A bird’s-eye view from Jvari Monastery shows the two rivers – the Aragvi and Kura – merging in a deep gorge.

The confluence of the Aragvi and Kura rivers. View from Jvari monastery

Another option for an active and interesting couple of days near Tbilisi is a trip to Borjomi, a world-famous balneological and climatic resort. Borjomi is located 160 kilometers from Tbilisi, and the road one way takes up to two hours. There are a few more resorts near Borjomi – Bakuriani, Tseli, Likani. You are advised to take a ride on the mountain narrow gauge from Borjomi to Bakuriani. It takes about 2 hours to travel 38 kilometers – quite a lot of steep train descents, ascents, and turns.

Borjomi Central Park

Fifty kilometers from Borjomi, in the direction of the border with Turkey, there is another famous sight – Akhaltsikhe Fortress of Rabat. The word “Rabat” is of Arabic origin and means “fortified place”. The fortress was capital renovated not so long ago. The buildings of two different cultures and religions are united here because Akhaltsikhe and the fortress belonged to Turkey for almost two centuries. On a fairly large territory there are the Ahmediye Mosque, the Christian Church with a bell tower, the Moorish Gallery, the Citadel and the History Museum. All the towers and walls of the fortress can be freely ascened.

Крепость Рабат
Rabat Fortress

If you have time or overnight stay in Borjomi, then after Akhaltsikhe you can go on an excursion to the famous cave town of Vardzija. It is located 60 kilometers from Akhaltsikhe. The whole complex of Vardzija has 13 levels, connected by the cunning combination of tunnels. Modern Vardzija is just a part of what was originally carved in stone. An earthquake in 1283 almost destroyed the cave city and the whole front side of the cave city collapsed, exposing the inner galleries and stairs. But still the scale of the work done is impressive.

Пещерный город Вардзия
Vardzija Cave City

You can also visit one of Georgia’s cave towns on the way from Tbilisi to Borjomi, or on the way back. It is Uplistsikhe, once one of the main political and religious centers of pre-Christian Kartli. A city that is three thousand years old! Also from Tbilisi, as a separate excursion you can go to David Gareja, a complex of cave monasteries, located on the Georgian-Azerbaijani border, 70 kilometers from the capital of Georgia.

We think that after reading this article, you will find something to your liking and spend a couple of days with benefit before the start of one of the hikes in Georgia 🙂 We wish you a bright impression of the unforgettable adventures! 🙂

If to Georgia, with Kuluar!

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