I’ve been living in Georgia for almost a year, and I’ve spent lots of time exploring various parts of the nation. Packed with peaks, passes, mountains, and a whole load of diverse landscapes, it’s genuinely one of the best places I’ve ever visited for exciting (and diverse!) outdoor adventures.
So in this guide, I’ve put my incredible knowledge and humble attitude to good use… and I’ve brought you details on all 11 of the national parks in the country of Georgia.
Expect remote places, easy-to-access places, and everything in between. Bring a map kid, cos you’re gonna need one!
Quick disclaimer: different sources offer different information about the sizes of the various national parks in Georgia. When in doubt (and when possible) I’ve taken my information from this official Georgian ‘Agency of Protected Areas’ website, which I think is the most reliable resource. When that site doesn’t offer size information, I’ve tried to find the best (and most reliable) resource. What a complicated melodrama.
1. Tbilisi National Park
If you’re hanging around Georgia’s capital city, this is obviously the easiest national park to reach. It’s not Georgia’s most exciting or enthralling outdoor area, but it’s home to some decent hikes and other interesting attractions.
It measures in at 21,036 hectares (51,981 acres), and it’s been officially serving up adventures since 1973.
Although you can reach parts of the park by public transport, it’s usually easier to taxi to the specific place you want to explore. Taxis cost around 30-50 lari to get to the park, so the price is usually worth the convenience.
There’s no real infrastructure in the park, so it’s difficult to find hikes (though there are plenty marked on Maps.me and similar apps). My favorite walk is the wander from Mamkoda to Norio (passing two monasteries and some pretty forests), but there are two more hikes outlined here.
Aside from hikes, make sure you check out the park’s bear sanctuary. Take about 25 kilos of fruit, and watch the greedy guys have a furry little feast—they’ll munch it all down in about ten minutes. You should also visit Mamkoda Monastery and Martkopi Monastery (you don’t need to take fruit for the monks).
If you’d prefer to cut out the hassle and take a convenient tour, this experience takes you from Tbilisi to Sabaduri Forest (the most famous stretch of the park).
2. Kazbegi National Park
The most famous national park in Georgia, peak-packed Kazbegi National Park is in the far north of the nation, right on the border with Russia.
It measures 78,543 hectares (194,084 acres), and was established in 1976. It’s home to lots of Georgia’s most famous sights, including the mountain-ringed town of Stepantsminda (the park’s most convenient and well-known base), the world-famous viewpoint of Gergeti Trinity Church, and some of Georgia’s most exciting strolls.
The most famous hike in the park is the walk from Stepantsminda to the foot of a hulking glacier, but there are lots more options.
If you want adventurous but accessible, this place is for you. The park is home to some super remote adventures, but it’s so easy to reach—near-hourly marshrutkas to Stepantsminda depart from Tbilisi’s massive Didube bus station.
If you want to see some of the park’s highlights quickly and conveniently, this leave-from-Tbilisi tour is ideal.
3. Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
After Kazbegi, Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is the most famous hiking area in Georgia.
Relatively low-level compared to some of the other places on this list, it’s wooded, foresty and undulating—if you prefer forests to mountains and ridges, this is the place for you.
It measures 107,649 hectares (266,006 acres), which is more than 1.5% of the entirety of Georgia. Hefty!
The park was officially established in 1995. To join the walkers and wanderers here, the best introductory hike is the one-day Footprint Trail. But you also get challenging multi-day walks, along with trails for horse riding and mountain biking. In terms of infrastructure, this is one of the nation’s best national parks.
The area is also close to Borjomi’s mega-famous natural outdoor baths… and the spring where you can taste the region’s eggy water right from its source.
The best access point for the park is the town of Borjomi. To reach the town from Tbilisi, there are regular marshrutkas leaving from Didube bus station. Or if you want to hike without any thinking or planning, this fantastic two-day walk starts with a vehicle pickup right in Tbilisi.
4. Kolkheti National Park
Kolkheti National Park is one of the least-known of all the national parks in Georgia. It’s also one of the most humble, measuring in at a relatively-small 28,940 hectares (71,512 acres)
A flat little place bordering Poti (an otherwise-not-worth-visiting port city on the nation’s west coast), it’s most famous as a protected wetland area. Around half of the national park is made up of bogs, marshes and other watery areas, some of which have been officially recognized by UNESCO.
Established in 1998, the area offers a totally different experience to the other national parks in Georgia. Instead of hulking peaks and high-level hikes, most people instead explore the place on boat trips.
On these boat trips, you’ll see endless varieties of plants, trees and birds (some local, some migrating), and sail along both Pichori River and Paliastomi Lake.
You can easily reach Poti by marshrutka, from both Batumi (from the Intercity bus station) and Tbilisi (from Didube bus station).
5. Tusheti National Park
Remote Tusheti National Park is famous for being home to the most dangerous road in Georgia.
Aside from riding in a helicopter (no, that’s not a joke), this often-inaccessible road is the only way in and out of the national park—along the way, you’ll ride over the treacherous Abano Pass (which measures in at 2,826 meters/9,271 feet).
To reach the place from Tbilisi, it’s best to book a trusted and reputable private driver in the city, so that you don’t die.
Tusheti National Park is a brilliant option if you want some really rural experiences in a genuinely remote part of the world—this is the most isolated region in Georgia. You get excellent dramatic hikes (both short ones and long ones), the famous tower villages (which you also see in Svaneti), and probably the most endearing homestays you’ve ever slept in.
Sitting in the northeast of the nation, Tusheti National Park measures in at 83,453 hectares (206,220 acres), and it received official national park status in 2003.
6. Vashlovani National Park
Vashlovani National Park is a pretty diminutive place in the far southeast of Georgia.
Sitting right on the border with Azerbaijan, it measures in at only 35,292 hectares (87,208 acres)—but although it’s small, it’s one of the most interesting and unusual parts of the nation. It was granted its official national park status all the way back in 1935, making it the oldest of them all.
If you reckon Georgia is all green mountains and verdant valleys, this place’ll show you that it’s not. Dry and desert-like, it’s full of sparse landscapes, Dolomite-style peaks, mud volcanoes, and narrow canyons.
If you want to visit the place, it’s best to hire a driver with a four-wheel drive (or hire a vehicle without a driver, but the four-wheel drive part is essential). Very few tourists come here, so don’t expect much infrastructure, or any waymarked adventures.
7. Mtirala National Park
Mtirala National Park sits just east of Batumi, and it’s one of the nation’s most easy-to-access outdoor areas.
The best (and most well-known) adventure here is the Tsivtskaro Trail, a two-day trek where you ascend 1,000 meters (3,280 feet), and spend the night in a rudimentary tourist shelter. There’s also a gentle forest trail, along with other unmarked stuff.
The park also has a lengthy zipline (measuring in at 220 meters/722 feet), loads of rare plants and flowers, and some wetland areas.
The park was established in 2007, and it has a pretty small area of around 15,698 hectares (38,791 acres). The best access point is Batumi—and this Batumi-based tour covers some of the park’s best parts.
Be warned: Batumi and the surrounding area is super rainy. No matter what time you’re visiting, take some waterproof clothes.
8. Algeti National Park
Around one hour west of Tbilisi, you have Algeti National Park.
This isn’t the most dramatic option, but it’s a lot different to most other parts of Georgia—with its thick forests and rolling hills, it looks more like something you’d find in Bavaria. It’s the sort of place where you enjoy riverside picnics rather than intense hikes.
The best access point is the town of Manglisi, which you can reach from Tbilisi (via marshrutka from Station Square).
There are a few trails around the park, but only one signposted route. The so-called Samepo Kedi, it leads out of Manglisi through a couple of small settlements… and back to Manglisi along the rolling lip of a pretty ridge. It’s 10 miles (16km) in total.
Established in 1965, Algeti National Park measures in at around 15,760 hectares (38,944 acres).
9. Javakheti National Park
Javakheti National Park is in the far south of Georgia, right on the border with Turkey.
Established in 2007, it measures in at 16,209 hectares (40,053 acres)… and it’s a pretty unique place. The area’s plateau is usually Georgia’s coldest place during winter, while it’s also a popular fishing and bird watching destination (and the only part of Georgia where you can see wild flamingos!).
It’s a strangely sparse and stark place. It isn’t home to many trees and plants, and it has lots of seemingly-lifeless lakes, which can be almost eerie in colder months. The biggest body of water here is Lake Paravani, the largest lake in Georgia.
Of all Georgia’s national parks, this is the most bicycle-friendly. The landscape is flat, the roads are quiet, and cycling along lakes is always lovely.
To reach the region, it’s best to hire a car (or a driver).
10. Machakhela National Park
Another close-to-Batumi option, Machakhela National Park is all about woods and forests. It’s home to alder groves, beech forests, chestnut forests, and other trees and plants I don’t know much about. Back in the day, this place was a tropical forest, so it’s a good place for spotting strange shrubs and unusual flowers.
It measures 13,070 hectares (32,297 acres), and has three marked hiking trails (though they’re not hugely exciting).
It’s one of Georgia’s best national parks for anyone interested in history. The place has an ethnography museum, a whole bunch of fortresses, and (uniquely) various gunsmiths’ workshops.
Of course, the best access point for Machakhela National Park is Batumi. It’s best to hire a private driver, so you can easily reach whichever part of the park you wish. If you prefer public transport, your best option is a marshrutka to Acharistskali from Batumi’s main bus station.
11. Pshav-Khevsureti National Park
No online sources can seem to agree on exactly how big Pshav-Khevsureti National Park actually is… and I can’t find any official boundaries on a map. But here’s what I do know—it sits between Tusheti National Park and Kazbegi National Park, so it has two very famous neighbors.
If you want the Tusheti/Kazbegi-style experience, but with even fewer tourists than Tusheti, Pshav-Khevsureti National Park is where you want to be. You get tower villages, remote adventures, jagged mountains, lofty passes, and some extremely difficult hikes.
There’s not much infrastructure in the area, so it’s a super adventurous place. The region’s most well-known long-distance hike is the 5-day expedition from Shatili to Tusheti’s Omalo (or vice-versa).
From what I’ve heard from friends, there’s a twice-weekly marshrutka to Shatili (the region’s biggest village) from Tbilisi’s Didube bus station. There seems to be no set schedule, so it’s best to hire a driver (with a 4WD).
Essentials to Bring with You when Visiting the National Parks in Georgia
Things to Know Before Visiting the National Parks in Georgia
National Parks in Georgia: Frequently Asked Questions
Before You Go
That’s all of them—the 11 national parks in the country of Georgia!
For much more information on adventuring around the nation, check out our guides on the top reasons I love Tbilisi, and all the things the city is famous for. And if you’re a solo traveler, here are the city’s best places to stay.
Thanks for reading, thanks for stopping by, and make sure you stick with Travelness for much more!
#Epic #National #Parks #Georgia #Country #Visit