Georgia offers history with great ancient villages

For more information, check out www.visitgeorgia.ge.

Georgia is an undiscovered gem. As it’s relatively small, it’s easy to absorb its rich mix of history, culture, nature, adventure, food and wine in one trip.

The Georgian countryside is simply gorgeous. The massive snow-capped Caucasus Mountains along the northern border feed raging rivers that carve steep valleys, clothed in dense forests. In the summer, Georgia’s mountains are a paradise for hikers, especially the Borjomi National Park, and the Kazbegi and Svaneti regions. There are routes for all abilities; some even challenge experts. The rivers have top-class white water rafting routes and there’s also great horse riding, mountain biking and, in the winter, skiing and snowboarding.

Away from the mountains, the fertile eastern plains of Kakheti are planted thick with vines for Georgia’s wines. Here, several vineyards offer wine tours and tastings, a wonderful insight into the oldest winemaking region in the world.

If it’s city life you seek, then the capital, Tbilisi, will not disappoint: It’s an easy-going capital that mixes modern and old, packed with monuments, museums, restaurants and bars. On the shores of the Black Sea sits Batumi, Georgia’s charming seaside party-town.

The scenery is stunning and varied and the traditional food is delicious. Its fascinating history has left a treasure trove of monuments throughout the land. It is also friendly, safe, and cheap: little wonder that Georgia is finally gaining a deserved reputation as a must-visit destination.

Travel tips

Georgian wine tasting: Taste the true tradition of Georgian wines at Pheasant’s Tears, which is the only commercial vineyard using the ancient method of fermenting wine in huge clay pots called qvevri. www.pheasantstears.com

Homestays: Outside of Tbilisi there are few hotels, but there are a wealth of homestays — private homes where the guests have their own room and are given an evening meal and breakfast by the host. The Georgian Tourist Office publishes a list of the best ones. www.georgia.travel

Fly to the mountains: The most beautiful places in the Caucaus Mountains are often very remote. It is part of their appeal, but traveling to them can involve long journeys on twisting narrow roads. Treat yourself and fly instead. Vanilla Sky offers several aircraft and helicopter trips into the mountains. www.vanillasky.ge

Top 3: Ancient villages

1. Ushguli : Said to be the highest permanently settled village in Europe, it has more than 20 ancient Svan stone towers and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Mutso: Hidden up a remote valley sit 30 fortified buildings clinging to the steep slopes of a narrow ridge. Although all now abandoned, the village and the views from it are spectacular.

3. Vardzia: The cave city of Vardzia was a religious settlement that once housed 2,000 monks in rooms carved out of the rockface. It covers 13 levels, connected by stone steps with the Church of the Assumption at its center.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox beat White Sox…

Red Sox walk 15 times in extra innings win

NBA

Kris Humphries on free agency, future with Celtics:…

Kris Humphries on free agency, future with Celtics: 'I hope to be back'

NBA

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery…

Celtics turn attention to NBA Draft, improve lottery odds with loss

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.