We all make plans to escape the city on the weekends and never lose hope that this time we will actually manage to do it and spend time somewhere in a quiet and beautiful place. Especially in a nice spring weather spending the weekend in the city is almost a crime. Therefore, we offer Sight Georgia’s trip to Kakheti.
3-Day trip to Kakheti
Kakheti is a beautiful destination and at the same time very interesting from the historical and cultural point of view for a 3-day trip. So, get ready, a journey full of new emotions awaits you.
Day 1: Tbilisi – Ujarma Fortress Complex – Shuamta – Telavi
The historic fortress-town of Ujarma is located about an hour’s drive from Tbilisi in the direction of Gombori Pass. The III-IV centuries are considered to be the period of Ujarma construction, the time of the reign of King Asphagur. However, Vakhtang Gorgasali and Dachi made a great contribution to its strengthening. During their time many additional buildings were built and the complex became especially important in the history of the country. According to historical sources, the wounded Vakhtang Gorgasali died in Ujarma.
Remains of the main citadel fence and towers, a small cruciform church, the ruins of a two-story royal palace, a reservoir, and other ancillary structures are preserved in the ruins that still exist today.
Old and New Shuamta
After visiting Ujarma Fortress you can pass on the way to Shuamta.
The old Shuamta monastery complex includes a 5th century basilica, a 7th century Mtskheta cross-type domed church and a 7th century small domed church.
The new Shuamta Monastery was founded in the 1950s after the old Shuamta Monastery was emptied. The new monastery was founded by Tinatin, the wife of King Levan of Kakheti, who was ordained a nun and is buried in the New Shuamta Monastery.
After visiting these beautiful and interesting places, you can get to Telavi in just 7 kilometers. This city is a favorite place for many people, where you can take a nice walk, taste Kakhetian wine and have a delicious dinner. To spend an interesting time in the city and to see the cafes recommended by us, you can read our article where you will see what you can do in Telavi.
There are many choices to spend the night in Telavi, starting with relatively budget friendly hotels, to higher class hotels, so it will not be difficult for you to find the desired place to stay.
Day 2: Tsinandali Estate – Gremi Complex – Nekresi – Ilia Lake – Lost Ridge Inn, Brewery and Ranch
The next day you must go from Telavi to visit the Tsinandali Estates. In Tsinandali Museum Complex you can get acquainted with the history of Chavchavadze family, one of the most important families in Georgia, enjoy the beauty of the decorative garden, wander the 19th century wine cellar, taste Chavchavadze Tsinandali and other Georgian wines. Tsinandali still plays an important role in the cultural life of Georgia. This place hosts many exhibitions, concerts, literature events or master classes. Tsinandali Decorative Garden is the first European type recreation zone in Georgia. Alexander Chavchavadze brought European landscape architects to build it. It is unique in terms of exotic varieties and planning. Tsinandali Palace has undergone many changes. In addition to the Chavchavadzes, it was owned by Romanovs and Soviet workers at various times and eventually became the property of the Georgian people. However, it always kept the name of the first owners Chavchavadzes.
The museum is about 9.5 km away from Telavi and is open from 10 am to 6 pm. The ticket price is 5 GEL for students and 10 GEL for adults.
You can take the road from Tsinandali to Gremi and Nekresi.
The Gremi complex was built by King Levan of Kakheti in 1565. The paintings were completed in 1577.
The Gremi Architectural Complex consists of several buildings. There is a domed church named after the Archangels, a three-story palace-bell tower, agricultural buildings, a fence, a secret exit to the river. There are also baths and a bazaar. However, the most conspicuous part of the Gremi complex is the Church of the Archangels, which is built at the end of a rocky ridge and consists of a high-walled domed church and a palace-bell tower.
Since October 24, 2007, Gremi Royal Palace and Church have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
After wandering in Gremi, you can also visit Nekresi, which is no less impressive.
The Nekresi complex is unique thanks to the architectural monuments that are abundantly preserved in the territory of the monastery. The complex contains an early IV century chapel, a three-aisled basilica (VI-VII centuries), a domed church (VIII-IX centuries), an episcopal palace (IX century), a tower (XVI century), a cellar, the remains of several agricultural buildings, a tomb, small chapels and more.
Before the end of the day, you can also drive to Ilia Lake. This place is best for enjoying nature, arranging a small picnic and relaxing. The lake was named in honor of Ilia Chavchavadze and was built several years ago in the valley of the river Duruji. The artificial lake is located in the unique microzone of Kindzmarauli. On one side the hills are covered with wild forests, while on the other side there is a park.
Lost Ridge Inn, Brewery and Ranch
Lost Ridge Boutique is a boutique hotel near Sighnaghi that has its own horse ranch and brewery. To see every part of the place, you will have to go through several different small beautiful yards. It is these scattered yards and adjoining houses that are the pearls of Lost Ridge architecture. The hotel consists of a total of 8 rooms, some of which are the architectural heritage of traditional Kizikuri stones. And there are few rooms, in fact, built on the ruins of these Kizikuri houses, of which the owners have decided to censerve.
In addition to spending the night comfortably, here you will find delicious cuisine, wine, their own craft beer and, have a chance to go on a horseback riding tour in the area.
You can read more about this amazing place in our article.
Day 3: Morning at Lost Ridge Inn, Brewery and Ranch – Sighnagi – Tbilisi
I will tell you in advance that it will be very difficult for you to leave Lost Ridge. However, if you still plan to leave on time, you can visit Sighnaghi before heading for Tbilisi.
Sighnaghi was declared a city in 1801, although the history of this place is much longer. Sighnaghi is a word of Turkish origin (Turkish: sığınak) and means “shelter”. Building of the city on an elevated site was convenient for defensive purposes. Gates were arranged in the city wall for the rapid evacuation of the population of the surrounding villages. Sighnaghi, like Telavi, was considered a royal estate.
Apart from the history of the city, this place is special because of its architecture and location. While walking through the narrow streets you will see many beautiful small balconies, colorful streets, and the old wall of the city. However, the most impressive is probably still the view. The city is located on a high hill and overlooks the breathtaking Alazani Valley and the Caucasus ridges.
Finally, Bodbe Monastery cannot be missed either. The monastery is built only 2 kilometers away from Sighnaghi.
Bodbe Monastery is a St. Nino nunnery and episcopal center. According to the legend, it was built at the place of St. Nino’s cemetery. With its original architectural forms, the three-nave basilica belongs to the early feudal era.
Bodbe Monastery is one of the most popular tourist destinations.
After visiting the monastery you can head back to Tbilisi, the road is about 120 kilometers.
We wish you an interesting trip to Kakheti!