From bird-watching meadows to untrodden forest trails, the national parks of Georgia are a fine representation of the country’s natural beauty. Here’s our ecotourism guide to exploring eight of Georgia’s most beautiful parks.
Georgia’s setting, beside the humid southeastern shores of the Black Sea, helps to make it a green and fertile land; a land punctuated by massive mountain ranges and pooled with lakes; baking in summer and frozen white in winter. It is a country of ancient spirituality and forceful nature. In these magnificent national parks you can find yourself at one with wildlife and wilderness.
Myths swirl like eagles around the peaks of this jagged northern corner of Georgia. Legend holds that Prometheus was chained to the icy slopes of Mount Kazbegi for eternity as a punishment for showing humans how to make fire. Visit today – in season, as snow shuts it down in winter – and you will find endless hiking opportunities starting from the atmospheric little town of Stepantsminda, which is also home to some excellent places to stay. Be sure to visit the Stepantsminda Historic Museum, in the former home of writer Alexander Kazbegi (1848-1890), to see his personal belongings, as well as religious relics and local art.
The main attraction here, in one of the first national parks of Georgia, is the so-called Colchic forest: essentially the last vestiges of old-growth woodland in western Eurasia. Its fertility is encouraged by the humidity coming in from the southeastern shores of the Black Sea. This area is also sometimes known as the Georgian Amazon, with boat trips available on swampy Paliastomi Lake and Pichori River. Migrating birds attract bird-watchers from around the world in early spring and late autumn and you can be prepared to glimpse pelicans, swans, ducks and geese flying in formation overhead.
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