• 5 DAY TBILISI TO BATUMI ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

    THE FUN WAY

  • TBILISI TO BATUMI

    THE FUN WAY

5 DAY TBILISI TO BATUMI (4X4) ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

THE FUN WAY

A 5 day Tbilisi to Batumi road trip itinerary across the southern half of Georgia (via Goderdzi Pass), taking you the less direct but definitely more fun way. From high volcanic plateaus to plunging gorges and the lush Adjara Highlands, you’ll travel through some of Georgia’s most unique landscapes, taking in scenic lakes, dramatic cliff top castles, and the sprawling medieval cave city of Vardzia.

Whether you’re overlanding in your own vehicle, or plan on hiring a car or campervan in the country, this itinerary is a great way of linking western and eastern Georgia while exploring lesser visited regions along the way. Although this road trip itinerary starts in Tbilisi and ends in Batumi, it can of course be done in reverse, linking up perfectly with the Sarpi border crossing to/from Turkey for those on a multi-country trip. The route is best tackled in a 4×4 in the summer months, and we’ve included options for wild camping and indoor accommodation each day.

In this guide we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan your Tbilisi to Batumi road trip. Read through the detailed itinerary, download our route map for easy navigation, and check out the practical tips below.

*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 FILM

Some of the places in this Tbilisi to Batumi road trip itinerary feature in Part One of our Toyota Hilux Expedition Camper series, including Paravani and Tabatskuri Lakes, the cave monastery complex at Vardzia, and Khertvisi Fortress.

TBILISI TO BATUMI ITINERARY ROUTE MAP

TBILISI TO BATUMI

ROUTE MAP

This map shows our Tbilisi to Batumi 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 Tbilisi to Batumi 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.


TBILISI TO BATUMI 4X4 ROAD TRIP ITINERARY OUTLINE

Day 1Tbilisi → Didgori Battle Memorial → Tsalka → Tabatskuri Lake (Camping or Guesthouse)163 km

driving time: 3h45m +

Day 2Tabatskuri Lake → Abuli Pass → Tambovka → Poka → Ninotsminda (Camping by Paravani Lake or Guesthouse/Hotel Ninotsminda)119 km

driving time: 4h15m +

Day 3Ninotsminda → Khertvisi Fortress → Vardzia (Camping or Guesthouse/Hotel)63 km

driving time: 1h10m +

Day 4Vardzia → Khulo/Glamping Tago (Camping/Glamping or Guesthouse/Hotel)145 km

driving time: 4h30m +

Day 5Khulo/Glamping Tago → Batumi (Hostel/Guesthouse/Hotel/Camping)80 km

driving time: 2h +

Day 1Tbilisi → Didgori Battle Memorial → Tsalka → Tabatskuri Lake (Camping or Guesthouse)163 km
DRIVING TIME: 3H45M +
Day 2Tabatskuri Lake → Abuli Pass → Tambovka → Poka → Ninotsminda (Camping by Paravani Lake or Guesthouse/Hotel Ninotsminda)119 km
DRIVING TIME: 4H15M +
Day 3Ninotsminda → Khertvisi Fortress → Vardzia (Camping or Guesthouse/Hotel)63 km
DRIVING TIME: 1h10m +
Day 4Vardzia → Khulo/Glamping Tago (Camping/Glamping or Guesthouse/Hotel)145 km
DRIVING TIME: 4h30m +
Day 5Khulo/Glamping Tago → Batumi (Hostel/Guesthouse/Hotel/Camping)80 km
DRIVING TIME: 2h +

DETAILED ITINERARY BREAKDOWN

TBILISI TO BATUMI

ITINERARY BREAKDOWN

DAY 1 | TBILISI → DIDGORI BATTLE MEMORIAL → TSALKA → TABATSKURI LAKE

164 KM | 3H50M +

DAY 1

TBILISI
→ DIDGORI MEMORIAL
→ TSALKA
→ TABATSKURI LAKE

164 KM | 3H50M +

Leaving the lowlands behind, your Tbilisi to Batumi road trip kicks off with a scenic drive through the mountains, passing through rural communities to wind up at picturesque Tabatskuri Lake backed by the volcanic peaks of the Abul-Samsari Range. The road is paved and in good condition until the final 40 km or so, when you join a dirt track leading over the hills to Tabatskuri. You can camp by the lake, or stay in a local guesthouse.

TBILISI TO DIDGORI BATTLE MEMORIAL

53 KM | 1H10M +

Head north out of Tbilisi, then west towards Mtskheta (an optional side trip). The road follows the Mtkvari River, tall green mountains rising along the southern side of the valley, lower ochre hued hills lining the northern side. At Saskhori settlement (approx 37 km from Tbilisi), turn left and climb the smooth tarmac road, 1000 metres up into the mountains to the Didgori Battle Memorial. It’s a wonderfully scenic drive.

The memorial itself is more like a sprawling art installation, with upright swords and sculptures scattered across the hillsides around the central monument. It commemorates a victorious battle against the invading Seljuks in 1121. With the road reaching heights of over 1700 m, the weather here can be dramatically different to that in the valley below, atmospheric swirls of mist commonly enveloping the landscape.

The standing swords of Didgori Battle Memorial, visited on Day 1 of this Tbilisi to Batumi road trip itinerary

Swords surrounding the central monument at the Didgori Battle Memorial



The standing swords of Didgori Battle Memorial, visited on Day 1 of this Tbilisi to Batumi road trip itinerary

Swords around the central monument
at the Didgori Battle Memorial



DIDGORI BATTLE MONUMENT TO TSALKA

58 KM | 1H5M +

From the monument the road works its way down the mountains to the east of Algeti National Park. Turn right when you join the main road, heading through the villages of Manglisi and Algeti. You’ll soon leave the mountainous landscape behind, finding yourself on a wide plateau and heading for the shimmering Tsalka Reservoir and nearby regional town of Tsalka. This is your last chance to get (reliable) fuel until you reach Ninotsminda at the end of Day 2 or start of Day 3, and the best place to stock up on supplies for the next couple of days.

If you fancy stopping for lunch, Pontia is the best option in town, a bustling place by the river with a scattering of outdoor tables nestled in private cubicles. The owners are one of the few remaining ethnic Greek families in the region, and whilst it mostly serves Georgian food you may be able to try moussaka if you call ahead and ask in advance (+995 599 45 74 00). Elena speaks excellent English. Otherwise, the fried fish and mtsvadi are excellent, and it’s very budget friendly.

TSALKA TO TABATSKURI LAKE

53 KM | 1H35M +

The final stretch from Tsalka to Tabatskuri Lake is the most exciting part of the day. Leaving the tarmac behind, you’ll cross the beautifully barren slopes of the volcanic Abul-Samsari Range to reach a community that feels a world apart.

From Tsalka, continue west. At Tikilisa village, turn off the main road (which continues south over the Tikmatashi Pass to Lake Paravani), and head northwest through a series of small villages. A dirt and gravel track continues all the way to Tabatskuri Lake, following electricity pylons for part of the way. You’ll emerge at the northeastern corner of the lake, with the main settlement of Tabatskuri jutting out into the water on the western shore opposite. Various tracks lead around the lake to the village and beyond.

The northern end of Tabatskuri Lake (the end point for Day 1 of this Tbilisi to Batumi itinerary), with the village facing the volcanic Abul-Samsari Range

The northern part of Tabatskuri Lake, with Tabatskuri village facing towards the Abul-Samsari Range



The northern end of Tabatskuri Lake (the end point for Day 1 of this Tbilisi to Batumi itinerary), with the village facing the volcanic Abul-Samsari Range

The northern part of Tabatskuri Lake, with
Tabatskuri village facing towards the
Abul-Samsari Range



If you plan on camping, we have two suggested spots: the small lakeside forest at the northeastern corner (the most sheltered spot, but popular with locals for picnics), or the secluded (but exposed) area north of Moliti village on the southwestern shore of the lake. The only guesthouses around here are in Tabatskuri village.


DAY 2 | TABATSKURI LAKE → ABULI PASS → TAMBOVKA → POKA → NINOTSMINDA

117 KM | 4H15M +

DAY 2

TABATSKURI LAKE
→ ABULI PASS
→ TAMBOVKA
→ POKA
→ NINOTSMINDA

 

117 KM | 4H15M +

Day 2 is a real adventure, exploring the characterful villages, dramatic landscapes, and impressive lakes of the Javakheti plateau. There’s plenty of off-roading, making it one of the funnest days in this itinerary. It’s also one of the most challenging driving days though, with some particularly rough, rocky tracks on the way to Abuli pass. If you prefer to stick to less challenging off-road tracks, we suggest following the alternative route between Tabatskuri Lake and Paravani Lake, outlined on our map. You can end your day camping by the lake, or carry on south to Ninotsminda where there are numerous accommodation options.

TABATSKURI LAKE TO ABULI PASS

50 KM | 2H10M +

Continue down the western shore of Tabatskuri Lake to the village of Moliti. Then, head south on dirt roads leading through numerous villages (including Bezhano, Bughasheni, and Olaverdi) to Abuli. The route passes through open farmland, with an ever-changing view of Didi Abuli, the highest peak in the range at 3300 m.

From Abuli village, a very rocky track climbs towards Abuli pass, thankfully becoming less bumpy after a few hundred metres. Abuli pass sits at 2312 m, nestled between Didi (big) Abuli and Patara (small) Abuli mountains. You could hike up Didi Abuli, but with a 1000 metre ascent and return hike time of around 5-6 hours, it would make for a very full-on day.

The colourful south face of Didi Abuli on the Javakheti Plateau in Georgia

The south facing slope of Didi Abuli, seen from the off-road track near Abuli pass in late October



The colourful south face of Didi Abuli on the Javakheti Plateau in Georgia

South facing slope of Didi Abuli, seen from the
off-road track near Abuli pass in late October



If you’re keen to stretch your legs, a shorter and more manageable hike is to Abuli Fortress (2670 m) on the southern slopes of Patara Abuli. It dates from the 2nd millennium BC and its dry stone structure is in quite remarkable condition. You can drive most of the way and hike the final 2 km to the ruins. Allow up to 1.5 hours for the return hike.

ABULI PASS TO TAMBOVKA

20 KM | 1H5M +

A dirt track leads over Abuli pass and down through grazing pastures to Vladimirovka village on the shores of Paravani Lake, the largest in Georgia. Turning right at the village will take you quickly to Poka and an asphalt road. However, as per this itinerary, it’s well worth turning left instead, taking the longer route around the lake to eventually reach Poka.

Paravani Lake sits at 2073 m and migratory birds such as pelicans and flamingos flock here in the spring and early summer. The small bays between Vladimirovka and the largely abandoned village of Aspara are a great place to watch the birds (and the local fishermen!). It’s also one of the most scenic areas for a lakeside drive, weaving in and out of the bays on grassy 4×4 tracks, and the perfect spot to camp (although often windy).

Pelicans in flight at Paravani Lake, a highlight of this Tbilisi to Batumi 4x4 road trip itinerary

Pelicans in flight at Paravani Lake



Pelicans in flight at Paravani Lake, a highlight of this Tbilisi to Batumi 4x4 road trip itinerary

Pelicans in flight at Paravani Lake



Beyond Aspara you’ll soon reach the picturesque village of Tambovka, two rows of houses running parallel to the shore. What makes this village special is its numerous turf-roofed stone and wood buildings, unique to the Javakheti region in Georgia. Built to withstand the unforgiving climate, the grass roofs provide insulation and some of the homes are dug into the hillside for extra protection.

Many are over 100 years old, still standing but not always lived in these days. In many cases they function instead as a storage space or dung drying spot, with some families having a modern two-storey house built alongside the ‘old house’. The most beautiful are whitewashed and have colourful wooden window frames with carved embellishments and painted balcony poles, usually in shades of turquoise and green. Most likely, these homes once belonged to Doukhobors, Tambovka being one of the few villages settled in the 1840s by the exiled community from Tsarist Russia.

The gable end of a whitewashed, turf roofed, wood carved house in Tambovka glows in the afternoon sun

Turf roofed Tambovka house



Turquoise and green painted window frames and shutters on a whitewashed house in the village of Tambovka, a point of cultural interest on this Tbilisi to Batumi road trip itinerary

Whitewashed house with colourful frames and shutters



Turquoise and green painted window frames and shutters on a whitewashed house in the village of Tambovka, a point of cultural interest on this Tbilisi to Batumi road trip itinerary

Whitewashed house with colourful shutters


The gable end of a whitewashed, turf roofed, wood carved house in Tambovka glows in the afternoon sun

Turf roofed Tambovka house



TAMBOVKA TO POKA

18 KM | 30M +

From Tambovka, continue 5 km through Akhali Khulgumo village and along the northern shore of the lake to join the main road, just south of Tikmatashi Pass. Turn right and head through Paravani (Rodionovka) village all the way to Poka, at the southern end of the lake. If you’re into artisanal cheeses, jams, chocolate, or spirits, make sure you stop at the Poka Nunnery to pick up some outstanding goodies.

POKA TO NINOTSMINDA

29 KM | 30M +

If you want to stay in accommodation, continue south past Saghamo Lake to the town of Ninotsminda, where there are a number of options (see below).

If camping, the previously mentioned bay area between Vladimirovka and Aspara is an ideal spot, with lots of options to park up a camper or pitch a tent. It is exposed though, so if you need somewhere more sheltered, your best bet is a narrow clearing tucked in between a small hill and artificially planted pine forest just north of Aspara. Turn off the gravel road at the coordinates 41.4668, 43.7873 to reach it. You can then continue to Ninotsminda the following morning.



DAY 3 | NINOTSMINDA → KHERTVISI FORTRESS → VARDZIA

61 KM | 1H15M +

DAY 3

NINOTSMINDA
→ KHERTVISI FORTRESS
→ VARDZIA

61 KM | 1H15M +

Today the scenery shifts dramatically from high altitude plateaus to plunging gorges with cave and castle dotted cliffs. The road is paved the whole way and driving is kept to a minimum, so you have plenty of time to explore Khertvisi Fortress and Vardzia. You can camp below Vardzia, or stay in a nearby guesthouse or hotel.

NINOTSMINDA TO KHERTVISI FORTRESS

46 KM | 55M +

From Ninotsminda, head northwest through Akhalkalaki. Keep an eye out for an old train carriage spanning the river to your left, a quirky sight about 5 km beyond the town. You’ll soon notice a shift in the landscape as you enter a narrow gorge. About 19 km beyond the train bridge you’ll catch sight of 10th century Khertvisi Fortress, perched dramatically atop cliffs at the intersection of two valleys. The best fortress view is on this eastern approach.

Taking the road to the left, make a hairpin turn shortly beyond the fortress and start heading south. There is a car park just below the fort and it’s a short walk up the road to the entrance. It’s also possible to walk along a hillside trail for a couple of kilometres, heading east with nice valley views.

Looking back at Khertvisi Fortress from the hillside trail



Khertvisi Fortress from the hillside trail



KHERTVISI FORTRESS TO VARDZIA

15 KM | 20M +

The road continues through a scenic gorge to Vardzia, passing the ruins of Tmogvi Fortress at a bend in the river. It’s well worth stopping here and walking up the hillside to the right for spectacular views over the river, cliffs, and ruins. More viewpoints emerge on the final approach to Vardzia, a cave complex of impressive scale.

Dating from between the 11th and 13th centuries, hundreds of chambers and passageways hewn from the rockface stretch half a kilometre along the cliffs, and deep into them. What remains today is only a fraction of the original monastic and defensive site, an earthquake in 1283 shearing off half the cliff face and thousands of cave dwellings.

Viewing Vardzia from across the valley gives an appreciation of its impressive size and scale



The impressive Vardzia cave complex



It’s a fascinating site to visit, with walkways leading you through caves once used as wine cellars, sleeping quarters, an apothecary, a refectory, and more. The Church of the Dormition sits at the centre of it all, its walls and ceilings covered in frescoes, including a rare one of King (Queen) Tamar. Hundreds of swallows nest in the caves, providing a choral soundtrack to your visit.

While it’s possible to visit independently, we highly recommend hiring a guide. We rarely do to be honest, preferring to explore on our own time, but our appreciation of the site was so much deeper thanks to the explanations from our guide. We learnt a lot, but the tour was also concise and didn’t last too long, with as much time as we liked to explore by ourselves after.

Entrance to Vardzia is 15 GEL per person, and a guide costs 45 GEL. It’s open from 10am – 5/6/7pm (depending on the season).



DAY 4 | VARDZIA → KHULO/GLAMPING TAGO

145 KM | 4H45M +

DAY 4

VARDZIA
→ KHULO/
GLAMPING TAGO

145 KM | 4H45M +

On Day 4 you’ll retrace your steps as far as Khertvisi Fortress, then head west over Goderdzi pass (2025 m), crossing from Samtskhe-Javakheti into the autonomous Adjara region. The road condition gets considerably worse after Adigeni, with ongoing construction, giant potholes, mud, etc. Today is largely a driving day with great scenery along the way, but you also have the chance to visit Rabati Castle in Akhaltsikhe. End up at the wonderfully situated Glamping Tago, or stay in Khulo town itself, Upper Adjara’s regional hub.

VARDZIA TO AKHALTSIKHE

62 KM | 1H15M +

Head back through the scenic valley to Khertvisi Fortress, then turn left and continue to the regional town of Akhaltsikhe. Rabati Castle, also known as Akhaltsikhe Castle, sits just off the main road in town. It dates from the 9th century but was completely renovated in 2012 and looks quite swish these days.

Entrance to Rabati Castle is 15 GEL and the opening hours are 9am – 6pm daily.

AKHALTSIKHE TO GODERDZI PASS

51 KM | 1H40M+

Continuing west from Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni is the last town you’ll pass through until Khulo. You’ll start climbing, twisting your way up gravel roads, passing seasonal farm settlements that are characteristic of the Adjara Highlands. Goderdzi Pass sits at 2025 m, with just a few small shops, a newly built hotel, and a fantastic Soviet-era bus stop. It’s a fine place to stretch the legs and enjoy the view before the descent to Khulo on the other side.

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

The view down into 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

The view down into Adjara
from Goderdzi pass (2025 m)



GODERDZI PASS TO KHULO/GLAMPING TAGO

32 KM | 1H50M +

The road to Khulo is another slow-moving section, descending over 1100 metres through alpine pastures and past a newly built ski resort, to the steep-sided Acharistskali river valley. It’s a bit of a rough drive, but very scenic, with gorgeous views opening up at every bend. Villages tumble down the lush green hillsides, and it’s not uncommon for the mountain tops to be enshrouded in a thick blanket of atmospheric mist.

There are numerous accommodation options in Khulo, however we highly recommend staying at Glamping Tago, situated on a hilltop with commanding views of the valley and villages around. To reach it you can drive a winding, narrow track 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!

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

Glamping Tago on an atmospheric day, with Khulo seen across the valley in the distance



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

Glamping Tago on an atmospheric day, with
Khulo seen across the valley in the distance



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).

Allow about 30 minutes to drive from Khulo to Glamping Tago. 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 5 | KHULO/GLAMPING TAGO → BATUMI

80 KM | 2H +

DAY 5

KHULO/
GLAMPING TAGO
→ BATUMI

80 KM | 2H +

The final stretch of this Tbilisi to Batumi road trip travels through the lush interior of Upper Adjara, spitting you out at the Black Sea coast at the very last moment. The road is mostly in good condition, but the mountainous terrain means you should allow 2 – 3 hours to cover the distance. If you have the time and inclination, it’s possible to explore numerous side valleys along the way, the best of which we outline below. End your Georgia road trip with a stay in one of Batumi’s numerous hotels or guesthouses, or travel further up the coast or inland to one of our suggested camp spots.

KHULO/GLAMPING TAGO TO BATUMI

80 KM | 2H +

While there are a few possible points of interest along the way (for example waterfalls and historic stone arch bridges), we feel the highlight of today’s route is really just the drive itself (the sights close to the main road can feel a bit too touristy in our opinion). The road winds through the deep valley, verdant mountains rising above and the snaking Acharistskali river a constant companion below. The temperature warms and humidity rises as you gradually drop around 900 metres in elevation to reach sea level at Batumi.

The road snaking down through the Acharistskali river valley towards Batumi and the Black Sea coast



The road snaking down through the
Acharistskali river valley towards
Batumi and the Black Sea coast



When you arrive at the coast, a drive along the waterfront is the perfect way to end your Tbilisi to Batumi road trip.

There are many accommodation options in town, from hostels and guesthouses, to modern apartments and boutique hotels. We’ve covered a few top picks below. If you want to camp, it’s better to head up the coast, away from built-up Batumi. Our favourite spots are detailed below.

BLACK SEA COAST CAMPING

Wild camping is possible on the coastline just in front of the Botanical Gardens (41.707324, 41.719349), hidden from view from the main road and accessed via a dirt track. It’s not ideal for tents though, being a pebble beach, so it’s best suited to campervans.

Tent and auto camping is permitted in designated areas within the Batumi Botanical Gardens between 6pm – 10am. It costs 20 GEL (incl. entrance fee).

GeoCamp Black Sea is an established campsite on the beach, operating in summer. Good for tents and campervans.

Door2Heaven Eco Hotel & Camping (formerly La Belle Verte) is hidden in the hills above Batumi, offering rooms but also a few spots for auto-camping (20 EUR) or pitching a tent. They have full bathroom and laundry facilities available, and you can have meals there. They are open between May and September. It’s only 15 km from Batumi, but you will climb to 435 metres, so allow around 1 hour for the drive.

EXTEND YOUR TBILISI TO BATUMI ROAD TRIP

Got longer to explore? Below are a few suggestions for side trips and extensions to your Georgia road trip.

GHORJOMI MOSQUE

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.

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

The colourfully painted wooden 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 wooden interior of Ghorjomi mosque



Ghorjomi village is about 15 km from Khulo (10 km from the main Khulo – Goderdzi Pass road). Allow at least 30 minutes for the winding drive. Ask around in the main village square if there’s nobody around 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).

KHIKHANI FORTRESS HIKE

Khikhani Fortress (2215 m) sits atop a craggy mountain at the end of the Skhalta river valley, right next to the Turkish border. It’s a scenic drive up the valley on a winding road, passing small villages cascading 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.

Climbing the steep forest trail



No views at the top but by all accounts they are spectacular on a clear day



No views at the top but by all accounts
they are spectacular on a clear day


Climbing through the mist to Khikhani
Fortress
on the steep forest trail 



MACHAKHELA NATIONAL PARK

Close to Batumi and the end of this road trip itinerary, Machakhela Planned National Park makes a nice side trip off the main road if you have a half-day or more to explore. There are a few hiking trails (one of which requires permission 5 days in advance), but a visit to this area is more about cultural experiences, scenic drives, and short hikes to waterfalls.

We would suggest driving as far as Zeda Chkhutuneti then parking up and visiting the Machakhela Historical-Ethnographic Museum, as much for the building itself (a former wooden mosque) as the exhibition. Afterwards you can do the short hike to Small and Large Dunga Waterfalls. Allow about 30 minutes one way for the hike, and be sure to wear proper shoes as it can be a bit muddy/slippery/steep in sections.

Large Dunga Waterfall



Small Dunga Waterfall



Large Dunga Waterfall


Small Dunga Waterfall



If you fancy tasting some local wine and enjoying traditional Adjarian food, Ilia’s Wine Cellar is a great option. A family home and winery with a gorgeous garden and vineyard tumbling down the steep hillside, it’s also home to a 1000 year old wine cellar. Find it in Chikuneti village, and be sure to call ahead (+599 557 53 11 76) or message in advance via Facebook if you want to have a meal.

BATUMI TO TBILISI VIA NORTHERN GEORGIA

Extending your road trip and looping back to Tbilisi via northern Georgia is a great option. You’ll have the chance to visit numerous national parks along the Black Sea Coast, soak in hot springs and swim in refreshing canyons around Guria and Samegrelo, and visit another of Georgia’s UNESCO cave cities at Uplistsikhe (among other things!).

Our full road trip itinerary will be coming soon.

ADJARA HIGHLANDS

If you’re all about off-roading, mountains, and adventure, adding on a side trip through the Adjara Highlands (or skipping Batumi altogether and crossing over the mountains towards Kutaisi) is a great option. From Khulo you can drive up to the yayla (summer farming settlement) of Zoti Keli via Chidila pass, a challenging but spectacular journey. Continue on to Bakhmaro, where you’ll finally meet an asphalt road for the descent to Chokhatauri and the lowlands of Guria.

Parked up at Chidila pass with mountain views all around



Parked up at Chidila pass with mountain views



Alternatively, make a loop back to the Batumi – Khulo road via off-road tracks heading south-west from Chidila via Gori Kuli, Naghomvari, and Tskhemlisi, emerging at Khichauri. Note that these off-road tracks are challenging to drive, with some steep drop offs and little room to pass oncoming traffic. We’d suggest this route for experienced and confident drivers only!

A more detailed itinerary will be coming soon.

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.

PLANNING YOUR TBILISI TO BATUMI ROAD TRIP

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

WHEN TO DO THIS ROAD TRIP

This Tbilisi to Batumi road trip (via Goderdzi pass) is most definitely seasonal. July until September is 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 check if the Goderdzi pass is open. We completed this route in mid-May.

The temperature on your trip is likely to change a lot, regardless of the month, as the altitude varies between sea level in Batumi and over 2300 m at Abuli pass. It can be humid around the Black Sea and in Upper Adjara, hot and dry in the valley around Vardzia, and much cooler and windier around the lakes on the Javakheti Plateau. Be prepared!

4×4 CAR AND CAMPERVAN RENTAL IN GEORGIA

Keen to road trip Georgia, but don’t have your own car? Thankfully there are plenty of hire options, including 4×4 cars and even fully kitted out off-road campervans! It’s possible to arrange one way hires, picking up in Tbilisi and dropping off in Batumi, or vice versa (usually for an extra fee). Or, why not continue your trip and make a loop back to the start via the northern half of Georgia?

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. While many parts of this itinerary could be tackled in any car, we’d say that the condition of the road on either side of Goderdzi pass requires a vehicle with high clearance and 4×4 capabilities (although you will see some locals driving Toyota Prius’ and Nissan Micra’s around here!). Our suggested route for Day 2 (from Tabatskuri Lake to Paravani Lake via Abuli pass) most definitely requires a good 4×4 with high clearance, and it is also preferable for the section between Tsalka and Tabatskuri Lake.

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 Tbilisi and Batumi. Cars4Rent is a local operator with a wide variety of options as well. You can search options with Hoilday Autos below.

4×4 CAMPERVANS

If you fancy camping, but want something more convenient and comfortable than a tent, hiring a 4×4 campervan is ideal for this Tbilisi to Batumi road trip. Look no further than Overlando, a Tbilisi-based company with a small fleet of UAZ Buhanka campervans, a Toyota HiLux Expedition Camper, and a few 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.

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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 and some of our Black Sea Coast recommendations, 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.

A UAZ Buhanka campervan at Paravani Lake as the sun rises on this Kvemo Kartli and Javakheti 4x4 road trip itinerary

Wild camping on the shores of Paravani Lake in a UAZ Buhanka campervan from Overlando



A UAZ Buhanka campervan at Paravani Lake as the sun rises on this Kvemo Kartli and Javakheti 4x4 road trip itinerary

Wild camping on the shores of Paravani Lake
in a UAZ Buhanka campervan from Overlando



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.

FUEL

You can get fuel in all of the main towns such as Tsalka, Ninotsminda, Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe, and Khulo. There is nowhere to get fuel around Tabatskuri and Paravani Lakes. Make sure you plan ahead and fill up in Tsalka on Day 1 and leave enough fuel to get you to Ninotsminda on Day 3.

Note that Google Maps, etc, may have fuel marked in smaller villages along this route (in Poka, for example), but from our experience these can’t be relied upon and are often of dubious quality. It’s best to fill up from well known companies, such as Wizzol, Gulf, or Socar.

FOOD & 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 and around Vardzia, but it’s a good idea to pack some extra snacks and supplies for the more remote sections, on Days 1 – 2 and crossing the Goderdzi pass on Day 4.

If you plan on camping and cooking for yourself, it’s best to stock up on anything specific in Tbilisi. 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 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 you have your route downloaded in advance for use offline, and any useful web pages stored for reading offline.

The emergency services number is 112.

TBILISI TO BATUMI ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

That’s the lot for our Tbilisi to Batumi 4×4 road trip itinerary. If you have any useful info to add, suggestions, or stories to share, get in touch through the comments section below. Equally, if you have any questions, let us know and we’ll do our best to answer them. And if you’re planning to follow this itinerary, good luck and enjoy!

ORGANISE YOUR TRIP


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Tbilisi to Batumi Road Trip Itinerary (The Fun Way)Tbilisi to Batumi Road Trip Itinerary (The Fun Way)Tbilisi to Batumi Road Trip Itinerary (The Fun Way)Tbilisi to Batumi Road Trip Itinerary (The Fun Way)
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