Our most recommended things to do in Samtskhe–Javakheti

From Tbilisi: Borjomi, Rabati, and Vardzia Guided Day Trip

1. From Tbilisi: Borjomi, Rabati, and Vardzia Guided Day Trip

Visit Borjomi, Rabati Castle, and Vardzia on a full-day guided tour from Tbilisi. Drink healing water in Borjomi Central Park, and learn about Georgian history from your guide throughout the day. Meet your guide at the meeting point in Tbilisi, then board your air-conditioned transportation for the day. Head to Borjomi, a small resort town, first. Once there, enjoy the fresh air and admire the natural surroundings of rivers and woods. Visit Borjomi Central Park and try the area's mineral water, famous for its healing properties, under the park's blue dome. Enjoy free time to take the cable car or engage in other optional activities (at your own expense), like horse riding, rafting, or a quadricycle tour. Next, head to Rabati Castle, a small castle at the highest point in the city of Akhaltsikhe. Hear about the extensive history of the castle, which slowly fell to ruin after being taken by the Russian Imperial Army in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829 before being completely renovated in 2011-2012. Later, continue to Vardzia, a cave monastery complex carved in rock in the 12th-13th centuries. Marvel at one of Georgia's most picturesque monuments, which began construction as a fortress but was designated a fortified monastery by Queen Tamar. Visit the Assumption of Mary Church, one of the monastery's 15 churches. Admire a beautiful mural depicting Giorgi III, Queen Tamar, and other nobles from the time of the monastery's construction. After discovering some of the monastery's 600 storage facilities, refectories, shacks, pantries, backup storages, 25 wine cellars, and 185 wine jars, you'll return to Tbilisi. A stop is made during the day for lunch at a restaurant, at your own expense.

From Tbilisi: Vardzia Cave Tour with Guide

2. From Tbilisi: Vardzia Cave Tour with Guide

Discover the historical Vardzia Cave, excavated from the slopes of the Erusheti Mountain, which dates back to the 12th century. Explore the wonders of the cave including monk cells, a grand foyer, a treasury and even a cathedral. Trace the steps of Georgia’s first female sovereign, Queen Tamar, as you learn about the many battles that took place there. Then explore the Rabati Castle, a complex Asian-style military building that was erected in the 13th century. Learn about the sieges over the centuries that have destroyed the castle, and how it has absorbed the traces of different cultures and religions.  Continue on to the picturesque town of Borjomi to marvel at the beautiful natural landscapes of this National Park and taste the mineral water, Georgia’s number one export, that Borjomi is famous for.

From Tbilisi: Private Tour to Rabati Castle-Vardzia-Borjomi

3. From Tbilisi: Private Tour to Rabati Castle-Vardzia-Borjomi

Explore southern Georgia and see the most important monuments, including the Rabati Castle complex or the fascinating Vardzia cave complex. Visit the world-renowned Borjomi Resort. Start your tour at Rabati Castle, a 13th-century medieval castle complex, and admire the influence of different cultures reflected in the architecture. See a mosque, orthodox church, catholic church, and a synagog. Follow the upper Mtkvari River through narrow canyons at Aspindza along a valley. Arrive at Vardzia, famed for its paintings and unique architecture. Tour the bell tower, main church, cave dwellings, rooms, chapels, pharmacy, and wine cellars. Finally, arrive at the Borjomi Resort, a hydro-thermal health spa resort in the southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Walk in the Borjomi Central Park and taste Borjomi mineral water which has unique healing qualities.

From Tbilisi: Vardzia, Rabati, and Borjomi Private Tour

4. From Tbilisi: Vardzia, Rabati, and Borjomi Private Tour

From Tbilisi, transfer to Borjomi and visit the Balneological health resort, situated in the southeast of Georgia in the Agura river gorge. Discover this picturesque place and its large-leaved and coniferous forests surrounded by the majestic Caucasian mountains. Borjomi is well known for its mineral waters, the source of which is situated in Borjomi Central Park, where those who wish may sample it.  Then, head towards Akhaltsikhe which is cosily situated on both banks of the small river, Potskhovi. Take a tour of this ancient city and visit Rabati castle, a complex consisting of many historical castles, towers, and churches. Pay special attention to the halls and marvel at the ancient Georgian architecture. In the lower part of the fortress, you will find a tourist information center, a restaurant, café, and gift shops which you may visit as you please.  Next, visit Vardzia, a cave monastery site which delves into the rock half a kilometer and rises up thirteen tiers, which are connected to each other with a complex system of tunnels. Here, see the preserved large reception hall, living quarters, book depository, wineries, water, and spring water baths. Visit the Church of the Dormition, the central spiritual and monumental focus of the site. On the same north wall are ancient portraits of the royal founders, King Giorgi III and his daughter Queen Tamar. Then, return to Tbilisi.

Tbilisi to Uplistsikhe cave town and Borjomi Day Tour

5. Tbilisi to Uplistsikhe cave town and Borjomi Day Tour

Start your tour after breakfast from Tbilisi. During the tour, you will visit the ancient Uplitsikhe Cave Town and Beautiful nature of Borjomi. Ancient city-museum Uplistsikhe is one of the oldest settlements in the Caucasus, located on the left bank of the river Mtkvari, the main part of the city is carved with rocks and has amazing views of the landscape, walk around the ancient streets and take memorable pictures. Various rock formations, holes, and chambers remind of sophisticated sculptures and certain shapes like for example a human face. You will be amazed when you find out that this site dates back to as early as the second millennium BC. It is the oldest ancient settlement known in Georgia. Left without any care for many years, it was plundered several times and destroyed by an earthquake in 1920. Now, it's on the UNESCO list and there are some works planned to preserve it. After we will continue by Borjomi tour. Balneo-climatic resort located deep in the forest, surrounded by mountains, in the city you will visit Borjomi Central Park, walk in the park, and enjoy attractions in the park; the city is famous for natural sulfur springs and you will have the opportunity to try it. And here you can also see a beautiful waterfall and ride a cable car to look at the Borjomi Gorge from above. Finish the tour and back to Tbilisi.

From Tbilisi-Borjomi,Vardzia:Trifecta of Georgia Delights

6. From Tbilisi-Borjomi,Vardzia:Trifecta of Georgia Delights

Locations you visit · Vardzia · Rabati · Borjomi Georgia's Green Paradise: Borjomi, Rabati, and Vardzia Expedition" Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of nature and captivating history on this full-day journey. Our adventure begins in Borjomi, where you'll quickly understand why this region and its surroundings are often referred to as a "green paradise." As we make our way, breathtaking vistas of the lushly forested Borjomi Gorge will unfold before you. During the tour, you'll delve into the discovery of the region's mineral springs, learn about significant archaeological excavations in these lands, and understand the development of the resort town of Borjomi. In Borjomi's city park, you'll have the opportunity to admire a picturesque waterfall, hear tales of the Georgian Prometheus, and, of course, savor the famed mineral water in an ornate pavilion. Our journey continues to the medieval fortress of Rabat, where you'll encounter one of Georgia's most expressive and colorful monuments. This fortress serves as a unique bridge between two worlds, absorbing the energy of both Christian and Muslim cultures as a crucial transit point. You'll explore the palace's halls, adorned in the old Georgian style, and be awestruck by the fortress's grandeur and intricate ornamentation. Moving forward, we'll reach the remarkable Vardzia caves—a testament to the 12th-century monastic history. This cave fortress is not merely a collection of rock-hewn rooms; it's a multifaceted city that spans 13 levels and comprises over 500 rooms, including churches, chapels, residential cells, storerooms, baths, refectories, treasuries, and libraries. Its captivating history is sure to leave a lasting impression. Throughout the journey, you'll be accompanied by an English and Russian-speaking guide who will ensure your enjoyment and immerse you in the extraordinary history of this corner of Georgia. Please note that the tour begins at 07:30 and concludes at 20:30, promising a full day of exploration and discovery.

From Tbilisi: Mtskheta, Gori, Uplistsikhe and Borjomi Tour

7. 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.

5 hours horse riding tour in Borjomi National Park

8. 5 hours horse riding tour in Borjomi National Park

Tour is suitable for any level of rider. Explore the breathtaking Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, nestled in the heart of Georgia’s lesser Caucasus Mountains. This adventurous destination is home to rare animal and plant species, as well as pristine virgin forests. Prepare to be captivated by the stunning mountain views and lush forests along the trail. Your tour begins in the morning as our driver picks you up and takes you to Likani, where your horses await. Embark on an unforgettable horseback ride through the park, immersing yourself in the beauty of nature. After your horse trip, take the opportunity to discover Borjomi Central Park and indulge in the refreshing mineral spring water, known for its health benefits.

Borjomi: Guided Walking Tour of Old Town & Central Park

9. Borjomi: Guided Walking Tour of Old Town & Central Park

Planning a trip to Georgia? Why Borjomi is trendy as a holiday destination? Looking for the top sightseeing places in Borjomi? The Georgian city offers a long collection of buildings, markets, and top attractions that you must visit once in a life. Which are Borjomi's best attractions? The Old Town is just the beginning of the city's charms. The vibrant and contrasting city offers you the chance to discover some of the richest examples of Caucasian history. Get stunned with the streets full of history and its beautiful architecture examples like the Georgia Fortress which survived across the ages. Visit the Borjomi Central Park. From there move towards the Meshketi Street, the Palace of the Romanav Boyars (outside). Marvel at the Georgia Fortress from the outside. Get ready to experience Georgia from a different perspective. A local charismatic guide will reveal the secrets and interesting facts about one of the most ancient European cities.

Tbilisi: Guided Gori Fortress, Uplistsikhe and Borjomi Tour

10. Tbilisi: Guided Gori Fortress, Uplistsikhe and Borjomi Tour

Take the chance to visit Uplistsikhe, a cave town fortress situated on a rocky massif on the left bank of the river Mtkvari. Dating back to the 1st and 2nd millennium B.C., Uplistsikhe was an important religious, political and cultural center in the Hellenistic and late Antique periods. The place was founded in the late Bronze Age, around 1000 B.C., and continued to be inhabited until the 13th century A.D. Between the 6th century B.C. and the 11th century A.D., Uplistsikhe was one of the most important political and religious centers of pre-Christian Kartli, one of the predecessors of the Georgian state. Visitors can still walk among the ancient streets, rock-carved theater, royal halls, pharmacy, pagan temples and Christian churches, while the remains of granaries and large clay wine vessels give us some clue as to the daily life of the inhabitants. You can also visit Joseph Stalin’s Museum in Gori, Stalin (originally Georgian) was the secretary general of the Communist Party during World War II. The museum features Stalin’s house (a hut where he was born), his armor plated railway carriage and a statue that was controversially standing in the main square of Gori up until 2010. Afterwards, discover Gori Fortress, a medieval citadel in Georgia which stands above the city of Gori on a rocky hill. Following this, you will venture to Borjomi, a picturesque resort town in south-central Georgia located on the edge of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. It is one of the districts of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and is situated in the northwestern part of the region in the picturesque Borjomi Gorge, on the eastern edge of the National Park. The town is famous for its mineral water, which is the number one export of Georgia. Borjomi is also home to the most extensive ecologically themed amusement park in the Caucasus. Due to the supposed curative powers of the area's mineral springs, it is a frequent destination for people with health problems.

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What people are saying about Samtskhe–Javakheti

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 295 reviews

Great experience! The guide Ms. Catherine was very helpful, professional and friendly. We visited Bakuriani skipping vardzia and it is a must see destination for all snow lovers. The tour coordinator Tamuna made it simple and easy for us to edit the private tour. Bakuriani & Borjomi with the snowy capped mountains, lovely pine trees, pure air and fresh soft snow throws out a breathtaking winter vibe. Loved it❤️

We were guided by Lenny and Zaza the driver. What a fantastic team and such a great day! Although it's a long tour they helped make the most of the time with a when developed itinerary, some fantastic history of Georgia and some incredible locations. Would happily book another tour with the team.

Had a great tour of the canyon and the lakes. My guide was very personable and fun. The views were beautiful, and food was also tasty. I would definitely recommend the tour to other travellers, and I'm already dreaming of my next trip to Georgia.

Lenny was the perfect travel guide- conscientious driver, amazing depth and breadth of knowledge plus a sense of humor! We learned so much and enjoyed the trip. Communication with the company was seamless- highly recommend.

The guides were excellent, they were courteous informative, safe. Knowledgeable and amenable to the experience.