One of the most popular day trips from Tbilisi is Kazbegi. Famous for its amazing mountain views, this sleepy little village close to the Russian border attracts many tourists from all around the country. But reserve some days on your Georgia itinerary as this place is definitely worth more than just a day trip. If it would have been up to me I would have extend my trip to Kazbegi with a couple more days, but unfortunately I had no time left. It was simply fantastic though!
My trip to Kazbegi
In this Kazbegi travel blog I will give you as many Kazbegi travel tips as possible to make the most of your trip. I visited Kazbegi on my own from Tbilisi. I first thought about a day trip, but looking back I am really glad I did not do this. It is really easy to get to Kazbegi and I took the bus at 10.00am sharp in Tbilisi. Make sure you get a window seat because the views during the 3 hour ride are fabulous.
Looking for information about the capital of Georgia? Then read my 31 Tbilisi travel tips in this article. It is almost like an ebook, but in this travel blog I bundled all the things to do, places to see, best places to stay, local cafe’s, markets, wine bars, the Tbilisi nightlife and everything else you need to know.
When arriving in the little village of Kazbegi I wanted to arrange a taxi to my hotel. I took a 3 hour bus ride for about $4 so it could not be that much I figured. ‘$5 Please’, the taxi driver said. I was like: mate, I just sat in a bus for 3 hours and it cost me $4 how can you ask $5 for just 3 minutes? I checked on Google Maps how far it was.
Make sure you buy a Georgia sim card when traveling to Kazbegi. It makes your life easier!
The taxi driver eventually went down to $3 but still, he annoyed me. I will walk! With my big ass Rimowa suitcase (yes that is correct I don't have a backpack), I kind of hiked up to Rooms Hotels. The hotel I was staying at was located up the hill. If you want good views you gotta work for it.
After a smooth check-in they showed me my room, but where was the view I booked? The reason I stayed in Rooms Hotels Kazbegi was because of the amazing view. Sorry, I think I booked a room with mountain Kazbegi views, can you check that? It took a couple minutes and some apologizes, but then I stood on my balcony looking out over the valley and the Kazbegi Mountain in front of me. WOW! This is why I wanted to stay here.
Looking back at my trip to Kazbegi I now realize that I actually hardly spent time in the room or on my balcony. So I guess a room with forest view would not really have been that bad either. Still it was cool to have!
Straight after I enjoyed an espresso on my balcony I went down and plunged into one of the lounge seats on the big patio of Rooms Hotels. I ordered a coffee and a Khachapuri as little lunch and sat with my face in the sun. I realized how precious that moment was, because this spot surely was one of the most amazing places to visit in Kazbegi.
Hike to the Gergeti Trinity monastery or enjoy my coffee?
One of the reasons I came up here was the Gergeti Trinity monastery. Located on top of a steep hill in front of Mount Kazbegi. It was clearly visible from the terrace of where I was sitting and the weather was good. I was contemplating whether to start hiking or enjoying this moment. While my poll on Instagram was clear and mostly everyone urged me to get off my lazy ass and go for an adventure I decided not to. Life is about those moments that take your breath away and my life is already all about travel adventures. I decided not to move and enjoy this amazing moment in my life! What a view!
On the bus from Tbilisi to Kazbegi I got in touch with a Dutch couple and 2 hours after I started lounging they joined me. They ordered a red wine straight away. It was 4pm, damn it. Let me finish my coffee and I will drink wine with you. Long story short, we watched the sunset, gathered some blankets, ordered food, moved inside and ordered more wine and food. Around 1.00am we moved outside again to watch some stars while drinking and finally at 02.00am I fell asleep! :)
The next day I had a delicious breakfast with a view and started hiking in the early morning. It is pretty easy to find your way up to the Gergeti Trinity monastery as all roads lead up to the church. I decided to hike up, but you can also take a taxi. Up on top the views are amazing, but most of the times it was blocked by the clouds that rolled in. Super annoying because I obviously went up for the view to take some cool pictures. Damn it!
Let’s go back to Rooms Hotel and drink wine! LOL
Things to know when you travel to Kazbegi
1. How to get to Kazbegi from Tbilisi
Finding a taxi to Kazbegi is not that hard, as every taxi driver in Tbilisi would like to drive you. They will ask around 250 GEL ($100). If you are looking for a private ride, then you might be better off renting a car. But be aware that they drive like idiots in Georgia!
1.1 Bus or Marshrutka
When in Tbilisi go to Didube metro station and ask around for the bus from Tbilisi to Kazbegi. These shared small busses are called marshrutka's and pretty much leave on a schedule. My bus left at exactly 10.00am. They charge 10 GEL ($4) per person and the ride takes a little over 3 hours. Busses leave all day long and the last one around 5pm. You are always good to show up around 15 minutes before the hour.
2. Kazbegi is Stepantsminda Village
Everyone talks about Kazbegi but that is the region named after the highest peak in this area: Mount Kazbegi. When you travel to Kazbegi you actually visit Stepantsminda.
3. Taxi in Kazbegi
When arriving in Stepantsminda you will be dropped at the central square or bus station. It is just off the main road and there are many taxi drivers waiting to make a quick buck off of you. They will ask you 10-12 GEL, which is pretty ridiculous considering what you paid for the bus from Tbilisi to Kazbegi. You can haggle the price easily down to just $3. The taxi drive to your hotel will never been longer than 3 minutes. Stepantsminda village is small!
4. Where to stay
There are many guesthouses and some small hotels. Accommodation in Kazbegi is kind of limited if you are a luxury traveler. If you are on a budget there are plenty Kazbegi hotels.
These are 3 guesthouses with good ratings and
1. Veranda Guesthouse: great views, simple but nice and clean. Amazing views and a review score of 9.3 out of almost 700 reviews. Price: $30 per night.
2. Guest House Maili: mountain views, communal terrace and barbecue. Review score of 9.4 out of 175 reviews. Price: $30.
3. Homestay Lela and Mari: lovely people, good breakfast. Some rooms have balconies with amazing views. Review score: 9.3 out of 275 reviews. Price: $25.
This is a lovely hostel in Kazbegi according to friends who stayed here.
Archil and Nino Gigauri Guest House: they have dorm rooms from $7 per night. Great place for solo travelers. Review score: 9.3 out of more than 350 reviews.
5. Best Kazbegi hotel
If you are looking for the best hotel in Kazbegi then go to Rooms Hotel Kazbegi. As I said there is not that much choice in the luxury hotel range, but Rooms has it all.
I could totally recommend you to throw in some extra bucks. Located on the outskirts of the village all the way up hill on the border of the forest. The views from up here are absolutely amazing and the best in town. The rooms are spacious and the hotel interior is very homey and welcoming. There are many book shelves, lounges, a fire place and the floor-to-ceiling windows make sure you can enjoy the stunning view constantly.
Rooms Hotel Kazbegi also has a large indoor swimming pool, a sauna and a fitness. Food and drinks are good and not overpriced. If you book a room at Rooms Hotel Kazbegi you can enjoy the free breakfast buffet and it is delicious!
6. Best coffee in Kazbegi
As a sincere coffee snob I always hunt down the best coffee places wherever I go. In a little village like Stepantsminda it was a little harder to find good coffee. I tried two smaller places in town, but those are not recommended. Not really surprising but the best coffee in Kazbegi I had at Rooms Hotel. Not just because the view was amazing, the skilled barista did a good job.
Price of this cup of coffee? €2 only.
7. Helicopter ride in Kazbegi
When I first saw the helicopter taking off from the lawn in front of the hotel, I thought about how cool it would be to travel to Kazbegi like this. No clue that it was actually a scenic flight and I did not even think about informing how much it would be. Turned out later that a helicopter ride for 20 minutes was only $140.
No, not per person. Per ride! That means touring around the Kazbegi mountains in a chopper is less than $50 per person. Wow! Let’s go! Isn’t this the best Kazbegi travel tip ever?
For more info about booking the helicopter ride click here.
8. Visiting the Kazbegi Monastery
One of the most popular things to do in Kazbegi is visiting the Gergeti Trinity monastery that can be seen on all postcards from Kazbegi. When traveling up to Stepantsminda village you cannot miss this worship place on top of one of the hills.
9. Taxi to Gergeti Trinity Church
Probably the biggest source of income after the hospitality industry is the taxi business. Since there is a new road all the way to the top of the monastery every one would love to drive you up there. The winding road takes about 15 minutes from the village and taxi drivers charge you around $20 depending your negotiation skills. Not sure about this road as it literally makes the church a mass tourism spot. But I admit it is a must do when you visit Kazbegi.
10. Hike to Gergeti Trinity Church
As I like some adventure I hiked up to the monastery. From the village it is a good hour walk and some parts of the hike are pretty steep. There are multiple paths that lead up to the top of the hill and getting lost is fairly impossible. Just follow one of the single tracks that go uphill.
Once you are on top you can also opt for taking a taxi downhill for as less as $4. When I was visiting the Kazbegi monastery taxi drivers were waiting for costumers to drive down. I assume many people ask for a one way drive up to the top as hiking is a little steep. Hiking down took probably only like 20 minutes.
11. Visit Gudauri
Not far away from Stepantsminda there is the most famous ski resort in Georgia. When you travel to Kazbegi and are looking for cool day trips then visit Gudauri. This ski resort is the biggest in Georgia and has modern lift facilities. Helicopter skiing is still affordable here, so if that is your dream and you don’t want to spend a fortune come to visit Kazbegi and ski in Gudauri.
12. Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument
Another Kazbegi travel tip is to hire a taxi to see the Friendship Monument of Russia and Georgia. It is only about 20 minutes drive towards the South. The monument is put in place in 1983 because of the ongoing friendship between Russia and Georgia. Not sure if it is a bit sarcastic to call it the friendship monument nowadays because of the dispute between Russia and Georgia regarding the Abkhazia region in the northeast of Georgia and south of Sochi, Russia.
Anyway the peace monument is a colossal concrete structure on the rim of a mountain with some epic views over the Devil's valley down below. Worth a visit if you travel to Kazbegi. A taxi for around two hours will cost you 60 GEL ($23).
13. Hiking in Kazbegi
There are many day hikes around in Kazbegi and its utterly stunning landscapes are breathtaking while on a hike. Therefore it also is one of the best things to do in Kazbegi. Recommended are to check out the hikes towards Ushguli and the Abudelauri Lakes. Hiking the Truso Valey is another hidden gem in Kazbegi.
Enjoy your trip to Kazbegi!
When you are planning a trip to Georgia, I hope these Kazbegi travel tips convinced you to add this to your Georgia itinerary. I sincerely hope you get the chance and time to visit Kazbegi as it was one of my highlights on my Georgia trip in October 2018. Need some more information about traveling to Tbilisi or are you planning to visit Batumi? Click on the links to read all my travel tips for the two biggest cities in Georgia.
During this trip to Georgia I wrote a Tbilisi travel blog about my time in the city. I lived like a digital nomad and explored as much as I could. Curious what my daily life in the city looked like and want some insider travel tips? Then click on the link to read my personal story.
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