The route through Georgia by car. What to see on your own

Self-drive Georgia road trip itinerary with scenic mountain views

Every year Georgia receives more and more guests. Tourists are attracted by clean air, beautiful landscapes, delicious wine and the hospitality of the locals. Magical nature is one of the main assets of Georgia.

You can travel as part of an excursion group, or independently by car. A properly constructed route will allow you to see the mountains and the sea, deep lakes, clear transparent rivers, pine and eucalyptus forests, ancient monuments of this magical country.

How to plan a route in Georgia

Georgia is a real godsend for those who want to escape from the hustle and bustle of megacities, to see untouched corners of pristine nature. More than 7% of the country’s territory is occupied by national parks and reserves, there are areas in the mountains where nothing has changed in recent centuries.

Маршрут по Грузии на машине. Что посмотреть самостоятельно

The route for traveling by car depends on the time spent in the country.

If travelers have only 1 week at their disposal, it is best to plan routes from Tbilisi or Batumi to nearby areas for 1 day, and if the vacation lasts 2 weeks or more, then you can make a travel itinerary so that you can explore several settlements or drive across the country.

You can travel around Georgia by car, but you can also rent a car on site. It is cheaper to do this in Tbilisi, for traveling it is better to choose an all–wheel drive option with increased ground clearance and a power of more than 100 hp – such a car will be more convenient on mountain roads.

Requirements for the driver when renting a car – age 23 and older, driving experience – at least 3 years.

It is cheaper to pay the rent for the entire period immediately. Before starting a trip by car, it is better to book hotels in places where you plan to stay overnight.

Georgia is a small country, about 500 km long and 280 km wide. The roads are mostly good, the traffic is low. The distances between settlements allow you to plan your route so that you can visit several cities per day.

Distances between cities in Georgia:

Route km
Tbilisi-Mtskheta 25
Tbilisi-Batumi 380
Tbilisi-Kazbegi 150
Kazbegi-Gori 183
Gori-Kutaisi 150
Ambrolauri-Borjomi 180
Tbilisi-Kakheti 300
Batumi-Mestia (Svaneti) 180
Tbilisi –Vardzia 207
Batumi-Kutaisi 112

When visiting the country for the first time, it is best to stay in Tbilisi and travel for 1-2 days to nearby regions. If you go to Batumi, you can combine a vacation on the coast with a sightseeing trip in the area of 100-200 km from the city.

If you have more than 1 week to travel, you can get to know interesting places by driving along the route: Tbilisi–Kutaisi – Svaneti–Batumi – Tbilisi.

Where to go from Tbilisi, what to see

The route through Georgia by car should first of all be planned from Tbilisi, since planes from other countries arrive here and trains arrive.

Маршрут по Грузии на машине. Что посмотреть самостоятельно

The route through Georgia by car can be started from Mtskheta, the former capital of Georgia

After the first days of exploring the capital of Georgia, you can take car trips to nearby regions:

  • Mtskheta – the former capital of Georgia, a small town located 25 km north of Tbilisi. The sightseeing trip will take 4-5 hours. The museum city with more than 2000 years of history is considered the spiritual center of the country. The following attractions deserve attention here:
  • Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, built in the XI century. on the ruins of the ancient temple of St. Sidonia.
  • The temple of Samtavro of the XI century. on the territory of the convent. The icon of the Iverian Mother of God, the relics of St. Nicholas, is kept here.Shio Mgvimsky and St.Aviva of Nekres, who stood at the origin of the creation of monasticism, as well as the new Georgian Saint Gabriel. King Mirian and Queen Nina, the baptists of Georgia, are buried here.
  • The remains of the fortress of Bebristsikhe, built in the IX century.
  • The remains of the ancient Pompeii Bridge, built in 65 BC by the Romans.
  • The Jvari Temple, built in the 7th century. on the site of the cross, which was erected by St. Nina. From the mountain on which the temple stands, there is an impressive view of the confluence of the Kura and Aragvi rivers, and in clear weather you can see Mount Kazbek.
  • Mountain Shio-Mgvim monastery, located 9 km from Mtskheta with unusual cave cells.
  • Kakheti is a famous wine region east of the capital. The circular route is about 300 km. It is better to go for 1-2 days. There are many interesting places along the route that are worth seeing:
  • Bodbe Monastery is a beautiful monastery on a hill. According to legend, St. Nina died in this place.
  • Sighnaghi – here you can visit the Church of St.St. George and the Church of St.Stefan, admire the Alazani valley with the ancient fortress wall, visit the museum of local lore. There is the famous Pheasant’s Tears wine cellar, as well as a 24-hour registry office where everyone can tie the knot.
  • Velistsikhe is famous for the wine museum, where you can buy saperavi and rkatsiteli of excellent quality.
  • Kvareli – here you can explore the XVIII century fortress, St. John the Baptist Cathedral, the Chavchavadze House Museum, taste wine at the Kindzmarauli Corporation factory.
  • The Khareba Winery, located in tunnels underground, is 2.5 km from Kvareli. There is a restaurant and tastings are held here.
  • XVI century Gremi Castle, the former residence of the kings of Kakheti.
  • Shumi Winery – here you can get acquainted with the process of making chacha, make churchkhela yourself, taste wines.
  • Gori and Uplistsikhe – these attractions are located 90 km from Tbilisi. I.V. Stalin was good enough in Gori, there is a museum named after him here. 15 km from Gori is the rocky town of Uplistsikhe, famous for its caves, where people lived 3,000 years ago. Visiting these attractions by road will take 6-7 hours.
  • Gudauri – the settlement on the slopes of the South Caucasian Ridge is located at a distance of 120 km from Tbilisi. In summer, it is worth going here to admire the beautiful views, in winter – to go skiing.

Where to go from Batumi

You can travel around Georgia by car. A summer trip can be combined with a vacation at the seaside. Batumi is a port resort town that attracts with its fish restaurants, beautiful Botanical Garden, cable car, which offers a fascinating view of the city.

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Mtirala National Park, Georgia

From here you can build interesting car routes to nearby attractions:

  1. Mtirala National Park located 20 km from Batumi. The road here is not easy, along the serpentine, but the beauty of nature, the lake and the waterfall, is worth coming to the park and spending 2-3 hours here. In the park you can admire tropical plants, spend time in the rope park, and ride horses.
  2. Kutaisi, the capital of Imereti, is located at a distance of 150 km from Batumi.

Here it is worth paying attention to:

  • Colchis fountain with 30 gilded figures.
  • The glass domed building of the Parliament of Georgia, standing right in the field.
  • The white bridge over the Rioni River.
  • Bagrat Temple, erected in 1003, with an observation deck.
  • Prometheus Cave, located 20 km from the city with a beautiful underground lake.
  • Martvile Canyon, where you can go boating on the purest body of water.
  • Okatse Canyon located at an altitude of 1400 m above sea level.
  • 100-meter waterfalls of Kincha.

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The Colchis Fountain in Kutaisi

  1. From Batumi, you can take a 1-day car trip through mountainous Adjara. Such a trip will take 8-10 hours and will allow you to get a little acquainted with the nature of Adjara, swim in the sea.

The route is as follows:

  • Gonio Fortress, one of the oldest architectural monuments, is located 15 km south of Batumi.
  • Sarpi, waterfall and statue of St. Andrew the First-Called, clean beach, near the border with Turkey in the line of sight.
  • Adjara Wine House is an operating factory and restaurant.
  • The 30 m high Mahuntseti Waterfall and the arched bridge of Queen Tamara of the XII-XIII centuries.
  • Chakvi, a small resort town where you can swim on sparsely populated beaches.
  • Tsikhidziri, here you can explore the ruins of the ancient fortress of Petra.
  • Ureki, a resort town 50 km from Batumi, is famous for its healing black magnetic sands.
  • The Church of St.Trinity on Mount Sameba.
  • The fish market at the entrance to Batumi, located near the seaport, is the end of the trip.

Маршрут по Грузии на машине. Что посмотреть самостоятельно

Gonio Fortress, Georgia

  1. Svaneti is a magnificent mountainous region located 180 km from Batumi. Mestia, the capital of the region, can be reached by car in 5-6 hours. It is better to go here for 3-4 days to thoroughly get acquainted with the region, see the sights, and walk through the mountains. It is better to plan a visit to Svaneti in the summer, roads are often closed in winter.

It’s worth a look here:

  • The Ingurskaya HPP dam is on the way to the region.
  • Svan Towers in Mestia.
  • Museum of History and Ethnography.
  • The tower is a museum in Mestia.
  • Latali, a village 9 km from Mestia, where you can see the confluence of the Inguri and Mulhura rivers, admire the glacier and Ushba Mountain.
  • Airport named afterQueen Tamara at an altitude of 1400 m above sea level.
  • Ushguli village, the highest mountain in Europe, located 46 km from Mestia.

From Mtskheta to Kutaisi

The route through Georgia by car allows you to get to know the identity of this country more closely. So, from Tbilisi you can get to Kutaisi via Mtskheta, Kazbegi and Gori, visiting historical monuments along the way, stopping for the night in interesting places.

You can spend 1 night in Mtskheta and Gori, it is better to allocate 2-3 days to explore Kazbegi, and stay in Kutaisi for at least 5 days. During this time, you can get acquainted with the main attractions of these places.

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The distance from Mtskheta to Kazbegi is 25 km. You can stay overnight in the village of Stepantsminda, which was called Kazbegi until 2007. The village is located at the foot of Mount Kazbek at an altitude of more than 1700 m. From here you can go to the mountains to see glaciers, Gveleti waterfall, Truso Gorge.

You can visit the village of Sno, famous for the field with stones on which the faces of famous Georgians are carved, or the village of Juna, located on the territory of the National Park.

It is about 180 km from Kazbegi to Gori, most of it you need to go along the Georgian Military Road, which is very picturesque in itself.

On the way and in the city, you can visit the following attractions:

  • The Xan fortress of the XVI century.
  • Uplistsiikhe cave city.
  • Goristsikhe fortress in Gori.
  • The Stalin Museum.

The resort town of Kutaisi is 152 km from Gori. Along the way, you can make a stop to explore the Suram fortress, pay attention to the Rikoti pass, along which the road runs.

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Suram Fortress, Georgia

There are many attractions in Kutaisi that cannot be explored in 1-2 days, in addition, from here you can get to the Tskaltubo balneological resort, located 15 km from the city. The resort is known for its healing mineral springs.


The route through Georgia by car gives you the opportunity to get acquainted with various regions of the country. Thus, the city of Ambrolauri, the capital of the Racha mountain region, is located 130 km from Kutaisi. Here, at an altitude of 550 m above sea level, untouched nature has been preserved on the slopes of the Great Caucasus Mountains, beautiful waterfalls, canyons and mountain lakes can be seen here.

The Rioni River flows through the region, on the banks of which you can relax on sandy beaches, and mineral springs are available in the mountains. The region is ancient, there are many historical monuments here, the first mention of Racha dates back to the end of the tenth century, although archaeologists found evidence of the existence of people here 10,000 years ago.

There are two ways to get from Kutaisi to Ambrolauri by car:

  • Along the Rioni River, through the village of Khvanchkara – in this case, you need to drive an SUV, the dirt road is not very good throughout. But there is an opportunity to visit the Khvamli Nature Reserve.
  • Through the Nakerala Pass and the city of Tkibuli. There is a good smooth road here, beautiful views around.

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There is a choice of hotels in Ambrolauri, you can stay for 1-2 nights.

In 2 days of stopping here, you can visit:

  • Shovi is a resort with healing springs.
  • Khvanchkara Factory – guided tour and tasting of famous wines.
  • They are a Jewish village with its own synagogue.
  • Mountain lake Ujiro. The trip here will take at least 2 days and involves an overnight stop in a tent.

Ambralauri – Borjomi

From Ambalauri, it is best to continue the journey to Borjomi.

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Mountainous Svaneti, Georgia

You need to take a good 180 km road, there are many interesting places along the way that are worth exploring:

  • The Nakerala mountain pass is the border between the Racha and Imereti regions, the height at the top point is more than 1200 m, which opens up excellent opportunities for viewing the surroundings.
  • Lake Shaori is an artificial high–altitude reservoir created in the 50s of the XX century during the construction of the Shaori hydroelectric power station. The shores of the lake are very picturesque, in the hot season you can swim here.
  • Tkibuli cable car – it is not working now, but you can view the surroundings from the preserved observation deck.
  • Tskhrazhdvari – the mountain of 9 crosses – is a sacred place for Georgians.

Borjomi is a famous resort with a mild climate. There is excellent nature here, there are healing mineral springs, many sanatoriums. Borjomi is characterized by an increased number of sunny days – there are 200 of them on average per year.

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It is better to book a hotel in Borjomi in advance, there is a great demand for accommodation in the season. You can stay at a spa hotel and combine relaxation with health care.

In Borjomi, you can:

  • Take a ride on the cable car.
  • Take a walk in the Central Park, drink the famous Borjomi water directly from the mineral spring, see the Prometheus monument and the waterfall.
  • Swim in thermal pools in water with hydrogen sulfide at a temperature of 30 ° C.
  • Visit the ruins of Gogia and Petra fortresses, which offer a wonderful view of the surrounding landscape.
  • Visit the ethnographic museum.
  • Take a walk on the territory of the forest Green monastery.
  • Take a walk through one of the largest national parks in Europe – Borjomi-Kharagauli.


The route through Georgia by car is a great opportunity to choose your own travel directions. So, after visiting Borjomi, you can return to the Black Sea coast and continue your beach vacation, or you can go towards Tbilisi and visit the cave city of Vardzia.

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The distance from Borjomi to Vardzia is 100 km. On the way, you can explore the Rabat fortress, known since the XVI century, when the Ottoman Turks lived in this place, and one of the oldest fortresses in Georgia – Khertvisi, located on the high bank of the Paravani River, a tributary of the famous Kura.

You can spend the night in the city of Akhaltsikhe, from where you can drive to Vardzia in 2 hours. The cave monastery was founded by Queen Tamara at the end of the XII century. to protect Georgia from raids from Iran and Turkey.

The system of underground rooms included cells, churches, chapels, refectories and libraries. The underground passages went 50 m deep into the rocks and rose to a height of 20 m. The city survived the destruction, in 2004 it was restored and fortified.

Vardzia– Tsalka – Tbilisi

To continue enjoying the natural beauty of Georgia, you can visit the city of Tsalka. The distance from Vardzia to Tsalka is 135 km along the serpentine. These places in Georgia have not yet been promoted in the tourist sense, there are few tourists here, beautiful and untouched nature, clean mountain lakes, picturesque views.

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Storks nesting place in Ninotsminda

On the way you can see:

  • The ruins of the Akhalkalaki fortress of the IX century.
  • The storks’ nesting place in Ninotsminda is interesting in spring and early summer.
  • The Convent of St.Nino, located in the village of Bye, where they cook delicious cheese.
  • The alpine lake Parvani is surrounded by dormant volcanoes.

In Tsalka, you can rent a house for 1 night and spend this time in unity with nature – visit Lake Barete, visit the Dashbashi Canyon.

From Tsalka to Tbilisi, where you can finish the journey – 100 km along the serpentine. The road is good, there are beautiful views around. On the way, you can stop in the village of Kojori to see the majestic ruins of the IX century castle-fortress on Mount Azeula, take a difficult hiking route through the Birtvisi canyons.

No matter which part of Georgia the paved road route passes, the beauty and greatness of this amazing country will be remembered forever. You need to come here several times to drive around all the sights, historical and natural monuments by car.

Author: Elena Romanenko

Video about Georgia

A car trip to Georgia along the Georgian military road. The best places:


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