Are you planning to visit Kazbegi, Georgia, and looking for an ultimate travel guide? This post covers everything you need to know to plan your visit.
Kazbegi it is an exciting adventure with stunning natural scenery, delicious local cuisine, and a unique cultural experience. When visiting Georgia (Country), you must plan a visit to Kazbegi.
Nestled in the heart of the Caucasus Mountains, Kazbegi is a small town that attracts hikers, mountaineers, and adventure seekers worldwide.
Many, including myself, claim that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Whether you’re looking for a challenging trek or a leisurely getaway from busy Georgia cities, Kazbegi has something for everyone. It is only a 3-4 hour drive from Tbilisi (Georgia’s capital), which is not too bad.
My husband and I both grew up in Tbilisi, Georgia. Still, we met in the USA, and only after a few years of marriage and two kids did we have the pleasure of visiting Georgia altogether this summer (2023). Seeing Kazbegi was our must-do in the Georgian Itinerary, and I can safely say it did not disappoint.
In this travel guide, I am breaking down all you need to know about Kazbegi to plan your perfect getaway to Georgia’s one of the most picturesque parts. This guide will include how to get to Kazbegi, where to stay, what to eat, and what activities to do there.
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Is it Named Kazbegi or Stepanwminda?
Kazbegi and Stepantsminda refer to the same place. People use both interchangeably, so do not get confused about this.
The official name of the town is Stepantsminda. The initial town was renamed Kazbegi in 1925, which was changed to Stepantsminda in 2006; this is how you’ll see it referred to on maps.
In practice, however, most people refer to the townlet (and the surrounding area) as Kazbegi. And you will also see me refer to it, Kazbegi, in the article.
Why Visit Kazbegi, Georgia?
Kazbegi is a must-visit destination for those seeking a true Georgian outdoor adventure. The Kazbegi National Park offers a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks, all with stunning views of the mountains and valleys.
Additionally, Kazbegi is a great place to experience Georgian culture, with traditional architecture, local crafts, and delicious cuisine.
Here are some of the main highlights why you should visit Kazbegi:
Stunning Mountain Scenery
Kazbegi is known for its jaw-dropping scenery.
Mountains, including Mount Kazbek, the third-highest peak in Georgia, surround the town.
The Gergeti Trinity Church, located on a hill overlooking the town, is another highlight of the region’s stunning scenery. I will talk about it more later on.
Kazbegi is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The region offers a range of activities, including hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
The Kazbegi National Park, located near the town, is a popular destination for hiking and camping. The park is home to various wildlife, including bears, wolves, and lynx.
Kazbegi is also rich in culture. The town is home to the Khevi people with unique traditions and customs. The Khevi people are known for their hospitality and friendliness.
The best way to experience their culture is by visiting a local guesthouse or attending a traditional Georgian feast.
Georgia is known for its delicious cuisine, and Kazbegi is no exception. The region is famous for its khinkali, a type of dumpling filled with minced seasoned meat (lamb or beef and pork mixed), or you may choose filled with cheeses or potatoes.
Another local specialty is khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread staple of Georgian cuisine. Visitors to Kazbegi can also sample local wines known for their unique flavors and high quality.
Besides Khinkali or Khachapuri, you will find other Georgian specialty foods in Kazbegi restaurants and hotels.
Things to do in Kazbegi
If you are planning a trip to Kazbegi, there are some must-visit places that you shouldn’t miss. In this section, we will highlight the top three areas that you must add to your Itinerary.
Visit Gergeti Trinity Church
Gergeti Trinity Church is a 14th-century church located on top of a hill overlooking the town of Kazbegi. The church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the area and is a must-visit place for anyone visiting Kazbegi.
How to Get To Gergeti Trinity Church
You can hike up the mountain or drive to the church. Once you get to the church, you can enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
While we would have preferred to hike for the best experience, we drove instead because we were traveling with kids. We left our hotel (Rooms Hotel Kazbegi) early and were by the church in about 15 minutes.
I cannot speak of what it looked like later in the day, but It felt like we had this paradise to almost ourselves in the morning.
When you visit this place, please respect nature, the church, and the people working there.
Visit Mount Kazbek
Mount Kazbeg is one of the highest peaks in the Caucasus Mountains, with an elevation of 16,581 ft. Mount Kazbek is a popular destination for hikers and mountaineers, offering some of the region’s most spectacular views.
If you are an experienced hiker, you can climb to the mountain’s summit, but to ensure safety, you can always sign up for a guided tour to Mount Kazbeg. If you are not up for the challenge, you can still enjoy the views from the base of the hill and enjoy the views like we did!
Explore Gveleti Waterfalls
Gveleti Waterfalls are located in the Gveleti village, about 7 kilometers from Kazbegi. Lush green forests, a popular destination for hiking and picnicking, surround the waterfalls.
The waterfall is approximately 98 feet high and cascades into a tranquil pool below. Visitors can enjoy a short hike to reach the waterfall from the village of Gveleti, which takes less than 1 km. The path to the waterfall is relatively easy, and visitors can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Day Trip to Juta Village
Juta is a small mountain village only a 30-minute hike away from Kazbegi. If you have one full day to devote to Juta, it will be well worth it. It is a popular destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts due to its stunning views of the Caucasus Mountains and the Gergeti Glacier.
For your day trip, you can plan a hike up to Fifth Season, where you can arrange a stay or grab some refreshments and food with stunning views. The walk is short, but you must go uphill, and the high altitude and elevation can make it a little challenging.
There is an option to arrange horseback riding to go up, but if you are hiking on your own, make sure to travel lightly.
Best Juta Hikes
- Abudelauri Lakes – a group of three stunning lakes with crystal clear water.
- Gergeti Trinity Church – Mentioned above
- Gergeti Glacier – a beautiful glacier located at the foot of Mount Kazbek.
- Truso Valley – a picturesque valley with hot springs, waterfalls, and abandoned villages.
- Gveleti Waterfalls – a beautiful waterfall located close to Juta village.
Best Time to Visit Kazbegi
One of the most important considerations when planning a visit to Kazbegi is the time of year. The weather can vary greatly, and choosing the right time is essential. It’s important to choose the right time to ensure an enjoyable experience.
The best time to visit Kazbegi is during the summer months of June to September when the weather is mild and pleasant.
During his time, the average temperature is around 68-77°F, making it perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking and sightseeing.
In the winter months of December to February, the weather in Kazbegi can be harsh and unpredictable, with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures.
This can make traveling and exploring the region challenging, so it’s best to avoid visiting during this time unless you are specifically interested in winter sports.
The peak tourist season in Kazbegi is during the summer months, with many visitors flocking to the region to enjoy the mild weather and stunning scenery. As a result, prices for accommodation and tours can be higher, and popular attractions can be more crowded.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful experience, consider visiting Kazbegi during the shoulder seasons of May and October. During these months, the weather is still pleasant, and fewer tourists make it easier to explore the region at your own pace.
Safety & Tips
When planning a trip to Kazbegi, it’s essential to consider the region’s safety. While the area is generally safe for tourists, there are some things to remember.
During the winter, the roads in and around Kazbegi can be treacherous, with heavy snowfall and icy conditions. If you’re planning to travel during this time, ensuring that your vehicle is equipped for winter driving and has experience driving in these conditions is essential.
Additionally, if you plan to hike or explore the mountains in Kazbegi, you must be aware of the risks associated with high-altitude trekking. Take appropriate precautions and always follow the advice of experienced guides to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
How to Get From Tbilisi to Kazbegi?
Kazbegi is located in the northeast region of Georgia, about 153 KM from the capital city Tbilisi. The town is easily accessible, and several transportation options are available to get you there.
Visit Kazbegi By Car
One of the most popular ways to get to Kazbegi is by car. If driving from Tbilisi, you must take the Georgian Military Highway, a scenic route that passes through the Caucasus Mountains.
The journey takes around 3.5 hours, and there are several stops along the way where you can take in the stunning views.
One of my favorite stops was the Ananuri Fortress. This is a very convenient stop and does not take much time if you are also traveling with kids. But there are other breathtaking stops that you should consider during your drive to Kazbegi. You can learn about other fabulous scenic stops on Georgian Military Road.
Visit Kazbegi By Marshrutka
You can take a marshrutka from Tbilisi to Kazbegi if you prefer not to drive. Marshrutkas are shared minibusses that operate on a fixed route and are a popular mode of transportation in Georgia.
The journey takes around 3.5 hours, and marshrutkas depart from the Didube bus station in Tbilisi.
Another option is to take a taxi from Tbilisi to Kazbegi. Cabs are more expensive than marshrutkas but offer a more comfortable and convenient option. The journey takes around 3 hours, and you can negotiate the price with the driver before you start your journey.
Visit Kazbegi By Group or Private Tour
If you prefer a more organized trip, you can join a tour group to take you to Kazbegi or choose a private tour. Tours typically include transportation, accommodation, and guided tours of the area. This is an excellent option to see the sights without worrying about planning your Itinerary.
No matter your transportation option, the journey to Kazbegi is scenic, and you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Caucasus Mountains.
Where to Stay in Kazbegi?
When planning a trip to Kazbegi, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is where to stay. Fortunately, plenty of options are available to suit all budgets and preferences. Here are some of the best accommodation options in Kazbegi:
There are several high-end hotels if you want a luxurious stay in Kazbegi. Some of the best luxury hotels in Kazbegi include:
Rooms Hotel Kazbegi: This stylish boutique hotel is located in the heart of Kazbegi and offers stunning views of Gergeti Trinity Church. The hotel features modern rooms, an indoor pool, and a vast sun deck. This is where we stayed, and it was worth every penny. I would highly recommend staying here if you want to combine luxury with scenic natural views.
The owners also have multiple properties in Tbilisi if you would like to check those out.
Budget & Local Homestays
While I loved staying at the Rooms Hotel in Kazbegi, it is a pricey option, and if you are looking for more budget-friendly stays, there are some great hotel and guesthouse options, too. I could recommend checking a few:
- Chemodann Kazbegi
- Hilltop Kazbegi
- Step-Inn Kazbegi
For a truly authentic experience in Kazbegi, consider staying in Kazbegi guesthouses. Local families run these homestays and offer a unique insight into Georgian culture and hospitality.
No matter what your budget or preferences, there is an accommodation option in Kazbegi that is perfect for you.
Where to Eat in Kazbegi?
We ate our food at the Rooms Hotel Kazbegi. They had too good of a menu and comfortable terrace seats to bother and go somewhere else. My favorites were cheese-filled khinkali, khachapuri, and Mchadi (cornbread) with beans! Not to mention their all-inclusive breakfast buffet with everything possible to satisfy hunger in the mountains.
However, if you are staying somewhere other than this hotel, there is no shortage of good food in Kazbegi. You will find many local places offering delicious food. Here are some of the recommendations:
- Maisi Kazbegi Restaurant – Maisi is a show kitchen restaurant in Kazbegi, Georgia. They specialize in local Georgian cuisine with a contemporary fusion, and their menu changes every two months. The restaurant was born in August 2021 in the backyard of Kazbegi hut/cabins, and it makes the most of the products of local farmers.
- The Cozy Corner. The restaurant offers brunch, lunch, and dinner and is on the bank of the Tergi River, surrounded by the beautiful landscape of nature. It is in front of the road leading to the Gergeti Trinity Church and Mountain Kazbek.
Local Cuisine to Try
Khinkali is a Georgian dumpling typically filled with spiced meat, such as beef, lamb, or pork, and sometimes mixed with herbs or vegetables. The dumplings are boiled and served hot, and you eat them by holding the stem and biting into the top of the dumpling, being careful not to let the juices spill out. Khinkal is a must-try dish in Georgia; you can find it at most restaurants in Kazbegi.
Mtsvadi is a Georgian shish kebab made with marinated chunks of meat, typically pork or beef, skewered and grilled over an open flame. The heart is seasoned with salt, pepper, and sometimes onions or other spices. Mtsvadi is a popular street food in Georgia, and you can find it sold by vendors in Kazbegi.
Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian cheese bread often served as a snack or appetizer. The bread is filled with cheese, eggs, and butter and baked until golden brown. There are many variations of khachapuri, but the most common one is the Adjarian khachapuri, which is boat-shaped and has a raw egg cracked on top of the cheese mixture before baking.
Georgia is one of the oldest wine-producing countries in the world, and Georgian wine is known for its unique flavor and production method. Georgia wine is made using clay vessels called qvevri, which are buried in the ground and used to ferment and age the wine. There are many different varieties of Georgian wine, including red, white, and amber wines, and you can find them at most restaurants and shops in Kazbegi.
We enjoyed our delicious Georgian wine on the hotel terrace, which tasted divine with those views.
Kazbegi is also rich in culture and history, with many ancient landmarks and traditional villages. One of the most popular cultural tours in Kazbegi is the tour of the Ananuri Fortress and the Zhinvali Reservoir. The tour takes you through the ancient fortress and offers stunning reservoir views. Another popular cultural tour is the tour of the Dariali Gorge. The tour takes you through the beautiful gorge and offers stunning monument views.
In conclusion, Kazbegi offers a wide range of activities for travelers of all interests. Whether you want to hike through the mountains, capture stunning photographs, or learn about the culture and history of the region, Kazbegi has something for everyone.
When packing for your trip to Kazbegi, it’s essential to keep in mind the weather and activities you’ll be participating in. Here are some critical items to consider bringing with you:
- Comfortable hiking shoes or boots with good traction
- Warm layers such as a fleece jacket or sweater
- Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
- Hat and gloves for colder weather
- Lightweight, quick-drying pants and shirts for hiking
Overall, Kazbegi is a stunning destination well worth the effort to visit. With its breathtaking natural scenery, rich cultural heritage, and friendly locals, it’s sure to be a trip you’ll never forget. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your adventure today!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the top-rated hotels in Kazbegi?
Kazbegi offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from budget to luxury. Some top-rated hotels in Kazbegi are Rooms Hotel Kazbegi, Hotel Porta Caucasia Kazbegi, and Hotel Sno. These hotels offer excellent amenities and services to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable.
How many days should I plan for a trip to Kazbegi?
To fully explore Kazbegi and its surrounding areas, we recommend planning a trip for at least 3-4 days. This will give you enough time to visit the must-see attractions, hike in the national park, and experience the local culture and cuisine. We only had two nights and three days. While we would have enjoyed a few more days to explore more, I think it was still a reasonable amount of time.
Is Kazbegi a safe place to visit?
Kazbegi is a safe place to visit, and the crime rate is relatively low. However, taking necessary precautions and being aware of your surroundings is always a good idea, especially when traveling alone at night.
What is the weather like in Kazbegi?
Kazbegi has a temperate climate with warm summers and cold winters. The best time to visit Kazbegi is during the summer (June to September) when the weather is pleasant and the hiking trails are open. However, be prepared for sudden changes in temperature and carry warm clothing even during summer.
What are the must-visit places in Kazbegi National Park?
Kazbegi National Park is home to several stunning natural attractions worth visiting. Some must-visit places in the park include Gergeti Trinity Church, Gveleti Waterfall, and the Dariali Gorge. You can also go hiking on the many trails in the park to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
What is the best way to get around Kazbegi?
Hiring a car or taxi is the best way to get around Kazbegi. If you are on a budget, you can also use public transportation like marshrutkas (minibusses). However, be prepared for long waiting times and crowded buses during peak season.
When do you plan to visit Kazbegi? What is something from this guide you will put in your must-thing to do while there? Please comment and share this article with anyone interested in visiting Kazbegi, Georgia.