The Best Day Trips From Tbilisi

Rabati Castle is easy to visit as a day trip from Tbilisi
Rabati Castle is easy to visit as a day trip from Tbilisi | © Baia Dzagnidze

Georgia’s capital Tbilisi has plenty of exciting activities to offer visitors to this part of the Caucasus. But to see what the country is all about, you need to get out of the city and explore its fascinating landscape, medieval villages and gorgeous nature. But if you’re short on time, there are several towns suitable for day trips from the capital. Here is a list of the best tours for you.

1. Mtskheta – Gori – Uplistsikhe

Architectural Landmark

Personal green railroad car of Joseph Stalin in his birthplace Gori, Georgia
© Leonid Andronov / Alamy
For every visitor, Mtskheta is the number one town to visit outside of Tbilisi. A former capital of Georgia, Mtskheta still hides the charm and glory in its buildings, architecture and marvellous Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. As the town is quite small, you’ll only need a maximum of an hour, or an hour and a half, to explore the centre. Afterwards, head towards Uplistsikhe, a small city carved into the rocks – then finish the tour in Gori, the birthplace of Josef Stalin and home to his memorial museum.

2. Ananuri – Stepantsminda

Architectural Landmark

Ananuri castle complex & Georgian Orthodox churches, 17th century, Georgia RKTB8K_
© funkyfood London - Paul Williams / Alamy
Ananuri is a medieval fortress by the Aragvi River, overlooking the Zhinvali water reservoir. Some parts of the fort date back to the 13th century. Stepantsminda is a small village situated right at the foot of Mount Kazbegi, along the Georgian Military Highway. But the main attraction for which people come to visit this village is the Holy Trinity Church in Gergeti. You can visit both Ananuri and the Gergeti Trinity Church on Culture Trip’s exclusive nine-day Georgia tour, led by our Local Insider.

3. Kutaisi

Architectural Landmark

Bagrati Cathedral against the landscape of Kutaisi, Republic of Georgia
© Oleksandr Rupeta / Alamy
Kutaisi, along with Mtskheta, is one of the oldest cities in Georgia and a former capital of the country. Kutaisi offers various attractions for its visitors – but the Gelati and Bagrati churches, both Unesco World Heritage Sites, are the most popular. Additionally, you can visit the city’s museums, Prometheus Cave or drive to Okatse Canyon.

4. Rabati – Vardzia – Borjomi

Architectural Landmark

Vardzia cave monastery in the Erusheti Mountain in Georgia
© murbansky / Alamy
Rabati Fortress, located in Akhaltsikhe, is a newly renovated complex featuring a mixture of different cultures and religions – for instance, you can find a mosque and an Orthodox church here. Vardzia is another cave town similar to Uplistsikhe, but bigger and more impressive. Queen Tamar ordered the construction of Vardzia in the 12th century – it has 13 levels and approximately 600 apartments, a throne room and a church with a bell tower. Borjomi is a balneological resort, known for its mineral spring water and breathtaking coniferous forests. It used to be a more popular destination for locals and citizens during the time of the Soviet Union, but it still tries to keep that splendour.

5. David Gareji Monastery Complex


David Gareji or Garedja cave monastery complex aerial view in Georgia, Kakheti region
© Nataliya Nazarova / Alamy
David Gareji Monastery, in the Kakheti region and bordering Azerbaijan, is another cave town you don’t want to miss. The site, founded by one of the 13 Assyrian Fathers – Saint David Gareji – includes 13 monasteries built on the hills.

6. Sighnaghi – Tsinandali

Architectural Landmark

© Baia Dzagnidze
Other must-visit places in the Kakheti region are Sighnaghi and Tsinandali. Sighnaghi is rich in history, offering gorgeous views over the Alazani Valley and featuring fortress wall remnants surrounding the town. Near Sighnaghi, there’s another site to visit: Bodbe Monastery, where Saint Nino – who brought Christianity to Georgia – is buried. Tsinandali village offers an impressive house of a famous Georgian family. Alexander Chavchavadze inherited this village from his father, Prince Garsevan. He renovated it, and in 1835 he built a new palace and a beautiful garden. Here, he received foreign guests and entertained them with music and wine made from his vineyards. As he was familiar with European winemaking, Chavchavadze built the oldest and largest winery in Georgia – combining European and Georgian winemaking traditions.

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