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Georgia’s unique geographical positioning between Asia and Europe offers a fusion of culture and history that dates back more than 1.8 million years.
Coupled with the Caucasus Mountains towering up to 16,000 feet, multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites, untamed rivers and a wealth of parks and protected areas, the former Soviet Republic nation offers adventure experiences interwoven with the rich and ancient cultural fabric that is uniquely Georgian.
At half the size of the U.S. state of Georgia, the country is small enough to explore in a jam-packed three-day itinerary. Below are some insider tips on how to best fill those days with adventure.
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Start and End Your Adventures in the Historic Capital Tbilisi is a hip city that makes a great jumping-off point for any adventure in Georgia. Named in the fifth century for its hot springs (Tbilisi means “warm location”), the historical hub is precariously propped up on the steep canyon walls carved by the Kura River.
Explore the diverse restaurant options that serve traditional Georgian foods, such as khinkali (Georgian dumplings), as well as those that serve the international cuisines that represent Georgia’s storied history as a bridge between cultures. Check out the local favorite Shavi Lomi; chef Meriko Gubeladze is globally recognized for her fusion of traditional Georgian food and Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Hike the Border of Azerbaijan and Explore Sixth-Century CavesJust two hours from Tbilisi, step back in time to the Middle Ages at David Gareja Monastery Complex, where hundreds of caves — adorned with colorful frescoes that were built into the cliffs — date back to the sixth century.
This incredible labyrinth of caves and stone buildings isn’t just a historical site; it was also home to Russian military trainings and is still in use today by a small group of monks. Hiking trails are plentiful and afford incredible views down into the low-lying desert plains of Azerbaijan.
Paragliding Followed by Cheese and Wine (in That Order) With an 8,000-year-old resume, Georgia is home to 500 varieties of wine grapes and 100,000 registered wine makers. The eastern region of Kakheti is the epicenter of wine production. Be sure to sample some wine made in a qvevri vessel (an egg-shaped clay container). This is Georgia’s traditional process of winemaking, and it’s recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The magnificent plateau-like, fortress-lined town of Sighnaghi offers cozy accommodations and a truly farm-to-table experience with regional cheese, wine, meats and vegetables. For a jaw-dropping adventure, the area is perfect for paragliding to get a bird’s-eye view of wine country, the ancient Sighnaghi fortress wall and the looming Caucasus Mountains.
Catch Incredible Views and an Adrenaline Rush in Kazbegi It’s time to head north to the mountains, but the Caucasus Mountains are not the typical mountain range. Mount Kazbek, topping out at 16,000 feet in Georgia, is just outside of Kazbegi (also known as Stepantsminda) and straddles the Georgia-Russia border.
The surrounding area offers many adventure activities: hiking through canyons to waterfalls, mountaineering, skiing and more. Although the mountains are the initial hook for all types of travelers, an incredible array of cultural sites and old villages are not to be missed.
While traveling north, stop for the Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument for a glimpse of Georgian and Russian history, as well as incredible views. Propped up on the hillside, this area also happens to be one of the most popular spots to paraglide.
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