Your first destination is Georgia's third-largest city, Kutaisi, the perfect place to ease into your trip without experiencing much culture shock. Stop by the beautiful city centre and visit the Bagrati Cathedral, the Kutaisi Cable Car, and the Colchis Fountain with its elaborate golden figures. Stroll along the Rioni River, which flows right through the city, and hang out at hip bars and traditional restaurants on the riverbanks.
Discover the traditional market, the old amusement park, and the cool party scene of Kutaisi. Several sites outside the city are also worth a visit, especially the beautiful Motsameta and Gelati monasteries and Prometheus Cave. Where else can you take a boat trip on an underground lake in a 15 km long cave? Make sure to check out Sataplia Nature Reserve with its glass viewing platform and fantastic view over Kutaisi and Martvili and Okatse canyons.
The city's hostels and hotels are quite inexpensive, and you can find a double room for just 10 euros per night.
Catch a bus (for only five euros!) to your next stop: Akhaltsikhe. Located at the foot of the huge Rabati fortress, this small village may not seem impressive, but is a great place to get to know the country’s unique charm and local hospitality – something all travellers in Georgia rave about. Make sure to visit the fortress and marvel at its distinctive architectural beauty, complete with arcades, mosaics, and golden domes. Akhaltsikhe is also the perfect starting point for a trip to Vardzia and its extraordinary cave monasteries.
Stay overnight in Akhaltsikhe’s centre – a double room costs as little as 18 euros per night.
A three-euro bus trip will get you to Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi. The city is colourful, lively, and full of contrasts – futuristic buildings are lined up next to grey Soviet-era buildings and playful Art Nouveau houses. Take a free walking tour and check out the vibrant old town, the traditional bath district, and the Betlemi Street Stairs. Have brunch in a trendy hipster café, visit a farmers' market or get a massage in the traditional sulphur bath of Bathhouse No. 5, and rest assured that you won’t run out of things to do in Tbilisi.
Take a cable car up to Narikala Fortress for amazing views of the city. Head a bit outside of Tbilisi to visit the rock-hewn Davit Gareja Monastery Complex, which is located near the Georgian-Azerbaijani border and still inhabited by monks. The most interesting thing isn’t the monastery itself, but the mystical and peaceful desert-like landscape surrounding the complex.
Stay in Tbilisi’s old town in a six-bed dorm for 10 euros per night.
Continue into the Caucasus to Stepantsminda via bus for about four euros. Make sure to stay awake because there’s plenty see and do on the way to this small mountain village. Plan a stop at the Ananuri Fortress on the shores of the turquoise blue Zhinvali Reservoir and check out the viewing platform at the Jvari Pass.
Once you arrive in Stepantsminda, go hiking or trekking and enjoy Georgia’s beautiful mountain landscapes. We particularly recommend a day trip to the Gergeti Trinity Church underneath the impressive 5,033-metre-high Mount Kazbek. Hike up the mountain to get a good view of the Gergeti Glacier.
Sleep in a hostel in Stepantsminda’s centre – a three-bed dorm costs only 10 euros per night.
Another five-euro bus trip will take you to your last stop: Gori – the birthplace of Stalin. Visit the house where Stalin was born, check out the informative Stalin Museum, and see his personal train car in which he travelled to the famous Yalta Conference in 1945.
Gori is above all the starting point for an excursion to the town of Uplistsikhe, one of the first settlements in Georgia, carved into the rocks on a mountain edge. About 10 kilometres away from the city, Uplistsikhe offers wonderful views of the Kura Valley and spectacular insights into the Bronze Age. Take a tour and discover sixth-century ruins, including a church, an assembly hall, and a storage cellar.
Stay overnight in Gori for only 5 euros a night in an eight-bed dorm. The next morning, take the train back from Gori to Kutaisi for about 6 euros. From there, you can catch a flight back home.