Much Better Adventures

Adventures / Remote Rides

Cycle the Silk Road across Georgia

Cycle from the Caucasus Mountains to the Black Sea along the ancient Great Silk Road

Location

Georgia

Fly To

Tbilisi International Airport

Perfect for

Cyclists of good fitness with an adventurous spirit, this is wild and remote Georgia at its finest.

Difficulty

Challenging

Why it's much better

  • Cycle an ancient route along quiet small roads and gravel farm tracks
  • Wild camp (and swim for the brave!) on the edge of volcanic Lake Paravani
  • Visit the ancient cave city labyrinth of Vardzia, carved into Erusheti Mountain
  • Cycle to the waterfall-flanked slopes of the Dashbashi Canyon
  • Ride the famous Goderdzi Pass (2200m) over the South Caucuses Mountains (and enjoy the 30km downhill afterwards!)
  • Marvel at the Game of Thrones-esque Rabati Castle
  • Take a celebratory dip in the Black Sea and relax on the huge sandy beaches
  • Join the locals for sunset a stroll along Batumi boulevard

What's Included

  • Guides Expert, English-speaking local guides and a bike mechanic
  • Accommodation 2 nights in a hotel, 4 nights in a local guesthouse, 1 night wild camping
  • Meals All your food is included
  • Equipment Specialized Pitch bikes and camping equipment
  • Support Vehicle To transport your overnight kit
  • Transfers All airport transfers
  • Permits All permits and entry fees
  • Happiness Guaranteed We're so confident that your holiday will be your best yet, we actually guarantee it
  • Feel Good Vibes We mitigate 4x the carbon emitted by all our travellers and support important conservation projects

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Georgia!

Landing at Tblisi Airport you’ll be greeted by your local guide and whisked off to your hotel in the old town district. If you have time, it's well worth exploring: the capital is packed full of UNESCO sites. All that walking should work up an appetite for your first traditional Georgian meal at a local restaurant. Here you’ll meet your guide and fellow adventurers to hear about the journey ahead.

Day 2: Lake Paravani Wild Camping

Setting off early with a quick transfer out of the busy city, you’ll head to Manglisi to get set up with your bike. Overload on dramatic wild scenery today as you cycle to the spectacular Dashbashi Canyon, flanked with waterfalls and dense green foliage, before starting on the long open track towards Lake Paravani. Known locally as the ‘Georgian Siberia’ the treeless plains of Javakhti Plateau reach minus 30°C in the winter and the ancient volcanic lake remains frozen for many months. Luckily you’ll be there in the summer and might welcome a dip at the end of the day to cool off!

You’ll help to set up camp in a totally remote corner of the lake, before catching the sunset and joining your local camping host in feasting on fresh fish from the lake.

Distance: 60km / Ascent 1400m / Descent 550m

Day 3: The Labyrinth of Vardzia

You're up for more lakeside riding today as you pass Lake Saghamo on your way to Vardzia: an entire city carved into the edge of a mountain. Looking like something straight out of the Lord of the Rings, this ancient cave-palace-monastery was built for the fabled queen, Tamar. To this day is still protected by a small group of zealous monks. Containing over 6000 ‘apartments’ and even a room just for Queen Tamar’s throne, this labyrinth of two hundred cave dwellings has a fascinating potted history of earthquakes and invasions.

Distance: 65km / Ascent 400m / Descent 1100m

Day 4: Village life and Rabati Fortress

Another day of meandering countryside riding as you pass from village to village. Keep your eyes peeled for the legendary Caucasian sheepdogs, mostly to be found with their semi-nomadic shepherd owners. You'll get to the impressive 9th-century Fortress of Rabati in time for a wander round. For castle geeks, this really is something. Having been liberated many times over the centuries, it now houses a mosque, an Orthodox church, a synagogue, a Catholic church and a citadel. Phew!

Distance: 65km / Ascent 870m / Descent 900m

Day 5: The Goderdzi Pass (2043m)

The big day you’ve been waiting for. You’ll set off from the foothills of the Adjara Mountains and wind and climb your way through lush green forests, to be rewarded at the top with a 360-degree view and a picnic lunch. And if that wasn’t enough, you can rest in the knowledge that the rest of the day is downhill all the way. Cycle 30km downhill to your overnight spot.

Georgians are known to take their drinking seriously, which means a recycled plastic bottle of ‘chacha’ - a potent homebrew grape brandy - is never far away. Tonight you can visit the very, very small ‘micro-brewery’ of your guesthouse owner. You can even join the two local men who keep watch over the filtration process 24 hours a day. Or join the sensible and go to bed!

Distance: 70km / Ascent 1300m / Descent 1800m

Day 6: To the Black Sea!

Today is your final leg stretch as you make the last push to the huge inland water mass of the Black Sea. Leaving the Lower Caucasus Mountains behind, you’ll pass through the Adjarian countryside to the coastal flatlands. You’ll stop just short of the city and transfer to Batumi. Finishing the journey at one of the quiet beaches, there’s time for a swim before you head out for your one night only in Batumi. With a sub-tropical climate, Batumi is Georgia's main summer resort and the locals certainly know how to have a summer holiday!

Distance: 60km / Ascent 480m / Descent 1530m

Day 7: Roadtrip to Tbilisi

With the bikes loaded you’ll set off on a road trip back to Tbilisi. Taking approx. 6 hours, you’ll stop on the way for a local roadside lunch before heading to the airport for your flight home.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

Accommodation

In Tbilisi, you'll stay in the GTM Kapan Hotel. Set in the historical centre of Tbilisi this is the perfect base for exploring the city. You'll stay in twin share rooms as standard.

When on the road, you'll stay in small locally owned guesthouses. These are clean and comfortable and you'll be in twin rooms with shared facilities. These are usually family run, so each will come with its own cuisine and stories.

When wild camping, you will spend the night in twin-share tents. Although this is wild camping, your host will set up a dining tent and a toilet tent so it's certainly comfortable camping.

Private Room Upgrade

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for £310 per person (subject to availability). Please request this at the time of booking.

Location

Georgia lies between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, at the border between Europe and Asia. Also known as the 'Gem of the Caucasus', it occupies the southern reaches of this 1100km long mountain range. It really doesn’t matter whether you prefer to explore its remote, medieval villages or hop on your bike and head into the wilderness: Georgia is a cyclist's paradise. Development of tourism in Georgia is still relatively new, although it has long been on the long-distance bike-tourers map, a well-kept secret for those 'who know'!

Meeting Point

Start Point

Your adventure begins at Tbilisi Airport. Airport transfers are included if you arrive on the start day, so please let your host know your flight times.

Finish Point

Your adventure ends Tblisi Airport on Day 7. Airport transfers are included, so please let your host know your flight times.

Please note, transfers are only included if you arrive or depart on the start and end days of the trip. If you would like to arrive early or extend your stay, your host can arrange airport transfers for an extra cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Travel to/from Tbilisi
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Alcoholic drinks

This trip is designed for cyclists of average fitness. You should be comfortable riding back to back days covering an average of 65km a day. The terrain is undulating and the roads are quiet - you will also ride on tracks and farm passes that enable you to experience some village life. There is no technical skill required for these sections, just a sense of adventure!

The Goderdzi Pass (2034m) is the most challenging section of the trip as, although on a quiet road, there is a lot of climbing (1300m ascent)! However, there is always the option to hop in the vehicle support if needed.

You will be riding on approx 60% gravel roads and farm tracks and 40% on tarmac road.

It's no secret that we love cycling. Many of us at HQ really think it's the best way to see a country. However, we realise that organising your own cycling adventure can be a total faff. So on our cycling trips, we have found a local guide who has put together a perfect route and will navigate for you all the way. We send a van that transports your overnight luggage and we even provide high-quality bikes and delicious snacks to keep you going. Faff eliminated!

All you have to do is turn up, pedal and take in the amazing landscape with your fellow tourers. You will cycle at your own pace, with regular stops to regroup, no-one gets left behind. These trips are not just open to lycra-clad roadies, although those are welcome too!

You will be using Specialized Pitch bikes, the 2020 models. These are light hardtail aluminium mountain bikes which are perfect for riding on the road and the tracks. The bikes are equipped with a water bottle cage and standard flat pedals. If you would like to bring your own SPD pedals and saddle, these can be fitted for you.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

This trip will run with a minimum of 4 travellers and a maximum of 12.

Food is a delicious mix of local and national Georgian cuisine, cooked with fresh produce grown or reared by the guesthouse owners. Georgian cuisine is world-renowned for its mix of east and west flavours, aromas and colours. It can be slightly spicy and consists mainly of meat, vegetables, cheese and fruit. There are plenty of traditional dishes without meat, so vegetarians can be well catered for. Lunches will be picnic-style in the wilderness.

Local, energy-giving cycling snacks will be provided, but if you would like specific favourite snacks, please bring your own from home.

The average temperature during summer in Georgia ranges from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius in the lower valleys, so you will experience some of this. Up on the plateaus and in the mountains it will be much colder (down to 5 degrees at night) so you will need to pack accordingly - rain at this time is rare although it could be windy. As you will traverse the entire country, you will pass through several climatic regions: be prepared for all seasons. By the time you reach the Black Sea, it will be more humid and definitely hot due to its year-round moderate climate.

If you arrive with extra luggage, this can be stored at the hotel in Tbilisi and collected at the end of the trip.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book the trip, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

Our group adventures are adult only, however, if you would like to bring children along this can be arranged by requesting a private trip with the host. This trip is suitable for children from age 14 only.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion and, although there isn't a strong tipping culture in Georgia, there is usually a quick whip around at the end of the trip and most choose to leave approx. 200 GEL (£60) for the driver and the guide.

Of course, you are free to tip more or less and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Your host will provide you with clean safe drinking water from large containers. Bring a refillable bottle, it will be used well.

Many destinations require a visa and for your passport to be valid for 6 months minimum. Up to date advice for UK citizens can be found here.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

For current advice re travelling in Georgia, have a read of the FCO pages here

Clothes
Padded cycling shorts
Sports top or cycling jersey
Fleece jacket or similar Jacket for the evenings
Trousers/leggings for the evenings
Waterproof jacket
Cycling gloves
Buff or neck scarf
T-shirts Underwear & socks Swimwear Sunglasses Sunhat Something to sleep in
Cycling shoes (bring your own pedals if using cleats)
Sandals

Other
Bumbag or small light rucksack for when riding
Padlock for left luggage
Universal travel plug adapter
Power bank or solar charger
Passports (and visas)
Travel Insurance documents
Ear plugs
Insect repellant
Suncream
Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
Alcohol hand-gel
Reusable water bottle
Energy bars and snacks

Nope! We will have a support vehicle on-hand to transfer your overnight luggage and also to meet you at stops if you need to grab an extra layer. The van will also carry all tools and spare bike bits that may be needed. We would suggest you bring either a bumbag or a small bag that can be attached to your handlebars for carrying your essentials e.g money, phone, suncream and a snack.

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Dates & Prices

Bespoke trips only

There are currently no planned group departures. Please contact this host to request a quote for a custom trip.

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