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Vardzia: Our most recommended tours and activities

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.

From Tbilisi-Borjomi,Vardzia:Trifecta of Georgia Delights

5. 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: Day Trip to Vardzia, Rabati and Borjomi

6. From Tbilisi: Day Trip to Vardzia, Rabati and Borjomi

Be picked up from your hotel in Tbilisi and start your day trip through southern Georgia. Your guide will be with you throughout the day as you explore 3 different locations and experience the beauty of Georgia. Your first stop will be the cave monastery site, Vardzia. While in Vardzia, you’ll see the bell tower, church, chapels, wine cellars, and cave dwellings. After Vardzia, your next stop will be Rabati Castle. The Rabati Castle is a medieval fortress in Akhaltsikhe. The fortress was constructed in the 9th century. In 2011, many of its destroyed buildings were restored. Your last stop will be Borjomi. Borjomi is a famous resort town known for its mineral water. You’ll be able to visit a traditional Georgina restaurant and taste national dishes and wine. Once your visit to Borjomi is complete, you’ll begin the journey back to Tbilisi, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel.

Top sights near Vardzia

Other Sightseeing Options in Vardzia

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What people are saying about Vardzia

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 291 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❤️

A long but amazing day that's definitely worth it. Nini was a fantastic guide who made the time in the car pass quickly, and Giorgi a great and safe driver. Thank you both! Vardzia and Rabati are both absolutely amazing, so glad we went! Borjomi water didn't taste as bad as I thought it would :) The countryside also deserves a mention, the scenery is just beautiful in that region.

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.

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.