If you are interested in exploring the natural glory amongst Georgian Mountains, or just attracted by the fairy tale landscapes below, this article is just for you. Even before starting your virtual or real trip, keep in mind, you are already a member of a huge Georgian family.
In this article, I would like to introduce the majesty of Bakhmaro – a high-mountain (2050 m) health resort which is located in the hollow of Guria Mountains. Before starting reading some boring facts about the place, please, take your time and imagine you are travelling with someone you love, or just you and your lovely “me”. Anyway, just imagine you are driving up a long winding road. After each turn, you breathe more and more air replete with the taste of fir and pine. And you wish to drive up and up and you see cute cottages and wooden huts scattered throughout the green valleys with a river flowing through them and you feel so great….you feel so wonderful and you are going to experience the whole glory of Mother Nature.
How to get to Bakhmaro and what is the best season to visit?
Stay with the feelings as much as you can, because holiday season doesn’t stay long due to tough climate conditions. The season is from the beginning of July until the end of August. By the beginning of September, the mountains of Guria are covered with 4-6 meters of snow. That’s why inhabitants leave the cottages and go down to their villages.
It is said that until the end of XIX century Bakhmaro was visited only by shepherds and their family members. According to old rumours, the first vacationer was quickly cured of widespread disease – tuberculosis. Later on, multi-faceted clinical research proved that unique climate of Bakhmaro gives wonderful results in the treatment of tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases.
Now I would like to give you some advice according to my experience. The distance from Tbilisi (the capital city) is around 360 km – a journey time of around seven hours. Actually, you do not need an off-road vehicle, any ordinary car reaches the village easily. But you definitely will need a stronger car to hang out remote villages of mountain Adjarians.
Where to live and what to eat?
If you ever plan to visit Bakhmaro, keep in mind to hire a cottage in advance. The single hotel there is “Bakhmaro” (high prices). There are some cottages with good and poor living conditions, so the prices are different. Because of the climate, you will need more food, then you eat every day. There are some markets where you can buy vegetables, fruits, and everyday products, but the prices are double compared to the city prices. You can buy natural local foods like milk, local butter (“Kaimaghi”), sour cream, cheese and even the fir tree gum from the inhabitants riding a horse.
If you are a spring water lover, you should stop at Nabeglavi village, which is located on the way to Bakhmaro. So, you can taste Nabeghlavi – famous Georgian natural sparkling water, as it is infused with natural carbon dioxide (CO2) at the aquifer; though it is fortified with an additional amount of natural CO2 prior to bottling. Frankly speaking, I prefer the water taste before producing in bottles.
On August 19 (the day of the Transfiguration of Jesus) a traditional horse race is held every year on one of the beautiful meadows in the centre of Bakhmaro. A plethora of vacationers and locals are gathering to celebrate this remarkable event, so don’t miss this day if you are an avid fan of horses and sports competitions.
Where to go hiking around Bakhmaro?
Let me recommend you some hills you should strike to experience the breathtaking landscapes amongst highlands of Guria. There is the “Sunrise Hill” 2500 m, the “Sunset Hill” (at Bakhmaro’s centre (Peristsvaleba church)) on 2250m and the “thinking hill”. Besides that, you should go hiking to the villages around Bakhmaro. There you can buy handmade wooden household appliances and taste local dishes, cooked mainly with cheese and butter.
Before visiting the hills, firstly, make sure the weather is clear, get up early before the sun comes up. Don’t forget to do Surya Namaskara (sun salutation) – for welcoming the unforgettable sunrise 🙂
As I am a sunset lover, I prefer watching the sunset and experiencing sunrise at the same time. Yeap, it sounds curious! Now, I want you to take your time and imagine: you are walking up towards the “Sunset Hill”, when you are almost at the top of the hill, please, close your eyes, the cold wind is blowing and you are reaching the peak. After opening your eyes, open your heart, open your ears and I will just try to express your feelings. You are wearing warm clothes, but you feel how the moving fog crosses your body, makes you colder, and moves again on the other side.
The hill is so high, that you have got the 360° panoramic view, but you don’t want to waste your time and even take your camera. You look down and see the tiny cottages between beautiful pine forests and alpine meadows, fir and pine trees, covered by the sun rays. However, the scenery beyond the village is vague because of the clouds and the fog. As your gaze moves towards the other side of the hill, it is already too foggy and too white. After several seconds you look back to the sunset side and your inner voice comes out: “Oh My God”.
The sun beyond the cloud looks like a small red ball behind a white curtain and you can even catch the royalty with your fingers. And have lost a sense of time and you feel you are a tiny part of this infinite universe. Actually, the fog is moving too fast and your view is getting clear and clear. The sun rays are starting coming up from the clouds to make you warmer.
At that very unforgettable moment, you realize the sun is brightening magically above the sea of the white clouds. You try to analyze the variety of colours between the sun and the clouds, but you cannot say if there is green, yellow or red, the colours there have no name at all. Breathe deeply to come back from your dreams, your brain has limits to believe the reality around you. You are still in there with your friends and other tourists, but you feel the silence and peace inside. Standing at the top of this beauty and you are totally happy with your life.
You should be too lucky to get a chance to catch a glimpse of the sun setting down the sea from the 2250m sea level. But, never mind, if you experience no visibility from the hill and everything wraps up in mist. Anyway, when you inhale deeply, you feel the majesty in you and around you.
Misty mountains and the Milky Way stretched across Bakhmaro’s sky will make your stay more memorable. Check the weather, choose the right day for stargazing, dress winter sweaters, take a cup of coffee and be ready for night miracle. You still cannot imagine how many stars abound in space……
So, now, after reading all above, if you are feeling even a little bit better, my goal has been reached. If you are willing to visit the realm of mountains, read my following articles plan your trip accordingly.
Best wishes from Georgia!