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Shida Kartli

National Parks

Our most recommended Shida Kartli National Parks

From Tbilisi: Georgian Highlights in One Day Private Tour

1. From Tbilisi: Georgian Highlights in One Day Private Tour

Your guide will pick you up in the morning in a comfortable car and head first to the Tbilisi sea. You might be surprised by the existence of a sea in the Georgian capital, but in fact, the Tbilisi sea is the unofficial name of the reservoir created in 1952 to serve the city with water. The Tbilisi reservoir is located at a height of more than 500m above sea level and it is a pleasure to spend time here during the summer heat. Here, you’ll also visit a monument that amazes with its size. Known as the Georgian Stonehenge, the monument is officially titled the Chronicle of Georgia and was created by the Georgian-Russian painter, sculptor, and architect Zurab Tsereteli. The memorial was erected in order to celebrate 3,000 years of Georgian sovereignty and 2,000 years of Christianity in Georgia. The next stop will be the Jvari Monastery, the 6th-century Georgian Orthodox monastery built on a hill opposite Mtskheta at the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Jvari Monastery is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Continue to the Shida Kartli region where you’ll visit Uplistsikhe, an ancient cave town and one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. Uplistsikhe — literally “Fortress of God" — is an ancient town that played a significant role in Georgian history over a period of approximately 3,000 years. Archaeological excavations have revealed extraordinary artifacts dating from the late Bronze Age all the way up to the late Middle Ages. The next stop will be at Borjomi Central Park, home to the most remarkable virtues of Borjomi with its striking nature and unique mineral waters. One of the best places to experience this is Mineral Water Park. The park itself dates back to the 1850s and is an attractive destination throughout the year. Here you can taste the natural Borjomi mineral water and relax in a beautiful environment, or you can try riding the cable car up to the top of the park. After this last stop, your guide will drop you off in Borjomi or Bakuriani, or you can return to your accommodation Tbilisi.

Gori: Guided Walking Tour

2. Gori: Guided Walking Tour

Walk along streets full of history on a guided tour of Gori. Enjoy its beautiful architecture and let your guide teach you about the city. Explore the Old Town of this vibrant city and immerse yourself in the rich history of the Caucasus. Visit the fascinating Joseph Stalin Museum, hike to Gori Fortress, and learn about the Soviet history of Georgia.

Tbilisi: Private Uplistsikhe and Borjomi Hot Pools Day-Trip

3. Tbilisi: Private Uplistsikhe and Borjomi Hot Pools Day-Trip

Enjoy a day trip to the most scenic sight of central and southern Georgia, visiting a local family in their countryside house for a traditional dinner. After the pick-up from your hotel at 9:00AM, you will soon reach the ancient cave town of Uplistsikhe. Here you can walk through the ruins and beautiful rock formations and see the remains of formal ancient glory of what used to be once the center of Pagan culture. Right next to Uplistsikhe lies Gori, the town known as the birth place of Stalin, where you can still see the house where he grew up. After about 1.5 hours, you will reach the cozy resort town of Borjomi, surrounded by the largest national park of Georgia. You can wander through the beautiful central park, taste the legendary mineral water of Borjomi directly from the springs and take a bath in the open air thermal pools in the middle of the forest. You can reach the pools by hiking through the forest or taking a ride with a local car operating this route (at own expense). After the outdoor fun you are invited to be the guest of a Georgian family who lives in a nearby village, where a delicious traditional dinner is waiting for you.

Tbilisi: Uplistsikhe Cave City and Borjomi National Park

4. Tbilisi: Uplistsikhe Cave City and Borjomi National Park

You will be picked up from your hotel at 9:00AM, before driving approximately 1.5 hours to reach your first destination of Uplistsikhe. Literally meaning "Fortress of God", this is an ancient rock-hewn town which played a significant role in Georgian history over a period of approximately 3,000 years. Archaeological excavations have revealed extraordinary artifacts here dating from the late Bronze Age all the way up to the late Middle Ages. There is the Uplistsikhe cave-town fortress, situated on a rocky massif 15 kilometers eastward from the town of Gori on the left bank of the river Mtkvari. The fortress is mentioned in chronicles from the earliest times, with its history beginning in the 1st-2nd millennium B.C. Uplistsikhe was an important religious, political and cultural center in the Hellenistic and the late Antique periods (4th century B.C.–4th century A.D.). Once inside the museum, your local guide will provide you with detailed information about this cave city. Once done in Uplistsikhe, your tour continues to Borjomi National Park, a distance of approximately 1.5-hours. The beautiful resort town of Borjomi contains the world-famous mineral springs and a beautiful park. In the park you will have the opportunity to taste legendary and world famous Borjomi mineral water fresh from the spring. Your day trip will then conclude with return to your hotel at approximately 7:00PM.

From Tbilisi: 2-Day Tour to Vardzia

5. From Tbilisi: 2-Day Tour to Vardzia

1 Day: Tbilisi-Paravani Lake - Vardzia - Rabat Fortress - Borjomi (Driving distance 250 kilometers) Begin the tour from Tbilisi and have a stop at Paravani Lake (2.073 meters). Get pleasure from delightful views at Paravani, the largest and deepest lake in Georgia. Next stop will be Vardzia, grandiose cave city, one of the favorite destinations of Queen Tamar. Here, not far from the border with Turkey, see all the splendor of this tiered cave city where there are hundreds of dwellings, transitions, ladders, churches, library, dining, warehouses, workshops and where urban residents had running water and entertainment. Fifty thousand persons were able to live in this cave city. Continue your way towards Rabat fortress in Akhaltsikhe. The complex of the 9th-century was developed under the influence of different cultures over subsequent centuries and this is reflected in its architecture such as rare examples of traditional Georgian houses from the 13th-century, a mosque from 1752 and the ruins of a medrese (Islamic school). The Rabati also has a synagogue, an Armenian church and a Catholic church. Rabat was reconstructed in 2012. At the end of the day, arrive and overnight in Borjomi in either a family type guesthouse or 3-star hotel. 2 Day:  Borjomi - Gori - Uplistsikhe - Mtskheta - Tbilisi (Driving distance 250 kilometers) Tour starts from Borjomi - a spa resort famous with mineral water springs. This place is known far beyond the borders of Georgia. Go on a 1-hour walk in Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, located in central Georgia and creates an eastern border with the lesser Caucasus Mountains. Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is one of the oldest and largest of the protected areas in Georgia and became a member of the European network of protected areas. In the beginning of the 20th-century, the Russian Tsar Nikolai II built in the park his summer residence. On the way to Uplistsikhe, you will visit Joseph Stalin Museum. There is also a small house where one of the cruelest world tyrants of 20th-century was born and raised. Everything is still kept. After Gori, your next stop will be Uplistsikhe - an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia, built on a high rocky left bank of the Mtkvari River, it contains various structures dating from the early Iron Age to the late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran, as well as the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture. At the summit of the complex is a Christian basilica built of stone and brick in the 9th to 10th-centuries. Uplistsikhe cave city is the oldest populated place in Georgia. On the way back to Tbilisi, visit Mtskheta, the old capital of Georgia. Some monuments of the city are UNESCO World Heritage Site listed. In Mtskheta, visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, built in the 11th century, the main church of Mtskheta is a sacred place where the robe of Christ is being kept. Visit Jvari Monastery (6th to 7th-century), located on top of a hill above Mtskheta. The monument for its architectural and historical importance is included into the UNESCO list. Located at the precipice of a vertical cliff, Jvari Monastery is a remarkable sacred landmark visible from the ancient city Mtskheta. The building techniques and high standards of engineering, as well as the diverse decorative program of the landscaped monastery exemplify exceptional centuries - old Georgian building practices alongside a wide range of Eastern and Western aesthetic traditions. The church represents the peak of this architectural typology and serves as a model for numerous other churches. Jvari has been an important pilgrimage site since its founding and is considered one of the most sacred places in all of Caucasus.

From Tbilisi: Mtskheta, Gori, Uplistsikhe and Borjomi Tour

6. From Tbilisi: Mtskheta, Gori, Uplistsikhe and Borjomi Tour

Begin your tour with pickup at your accommodation in Tbilisi and make your way to the historic town of Mtskheta, to the northwest of the Georgian capital. Discover Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, an Eastern Orthodox cathedral that is the second largest building in Georgia, after the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Admire this masterpiece of the Early Middle Ages, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Next, head to the rocky mountaintop at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragi Rivers to visit the 6th century Georgian Orthodox Jvari Monastery, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn about traditional accounts of this place with your guide, and hear how Saint Nino, a female evangelist credited with converting King Mirian III of Iberia to Christianity, erected a large wooden cross on the site of a pagan temple here in the 4th century. Continue your journey to the Joseph Stalin Museum in Gori, the city where the former Soviet Union leader was born. Enjoy the Soviet-era characteristics of the museum, and discover the small wooden hut where Stalin was born and spent the first 4 years of his life. Then, step even further back into history by visiting the ancient rock-hewn town of Uplistsikhe in eastern Georgia, some 62 miles (100 kilometers) west of Tbilisi. Explore one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia, and learn about its mythical foundation by Uplos, son of Mtskhetos, and grandson of Kartlos in the Georgian medieval written tradition. Leaving Uplistsikhe behind you, travel to the Georgian resort town of Borjomi along a picturesque road through the green and leafy Borjomi Valley. Hear about the area's famed mineral water, which is spread all over the globe, and admire the beauty of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, as well as the sulphuric baths located all over the territory. Finally, make your last stop at the Green Monastery, officially known as Chitakhevi St. George Monastery, a 9th-century friary located in the village of Chitakhevi. The tour includes with drop-off back at your accommodation in Tbilisi.

Frequently asked questions about Shida Kartli National Parks

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