Embark on an awe-inspiring journey to the majestic Gergeti Trinity Church, beautifully silhouetted against the backdrop of the towering Mount Kazbegi (5,054 meters (16,581 ft) above at sea level). To make the most of this potentially full-day trip to Stepantsminda, it is advisable to set off early in the morning. Please ensure to take a warm jacket with you, as the temperature might be quite chilly up there.
It would be prudent to rent a car or hire a local driver for this trip. Although the journey spans 158 kilometers (98.18 miles) and might take only 3-4 hours one way, allocating some extra time for intermediate stopovers will allow you to immerse fully in the rich experiences en route.
Your journey offers a range of enriching stopovers:
Begin your journey with a visit to Ananuri, known for its stunning views of the Zhinvali Dam. Brave the deep waters if you wish to swim, but do exercise caution because the water is deep and might be relatively cold. The central dome-styled Church of the Virgin, built in 1689, beckons with its decorative facades and remnants of frescoes scarred by an 18th-century fire. You should be able to explore the site within half an hour. The elevation here is 893 meters.
Take a mid-journey break at the Pasanauri village, nestled halfway between Ananuri and Gergeti. It’s an ideal spot to recharge and indulge in authentic Georgian cuisine. Visit the original Pasanauri restaurant famous for its khinkali.
Gudauri is your next stop. Renowned for its winter ski resorts and paragliding, it offers breathtaking mountain vistas. The Russia–Georgia Friendship Monument is worth a visit for a refreshing gust of mountain air. The elevation here is 2,200 meters (7,200 feet) above sea level. Parking is about 5 GEL.
The culmination of your journey is the 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church. You can either ascend to the church via a challenging hike up the hill or by driving a vehicle. Situated at an elevation of 2170 meters (7120 feet), the church lies beneath Mount Kazbegi.
While entry is free, female visitors should ensure their heads are covered in adherence to Christian tradition, and wearing pants for women is not allowed. Revel in the mesmerizing scenery around the church, stroll amidst the Alpine grass, and savor the crisp, clean air.
On your return journey, you could optionally unwind at a restaurant in Stepantsminda or head directly back to Tbilisi, reaching by nightfall.