“The customer is always right”
The above quote perfectly illustrates Georgians’ famous hospitality. Stories of locals welcoming tourists into their homes for a supra (feast) have long since circulated among travellers. Proud of their origin, Georgians are happy to talk about their culture and history. And although free accommodation has mostly been replaced by more typical tourist stays, you’ll still learn most about Georgia from its inhabitants. Don’t be afraid to ask for directions, restaurant recommendations or for the best accommodation in the area.
“It takes a village to raise a child”
Another quote that applies to Georgia and one that illustrates how welcome visiting families are. Georgians love children and it’s customary here for everyone – no matter their age, profession or whether or not they are a parent themselves – to keep an eye on children as they play. You’ll find plenty of helping hands on offer, along with plenty of head-strokes, high-fives and cuddles for the younger members of your group.
Check attractions for families in Georgia
The Caucasus – a year-round destination
Georgia is well worth visiting at any time of the year, so if your children don’t tolerate heat very well, there is still plenty to do here in winter, autumn and spring. A winter visit offers the ideal opportunity to try the Georgian ski slopes, which boast excellent views and skiing conditions at prices far lower than the. popular European ski resorts. Bakuriani or Gudauri are perfect for winter fun with children, and there are plenty of wintertime trekking opportunities offering breathtaking panoramas – plan for when when the snow melts a bit.
The higher peaks are a good option for adults and experienced teenagers, while, for the youngest, Racha is ideal. This picturesque region, is known as Georgian Switzerland and is full of greenery, forests, lakes, waterfalls, glaciers and caves. Plus, of course, beautiful views of the mountain peaks nearby. We recommend the town of Oni as a base for excursions in the area.
As much as 70% of Georgia is mountainous, making it hard to narrow down trail suggestions. However, the list must surely. include Svaneti, known for its mediaeval defensive towers. The UNESCO-listed region impresses both children and adults from the very beginning with its winding paths and changing landscapes. The capital of Svaneti is Mestia and it is here that many trails around the area start.
Tbilisi or Batumi?
The capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations and there is plenty on offer here to keep children entertained. Take the cable car to the ancient Narikala Castle. You’ll find a botanical garden right next to it and, while you are here, it is also worth taking a walk around Leghvtakhevi waterfall. Another interesting attraction can be found at the leaning clock tower where you can enjoy a short show every hour, on the hour. Don’t miss the puppet theatre of Rezo Gabriadze.
During your walk, look for colourful murals – you can download a map of the area’s vibrant street art. Tbilisi also has a museum of science, as well as – weather permitting – water sports. Lisi Lake, Kus Tba Lake and the Tbilisi Sea (actually a reservoir) are all great for an active afternoon.
If you’re interested in authentic Georgian cuisine then read our article dedicated to where to find local specialties in Tbilisi.
There is a train service between Tbilisi and Batumi, offering a trip that lasts a few hours and leads through the Suram Pass. Batumi is a seaside resort, famous for its promenade and attractions such as a Ferris wheel, Alphabet Tower and the moving statues of Ali and Nino – be warned that the beaches here are rocky, rather than sandy. Make time to ride the Argo gondola to the viewpoint and, in warmer months, you can enjoy evening sound and light shows at the fountain on Lake Ardagani.
Undoubtedly, one of Georgia’s greatest attractions are its rock cities. Visiting them is an excellent history lesson for children of all ages, offering the chance to explore h a different landscape and the possibility of climbing a rock labyrinth. The oldest rock city is Uplistsikhe, dating all the way back to the Bronze Age. The area covers several hectares and was once inhabited by as many as 20,000 people! The David Gareja rock monastery, dating from the 6th century, is also a popular destination.
The country’s semi-arid areas are a good place for family trekking. Vardzia is located in the Lesser Caucasus and is a medieval urban centre that used to be a shelter for local residents. An earthquake in 1283 uncovered a mysterious city in the rock, full of labyrinths to explore and, during the trip, you can meet the monks still living in the area.
While we’re on the subject of labyrinths and caves, it’s worth mentioning the Prometheus Cave in Kumistavi. This one-day trip will certainly provide plenty of memories for both big and small tourists. The cave was discovered at the end of the 20th century and now attracts visitors from around the world – there is also a small light show for tourists here.
Singing, dancing and… cows!
When travelling around Georgia, prepare yourself to meet some extremely important inhabitants – its cows! It is worth remembering that they often roam the streets of towns and villages and may lie on the road. They are usually friendly, well accustomed to traffic and noise, but do remember that in Georgia, cows have priority, so be careful when driving, especially on bends. Free-roaming cows, goats and sheep are a big attraction for children, but we advise safety first when approaching them and recommend always keeping kids under close supervision.
Feeling tired after a day of sightseeing? Georgia feasts in the evening, often accompanied by traditional songs and dances that are a beautiful spectacle for tourists who willingly join in the fun. Let yourself be carried away by traditional Georgian rhythms – children are usually the first to appear in the middle of the dance floor!