Georgia holidays uncover a land where ancient stone towers appear organically from velvet green mountain shelves and legendary characters are toasted with the same golden tongue as peace, wives and new-found friends. This is a land at the crossroads of civilisations, not quite Asian and not quite European, where you’re just as likely to find an Orthodox Christian church as you are an inn or guesthouse; and where easily combined neighbouring countries, such as Armenia and Azerbaijan, offer their own distinctly different experiences to help keep cultural travellers totally captivated. Learn more in our Georgia travel guide.
Our top Georgia holidays
Best time to go to Georgia
For a relatively small country, Georgia’s climate is diverse, the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea both playing a part in the differing conditions. In general, it’s drier yet colder in the east, and wetter but warmer in the west. The best time to visit Georgia is May, June or September, especially in the lowlands around Tbilisi, as you’ll avoid the summer heat and humidity as well as the freezing winter. Autumn harvest time is well worth a look, especially around the vineyards of Kakheti. You’ll need to pack waterproof gear no matter what, as weather can change in an instant.
Map & highlightsTbilisi, Georgia’s riverside capital, is renowned for the cathedrals, synagogues, basilicas and mosques lining its cobbled old town – an elegant display of religious tolerance. Mtskheta, the ancient capital, is the spiritual heart of Georgian Orthodox Christianity, home to the famed Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, while Kutaisi holds many more architectural gems among its UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Vardzia is another must-see – a medieval city with a subterranean church dramatically carved into a rock face. Wine lovers should head for the historic vineyards of the Kakheti region, but if hiking is more your thing, there are many superb trekking routes in the Caucasus Mountains.
1. Caucasus Mountains
Hiking over high meadows close to Russia is just one of many reasons why the Caucasus Mountains are held in such high regard with Mount Kazbegi, Tetu Peak and the Abodelauri Pass adding to the endless appeal. Trekking routes are extensive and range from easy to challenging, with overnight mountain camps and white water rafting offering a couple of distinctly different perspectives of life.
Wine lovers, look no further. Georgia has one of the oldest wine producing traditions in the world, and it’s at its finest in the Kakheti region, which is gathering increasing attention as the home of natural qvevri wines, which are made using the whole grape (including skin and stems) in an underground clay vessel called a qvevri.
Georgia’s second largest city features a cultural cornucopia of churches, theatres and UNESCO world heritage sites, including the Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery. Kutaisi in spring is a real pleasure with leafy parks and the swollen banks of the Rioni River matching the agricultural fields and forests that line the foothills of the surrounding mountains
The ancient capital of Georgia, Mtskheta is a beguiling city with a beautiful setting where the Mtkvari and Aragvi Rivers meet. It’s also Georgia’s spiritual heart, where Christianity was established back in 327. The magnificent 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral dominates the skyline and is still the setting for important ceremonies of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Georgia’s capital straddles the Mt'k'vari (Kura) River amongst the flourishing hills and vales of the South Caucasus. A tour of the cobbled old town reveals Tbilisi’s reputation for religious tolerance with cathedrals, basilicas, synagogues and mosques standing side by side in the shadow of the Narikala Fortress that overlooks the city just above the waterfalls and springs of the resplendent botanical gardens.
Reached by a dramatic 60km drive from Tbilisi through the wilderness, Vardzia is a beautiful medieval city carved into the side of the Erusheti Mountain. The highlight is a grand subterranean church, featuring a number of important historical murals. Monks still live in and oversee the complex.
The Caucasus region sits at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. Organised tours – the best way to travel Georgia – are a great introduction to its religious heritage. Guides may recount myths from Slavic folklore as you move around, as well as stories of more recent Soviet history. Georgia’s ancient winemaking traditions are best explored in the Kakheti region. Feasts of comfort food accompanied by copious local wine are a centrepiece of the warm hospitality for which Georgia is known. The best way to appreciate Georgian culture, however, is by comparing it with that of neighbouring Armenia and Azerbaijan on a multi-country Caucasus holiday.
The Georgian Orthodox Church has risen to become practically a state religion. Despite Christianity’s dominance, which is focused on the magnificent UNESCO-listed Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in the holy city of Mtskheta, Georgia is renowned for its religious tolerance. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in Tbilisi, where small group tours showcase Georgian churches, basilicas and synagogues nestling comfortably together. Elsewhere in Georgia you can appreciate the ancient Vardzia Monastery, still inhabited by monks, and the Gergeti Trinity Church. Its impressive location beneath Mount Kazbegi makes it popular with hikers.
Active and adventurous families will love rural Georgia, as well as the generous helpings of food waiting for them after a busy day. You won’t find many kids’ clubs here, but you need have no concerns about keeping your brood entertained. Rafting, mountain biking, horse riding and a spot of R&R along Georgia’s Black Sea coast are all natural adjuncts to hiking in the gorgeous Caucasus Mountains. There are plenty of historic forts, castles and monasteries about, too. What may recommend Georgia to families most of all, however, is the warm welcome you experience everywhere you go.
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Medieval fortresses, ancient wine culture & charming locals
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Trek amongst Georgia's untouched villages and mountains
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Churches, monasteries, snow capped mountains, lakes and waterfalls
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More about Georgia
There aren’t yet any facilities for self guided walking holidays in Georgia, but there’s no shortage of small group and tailor made walking options to help you take advantage of these rugged landscapes. Rustic stone villages and views over the border to Russia are highlights of walking in the imposing Caucasus Mountains, and Lagodekhi National Park boasts lynx, eagles, bears and wolves. You might opt for an easy-going trek to investigate a remote monastery or a challenging multi-day route at high altitude. Camping and homestays are the standard accommodations, with lashings of Georgian hospitality throughout.
Combining Georgia with Armenia and Azerbaijan on multi-country tours makes perfect sense. Organised tours don’t just cut down on paperwork and handle all the logistics – they help you to untangle the cultural characteristics of each Caucasus country as you travel between cities ancient and modern, and across mountainous landscapes. Small group tours match you with a handful of like-minded travellers, while tailor made trips let you set your own agenda and pace. Multi-country tours are typically two to three weeks in length, involving long overland journeys and plenty of opportunities to indulge in regional cuisines, wine tasting and encounters with local people.
Types of holidays
Organised tours are the best way to explore the culture of the Caucasus countries, whether focusing on Georgia alone or combining the country with Armenia and Azerbaijan. On sociable small group holidays you’ll quickly bond with a gaggle of enthusiastic fellow travellers as expert local guides illuminate Georgia’s history, from its early Christian roots through invasions, occupations and Soviet annexation. Tailor made holidays in Georgia can be fitted precisely to your own requirements, so while transport, accommodation and guides are all handled on your behalf, the actual route depends entirely on your own interests.
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