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Guide To Backpacking In Kazbegi


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Tate Griner



Welcome to Kazbegi, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the majestic Caucasus Mountains. If you’re a budget traveler seeking breathtaking landscapes, thrilling adventures, and a taste of local culture, then Kazbegi should be on your backpacking bucket list.


Formerly known as Stepantsminda, this small town in Georgia offers a unique blend of natural beauty and traditional charm. From towering snow-capped peaks to lush green valleys, Kazbegi is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker or embarking on your first adventure, Kazbegi has something to offer everyone. With its affordable accommodation options, stunning hiking trails, and rich cultural heritage, this destination is perfect for those who want to explore on a budget.


In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable backpacking trip to Kazbegi. From getting there to finding the best hiking trails, we’ll provide you with all the essential information to make your journey seamless and enjoyable.


Get ready to immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the Caucasus Mountains, experience the warm hospitality of the locals, and create memories that will last a lifetime. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and let’s embark on an incredible adventure through Kazbegi!


Planning Your Backpacking Trip to Kazbegi

Before you set off on your backpacking adventure to Kazbegi, it’s important to plan your trip carefully. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Travel Documents: Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date. Check the visa requirements for your nationality and arrange any necessary permits.
  • Best Time to Visit: The ideal time to visit Kazbegi is during the summer months of June to September when the weather is pleasant and the hiking trails are accessible. However, if you’re a fan of winter sports, the snowy months of December to March offer excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities.
  • Duration of Stay: Plan your trip to Kazbegi based on your interests and the activities you wish to partake in. A minimum of 3-4 days is recommended to explore the region and experience its highlights.
  • Budget: Determine your budget for accommodation, meals, transportation, and activities. Kazbegi offers a range of budget-friendly options, including guesthouses, homestays, and local eateries.
  • Health and Safety: Consult with your healthcare provider regarding any necessary vaccinations before traveling to Georgia. It’s also wise to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and evacuation.
  • Language: While English is not widely spoken in Kazbegi, you’ll find that locals are friendly and helpful. Learning a few basic Georgian phrases can go a long way in enhancing your interactions.
  • Currency: The currency in Georgia is the Georgian Lari (GEL). It’s advisable to carry some cash with you, as some establishments may not accept credit cards.

Once you have taken these factors into account, you can move on to the next steps of planning your trip to Kazbegi. Research the attractions and activities you want to experience, calculate your itinerary, and make necessary bookings in advance to secure the best deals.


By putting effort into planning your trip, you’ll ensure a smoother and more fulfilling backpacking adventure in Kazbegi. So, get excited for the incredible experiences that await you in this stunning corner of Georgia!


Getting to Kazbegi

Kazbegi is located approximately 160 kilometers north of the capital city, Tbilisi. While it may seem remote, getting to Kazbegi is relatively easy, and you have a few transportation options to choose from:

  • By Marshrutka: Marshrutkas are minivans or minibusses that serve as the primary mode of transportation in Georgia. From Tbilisi, you can catch a marshrutka from the Didube Bus Station to Stepantsminda, which is the main town in Kazbegi. The journey takes around 3-4 hours and offers stunning views along the way.
  • By Shared Taxi: Another popular option is to take a shared taxi from Tbilisi to Kazbegi. Shared taxis are faster than marshrutkas as they make fewer stops, and the journey typically takes around 3 hours.
  • By Private Car: If you prefer more flexibility and convenience, you can also rent a car in Tbilisi and drive to Kazbegi. The drive takes approximately 3 hours and offers the freedom to explore the area at your own pace.

Regardless of the mode of transport you choose, the route to Kazbegi is incredibly scenic, with breathtaking landscapes unfolding before your eyes. Keep your camera handy and be prepared to stop for photo opportunities along the way!


Once you arrive in Stepantsminda, the town center of Kazbegi, you can easily navigate on foot. The town is small and compact, with most attractions and services within walking distance.


It’s important to note that road conditions in Kazbegi can be challenging, especially during winter. If you’re visiting during the colder months, ensure that you are prepared for potential road closures or delays. It’s also advisable to check the weather and road conditions before your journey and have the necessary winter equipment if required.


Now that you know how to reach Kazbegi, it’s time to start planning your adventure and get ready to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Caucasus Mountains!


Accommodation Options in Kazbegi

Kazbegi offers a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for a cozy guesthouse, a comfortable hotel, or a more unique experience like a homestay, you’ll find something to meet your needs. Here are some popular options:

  • Guesthouses: Guesthouses are a common choice for budget travelers in Kazbegi. These family-run accommodations offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere, along with cozy rooms and shared facilities. They are a great way to experience local hospitality, and many guesthouses provide traditional meals for guests.
  • Hotels: If you prefer more amenities and facilities, there are several hotels in Kazbegi to choose from. These range from boutique hotels to larger establishments and offer comfortable rooms, on-site restaurants, and sometimes spa facilities. Keep in mind that hotels tend to be pricier than guesthouses.
  • Homestays: For a truly immersive cultural experience, consider staying in a homestay. This option allows you to live with a local family and get a glimpse into their daily life in Kazbegi. Homestays often include homemade meals and the opportunity to participate in traditional activities.
  • Camping: If you’re an adventurous traveler and enjoy sleeping under the stars, camping is a possibility in Kazbegi. The area offers several campsites, where you can set up your tent and enjoy the stunning surroundings. Just be sure to check if a permit or reservation is required.

When choosing your accommodation, consider factors such as location, amenities, and your budget. It’s also advisable to book in advance during peak season to secure your preferred option.


Regardless of where you choose to stay, you’ll find that the hospitality of Kazbegi is second to none. The locals are known for their warmth and friendliness, making your stay even more memorable.


Now that you know the accommodation options in Kazbegi, you can find the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate before and after your adventures in the breathtaking Caucasus Mountains.


Essential Gear and Packing List

When packing for your backpacking trip to Kazbegi, it’s important to be prepared for the varied weather conditions and outdoor activities in the region. Here is a list of essential gear and items to bring along:

  • Hiking Boots: A sturdy and comfortable pair of hiking boots is essential for exploring the trails in Kazbegi. Ensure that your boots are broken in to avoid blisters and provide proper ankle support.
  • Layered Clothing: Due to the changing weather conditions, it’s best to dress in layers. Bring lightweight, moisture-wicking t-shirts and long-sleeve tops, along with a warm fleece or jacket for cooler evenings.
  • Rain Jacket: The weather in Kazbegi can be unpredictable, so pack a waterproof and breathable rain jacket to stay dry during unexpected showers.
  • Hiking Pants: Opt for quick-drying, lightweight hiking pants that offer flexibility and protection against scratches and insect bites.
  • Sun Protection: Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the strong mountain sun.
  • Backpack: Choose a comfortable and durable backpack with adequate storage space for your essentials, including a hydration system or water bottle.
  • Snacks and Water: Pack energy bars, trail mix, and other lightweight snacks to keep yourself fueled during hikes. It’s also important to carry enough water as there may not be easily accessible sources along the trails.
  • Navigational Tools: Bring a detailed map or a GPS device to navigate the hiking trails in Kazbegi. Familiarize yourself with the routes beforehand and carry a compass in case of emergencies.
  • First Aid Kit: It’s crucial to have a basic first aid kit with band-aids, antiseptic ointment, blister pads, pain relievers, and any necessary personal medications.
  • Other Essentials: Don’t forget items such as a headlamp or flashlight, a Swiss Army knife or multi-tool, extra batteries, a portable phone charger, and a travel adapter for charging your electronic devices.

Remember, packing light and being organized will make your backpacking trip more enjoyable. Consider the duration of your stay, the activities you plan to engage in, and the accommodations you choose when finalizing your packing list.


Now that you have your gear and essentials ready, you’re all set to embark on your thrilling adventures in Kazbegi!


Hiking Trails in Kazbegi

Kazbegi is a paradise for hikers, offering a multitude of stunning trails that showcase the breathtaking beauty of the Caucasus Mountains. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced trekker, there are hiking options for every skill level. Here are some of the top hiking trails in Kazbegi:

  • Gergeti Trinity Church: This iconic trail leads to the Gergeti Trinity Church, perched on a hill with uninterrupted views of Mount Kazbek. The hike starts from Stepantsminda and takes about 3-4 hours roundtrip. The path is well-marked and offers incredible panoramic vistas along the way.
  • Mkinvartsveri (Mount Kazbek) Summit: For experienced mountaineers, summiting Mount Kazbek is a thrilling and challenging adventure. The ascent usually takes 2-3 days and requires proper mountaineering equipment and skills. The reward is reaching the 5,033-meter peak and taking in the awe-inspiring scenery.
  • Chaukhi Pass: This moderate to difficult trail takes you through the stunning Chaukhi Mountain Range. The hike offers unparalleled views of towering peaks, deep gorges, and pristine alpine lakes. The entire loop takes around 6-7 hours and is best done between June and September.
  • Abudelauri Lakes: This picturesque trail leads to the three vibrant Abudelauri Lakes, known for their striking colors. The hike starts from the village of Roshka and takes approximately 7-8 hours roundtrip. You’ll traverse lush meadows, rocky slopes, and get rewarded with stunning views of the lakes.
  • Juta to Roshka: This challenging multi-day trek takes you through the beautiful Juta Valley to the village of Roshka. Along the way, you’ll encounter alpine meadows, roaring rivers, and the magnificent Chaukhi Mountain Range. The trek usually takes 3-4 days, and camping gear is essential.

While these are just a few examples, there are many more hiking trails to explore in Kazbegi. Before embarking on any hike, be sure to check local conditions, weather forecasts, and have a trail map or guidebook. It’s also recommended to hike with a companion, wear appropriate footwear and clothing, and carry sufficient food, water, and necessary hiking equipment.


Exploring the hiking trails of Kazbegi will reward you with unforgettable views and a deep connection with nature. So, don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure and embark on a journey of exploration in this outdoor lover’s paradise!


Safety Tips for Backpacking in Kazbegi

While backpacking in Kazbegi is generally safe, it’s important to take necessary precautions to ensure a smooth and secure journey. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Be Prepared: Before setting off on any hike, familiarize yourself with the trail, weather conditions, and difficulty level. Carry appropriate gear, including a map, compass, first aid kit, extra food, and water.
  • Inform Others: Let someone know your hiking plans, including your route and expected return time. This way, in case of any emergency or delay, help can be alerted.
  • Weather Awareness: Keep an eye on weather forecasts before heading out. Weather conditions in the mountains can change rapidly, so be prepared for sudden rain, fog, or storms. If a storm approaches, seek shelter and avoid exposed areas.
  • Respect Wildlife: Kazbegi is home to diverse wildlife, including bears and wolves. While encounters are rare, it’s important to respect their natural habitat. Avoid feeding or approaching wildlife, and store your food securely to prevent attracting animals.
  • Stay on Marked Trails: Stick to designated trails and avoid venturing into unmarked or restricted areas. Straying off the path can not only endanger your safety but also harm fragile ecosystems.
  • Drink Safe Water: It’s advisable to carry a water purification system or boil water before consumption. This helps to prevent illnesses caused by contaminated water sources.
  • Trail Etiquette: Practice proper trail etiquette by yielding to uphill hikers and staying on the right side of the trail. Be respectful towards other hikers and maintain a peaceful and harmonious environment.
  • Local Customs and Culture: Respect the local customs, traditions, and culture of the people in Kazbegi. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and be mindful of your behavior and interactions with the locals.
  • Emergency Services: Save emergency contact numbers and be aware of the nearest medical facilities or emergency services in case of any mishaps or injuries.

By following these safety tips, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable backpacking experience in Kazbegi. Remember, your well-being and the preservation of the natural environment are of utmost importance.


Now that you’re aware of the safety measures, get ready to embark on an adventurous journey and create unforgettable memories in the stunning landscapes of Kazbegi!


Exploring the Local Culture and Cuisine in Kazbegi

One of the highlights of backpacking in Kazbegi is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich local culture and savor the delicious cuisine. Here’s a glimpse into the vibrant culture and mouthwatering dishes you can experience in Kazbegi:


Traditional Culture: The people of Kazbegi are proud of their cultural heritage, and you’ll find a warm and welcoming atmosphere as you explore the region. Take the time to interact with the locals, learn about their traditions, and embrace their way of life. You may have the chance to witness traditional music, dance performances, or participate in cultural festivals.


Georgian Cuisine: Georgian cuisine is renowned for its flavors and unique culinary techniques. Kazbegi offers a taste of authentic Georgian dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional dishes such as khinkali (dumplings filled with meat or cheese), khachapuri (cheese-filled bread), and chakhokhbili (stewed chicken with herbs and spices). Pair these dishes with locally produced wines and enjoy the full gastronomic experience.


Local Delicacies: In addition to Georgian cuisine, Kazbegi has some regional specialties worth trying. Don’t miss the chance to sample kada, a traditional cornbread, or tashmijabi, a hearty soup made with potatoes, cheese, and herbs. You can also find locally made honey, cheese, and jams that make for great souvenirs.


Home Stays and Guesthouses: To truly experience the local culture, consider staying in a homestay or guesthouse run by a local family. This not only gives you a glimpse into their everyday life but also offers the opportunity to indulge in traditional homemade meals prepared with love and care. Sharing meals with your hosts can be an enriching cultural exchange experience.


Explore Local Craftsmanship: Kazbegi is known for its skilled craftsmen who create beautiful handmade items, such as carpets, pottery, and wooden carvings. Take the time to browse local markets or visit artisan workshops to appreciate the craftsmanship and bring home a unique souvenir that tells the story of your visit.


Attend Cultural Events: Keep an eye out for cultural events, festivals, or celebrations happening in Kazbegi during your visit. These events provide an opportunity to witness local traditions, music, and dance performances, and immerse yourself in the celebratory atmosphere.


Exploring the local culture and cuisine in Kazbegi is a delightful way to enhance your backpacking experience. Through the flavors, traditions, and interactions with the locals, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the region and create lasting memories.


So, don’t just hike through the mountains; also dive into the vibrant culture and indulge in the mouthwatering culinary delights that await you in Kazbegi!


Recommended Itinerary for Backpacking in Kazbegi

To make the most of your backpacking adventure in Kazbegi, we have put together a recommended itinerary that covers the highlights of the region. Feel free to customize it based on your interests, time frame, and fitness level:


Day 1: Arrive in Kazbegi and settle into your accommodation. Take a leisurely stroll around the town of Stepantsminda to get acquainted with the surroundings. Visit the Gergeti Trinity Church, an iconic landmark perched on a hill with stunning views of Mount Kazbek.


Day 2: Embark on a full-day hike to the Abudelauri Lakes. Make your way from the village of Roshka to these magnificent lakes, known for their vibrant colors. Enjoy a picnic by the lakeside and soak in the breathtaking scenery before returning to Stepantsminda.


Day 3: Explore the Chaukhi Mountain Range on a challenging hike to the Chaukhi Pass. Marvel at the towering peaks, deep gorges, and alpine lakes along the route. Take in the panoramic views from the pass before descending back to Stepantsminda.


Day 4: Indulge in a day of relaxation and cultural exploration. Visit local artisan workshops and markets to discover traditional craftsmanship. Enjoy a traditional Georgian meal at a local restaurant and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the locals.


Day 5: Venture on a thrilling hike to the summit of Mount Kazbek for the ultimate mountaineering experience. This challenging trek offers breathtaking views along the route and a sense of accomplishment at reaching the 5,033-meter peak. Remember to hire a knowledgeable guide and have proper mountaineering equipment for this endeavor.


Day 6: Take a break from trekking and visit the Sno Valley. Explore the 14th-century Ananuri Fortress, stroll along the banks of the Aragvi River, and enjoy the picturesque landscapes. If time allows, visit the historic town of Mtskheta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on your way back to Stepantsminda.


Day 7: Wrap up your time in Kazbegi with a visit to the Gveleti Waterfall. Hike through beautiful woodland and enjoy the refreshing spray of the cascading waterfall. Afterward, take a moment to reflect on your incredible adventures in Kazbegi.


This itinerary provides a balanced mix of hiking, cultural exploration, and relaxation in Kazbegi. However, there are many more trails and attractions in the region to discover if you have more time available.


Remember to always check the weather and trail conditions before setting out on any hikes, and prioritize your safety throughout your journey. With this recommended itinerary, you’ll have an unforgettable backpacking experience in the stunning landscapes of Kazbegi.



Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of our comprehensive guide to backpacking in Kazbegi. By now, you have gained insights into the beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and thrilling adventures that await you in this enchanting corner of Georgia.


Kazbegi offers endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and budget travelers alike. From hiking through majestic mountains to immersing yourself in the warm hospitality of the locals, every moment in Kazbegi is filled with awe and wonder.


Remember to plan your trip carefully, considering factors such as travel documents, best time to visit, budget, and safety precautions. Pack your essential gear and prepare yourself for the breathtaking hiking trails that weave through this captivating region.


Take your time to explore the local culture and cuisine, savoring the traditional dishes and engaging with the friendly locals. Whether it’s attending cultural events, visiting artisan workshops, or dining with a local family, every experience will deepen your understanding and appreciation of Kazbegi’s unique heritage.


As you traverse the trails, admire the snow-capped peaks, meander through alpine meadows, and uncover hidden gems, Kazbegi will leave an indelible mark on your heart. The serenity of the mountains and the vibrant spirit of the region will stay with you long after your journey ends.


So, lace up your hiking boots, gather your backpack, and set off on an adventure of a lifetime in Kazbegi. Allow yourself to be captivated by the natural beauty, embrace the local culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Safe travels, fellow adventurer, and may your backpacking journey in Kazbegi be filled with wonder, discovery, and endless moments of awe.