Kazbegi is a very beautiful and the most visited destination after Tbilisi. The views there are breathtaking due to five thousand meters high mount Kazbegi which according to many is the most beautiful mountain peak in Georgia. Nowadays the town is called Stepantsminda but many people still call it Kazbegi. The town itself is very small and peaceful and is an attractive place for cycling, mountain biking, hiking, trekking and mountaineering as well as road trip lovers due to scenic and picturesque views. Below we will tell you what to see on the way to Kazbegi and what kind of activities can be done in and near the town.
What to see on the way to Kazbegi.
The road from Tbilisi to Kazbegi takes around two and a half hours but if you would like to see the sights on the road it will take longer. One of the most important sights on the road to Kazbegi is Ananuri Fortress a late mid - century fortress that was built as a defensive structure in order to control the whole gorge. Inside the fortress two churches are located. One is St. Mary’s church and the other one Ghvtaeba church. It is important to note that Ghvtaeba church is mostly closed while St. Mary’s church is always open and religious services are done there daily. The churches were whitewashed by Russians in 19th century and only part of the frescoes were restored later.
Church at Ananuri fortress
Bell tower at Ananuri fortress
One more important monument that you will see on the road to Kazbegi is so called Friendship monument which actually is an occupation one and describes two hundred years of Georgian-Russian “friendship”. It was built by the soviets in 1983 – exactly two hundred years after the treaty of Georgievsk was signed between Georgia and the Russian empire according to which Georgian foreign policy went under Russian control. The monument consists of mosaics which describes episodes of Georgian as well as Russian life during the two hundred years period.
Mosaics of the "Friendship" monument
Activities that can be done in and near Kazbegi.
Hike to Gergeti Trinity Church.
Gergeti Trinity Church is a 14th century church with the best location and the best view. Mountain Kazbegi in the background makes it the most scenic church in Georgia. Two important celebrations are celebrated at Gergeti Trinity church. One is St. Mary’s day on 28th of August and Gergetoba on 16th of July which resembles the reopening of the church after the soviet union collapse. Both celebrations are very important. Now regarding the hike – the hiking trail goes through the village of Gergeti. In the wintertime the hiking through the village might not be possible due to heavy snowfall so people might have to use the same road as the cars while in the summertime we advise to avoid the road where the cars drive due to noise and dust and to use the trail which goes through the village and the old fortress. The hike to the church from the center of the town where the statue stands takes around 90 minutes one way. It is of moderate difficulty and is around 4 kilometers long. When you get to the church note that it is forbidden to enter in shorts for men and pants for women as well as short dresses so at the entrance of the church there are special clothes with which you should cover your legs otherwise you will be disallowed to enter the church. Furthermore, there are certain parts of the monastery where it is forbidden to enter and there are signs indicating it.
Gergeti Trinity Church and the cross
Hike to Chaukhi mountains in Juta.
Juta village is one of the most picturesque places in the whole country owing to Chaukhi mountains. These mountains make Juta one of the most visited places in the country. It is important to note that generally Juta village should be visited only by the people who can do a little hike otherwise it is not possible to reach the place from where Chaukhi mountains or so called Georgian Dolomites can be seen. Every person wishing to see the mountains should hike for around half an hour to reach camping Zeta or Fifth Season hotel/hostel and a cafe. Fifth season hostel and a café offers good opportunities to enjoy some drinks and have a meal with an awesome view. Those wishing to do a longer hike will have to spend one more hour in order to reach a beautiful heart shaped lake at the foothills of Chaukhi mountains.
Road trip to truso gorge.
Truso gorge is a very nice place for road trip lovers. In order to get there you need a 4wd car because of the poor road conditions. In order to get from Kazbegi to Truso gorge you need around one hour. Truso gorge offers very good views on Caucasus mountains. A beautiful mineral lake is located there and you can also see gorgeous travertine stones and natural landscapes as well as very old houses, ruins and towers. During the summertime you can see herds of sheep and can have a tea at one of the shepherd’s temporary houses. Although, be careful with shepherd dogs because they are guarding the sheep and might be aggressive.
Road trip to dariali gorge and hike to Gveleti waterfalls.
Dariali gorge is the gorge which connects Georgia with the Russian Federation. The road through Dariali gorge leads to the Georgian checkpoint on the Georgian-Russian border. The gorge itself is very beautiful and picturesque. People visiting the gorge should definitely see Gveleti waterfalls. Both of the waterfalls are easy to reach by foot. Although, if you are not visiting the gorge with a 4wd car, you should park the car close to the highway and do a longer hike to see the waterfalls. If you are a birdwatcher Gveleti village offers some good opportunities as well.
Mountains of Dariali gorge
Monastery in Dariali gorge
Monastic cells surrounded by beautiful trees
Where to stay in Kazbegi.
The best place to stay in Kazbegi is Rooms Hotel. It features more than hundred rooms, is the member of design hotels group and offers the best views. Price during the high season ranges from 160 to 220 USD per night. The hotel restaurant offers Georgian traditional dishes as well as foreign dishes. The design of the hotel was done by Georgian designers and the hotel is owned by a famous Georgian business group called Adjara Group Hospitality. Style of the hotel is industrial and is featured with vintage furniture and wood. Hotel has a big water pool, big lobby and two terraces – one with the view of mount Kazbegi and the other one with the view of Kuro Mountain range. The hotel has a huge yard with an outdoor Jacuzzi.
Rooms Hotel Kazbegi
Beautiful view from Rooms hotel Kazbegi
Dining room at Rooms Hotel Kazbegi
Hotel Green sheep is one more good hotel in Kazbegi. The hotel is not as good as Rooms hotel and it does not have such a good view as well but it has a nice design and a very good restaurant. If you would like to try famous Georgian dish Khinkali (dough stuffed with minced meat) you should definitely visit the Green Sheep restaurant.
We hope the information provided above was useful for you. You can easily do the tour on your own but in case you need some help we are always ready to assist. We organize tours to Kazbegi and you can check the info regarding the tour on travelistgeorgia.com or on tripadvisor.com where you will find all the details. You can also email us at [email protected] or contact us via whatsapp/viber +995 593 250 111.