SAMTSKHE-JAVAKHETI

Samtskhe-Javakheti distinguishes itself in our diversity: a million new experiences await visitors across a vast region. Whether you spend the afternoon in a quiet forest bird watching, fill up on traditional Georgian food and wine, walk in the footsteps of St. Nino who first brought Christianity to Georgia, or soak up hundreds of years of ancient architecture and history – your experience will be infinite in variety.

Infinite Adventure Awaits in Samstskhe-Javakheti

Samtskhe-Javakheti, one of the most important historical and ethnographic regions of Georgia, is rich with variety: distinct diversity of microclimates, from snow-packed mountains to lush forests, with pristine rivers and lakes unlike anywhere else on earth; the most ethnically diverse region of Georgia, with rich history dating back to ancient empires; and a wide variety of man-made and natural wonders to explore.

Six distinct regions comprise the whole of Samtskhe-Javakheti: Meskheti, Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni, Aspindza, Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda districts, and the historic Tori-Borjomi region. Infinite adventure awaits you.

Your adventure starts here

Don’t know where to begin? Here are the top experiences we believe every traveler must have while visiting Samtskhe-Javakheti.

  • Akhaltsikhe Castle

    Travel through centuries of history and diverse culture. In Akhaltsikhe you will find a synagogue, an Armenian church, a Catholic church, an Orthodox mosque and the 17th century Ahmed Pasha mosque "Akhaltsikhe Hagia Sophia". In the area of the fortress there are historical buildings of different periods from the 9th to the 21st century, as well as modern, beautiful parks and squares and the Samtskhe-Javakheti Historical Museum, where thousands of exhibits are presented from prehistoric times to the 20th century.

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  • Bakuriani

    With over 29 kilometers of slopes and 20 transport lifts to choose from, the Bakuriani ski resort in the heart of the breathtaking Trialeti Mountain range offers skiing, night-skiing, snowboarding, winter hiking, and tobogganing. Enjoy the stunning views of the mountainous region. Bakuriani is family-friendly and has something to offer for everyone. Bakuriani resort is located about 30 kilometers from Borjomi. You can get here by car, foot, or by an old train "Kukushka", which will take you on a beautiful forest road. The road from Bakuriani goes in the direction of Javakheti.

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  • Borjomi Central Park

    Borjomi Central Park, from where the world-famous mineral water "Borjomi" originated. It is located in the center of Borjomi, in the gorge of the river Borjomi. According to legend, even wounded deers treated themselves here with this water. However, the official production and popularity of Borjomi water began in the 19th century, during the period of the Russian Empire. Here you can taste the water emanating directly from the entrails of Borjomi, as well as have fun at the attractions and visit the beautiful park and the "Borjomi" Museum. From Borjomi Park you can reach the plateau with a ropeway and enjoy the beautiful views.

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  • Javakheti National Park

    Located near the tri-national frontier of Georgia, Armenia, and Turkey is the biodiversity-rich Javakheti Plateau. From the grassland-covered mountains to the protected Kartsakhi and Suldis marshes, you will be in awe of the unforgettable landscapes of Javakheti National Park. Bird watchers are treated to the possibility of observing 140 species of nesting or migrating birds. Many species are included in the Georgian Red Lists of Threatened Species. Apart from birdlife, the region’s lakes are home to a variety of fish.

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  • Saro Village (Meskhuri Halls)

    The historical village of Saro is located a few kilometers from the Akhaltsikhe-Vardzia road. The indigenous Meskhetian culture and architecture of Meskheti is probably the best preserved in Saro. Here you will see the megalithic castles of millennia ago, medieval chapels, secret defense buildings (darns), traditional Meskhetian dwellings (buildings half in the ground), Meskhetian ‘odas’ and Meskhetian halls. You can also enjoy the unearthly beauty of the Javakheti and Erusheti ridges.

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  • Vardzia

    Visit one of Georgia’s most iconic sites, the man-made cave town Vardzia. The Vardzia complex consists of hundreds of rooms and is located on several floors on the cliff. The construction of Vardzia is connected with the golden age of Georgia, with King Tamar. In the secret tunnels of Vardzia it seems that time stops and we travel beyond the centuries. Here you will find agricultural buildings, defensive caves, secret tunnels, dwellings, ancient cellars and religious centers. The most famous fresco of Queen Tamar is depicted in the Church of the Assumption. So be sure to see Vardzia in Meskheti.

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  • Paravani Lake

    Lake Paravani or Tavparavani is the largest lake in Georgia. It sits above 2000 meters sea level and is located in Javakheti. The lake is not very deep and the name is an expression of that as well, Tav (Tavi) means head in Georgian and Paravani (daparva) means covering in Georgian. Lake Paravani is not only the largest but also one of the most beautiful lakes in the whole Caucasus. It is distinguished by both natural flora and fauna and medieval history. The process of declaring Christianity as the state religion in Georgia begins near Lake Tavparavani. St. Nino from Cappadocia, a Christianizer of Georgians, started her journey from here 27 centuries ago. Her route is still considered to be one of the most popular tourist-pilgrimage routes. Monasteries of mothers and fathers are located on the shores of Lake Paravani.

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  • Abastumani

    Explore the small town and climatic spa in Adigeni Municipality. The resort that is only 25km away from Adigeni and 28km away from Akhaltsikhe. It offers some breathtaking nature and small streets to wander. Abastumani's three hyperthermic springs (39–48.5 °C) are little mineralized, and rich in sulfate-sodium chloride waters. There are many hiking trails in the mountains of Abastumani and the world-famous scientific institution - Abastumani Astrophysical Observatory.

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  • Saphara Monastery

    Located 12 km from Akhaltsikhe there is a beautiful monument of Meskhetian architecture, the Saphara Monastery Complex. The complex includes 10 chapels of different periods, the most important of which is St. Saba Cross-domed temple built in the 13-14th centuries. The golden age of the complex dates back to the 13th-14th centuries, when it became the residence and crypt of the Meskhetian governors, the Jakelis. Along with the various complexes there are the remains of strong castles and fences.

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  • Abastumani Astrophysical Observatory

    If you are a starry-eyed traveler, you can have a field day at the Soviet-era Abastumani Astrophysical Observatory atop Mount Kanobili. The journey begins with the option between an hour-long hike or a cable car ride to the observatory. With seven telescopes built between 1932 and 1978, a small museum, and a tour option, visitors have plenty of recreational options to choose from.

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Check out all the Hiking Trails in the area

Samtskhe-Javakheti is full of majestic places to see, so be ready to take on one of our hiking trails!

  • Saro

    Route Length: 2.2 km. Route Duration: 1 hrs. 10 min. Min./Max. Height: 1113/1446m. Total Ascent/Descent: 356/25 m. Route Type: Connecting Difficulty level: Moderate

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  • Atskuri

    Route Length: 14 km Route Duration: 5 hrs. 20 min. Min./Max. Height: 919/1323 m. Total Ascent/Descent: 940/872 m. Route Type: Connecting Route category of complexity: Moderate

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  • Idumala

    Route Length: 25.5 km Route Duration: 11 hrs. 55 min. Min./Max. Height: 1052/2533 m. Total Ascent/Descent: 1917/2064 m. Route Type: Connecting Route category of complexity: Moderate

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  • Gandzani

    Length: 26.7 km. (return back 26.7 km.) Duration: 9 hrs. 20 min. (return back 8 hrs. 45 min.) Min./Max. Height: 2027/2894 m. Total Ascent/Descent: 1379 /840 m Type: One-way Difficulty level: Moderate

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  • Patara Samsari

    Length: 15.3 km. (return back 15.3 km.) Duration: 7 hrs. (return back 6 hrs. 10 min.) Min./Max. Height: 2003/ 3271 m. Total Ascent/Descent: 1360/793 m. Type: One-way Difficulty level: Moderate

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  • Okro Fortress

    Length: 3.5 km. (return back 3.5 km.) Duration: 1 hr. 45 min. (return back 1 hr. 10 min.) Min./Max. Height: 1414/1731 m. Total Ascent/Descent: 367/100 m. Type: One-way Difficulty level: Moderate

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  • Shavnabada

    Length: 33.3 km. (return back 33.3 km.) Duration: 11 hrs. 25 min. (return back 10 hrs. 50 min.) Min./Max. Height: 1986/3084 m. Total Ascent/Descent: 1424/854 m. Type: One-way Difficulty level: Moderate

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