Kazbegi, Georgia is nestled high in the southern Caucasus Mountains. Previously little more than a trading post with nearby Russia, it is an increasing popular destination for foreign visitors to this exciting country. The village of Kazbegi has recently switched back to its originally Georgian name Stepantsminda so may cause confusion when trying to get there. Luckily we can help you on your way and offer the best accommodation at the cheapest prices.
Where? – Kazbegi, Stepantsminda, Georgia
Get There – Marshrutka bus from Didube Metro Station, Tbilisi. More Info below
Price – Marshrutka 10 GEL. Beds from 15GEL. See below for more
Essentials – Warm clothes (it’s freezing at night), strong legs, and cash (no ATM)
Worth It? – Yes! 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. With an ever increasing flow of tourists, the local government is paving the worn down old Military Road from Tbilisi to Kazbegi which will make it easier to reach. And a lot less scarier, the old road was terrifying! now!
The quaint 14th century Gergeti Trinity Church (წმინდა სამება in Georgian), at an elevation of 2,170 metres, overlooks the small town bearing the name of the church. In turn, the church itself is overlooked by mighty Mount Kazbegi itself. In spring, the beautiful lush green Alpine meadows and forests burst into colour. It’s a gorgeous time of year to viist and at times it feels more like Switzerland than Georgia.
It’s a very steep climb to get to the church, so patience and a reasonable level of fitness is required. There are locals who will drive you up in a 4×4 for 70GEL per car but honestly the tough climb through the thick forest is worth it. At the top there are further walking trails which offer superb views of the church and the surrounding mountains.
HOW TO GET TO KAZBEGI
Frequent Marshrutkas (small minibuses) depart from Didube metro station in Tbilisi. The bus station here is chaotic so, walk through the bus are and look for the second bus yard. Ask anybody around (Georgians are super friendly) and you will be directed to the correct Marshrutka – they usually have Kazbegi (ყაზბეგი) spelt out on the front in English.
There are dozens of taxi drivers offering you a “nice price” to Kazbegi but simply insist that you want the Marshrutka bus and they will kindly show you.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation in Kazbegi is simple and charming. Many families have turned their homes into guesthouses and there are a couple of hotels. Prices begin at around 15GEL for a dormitory bed and at 30GEL for a double room. Many families offer meals at a small extra cost.
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). Owned by a wonderful family, they also offer a scrumptious breakfast for a little bit extra.
In the village centre there are a handful of shops and restaurants serving gorgeous Georgian food. You MUST bring cash with you. While there is one ATM in the town it is bizarrely hidden away in the town hall and may not be working.