A trip to the Gergeti Trinity Church brings you to the heart of the Caucasus, where the air is clean and the adventure begins
After two of my best friends and I decided to book some flights anywhere around the world, we ended up planning a road trip in Georgia and visiting the Gergeti Trinity Church, one of the most underrated and extraordinary places in Europe. This ex-Soviet country may not be too popular on the news, but due to its very inexpensive costs of living, magnificent and untouched landscapes and delicious cuisine, Georgia was the place to go.
We did a 5-day road trip through the Caucasus and encountered some of the most beautiful and pristine landscapes – specially during Winter.
The easternmost part of Europe
With visa restrictions practically non existent for European travelers, Georgia has become a very popular destination for digital nomads and long term backpackers.
Furthermore, flights with budget airlines like WizzAir can be as cheap as 20 EUR one way, so there is practically no excuse to not include this country on your bucket list.
On one side, the country has a pristine coastline next to the Black Sea, which makes a beach holiday in this part of the world a combination of Ibiza in the 90’s with a post-soviet influence in the atmosphere. On the other, its large and almost untouched mountain ranges brings you to the heart of the Caucasus – a region where the air is as clean as anywhere else in the country and adventures begin.
However, Georgia’s biggest highlight is located next to the Russian border. In the north of the Khevi region nex to the town of Stepandsmidna, the Gergeti Trinity Church stands as one of the landmarks of the country and one of the most beautiful churches in the world.
A journey to the roof of Europe’s border
The Gergeti Trinity Church is a must if you are planning a road trip in Georgia. This 14th century structure stands at a height of 2100 meters under Mount Kazbek. Its unique location surrounded by impressive landscapes will leave you speechless and the beauty of the church itself will make you believe in the existence of a God.
The town of Gergeti and the small city of Stepandsminda are located just some kilometers away from the church. Stepandsminda is mostly known as a getaway for Russian and Georgian families. The city offers modern cafes, nice restaurants and a cozy winter atmosphere.
Even though the church is well visible at a distance from almost anywhere in the town, its complicated landscape and dense paths makes it be further away than one might think. While Google Maps indicate that the church is only 2 kilometers away from Gergeti, expect to walk for at least one hour. The roads do not help that much either, traveling with a car to the Gergeti Trinity church can take up to 30 minutes and depending on the weather conditions, you might even have to hire a local driver to get up.
In any way, a trip to the Gergeti Trinity Church can be the perfect hike for a sunny Summer day or a more adventurous expedition on Winter.
Read more: 21 tips for a road trip in Georgia
The road makes the journey unforgettable
The trip to Stepandsminda is an incredible experience as well. While a private van or group tours are offered by several tour companies at the old city of Tbilisi, I would totally recommend renting a car and going by yourself. This is exactly what we did and after a couple of traffic jams and one or two scares, I still think this was the right decision.
Stepandsminda is located about three hours from the capital city. But don’t worry. On the way to the Gergeti Trinity Church you will pass beautiful locations like Ananuri, a beautiful castle from the 13th century located only 70 kilometers from Tbilisi.
The castle offers amazing views of the Zhinvali reservoir and is perfect for a quick stop to get some air and taste a local bite.
A little further you can see the Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument, a Soviet monument built in 1983 celebrating the good relationships between the two neighboring countries. This is also one of the most beautiful spots in the area, at the monument is surrounded by the Caucasus´ most magnificent natural landscapes.
Other stops along the way are the town of Stepandsminda, the city of Mtskheta, which has been recognize by the UNESCO as one of the most beautiful places in Georgia and the many different viewpoints along the way.
Without a doubt, the Gergeti Trinity Church needs to be on your to-do list for Georgia, but I also think this destination is a good excuse to start planning a trip to Georgia and experience the magnificence of the Caucasus by yourself.
Read more: How to plan a road trip in Azerbaijan
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