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
Local

Two young children killed in deadly Queens fire

Two 4-year-old children died after a blaze at their Far Rockaway home on Saturday night. The Queens fire injured three others, including a third sibling.

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.