David Gareja Monastery

Enter your dates to find available activities

David Gareja Monastery: Our most recommended tours and activities

Off-road Tour to David Gareja Monastery and Rainbow Mountain

1. Off-road Tour to David Gareja Monastery and Rainbow Mountain

Go on a one-day tour to the David Gareja Monastery complex. This short but eventful journey will allow you to explore one of the most ancient and important religious sites in Georgia. Davit-Gareja cave city, an extraordinary site with fantastic semi-desert landscapes, is located 100km south-east from Tbilisi, and it was founded in the 6th Century by David (St. David Garejeli). The complex of temples stretches for several kilometers in the south-east of the country and along the border with Azerbaijan. The David Gareja Monastery is unique due to the fact that many of its buildings are cut into a huge tilted rock and some of its temples still preserve millenary frescos. Be ready to walk and climb on uneven ground. The walking route last approximately 8 km (5 miles). On the way back, you will stop at a nice cozy house for lunch (not included) and for a wine tasting.

David Gareji Monastery and Signagi Wine Tasting Private Tour

2. David Gareji Monastery and Signagi Wine Tasting Private Tour

Depart Tbilisi and travel to a dry desert region surrounded by hills and only inhabited by a few shepherds. Arrive at the historic David Gareji Monastery complex, founded by hermits who chose a secluded life in the early Middle Ages. Take an optional hike to the top of the hill separating Georgia and Azerbaijan, and get stunning views of the surroundings as you look for more of the abandoned caves. Continue to the small town of Signagi overlooking the Alazani Valley and Caucasian Mountains. Stroll the narrow streets to buy souvenirs and enjoy lunch at leisure. Sample the local Marani wine and an authentic chacha (brandy) at a traditional winery and learn the history of wine making in Georgia. Visit the nearby convent at Bodbe, famed as an important site of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians. Return to Tbilisi via a village that makes the local churchkhela candies to try some of the best sweet treats in Georgia!

From Tbilisi: David Gareja Monastery and Sighnaghi Tour

3. From Tbilisi: David Gareja Monastery and Sighnaghi Tour

In the morning, the guide and driver will pick you up from your accommodation in Tbilisi (if you choose the private option), or alternatively meet the tour group at Europe Square. Then, head to the David Gareja complex via Sagarejo village. Turning from the Eastern main road, drive on a dirt road to the semi-desert. The complex was established in the 6th century AD by one of the 13 Assyrian monks and expanded through the centuries. Here, have a tour of the caves and monasteries. On your way to Signagi, you’ll visit the Bodbe monastery. The monastery is one of the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia, due to its association with St. Nino, the 4th-century female evangelist in Georgia. In Sighnaghi, a small town surrounded by 18th-century defensive walls and remnants of fortifications, take a relaxing walk in the town, explore the defensive wall and fortifications, and enjoy the views of Alazani Valley. In the evening, drive back to your place of stay or Europe Square in Tbilisi.

Tbilisi: David Gareja Monastery Full-Day Tour

4. Tbilisi: David Gareja Monastery Full-Day Tour

Discover some of the most important sites of the historic Kakheti region in eastern Georgia, home to the rock-hewn Davit-Gareja Monastery Complex and the beautiful Alazani Valley. Following an early morning departure from Tbilisi, drive to the Gareja Desert, a distance of approximately 60 miles (100 kilometers). Here, you will discover the rock-cut Davit-Gareja Orthodox Monastery complex, established in the 6th century by David, one of the 13 Assyrian monks that preached the name of Christ. Located in a semi-desert, the complex consists of 19 religious buildings, the oldest being the Lavra Monastery, where St. David is buried. Learn how Mongol invaders destroyed and looted the complex in the 13th century, and how it was later restored by the Georgian kings. Marvel at the hundreds of cells, chapels, refectories, and living quarters hollowed out of the rocks. Then, continue to Sighnaghi, stopping en route at the village of Badiauri to see a demonstration of how Georgian bread is baked. Upon arrival in Sighnaghi, visit the holy Bodbe Monastery, where St. Nino is buried. Learn how she brought Christianity to Georgia in the 4th century, and the legend of her healing properties. Nestled among cypress trees, the monastery affords stunning views of the Alazani Valley. End your tour by exploring the city of Sighnaghi, founded by King Erekle II in 1772. You will see buildings in the style of southern Italian Classicism, with Georgian elements. Known as the “City of Love,” Sighnaghi is one of Georgia’s most compact towns, with delightful red-roof tiles and panoramic views of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. Transfer back to Tbilisi for the end of your tour services.

From Tbilisi: David Gareji Monastery Where Time Stands Still

5. From Tbilisi: David Gareji Monastery Where Time Stands Still

The Davit Gareji Monastery complex was founded in the first half of the 6th century by one of the holy Assyrian fathers - David. The settlement of David in one of the caves was the beginning of the foundation of that religious and cultural center, which numbered 12 monasteries once. The complex of Davit Gareji carved into the rock is one of the largest among such carved complexes. The monastery of Bertubani is one of the cave monasteries in the Davit Gareji complex, the painting of which arouses the interest among visitors. The monastery of St. John the Baptist is also located in the Davit Gareji complex, 12 kilometers west from the lavra of David, is a single complex carved into the rock. It was founded in the 6th and 7th centuries by a disciple of David Garedjeli, Lucian. Then, visit the medieval Udabno (desert) Monastery in the Davit Gareji complex. The cave monastery encompasses many cell churches. The main structure of the ensemble is the Church of the Virgin Mary. In the monastery, there is a painting preserved in which the life cycle of David Garedjeli was recorded for the first time. The oldest layer of the main temple painting dates from the second half of the 10th century.    

Tbilisi: Day Tour to Kakheti: David Gareja and Signagi Town

6. Tbilisi: Day Tour to Kakheti: David Gareja and Signagi Town

Meet your guide at 9:00 AM at the requested place within Tbilisi and begin your adventure with a drive to the Kakheti region.   Itinerary:  Experience David Gareja Lavra Monastery Complex, founded in the 6th century by the Assyrian father David. It soon became one of the most sacred place for Georgians. By the 12th century, several thousand monks lived and worked here. They carved hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters out of the rock face. Next, take a 2-hour hike to David Gareja Udabno Monastery Complex, where you can see fascinating frescoes painted on the cave walls from the 10th to 13th centuries, rock-hewn churches, chapels and caves.  Then, continue to the beautiful small town of Signagi, also known as Sighnaghi. Signagi is surrounded by defensive walls where you can walk around and explore the beautiful Alazani Valley. Try local organic Georgian wines and food (at your own expense) before heading back to Tbilisi in the evening.

Other Sightseeing Options in David Gareja Monastery

Want to discover all there is to do in David Gareja Monastery? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about David Gareja Monastery

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 78 reviews

Great experience. Alex, the tour guide, has an amazing knowledge about the history and Georgian culture and you can tell he is passionate about organizing those trips. The trip was very relaxing, Alex gave us a lot of space to make decisions about where we want to go and what we want to see. The David Gareja destination is one of the kind, off-the beat. If you're looking for a hidden gem in Georgia, this is it! Nobody knows about this place, but locals. Enormous landscape with colorful mountains, you take a hike there away from any civilization and you feel like on another planet. On our way back we stopped by an amazing winery with delicious food.

10/10 Amazing experience! Very different from the other tours from Tbilisi. Very unique and very recommended. Aleksi was very nice and very passionate about the tour. The view of the mountains and the whole area was so breathtaking and so worth it. i would definitely try it again if i come back to Georgia. Recommending good shoes as there is a little bit of hiking. Thank you very much Aleksi for an amazing tour!

Beautiful tour... Full of adventure.. Aleksi was a spectacular guide. Full of information. He was extremely attentive to our needs....allowed us to enjoy the tour at our pace. I highly recommend this tour and more importantly Aleksi as a guide.

Awesome tour! We spent an amazing day wandering around truly remarkable places with an extremely knowledgeable and passionate guide. The tour is definitely a must-do from Tbilisi if you want to safely explore less touristy areas of Georgia.

Everything was awesome and we understood everything our guide had to say, we experienced more than we expexted, the driver was skilled and very good too