Things to do in
Samtskhe–Javakheti

Enter your dates to find available activities

Top sights in Samtskhe–Javakheti

Our most recommended things to do in Samtskhe–Javakheti

From Tbilisi: Full-Day Tour of Vardzia, Rabati, and Borjomi

1. From Tbilisi: Full-Day Tour of Vardzia, Rabati, and Borjomi

Explore southern Georgia and see the most important monuments, including the Rabati Castle complex or the fascinating Vardzia cave complex. Visit the world-renowned Borjomi Resort. Start your tour at Rabati Castle, a 13th-century medieval castle complex, and admire the influence of different cultures reflected in the architecture. See a mosque, orthodox church, catholic church, and a synagog. Follow along the upper Mtkvari River, traversing narrow canyons at Aspindza along a stunning valley with rocky hillsides. Arrive at Vardzia, famed for its paintings and unique architecture. Tour the bell tower, main church, cave dwellings, rooms, chapels, pharmacy, and wine cellars. Finally, arrive at the Borjomi Resort, a hydro-thermal health spa resort in the southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Walk in the Borjomi Central Park and taste Borjomi mineral water which has unique healing qualities.

From Tbilisi: Vardzia, Rabati, and Borjomi Private Tour

2. From Tbilisi: Vardzia, Rabati, and Borjomi Private Tour

From Tbilisi, transfer to Borjomi and visit the Balneological health resort, situated in the south-east of Georgia in the Agura river gorge. Discover this picturesque place and its large-leaved and coniferous forests surrounded by the majestic Caucasian mountains. Borjomi is well known for its mineral waters, the source of which is situated in Borjomi Central Park, where those who wish may sample it.  Then, head towards Akhaltsikhe which is cozily situated on both banks of the small river, Potskhovi. Take a tour of this ancient city and visit Rabati Fortress, a complex consisting of many historical castles, towers, and churches. Pay special attention to the halls and marvel at the ancient Georgian architecture. In the lower part of the fortress, you will find a tourist information center, a restaurant, café, and gift shops which you may visit as you please.  Next, visit Vardzia, a cave monastery site which delves into the rock half a kilometer and rises up thirteen tiers, which are connected to each other with a complex system of tunnels. Here, see the preserved large reception hall, living quarters, book depository, wineries, water, and spring water baths. Visit the Church of the Dormition, the central spiritual and monumental focus of the site. On the same north wall are ancient portraits of the royal founders, King Giorgi III and his daughter Queen Tamar. Then, return to Tbilisi.

From Tbilisi: Vardzia Cave Tour with Guide

3. From Tbilisi: Vardzia Cave Tour with Guide

Discover the historical Vardzia Cave, excavated from the slopes of the Erusheti Mountain, which dates back to the 12th century. Explore the wonders of the cave including monk cells, a grand foyer, a treasury and even a cathedral. Trace the steps of Georgia’s first female sovereign, Queen Tamar, as you learn about the many battles that took place there. Then explore the Rabati Castle, a complex Asian-style military building that was erected in the 13th century. Learn about the sieges over the centuries that have destroyed the castle, and how it has absorbed the traces of different cultures and religions.  Continue on to the picturesque town of Borjomi to marvel at the beautiful natural landscapes of this National Park and taste the mineral water, Georgia’s number one export, that Borjomi is famous for.

From Tbilisi: Private Tour to Rabati Castle-Vardzia-Borjomi

4. From Tbilisi: Private Tour to Rabati Castle-Vardzia-Borjomi

Explore southern Georgia and see the most important monuments, including the Rabati Castle complex or the fascinating Vardzia cave complex. Visit the world-renowned Borjomi Resort. Start your tour at Rabati Castle, a 13th-century medieval castle complex, and admire the influence of different cultures reflected in the architecture. See a mosque, orthodox church, catholic church, and a synagog. Follow the upper Mtkvari River through narrow canyons at Aspindza along a valley. Arrive at Vardzia, famed for its paintings and unique architecture. Tour the bell tower, main church, cave dwellings, rooms, chapels, pharmacy, and wine cellars. Finally, arrive at the Borjomi Resort, a hydro-thermal health spa resort in the southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Walk in the Borjomi Central Park and taste Borjomi mineral water which has unique healing qualities.

From Tbilisi: Day Trip to Vardzia, Rabati and Borjomi

5. From Tbilisi: Day Trip to Vardzia, Rabati and Borjomi

Be picked up from your hotel in Tbilisi and start your day trip through southern Georgia. Your guide will be with you throughout the day as you explore 3 different locations and experience the beauty of Georgia. Your first stop will be the cave monastery site, Vardzia. While in Vardzia, you’ll see the bell tower, church, chapels, wine cellars, and cave dwellings. After Vardzia, your next stop will be Rabati Castle. The Rabati Castle is a medieval fortress in Akhaltsikhe. The fortress was constructed in the 9th century. In 2011, many of its destroyed buildings were restored. Your last stop will be Borjomi. Borjomi is a famous resort town known for its mineral water. You’ll be able to visit a traditional Georgina restaurant and taste national dishes and wine. Once your visit to Borjomi is complete, you’ll begin the journey back to Tbilisi, where you’ll be dropped off at your hotel.

From Tbilisi: 2-Day Tour to Vardzia

6. From Tbilisi: 2-Day Tour to Vardzia

1 Day: Tbilisi-Paravani Lake - Vardzia - Rabat Fortress - Borjomi (Driving distance 250 kilometers) Begin the tour from Tbilisi and have a stop at Paravani Lake (2.073 meters). Get pleasure from delightful views at Paravani, the largest and deepest lake in Georgia. Next stop will be Vardzia, grandiose cave city, one of the favorite destinations of Queen Tamar. Here, not far from the border with Turkey, see all the splendor of this tiered cave city where there are hundreds of dwellings, transitions, ladders, churches, library, dining, warehouses, workshops and where urban residents had running water and entertainment. Fifty thousand persons were able to live in this cave city. Continue your way towards Rabat fortress in Akhaltsikhe. The complex of the 9th-century was developed under the influence of different cultures over subsequent centuries and this is reflected in its architecture such as rare examples of traditional Georgian houses from the 13th-century, a mosque from 1752 and the ruins of a medrese (Islamic school). The Rabati also has a synagogue, an Armenian church and a Catholic church. Rabat was reconstructed in 2012. At the end of the day, arrive and overnight in Borjomi in either a family type guesthouse or 3-star hotel. 2 Day:  Borjomi - Gori - Uplistsikhe - Mtskheta - Tbilisi (Driving distance 250 kilometers) Tour starts from Borjomi - a spa resort famous with mineral water springs. This place is known far beyond the borders of Georgia. Go on a 1-hour walk in Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, located in central Georgia and creates an eastern border with the lesser Caucasus Mountains. Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is one of the oldest and largest of the protected areas in Georgia and became a member of the European network of protected areas. In the beginning of the 20th-century, the Russian Tsar Nikolai II built in the park his summer residence. On the way to Uplistsikhe, you will visit Joseph Stalin Museum. There is also a small house where one of the cruelest world tyrants of 20th-century was born and raised. Everything is still kept. After Gori, your next stop will be Uplistsikhe - an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia, built on a high rocky left bank of the Mtkvari River, it contains various structures dating from the early Iron Age to the late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran, as well as the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture. At the summit of the complex is a Christian basilica built of stone and brick in the 9th to 10th-centuries. Uplistsikhe cave city is the oldest populated place in Georgia. On the way back to Tbilisi, visit Mtskheta, the old capital of Georgia. Some monuments of the city are UNESCO World Heritage Site listed. In Mtskheta, visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, built in the 11th century, the main church of Mtskheta is a sacred place where the robe of Christ is being kept. Visit Jvari Monastery (6th to 7th-century), located on top of a hill above Mtskheta. The monument for its architectural and historical importance is included into the UNESCO list. Located at the precipice of a vertical cliff, Jvari Monastery is a remarkable sacred landmark visible from the ancient city Mtskheta. The building techniques and high standards of engineering, as well as the diverse decorative program of the landscaped monastery exemplify exceptional centuries - old Georgian building practices alongside a wide range of Eastern and Western aesthetic traditions. The church represents the peak of this architectural typology and serves as a model for numerous other churches. Jvari has been an important pilgrimage site since its founding and is considered one of the most sacred places in all of Caucasus.

Other Sightseeing Options in Samtskhe–Javakheti

Want to discover all there is to do in Samtskhe–Javakheti? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Samtskhe–Javakheti

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 204 reviews

A long but amazing day that's definitely worth it. Nini was a fantastic guide who made the time in the car pass quickly, and Giorgi a great and safe driver. Thank you both! Vardzia and Rabati are both absolutely amazing, so glad we went! Borjomi water didn't taste as bad as I thought it would :) The countryside also deserves a mention, the scenery is just beautiful in that region.

We've got a great tour guide that made all this tour colorful and gave us a personal view. He made the history more accessible and easy to remember. If you get the chance, ask for Nico the poet!

Vardzia and Rabati was an amazing sight and experience. We didn't get to see much of Borjomi as we only arrived at Borjomi after it was dark and most of the shops were closed.

what a great excursion. guide Niko is incomparable, charisma, knowledge, experience. I am very grateful to him and the company.

A very enjoyable and informative tour of the cave city of Vardzia, the fortress at Rabati and Borjomi spa town.