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Kazbegi: Day Trips and Tours from Tbilisi

While it may be small, Kazbegi is situated at an elevation of 1,500 meters, making it one of the highest towns in Europe.

You may have heard Kazbegi referred to by its new name, Stepantsminda. It was renamed after a Georgian Orthodox monk who played a large part in creating the town. The town is best known for its national park, which is home to staggering mountains, epic hiking opportunities and scenic vistas.

In saying that, a day trip to Kazbegi from Tbilisi is also enticing to history fiends, with several cultural and historic sites, dating back centuries.

How to get to Kazbegi from Tbilisi?

Kazbegi is located a little over 150 kilometers north of the capital city, Tbilisi. It is just 12 kilometers from the Russian border. A jaunt to Kazbegi takes approximately 3.5 hours by car or public transport.

From Tbilisi to Kazbegi by car

The journey to Kazbegi by car takes around 3.5 hours and is a spectacular drive. The route follows the Georgian Military Road, also known as the E117 all the way from the capital to Kazbegi.

There is also the option to take the scenic route through the mountains which takes around five hours but is well worth it for the views.

From Kazbegi to Tbilisi by bus

It's easy to reach Kazbegi from the capital city by public transport. You can catch a direct bus from Tbilisi Didube to Stepantsminda (the alternative name of Kazbegi).

Buses depart regularly from the station and the journey lasts around 3.5 hours. The company that operates the route is Georgia Minibuses and you can expect to pay €5 for a ticket.

Guided tour to Kazbegi from Tbilisi

Kazbegi day tours last between 10 and 14 hours and pickup is around 9 AM. Longer tours tend to have slightly earlier pickup times, but generally, 8 AM is the earliest start time.

While some Kazbegi day trips offer hotel pickups, most meet at a central location in Tbilisi. You're usually expected to arrive at the meeting point between 10 and 30 minutes before the tour starts.

What is the typical itinerary of a day tour to Kazbegi from Tbilisi?

Kazbegi day tours last all day and leave in the morning from Tbilisi. The route to Kazbegi is via the Georgian Military Highway, which runs through many phenomenal sites.

You'll likely stop at Zhinvali Water Reservoir, followed by Ananuri Fortress and the Friendship Monument, which signifies the union between the Russian and Georgian people.

From there, you'll continue on your day trip to Kazbegi National Park where you'll visit the most famous monument in the region — Gergeti Trinity Church. From the church, you can enjoy staggering views of the national park and its mountains for miles around. There is normally a lunch stop which is at your own expense.

What kinds of tours are available to go to Kazbegi?

There are several day tours to Kazbegi. The one you choose will depend on the type of experience or level of privacy you wish to have.

Day trips to Kazbegi from Tbilisi

Kazbegi day trips visit several landmarks to provide you with a wide overview of the region. The first stop is the Zhinvali Water Reservoir which is located on the Georgian Military Highway, en route to Kazbegi. The reservoir may be man-made, but don't let that put you off, as it's just as photogenic as any natural lake around.

You'll also stop at the 13th-century Ananuri Fortress and the Friendship Monument at the Gudauri viewpoint. Once you reach Kazbegi, you'll hike to the church of Gergeti to experience unparalleled views of the Georgian mountains.

Day tour to Kazbegi with a culinary masterclass from Tbilisi

This tour makes the most of the three-hour drive to Kazbegi and makes several stops along the way. These include the Ananuri Fortress, Zhinvali Water Reservoir and the Friendship Monument between the Russian and Georgian people.

You'll also experience the historic Gergeti Trinity Church via a jeep tour. On top of seeing the most notable sites in the area, you'll have a culinary masterclass showing you how to make traditional Georgian Khinkali.

Private tour to Kazbegi from Tbilisi

Private tours spend all day in the Caucasus mountain region, visiting Kazbegi town, the Ethnographic Museum and the Ananuri Fortress among other points of interest. You'll benefit from a driver guide to converse with about the remarkable views and monuments along the way.

How much does a tour to Kazbegi from Tbilisi cost?

Day trips take place in a large group and include transportation from Tbilisi and a guide. You can expect to pay €32 for a tour like this.

Tours to Kazbegi that include a culinary masterclass cost around €44. The tour is limited to just 14 guests and includes transportation from Tbilisi. It also includes a Khinkali-making class and a driver who is also a guide.

Private day trips to Kazbegi include just your group. You can expect a driver guide, as well as pickup and drop-off to your hotel in Tbilisi. Also included is a private tour of the Caucasus mountains by road. For this tour, prices start from €79.

What will you see and do in Kazbegi?

Gergeti Trinity Church

The Gergeti Trinity Church is located on a mountaintop at an elevation of 2,170 meters. From the church, you'll have sweeping views of the Kazbegi National Park. The religious site was built in the 14th century and has been restored several times over the centuries.

It takes approximately 1.5 hours to hike up to the church and the entrance is free. Visitors are welcome between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM. On Fridays, opening hours are extended to 10 PM.

Gveleti Great Waterfall

The Gveleti Waterfall translates to "snake waterfall" so keep an eye out for the slithery reptile on your hike. It takes between 20 and 40 minutes to reach the top from the car park, depending on your fitness level.

Once there, you'll see the water furiously cascading from a height of 20 meters. You can also take a taxi to the site which cuts out a large portion of the hike, and will wait around an hour for you to explore the waterfall.

There are two waterfalls located within close proximity of each other, and it's worth seeing both on your Kazbegi excursion.

Mount Kazbek

Mount Kazbek is located in the Caucasus Mountains, and it has an elevation of over 5,000 meters. It is a dormant stratovolcano and is the third tallest mountain in Georgia.

The hike to the top of the mountain takes several days and the views from the summit are breathtaking. You'll likely stay in the Betlemi Hut on your journey up the mountain and will need to acclimatize appropriately.

Mount Kazbek is also home to a variety of wildlife, including eagles, bears and wolves.

When is the best time to visit Kazbegi?

The best time to visit Kazbegi is from May to October. During this time, the weather is warm and dry, and the trails are free of snow. The park reaches peak temperatures of 21 degrees Celsius during July and August, and experiences lows of -2 degrees Celsius in the wintertime.

Travel tips

  • If you're planning on driving to Kazbegi, note that the Georgian Military Road can be dangerous, with frequent avalanches and landslides. If you're not a confident driver, consider taking a bus or taxi instead.
  • The Kazbegi region does experience high amounts of rain, as well as snow in the wintertime. Bring a rain jacket or heavy coat depending on the time of year you visit, to protect yourself from the elements.
  • Kazbegi day tours take place in large groups. If this is an issue for you, consider a private tour for a more personal experience.