• LESSER CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS 4X4 ROAD TRIP

    A UAZ 4x4 and a wooden house with mountain views behind in a summer settlement in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains
  • LESSER CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS

    4X4 ITINERARY

    A UAZ 4x4 and a wooden house with mountain views behind in a summer settlement in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

LESSER CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS 4X4 ROAD TRIP

4 DAY KUTAISI LOOP ITINERARY

When it comes to mountains, Georgia is probably best known for the snow-capped peaks of Svaneti or Kazbegi. But for the adventurous traveller, the Lesser Caucasus mountains to the south offer a great opportunity to see a different side of the country. From the ‘Little Switzerland’ vibes of Bakhmaro and yaylas (summer settlements) of the Adjara Highlands, to the spa towns and sweeping Greater Caucasus views in Borjomi NP, this short Kutaisi loop itinerary mixes both cultural and natural attractions.

The route is best tackled by 4×4 in the summer months, but even then driving conditions can be challenging. With narrow dirt roads twisting through the mountains, little room to pass oncoming traffic, and some steep drop-offs to contend with, we’d recommend this trip only for confident and experienced off-road drivers.

 In this guide we’ll provide a downloadable route map, a detailed itinerary with wild camp spots and indoor accommodation options, and all the practical info you need to organise your Lesser Caucasus Mountains 4×4 road trip. This itinerary starts and ends in Kutaisi, but it can of course be incorporated into a longer Georgia road trip so we also give suggestions for extending your journey further.

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – if you purchase a product or service via these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps offset the cost of running this blog and keeps us travelling so that we can continue to produce great content for you. We greatly appreciate your support!*

ROAD TRIP FILMS

Many of the places in this Lesser Caucasus Mountains road trip itinerary feature in Parts Three and Four of our Toyota Hilux Expedition Camper series, including Bakhmaro, Chidila pass, Glamping Tago, and more.





Watch behind the scenes videos of our Lesser Caucasus Mountains 4×4 road trip on Instagram Stories

Watch behind the scenes videos
of our own Lesser Caucasus
Mountains 4×4 road trip on
Instagram Stories

LESSER CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS ITINERARY ROUTE MAP

LESSER CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS ITINERARY

ROUTE MAP

This map shows our Lessser Caucasus Mountains 4×4 road trip route, plus camp spots, accommodation options, and points of interest along the way. Tap the menu button at the top left for more details, to toggle layers on and off, and to switch between satellite and terrain view. The map legend shows the order of the journey. You can highlight the route for each day or a particular pin by clicking on it in the legend or on the map itself. 

Note that it functions best in the desktop ‘My Maps’ version. If you save the map to open on your phone, you can only view the Google Maps version which has more limited functionality. You can save this Google map by tapping the star.

For navigation on the road, we find it easiest to use an offline version of this map. You can do this by downloading our KML file for use with Maps.me (iOS/Android), or the GPX file for use with other offline mapping apps such as Gaia GPS (iOS/Android), Guru Maps (iOS/Android) or OsmAnd Maps (iOS/Android).

Download the entire route using the links below. Downloads for each day are available in the itinerary breakdown below.


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 provided a download for a similar version for offline use.


MAPS.ME
To use an offline map with all the same pins and driving routes marked, first download
Maps.Me (iOS/Android), then download our Kutaisi Loop 4×4 Road Trip Itinerary KML file and select open with Maps.Me. 

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.


LESSER CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS 4X4 ROAD TRIP ITINERARY OUTLINE

Day 1Kutaisi → Vani Hot Springs → Bakhmaro (Camping or Guesthouse)134 km

driving time: 3h15m +

Day 2Bakhmaro → Chidila pass → Ghorjomi → Tago (Glamping/camping or Guesthouse/Hotel)53 km

driving time: 5 hours +

Day 3Tago → Goderdzi pass → Abastumani (Camping or Guesthouse/Hotel)79 km

driving time: 4 hours +

Day 4Abastumani → Zekari pass → Sairme → Kutaisi (Guesthouse/Hotel)92 km

driving time: 3 hours +

Day 1Kutaisi → Vani Hot Springs → Bakhmaro (Camping or Guesthouse)134 km
DRIVING TIME: 3H15M +
Day 2Bakhmaro → Chidila pass → Ghorjomi → Tago (Glamping/camping or Guesthouse/Hotel)53 km
DRIVING TIME: 5 hours +
Day 3Tago → Goderdzi Pass → Abastumani (Camping or Guesthouse/Hotel)79 km
DRIVING TIME: 4 hours +
Day 4Abastumani → Zekari pass → Sairme → Kutaisi (Guesthouse/Hotel)92 km
DRIVING TIME: 3 hours +

DETAILED ITINERARY BREAKDOWN

LESSER CAUCASUS 4X4

ITINERARY BREAKDOWN

DAY 1 | KUTAISI → VANI HOT SPRINGS → BAKHMARO

134 KM | 3H15M + DRIVING

DAY 1

KUTAISI
→ VANI HOT SPRINGS
→ BAKHMARO

134 KM | 3H15M + DRIVING

Start your road trip with an invigorating soak at the Vani sulphur baths, before ascending through the lush hills of Guria to the alpine village of Bakhmaro (1950 m). Camp on the hilltop with Greater Caucasus views, or spend the night in a quintessential wooden cottage.

KUTAISI TO VANI HOT SPRINGS

35 KM | 45 MIN +

Follow the Rioni River south of Kutaisi and west through Zeindari and Amaghleba villages. Approx 7 km before Vani, turn right onto the dirt road and follow it for 2 km. At the end of the track you’ll find a parking area and a couple of calcified sulphur pools overflowing with chalky blue, piping hot water. 

A woman relaxing in the outdoor sulphur baths at Vani Hot Springs, with the Lesser Caucasus Mountains marking the distant skyline

Relaxing in the sulphur baths at Vani Hot Springs



A woman relaxing in the outdoor sulphur baths at Vani Hot Springs, with the Lesser Caucasus Mountains marking the distant skyline

Relaxing in the sulphur baths at Vani Hot Springs



Its open air location is pretty special – in the midst of farming fields on the river plain between the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains – although the rubbish around this popular local picnic site definitely takes the sheen off things. There are a couple of changing stalls next to the pools, a picnic table, and some bins, but no other facilities to speak of. 

VANI HOT SPRINGS TO BAKHMARO

99 KM | 2H30M +

Return to the main road and continue west through Vani. At Sajavakho, leave the main road and start your climb towards the Guria mountains. The road winds its way through scenic villages surrounded by lush hillsides, down to Chokhatauri and the Supsa river valley. This is the last main town until Khulo (at the end of Day 2), so best to fill up fuel and supplies here before continuing. It’s an 1800 metre ascent on a good tarmac road to reach Bakhmaro, with wonderful views all around as you climb.

Bakhmaro appears as you crest the hill at 2050 m. Colourful wooden chalets dot the green hillsides, the Bakhvistsqali river snakes its way through the valley below, and patches of spruce, fir, and pine form patterns across the slopes. Tinkling cow bells complete the Swiss alpine vibes.

The view of the colourful roofs of Bakhmaro village with the peaks of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains above

The view of Bakhmaro from where the road crests the hill above



The view of the colourful roofs of Bakhmaro village with the peaks of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains above

The view of Bakhmaro from the road above



A drive/hike up Sunset Mountain for golden hour will reward you with spectacular views of the Greater Caucasus (on a clear day!), including Europe’s highest peak, Mt Elbrus (5642 m). You can hike on a trail from the village, up through the forest on the southern side, or drive most of the way on a dirt track on the northern side, then hike the last section to the top. We’ve marked both routes on our map. Allow 30 minutes – 1 hour to hike there. 

Pastel sunset view of Mount Elbrus to the north, seen from the hills above Bakhmaro in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains of Georgia

Sunset view of Mount Elbrus to the north



Pastel sunset view of Mount Elbrus to the north, seen from the hills above Bakhmaro in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains of Georgia

Sunset view of Mount Elbrus to the north



If you’re looking to camp, there are a few decent spots on the hillside above the main settlement. A lot of accommodation in Bakhmaro is rented as a whole cottage, cabin, or chalet, which you can find via Airbnb, Google Maps, Facebook, etc. Somewhere like Old Bakhmaro operates more like a regular hotel.


DAY 2 | BAKHMARO → CHIDILA PASS → GHORJOMI → TAGO

54 KM | 5 HOURS + DRIVING

DAY 2

BAKHMARO
→ CHIDILA PASS
→ GHORJOMI
TAGO

54 KM | 5 HOURS + DRIVING

Although there is little distance to cover today, this section of the itinerary is the most challenging to drive so count on it taking 5 hours or more. You’ll cross from the Guria region into the Adjara Highlands, passing through a number of yaylas (summer alpine settlements).

From Chidila pass, you’ll descend through small villages to Khulo, with the opportunity to visit the beautiful painted wooden mosque at Ghorjomi on the way. Leave your car in Khulo and ride the Soviet-era cable car to Tago, or drive the twisting road to reach this small hillside village, home to the fantastic Glamping Tago (our suggested glamping/camping spot for the night).

BAKHMARO TO CHIDILA PASS

13 KM | 1H45M +

Heading east from Bakhmaro village, you’ll leave sealed roads behind as you start ascending to the alpine pastures of the Adjara Highlands. The first settlement you’ll reach is Gadrekili, about 4 km beyond Bakhmaro and about 100 metres higher. It’s a scenic spot, with rows of two-storey wooden houses scattered across the hillsides. A narrow dirt road continues around the hillside to the much larger yayla of Zoti Keli, a further 5 km. This feels like a pretty special place, a community hidden away in the mountains that springs into life in the summer. 

From Zoti Keli the narrow dirt track climbs on switchbacks to a grassy pasture, then continues higher again to Chidila pass itself. Sitting at 2400 m, this is the highest point you’ll reach on this Kutaisi loop itinerary. The pass is wide and gravelly, with a small stone shelter dug into the hillside beside the track. 

The sprawling summer settlement of Zoti Keli, a network of two storey wooden houses filling an expansive valley high in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

The sprawling summer settlement of Zoti Keli high in the Lesser Caucasus Range



The sprawling summer settlement of Zoti Keli, a network of two storey wooden houses filling an expansive valley high in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

The sprawling summer settlement of Zoti Keli



CHIDILA PASS TO GHORJOMI

18 KM | 2 HOURS +

Continuing down the other side of the pass to the small settlement of Kikibo, the narrow dirt road carved out of the steep hillside requires particular care and attention. At Kikibo, there are wonderful views from the hilltop, looking down to a neighbouring valley and Gori Kuli village. Be sure to stop for a view and stretch your legs.

The road continues down some switchbacks then follows the river till you hit the treeline, at the spring/autumn settlement of Badishi (around 2000 m). From here the dirt road descends past numerous small farmsteads for about 600 metres, before reaching the first proper villages (in use year round) at Labaidzeebi, Gorgadzeebi, and Ghorjomi. 

Islam is the predominant religion in Adjara, and a number of colourfully painted wooden mosques can be found in the region. The largest is Ghorjomi Mosque, dating from 1902 and still active today. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but step inside and you’re welcomed by intricate wood carvings and colourful paintwork covering the five domed ceiling, large prayer hall, mihrab, and minbar. It’s a real work of art, and one the community is rightly proud of. It’s well worth a visit. 

Just ask around in the main village square if there’s nobody at the mosque, and remember to dress appropriately (women should cover their hair, and men and women should cover their legs and shoulders, and remove shoes before entering). 

The intricately decorated and colourfully painted interior of Ghorjomi mosque in Georgia's Adjara Highlands, part of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

The intricately decorated and colourfully painted interior of Ghorjomi mosque



The intricately decorated and colourfully painted interior of Ghorjomi mosque in Georgia's Adjara Highlands, part of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

The colourfully painted interior of Ghorjomi mosque



GHORJOMI TO TAGO

23 KM | 1H15M +

The condition of the road improves from Ghorjomi onwards, however potholes and broken sections of asphalt in places can make it pretty slow-going. It’s about 10 km from Ghorjomi to the main Batumi – Akhaltsikhe road, where you’ll emerge at Didachara Dam. Turn right and continue through the steep sided Acharistskali river valley to the regional town of Khulo. Here you can refuel and stock up on any supplies at the small markets lining the main road. 

Our suggested accommodation for the night is Glamping Tago, wonderfully situated on a hilltop with commanding views of the valley and villages around. It takes about 30 minutes to drive there from Khulo, following a narrow winding road down to the river and up the other side to Tago village. Alternatively, take the Soviet-era cable car from the centre of Khulo. Spanning 1700 metres across the valley, it is Europe’s second longest unsupported cable car. Either way, it’s an adventurous ride!

Glamping Tago has seven Lotus Belle glamping tents situated on wooden platforms around the hillside, each with a stunning view from the outward-facing door. The tents are super comfy, with a big bed, cosy rug, lamp, and chairs. The thoughtfully designed bathroom block features picture windows in the showers and open-air sinks overlooking endless layers of mountains. A yurt restaurant, outdoor fire pit, and sheltered chillout area are the perfect spots to relax and take in the views. It’s also possible to camp in tents on the property (although with limited on-site vehicle access and parking, sleeping in a campervan is not really possible).

Two lotus belle tents on a moody morning at Glamping Tago, with Khulo (Upper Adjara's main town) seen across the valley

A moody morning at Glamping Tago, with Khulo (Upper Adjara’s main town) seen across the valley



Two lotus belle tents on a moody morning at Glamping Tago, with Khulo (Upper Adjara's main town) seen across the valley

A moody morning at Glamping Tago, with Khulo
(Upper Adjara’s main town) seen across the valley



Allow about 30 minutes to drive from Khulo to Glamping Tago (park here). The cable car ride takes around 10 minutes, then it’s a 10+ minute walk up the hillside to Glamping Tago from the cable car station. It runs 9am – 6pm (lunch break 1pm – 2pm) daily on demand, and costs 5 GEL return for tourists.


DAY 3 | TAGO → GODERDZI PASS → ABASTUMANI

79 KM | 4 HOURS + DRIVING

DAY 3

TAGO
→ GODERDZI PASS
→ ABASTUMANI

79 KM | 4 HOURS + DRIVING

From the Adjara Highlands to scenic Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, today you’ll cross the Goderdzi pass into the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and end up at the Tsarist-era resort town of Abastumani. Go stargazing at the observatory, soak in the sulphur baths, or continue on to Zekari Pass if you plan to camp.

TAGO TO GODERDZI PASS

32 KM | 2 HOURS +

Retrace your route to Khulo and the Didachara Dam, then keep going in an easterly direction, climbing 1100 metres towards Goderdzi pass. The road condition isn’t the best, with big potholes, mud and gravel to contend with, and ongoing construction at various points. It’s a scenic drive though, leaving the lush Adjaran hillsides behind as you enter the alpine zone. You’ll pass small farms and a large ski resort before arriving at the pass (2025 m). There are a few small shops, a newly built hotel, and a fantastic Soviet-era bus stop, along with wonderful views of course. 

Looking back down over the green hills and valleys Upper Adjara from Goderdzi pass (2025 m) in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

Looking back down over Upper Adjara from Goderdzi pass (2025 m)



Looking back down over the green hills and valleys Upper Adjara from Goderdzi pass (2025 m) in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

Looking back down over the hills and valleys
of Upper Adjara from Goderdzi pass (2025 m)



GODERDZI PASS TO ABASTUMANI

47 KM | 2 HOURS +

The road is also rough on the other side of Goderdzi pass, as far as Adigeni, so it takes over 1 hour to travel the first 26 km, a descent of 900 metres. There are many seasonal settlements along the way, and gorgeous views as you follow the river down through the valley.

From Adigeni to Abastumani the road is sealed, making for a considerably smoother and faster journey. The small Tsarist-era spa town of Abastumani is lined with colourful wooden houses, many of which have been given a facelift in recent years. A Soviet-era observatory is on a hillside nearby, the area being famous for its clear skies and excellent stargazing. To visit you must join a guided 90 minute tour, and prices vary depending on the time of day. If you fancy another soak in healing waters, the local sulphur baths are open from 8am till late, although the utilitarian setting is considerably less scenic than the one in Vani.

If you plan to stay in accommodation Abastumani is our recommended overnight stop for Day 3, however if you plan to camp we suggest carrying on to Zekari pass, following the itinerary for the start of Day 4.


DAY 4 | ABASTUMANI → ZEKARI PASS → SAIRME → KUTAISI

92 KM | 3 HOURS + DRIVING

DAY 4

ABASTUMANI
→ ZEKARI PASS
→ SAIRME
→ KUTAISI

 92 KM | 3 HOURS + DRIVING

The final day of this Kutaisi loop itinerary starts with a spectacular drive through the sprawling Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, the heart of Georgia’s Lesser Caucasus mountains. After crossing Zekari pass, you’ll descend through another spa resort to once again meet the Rioni on the final approach to Kutaisi.

ABASTUMANI TO SAIRME

39 KM | 1H50M +

It’s only about 15 km from Abastumani to Zekari pass, but the views are increasingly spectacular so allow plenty of time to stop and enjoy them along the way. It’s part dirt, part gravel road, but mostly in good condition. At the pass, there’s a viewpoint off the main track that’s worth making a small detour to visit – this is also our suggested spot for those planning to camp on Day 3. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Greater Caucasus Range.

A lone figure enjoying early morning distant views of the Greater Caucasus Range from Zekari pass in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

The Zekari pass viewpoint where you can enjoy distant views of the Greater Caucasus Range



A lone figure enjoying early morning distant views of the Greater Caucasus Range from Zekari pass in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

The Zekari pass viewpoint where you can enjoy
distant views of the Greater Caucasus Range



From here the road starts descending, twisting down through the alpine zone and forested slopes before emerging at the somewhat incongruous modern resort town of Sairme. You can fill up mineral water at a number of free springs in the central park, and stop off at yet another outdoor thermal pool.

SAIRME TO KUTAISI

53 KM | 1H10M +

The final stretch is straightforward and on good roads. Continue descending through the narrow mountain valley before emerging at Baghdati. Head north across low-lying flat land to meet the Rioni near Vartsikhe Reservoir. From here it’s just 30 minutes or so to central Kutaisi.

EXTEND YOUR LESSER CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS ROAD TRIP

This Kutaisi loop itinerary can easily be extended to explore more of these regions, or combined with a greater Georgia road trip.

ADJARA HIGHLANDS

If you’re camping you could spend an extra night or two in the Adjara Highlands at the grassy pasture between Zoti Keli and Chidila Pass (41.801408, 42.334824), at Chidila Pass (41.792428, 42.326461), or at the grassy pastures of Badishi (41.7489, 42.3267). 

UPPER ADJARA

You could easily spend an extra day around Khulo/Tago, hiking over the hills to Skhalta Monastery and/or driving up a side valley to hike to Khikhani Fortress. 

You can start the hiking trail to Skhalta Monastery from Glamping Tago, and we’ve marked the route on our map. Allow around 4 – 6 hours for the return 18 km hike. 

One of many attractive houses on the drive up the lush valley to Khikhani Fortress in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

One of many attractive houses on the drive up the lush valley to Khikhani Fortress



One of many attractive houses on the drive up the lush valley to Khikhani Fortress in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

One of many attractive houses on the drive
up the lush valley to Khikhani Fortress



Khikhani Fortress (2215 m) sits atop a craggy mountain at the end of the Skhalta river valley, right next to the Turkish border. To reach the start of the hike, drive up the winding road high above the river, passing small villages that cascade down the lush hillsides. Ensure you have your passport or Georgian ID with you, as you need to get permission from the border guards to continue to the parking area and fortress itself.

The hike is about 1.8 km, but with an elevation gain of 440 metres you should allow about 1 – 1.5 hours for the climb, and a bit less for the descent. On a clear day, the views are outstanding, with colourful rock formations surrounding the hilltop fortress. We didn’t get so lucky though, with rain and thick mist enshrouding us during the whole hike. 

Check our map for the route, and download the GPX/KML tracks to follow on your hike.

VARDZIA AND GEORGIA’S LAKE DISTRICT

Instead of returning to Kutaisi you could head east towards Tbilisi, first via the amazing UNESCO cave complex of Vardzia, then via Georgia’s biggest lakes on the Javakheti volcanic plateau. Just follow Days 1 – 4 of our Tbilisi to Batumi (The Fun Way) itinerary in reverse, picking up the route at Akhaltsikhe. If you want to take this option, we’d suggest driving up to Zekari pass and back down again, skipping Sairme. Akhaltsikhe is 17 km east of the turn-off for Abastumani.

PLANNING YOUR LESSER CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS ROAD TRIP

In this section we’ll cover the practical side of planning your Lesser Caucasus mountains road trip, including 4×4 car/campervan rental options, when to go, the best map apps, tips for the road, and more. 

WHEN TO DO THIS ROAD TRIP

This Kutaisi loop itinerary is most definitely seasonal, with mountain roads and passes closed in winter. June until September is more or less a reliable period, however it may be possible from May until late October or even November, depending on how early the snow melts in Spring and arrives again in Autumn.

You can check for road updates on georoad.ge or call the hotline ((995 32) 2 31 30 76) to ask if the roads are open (ask about Bakhmaro – Khulo via Chidila pass, the Goderdzi pass, and the Zekari pass). You can also contact the staff at Borjomi-Kharagauli NP to check about road conditions for Zekari pass (+ 995 577 64 04 44). For reference, we completed this route in mid-May (Georoad kept telling us the Goderdzi pass was closed, but locals in Khulo confirmed it was definitely open).

A 4x4 camping vehicle passing a horse rider and a herd of cows while descending from Chidila pass to Khulo in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, soon after the snowbound road was declared officially open for the summer season

Descending from Chidila pass to Khulo in May, soon after the road was declared officially open



A 4x4 camping vehicle passing a horse rider and a herd of cows while descending from Chidila pass to Khulo in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, soon after the snowbound road was declared officially open for the summer season

Descending from Chidila pass to Khulo in May,
soon after the road was declared officially open



The temperature is likely to vary a lot regardless of the month you travel, as you go between low-lying Kutaisi and elevations up to 2400 m. It can easily be 10 degrees cooler (or more!) at altitude, and windy, so be prepared with extra clothing and warm gear if you plan on camping. 

4×4 CAR AND CAMPERVAN RENTAL IN GEORGIA

Keen to tackle this road trip itinerary, but don’t have your own car? Thankfully there are plenty of hire options in Georgia, including 4×4 cars and even fully kitted out off-road campervans! 

First things first, we’d recommend a 4×4 with good clearance, for example a Toyota Fortuner or Nissan XTerra, not just an SUV like a Renault Duster. 

4×4 CAR RENTAL

We always organise our rental cars through Holiday Autos, an aggregator with consistently good prices and customer service. They have plenty of options for 4×4 car hire in Kutaisi, as well as Tbilisi and Batumi if you plan to start your journey elsewhere. Cars4Rent is a local operator with a wide variety of options as well, including some 4×4 rentals complete with camping gear. 

4×4 CAMPERVAN RENTAL

If you fancy camping, but want something more convenient and comfortable than a tent, hiring a 4×4 campervan is a great option and allows you lots of flexibility. Look no further than Overlando, a Tbilisi-based company with a small fleet of UAZ Buhanka campervans, Toyota HiLux Expedition Campers, and Lada Niva camping cars. We’ve explored many remote parts of Georgia (including the places in this itinerary!) in either their Buhanka or HiLux Expedition Camper, and loved the experience. 

We’ve travelled around Armenia in a Lada Niva too, and found it to be a nifty little 4×4, perfect for handling the roads in this itinerary. Pick up and drop off in Kutaisi (instead of Tbilisi) can be arranged for an extra fee. 

A man driving a 4x4 camping vehicle in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

4×4 driving in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains



A man driving a 4x4 camping vehicle in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains

4×4 driving in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains



WILD CAMPING IN GEORGIA

This itinerary includes suggested accommodation options for each night, along with suggested wild camping spots if you prefer to pitch a tent or park up with a campervan. With the exception of Glamping Tago, none of the suggested spots are official campsites. This means there are no facilities, and you must follow Leave No Trace principles to keep the spot safe and clean. This includes bagging and removing all rubbish, and burying human waste when there is no toilet available. Be prepared in advance with rubbish bags and a shovel for digging a toilet hole. 

Note that there are no rules about wild camping in Georgia, but it is widely tolerated. We have camped with a campervan at one of the suggested spots for each night of this itinerary, and encountered no problems, although you can expect the occasional visit from a stray dog or curious local.

If you don’t have camping equipment you can rent everything you need, including cooking gear, from MPlus in Tbilisi. You can buy camping gas at MPlus too, or at Geoland. Camping gear rental options in Kutaisi are a bit more limited, but you can try these guys.

See More From Georgia

A hiker trekking in Georgia, descending the rocky shale slope from Atsunta pass and heading towards the green valleys of Tusheti below
A man emerges onto a pebble beach from the calm Black Sea in early summer after taking a refreshing dip while on a Western Georgia road trip
A UAZ 4x4 and a wooden house with mountain views behind in a summer settlement in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains
A UAZ Buhanka campervan at Paravani Lake as the sun rises on this Kvemo Kartli and Javakheti 4x4 road trip itinerary
A UAZ Buhanka camper van looking across a semi-desert expanse on this Vashlovani and David Gareja 4x4 road trip itinerary
A hiker stands reflected in Udziro Lake, looking at the distant peak Shkhara
A white horse grazing on the grassy slopes of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
Two hikers traverse the grassy ridge on Day 2 of the Panorama Trail
A view of Tetnuldi peak from Latpari Pass on the Ushguli to Chvelpi hike
The twin peaks of Ushba and Chatyn-Tau, seen from the trail on Day 2 of the Mestia to Ushguli trek in Svaneti, Georgia
A hiker on the steep final approach to Gul Pass, on the Chuberi to Mestia section of the Transcaucasian Trail in Svaneti
Mountains reflected in Kelitsadi Lake on a still morning
Two hikers and a dog rest on a rock in front of an unnamed lake on the Black Rock Lake trek
A hiker climbs the shale switchback trail to Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek, with the layered mountains of Khevsureti behind
A hiker descends the switchback ridgeline trail from Chaukhi Pass to Abudelauri Lakes on the Juta to Roshka trek in Georgia
Snow capped Mt. Kazbek shining bright at sunrise, as seen from the town of Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) in northern Georgia
The settlement of Abano in Truso Valley, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind
One of the best views of Gergeti Trinity Church, seen from the hiking trail to Gergeti Glacier and Mt. Kazbek
Hikers descend from the viewpoint at Kojori Fortress in Georgia
A UAZ Buhanka campervan parked at the side of a grassy track to Levani's Lake on the expansive Javakheti Plateau
A person walks beneath the huge dusty sky looking at the seemingly endless hazy view at Takhti-Tepha Mud Volcanoes in the Vashlovani Protected Area
Two people watch something in the distance from outside a parked 4x4 vehicle in the hills of Racha, Georgia.
A hiker trekking in Georgia, descending the rocky shale slope from Atsunta pass and heading towards the green valleys of Tusheti below
A man emerges onto a pebble beach from the calm Black Sea in early summer after taking a refreshing dip while on a Western Georgia road trip
A UAZ 4x4 and a wooden house with mountain views behind in a summer settlement in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains
A UAZ Buhanka campervan at Paravani Lake as the sun rises on this Kvemo Kartli and Javakheti 4x4 road trip itinerary
A UAZ Buhanka camper van looking across a semi-desert expanse on this Vashlovani and David Gareja 4x4 road trip itinerary
A hiker stands reflected in Udziro Lake, looking at the distant peak Shkhara
A white horse grazing on the grassy slopes of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
Two hikers traverse the grassy ridge on Day 2 of the Panorama Trail
A view of Tetnuldi peak from Latpari Pass on the Ushguli to Chvelpi hike
The twin peaks of Ushba and Chatyn-Tau, seen from the trail on Day 2 of the Mestia to Ushguli trek in Svaneti, Georgia
A hiker on the steep final approach to Gul Pass, on the Chuberi to Mestia section of the Transcaucasian Trail in Svaneti
Mountains reflected in Kelitsadi Lake on a still morning
Two hikers and a dog rest on a rock in front of an unnamed lake on the Black Rock Lake trek
A hiker climbs the shale switchback trail to Atsunta Pass on the Shatili Omalo trek, with the layered mountains of Khevsureti behind
A hiker descends the switchback ridgeline trail from Chaukhi Pass to Abudelauri Lakes on the Juta to Roshka trek in Georgia
Snow capped Mt. Kazbek shining bright at sunrise, as seen from the town of Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) in northern Georgia
The settlement of Abano in Truso Valley, with the old monastery on the right and Zakagori Fortress seen behind
One of the best views of Gergeti Trinity Church, seen from the hiking trail to Gergeti Glacier and Mt. Kazbek
Hikers descend from the viewpoint at Kojori Fortress in Georgia
A UAZ Buhanka campervan parked at the side of a grassy track to Levani's Lake on the expansive Javakheti Plateau
A person walks beneath the huge dusty sky looking at the seemingly endless hazy view at Takhti-Tepha Mud Volcanoes in the Vashlovani Protected Area
Two people watch something in the distance from outside a parked 4x4 vehicle in the hills of Racha, Georgia.

MAPS AND NAVIGATION

ONLINE MAPS

Google Maps works well for navigation in this region. The satellite view function is handy for scoping out terrain and off-road tracks in more remote parts.

OFFLINE MAPS

It’s also a good idea to have an offline map of your route downloaded before setting off. You’ll likely lose phone reception at various points so online maps like Google can’t always be relied on.

Our go-to offline mapping app is Maps.me (iOS/Android). We find it the easiest to use for real-time navigation, as well as route planning in advance. Additionally, Gaia GPS (iOS/Android) and Guru Maps (iOS/Android) are very useful as they show much more terrain and contour detail. OsmAnd Maps (iOS/Android) is another good option.

GPX TRACK DOWNLOADS

The easiest way to navigate this itinerary is by importing our route map into Maps.me (download the KML files), or into Gaia/Guru/OsmAnd Maps (download the GPX files). These can be used online, or offline. You can also save our Google map above. We’ve provided a download for each individual day in the itinerary outline, or you can download all of the info at once using the links in our map section.

SERVICES AND SUPPLIES

FUEL

You can get fuel in all of the main towns such as Chokhatauri, Khulo, Adigeni, and Baghdati. There is nowhere to get fuel around Bakhmaro, Abastumani, or in the mountains. 

Note that Google Maps, etc. may have fuel stations marked in smaller villages along this route, but based on our experience, these shouldn’t be relied upon and can be of questionable quality. It’s best to fill up from well known companies, such as Wizzol, Gulf, or Socar. 

FOOD AND WATER

If you plan on staying in accommodation every night, then you should be able to eat breakfast and dinner at your guesthouse or hotel. There are restaurants in towns along the way, but it’s a good idea to pack some extra snacks and supplies for the more remote sections through the mountains. 

If you plan on camping and cooking for yourself, it’s best to stock up on anything specific in Kutaisi. Local shops in towns along the way will have a more limited supply, but you can expect to find dried goods like pasta and rice, fresh vegetables, tinned food, fresh bread, cheese, eggs, and so on.

You can fill up water at public water taps or mountain springs along the way. We find OsmAnd Maps the best source for locating these, just turn on ‘drinking water’ on the POI Overlay options.

PHONE RECEPTION AND EMERGENCY SERVICES

Magticom is the best SIM card to get for travelling in Georgia, with the widest network coverage. However, there are a few sections on this itinerary where you may lose phone reception, so do make sure to have your route downloaded in advance for use offline, and any useful web pages stored for reading offline.  

The emergency services number is 112. 

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LESSER CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS 4X4 ROAD TRIP

We hope you’ve found this adventurous 4 Day Road Trip Itinerary inspiring, and get a chance to explore the Lesser Caucasus Mountains for yourself. If you have any questions or tips to share with fellow travellers, drop us a comment below. Happy Off-Roading!

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Lesser Caucasus Mountains 4x4 Road Trip (4 Day Kutaisi Loop Itinerary)Lesser Caucasus Mountains 4x4 Road Trip (4 Day Kutaisi Loop Itinerary)Lesser Caucasus Mountains 4x4 Road Trip (4 Day Kutaisi Loop Itinerary)
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