One of the things that distinguishes Georgia is its breathtaking nature. It’s a paradize for those who love hiking, tracking, camping and spending time in the countryside. Here, you’ll find some of the gorgeous lakes, limestone formations, canyons and national parks. Read our guide to some of the natural wonders you should include on the itinerary.
Krubera Karst Cave
For several decades, the world’s deepest-known caves were considered to be in France with the length deep into the ground up to 1,600 meters. However, in 1960, Georgian speleologist made the first exploration of a karst cave in Abkhazia’s Arabika Massif, at the depth of 95 meters, and named after Alexander Kruber, the famous researcher of geography and speleology.
In 2007, another group of speleologists expanded the area and went down to 2,191 meters. However, five years later, in 2012, the cave was explored again by Ukrainian speleologists who managed to go down to 2,197 meters underground.
Today, Krubera cave is the most in-depth known underground space on earth.
River Abasha creates a narrow 50-60-meter deep canyon between the south-west slope of Askhi Massif and north-eastern end of mountain Abedati, which stretches to 2,400 meters. This nature monument attracts the attention, not because of its length or other parameters, but with its beautiful location and unique charm.
The transparent, turquoise water of the canyon is freezing in all seasons of the year and does not get warmer. In the mid-body of the canyon, there are small waterfalls of 12 and 15 meters, while the natural limestone bridges adorn the two sides of it.
The slopes of Egrisi are covered with vast pine tree and deciduous forests and are home to several lakes that originated from glaciers. Among those lakes, Didi Tobavarchkhili, or Big Tobavarchkhili in English, is distinguished for its unique beauty, space, and location among glacier mountains with the most profound point of 35 meters.
Tobavarshili, in Megrelian, means silver lakes and is used as a general label for clear lakes of the area. There are six lakes under the name located in the alpine zone, and the absolute transparency of those lakes give a breathtaking reflection.
According to the legend, the bed of the lake was covered with silver, hence the name. It is believed that the lake was guarded by wood goblins, who banned not only drinking but even touching the water. Thus, if someone puts a finger in the lake, or throws a stone, a terrible storm starts right that second even if the sky is blue without any clouds.
Svaneti region is home to some of the highest mountain peaks of the country – Shkhara Massif being the tallest of them all at 5,203 meters. It’s the second tallest mountain after Mount Elbrus in Europe. However, mountaineers say that Shkhara is much more challenging and hard to tackle than the latter.
But don’t get discouraged, you can easily access Shkhara glacier instead. You just need to get to the Ushguli community, located only 5km from the glacier.
Adjara, the coastal region of the Black Sea is home to live, maiden sphagnum moss peat bog. At first glance, the area resembles a lace covered with 25-45 sqm thick quilt of white sphagnum moss, the rarest in the world and the most sensitive to pollution of the environment.
Rare peat bog of Ispani is part of Kobuleti preserve territory. Thus, there’s a walking path from the entrance to sanctuaries and the lookout tower. You can cross the channel by a suspended bridge, and if lucky, you can even see the rarest swamp turtle.
Village Upper Makhuntsti boasts a beautiful waterfall created with the river Makuntsetistskali, at the height of 52 meters. The infrastructure here is well developed, with restaurant type eateries, picnic sites, and tout inns. Approximately 0.5 km away from the waterfall there is a medieval stone bridge built under the auspices of Queen Tamar.
Kvamli rocky massif in Lechkhumi stretches out to the south for 300 meters and offers breathtaking views to the visitors. On the elevation of 1,700 meters in the massif, there is a ‘frozen overpass’ where ice lollies are made even in the summer heatwave.
Legend has it that Georgian mythological hero Amirani is chained in one of the Khamly pits. Scientists also believe that this massif hides several caves that Georgian kings used to protect the country’s treasures during the hostilities. However, until today not a single expedition has discovered them.
Tskaltubo municipality is rich with natural monuments, and one of them is its caves that are part preserved territories of Imereti province. The administrative office of those caves is in the Sataplia reserve territory.
One of the most significant of them all is the Prometheus Cave near the village Kumistavi, at 100 meters above the sea level. Discovered in the 1980s, the cave is one of the must-see attractions while in Kutaisi. This karst cave is rich with stalactites, stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, purified falls and suspended stone curtains spread across the 46,6 hectares.
There are two exits in the cave; one continues with the underground river where you can hire a boat or exit with a pedestrian trail.
The village Katskhi is home to a standing limestone pillar – rocky mass created by tectonic shifts. The name, Katskhi, comes from Svan language and means ‘peak’.
The pillar is approximately 40-45 meters high, while the space of its square tip surface is nearly 150 sq. meters. The upper part of the pillar has several small-size terraces, while the foot is thin and narrow, creating negative tilt and making it even more inaccessible.
Today, there’s a monastery on top of the pillar that doesn’t allow visitors.
Birtvisi is home to several independent rocks and high volcanic hillocks. Millions of years ago, as a result of the volcanic outbursts, lava torrents covered the area. Later, natural processes have changed their appearance.
In the rocky cone-like mountains of Birtvisi, the least accessible fortress is located. You can reach the fort via a staircase cut in the rocks. Go up to the highest point of the citadel to have incredible views of the surrounding areas.
Truso Gorge, located near the northern border of Georgia is one of the most fascinating regions in the country and boasts beautiful mountains and mineral waters. The area is entirely tree and plant-free.
The countryside here is laid out on the left side of the gorge but is almost deserted. There are plenty of unique natural monuments here, such as Truso travertines and the mineral lake of Abano.
Ivris plateau differs from other spots of Georgia by a shortage of water, insufficient nature, and dry terrain. In summer’s suffocating heatwave, trampled grass, dried springs, and a glut of reptiles make life and traveling here difficult. However, with its rich and famous historical and natural monuments, the area is still an attractive tourist destination.
Udabno, or desert in English, is also home to the rocky mountains of Gareji where an outstanding religious and cultural monastery complex, David Gareji is located.
Black Rock Lake
Lagodekhi is home to some beautiful lakes, and the biggest of them is the Black Rock Lake at 2,900 meters above the sea level. The hike towards the lake is one of the most interesting, with beautiful landscapes of Alazani Valley and Greater Caucasus mountain range as you walk through a forest full of rare flora and fauna.
Black Rock Lake is a natural border between Georgia and the Republic of Dagestan in the Russian Federation. Thus you’ll need to have a passport with you for checking at the border.