Georgia in winter is something that should absolutely be added to your travel bucket list. Many people come to Georgia for the Spring/Summer months and of course, autumn to experience the Rtveli wine harvest, but did you know that winter in Georgia has something pretty spectacular to offer all types of travellers too? From adventure seekers to culinary tourists – Georgia is an off the beaten path winter destination worth discovering.
In this article, we will explore some of the top reasons to visit Georgia in winter. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures in the snow or cozying up with a glass of wine by the fireplace, Georgia has something to offer every winter traveller.
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Climate in Georgia during Winter
Georgia, nestled between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, offers a unique winter experience. With its diverse landscape, the country experiences a wide range of climates.
You can also listen to our When To Visit Georgia Podcast episode for our insider’s look into all the seasons in Georgia.
Average Temperature of Georgia in Winter
During the winter months, Georgia experiences varying temperatures across different regions. In the lowland areas, such as Tbilisi, the average temperature ranges from 0°C to 5°C (32°F to 41°F). In the mountainous regions, such as Svaneti and Kazbegi, temperatures can drop significantly, often reaching below freezing point. So make sure you prepare and pack appropriately for the locations you plan to visit.
Winter in Georgia brings moderate to high levels of rainfall. Georgia generally receives an average of 70 to 120 mm (2.8 to 4.7 inches) of rainfall during the winter months. The coastal areas, including Batumi, tend to receive higher rainfall compared to the inland regions. But, to be honest, it’s been a wet and random weather year this year – so who knows what will happen!
Snowfall in Georgia
It’s not very well known, but, Georgia is a great place for affordable skiing in Europe and decent snowfall is a common occurrence in Georgia each year. The higher elevations of the Caucasus Mountains are covered in a thick blanket of snow, making it a paradise for winter photography and winter sports enthusiasts. Popular ski resorts like Gudauri and Bakuriani attract both locals and tourists who enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and other fun winter activities.
Snowfall in Tbilisi and other lowland areas is relatively rare, but when it does snow, it adds a beautiful touch to the cityscape.
Overall, Georgia’s winter climate offers a mix of mild temperatures in the lowlands and snowy landscapes in the mountains.
Winter Activities in Georgia
Georgia offers a plethora of winter activities for travellers seeking adventure and relaxation. From powdery white ski slopes to fun winter tours, Georgia is a winter wonderland waiting to be explored. Here are some of the top winter activities that will make your visit to Georgia truly unforgettable.
Skiing and Snowboarding
As I mentioned before, Georgia is great for skiing and offers ski resorts that cater to both beginners and seasoned skiers or snowboarders. Gudauri, located in the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, is renowned for its well-groomed slopes and breathtaking panoramas.
Another popular option for skiing and snowboarding in Georgia is Bakuriani, located on the northern slope of the Trialeti Range. Bakuriani is the 2nd biggest ski resort in Georgia and offers many different ski runs with different levels of difficulty for all skiers. From beginner through to advanced there’s something for everyone. You can also find, ice skating, sledding, horseback riding adventures, and lots of things catered to family winter holidays in Georgia.
–> Looking for a ski tour in Gudauri? Here’s a popular tour to consider
Snowshoeing and Winter Hiking
If you prefer a slower pace and want to immerse yourself in Georgia’s stunning winter landscapes, snowshoeing and winter hiking are perfect options. Explore the lesser-travelled trails of Svaneti, Kazbegi, or Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park and enjoy the tranquillity of Georgian nature. A popular tour option (December-March) among winter hiking enthusiasts is guided treks to Mount Kazbek or the Gergeti Trinity Church for a truly picturesque and unforgettable experience.
–> Book your snowshoeing tour in Kazbegi here
Winter Wine Tasting
Georgia, often referred to as the cradle of wine, offers a unique opportunity for wine lovers to indulge in winter wine tasting experiences. As many vineyards lie dormant waiting for the spring, wineries still open their doors to visitors seeking to sample exceptional Georgian wines by a toasty fireplace. Head to Kakheti, the country’s premier wine region, to savour rich reds, aromatic whites, and traditional Georgian amber wines. Or discover other wine regions including, Bolnisi, Racha, or Imereti, and warm your soul with a delicious wine-tasting experience. Many wineries also offer cellar (marani) tours, where you can learn about the ancient winemaking techniques that have been passed down through generations, and you can also enjoy a family cooked meal.
–> Looking for a tour? Check out our NEW Georgia Winter Wine Tour Here!
Sulphur Baths Tbilisi and Hot Springs in Georgia
Enjoying Tbilisi’s sulphur baths and hot springs in Georgia is a top winter activity that is both relaxing and rejuvenating. Plus it’s one of our favourite things to do in the winter in Georgia!!!
Nestled amidst the charming cobblestone streets of Tbilisi, these ancient baths offer a unique and therapeutic experience. The soothing heat and the mineral-rich waters not only melt away the winter chill but also invigorate your body, leaving you refreshed and ready to wader the historical streets of Tbilisi. Whether you’re seeking respite from the cold or simply indulging in a timeless tradition, Georgia’s sulfur baths and hot springs provide an unforgettable winter escape that combines history, culture, and wellness in one delightful package.
Top places to visit include:
Tbilisi: The capital city is renowned for its historic sulfur baths, located in the Abanotubani district. The most famous one is the Orbeliani Bathhouse, where you can relax in warm sulfuric water in a luxurious setting. Make sure you get a scrub (kisi) and massage, you’ll walk out sparkling and rejuvenated.
Borjomi: Borjomi is not just famous for its mineral water but also for its thermal baths. The Borjomi Mineral Water Park has a spa center with hot sulfur baths, providing a rejuvenating experience in a beautiful park setting.
–> Day trips to the Borjomi sulphur bath can be found here
Winter Attractions in Georgia
Tbilisi – Winter in Tbilisi
Many people ask if Tbilisi is worth visiting in the winter and the answer is 100% yes! Tbilisi transforms into a magical wonderland during the winter months. The city is adorned with dazzling Christmas lights, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere. Take a stroll or a walking tour through the charming cobbled streets of the Old Town and admire the beautiful traditional buildings and Italian courtyards. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Narikala Fortress, which offers panoramic views of the city covered in a blanket of snow. But make sure you wear appropriate footwear – it’s beautiful but can get slippery up there!
Indulge in Georgian delicacies at cozy traditional restaurants, where you can savour belly warming dishes like khinkali (dumplings) and khachapuri (cheese-filled bread), khacho (beef & walnut stew), and ostri (beef (sometimes veal) tomato stew). And don’t forget to experience the best of Georgian traditional culture by seeing traditional Georgian dance performances and vibrant music performances that often take place in popular Georgian restaurants even during the winter season.
Svaneti – A Winter Wonderland
Svaneti, a picturesque mountain region in Georgia, becomes a true winter wonderland during the colder months. With its majestic snow-capped peaks, medieval towers, and pristine alpine landscapes, Svaneti offers a winter experience like no other.
Hit the slopes in Mestia, and enjoy thrilling skiing and snowboarding adventures in the renowned ski resorts of Hatsvali and Tetnuldi. For those seeking a more tranquil experience, take a peaceful hike through the snow-covered forests, surrounded by jaw-dropping mountain vistas. Immerse yourself in the rich Svan culture by visiting the local museums and learning about the region’s fascinating history.
Must try dishes in Svaneti include Kubdari (Meat Bread), and Tashmijabi (Cheesy Potatoes). There is also a regional version of Khachapuri that you should try as well!
Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
For nature lovers, a visit to the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is a must during the winter season. This vast protected area is known for its diverse flora and fauna, making it a haven for lovers of the outdoors.
Go for a chilly but stunning stroll and discover the national park’s hidden gems, including frozen waterfalls and rivers. And don’t forget that you can relax and rejuvenate in the park’s natural hot springs, known for their healing properties. It’s a worthwhile treat after a long walk. Note: there is a fee to enter the park and additional fees to use the hot springs.
Whether you prefer vibrant city life, snowy mountain adventures, or immersing yourself in nature, Georgia has it all during the winter season….what I’ve mentioned here is just the tip of the iceberg (yay winter puns!)
Winter Cuisine in Georgia
When it’s cold outside there is nothing better than Georgian food! Georgian cuisine is known for its rich flavours, hearty ingredients, and unique culinary traditions. During winter in Georgia, you can find a mouthwatering selection of dishes and warm beverages that are guaranteed to warm both your body and soul.
Traditional Georgian Winter Dishes
Georgian winter cuisine is all about comfort and indulgence. Here are a few traditional dishes that will leave you wanting more:
- Khinkali: These mouthwatering dumplings are a true winter staple in Georgia. Filled with a flavorful mix of meat, herbs, spices, and sometimes cheese, potato, and mushrooms, khinkali are often enjoyed with a shot of chacha (if you’re local) but the rest of us enjoy them just as they are. The joy of slurping these juicy dumplings when they’re fresh and hot and biting into their tender dough is an experience like no other.
- Satsivi: This creamy walnut sauce is a beloved dish during the Georgia winter season. Made with ground walnuts, garlic, spices, and sometimes thickened with breadcrumbs or flour, satsivi is traditionally served with roasted or boiled chicken or turkey. The combination of the nutty sauce with tender meat creates a harmonious blend of flavours that will warm you from the inside out.
- Kharcho: A hearty and aromatic soup, kharcho is a winter favourite in Georgia. It typically features tender beef, rice, and a rich, tangy tomato-based broth infused with aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and paprika. Served hot with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice, kharcho is the ultimate comfort food on a chilly winter day.
Warm Beverages to Try
When it comes to warming up during the winter months, Georgian also has some delightful warm beverages to offer. Here are a few to add to your must-try list:
- Georgian Tea: Georgians have a strong tea-drinking culture, and during the winter, it becomes even more prominent. Georgian tea, often served in a small glass, is a fragrant blend of black tea leaves, aromatic herbs like mint or thyme, and sometimes a touch of honey. Sip on this comforting beverage and let its warmth embrace you.
- Glühwein: Inspired by European traditions, Georgia has its own version of mulled wine called Glühwein. Made by heating red wine with spices like cinnamon, cloves, and orange peel, this delightful drink is the perfect way to ward off the winter chill. It’s often enjoyed at festive gatherings and Christmas markets, creating a cozy and festive atmosphere.
- Kompot: Kompot is a popular fruit-based drink enjoyed throughout the year, but it holds a special place during the winter season in Georgia. Made by simmering a variety of fruits in water with sugar and spices, this sweet and refreshing drink offers a burst of flavours.
When it comes to food and drinks, there is so much Georgia offers that is a delightful adventure for your taste buds. From the traditional Georgian winter dishes like khinkali and satsivi to warm beverages such as Georgian tea and Glühwein, each bite and sip will transport you to the heart of Georgian culinary traditions. And this is just a snippet of what you can find here….Georgia has so much more soul-satisfying food to keep your bellies and hearts filled throughout the winter months in Georgia.
Winter Travel Tips for Georgia
Planning a winter trip to Georgia? Before embarking on your Georgian adventure, it’s essential to be well-prepared. In this section, we’ll cover two important aspects: Clothing and Packing Essentials, and Safety Precautions in Winter.
Clothing and Packing Essentials
When it comes to winter travel in Georgia, dressing appropriately and packing the right items can make a significant difference in your comfort and enjoyment. Here are some clothing and packing essentials to consider:
- Layering is key: Georgia experiences varying temperatures during winter, so it’s crucial to dress in layers. Start with a base layer made of moisture-wicking fabric to keep you dry. Add a warm insulating layer, such as a fleece or down jacket, and top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect you from the elements.
- Wool and thermal clothing: Pack a few pairs of woollen socks, thermal underwear, and sweaters. These will provide extra insulation and keep you warm, even in the coldest of conditions. I even prefer to get around in a heated jacket to stay extra cozy during winter in Georgia. Don’t forget to pack a warm hat, gloves, and a scarf to protect your extremities.
- Sturdy footwear: Make sure you bring waterproof or insulated boots with good traction. This will help you stay comfortable and avoid slipping on icy or snowy surfaces. This is needed both in the cities and especially if you plan to explore Georgia’s mountainous regions.
- Pack moisture-resistant bags: Keep your electronics, toiletries, and other items protected from moisture by storing them in waterproof bags. This will give you peace of mind, particularly if you encounter snow or rain during your trip.
Safety Precautions in Winter
While winter in Georgia offers breathtaking beauty, it’s essential to prioritize safety during your travels. Here are some safety precautions to be mindful of:
- Check weather conditions: Stay updated on weather forecasts before and during your trip. Particularly if you plan to visit mountainous areas, be aware of potential storms or extreme weather conditions that may affect your travel plans. (we have hard of people getting snowed in, in Kazbegi and having to just stay and wait out the weather). Consider rescheduling or adjusting your itinerary accordingly if getting stuck doesn’t work with your schedule.
- Drive cautiously: If you plan to rent a car and drive in Georgia during winter, extra caution is necessary. Familiarize yourself with local driving laws and regulations, and be prepared for icy or snowy roads. Equip your vehicle with appropriate winter tires and carry a snow shovel, ice scraper, and emergency equipment in case of any roadside emergencies.
- Stay hydrated: Despite the cold weather, it’s important to stay hydrated. Cold temperatures can lead to increased fluid loss, so remember to drink plenty of water throughout your trip. Pack a reusable water bottle and refill it regularly, especially if you plan to participate in outdoor activities or spend time at higher elevations.
- Inform others of your plans: If you’re venturing into remote areas or engaging in outdoor activities, let someone know about your itinerary and expected return time. This will ensure that someone is aware of your whereabouts and can assist if any unexpected situation arises.
By following these winter travel tips for Georgia, you can make the most of your trip while ensuring your safety and comfort. So, pack wisely, dress warmly, and embrace the magical winter wonders this captivating country has to offer.