The Republic of Georgia Brings You Mountains and Unparalled Hospitality

Situated between Europe and Asia, Georgia is a truly hidden gem for nature lovers.  Georgia is bordered by four countries: Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey.  On a whirlwind of a trip, I ventured into the four areas in which one can explore the hiking trails of the Caucasus Mountains – Svaneti, Kazbegi, Tusheti and Lagodekhi.  Apart from the mountains, Georgia impresses upon any traveler the sense of hospitality that only a few places in this world still hold.   There is the feeling of being “home” in Georgia if you manage to be open to interacting with the locals.  Despite the language issues, you are well-cared for because the locals simply treat you as heaven sent as guide books tell you often.

On my first full day in Tbilisi, I was lucky to be invited to the hostel’s birthday celebration for one of its owner’s friends.  I was offered a taste of the local cuisine and experienced a wonderful merging of cultures when a fellow hostel resident played a traditional musical instrument from Iran as a way to celebrate the occasion.  In Georgia, there is not much of a line between a stranger and a friend/family.  By simply being there, you’re already part of the most intimate of all social groups – a part of the family.

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Old town Tbilisi has sulfur baths to ache sore muscles.

On another occasion, I was well taken care of at a different hostel I stayed at in that I was offered a bed, the use of shower facilities, as well as,  being able to charge my electronics and make use of their wifi.  All these were free of charge while I wait to depart for my late night flight home.  The cat, along with unlimited coffee, also came as a bonus.  My insistence to pay was refused repeatedly but my presence was highly treated with warmth.

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Feline company while waiting at Tbili Hostel in Tbilisi.

After my first full day in Tbilisi, I realized the hospitality at every place I stayed at was the norm, not the exception. So it is easy to feel pampered and spoiled in Georgia.  I also had the occasion, as part of my scouting treks/projects for my social enterprise, Peak Explorations and non-profit organization, Trails Without Borders, to meet locals who are connected with the tourism industry and they were accommodating enough to meet me at such short notice.

As to the trekking tourism potential for Georgia, having experienced the trails myself, I must say that I anticipate the trekking tourism to explode in the next few years or decades.  While most European trekking destinations have already gone far beyond being deemed as “established”, Georgia is up and coming with so much potential to take over the limelight in this arena.  It is already being discovered slowly with tourism growth rising each year and trails being established by various local and international organizations.  One such organization is the Transcaucasian Trail (TCT), which has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.  TCT aims to build a world-class long distance trail in the Caucasus mountain regions that will connect Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.  This will attract more hikers and mountain enthusiasts to all three countries as a goal.  The last phase would only require further improvements and expansion in terms of accommodations, transports and tourist services.  Tusheti, especially, will have a huge surge of change in the upcoming years given that its accessibility has yet to be improved to open its doors to an increase in tourism.

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In Ushguli (Svaneti region), which is the highest village in Europe at 2100 meters and a view of Shkhara, which is the highest peak at 5158 meters.

Mestia and Usghuli in Svaneti are already gaining attention with a new ski resort being built in the area; while Kazbegi, the most accessible mountain area of Georgia, continues to have a high demand in terms of tourism which will push it further to increase its accommodation, transports, and tourist services.

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Kazbegi peak and Gergeti Church as viewed from the town.

Lagodekhi, and its  hidden gem called, Black Rocks Lake, come as a pleasant surprise to those who arrive at the town with the same name and definitely deserve greater attention but for now only a few hardy souls partake in the 4400 meter total of climbing up and down the mountain to see this scenic lake that borders Russia.

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Black Rocks Lake with Russia just across from you.
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Black Rocks Lake in Lagodekhi National Park requires a 3 day trek.

Needless to say, I have thoroughly enjoyed my adventure in Georgia and I would even go so far as to recommend those who are adventurous enough to go alone.  Why? Because Georgia is filled with solo travelers, most of whom you will run into and end up exploring the trails with.  In that sense, it is an ideal place for solo traveling as the country is safe and locals are ready to help regardless of the language problem.  Just one thing when you meet other travelers – be prepared to answer the question, “Why Georgia?”  It’s the number one question of the trip, only because it takes a unique kind of person to decide to travel in Georgia.  Take it as a compliment.  In my own travel, I did not see any American backpackers although I met backpackers from all over the world such as Israel, Egypt, Sweden, Portugal, Malaysia, Ireland, Poland, Czech Republic, UK, among a few others.

I am forever changed because of Georgia. Its simplicity, the sweeping views along the trails of the Caucasus and the generosity of the people will haunt me for eternity, so much so, that I would even consider living here in the future.  The Georgians are maddeningly warm and hospitable which will only add more to its rise as a worthwhile future trekking destination in Europe.  In contrast, in most touristy trekking regions in Europe, hospitality has been compromised in many ways and therefore leaves you wanting for more connection to the place and its locals.  In Georgia, experiencing the people will leave you with a sense of openness to the world that is simply contagious. This then leads me with just one last thing to say – Go now before the rest of the world discovers it or risk losing out on the magical experiences from its current level of authenticity and rawness.

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22 thoughts on “The Republic of Georgia Brings You Mountains and Unparalled Hospitality”

  1. I think other site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and fantastic user genial style and design, as well as the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

    1. That is a thoughtful comment. Much appreciated. I hope to relay my stories in an effective and compelling manner so hearing this feedback from you is an absolute delight. Thank you!

    1. Thanks! Appreciate the feedback. Yes, they’re mine. Easy enough to get nice shots as the place is gorgeous as a subject to begin with. Cheers!

  2. I had a blast in Georgia when I backpacked in the picturesque country early this year as a solo female backpacker. I see you had a great time too! I especially loved Ushuguli and Mestia hikes although Kazbegi was equally stunning. I would love to go back again to see Tusheti and Khevshureti <3

    1. Yes, all areas of trekking in Georgia is amazing. I don’t think it’s common to run into someone who doesn’t find the experience meaningful and enjoyable. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the country. The people are extremely excited to expand on their tourism; hence I advise all travelers i know to go to Georgia. Cheers.

  3. Georgia looks and sounds absolutely fabulous. I had never heard of the place… so thank you for introducing me to it. I love trekking and will save this post with the hopes that one day I will get to visit.

    1. Thanks. Trekking new trails is always a memorable experience. The long distance trail is being built as we speak. It shouldn’t take long for avid hikers to discover it.

  4. Love this whole post, but the the last sentence is my favorite. I’m always looking to visit places that have not been trampled by tourism just yet. Sounds like Georgia is just that!

    1. Ah the food! They have very tasty cuisine and have this thing called “kachapuri” which is like their version of cheese pizza but can vary by adding egg on it or other things (meat etc). This is eaten any time of the day. The other main delicacy is “kinkali” which is their version of a dumpling. It can be filled with meat, mushroom, veggies… Then they have a variety of eggplant dishes, then the typical cucumber/tomato salad. They also do a lot of meat barbeques from lamb to pork to chicken with rice or potatoes. They love seasoning and salt so you will always have a tasty meal. It’ s one country where one can enjoy meals. It’s a tougher though for vegans and vegetarians – I noticed they didn’t really have real salads on the menu (meaning leafy greens).

  5. You have captured some really brilliant shots of the landscapes…the mountains against the clear blue skies seem like a dream. Nature dressed in its best, everywhere!

  6. Georgia and the Caucuses more generally are a region that I feel often go unfairly ignored. Why this is, I’m not entirely sure. Difficult to get to? Poor tourism infrastructure? Whatever it is, posts like this really help to draw attention to this beautiful part of the world while the shots are incredible. Kargi ram!

    1. Actually getting around was not bad at all. And dirt cheap! But it does require time…so in that respect it is more work and options in terms of mode of transportation.

  7. Beautiful photos!
    I’ve never thought of Georgia as one of my travel destinations but this will quickly change. Bet there are so many things to discover in this lovely country!

    1. Thanks! Yes, there are other sites to appreciate besides the mountains. You can go to Batumi where the Black Sea is and then a few historical sites spread all over the country.

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