I already wrote a travel guide for Tbilisi in Georgia and I explained where you can stay in Tbilisi and take day tours to other destinations in Georgia (you can read it here). A day trip to Kazbegi is one of the most popular, so, while in Tbilisi we tried to book an organized tour, but it turned out not to be very easy. We found out that most of the tours only offered a car with a driver and not a proper guide.
The tour operator also told us that all of their drivers could speak English very well, but on the day the driver picked us up we found out he could speak very little to no English at all. Kazbegi is a 160 km drive from Tbilisi and since we could not communicate with the driver the places we stopped on the way were pretty much a surprise.
First Stop: Zhinvali Dam and Reservoir
We began our journey as soon as stepped into the van. There was a bit of a morning traffic jam in the city, but immediately after leaving Tbilisi, the roads became clear and we drove through some farmlands.
Our first stop was the Zhinvali Dam and Reservoir. It was just a quick stop to take some photos. It was so pretty and there were a couple of street stalls which were selling some Georgian souvenirs.
Second Stop: Ananuri
We went back on the road and drove along the edge of the Reservoir with a stunning view until we reached our the second stop, the church of Ananuri.
We walked through a street market on our way to the church. We were not the only tourists there, but most of them stayed outside the church and took some photos, we instead decided to go inside the monument. To be honest, I am not surprised, there was no sign specifying where you could go or anyone to guide the tourists.
We climbed some stairs, we walked on a broken floor and went through very narrow staircases until we could see some light. We were at the top of the church. Soon after the unique experience, we headed back to the car.
Third Stop: Gudauri
We carried on driving towards Kazbegi. We were going higher and higher and the scenery was getting better and better. We were driving between the mountains and we thought that we were going directly to Kazbegi, and we didn’t know we had another stop before that. Once we got at a point where we could see a concrete building at the top of one of the hills (not sure if I should call it a mountain or a hill), our driver pulled into the side of the road and stopped. There is was, Gudauri.
Gudauri is a ski resort, but since we were there during the summer, we could only enjoy the view or try paragliding. We decided to have our picnic and a breath of fresh air while watching the paragliders. Apparently, most of the tours stop here on the way to Kazbegi. Unfortunately, many of them are leaving rubbish and trash behind in nature, what a shame.
Final Stop: Kazbegi
After taking some photos, and having lunch we hit the road again towards our final destination. We carried on until we arrived in a town. Our driver pulled into a parking lot. The town was Stepantsminda, below the mountain in the Kazbegi municipality. We had to take a special car in order to get to the top of the mountain. To be honest, we didn’t know what to expect, we just hopped into a different car and only after we found out that the road we were going through was very rough and extremely bumpy. Not to mention how narrow the road was as well. We tried to take a video, but it was so bumpy that I could hardly hold onto myself on the way up.
After a 30 minutes bumpy ride, we got to the top where we could finally see the popular historical Gergeti Trinity Church. We got out of the car and walked around and as soon as we saw the view from the church we forgot about all of the hassle involved in getting there. It was all worth it.You
You can also read "Traveling to Tbilisi- Georgia".