3 Must Visit National Parks while you travel in Georgia
Georgia tourism offers its guests a wonderful variety of natural landscapes. Here every traveler is able to find an activity and a preferred kind of holiday for every taste and budget! The nature of Georgia (country) has been generous in providing it with high mountain ranges, plains and dense evergreen forests, seas, rivers and lakes, which give a lot of options to choose from.
In this article, we want to bring up 3 national parks, which will be interesting in particular for tourists who visit: Tbilisi city, Kakheti and/or Black sea resort - Batumi. After city sightseeing, sunny beaches and visiting famous wineries you will want to retire and find spiritual harmony in the bosom of nature, then you should definitely visit the most famous national parks of Georgia.
Kazbegi National Park
One of the closest to Tbilisi and most popular parks in Georgia is Kazbegi National Park. It is located 150 km from Tbilisi on the eastern side of the Greater Caucasus. Every year thousands of tourists come here to hike and enjoy the surrounding beauty of Truso valley, Chaukhi Pass, 60-tower Khada gorge and Gudamakari mountains. The most adventurous hikers climb the famous Mount Kazbek (5054m), the third highest mountain in Georgia and the top 7th highest mountain in Europe.
The park was founded in 1976, over time, its territory became bigger, and now it covers 9030 ha. There is flora of all kinds, 35% of the park is covered by forests where growing sub-alpine, birch, and pine trees. Also you can find rare Redda birch that is listed in the Red Book. The rest of the territory is covered with sub-alpine and alpine meadows. There are a lot of rare kinds of animals too, some of them listed in the Red Book of Georgia. Foxes, brown bears, chamois, ibex and other species of animals live here.
You can get to the Kazbegi national park from Tbilisi by minibus, which departs everyday from the Didube Bus Station, or get a taxi that costs more but you will be able to break at the viewpoints such as Ananuri fortress, Friendship monument or travertines behind Jvari pass and take memorable photos.
Lagodekhi National Park
While visiting local wineries and historical places in Kakheti, you should travel to Lagodekhi national park - one of the oldest in the Georgia, that was founded in 1912. It is located at the base of the Central Caucasus Range on the border with Dagestan, near the town of Lagodekhi.
In terms of its landscape and climate, Lagodekhi is unique: in the park you can find the high mountain ranges with deep canyons and harsh climate, and plains with alpine meadows and dense deciduous forests with a warm climate. The flora and fauna of the park are also rich: here are registered unique and rare species of animals and plants. The territory is protected by the state and you can access it after registering in the administration of the national park at the main entrance.
There are special routes for hiking and trekking lovers, which lead to the major sights. The most efficient way to discover stunning nature of 3-day trail to Black rocks lake, a day hike to Gurgeniani Waterfall, and Machi fortress by horse riding, is to take part in our guided tour that also includes local food, accommodation, airport transfers and a day tour to Sighnagi, city of love and a lot of history.
In order to get to Lagodekhi national park, you have to take minibus that departs hourly from Isani bus station, Tbilisi, or take a taxi though it will take almost the same 2.5 hours of ride as minibus.
Mtirala National Park
Adjara region is not famous just for the beach of Black Sea but for its wonderful mountainous area too. The Mtirala national park is located in the Kobuleti region, only 30 km from Batumi. The national park was created in 2006 to protect the vast "Kolkhida" forests. It covers an area of 15700 ha. and has the features of flora and fauna characteristic for rain-forests. The administrative center is located in a small nearby town called Chakvi and visitors center with main entrance in Chakvistavi village.
The landscape in the park was formed under the influence of volcanic lava flows and lush plant life. The region has the highest level of moisture not only in Georgia, but also in the whole of Europe: the rainfall exceeds 3000-4000 mm per year. Thus, the locals called it "Crying Mountain" because of abundance of rain and, as a result, fog. The reserve is rich in many different subtropical plants and there are 96 species of animals, 23 of which are listed in the Red Book of Georgia.
The national park is famous for therapeutic mineral and crystal-clear springs. Visitors of the park can also observe the life of birds and animals, also hike to a scenic Tsablnari waterfall and have a picnic near a lake in a day or take Tsivtskaro (Cold spring) trail to an old village with overnight in a shelter. Recently, a rope adventure park has been created and the most daring ones can slide on 200 m Zip line as well.
How to get to Mtirala park: There is one direct transport that operates only on Mondays (08:20) and Fridays (14:30), “Batumi-Chakvistavi village”, price - 3 GEL. Otherwise you will need to get down in Chakvi (15 km) and take a taxi from there for around 30-40 GEL. The most comfortable would be to take a taxi from Batumi (30 km) or Qobuleti (27 km) and it will cost almost the same but with less mess and worry.
Caucasus nature is very diverse, wild and unique. Might be it is one of the wildest places left on the planet. But often infrastructure is not perfect, if you are not sure about your trip destination, you are always welcome to ask us for advice. Feel free to write us!