Easily accessible from Tbilisi, Kazbegi is home to the magnificent Mt. Kazbek and is one of Georgia’s most popular mountain retreats. The term ‘Kazbegi’ commonly refers to both the town of Stepantsminda (formerly Kazbegi and still called this by many), and the greater Kazbegi Municipality within the Khevi province. Roughly speaking, this area extends northwards from Jvari Pass to the Russian border at Dariali Gorge, westwards up Truso Valley, and eastwards up the Snostskali Valley to Juta.
Bisecting this area is the Georgian Military Highway, a vital road connecting Georgia and Russia on either side of the Caucasus Mountains. A long established trade route, it has led to increased development over the years; trucks constantly ply the main road, and shops, guesthouses, and restaurants are plentiful. This infrastructure, along with the area’s proximity to the capital just three hours away, is what makes it so accessible for many. On the other hand, Kazbegi’s popularity can undoubtedly be attributed to the glorious mountain vistas, natural attractions, and iconic sites found across the region.
In this guide we outline the best things to see and do around Kazbegi. We also provide practical travel info, including the best places to stay, where to eat and how to get there. Additionally, we’ve created a detailed map which can be used online, or downloaded for offline use. We recommend a minimum of 4 days for all of the main activities outlined in this guide, plus extra time if you want to tackle some of the region’s multi-day hikes. If you’re planning a shorter trip, we hope this guide will help you choose something that suits your own interests and timeframe.
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Watch the behind the scenes version of our Kazbegi adventures on our Instagram stories highlights
Watch the behind the scenes
version of our Kazbegi trip
on our Instagram stories
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN KAZBEGI
There’s plenty to keep outdoor lovers busy in Kazbegi, with everything from easy scenic strolls to challenging multi-day hikes. It should be noted though that most places and activities in this guide are spread out across the municipality and require transport to get to. The exceptions are Gergeti Trinity Church and Gergeti Glacier, both of which can be reached on foot from Kazbegi town (Stepantsminda).
ON FOOT FROM KAZBEGI TOWN (STEPANTSMINDA)
Mt. Kazbek, or Mqinvartsveri in Georgian, watches over Kazbegi from the lofty height of 5054 m. The third tallest mountain in Georgia, it is among the most iconic peaks of the Greater Caucasus Range. The peak is visible from most spots around town (weather permitting of course), and admiring its majesty from a cafe terrace or guesthouse balcony is a worthwhile activity in itself. But for those looking to stretch the legs and get a closer view, we highly recommend hiking up to Gergeti Trinity Church, or Gergeti Glacier beyond.
GERGETI TRINITY CHURCH
One of the most recognisable churches in all of Georgia, Gergeti Trinity Church is perched picturesquely atop a grassy peak, with Mt Kazbek rising behind and Kazbegi town stretched out below. While the 14th century church is as pretty as any in Georgia, it’s this epic location that really makes it shine.
HOW TO GET TO THE CHURCH
These days a tarmac road winds up the hillside to the church, making it easily accessible by car. Expect to pay 40 GEL+ for a taxi from town (1740 m) to church (2170 m) and back, including waiting time at the top.
If you prefer more of a challenge, hiking to the church is a great option. There are a few approaches you can take, including a forest trail that criss-crosses the road, and an incredibly steep climb straight up the hillside. However, the best route curves around the southern side of the church and climbs up through a grassy valley past a crumbling watchtower.
We’ve marked this route on our map. Allow around 1.5 hours to get to the church from the main square in Kazbegi town, and a bit less time coming back.
Once at the top it’s worth following the trail around the eastern (Kazbegi town) side of the church to reach a viewpoint (42.6613, 44.6214). From here you’ll have a view of the church in the foreground with Mt. Kazbek rising behind. There is another fantastic viewpoint about 30 minutes’ walk up the hillside to the northwest of the church, on the way towards Sabertse Pass and Gergeti Glacier. To get to it, follow the road and turn left onto a trail leading up the grassy hillside just after the large car park. From the viewpoint (42.66482, 44.6112) Mt. Kazbek will be at your back, and you’ll be looking down towards the church and dramatic wall of mountains behind.