Looking for a scenic day hike near Tbilisi? A visit to historic Kojori Fortress followed by a hike all the way back to Tbilisi is a great option. Kojori is quick, cheap, and easy to get to, and the walk back offers wonderful mountain and city views. At 16 km it’s long enough to make a day of it, but not too challenging if tackled in this largely downhill direction.
In this quick guide we’ll detail how to get to Kojori, give an overview of the hike, and provide route maps and a GPX track download for you to easily navigate yourself.
Use the map below to guide you from Kojori to Tbilisi and help you find places of interest along the way. You can also download an offline version to Maps.me (iOS/Android). Tap the menu button at the top left for more details, to toggle layers on and off, and switch between satellite and terrain view.
HOW TO SAVE THIS MAP (ONLINE VERSION)
To save this map to use online on desktop or mobile just tap the star symbol at the top. When you open Google Maps on your phone, navigate to ‘Saved’ at the bottom, then swipe along to ‘Maps’ at the top. You’ll find this map in your list of maps. On desktop, click the three lines at the top left, select ‘Your Places’, then ‘Maps’. Click the map, then scroll down and select ‘Open in My Maps’ to access the interactive version.
Alternatively, just tap the rectangle symbol at the top right of the map in this blog post to view the My Maps version larger on desktop.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to view this version of the map offline, but we’ve created a similar version for offline use as per below.
HOW TO SAVE THIS MAP (OFFLINE VERSION)
You can easily navigate by tapping the bookmark for your start point and selecting ‘route from’, then tap your end point bookmark and select ‘route to’. If you want to plot a different route to the one suggested by Maps.me, just tap a third (or fourth, fifth, etc.) bookmark between the start and end points and select ‘add stop’.
You can use Maps.me offline or online, but note that the attached photos and links for each bookmark will only appear when you’re online.
You can get to Kojori by bus or taxi from Tbilisi.
Take bus number 10 or 106 from Tbilisi to Kojori. It takes around 40 minutes and costs 0.50₾. Wikiroutes shows both the number 10 bus route and number 106 bus route – enlarge each map to see a list of stops. Bus number 10 will get you closest to Kojori Fortress (get off at stop Azeula and Vazha Pshavela Str Intersection). If you take bus number 106, you’ll need to walk a little further to get to the fortress (get off at Baratashvili and Kojori Highway Intersection or Kojori Center).
The buses run approximately every 40 minutes between 7am and 11pm. You can pay onboard with exact money at the ticket machine, or use a Metromoney card.
You can hail a taxi on the street, or use an app such as Bolt (iOS/Android) to organise a taxi direct to Kojori Fortress. It should cost around 20-25₾, but this will depend on where in Tbilisi your journey starts. It takes around 30 minutes from Amaghleba Street in upper Sololaki to Kojori Fortress.
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Start your hike at Kojori Fortress, then walk through Kojori town and up to Udzos Monastery. From here a hiking trail leads east all the way to Tbilisi. As you approach the city, you can choose between numerous trails emerging at Mtatsminda, Vera, Vake, or Sololaki. Allow around 4 – 4.5 hours for the hike, plus extra time for sightseeing at the fortress, photo stops, picnics, and so on.
Kojori Fortress, also known as Azeula Fortress after the hill it sits on, dates from the 11th century. It’s mostly in ruins today, but remains a dramatic sight as it juts skywards atop a rocky peak of volcanic origin. At an altitude of 1350 m, there are commanding views from the top that extend far and wide across the countryside.
The ruined fortress rises from a rocky outcrop above the small town of Kojori
The ruined fortress rises from a rocky
outcrop above the small town of Kojori
To the south and west, layers of rolling hillsides, villages, and mountains spread out as far as the eye can see. To the east, Kumisi Reservoir shimmers and sparkles under the sun. And to the north, you can spot Saburtalo district in Tbilisi, and beyond, even the snowy peaks of the Greater Caucasus Range (if the weather plays ball).
Westward views from the ruins of Kojori Fortress
Westward views from the ruins of Kojori Fortress
A dirt track leads to the foot of the hill, from where it’s a short, relatively steep hike to the fortress. First, you’ll reach a viewpoint below the fortress, with a side trail to the right leading to an outcrop with a metal cross. From the viewpoint, the trail leads down through a narrow rocky gap, then climbs a metal staircase all the way to the top. It takes around 10-15 minutes to hike from the end of the dirt track to the fortress.
First squeeze through the rocky gap
Then climb the metal staircase
And don’t forget to hold on
From the fortress, return to the dirt track and follow it for about 1 km to the paved road on the southern edge of town. It’s a further 2.5 km meander through the town to the centre, where there are small Spar and Nikora supermarkets, a pharmacy, and other shops. If you’re interested in Soviet mosaics and monumental art, follow our GPX track past the former Red Carnation Pioneers’ Camp, where a number of mosaics adorn the various buildings. And in the main square, on the end of the Spar building, there’s a huge terracotta relief of a tree with people, animals, monasteries and more growing out of it. It’s unfortunately graffitied in its lower half, but still impressive.
Pioneer’s Camp mosaic
The base of the terracotta bas relief in Kojori town centre
The base of the terracotta bas relief in Kojori
Pioneer’s Camp mosaic
From the main square follow the road north, up Udzo Street and all the way through the forest to Udzo Monastery. Here you’ll leave the road behind and continue on trail or track, downhill to Tbilisi. Just 500 metres or so from Udzo Monastery, there is a wonderful viewpoint overlooking Tbilisi and the Greater Caucasus. It makes a good picnic spot.
Mount Kazbek and the Greater Caucasus Range, seen from the viewpoint near Udzo Monastery
Mount Kazbek on a clear day, seen from
the viewpoint near Udzo Monastery
From here, the trail continues east, dropping around 900 metres in elevation over a further 8.5 km. There are a few steeper sections, but overall it’s straightforward and not too challenging for any moderately fit person. Various viewpoints open up as you go, with panoramas of the sprawling districts of Tbilisi, and Mt. Kazbek clearly visible in good weather.
A late afternoon glow lights up the outlying districts of Tbilisi as the Caucasus Range is obscured by a growing haze
A late afternoon glow lights up Tbilisi’s outlying
districts as the view of Mount Kazbek grows hazy
Our GPX track leads towards Mtatsminda Park, curving round to the north of Tbilisi TV Tower, and emerges opposite the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Michael of Tver in Mtatsminda. If you want to work your way towards Turtle Lake and Vake, or Vera, or Sololaki, diverge off our route and follow one of the many trails marked on Maps.me (iOS/Android) or any other OpenStreetMap app such as OsmAnd Maps (iOS/Android).
The forested trail descending towards Tbilisi
Tbilisi TV Tower at golden hour
Mtatsminda Park Ferris Wheel above the city
You can do this Tbilisi day hike year round. Spring and Autumn are probably the most pleasant seasons temperature wise, and of course spring flowers and autumn foliage add an extra splash of colour across the hillsides. In summer, the temperature in Kojori is more pleasant than Tbilisi, making it a good escape from the city. In winter, expect snow and potentially ice on the trail, and even clearer views given the lack of leaves on trees.
The trail can be slippery with snow and ice
in winter, particularly higher up near Kojori
Be sure to pack some food and water. You can pick up supplies at the shops in Kojori or bring something from Tbilisi.
Having a decent pair of trainers or hiking shoes is best as there are some rocky sections and the trails can get muddy and a bit slippery. In snowy/icy weather you may want hiking poles for stability.
Ensure you have appropriate clothing for the season, for example a woolly hat, gloves and warm layers in winter or early spring/late autumn, a sun hat in summer, and an extra layer in spring and autumn in case of rain or cooler weather. Remember you’ll be hiking up to 1400 m, so the temperature will be much cooler than in Tbilisi which sits at about 500 m.
We hope you found this guide useful. If you have any questions, just drop them in the comments below. And if you’ve done this hike before, or something similar in the area, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Happy hiking!
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