Georgia is an excellent place for nature lovers who enjoy various landscapes, hiking possibilities, birdwatching, or easy getaways from overcrowded Tbilisi. And this post about national parks in Georgia covers the most famous and popular destinations for you to explore while visiting the country.
National parks in Georgia make up around 7% of the country’s territory, from which forest landscape covers 75%. These protected areas and national parks were laid out at the beginning of the 20th century. Some of them feature unique flora and fauna that you can’t see elsewhere, while others are great for hiking, birdwatching, or simply admiring nature.
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THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING NATIONAL PARKS IN GEORGIA
When visiting national parks in Georgia, you need to know a couple of things to have a comfortable experience.
- Visitor and administration centers of a few nature reserves and national parks are not right at the park entrance. They are in a nearby town or village. Therefore, I have provided the Google Maps locations of each national park below.
- There are no entrance fees in national parks in Georgia.
- If you plan on hiking for several days, you’ll need to register at the visitor’s center and provide your details so that they are aware you are walking within these territories.
- It’s possible to rent camping gear – tent, sleeping bag, mat – at some of the national parks in Georgia.
- There is no place to buy food at some of those parks.
- Some parks have limited access to drinking water.
- Vashlovani and Lagodekhi National Parks are close to the borders of Azerbaijan and Russia; therefore, you’ll need a passport in case border guards ask you.
- Building a fire is not allowed in alpine areas.
- Infrastructure in the parks is quite basic and limited. Shelters are simple, with bunk beds to spend a night.
- Spending a night either at the shelter or in your tent has a price. Shelter prices start from 15 GEL per person per night, while tent prices are from 5-10 GEL per person per night. However, you can’t spend a night in your tent in Vashlovani.
ESSENTIALS TO BRING WITH YOU WHEN VISITING NATIONAL PARKS IN GEORGIA
- Sleeping bag and a mat, even if you plan to spend a night at the shelter.
- Food and snacks to last the entire hike.
- Passport to register.
- Cash to pay for camping and shelter cabin in the visitors center.
- Camping gas or stove for alpine areas.
- Camping utensils and cooking sets.
- Water sterilizer of your preference.
- Get travel insurance just in case.
11 WONDERFUL NATIONAL PARKS IN GEORGIA
Tbilisi National Park
Not everyone knows that Tbilisi has a national park; even some locals might not realize it. Located around 20km from the center, Tbilisi National Park offers gorgeous scenery all year round. However, it’s stunning in winter when Sabaduri Forest turns into a winter wonderland.
One of the prominent and famous places in Tbilisi National Park is the Sabaduri Forest. It truly is a gorgeous area in autumn too, with dense and high trees covered in foliage.
You can come here to enjoy a nice picnic on a warm sunny autumn or spring day. And if you feel adventurous, you can even spend a night in the tent at one of its designated camping areas.
However, if you want to explore other places in Tbilisi National Park rather than just Sabaduri, in that case, you can follow the hiking trail through Saguramo Ridge to enjoy spectacular views and visit Zedazeni Church.
Alternatively, there is another route Zedazeni-Didveli-Mamkoda, where you can enjoy views of Jvari Monastery, a panoramic skyline of Tbilisi from Didveli mountain and Mtkvari and Aragvi river gorges.
Algeti National Park
Among other national parks in Georgia, Algeti NP is very close to Tbilisi, making it one of the perfect areas to explore as a day trip.
However, if you want to explore some unusual spots, I suggest visiting the Didgori War Memorial, dedicated to one of the most brutal wars Georgia had to withstand in the 12th century.
For more detailed information on hiking trails, visit Algeti NP Visitor’s center.
Javakheti Protected Areas
Javakheti is a less explored region in Georgia for both locals and foreigners. The area is famous for breathtaking lakes situated on Javakheti Plateau. It is also home to 140 different species of local and migratory birds, making it ideal for birdwatching enthusiasts. If you are lucky enough, you can even see gray flamingo too.
The biggest lake in Georgia, the volcanic lake Paravani is here. During winter, it freezes and turns into a gorgeous winter wonderland. Other lakes worth visiting are Levani, Madatapa, Saghamo, Bughdasheni, and Kartsakhi. If you want to join a tour to visit some of those iconic lakes, this is the one I recommend.
There are several hiking trails around the lakes leading to cultural and historical landmarks of the area.
For more detailed information on hiking trails, visit Javakheti NP Visitor’s center.
Vashlovani National Park
Located in the Kakheti region, in the far eastern part of the Dedoplistskaro area, Vashlovani National Park covers approximately 35,053 ha of land, making it one of the biggest national parks in Georgia.
The park comprises Vashlovani Nature Reserve, Vashlovani National Park, and three Natural Monuments such as Kaklisyure Alazani floodplain forest, Takhti-Tepa Mud Volcanoes, and Eagle Gorge.
Peculiar and exciting forms of relief are what make Vashlovani a unique place. Apart from this, it’s one of the arid areas of the country. The climate here is dry and very hot.
Seven hiking trails last from one to seven days, with designated campsites, bungalows, picnic spots, and fireplaces. You’ll need to have your ID or passport with you to check in at the visitor’s center, as the park borders Azerbaijan.
For more detailed information on hiking trails, visit Vashlovani NP Visitor’s center.
Lagodekhi Protected Areas
Kakheti region is home to one more national park in Georgia – Lagodekhi Protected Areas – situated at the southern slopes of the Caucasus.
The park is one of the world’s best-conserved green areas with a remarkable diversity of natural sceneries.
Established in 1912, when the country was part of the Russian Empire, Lagodekhi Protected Areas is the very first national park in Georgia.
Lagodekhi PA spreads from beech forests to the Alpine zone, where forest covers 70% of its land.
Here, you can find rare regional flora and fauna, such as European hornbeam, Cappadocian and Norwegian maple, red deer, chamois, grey wold, eastern imperial eagle, Eurasian lynx, and the golden eagle, to name just a few.
Currently, there are four beautiful trails you can hike, but the most popular ones are Ninoskhevi Waterfall and Black Rock Lake, the natural border between Georgia and Dagestan.
For more detailed information on hiking trails, visit Lagodekhi NP Visitor’s center.
Kolkheti National Park
Kolkheti National Park, recently enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes the eastern coastline of the Black Sea and the Lake Paliastomi. It also spans two regions of Georgia: the Samegrelo and Guria.
Kolkheti National Park comprises wetlands; therefore, there are no walking trails in the park. The only way to explore the area is to book a panton ride or kayak. For those who enjoy orginized tours, join Kayak tour from Batumi.
The park is home to endangered and rare species enlisted in the Red Book of Georgia, such as wingnuts, Colchis boxwood, and Colchosoak, to name a few.
It is also home to around 200 bird species, making it another ideal spot for birdwatching lovers.
The best time for it is October when you’ll be able to spot black kites, falcons, honey buzzards, sea eagles, imperial eagles, and vultures.
For more detailed information on hiking trails, visit Kolkheti NP Visitor’s center.
Mtirala National Park
The word “mtirala” in Georgian means “a person who constantly cries.” Mtirala is one of the most humid and rainy national parks in Georgia. That’s how it got the name.
Located in the extreme western part of the Adjara, near the Black Sea, the park spans around 15,698 ha of land.
The park is a popular destination among backpackers traveling to the Black Sea, with two very well-marked trails to hike. Those trails are pretty short and require one or two days.
Like other national parks in Georgia, Mtirala also has appointed spots for a picnic, fire, and a tent. Apart from hiking, you can try to zip line for a bit of an adventure.
For more detailed information on hiking trails, visit Mtirala NP Visitor’s center.
Kintrishi Nature Reserve
Kintrishi Nature Reserve is another park you can explore in the Adjara. Situated in the scenic valley of the Kintrishi River, at an elevation of 300-2,500 meters above sea level, the park offers two easy trails perfect for those who don’t have much time to spend in Georgia.
The main highlights of it are the historic Tamara Arch and Lake Tbikeli. And as most visitors who come to Adjara spend their days in Batumi or at the Black Sea coastline, the national parks here see fewer tourists. Therefore, you might even have the tall by yourself.
For more detailed information on hiking trails, visit Kobuleti and Kintrishi NP Visitor’s center.
Kobuleti Managed Reserve
Kobuleti Managed Reserve is one of the unique national parks in Georiga that hardly sees any visitors. Maidan sphagnum moss peat bog is what makes this park a special place. This peat bog is the rarest and only filtering one in the world. It is also susceptible to pollution.
The peat bog and sphagnum moss absorb all water during the heavy rains in the seaside resort. It acts like a sponge and protects the town from floods.
You can explore the area on food accompanied by the ranger. Also, you’ll need to wear rubber boots or waterproof shoes.
And if you happen to be in Batumi, you can easily make a day trip here.
For more detailed information on hiking trails, visit Kobuleti and Kintrishi NP Visitor’s center.
Borjom-Kharagauli National Park
With 85,083 ha of land, the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park extends to six regions, making it one of the biggest national parks of Georgia.
Nestled near the spa town Borjomi, the park has 12 different trails that vary in difficulty. Some of them are suitable for one-day hikes if you’d like to have a beautiful smooth track while staying in the town.
Like many other national parks in Georgia, it offers shelters if you don’t have a tent, campsites, fire spots, and picnic areas. There is no specific season to hike in this park; it’s open all year round and offers various landscapes at different times of the year.
Friends of mine, travel bloggers and vloggers Kim and Del have detailed information on hiking the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park for you to check out. They also have a detailed guide to the Panorama trail of the park, and a gorgeous film on their YouTube Channel.
For more detailed information on hiking trails, visit Borjom-Kharagauli NP Visitor’s center.
Tusheti National Park
Tusheti, one of the highlands of Georgia, comprises a Strict Nature Reserve and a National Park with various villages across the area. It has 11 hiking trails for you to trek, going through the area’s historical, natural, and cultural beauty. Here you can marvel at medieval defense towers, unique village architecture, and enjoy the local cuisine.
Unlike other national parks in Georgia, Tusheti has plenty of accommodation options throughout its villages.
The season in Tusheti starts in June and lasts till the end of September.
Prepare for the trip
To ease your travel planning, check out all the posts about Georgia travel. Additionally, here are some of the websites and services I use when preparing for my next adventure anywhere in the world.
✈ Book affordable flights on Skyscanner, a platform that shows the best routes and flight deals to your destination.
✔ Check iVisa to see if you need a tourist visa to visit Georgia, how to apply online if applicable, or where’s the nearest embassy or consulate.
♥ Find budget-friendly deals on all sorts of accommodation types on Booking.com.
❣ Pre-book a private car transfer from Tbilisi Airport to your hotel.
➤ Buy the most flexible and budget-friendly travel insurance, SafetyWing, that also covers COVID.
☀ Book in advance some of the best city walks, cultural experiences, and day tours to maximize your stay and experience here.
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