When the weather gets warmer and trees begin to bloom, Georgia slowly starts to get tourists from all over the world. The possibilities of exploring the region are extensive. If you don’t feel ready to hike to remote villages just yet, stick to the cities and towns. Here’s a list of the best things to see and do in Georgia during your spring vacation.
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is the perfect place to start your vacation – and you can now visit with Culture Trip on our epic nine-day Georgia adventure, led by our Local Insider. History and culture buffs will find the city quite interesting, as it perfectly combines the two. Visitors can admire the harmonious blend of modern and ancient architecture while strolling the cobblestone streets. Walk through the old town called Abanotubani, visit the Narikala Fortress for amazing views of the district and Mtkvari River, and walk up to the Mother of Georgia statue that overlooks the whole city. For more picturesque views of Tbilisi, pay a visit to Mtatsminda, where you can enjoy the warm weather at a theme park and a beverage of your choice at the Funicular.
Tbilisi Botanical Garden is a great place to unwind from your walks in the old town. The garden becomes really beautiful from the end of April, when the trees start to blossom. Spread across 128ha (52 acres) of land, the garden features more than 3,500 kinds of plants, both from the country and the world. Here, you can explore various pavilions, a few waterfalls, mounting bridges and more.
The territory of the current Tbilisi Botanical Garden used to belong to a royal garden back in the day. However, it transformed into a series of arboretums over the decades. The estimated date of its foundation is 1845, making it one of the oldest botanical gardens from the post-Soviet era.
Even though Tbilisi is home to many different museums, there are two that you need to visit during your trip. One is the Archaeological Treasury, which displays valuable goldsmith artefacts that were discovered during an archaeological expedition across the country. For those who are interested in art, pay a visit to the National Gallery to admire paintings from distinguished Georgian artists of the 20th century, including Niko Pirosmanashvili, Lado Gudiashvili and David Kakabadze.
The New Wine Festival focuses on wines made from late harvest grapes and is held in Tbilisi in May. The holding vessels are opened in spring, and winemakers bring them out for locals to taste. The venue of the festival changes each year, as do the companies participating in the event. Attending such an event is a great way to taste and get to know Georgian wine and learn about the traditional winemaking methods that are used.
Mtskheta is the former capital of Georgia and one of the oldest cities in the country. Listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, the city is relatively small, making for a perfect day trip from Tbilisi.
Praised for its many Christian sites, the city is known to be one of the religious centres of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Svetitskoveli Cathedral and Jvari Monastery are the main sights you’ll want to visit here. The first is an example of religious Medieval Georgian architecture, and it is adorned with beautiful frescoes. Jvari Monastery, located on the hill overlooking Mtskheta, is believed to be the place where St Nino, one of the men who brought Christianity to the country, installed a wooden cross during the fourth century.
Kakheti is known as the most famous wine region in Georgia. It has many vineyards that offer tours of their chateaux, factories and grounds. However, do not narrow your itinerary to just those vineyards; the region is famous for its beautiful cities and historic sights. Wander through the narrow cobblestone streets of Signaghi, and admire breathtaking views over the Alazani Valley. Take in the colourful timber houses with red rooftops, and enjoy the Caucasus Mountains in the background as you walk the remainder of the city wall.
On your way to Kakheti, make sure to take a small detour and visit the cave town of David Gareja. Located in the desert part of the country, the site shares a border with Azerbaijan. Founded by one of the 13 Assyrian Fathers, who spread Christianity in Georgia in the sixth century, the site is a marvellous place to explore.
The Dashbashi Canyons, located in Tsalka, are some of the most beautiful natural landmarks in the country. The emerald-green waterfall is a beautiful sight to see, no matter the time of year. Spring and summer here are a bit chilly, but the area is rich in lush green surroundings.
Akhaltsikhe is home to the Rabati Fortress, a Medieval castle complex built in the ninth century. The town was previously called Lomisa, but the name supposedly changed in the 12th century. Open to visitors year-round, Rabati Fortress is particularly unique because it has Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and Orthodox places of worship sitting harmoniously in one spot.
Vardzia is one of the most well-preserved cave towns in the country. Founded in the second half of the 12th century, the cave complex stretches along a cliff for 500m (1,640ft). Besides wandering through those caves, you can explore the Church of Dormition that still hosts a beautiful collection of frescoes.
Batumi is more of a summer destination for many locals, and, as such, the city gets quite busy and overcrowded. So, if you like to visit places in the mid or off-season, visiting Batumi in the spring is not a bad idea at all. The prices are much lower, while the weather is still warm and sunny. Stroll down the Boulevard, and admire different statues and historic monuments, and try the famous adjaruli khachapuri (a Georgian cheese bread).
Borjomi is one of the most popular resort towns in the country, and it isn’t hard to see why, as it is located in the impressive Borjomi Gorge on the eastern side of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. Known for its mineral water industry, the national park and the Romanov Palace in Likani, Borjomi should definitely be on your bucket list when visiting Georgia. The reason why Borjomi is so famous is that the mineral springs are believed to have healing powers. Many visitors come to improve their health.