• WESTERN GEORGIA ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

    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
  • WESTERN GEORGIA

    ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

    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

7 DAY WESTERN GEORGIA ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

CANYONS, COAST, AND WATERFALLS

This 7 day western Georgia road trip is a relaxed itinerary featuring river canyons, national parks, and the lush coastal hinterland of the Black Sea. It’s best explored in warmer weather to take full advantage of the many swimming opportunities, with June and September ideal for beating the summer crowds.

We’ve designed it as a loop from Kutaisi, with an alternative route option for those wishing to start or end in Tbilisi. This itinerary is suitable for any car or campervan, and we’ve included both indoor accommodation and suggested camp spots for each day, making it suitable for a variety of budgets and travel styles.

 In this guide we provide downloadable route maps, a detailed itinerary, and all the practical info you need to organise your western Georgia road trip. And as this itinerary can be incorporated into a longer Georgia road trip, 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

Get inspired for your own Western Georgia road trip with our 4 part video series from the region.









Watch behind the scenes videos of our Western Georgia road trip on Instagram Stories

Watch behind the scenes videos
of our Western Georgia road trip
on Instagram Stories

WESTERN GEORGIA ROAD TRIP ITINERARY ROUTE MAP

ROAD TRIP ROUTE MAP

This map shows our Western Georgia road trip route, with camping and 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 Western Georgia Road Trip Itinerary 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.


WESTERN GEORGIA ROAD TRIP ITINERARY OUTLINE

Day 1 (From Kutaisi)Kutaisi → Tskaltubo → Martvili46 km

driving time: 1 hour +

Day 1 (From Tbilisi)Tbilisi → Didgori Monument → Uplistsikhe → Martvili332 km

driving time: 6 hours +

Day 2Around Martvili86 km

driving time: 2 hours +

Day 3Martvili → Poti → Kolkheti NP → Shekvetili104 km

driving time: 2 hours +

Day 4Shekvetili → Kobuleti Nature Reserve → Botanical Garden → Batumi49 km

driving time: 1H15M +

Day 5Batumi → Machakhela NP → Kvariati/Gonio77 km

driving time: 2H10M +

Day 6Kvariati/Gonio → Mtirala NP → Tsikhisdziri69 km

driving time: 2 hours +

Day 7Tsikhisdziri → Guria road → Hot Springs → Kutaisi (Tbilisi)150 km (362 km)

driving time: 3 hours + (6 hours +)

Day 1 (From Kutaisi)Kutaisi → Tskaltubo → Martvili46 km

driving time: 1 hour +

Day 1 (From Tbilisi)Tbilisi → Didgori Monument → Uplistsikhe → Martvili332 km

driving time: 6 hours +

Day 2Around Martvili86 km

driving time: 2 hours +

Day 3Martvili → Poti → Kolkheti NP → Shekvetili104 km

driving time: 2 hours +

Day 4Shekvetili → Kobuleti Nature Reserve → Botanical Garden → Batumi49 km

driving time: 1H15M +

Day 5Batumi → Machakhela NP → Kvariati/Gonio77 km

driving time: 2H10M +

Day 6Kvariati/Gonio → Mtirala NP → Tsikhisdziri69 km

driving time: 2 hours +

Day 7Tsikhisdziri → Guria road → Hot Springs → Kutaisi (Tbilisi)150 km (362 km)

driving time: 3 hours + (6 hours +)

DETAILED ITINERARY BREAKDOWN

ITINERARY BREAKDOWN

DAY 1 (FROM KUTAISI) | KUTAISI → TSKALTUBO → MARTVILI

46 KM | 1 HOUR +

DAY 1 (FROM KUTAISI)

KUTAISI
→ TSKALTUBO
→ MARTVILI

46 KM | 1 HOUR +

Starting in Kutaisi, the first stop on this western Georgia road trip itinerary is the Soviet-era spa resort of Tskaltubo, home to fascinating abandoned bathhouses and sanatoria. Spend a few hours exploring, then drive a short distance to our suggested end point for the day, the wonderful Karma Hostel in Martvili. They have a dorm and private rooms, and it’s also possible to camp in the garden or sleep in your campervan onsite. Alternatively, pitch your tent or park a campervan at the Nokalakevi hot springs and enjoy a soak under the stars.

KUTAISI TO TSKALTUBO

14 KM | 20 MIN +

Head west out of Kutaisi and onto the M15, curving north to Tskaltubo, just a short drive away. In its heyday Tskaltubo was a bustling spa resort, home to bathhouses and sanatoria harnessing the healing powers of the area’s radon-carbonate rich thermal springs. These days many of the buildings lie abandoned, their peeling wallpaper, crumbling balustrades, and decorative ceilings all relics of a once grand past. Our must-see recommendations are Sanatorium Iveria, Sanatorium Shakhtiori (which you’ll likely have to pay the guard to enter), and the UFO-esque Bathhouse No. 8. For a complete run-down of Tskaltubo’s sanatoria check out our friend Emily’s detailed guide.

A woman stands in a cavernous old ballroom appreciating the faded grandeur of Sanatorium Shakhtiori in the old spa town of Tskaltubo, on Day 1 of this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Appreciating the faded grandeur inside Sanatorium Shakhtiori



A woman stands in a cavernous old ballroom appreciating the faded grandeur of Sanatorium Shakhtiori in the old spa town of Tskaltubo, on Day 1 of this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Inside Sanatorium Shakhtiori



TSKALTUBO TO MARTVILI

32 KM | 40 MIN +

Continue west, crossing into Samegrelo and leaving the Imereti region behind. The Egrisi Mountains rise in the distance to your right, from where a multitude of rivers descend before continuing across the lush Megrelian landscape to join the mighty Rioni, eventually emptying into the Black Sea. You’ll find our (highly!) recommended accommodation for the next two nights, Karma Hostel, tucked away down a dirt track off the main road. Don’t be surprised if you meet a few cows and pigs on your way to the front gate.

Karma is a destination in itself, a place to relax, hang out with the resident dogs, cats, sheep, and chickens, and indulge in their sumptuous veggie breakfast and dinner. Run by Max, Emanuela, and Woody (three friends from Belgium and Poland), this hostel is unlike any other in Georgia. Their transformation of an old Samegrelo house into the characterful, thoughtfully designed home that it is today is pretty remarkable. Retro furnishings and salvaged Soviet-era artwork sit alongside hand-crafted furniture and quirky design pieces, most made by themselves and a bunch of skilled volunteers over the years.

The two storey Karma Hostel Martvili surrounded a lush green garden

Karma Hostel, a beautiful big old Samegrelo house renovated in a unique style



Inside the atmospheric kitchen at Karma Hostel Martvili, the first recommended accommodation on this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Inside the kitchen at Karma



The two storey Karma Hostel Martvili surrounded a lush green garden

Karma Hostel, a big old Samegrelo
house renovated in a unique style


Inside the atmospheric kitchen at Karma Hostel Martvili, the first recommended accommodation on this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Inside the kitchen at Karma



We’d recommend just taking full advantage of their garden hammocks, outdoor terraces, and backyard bar for the rest of the day, then enjoy a delicious dinner with the owners and other guests in the evening.

DAY 1 (FROM TBILISI) | TBILISI → DIDGORI MONUMENT → UPLISTSIKHE → MARTVILI

332 KM | 6H30M +

DAY 1 (FROM TBILISI)

TBILISI
→ DIDGORI MONUMENT
→ UPLISTSIKHE
→ MARTVILI

 

332 KM | 6H30M +

If you prefer to start your Western Georgia road trip in Tbilisi, the recommended stops for the day are a little different from our Kutaisi loop itinerary. First up is a scenic drive through the mountains, followed by a visit to the historic cave town of Uplistsikhe before pushing west to Karma Hostel in Martvili. They have a dorm and private rooms, and it’s also possible to camp in the garden or sleep in your campervan onsite. Alternatively, pitch your tent or park a campervan at the Nokalakevi hot springs and enjoy a soak under the stars.

TBILISI TO DIDGORI BATTLE MONUMENT

60 KM | 1H30M +

Head west out of Tbilisi on the Tskneti Highway to the hills overlooking the city. You’ll soon find yourself surrounded by nature with wonderful views all around. Turn off the main road 8.5 km beyond Orbeti and start ascending the smooth tarmac road to the Didgori Battle Monument, sitting at around 1700 m. The memorial itself is more like a sprawling art installation, with upright swords and sculptures scattered across the hillsides surrounding the central monument. It commemorates a victorious battle against the invading Seljuks in 1121. The weather up here can be dramatically different to that in the valley below with 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 surrounding the central monument
on the hill at the Didgori Battle Memorial



DIDGORI BATTLE MONUMENT TO UPLISTSIKHE

56 KM | 1H15M +

Continue along the scenic mountain road, gradually descending 1100 metres to the Mtkvari (Kura) river valley below. The landscape down here is markedly different, with the bare ochre-hued hills to the north giving it a dry semi-desert feel, despite the surrounding farmland and green mountains to the south. Turn left at the main road and head west towards Gori, turning off for Uplistsikhe before the town. Note that Google maps will automatically route you on a bumpy gravel track through the village of Kvakhreveli. It’s better to continue 3 km before turning off to follow our marked route, which is on a sealed road.

Uplistsikhe is one of Georgia’s three main cave complexes (along with David Gareja and Vardzia), and is on UNESCO’s Tentative List for World Heritage status. Archaeologists have found evidence of the site being inhabited since as early as the 2nd millennium BC, with the oldest structures being dated to the 1st century AD. Living quarters, ceremonial halls, basilicas, wine cellars, and more can be found hewn from rock at the complex, with footpaths, passageways, and a wide ‘road’ connecting them all. The elevated vantage point offers wonderful views of the surrounding landscape. Allow at least 1 hour to explore the site.

A man wandering through a tall stone doorway. hewn from rock at the Uplistsikhe cave complex

The Uplistsikhe cave complex



The Christian basilica at Uplistsikhe, built of stone and brick in the 9th-10th centuries

The basilica built of stone and brick in the 9th-10th centuries



The Christian basilica at Uplistsikhe, built of stone and brick in the 9th-10th centuries

The basilica built of stone
and brick in the 9th-10th centuries


A man wandering through a tall stone doorway. hewn from rock at the Uplistsikhe cave complex

The Uplistsikhe cave complex



There is a large car park at Uplistsikhe, plus toilets, cafes, and snack and souvenir stalls by the entrance. It’s open daily from 10am – 5/6/7pm depending on the season. Tickets cost 15 GEL, plus another 15 GEL for an audio guide, or 45 GEL for an English speaking guide.

UPLISTSIKHE TO MARTVILI

216 KM | 3H45M +

After exploring the cave city, continue through Gori to the main highway (E60) heading west. The section between Khashuri and Zestafoni is undergoing some long-term road construction. It can be a bit slow going here but otherwise it’s a great road and you can cover a lot of distance in good time. It’s also a pretty nice drive, with the Greater Caucasus mountains to the north, and the Lesser Caucasus Mountains to the south.

Turn off the highway shortly after passing to the south of Kutaisi, and head 46 km northwest to Martvili. You’ll pass through many small towns, with the landscape becoming lusher and the houses more and more picturesque as you cross into Samegrelo from the Imereti region. It’s a long journey from Tbilisi, with nowhere better to end your day than Karma Hostel (see above for more about this fantastic place).

DAY 1 & 2 SUGGESTED ACCOMMODATION: KARMA HOSTEL

Karma Hostel has three private rooms for 2/3/4 people and a spacious dorm with privacy curtains, lights, and sockets for each bed. A large bathroom is shared by all guests. There is plenty of parking outside their gate.

DAY 1 & 2 SUGGESTED CAMPING: KARMA OR NOKALAKEVI HOT SPRINGS

You can camp in the garden at Karma Hostel (with your own tent), or park a campervan onsite or outside the gate. If you’d prefer to wild camp, our suggested spot is by the Nokalakevi sulphur springs, 20 km southwest of Karma. You can pitch your tent by the springs, or park your campervan up on the river bank. Read more about the hot springs in our Day 2 itinerary outline below.


DAY 2 | AROUND MARTVILI

86 KM | 2 HOURS +

DAY 2 | AROUND MARTVILI

86 KM | 2 HOURS +

Day 2 is all about exploring the canyons and waterfalls Martvili is known for, soaking in hot springs, and enjoying traditional Mingrelian food and wine at a local winery. Our suggested loop visits a few different highlights, but you can of course skip some places or visit alternative sights if you prefer. Check out our detailed Martvili Guide for more options. End your day at Karma once again, or camp nearby. It’s also a good idea to call ahead and book your Kolkheti National Park boat trip for the next day, especially in high season (+995 591 96 87 85).

MARTVILI, GACHEDILI, AND BALDA CANYONS

The Abasha River flows through Martvili, carving out numerous canyons along the way. They are all fairly close to each other and can be visited over a couple of hours (or more, depending on how much relaxing you want to do).

The most famous is Martvili Canyon, with elevated walkways offering views over the waterfalls and moss-covered cliffs, and a short boat trip taking you into the heart of the canyon. It is very beautiful but in summer it can be packed, which somewhat detracts from the enjoyment. There is also a fairly pricey entrance fee of 17.25 GEL, plus an extra 15 GEL for the boat trip. You can visit between 10am – 5/6pm (depending on the season).

A natural arch formed by the high walls of Martvili Canyon, seen from the boatride

The high walls of Martvili Canyon



Green vines dangling from black rock above the river in Martvili Canyon

On the boatride, patches of green still clinging to the rocks in mid-winter



A natural arch formed by the high walls of Martvili Canyon, seen from the boatride

On the Martvili Canyon boatride, patches of
green still clinging to the rocks in mid-winter



A less touristic canyon lies just a little to the north of the official Martvili Canyon, known locally as Gachedili Canyon. This one is free to access and you can swim in its refreshingly cool water. Park up by the side of the road (42.46503, 42.37483). It’s a short walk from the main road, through a wooden gate, across a grassy field, and down through some trees. Here you’ll find a stretch of jade coloured river impossible to see from the road. Slabs of rock stretch out on either side of the water, the perfect spot for picnicking or lounging around. To the left the sun-bathed canyon widens, the river lazily flowing around little islands of pebbles. To the right it narrows, the tall canyon walls closing in to create a magical little tunnel of fern and moss-covered rock and refreshingly cool water.

Looking up the verdant Gachedili Canyon near Martvili, the water cloudy and the level high after some serious rain

Looking up Gachedili Canyon, the water cloudy and the level high after some serious rain



Looking up the verdant Gachedili Canyon near Martvili, the water cloudy and the level high after some serious rain

Looking up the canyon, the water cloudy
and the level high after some serious rain



The third canyon we recommend you visit (and our personal favourite) is Balda Canyon, a short drive to the northeast. It’s an enchanting little spot, hidden away at the bottom of someone’s garden. Narrow, enclosed walls and a tunnel of twisted branches, lush ferns, and moss-covered boulders create a real fairytale vibe. The colour of the Abasha river water flowing through here is a spectacular shade of blue-green (except after heavy rain). There are a couple of picnic benches above the river, and plenty of rocks to spread out on and soak up the scene. You can swim in a deep pool where you first emerge in the canyon, or wade/swim up the canyon to the left to find a narrower spot where the tall walls close in.

A narrow path enclosed by moss-covered stones and trees at Balda Canyon near Martvili

Tunnel of moss-covered branches



The aquamarine water and green moss-covered rocks in Balda Canyon, a must see on this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

The clear aquamarine water in Balda Canyon



The aquamarine water and green moss-covered rocks in Balda Canyon, a must see on this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

The clear aquamarine water in Balda Canyon



To find Balda Canyon, park here (42.48869, 42.40657), then walk down the street to the right. You need to go through the garden of the first house on the left (there is an old sign advertising food by the gate). Usually there is someone there and they collect anywhere between 2 – 5 GEL per person for access.

KAGHU WATERFALL AND TSACHKHURI WATERFALL

Kaghu Waterfall is a short walk from the monastery at Balda, and worth the trip if you have time. It can get a bit busy in high season though, with locals setting up snack stalls and a steady flow of tourists on selfie rotation. A more peaceful waterfall, also good for a dip, is located in the hills above Tsachkhuru St Archangels Church. Expansive views over Samegrelo reveal themselves as you wind your way up the road to the church. Park here and walk the final 20 minutes or so to the waterfall, which plunges from high into an aqua pool before cascading down to a series of smaller pools below.

NOKALAKEVI HOT SPRINGS AND RIVER CANYON

Southwest of Martvili, at a bend in the Tekhuri river, you’ll find the Nokalakevi hot springs. Scalding hot sulphur water bubbles out of the ground and flows down over a calcified white waterfall, before trickling across a wide stretch of pebble beach and draining into the fast flowing river.

There are a couple of log benches in front of the waterfall – perfect for a steam bath – and if you have a high tolerance for hot water, it’s possible to take a shower of sorts underneath. Most people (including us!) prefer to soak in a makeshift (somewhat cooler) bath closer to the river. And when the hot spring water gets too much, it’s only a short hop to the river for a chilling dip.

The calcified white waterfall surrounded by steam at Nokalakevi hot springs near Martvili

The steaming, calcified white waterfall where the hot springs flow down towards the river



The calcified white waterfall surrounded by steam at Nokalakevi hot springs near Martvili

The steaming, calcified white waterfall



On a hot summer’s day, there’s every chance you’ll spend more time in the river than the sulphur springs. It’s pretty fast flowing by the hot pools, but if you walk around the bend to the left (east), you’ll get to a narrow canyon section with rocks either side, perfect for jumping and swimming.

Note that there are no permanent hot spring baths here. Instead, pools are dug by hand among the pebbles at the riverside. There’s usually at least one ‘hot tub’ on the go, but when the river level rises after rain, these pools can be washed away and there’s no guarantee you’ll find a ready-made one. If you don’t want to leave it to chance, come prepared with a bucket or spade for digging your own pool! This area is a popular local picnic and BBQ spot, and also a great place for wild camping.

People sit in hand-dug hot pools at the Nokalakevi hot springs on the banks of the Tekhuri river, near Martvili in western Georgia

Relaxing with beers in hand-dug pools on a January afternoon at the Nokalakevi hot springs



People sit in hand-dug hot pools at the Nokalakevi hot springs on the banks of the Tekhuri river, near Martvili in western Georgia

Relaxing with beers in the hand-dug pools, on a
January afternoon at the Nokalakevi hot springs



To get to the hot springs park here (42.36572, 42.19514) and walk down the dirt path at the embankment to the riverside. The waterfall is to the right. The track from the main road down to the parking area is now paved, but it can get quite muddy in the parking area itself, so be careful if you have a 2WD or low clearance car. There are bins at the parking area. Lots of stray dogs live by the springs.

WINE TASTING AND MEGRELIAN FOOD AT ODA MARANI

After a quick shower to wash off the sulphur water, head to Oda Marani for an evening of wine tasting and a sumptuous feast. The outdoor seating, in the grounds of winemaker Keto Ninidze’s traditional oda house, makes for a tranquil setting.

The menu includes Mingrelian classics like kharcho (beef in a richly spiced walnut sauce), gebzhalia (cheese with mint), kuchmachi (mixed beef heart and liver), elarji (stretchy cornmeal mixed with cheese), a delicious spread of pkhali (veggie dips and pastes), fresh salad, and moreish khachapuri (bread stuffed with cheese, with extra cheese on top).

A delicious bowl of kharcho (beef in a richly spiced walnut sauce) at Oda Marani in Martvili

The kharcho and khachapuri (and the entire menu) is of the highest quality



Carrot pkhali on mchadi (cornbread) and a tempting glass of beautifully amber Tsolikouri at Oda Marani in Martvili

Pkhali on cornbread and a glass of Tsolikouri



Carrot pkhali on mchadi (cornbread) and a tempting glass of beautifully amber Tsolikouri at Oda Marani in Martvili

Carrot pkhali on mchadi (cornbread) and a
tempting glass of beautifully amber Tsolikouri



Keto’s wine includes local grape varieties such as Ojaleshi and Tsolikouri, and less common ones such as Dzelshavi from Racha. On a warm summer’s evening it’s all too easy to while away a few hours here, working your way through the wine list and feasting on some of the best food in Georgia.

Oda Marani is open 12pm – 9pm daily in season (Spring until Autumn). It’s best to make a reservation in advance – contact them on +995 598 900 379. Karma Hostel can arrange a taxi to drop you off and pick you up if required.

DAY 3 | MARTVILI → POTI → KOLKHETI NP → SHEKVETILI

104 KM | 2 HOURS +

DAY 3

MARTVILI
→ POTI
→ KOLKHETI NP
→ SHEKVETILI

46 KM | 1 HOUR +

On Day 3 of this Western Georgia road trip itinerary it’s time to leave the canyons behind and head to the Black Sea coast. Stop by the photogenic Poti Lighthouse before speeding across Paliastomi Lake for a river cruise through Kolkheti National Park. End your day chilling at Shekvetili black sand beach, or camping elsewhere along the coast.

MARTVILI TO POTI

74 KM | 1H20M +

Head west through Senaki to the port town of Poti, the second largest settlement on the Black Sea coast after Batumi. The main point of interest here is the white and red striped lighthouse, constructed in England out of cast iron in 1862 and transported to Georgia by steamship. There is a small museum inside, and the 153-step spiral staircase is a visual treat. Painted white on the underside, and red on the upper, it’s very photogenic. You can climb to the top for wonderful views out to sea, and an up-close look at the lighthouse lamp. The acoustics inside are amazing, with the echo carrying up through the open space and bouncing off the iron walls.

The red and white striped Poti Lighthouse against a dark cloudy sky, seen on Day 3 of this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

The red and white striped Poti Lighthouse



A person looks down from the spiral staircase inside Poti Lighthouse

Looking up inside the lighthouse, a photogenic place with amazing acoustics



A person looks down from the spiral staircase inside Poti Lighthouse

Looking up inside the lighthouse


The red and white striped Poti Lighthouse against a dark cloudy sky, seen on Day 3 of this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

The red and white striped Poti Lighthouse



POTI TO KOLKHETI NP

6 KM | 10 MIN +

A short drive south of Poti Lighthouse is the Kolkheti National Park Visitors Centre. Stop by to pay for your pre-booked boat trip (120 GEL), then head to the car park at the dock, a few minutes’ drive away. Depending on how many people are on your boat you’ll either be on a small speed boat or a larger pontoon boat. The whole trip lasts around 2 hours.

After speeding across Paliastomi Lake, you’ll stop off at a bird watching tower at the entrance of the Pichori river for an aerial view over the wetlands. Back on the boat you’ll carry on up the river, with your guide cutting the engine when you turn up a narrow tributary for a real ‘Apocalypse Now’ moment, ducking to avoid low-lying branches while a cacophony of birdsong sounds in your ears.

The standard tour route then continues up river to a picnic area in the forest, where the boat docks and you have the chance to wander through the trees or relax by the water. You’ll then return the same way.

A person on a small metal boat drifting up one of the atmospheric waterways in Kolkheti National Park, a great activity on this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Drifting up one of the atmospheric waterways in Kolkheti NP



A person on a small metal boat drifting up one of the atmospheric waterways in Kolkheti National Park, a great activity on this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Drifting up one of the narrow, atmospheric
waterways in Kolkheti National Park



KOLKHETI NP TO SHEKVETILI

23 KM | 25 MIN +

Carry on down the coast towards Ureki and Shekvetili, home to the Black Sea Coast’s only sandy beaches. The iron ore rich sand is ‘magnetic’ and black in colour, said to have healing properties. Backed by pine forest, the beach at Shekvetili is one of the nicest along the coast and there are a number of accommodation options around here, the fanciest being the Paragraph Resort and Spa. Relax, have a swim, and enjoy the beautiful sunset this coast is known for.

SUGGESTED CAMPING

You can camp within the grounds of the Kolkheti National Park Visitors Centre for a small fee (20 GEL), probably better suited to campervans than tents. 

Another good option is GeoCamp Black Sea, south of Kobuleti. This seasonal campsite is right on the (pebble) beach and is good for tents or campervans. 

For wild camping try the less built-up stretch of coast between Shekvetili and Kobuleti. We parked up our campervan by a small lagoon at the southern end of Shekvetili Beach (41.9128, 41.7699), which was a nice enough spot apart from a hideous amount of rubbish piled nearby. A better spot (although a bit less hidden from the main road) is in the pine forest just north of Kent Hotel (41.8858, 41.7728). Just be careful to stick to the dirt tracks and not get stuck in the sand like we did!


DAY 4 | SHEKVETILI → KOBULETI NATURE RESERVE → BOTANICAL GARDENS → BATUMI

49 KM | 1H15M +

DAY 4

SHEKVETILI
→ KOBULETI NATURE RESERVE
→ BOTANICAL GARDENS
→ BATUMI

49 KM | 1H15M +

Continue down the coast, stopping for a stroll through Kobuleti Nature Reserve before exploring the expansive Batumi Botanical Gardens and enjoying wonderful views across the Black Sea. End your day wandering the promenade in Batumi, or if you prefer to camp, you can pitch up in the Botanical Gardens or head into the hills to a small campsite with spectacular coastal views.

SHEKVETILI TO KOBULETI NATURE RESERVE

10 KM | 15 MIN +

Start your day with a stroll through the Kobuleti Nature Reserve, an expanse of sphagnum mires set back from the coast. It’s an easy walking route of just half a kilometre, with info boards lining the trail. At the end there’s a bridge and lookout tower. You can spot a variety of birds such as egrets and bee-eaters, and even small turtles in the river. There are hiking trail markers directing you further into the trees, but from our experience it’s too overgrown to get anywhere and you’ll just end up falling in the mud.

A person spotting frogs and little turtles in the water, from the wooden bridge in Kobuleti Nature Reserve

Spotting frogs and little turtles from the wooden bridge in Kobuleti Nature Reserve



A person spotting frogs and little turtles in the water, from the wooden bridge in Kobuleti Nature Reserve

Spotting frogs and little turtles from the
wooden bridge in Kobuleti Nature Reserve



KOBULETI NATURE RESERVE TO BATUMI BOTANICAL GARDENS

25 KM | 30 MIN +

Continuing on the nature theme, the next stop is the impressive Batumi Botanical Gardens at Mtsvane Kontskhi (Green Cape), a little further down the coast. It’s a huge area with multiple walking trails leading you through the various geographical zones, which include South America, Mexico, North America, the Himalaya, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, East Asia, and of course, Transcaucasia. While certain walking routes are paved and often bustling with people, the hiking trails through mature forest in the eastern part of the park are comparatively empty, really allowing you to get lost in nature. The park is dotted with viewpoints, the most impressive looking down over the railway track running parallel to the sea, with the coastline stretching off far into the distance.

Batumi Botanical Garden viewpoint, looking north along the blue waters of the Black Sea coast towards a pebble beach which is a recommended campervan park up in this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Batumi Botanical Garden viewpoint,
looking north along the Black Sea coast



Coming from the north, you’ll enter the gardens at Chakvi. You’ll get a map with all of the routes outlined along with your entrance ticket (15 GEL). We’d suggest following Route J, then Route K to explore the upper reaches of the park in the east, then turn left and follow Routes B/C/E to join Route G and emerge at the Black Sea Viewpoint. Then head north again largely following Route A, with some detours on Route C and F. Towards the end of the trail you’ll pass by a huge Liriodendron Tree bridge before returning to the camping and picnic area back at the start.

A person walks out across the huge Liriodendron tree bridge in the Batumi Botanical Gardens, a highlight of this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

The Liriodendron tree bridge



Batumi Botanical Garden viewpoint, looking north along the blue waters of the Black Sea coast towards a pebble beach which is a recommended campervan park up in this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Batumi Botanical Garden viewpoint, looking north along the Black Sea coast



A person walks out across the huge Liriodendron tree bridge in the Batumi Botanical Gardens, a highlight of this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

The Liriodendron tree bridge



We’ve marked this suggested route on our map to make it easy to follow. The route is 5.65 km, with a total climb of 340 metres, so be sure to allow around 3 – 4 hours to explore. It’s best to wear proper walking shoes (particularly for Routes J and K which are on trails, not pavement), and carry water and snacks with you. Some bug spray is also recommended.

BATUMI BOTANICAL GARDENS TO BATUMI

13 KM | 20 MIN +

Another short drive south will bring you to Batumi, Georgia’s second largest city, featuring a lengthy pebble beach and promenade backed by greenery, an array of bizarrely shaped buildings hailing from the Saakashvili era, grand facades of the old town, and a jumble of Soviet-era housing blocks. It has a very different feel to anywhere else in Georgia.

Check-in to your accommodation and head out along the promenade, stopping for ice cream at Luca Polare, then wander through the old town, popping in for cocktails at Conte, great wine at Garage, and dinner at FanFan.

SUGGESTED CAMPING

For a fee of 20 GEL (incl. entrance to the gardens), you can pitch a tent or auto camp in a designated area by the northern entrance of Batumi Botanical Gardens (between 6pm and 10am). There are picnic benches and toilet blocks.

Wild camping is possible on the coast just in front of the gardens (41.707324, 41.719349), hidden from view from the main road and accessed via a dirt track suitable for all vehicles. Being a pebble beach though, it’s not ideal for tents and is best suited to campervans. 

Door2Heaven Eco Hotel & Camping (formerly La Belle Verte) is hidden up 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 from May until September. It’s only 15 km from Batumi but you will climb to 435 m, so allow around 1 hour for the drive. Recent road improvements mean the track is suitable for all vehicles.


DAY 5 | BATUMI → MACHAKHELA NP → KVARIATI/GONIO

77 KM | 2H10M +

DAY 5

BATUMI
→ MACHAKHELA NP
→ KVARIATI/GONIO

77 KM | 2H10M +

Time now to explore inland Adjara and the waterfalls and cultural sights of Machakhela National Park, before returning to the coast and heading south to the chilled out beaches beyond Batumi. Spend the night here or return to the same accommodation in Batumi or your camp spot from the previous night.

BATUMI TO ZEDA CHKHUTENETI

38 KM | 1H15M +

Machakhela Planned National Park lies close to Batumi, but feels a world apart. Turning off the main Batumi – Khulo road, head up the steep-sided Machakhlistskali river valley, where beautiful scenery unfolds at every turn. Ancient Colchic forest colours the hillsides green and forms a unique ecosystem, with 95% of the park area covered in woodland. Boxy houses provide a splash of colour here and there, dotted across the lush slopes.

Steep hillsides covered in dense forest and dotted with small settlements in the Machakhlistskali valley, on the itinerary for Day 5 of this Western Georgia road trip

Steep hillsides covered in dense forest and dotted with small settlements in the Machakhlistskali valley



Steep hillsides covered in dense forest and dotted with small settlements in the Machakhlistskali valley, on the itinerary for Day 5 of this Western Georgia road trip

Steep hillsides covered in dense forest
and dotted with small settlements
in the Machakhlistskali valley



There are three main hiking trails in Machakhela, however for most people the main focus of a trip to the national park is cultural and scenic attractions, accessed by car or on short walks. If you do fancy a day hike, the Mtavarangelozi Mountain Trail is the most accessible route. It starts in Sindieti village, climbing 5 km on a forest road (which you could drive in a good 4×4), then continues on a hiking trail for another 4.1 km to the peak, with expansive views over the park and down to Batumi. The Kokoleti Trail goes close to the Turkish border and if you want to do it, you need to get permission at least 5 working days in advance via the visitor centre (contact Nana on +995 595 08 60 75). The Twin Waterfall Trail is closed until further notice due to rockfall.

Our suggested route for the day takes you as far as the village of Zeda Chkhuteneti. Park your car and wander up to the Machakhela Historical-Ethnographic Museum, a former wooden mosque which now houses various exhibits about local life past and present. The interior of the building is gorgeous, covered in intricately carved wood, all colourfully painted.

Intricate and colourful wall designs in Machakhela Historical-Ethnographic Museum, a former wooden mosque which now houses various exhibits about local life past and present

Intricate and colourful wall designs



Detail of the painted wooden ceiling in the Machakhela Historical-Ethnographic Museum, a former wooden mosque in the village of Zeda Chkhuteneti

Head to the top floor to see interesting details on the wooden ceiling of the former mosque



Detail of the painted wooden ceiling in the Machakhela Historical-Ethnographic Museum, a former wooden mosque in the village of Zeda Chkhuteneti

Head to the top floor to see interesting details
on the wooden ceiling of the former mosque



Afterwards you can do the short hike to Small and Large Dunga Waterfalls. There is a hiking information board in the village showing the route, and you can follow the track on our map. Allow about 30 minutes one way for the hike, and be sure to wear proper shoes as it can be a bit muddy, slippery, and steep in sections.

Large Dunga Waterfall



Small Dunga Waterfall



Small Dunga Waterfall



ZEDA CHKHUTENETI TO CHIKUNETI

8 KM | 30 MIN +

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 a steep hillside, it’s also home to the ruins of a 1000 year old wine cellar. From Zeda Chkhutuneti, return to the main road which runs through the valley and turn right (east) before climbing again, up to Chikuneti village. Be sure to call ahead (+599 557 53 11 76) or message in advance via Facebook if you want to have a meal, and don’t miss out on the delicious sinori.

A traditional Adjarian dish, Sinori, made with lavash, cottage cheese and butter

The Sinori served up at Ilia’s Winery is a real treat



Ilia's father inspecting the vines at Ilia's winery in Adjara, a great place to visit on this Western Georgia road trip

Ilia’s father checking the vines



A traditional Adjarian dish, Sinori, made with lavash, cottage cheese and butter

The Sinori served at Ilia’s Winery is a treat


Ilia's father inspecting the vines at Ilia's winery in Adjara, a great place to visit on this Western Georgia road trip

Ilia’s father inspecting the vines



CHIKUNETI TO KVARIATI

42 KM | 1H10M +

Retrace your route through the Machakhela valley, crossing the bridge over the Chorokhi river to reach the pebble beaches south of Batumi. You’ll come to Gonio first, with its lengthy promenade separating the beach from the main road. Kvariati Beach is an extension of Gonio, lined with many more beachfront cafes, bars, and accommodation. The green hillside rises almost immediately behind the beach, an attractive ‘mountains meet sea’ scene.

You can continue driving for another 4 km down the coast to the very southwestern point of Georgia, at Sarpi, stopping in at the roadside viewpoint to see the quirky border checkpoint building and get a glimpse of Turkey beyond.

After swimming and/or spending time at the beach, check in to your accommodation in Kvariati or Gonio, or return to the same place as the previous night in Batumi.


DAY 6 | KVARIATI/GONIO → MTIRALA NP → TSIKHISDZIRI

69 KM | 2 HOURS +

DAY 6

KVARIATI/GONIO
→ MTIRALA NP
→ TSIKHISDZIRI

69 KM | 2 HOURS +

Work your way slowly back up the coast today, with a side trip inland to visit the waterfalls of Mtirala National Park. End the day exploring coastal Petra Fortress and chilling on the ‘hidden beach’ at Tsikhisdziri.

KVARIATI/GONIO TO MTIRALA NATIONAL PARK

43 KM | 1H20M +

Head north up the coast, turning off the main E70 road shortly after Batumi Botanical Gardens to head inland towards Mtirala NP. The visitor’s centre is in Chakvistavi, and the start of the hiking trail is about 850 metres further up the road. It’s manageable with any car, but take care as the road can be a bit rough in places towards the end. Park up in the designated car park by the cafe and set off for a fairly short but rewarding loop hike to Tsablnari waterfall and pools.

Mtirala means ‘to cry’, very fitting for one of the wettest regions of Georgia. With heavy rainfall comes a lush landscape full of ferns, moss, and jungle-y forest, a unique sight in Georgia. Start your hike by crossing the Chakvistskali river on the hand-pulled cable car (2 GEL return per person), then continue up the trail. You’ll reach a rope park area in the forest, before continuing uphill to Tsablnari waterfall. On the return hike, turn off and follow the trail to the ‘lake’, more of a pool and narrow river canyon, formed by the water flowing down from the waterfall above. It’s a very scenic spot and there is a picnic area nearby. Loop back around to the rope park area and retrace your steps to the car park.

The greenery enshrouded rock pool where the water flows down from the Tsablnari waterfall in Mtirala National Park, one of the destinations in this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

The pool formed by the waterfall flowing down from above



Two hikers stand in front of the impressive Tsablnari waterfall in Mtirala National Park, one of the destinations in this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Tsablnari waterfall



Two hikers stand in front of the impressive Tsablnari waterfall in Mtirala National Park, one of the destinations in this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Tsablnari waterfall



The Tsablnari waterfall hike is around 3 km, with a 360 metre ascent (and descent). Allow around 1.5 – 2 hours for the hike, including time to enjoy the sights, and be sure to wear walking shoes like trainers or hiking sandals (not flip-flops, high heels, etc). We’ve marked the route on our map, which you can download and use to navigate on the trail.

MTIRALA NP TO TSIKHISDZIRI HIDDEN BEACH

23 KM | 40 MIN +

Return to the coastal E70 road and head north, stopping at the Petra Fortress carpark. The ruins of this hilltop castle overlooking the sea date from the 6th century, with a series of vine-covered concrete terraces constructed during Soviet times curving round its eastern side. The sight has been developed recently, with a stylish new visitor centre and improved tourist infrastructure. It’s an interesting spot for a quick wander with great coastal views. Entry is 5 GEL and it’s open daily from 10am – 5pm.

After exploring the fortress area, you can continue on foot from the car park through the forest and over the railway line to a section of Tsikhisdziri beach. It’s about a 10 minute walk downhill to the attractive stretch of pebble beach, backed by greenery and completely hidden from the road. In summer it can get busy around here, but there’s plenty of room to spread out.

The hidden pebble beach on the Black Sea coast at Tsikhisdziri, a great place for a dip on this Western Georgia road trip

The pebble beach hidden from the road at Tsikhisdziri



The hidden pebble beach on the Black Sea coast at Tsikhisdziri, a great place for a dip on this Western Georgia road trip

Tsikhisdziri pebble beach, hidden from the road



There is another small but attractive section of beach a little to the south, with an over-water wooden platform and a waterfall cascading down the rockface nearby. In the busy summer season a bar operates on the deck, and the newly renovated Shukura restaurant and ice-cream parlour (which operates out of a ruined two-story concrete and glass building) are hidden in the forest on the approach to the beach. It’s a great spot to hang out and soak up the summer vibes. Park here (41.75788, 41.74941) and follow the path and stairs down to the coast, about a 10-15 minute walk, or follow one of the other trails marked on our map.

There are a few accommodation options nearby in Tsikhisdziri, with many more options 10 minutes north in Kobuleti. There are coastal camping spots nearby too.

SUGGESTED CAMPING

GeoCamp Black Sea, south of Kobuleti – this seasonal campsite is right on the (pebble) beach and is good for tents or campervans. 

Wild camping in the pine forest just north of Kent Hotel (41.8858, 41.7728)


DAY 7 | TSIKHISDZIRI → GURIA → VANI HOT SPRINGS → KUTAISI (TBILISI)

150 KM | 3H25M +
(361 KM | 6H35M +)

DAY 7

TSIKHISDZIRI
→ GURIA
→ VANI HOT SPRINGS
→ KUTAISI (TBILISI)

150 KM | 3H25M +
(361 KM | 6H35M +)

On the final day of your Western Georgia road trip you’ll take a scenic drive through Guria, known for its history of tea production. After, you’ll soak in outdoor sulphur springs before returning to Kutaisi, or making the longer journey back to Tbilisi.

TSIKHISDZIRI TO OZURGETI

39 KM | 45 MIN +

Head north from Tsikhisdziri to Kobuleti, then leave the coast behind and continue inland towards Ozurgeti, the regional capital of Guria. If you fancy a coffee and cake pick-me-up, head to quirky Eight + 1, a social enterprise cafe which employs young people from the community.

If you’re interested in sampling local tea, you can tour the tea plantation and do a tasting at nearby tea farm Komli. Run by three generations of women, Komli is a beautiful retreat with an old wooden oda house, a large garden, and even a small river running through the grounds. You can also enjoy a hearty home cooked meal, just be sure to call ahead and arrange the tasting and meal in advance (+995599260402).

OZURGETI TO VANI HOT SPRINGS (DIKHASHKHO SULFUR GEYSER)

76 KM | 1H50M + +

From Ozurgeti, continue east to Chokhatauri then up and over the hills to Sajavakho, crossing from Guria into Imereti. It’s a scenic drive through numerous villages with houses dotted across verdant hillsides. Look out for some comedy goats who like to rest in the shade of a crumbling Soviet-era bus stop near Burnati. As you descend to Sajavakho, the views over the broad Rioni river valley  are lovely.

A hairy goat resting in an old Soviet-era bus stop in Guria, a common sight here on this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Goats resting in a Soviet-era bus stop



A hairy goat resting in an old Soviet-era bus stop in Guria, a common sight here on this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Goats in a Soviet-era bus stop



From Sajavakho, the main road continues north towards Samtredia, but you should take the more minor road heading east to Vani. Approximately 7 km beyond the town of Vani, turn off the road and follow a dirt road 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.

This open air location on the flat river plain between the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains is pretty special (although the rubbish strewn 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 bins, but no other facilities to speak of.

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

Soaking in the sulphur pools at Vani hot springs, with the Lesser Caucasus Mountains marking the skyline



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

Soaking in the pools at Vani hot springs,
with the Lesser Caucasus Mountains
marking the skyline



VANI HOT SPRINGS TO KUTAISI (TBILISI)

35 KM | 50 MINS +
(246 KM | 4 HOURS +)

After a soak in the sulphur pools it’s time to head to Kutaisi, or to Tbilisi if this is your chosen end point. Either way, return to the main road and continue east, then head north to Vartsikhe. The route to Kutaisi follows the SH14 north into the city centre, and for Tbilisi you should join the E60 highway heading east.


EXTEND YOUR GEORGIA ROAD TRIP

If you have longer to explore and want to see more of the country, this Western Georgia road trip itinerary combines well with a few of our other detailed Georgia road trip routes.

UPPER ADJARA AND GLAMPING TAGO

If you have an extra couple of days, we highly recommend travelling further inland on the Batumi to Khulo road to Upper Adjara, after visiting Machakhela NP. Glamping Tago is the perfect place to stay, wonderfully situated on a hilltop in Tago with commanding views of the valley and villages around. Park in Khulo and take the Soviet-era cable car. Spanning 1700 metres across the valley, it is Europe’s second longest unsupported cable car. Or, if you can drive all the way in a 4×4.

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).

A bright and expansive morning view over the Adjaristskali valley from the Lotus Belle tents at Glamping Tago, one of the unique accommodation options on this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Morning views over the Adjaristskali valley from the Glamping Tago Lotus Belle tents



A bright and expansive morning view over the Adjaristskali valley from the Lotus Belle tents at Glamping Tago, one of the unique accommodation options on this Western Georgia road trip itinerary

Morning views over the Adjaristskali valley
from the Glamping Tago Lotus Belle tents



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.

LESSER CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS (4X4 ONLY)

If you have a 4×4 car or camper, why not loop back to Kutaisi via the Lesser Caucasus Mountains? Instead of returning north via the Black Sea Coast, head inland to Khulo. From here you can cross the Adjara Highlands to Bakhmaro in Guria via Chidila pass (2400 m), descending to Chokhatauri to re-join this Western Georgia road trip itinerary. You’ll pass through a number of summer alpine farming settlements (yaylas) and be surrounded by wonderful mountain views. This is a fairly challenging route, with narrow dirt roads, some steep drop-offs, and limited passing places should you meet oncoming traffic. It’s best suited to confident drivers with experience.

A 4x4 expidition camper approaching Chidila pass from the north in mid-May, the dirt track surrounded by banked snow, the last of it still to melt near the pass itself

Approaching Chidila pass from the north in mid-May, the last of the snow still to melt near the pass itself



A 4x4 expidition camper approaching Chidila pass from the north in mid-May, the dirt track surrounded by banked snow, the last of it still to melt near the pass itself

Approaching Chidila pass from the north in
mid-May with the last of the snow still to melt



Alternatively, continue east from Khulo over the Goderdzi pass (2025 m), then head north to Kutaisi via Abastumani, Zekari pass (2182 m) in Borjomi-Kharagauli NP, and Sairme. This route still requires a 4×4, but the roads are less challenging to drive and the scenery around Zekari pass is spectacular, with views of the Greater Caucasus Mountains on a clear day.

You can find detailed itineraries and route maps for both options in our Lesser Caucasus Mountains Road Trip guide.

RETURN TO TBILISI VIA SOUTHERN GEORGIA (4X4 ONLY)

For an adventurous end to your Western Georgia road trip, why not loop back to Tbilisi (or Kutaisi) via the mountains, lakes, and fascinating historical sights of southern Georgia? Like the option above, road conditions make this itinerary extension suitable for 4×4 cars or campers only. From Batumi, head inland to Khulo, over the Goderdzi pass, and continue east to the sprawling medieval cave city of Vardzia. Beyond lies the lakes and mountains of the Javakheti volcanic plateau, a unique landscape in Georgia. Continue east to return to Tbilisi, or head northwest from Tabatskuri Lake via Bakuriani, Borjomi and Zestafoni to return to Kutaisi.

You can find detailed route info and maps for this suggested itinerary in our 5 Day Tbilisi to Batumi Road Trip Guide.

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 WESTERN GEORGIA ROAD TRIP

In this section we’ll cover the practical side of planning your Western Georgia road trip, including 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 Western Georgia road trip itinerary can be done at any time of year, however we’d recommend travelling during the warmer months to make the most of the many swimming opportunities, and to really soak up that coastal vibe. In August it can feel like all of Georgia has descended on the Black Sea coast, so June into early July, and September, are better options for beating the busy summer crowds, with these months still being pretty hot. Spring and Autumn are nice too, but be warned that it’ll be chilly for swimming!

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

Early June on the Black Sea coast is already pretty comfortable for swimming, perfect for a morning dip on your Western Georgia road trip



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

Early June on the Black Sea coast is already a
pretty comfortable temperature for swimming



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 cars and campervans.

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 car hire in Kutaisi and Tbilisi, as well as Batumi if this is more convenient for you. Cars4Rent is a local operator with a wide variety of options as well.

CAMPERVAN RENTAL

If you fancy camping on this road trip, but want something more convenient and comfortable than a tent, hiring a campervan is a great idea and allows you lots of flexibility. We travelled this route in a large and comfortable campervan hired in Tbilisi from Vanday. Mta Campervans based out of Kutaisi are also a great option.

We’ve also travelled all over Georgia in two different 4×4 campers from Overlando, a Tbilisi-based company with a small fleet of UAZ Buhanka campervans, Toyota HiLux Expedition Campers, and Lada Niva camping cars. All of these are great options! Pick up and drop off in Kutaisi (instead of Tbilisi) can be arranged for an extra fee with Overlando.

There are also a number of Georgia campervan rental options available to book through Airbnb, just select ‘campervan/motorhome’ under the ‘unique stays’ filter to find them.

EXTEND YOUR WESTERN GEORGIA ROAD TRIP WITH THESE 4X4 ITINERARIES

WILD CAMPING IN GEORGIA

Our Western Georgia road trip itinerary includes suggested accommodation options for each night, along with suggested campsites and wild camping spots if you prefer to pitch a tent or park up with a campervan. If you plan to wild camp, 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.

COME JOIN US ON INSTAGRAM

MAPS AND NAVIGATION

ONLINE MAPS

Google Maps works well for navigation in this region, but remember it only works when you have a data connection and there is a chance you may lose reception at various points along the route.

OFFLINE MAPS

It’s also a good idea to have an offline map of your route downloaded before setting off. This can be used at all times regardless of whether you have a data connection or not.

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.

LOOKING FOR EXCITING OFF-ROAD ADVENTURES IN GEORGIA?