Fresh Air in Kazbegi, Georgia

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.

The Gergeti church flanked by the impressive Kazbegi mountain is the perfect postcard image of Georgia

The Gergeti church flanked by the impressive Kazbegi mountain is the perfect postcard image of Georgia

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

 

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 walking trails of the church are stunning, especially in early summer when the snows are melting and millions of wild flowers are blooming

The path towards Gergeti Trinity Church weaves through colourful meadows, old farms and thick forests

The path towards Gergeti Trinity Church weaves through colourful meadows, old farms and thick forests

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.

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

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

 

The views over the surrounding valleys and meadows are sensational, perfect for contemplating life and all its wonders :)

The views over the surrounding valleys and meadows are sensational, perfect for contemplating life and all its wonders 🙂

 

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.... nah.

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.

The view from the simple but welcoming Nazzi Guesthouse. Her home overlooks the town of Stepantsminda

The view from the simple but welcoming Nazzi Guesthouse. Her home overlooks the town of Stepantsminda

 

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.

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 30 year old Lada cars 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.

 

Sitting with a Kazbegi beer and admiring the stunning scenery in the evening is a magical experience. The scenery changes quickly as fast moving clouds and rain showers come and go.

Sitting with a Kazbegi beer and admiring the stunning scenery in the evening is a magical experience. The scenery changes quickly as fast moving clouds and rain showers come and go.

 

If marshrutka bus terrifies you, then there's always a donkey or two around to take you to Kazbegi!

If marshrutka bus terrifies you, then there’s always a donkey or two around to take you to Kazbegi!

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.

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). 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.

 

 

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8 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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