view of mount kazbegi in georgia

Nestled in the mountains and surrounded by lush green valleys is a lovely little mountain town, Kazbegi. This cute hamlet is a must-visit for all adventure lovers. The snow-capped Caucasus mountain range surrounds it.

If you are tired of your busy city life, then Kazbegi is the perfect destination. The fresh, clean air and the cool breeze will soothe your mind and body. You can try drinking water from the crystal-clear streams and just absorb the purity of the place.

This is a place where you can relax and unwind. So this article will be about the top things you can do while staying in Kazbegi.

Kazbegi or Stepantsminda: what is the actual name?

Before you step foot in this magical land, you must know about Kazbegi. The most important thing is that Kazbegi is also known as Stepantsminda. Actually, in 2006, the official name of Kazbegi was changed to Stepantsminda to honor Saint Stephen.

So, on most maps and official papers, you will find the name Stepantsminda. However, the locals prefer calling it Kazbegi. So do not get confused with the name.

What are some of the best things to see and do in Kazbegi?

1. Gergeti Trinity Church

Gergeti Trinity Church  

If you are in Kazbegi, hiking to the Gergeti Trinity Church is a must. It is the most popular location in this hamlet. The church is situated on the edge of a cliff with the gigantic Mt. Kazbegi behind it. It is situated at 2170 m above sea level and is still an active Georgian Orthodox Church.

A simple hike from the town to the church will take around two hours. The scenic beauty of the trail is just amazing. While hiking up, you will also get to view the mountains from different angles.

If you don’t want to hike, you can always hire a jeep to take you to the church. It will cost approximately 15 GEL per person. As the Gergeti Trinity Church is a popular destination both among tourists and locals, it is recommended that you visit the place in the morning.

2. Hike to the Gergeti Glacier

Hike to the Gergeti Glacier  

If you are up early, you can visit the church and the huge Gergeti Glacier in one day. This trip is quite popular among tourists.

After visiting the church, move towards the parking lot and climb up the steep hill to get to the lower trail of the Gergeti Glacier. On the trail, you will come across some majestic views gainst the backdrop of Mt. Kazbegi. You will also get to see some beautiful waterfalls. Here you will find unique red rocks that contrast with the snowy peaks.

If you plan to climb the Gergeti Glacier, well, that’s an adventure. However, you need proper gear, like trekking poles and footwear, to walk on the glacier. You can rent the gear from nearby stores.

3. Gveleti Waterfalls

Gveleti Waterfalls,Kazbegi

This is an exciting hike; however, you must be extremely careful where you are stepping, as you will find snakes here and there. Gveleti has two beautiful waterfalls.

Along the narrow and green Darialo Gorge is the beanstalk waterfall, which starts from a narrow nick and grows in size as it falls into the pool of water at the bottom. The waterfall looks majestic in the spring; however, it becomes a popular ice-climbing spot during the winter.

The 3.5 km hike is pretty smooth; however, you must have proper footwear as some places are slippery.

4. Visit the Sno Giant Head Sculptures

Visit Sno Giant Head Sculptures

A 7 kilometer drive from Kazbegi along the route to Juta will take you to the ancient village of Sno. The tiny village is home to a few houses, an orthodox church, a statue of King Vakhtang I of Iberia, and an ancient 16th-century fortified tower.

Sno is also famous for the monolithic granite cultures depicting famous artisans, leaders, poets, etc. Merab Piranishivili, a local sculptor, carefully crafted these beautiful statues, and they are all carved out of a single block of locally sourced stone.

5. Zakagori Fortress, Trusso Valley

Trusso Valley is a quiet green valley with a blue sky. It is home to numerous natural sites like abandoned churches, villages, ancient monasteries, lakes, hot springs, and limestone travertine.

Once you reach the end of this beautiful valley, you will reach the ruins of the Zakagori Fortress. It is situated on a small green hill on the opposite side of the abandoned village of Keterisi. This fortress used to be a major part of the defence for the kingdom of Alania.

Zakagori Fortress also marks the border between the Russian-occupied state of South Ossetia and Georgia.

6. Pansheti Mineral Pools

Pansheti Mineral Pools, Kazbegi

The Pansheti Mineral Pools are an open-air swimming pool (a natural hot spring) that is about a 30- to 40-minute walk from the village of Kazbegi. This pool is fed by the natural mineral hot springs and is exclusively known for its healing properties.

However, this mineral pool is not thermal, so the water is brisk, especially as it is near the glacier.

7. Dariali Monastery

At the end of the highway, almost at the border with Russia, you will find the Dariali Monastery complex. The place is home to several churches; however, the main church is dedicated to St. Gabriel and the archangel St. Michael.

Entrance to this monastery complex is completely free; however, remember to wear a respectful dress. Always carry your passport as this place is near the border. From Kazbegi, you can take a bus to Dariali for around 45 GEL.

8. Local Kazbegi Food at Cozy Corner

There are a lot of restaurants in Kazbegi. The most popular one is the restaurant, Cozy Corner, which is situated just by the river and offers a splendid view of the gigantic mountains. There is even a little stream that runs through the restaurant’s property.

On rainy days, you will love to spend time indoors with the cozy wooden interior. Additionally, the food is quite cheap, the portions are large, and the food is yummy.

9. Hike to Juta and Sno Valley

Kazbegi, a popular destination among hikers, has a lot of hiking trails. One such hiking trail is the road to Juta, in the Dolomites of Georgia. This mountain village is 2150 m above the main sea level and has many hotels that offer food and accommodations to multi-day hikers and trippers.

Another popular trekking trail from Jute is through the Chaukhi Valley towards the Chaukhi Pass at 3338 m. Several transport agencies offer daily transportation to Juta for 45 GEL, and a private car from Georgia Holiday packages will cost approximately 60 GEL.

How to reach Kazbegi?

You can reach Kazbegi in many ways. Depending on your preference, you can choose from the following:

1. By Marshrutka or Mini Bus

A Marshrutka ride is cheaper and more efficient. These mini buses depart from Tbilisi’s northern station, Didube Bus Station. The average fare is around 10 GEL.

2. Rent a Car

Most tourists prefer renting a car in Tbilisi to visit Kazbegi. The rental cost is around 35 for a distance of 100 miles.

3. By Taxi

Local taxis offer day trips to the mountain town of Kazbegi. However, the prices vary depending on the season, so you must negotiate before hiring a taxi.

  • One-way fare to Kazbegi is around 150 GEL. The trip will last around 2.5 to 3 hours, and the driver will stop at points of interest.
  • The round-trip travel from Tbilisi to Kazbegi is 150 GEL. The total driving time is around 1-2 hours.

Kazbegi is a popular tourist destination in Georgia and is very popular among trekkers and hikers. It is recommended that you spend at least 3 to 4 days exploring this beautiful mountain town completely. The fresh, pure air will cleanse your mind and soul.

Savita Pillay is an educationist turned writer, hailing from Pune city, India. She has composed and edited thousands of articles in her writing career and had travelled to UAE, to pursue her love for teaching. A connoisseur of art, an avid reader, who loves to travel and witness the magical phenomenon of nature.

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