Winter in Georgia is cold and snowy, with an average temperature of 2-4C (36-39F) – some regions even fall below zero sometimes. For those who love visiting snow-covered cities, Tbilisi will be a disappointment. However, there are other towns across the country that see snow in winter. From spas to skiing, here’s our pick of the best things to see and do in Georgia during your winter break.
Even though Tbilisi is not as appealing in winter as it is in other seasons, visiting during this time of year is still worth it. If the weather is a bit warmer, embark on a walking tour to admire the famous landmarks in the city – which you can do with Culture Trip in the company of a local expert on our specially curated nine-day Georgia adventure. Make sure to stroll down Rustaveli Avenue and explore the beautiful architecture of the Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Rustaveli Theatre.
Tbilisi is known for its sulphur bathhouses located in the Abanotubani district. The mineral-rich hot springs feeding the baths are good for your skin and overall health. If you get cold walking around the city, you can pop into one of the many houses that offer different price packages for however long you’d like to indulge. These baths are not public baths – you’ll get a private room and can even ask a masseuse to scrub your back.
Interested in visiting? You can experience them for yourself as part of Culture Trip’s immersive small-group Georgia tour.
Tbilisi has a good selection of museums hidden throughout the city. If you’re interested in history, culture, art, artists and even Soviet rule in Georgia, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the depth of knowledge these museums have. The entrance fees are minimal here, so you won’t break the bank if you decide to visit all the museums in the city.
In southern Georgia, you’ll find Vardzia, a cave monastery featuring different shrines, churches and beautiful frescoes. While this 12th-century landmark is quite beautiful year-round, it’s gorgeous when it’s covered in snow.
Gudauri is one of the most popular destinations for skiers in Georgia. As it’s close to Tbilisi, the ski resort makes for a great weekend getaway; however, be ready for crowds. The resort features more than 60km (37mi) of slopes of varying difficulty for skiers and snowboarders. Also, you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the Caucasus Mountains while skiing. For those who don’t like overcrowded places, Georgia is home to other ski resorts as well.
If skiing is not your cup of tea, you can go to the Rooms Hotel Kazbegi in Stepantsminda town, not far from Gudauri, for picturesque views of Mount Kazbegi (also known as Mount Kazbek). Alternatively, if you like combining leisure with culture, go on a small hike towards the Gergeti Trinity Church, right at the foot of the mountain.
Extreme sports lovers can glide down pristine slopes that see few tracks from other skiers. With Gudauri’s heli-skiing packages, you can be the only one on the slopes all day. To make it even more appealing, compared to other European cities that offer heli-ski experiences, Gudauri is much more affordable for both beginners and professionals.
In the Svaneti region, Zuruldi describes itself as the highest restaurant and hotel in the country, sitting on top of the mountain of the same name. At 2,340m (7,677ft) above sea level, this hotel guarantees a unique and unforgettable experience. To reach this destination, you’ll have to travel to Mestia, the main town in Svaneti, and take a minibus or rent a car from there. Then, you’ll have to take the Hatsvali ropeway to the property.
The Kukushka is a railway train that travels from Borjomi to Bakuriani, another famous ski resort in Georgia. The ride provides marvellous views of the snow-covered spruce forest, and you’ll pass over the bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel, constructed by order of the Romanovs.
The volcanic Paravani Lake lies 2,073m (6,801ft) above sea level and is the biggest lake in the country. Even though it’s beautiful all year round, the best time to visit the lake is during winter when it freezes and is surrounded by heavy snow – it looks like a winter wonderland.