Georgia

1-week road trip itinerary in Georgia by rental car

When planning this itinerary, I was confronted with the questions below:

  • Whether to use Tbilisi as  headquarters for day trips or do a round trip,
  • If doing a round trip, whether to give priority to Western Georgia (Svaneti, Kutaisi, Black Sea) or to Central-Eastern Georgia (Stepantsminda, Vardzia, Kakheti),
  • Whether to travel to Armenia.

After a lot of reserach, the final decision I came up with was to:

  • do a round trip,
  • to prefer Central-Eastern Georgia to the Western part
  • to enter Armenia for a day.

Tbilisi can be used as headquarters for shorter trips, such as to the wine region of Kakheti, Gori (Stalin Museum), Mtskheta/Jvari Monastery or David Gareja monastery complex. However, if you instead plan to cover longer distances, I would rather recommend a round trip with at least one night at the place of destination and then moving forward to the next sightseeing stop in the morning. Using Tbilisi as headquarters for further destinations such as Stepantsminda/Kazbegi or Vardzia is rather difficult due to the distance, the overall poor conditions of the roads (except for the Khashuri-Gori-Tbilisi motorway) and the low average speed (60 km/hour approximately).

ITINERARY
Time of visit:
March 2017
Travellers: 3
DAY
SCHEDULE
TRANSPORTATION
OVERNIGHT
STAY
1
Arrival at Tbilisi hotel in the first morning hours
On foot
Tbilisi
(hotel)
2
Mtskheta, Jvari, Ananuri, Gergeti
Rental car
(Suzuki Jimny)
Stepantsminda
(guesthouse)
3
Convento di Bodibe, Sighnaghi
Rental car
Sighnaghi
(guesthouse)
4
Kakheti (Nekresi, Gremi, Telavi, Tsinandali)
Rental car
Tbilisi
(hotel)
5
Northern Armenia (Haghpat,Sanahin, Gyumri)
Rental car
Gyumri, Armenia
(hotel)
6
Bavra, Vardzia
Rental car
Akhaltsikhe
(guesthouse)
7
Akhaltsikhe, Stalin museum in Gori, Tbilisi airport
Rental car
Airport
8
Departure in the first morning hours
FLIGHTSBologna-Istanbul-Tbilisi
(Turkish Airlines)
ACCOMODATION COST€ 42 average per night for a triple with breakfast
CAR RENTAL COST€ 50 per day excluding insurance

REASONS FOR THE GEORGIAN ITINERARY: combining all the beauty Georgia can offer, from mountainous (Kazbegi) to wine regions (Kakheti), from religious (Gergeti, Mtskheta, Akhaltsikhe) to natural sights (Caucasus). Feeling the transition between past and present in Tbilisi and understanding the heritage left by the most important Georgian man, Iosif Jugashvili, aka Stalin, at the musem in Gori.

REASONS FOR THE ARMENIAN ITINERARY: getting a feeling of the rich religious heritage of Armenia (first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion), visit the second biggest city (Gyumri), which is a perfect stopover before entering back into Georgia

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