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Are you planning a trip to Georgia? Located in Eurasia, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, with Russia to the north and Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the south, Georgia is one of the premier destinations in the Caucasus Mountains and one of my all-time favorite countries to visit. Georgia is known for its incredible hospitality – locals believe that guests are a gift from God and if you bless the guests God will bless you. The country is beautiful with incredible vineyards, mountain villages, and beachside cities. The food and wine are some of the best in the world, and the best part of it all is that Georgia is incredibly accessible and incredibly affordable. I spent a month in Georgia slowly traveling and exploring the ins and outs of the country; particularly, questioning what makes Georgia so uniquely Georgia? Altogether I’ve now nailed down an epic Georgia itinerary aimed at seeing the highlights of Georgia in 10 days.
When traveling abroad, I always purchase travel insurance for peace of mind in case anything were to go wrong. I personally use and recommend World Nomads.
The Best 10 Day Georgia Itinerary
Before reading further, make sure to check out Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Georgia. This guide includes all of the nitty-gritty details of traveling through the country. Including information on what to wear in Georgia, what the weather is like, how to get around, Georgian currency, safety tips, and more.
You also may want to read 20 Georgian Foods You Have to Try When You Visit Georgia to get a good feel of the food culture before arriving.
Transportation in Georgia
If you’re visiting Georgia and only have 10 days to spend, then you need to hit the ground running! Figuring out transportation ahead of time will be an enormous time-saver. While it can be fairly cheap to get around Georgia by bus (known as marshrutka), using public transportation can be a big waste of time. The marshrutka is rarely on time and when it is there are oftentimes stops along the way adding the amount of time it will take you to get from point A to point B. For that reason, I’m going to focus on other forms of transportation aside from marshrutka. But know, if you’re on a budget then this will by far be the cheapest way to get around.
If it’s your first visit to Georgia I don’t recommend renting a car but instead relying on public or private transportation.
If you’re trying to get around Tbilisi or another city in Georgia, then you’ll want to download the Bolt app ahead of time. Bolt operates like Uber/Lyft in the United States and is also a very affordable option. The good thing about Bolt is that you can pay with a credit card instead of having cash on hand.
If you don’t want to download Bolt you’ll also see several taxi drivers in the streets. All you have to do is wave one down! Make sure to discuss the price ahead of time because there aren’t meters in the taxis. Know that it’s common to negotiate taxi prices.
My favorite way to get around Georgia was by private driver. By booking with GoTrip you can customize any type of trip you want to take. For example, if you are planning to drive from Tbilisi to Kutaisi you can make any amount of stops along the way at no extra charge. While this wasn’t the cheapest option, it also wasn’t expensive. When I spent a month in Georgia I largely relied on GoTrip to get from town to town.
Lastly, if you can’t get a ride with GoTrip for some reason, another private option is to book with Budget Georgia and create a custom tour. This company is based in Kutaisi so if you aren’t in Kutaisi you may need to arrange a ride quite a bit ahead of time. In my experience, GoTrip was quite cheaper and more flexible for private rides.
If all of the above fails, your hotel or host of your guesthouse should be able to arrange a private driver for you.
If you are insistent on renting a car, there are mixed reviews on whether or not you’ll need an international drivers license. To be safe, I suggest getting one if you want to rent a car. You can get one from AAA or get an express license here. As far as rentals, I generally prefer to use Enterprise but also search QEEQ to compare prices and ensure I’m getting the best deal.
Day 1: Tbilisi
HIGHLIGHTS OF TBILISI: FREE WALKING TOUR, NARIKALA FORTRESS, DRY BRIDGE MARKET
WHERE TO STAY IN TBILISI
There are so many options when it comes to booking a hotel or Airbnb in Tbilisi. You can find affordable places, luxury places, and everything in between.
If you are looking for an Airbnb, I enjoyed staying at the Diplomat Apartment. It is located in the old town, near major tourist sites and great restaurants. Plus the apartment is fully equipped with a kitchen, wifi, and a washing machine. To top it off, housemade wine will be waiting for you in the fridge.
If you’re looking for a hotel, I enjoyed both Rooms Hotel Tbilisi and the Stamba Hotel. Both hotels are located in the Rustaveli neighborhood, which is about a 45-minute walk to the old town. But it’s still a great, central location with tons of great restaurants and bars around.
Overall, on your 10 day trip to Georgia, you’ll start and end in Tbilisi giving you three full days in Georgia’s capital. While Georgia has a couple of international airports, the airport in Tbilisi is by far the largest and has the best options when arriving and departing. Here, three days in Tbilisi is broken up into two days at the beginning of the trip, and one day at the end of the trip. This three-day Tbilisi itinerary allows for a good feel for the city.
Start your time in Tbilisi by participating in the free walking tour put on by Tbilisi Free Walking Tours. They offer three different free tours – Old Tbilisi, Hidden Tbilisi, and Backstreets of Tbilisi. By doing this when you first arrive, you’ll get a good feel for how the city is laid out plus you’ll be able to ask the guide for any recommendations. Don’t forget to bring cash to leave a tip at the end.
After completing the free walking tour, head up to Narikala Fortress for views of the city. Narikala Fortress is free to enter and you can either walk up the hill to reach it or take the cable car for one Lari. If you opt for the cable car it departs from Rike Park on the left bank of the Mtkvari river.
At this point, if you’re hungry, there are two great options nearby. The first option would be to eat at Pasanauri after leaving Narikala. Pasanauri serves traditional Georgian food; there are multiple locations throughout Tbilisi but in this case, the one in the old town is the most convenient. Another option would be to eat at Zakhar Zakharich, a big, blue restaurant underneath the Dry Bridge Market (where you’re headed next). If you choose Zakhar Zakharich make sure to order the khinkali – it’s delicious!
To close out the day, make your way to the Dry Bridge Market; an outdoor flea market that sells just about anything you can think of from Georgian memorabilia to Soviet-era memorabilia. If you want to purchase anything, make sure to carry cash with you. The market is open every day from 11 am to 5 pm.
Before ending your first day in Tbilisi, head to 8000 Vintages to try Georgian wine. You can wine taste here and the staff members are very knowledgeable about wine and winemaking in Georgia. I wouldn’t eat here, instead, I’d head next door to Salobie Bia to try shkmeruli (one of my favorite Georgian dishes).
Day 2: Tbilisi
HIGHLIGHTS OF TBILISI: SULFUR BATH, CLOCK TOWER, GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM
Of all of the places to visit in Tbilisi, a visit to the sulfur baths is a must-do. There are seven different bathhouses in the Abanotubani neighborhood in Tbilisi, near the old town. Legend has it that King Vakhtang Gorgasali came across the springs while hunting and built a city around them. It’s believed that in the 13th-century there were over 60 bathhouses where both locals and people passing through from Europe to Asia (and vice versa) would stop for a soak.
Gulo’s Thermal Spa was a good middle-of-the-road option. It wasn’t the most impressive bathhouse, but it did retain a local feel that I appreciated. Make sure to add on the “scrub” for a true Georgian experience. When you visit the bathhouses in Tbilisi you’ll wear a swimming suit – if you opt for the “scrub” they’ll usually request that you take your top off. Also, bring a towel or you’ll be charged a small fee to borrow one, and make sure to book a reservation in advance. This can usually be done through Facebook Messenger.
Allow yourself time after the sulfur bath to go home and shower before heading out again. Now head to the Clock Tower, an impressive leaning clock in Tbilisi. While the tower looks quite old and impressive, it was built in 2010 by Revaz Gabriadze. If you’re there on the hour you’ll see a small angel come out and ring the bell with a small hammer. Nearby, only a few steps away, is the cutest cafe with outdoor seating – Cafe Leila. Cafe Leila is a vegetarian restaurant that serves Georgian cuisine. I highly recommend eating lunch here while you’re in the area.
Next, head to the Georgian National Museum to learn about Georgian history. Please note, this museum is closed every Monday so plan accordingly. The Georgian National Museum has many different displays. You can find displays of the types of animals found in Georgia, the types of dress that Georgians wore up until the present day and even fossils that have been found in the country. It’s a pretty interesting museum, I would plan to spend about two hours walking through.
Although I wouldn’t make it a priority, if you like learning about history, you might find a visit to the Tbilisi History Museum worthwhile. This museum isn’t as in-depth as the Georgian National Museum and strictly focuses on the history of Tbilisi. It’s much smaller and you can make it through the museum in under an hour. Please note, the Tbilisi History Museum is also closed on Mondays.
For dinner, head to the beautifully decorated, and quite romantic, Keto and Kote. Keto and Kote serves upscale Georgian cuisine and I highly recommend making a reservation if you plan to eat here. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but I assure you – it’s worth it. For a nightcap make your way to Vino Underground – Georgia’s first natural wine bar.
Day 3: Kutaisi
HIGHLIGHTS OF KUTAISI: BAIA’S WINE, GREEN BAZAAR, TOMA’S WINE CELLAR
The journey from Tbilisi to Kutaisi is a bit over three hours long. You’ll only be spending one day in Kutaisi, so make sure to leave Tbilisi early in the morning so that you can get a full day in Kutaisi and a good feel for the city.
On the way to Kutaisi, make your first stop 40-minutes outside of the city at Baia’s Wine.
Baia’s wine is a vineyard located in the Obcha Village in Baghdati. Baia, the main winemaker, is an award-winning female winemaker that was featured on Forbes 30 under 30 European list in 2019. Visiting her family’s vineyard is a true honor and the way you’re treated goes to show how important Georgian hospitality is to locals. You’ll be given a tour of the vineyard and shown how wine is made qvevri style. You’ll also be able to taste her award-winning wine and even be treated to a traditional Georgian feast known as a supra.
Make sure to book reservations in advance by using the contact form on the website. I highly encourage you to inquire about the “wine and dine” option so that you can taste both the wine and homemade food.
After finishing up at Baia’s continue your drive to Kutaisi. Once you get to Kutaisi, set out to see the city on foot. Some of the highlights include the Green Bazaar – an incredible food market perfect for people watching and observing locals. Also, stop by the elaborate Colchis Fountain with golden statues of animals and replicas of Georgian figures.
Once night falls, head to Toma’s Wine Cellar for dinner. I can’t stress enough how incredible the food is at Toma’s and an experience that you don’t want to miss. Toma invites you into his family home where they’ve turned the basement into a wine cellar and restaurant. Someone from the family shows you around the wine-making area before you’re seated to enjoy a traditional Georgian feast cooked by none other than Toma’s mom. The cost of the meal is 50 GEL (approximately $15) and you’re served starters, main courses, and a dessert; plus a half-liter of housemade wine and a shot of housemade ChaCha. Reservations are required which you can book in advance on their Facebook page.
For more information about visiting Kutaisi, make sure to read The Best Things to Do in Kutaisi
Day 4: Mestia
HIGHLIGHTS OF MESTIA: SVANETI MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND ETHNOGRAPHY, HESHKILI PANORAMA
WHERE TO STAY IN MESTIA
There are many places to stay in Mestia. If you’re going the affordable route, I recommend finding a guesthouse. However, if you want to splurge a *little* bit more then maybe a hotel would better suit you. I booked a stay at Chalet Mestia and recommend it. The location was amazing and the rooms were nice and spacious. You should be aware, however, if you plan to come in the summer months, the rooms do not have air conditioning. I stayed in May and it was quite warm in my room, while the nights were much cooler.
Outside of Mestia, in a small village, there is a hotel that offers insanely beautiful views of the mountains. I didn’t know about this place before arriving, but if I went back to Mestia I would book here next time. The property is much more remote and you’ll need a car/driver to get around as there’s not much in the area. The property is called Heshkili Huts.
Mestia is a small town in the mountains, located in Northern Georgia in what is known as the Svaneti Region. It takes 4.5 hours to travel by car, with the roads narrow and twisty. If you’re visiting Georgia in the winter months, please note that it isn’t uncommon for the roads leading to Mestia to be closed due to weather. This is an incredibly beautiful region in Georgia and no Georgia travel guide would be complete without making a trip to Svaneti.
Once you arrive in town, make your way to the Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography. Here you’ll be able to learn about the history of the Svans and see some cool Georgian artifacts that have been found in the region. Please note, this museum is closed on Mondays.
After visiting the museum, head out to try Svaneti’s local dish – kubdari at Cafe Laila, the main restaurant in town. While the food is subpar, it’s a great atmosphere, and where most people choose to hang out. Even if you don’t eat at Cafe Laila you’ll want to stop by if you need to book a ride with a taxi driver. The local drivers hang out here waiting to approach tourists who may want to take day trips or hike.
Make sure to finish eating in time to watch the sunset from Heshkili Panorama. Heshkili Panorama is about a 20-minute drive from Mestia where you’ll be greeted with incredible panoramic views of the mountains. I highly recommend finding a driver who will allow you to spend some time there and bring a bottle of wine to enjoy the sunset. This entire area is free to visit and is quite secluded.
Day 5: Mestia
HIGHLIGHTS OF MESTIA: DAY TRIP TO USHGULI
On your second day in Mestia, make the two drive southeast to Ushguli – one of the most remote villages in the Svaneti region. Ushguli is at the base of Mount Shkara, the highest point in Georgia. When you visit make sure to make the trek up to Supar (Tamar Tower), for views of the village. I also recommend eating lunch at Guesthouse Ushguli before heading back to Mestia. If you have the time and you like to hike, a popular hike in the area is the hike to Shkhara Glacier. Before leaving for Ushguli find a driver that will guide you on the hike or wait for you while you complete the hike.
For more information about the Svaneti Region make sure to read Visiting the Svaneti Region in Northern Georgia
Day 6: Akhaltsikhe
HIGHLIGHTS OF AKHALTSIKHE: RABATI CASTLE
Akhaltsikhe is located in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of southwestern Georgia, about a seven-hour drive south of Mestia. Aside from being in one of the most beautiful regions in Georgia, the main attraction in Akhaltsikhe is Rabati Castle, something that should surely be on everyone’s list of things to do in Georgia.
Rabati Castle is a medieval fortress that was built in the 9th century. It’s open daily from 9 am to 6 pm. The complex itself is huge with bars and restaurants inside as well as fountains, lookout towers, and even a mosque. You can add a speaking guide to the cost of your entrance ticket, which I highly recommend if you want to learn the history of Rabati.
Day 7: Akhaltsikhe
HIGHLIGHTS OF AKHALTSIKHE: DAY TRIP TO KHERTVISI FORTRESS, VARDZIA, SAPARA MONASTERY
On your second day in Akhaltsikhe hire a drive to see the main attractions in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region.
First, drive an hour southeast to Khertvisi Fortress. This fortress is one of the oldest fortresses in Georgia, and while few infographics are set up to explain the importance of the fortress, the fortress itself is beautiful as is the area that it’s in. The cost to enter is 10 Lari and you can breeze through the fortress in 10-minutes.
After visiting Khertvisi, make your way to the absolute highlight of the region – Vardzia. Vardzia is a cave city that was built in the 12th century and it’s only a fifteen-minute drive south of Khertvisi Fortress. Vardzia is made up of 600 rooms that are carved into Erusheti Mountain and to this day, you can still walk through the rooms! The cost of entrance is 15 Lari but I highly recommend hiring a private guide to take you through Vardzia and explain its importance in history and the complexities of the structure. Out of all of the incredible things that I saw in Georgia, Vardzia was one of the absolute highlights and thus shouldn’t be left off of any Georgia 10 day itinerary guides.
Upon leaving Vardzia make your way back towards Akhaltsikhe – but first, stop at Sapara Monastery outside of Akhaltsikhe. Sapara Monastery is a beautiful Monastery that is nestled in the trees and free to enter. Being a historic monastery, please know that you’ll need to have your knees and head covered to enter.
For more information on the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, don’t miss A Guide to Visiting Akhaltsikhe and Vardzia
Day 8: Sighnaghi
HIGHLIGHTS OF SIGHNAGHI: EXPLORING KAKHETI – SHUMI WINERY, SHALAURI WINE CELLAR, SIGHNAGHI WALL
WHERE TO STAY IN SIGHNAGHI
One of the most luxurious properties in Sighanghi also happens to be quite affordable. When exploring the Kakheti wine region and basing yourself in Sighnaghi – the city of love, I highly recommend a stay at Kabadoni Hotel. The property has a wine bar, spa, gym, and restaurant that overlooks the valley.
After leaving Akhaltsikhe, make your way four hours east to the Kakheti region of Georgia. One of the main draws to Georgia is the fact that there is evidence of Georgia being the first wine-making country in the world. And the way that wine is made in Georgia is unique compared to western countries – it’s made qvevri style. While wine is produced all over the country, Khaketi is the premiere wine destination in Georgia.
Before heading to Sighanghi to check into the hotel, visit two of the best wineries in the Kakheti region – Shumi Winery and Shalauri Wine Cellar. Shumi is unique in that it’s the only wine museum on display in Kakheti. It’s a great place to taste because you’ll be able to learn about the history of winemaking, how wine is made in qvevri, and you can choose how many wines you want to taste plus if you want food with your tasting. I opted to taste five wines and paired them with the cheese plate for 30 Lari. I highly recommend making reservations ahead of time, which you can do through Facebook Messenger, and make sure to request the price list to choose how many wines you want to taste.
After wine tasting at Shumi, head to Shalauri – an authentic, small, family-owned winery. The wine at Shalauri is incredible (it’s only made in qvevri), but the true highlight of Shalauri is the lunch spread that they serve. Like Shumi, you can reserve a wine tasting spot and lunch by contacting Shalauri on Facebook Messenger. If you’re trying to decide between eating at Shumi or Shalauri, I highly recommend eating at Shalauri.
After wine tasting, head towards Sighnaghi. A town that is known as the most romantic place in Georgia. It’s a small town that sits up high on a hill and is well-known for its cobblestone streets, old fortified walls, and places to wine taste. On a clear day, from up on the hill, you can see the Alazani Valley laid out in front of you and the Caucasus Mountains in the background.
Once you arrive in Sighnaghi, check into your hotel and head out to see the town. Walk the fortified walls, for free, where you’ll get amazing views of the valley. If you’re interested in learning about the history of Sighanghi, make sure to stop in at the Sighnaghi National Museum for a lesson on history and to view famous artwork from the area. For dinner, head to Okro’s Natural Wine Restaurant for traditional Georgian food. (They also offer wine tastings if you’re looking to taste more wine).
Day 9: Sighnaghi
HIGHLIGHTS OF SIGHNAGHI: WINE YARD N1, CRADLE OF WINE MARANI, PHEASANT’S TEARS
On your second day in the Kakheti region of Georgia, make your way north to Wine Yard N1 in Kvareli. While Wine Yard N1 is nearby Shumi and Shalauri, I recommend visiting on a different day because I highly recommend eating lunch here too.
Wine Yard N1 is a fun and unique family-owned winery. It’s won several accolades including, “The best rural tourism”, and “The best woman entrepreneur in the tourism industry”, as well as features in multiple magazines/newspapers. Wine Yard N1 is unique in that they take Georgian traditions pretty seriously. I was given traditional Georgian drinking vessels to drink from and was even taught a traditional Georgian dance. To visit, you need to make reservations ahead of time, which you can do through Facebook Messenger.
After spending time at Wine Yard N1, head back to Sighnaghi for a wine tasting at Cradle of Wine Marani. Paul, an American, moved to Georgia with his wife and they opened Cradle of Wine together. Paul does an excellent job of going into detail about how wine is made in Georgia, is incredibly captivating, and even a great host. I did a walk-in wine tasting, but would highly recommend making reservations ahead of time to ensure that you can taste. Reservations can be made through Facebook Messenger.
After leaving Cradle of Wine Marani, walk down the street to Pheasant’s Tears for dinner. Pheasant’s Tears is one of the best restaurants that I ate at in Georgia and highly recommend dining here. The menu changes based on ingredients that are available at the market that day, and aside from the food, the Pheasant’s Tears wine is some of the best I had in the country. Like most places, you can opt for a wine tasting or just order a glass/bottle.
For a more complete guide to the Kakheti region, including tips for wine tasting, don’t miss How to Spend 2 Days in the Kakheti Wine Region – Georgia’s Premiere Wine Region
Day 10: Tbilisi
HIGHLIGHTS OF TBILISI: DAY TRIP TO MTSKHETA & UPLISTSIKHE
From Sighanghi, make your way back west towards Tbilisi before departing back home. Because you’ve already seen a good amount of Tbilisi, I recommend taking a day trip from Sighnaghi before ending up back in Tbilisi.
From Sighanghi, drive two hours northwest to Mtskheta, one of the oldest cities in Georgia (and former capital of the country) located only a half-hour north of Tbilisi. It’s worth visiting to see its historic monasteries including Jvari Monastery, a sixth-century church overlooking the city of Mtskheta. Samtavro’s Convent where Georgia’s first King and Queen who declared Christianity a state religion in 326 lays to rest, and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. If you choose to day trip to Mtskheta make sure you’re wearing a skirt or dress that covers your knees, and a hat or scarf over your head so that you’re able to enter the monasteries.
Once you leave Mtskheta head an hour west to visit Uplistsikhe, outside of Gori. Uplistsikhe translates as “the Lord’s fortress” and is an ancient rock town where they believed that ancestral Georgians lived in 1st and 2nd BC.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, I believe that the easiest way to make this day trip is by customizing a trip through GoTrip. If you have time after leaving Uplistsikhe, you should also venture into Gori to visit the Stalin Museum – a museum dedicated to the life of Joseph Stalin.
Once you’re done head back down south to Tbilisi.
SHOP MY GEORGIA TRAVEL LOOKS!
Some of the landscape in particular looks so impressive, it’s a really beautiful city. I haven’t visited much of Eastern Europe, but I do really want to now
Ahh Eastern Europe is incredible! Especially Georgia 🙂 – I really hope that you’re able to make it!