Bakuriani is one of the most beautiful winter resorts with coniferous forests covered with snow, ski routes, cozy guest-houses, little cafes, narrow streets with people selling honey and cone jam, the lovely “cuckoo” train and the fresh mountain air which is so health-giving, for lungs in particular.
Bakuriani is located 180 km from Tbilisi in Borjomi gorge, 1700 meters above sea level. It is only 30 km from Borjomi to Bakuriani and on your way there you have a brilliant chance to catch a glimpse of some truly magnificent views.
The entertaining and vacationing season starts in December and lasts to the end of March in Bakuriani, the remarkable nature, climate and awesome location of which attracts visitors in summer, too. The fir-grove is a wonderful asylum to escape the summer heat while the blossoming of pine-trees in May is special time of respite for people with lung and bronchi problems.
The Bakuriani resort became famous in the 1930s for its children’s sanatorium of children and skiing infrastructure. There is also a botanical garden founded with the remarkable collection of Alpen flora.
It is an ideal place for family holidays and active relaxation– skiing, snowboarding and skating. Extremists can enjoy the ATV and snowmobile tours. For entertainment, you can also ride in a hot air balloon, enjoy horse riding, and visit the cinema. The amusement park, with three entertainment zones: Tubing land, Ski land and Baby land is a true delight for children.
The special highlight of Bakuriani is the narrow gauge railway Borjomi-Bakuriani “Cuckoo Train” constructed in 1898-1901. It is really impressive to take this train and venture through the mountains. Special “Porter” type steam-engines were first brought from England for this purpose, though since it has been replaced with a motor engine.
If you decide to spend your winter holidays in Bakuriani, it is advisable to book accommodation in advance. There are a number of hotels and guest-houses, and it is also possible to rent a flat or cottages. Most hotels serve delicious food and have a cozy atmosphere. Prices in guest-houses range from 40 to 120 USD.
Bakuriani is a place to get unforgettable skiing memories and if you are a beginner or need to get more experience, it is possible to take lessons with skiing instructors.
There are several ski routes with modern infrastructure:
Kokhta Hill is located at an altitude of 2,155 meters above sea level and is served by a two-seat chair lift and two drag lifts- the so called Bugels. Red and black runs are located here and descend from the top of the peak down to the mid-level cable car, where blue runs and beginners nursery slopes can be found.
Kokhta 2 (Tatra)
The mountain of Kokhta 2 (2,255 m) is known in Bakuriani as Tatra. The red and blue pistes here run for 1.8 km.
Twenty-five is an area of easy skiing located on the Circular, near the old 25-meter ski-jump which gives the area its name. Here, beginners and children can learn to ski in a safe and pleasant environment, surrounded by the mighty Caucasus Mountains. You can also toboggan and sledge here, or take a horse drawn sleigh-ride through the ancient forests.
Didveli, on one of Europe’s highest mountains, Mount Sakvelo, holds one of the most picturesque views. From here you can catch a gondola to the slopes of Mount Sakvelo, and ski down on a range of blue and red routes. The longest piste here stretches to around 4 km. Advanced skiers can continue further up the mountain by catching a chairlift at the top of the gondola to almost the very top of Mount Sakvelo itself. Here, you can enjoy stretching your ski-legs on very steep and difficult red and black runs.
Gudauri’s ski resort is a real paradise for winter holidays. The season starts in December and lasts til late spring. In this period the thickness of snow reaches approximately 2 meters. The first artificial snowmaking on the slopes in Gudauri took place in 2014 – 2015 as a result of which, the season has been prolonged to five months, from December to April.
The skiing territory of Gudauri is huge and can put together 15,000 skiers at the same time. For skiing enthusiasts Gudauri is a real paradise, with 60 km of tracks of various levels of difficulty, marked and prepared using snowcats. For professionals there are the slalom tracks, the giant-slalom, the super-giant slalom, and the speed slope. All of the tracks are FIS certified. Gudauri is also renowned for its freeriding opportunities down the virgin slopes. The deep snow and the absence of stones and any avalanche risk make Gudauri an extraordinary place for freeriding. Extremists can take extra doses of adrenaline on the ice walls in the Snow Park which is the first locale for such activities in the Caucasus.
The beautiful winter resort of Gudauri, located on the southern slopes of the Caucasus Mountain Range, despite being located in a high mountainous region, often experiences warm and sunny weather. The resort offers high quality skiing opportunities. The highest point for skiing is 3,250 meters above sea level and the lowest is 2,050 meters. The slopes of Gudauri are completely above the tree line, best for free-riders, and are generally considered to be avalanche-safe. Heliskiing is also available throughout the season and this sporting activity attracts lots of tourists to this resort.
It is also possible to rent special sports equipment and take skiing lessons.
For active winter relaxation the resort has good infrastructure, including comfortable and reliable cable-ways which can put together 8,000 people at the same time and provide a comfortable service.
Prices in guest-houses range from 30 – 130 USD, while in three or four-star hotels prices start from 300 GEL. The average price in hostels is 25 GEL.
If you want to organize calm winter holidays in a unique climate and watch the planet Venus even in the daytime – the resort Abastumani is a perfect destination for you. This mining-balneological resort is located in 220 km from Tbilisi on the southern slopes of the Meskheti Range, 1,270-1,340 meters above sea level.
Pine-tree forests covered with snow looks like a Christmas fairy tale. It is a true delight to stroll there and catch a glimpse of the fascinating views.
The prestigious Georgian composer Zakaria Paliashvili created his opera “Daisi” in Abastumani, which was one of the most well-organized resorts of that time. Abastumani had numerous visitors before the 1990s and it must come as pleasant news that the rehabilitation process of Abastumani will begin this year. Some important landmarks will have their authentic look returned, including a nunnery in Romanov’s Palace. This building is really quite unique, as it was constructed without even a single nail.
The thermal waters of Abastumani are world-famous and curative for many diseases, including rheumatic, neural and dermatological problems. There is also a bath-house, dating back to the times of the Russian Kings, which is supplied with natural Sulphur waters.
In ancient times Abastumani used to be a residency of King (Queen) Tamar. Later, some representatives of Russia’s Royal Family undertook a course of medical treatment there. Among them was Giorgi Romanov, who left the throne because of serious lung disease and settled in Abastumani. Two-storey summer and winter palaces were built in this period. Giorgi Romanov added greatly in his contribution to establishing and developing a resort in Abastumani.
Abastumani, with its surroundings, is regarded as an etalon of ecologically clean nature with unique atmospheric conditions – high transparency of air, windless weather and clear nights. As a result of such climate, the first mining astrophysical observatory in the Soviet Union was introduced there in 1932, 5km from Abastumani, located 1,700 meters above sea level.
The Observatory has been running wide-profile studies ever since and visitors have an opportunity to view a telescope with a 40-sm refractor lens. There are also 15 telescopes and various equipment for atmospheric research.
The observatory is a unique place in Europe and it is highly recommended for tourists to visit this site, take a guided tour and observe celestial bodies at night. The Observatory is also home to lots of extremely important discoveries: two comets, some small planets, 8 new stars and several groups of stars have so far been discovered from there. Brand new equipment – a camera for shooting the whole sky, and a meteor-station -were installed in the Observatory not long ago and now it is possible to shoot the whole sky and get meteorological information in a 24-hour regime.
There are six guest-houses in Abastumani, and prices per night start from 50 GEL. It is also possible to stay in privately owned houses for approximately 20 GEL.