Tbilisi to Kazbegi: How To Get There & Things To Do

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by Michael Rozenblit

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There are many amazing places to visit located close to Tbilisi. From the old capital of Mtskheta to the wine region of Kakheti, you are never short of day trips or weekend getaways to add to trip to Georgia. However, arguably the most spectacular trip that you can take is to travel to Kazbegi and explore the mountains.

The town of Kazbegi is officially known as Stepantsminda after having its name changed back to its original version in 2006. However, it is still commonly referred to as Kazbegi, probably due to the star attraction of the village being the imposing Mount Kazbek.

If you want to see some of the Caucasus mountain range during your time in the region, then visiting -Kazbegi is undoubtedly the easiest option. In this article, we’ll break down the best way to get between the two destinations, how many days to spend and the best things to do when you arrive.

How to Get from Tbilisi to Kazbegi (Stepantsminda)

There are four main options for travelling to Kazbegi: bus, taxi, car or organised tour.

By Bus

The most affordable option to travel is the same as for most routes in Georgia, Armenia or Azerbaijan – the mighty marshrutka.

If it’s your first time in the region, marshrutkas are minibuses that are the main form of transport for locals. The marshrutka to Kazbegi departs from Didube Bus Station — the same station where you can get transport to many other cities in Georgia such as Kutaisi and Borjomi.

You can get to Didube Bus Station from the centre of Tbilisi by either taking the metro or a taxi. We recommend using the Bolt taxi app to order a taxi to ensure you get a fair price.

When you arrive at Didube, look for the elevated yellow sign that you see in the picture below that says ‘Stefancminda-Kazbegy’.

If taking a taxi, you can ask your driver to drop you off in the right part of the bus station or, chances are when you are close, one of the marshrutka drivers will approach you asking if you want to go to Kazbegi.

Marshrutka going to Kazbegi
Marshrutka going to Kazbegi

The bus from Tbilisi to Stepantsminda costs 15 GEL and is paid to the driver when you board the bus. The bus timetable is almost hourly and unlike other marshrutkas in the region, they tend to leave on time even if not completely full so it’s best to get there a bit before departure to secure a spot.

The journey takes about 3 hours with a brief stop halfway where you can use the bathroom and buy snacks. The journey itself is quite spectacular and you are treated to some amazing scenery, particularly for the second half of the journey.

It is also sometimes possible to take a ‘sightseeing marshrutka’ for a higher price that includes stops at some of the attractions on the way. These don’t appear to run on a specific schedule so you’ll need to check on the day of your departure if this is an option.

By Taxi or Car

If you prefer not to take the marshrutka, then you can also find a shared or private taxi from Didube Bus Station. The prices will vary on several factors including the type of car and whether you want to stop on the way.

If you prefer to plan this trip in advance, then I suggest hiring a private driver from GoTrip. Alternatively, if you want the ultimate flexibility, you can rent a car from Localrent.

Stepantsminda & Gergeti Villages
Stepantsminda & Gergeti Villages on the way down

By Tour

You can organise a day trip in advance by joining a guided tour. Some options include this full-day tour that focuses on the main tourist attractions or this 4×4 tour if you prefer to get a bit more into nature.

You can also organise a private tour if you are travelling as a family or with friends.

mount kazbek
An illusive clear view of Mount Kazbek!

Hiking to Gergeti Trinity Church

There isn’t much to do in the actual town of Stepantsminda, so the main reason people come to Kazbegi is to explore the surrounding countryside.

Arguably one of the most popular things to do in Kazbegi is to tackle the hike to Gergeti Trinity Church. The road to the church has been improved in recent times so while it is possible to visit the church without hiking here, the highlight of our time in Kazbegi was undoubtedly some of the amazing views we got during the hike.

In fact, the church itself is nothing spectacular particularly compared to other ones you will see during your time in Georgia.

There are a few different trail options that will take you to the top of the church and I strongly suggest downloading Maps.Me so you can view all the trails offline. The first part of the hike if you’re staying in Stepantsminda is to walk to the next village which is called Gergeti. The path follows the main road out of the town and takes about 20 to 30 minutes to walk.

The most popular trail that hikers seemed to be taking to the top was the one that goes straight up the side of the hill and intersects the main road. We ended up taking this path down and wouldn’t recommend it. The path is extremely steep and the views are far inferior to what some of the other trails offer.

Instead, I recommend following the map to Gergeti Summer Cafe and taking the trail that starts there. There is a water tap to fill up bottles here.

Gergeti Summer Cafe - Start of the Trail!
Gergeti Summer Cafe – Start of the Trail!

You will see some ruins in the distance that you should walk towards. After you pass the ruins, the path will eventually break into two. We kept to the path on the left which follows the stream for the majority of the hike.

The path itself isn’t very well marked which is why having an offline map is important, particularly if you’re not an experienced hiker. The path is primarily loose rocks and at times there might be some scrambling involved so make sure you have appropriate footwear.

Spectacular views of the valley in Kazbegi
Spectacular views of the valley

During the final stretch of the hike, you will need to turn right and walk through a pasture where you will get a glimpse of the Gergeti Trinity Church. This trail actually leads to you walking around the church and hiking to it from behind so you will get a unique vantage point.

Once you view the church, it’s a short (but steep!) walk up through a cow pasture until you get to the church and can enjoy the fruits of your labour. The hike takes about one hour from Gergeti and I would say is of moderate difficulty. As long as you have a basic level of fitness you should be able to complete it.

hiking to gergeti trinity church
First glimpse of the Gergeti Trinity Church

If the hike to the church felt like a walk in the park, then you can continue your hike by walking towards the Gergeti Glacier. This is an all-day hike that will cover over 20 kilometres and take at least 8 hours.

We ended up spending about an hour at the top, enjoying the views and hoping the clouds would clear from the top of Mount Kazbek. As mentioned earlier, we took the main path back down to Stepantsminda, however, if we had our time again I would probably take the same path back that we took up.

Once back in Gergeti, there is a small shack opposite Panorama Kazbegi that serves delicious barbeque, donors and cold beers which was much needed after our hike!

Views of Mount Kazbek & Gergeti Trinity Church
Views of Mount Kazbek & Gergeti Trinity Church

Other Trips from Kazbegi

We only spent 2 nights in Kazbegi so didn’t have time to visit any of the other sites in the region. Two of the most popular places to visit as day trips from Stepantsminda are Tusco Valley and Juta Valley.

Both have unique landscapes and more hiking opportunities as well as significantly fewer visitors when compared to Stepantsminda.

To visit these places you can either other a taxi from the centre of Stepantsminda or take one of the scheduled buses organised by Mountain Freaks.

During the summer months, they organise group day trips leaving to either Tusco or Juta Valley at 9:15 am or 11:15 am and costing 45GEL per person. In the offseason, you should contact them directly to see if they have any departures or alternatively, you can organise private transport through them.

Where to Stay in Kazbegi

Guest House Kavtarashvili 38 – A lovely small family-run guesthouse, located on a quiet street a few minutes walk from the bus station. Rooms are clean, comfortable and the owners are very friendly with a delicious breakfast available.

Red Stone Guest House – This guesthouse is located between Stepantsminda and Gergeti, making it a good option if your priority is to hike to the church. Their rooms are spacious, clean and breakfast is included in the daily rate.

Rooms Hotel Kazbegi – If you want to travel to Kazbegi in style then this is the place to stay. This luxury hotel has a range of moderns rooms with spectacular views and great facilities such as a swimming pool and sauna. Even if you’re budget doesn’t allow you to stay here, you can still pop into the bar for a drink!

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other options in Kazbegi!

Rooms Hotel
Rooms Hotel

A trip from Tbilisi to Kazbegi is undoubtedly a must when travelling around Georgia if you want to see some of the spectacular Caucasus mountain range!

Are you planning a trip to Kazbegi? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!

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Michael is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Both solo and with his partner, Maggie, he has travelled to over 50 countries across the globe and has a particular affinity for the Balkans and Eastern Europe. He’s lived in numerous countries worldwide but currently resides in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia. Read more about Michael


  1. Can you share link of any maps for the trek or hike to the trinity church. I was thinking of just landing and Tblisi and going straight to Kazbegi and doing mountain side touring. Would you recommend any nice accessible mountainous city in Georgia with more nature and less buildings with nice country side villages or small cities?


  2. Beautiful hike to Gergeti Trinity Church, maps me helped a lot to find this path. We took amazing pictures along the way and next time will continue to Gergeti Glacier.

  3. I concur, Kazbegi is a spectacular destination. I was there in late January 2019 and it was whitewhitewhite! Breathtakingly beautiful. I want to return there. During heavy snowfall I stumbled upon the Green Sheep tavern and thought I’d died and gone to heaven… food for thousands and wonderful wine, beer and cheese. That was a good day.

  4. Really wish I had hiked to the church instead of driving to it. Sigh, there’s always so much to see and do and I had just 2 days in Kazbegi, sadly. What a stunning place.


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