Kazbegi, Georgia

Kazbegi Mountain overlooks the Gergeti church and its surrounding meadows.

Kazbegi Mountain overlooks the Gergeti church and its surrounding meadows.

Nestled in the southern Caucasus Mountains, Kazbegi (recently switched back to its originally Georgian name Stepantsminda) is the postcard perfect image of Georgia.

The quaint 14th century Gergeti Trinity Church (წმინდა სამება in Georgian, confusing, right!), at an elevation of 2170 metres, overlooks the small town bearing the name of the church. In turn, the church itself is overlooked by mighty Mount Kazbegi itself.  Surrounding the church are beautiful lush green Alpine meadows and forests…..really, we did not expect this in Georgia!

Where? – Kazbegi, Stepantsminda, Georgia (Google Maps)
Get There – Marshrutka from Didube Metro Station, Tbilisi.
Price 10 GEL + 25GEL for one night @ Nazzi Guesthouse
Essentials – Warm clothes (it’s freezing at night), strong legs, and cash (no ATM)
Worth It? – Stunning Alpine beauty with heart warming Georgian company and food.

Even in the height of summer (we visited in July 2014) tourists are few and far between so you can have the whole place to yourself. Don’t expect this to last though as the government is pushing tourism and old Military Road to Kazbegi is being upgraded to a fully paved highway. So get there now!

The pathway through the town to Gergeti Trinity Church, Kazbegi

The pathway through the town to Gergeti Trinity Church, Kazbegi. It’s amazing to this that if this was anywhere in western Europe, it would be overrun with tourists!

The views from surrounding hills and treks of the church are stunning, especially in early summer when the snows are melting and millions of wild flowers are blooming

The views from surrounding hills and treks of the church are stunning, especially in early summer when the snows are melting and millions of wild flowers are blooming

 

The Gergeti Trinity Church was built in the 14th Century and was used to protect priceless relics from Mtskheta and other parts of Gerogia.

The Gergeti Trinity Church was built in the 14th Century and was used to protect priceless relics from Mtskheta (a histroic religious town close to Tbilisi) and other parts of Gerogia.

The views over the surrounding valleys and meadows are sensational, perfect for contemplating life

The views over the surrounding valleys and meadows are sensational, perfect for contemplating life, dude.

Surrounding Kazbegi are the Caucasus mountains, which rise as high as 5.642 metres. The volatile Russian border is just 15km away.

Surrounding Kazbegi are the Caucasus mountains, which rise as high as 5.642 metres. The volatile Russian border is just 15km away.

To get to the church you must trek through a very steep forest for up to 2 hours. It's exhausting but well worth it. Or you can splash out and get a 4X4 Lada to the top.

To get to the church you must trek through a very steep forest for up to 2 hours. It’s exhausting but well worth it. Or you can splash out and get a 4X4 Lada to the top…. nah.

We spent nearly 4 hours at the summit of the church, taking in the view, the mountain air and the sheer silence.

We spent nearly 4 hours at the summit of the church, taking in the view, the mountain air and the sheer silence. Yes, there may have been frolicking in the meadows…

 

The view from our lovely Nazzi Guesthouse overlooking Gergeti town

The view from our lovely Nazzi Guesthouse overlooking Gergeti town

 

The town itself isn't very pretty. This is a very isolated and poor part of Georgia and can be cut off from the rest of the country in Winter months,

The town itself isn’t very pretty. This is a very isolated and poor part of Georgia and can be cut off from the rest of the country in winter months. Many locals live a simple existence, and I am sure the lure of tourism dollars will increase development in the future.

 

Walking around the town is like stepping back in time, kids on horseback and Ladas share the crumbling roadways

Walking around the town is like stepping back in time, kids on horseback and 30 year old Lada cars share the crumbling roadways.

 

The scenery is constantly changing as fast moving clouds and rain showers come and go.

The scenery is constantly changing as fast moving clouds and rain showers come and go.

 

The most popular way of getting around Kazbegi, to be honest it seems safter than taking the terrifying marshrutka bus!

The most popular way of getting around Kazbegi, to be honest it seems safer than taking the terrifying marshrutka bus!

Get there: Frequent Marshrutkas (small minibuses) go from Didube metro station in Tbilisi. When you come out of the metro station you will descend into chaos. Do your best to find the second bus yard and you will be directed to the correct Marshrutka – they usually have Kazbegi spelt out on the front in English.

If you have trouble finding it, just ask around and you will be directed. Of course there are dozens of taxi drivers offering you a “nice price” but just insist you need the Marshrutka and they will show you (they’re actually very nice people!)

Probably the most photographed sign in the town.

Probably the most photographed sign in the town.

We stayed at the Nazzi Guest house (there was a bunch of Germans staying there so no one seems to take offence with the name). There is a handful of shops and restaurants serving gorgeous Georgian food. You MUST bring cash with you, there is only one ATM in the town (bizarrely hidden away in the town hall) but this is erratic and it is essential to bring cash.

 

 

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7 Comments

  1. 18/09/2015 / 10:37 PM

    This is great! There’s not a lot of travel info out there about Georgia, and your photos are fantastic!

    • continentaldrifters
      19/09/2015 / 8:19 PM

      It’s really worth the trip, and it’s so good that there is such few tourists…..that’s quickly changing though!!

  2. couplertw
    19/09/2015 / 11:17 PM

    Great photos!! and a post about Georgia 🙂 that’s a rare thing.

    The Caucasus mountains look astonishing!!!

    • 20/09/2015 / 11:10 AM

      Thanks guys! Get there before it becomes the next hot spot….I have a feeling it’s going to happen sooner than later. Such an awesome country!

  3. 20/09/2015 / 7:30 AM

    I’ve never heard of this place but it’s utterly beautiful! Amazing photos, thanks so much for sharing. Now i have a new place to get excited about ;D

    • 20/09/2015 / 11:09 AM

      Thanks Maria! Haha, it really is one of the best countries we have been to 🙂

  4. 22/09/2015 / 6:56 PM

    Wow, another addition to my bucket list.

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