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 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
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!)
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.