We expected some rain today, but overall it was a sunny day in Tbilisi in the morning. So after an hour of debating whether to do a day trip to Kazbegi, we decided to just go there and brace the rain.
From Tbilisi, it’s very easy to reach Kazbegi (now known as Stepantsminda) by mashrutkas leaving from Didube bus station (roughly every hour) for a fare of GEL 10 in about two hours’ time. When I reached the bus station there was a private taxi driver who offered me ride to Stepantsminda for GEL 15, promising immediate departure to be shared with another Russian family and a Lithuanian guy and I instantly accepted the deal!
Kazbegi or now known as Stepantsminda, is home of the Holy Trinity Church nestled in visually spectacular surrounding of Mount Kazbek. Stepantsminda, a village in North of the country is located on Georgian pride, the Military Highway, and just about 10km south of the border with Russia.
One popular stop on Tbilisi- Kazbegi route is Ananuri fortress, located around 70 kms away from Tbilisi. Since we were on a private taxi our driver decided to give us a quick stop at the site and about twenty minutes to explore!
Ananuri castle complex is beautifully located on Aragvi River and has scenic mountain backdrop to it. The complex is protected by a wall which can be walked upon and has a tower to take the aerial views. Apart from that there are two churches within the complex to be explored! After this quick stop we resumed our journey to Kazbegi.
Gergeti Trinity Church, also known as Tsminda Samebis Church, is situated at a height of 2170m! Which would mean a steep hike from Stepantsminda square to all the way up for about 2-3 hours. A driver at the square approached us offering to drive to church and back with a waiting time of about an hour while we look around the church and surrounding area for GEL 50.
We agreed to it and started our accent to the church on almost nonexistent treacherous road. Unfortunately, views from the road are uninspiring and we were glad to decide not to hike it up!! It’s a single lane road with traffic from both directions so took almost an hour to reach all the way up.
The Gergeti Trinity Church was built in the 14th century and is quite simple to look at. But what stuns you is the location and the surrounding enormous Kazbek mountain. Apart from the church main building there was a small bell tower nearby. For better views of the church its highly recommended to climb small hill on way to Kazbegi peak as you enter on the road leading to church. The views from top of this hill were breathtaking as you get close to Kazbegi peak on one hand and see church from a higher vantage point on other!
After few quintessential panorama shots, we started are descent to back to Kazbegi square. It took us about forty minutes to get back to the square and it was almost little past lunch time!
There are quite a few restaurants in the square serving great food at reasonable prices. This time it was a big clay pot of hot beans and sausages for lunch another Georgian favorite! After lunch we started our journey back to Tbilisi on mashrutkas (last one leaves at 5:30 pm).
After reaching Tbilisi, we just relaxed at the hotel for a while and walked around the Old Town, visiting the Bridge of Peace, which was lit in the Georgian flag, indicating the festival of the weekend in Tbilisi – Tbilisoba.
Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = GEL 2.34 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
|Taxi to Kazbegi||$6.41||GEL 15 per person. One way.|
|Taxi from Kazbegi to Trinity Church||$4.27||GEL 10 for a taxi.|
|Lunch at Stepantsminda||$9.40||GEL 22 for one person.|
|Taxi from Kazbegi to Tbilisi||$4.27||GEL 10 per person. One way.|
|Dinner in Tbilisi||$2.56||GEL 6 for Shawrma in street-corner restaurant.|
|Water||$1.70||GEL 4 per person.|
|Total Costs||$28.61||Per person|
|Overall Costs||$1,097.58||Per person|
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Day trip to wine country.
Day trip to visit Mt. Kazbek.
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Waterfall, Aghmashenebeli St., Tbilisoba