Bike tours offer an alternate view of Kakheti
Author: By Tamar Khurtsia
Visitors to Kvareli, a resort town in the wine-producing region of Kakheti, are in for a rare treat beginning this week. The local Tourism Information Centre is offering sightseers the use of bicycles for those interested in embarking on a cultural adventure near the foothills of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. The bikes are provided free of charge.
Exchange four wheels for a bicycle.
I took part in this adventure together with Maia Sidamonidze, the Head of the National Tourism Agency of Georgia (GNTA), the state body responsible for the tourism sector and development in Georgia. Joining us was Levan Ergemlidze, a local cyclist, opting for a day ride through some of our favourite Kvareli spots.
Rain or shine, everyday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., cyclists can choose one of the five self-guided routes that range from 15 kilometres to 40 kilometres.
Tamar Loliashvili, a consultant at the Kvareli Tourism Information Centre offers visitors clear details to assist in the planning of tour. She recommended five excellent cycling routes around Kvareli. These include:
A 20 km Kvareli-Koriani-Kvareli cycle route that runs down the riverside of the Patmasuri where you find yourself surrounded in a natural habitat that is replete with birds and critter sounds; a 15 km Kvareli-Vazuani-Bursa-Koriani-Kvareli cycle route, where the lovely stretches along the route will make you want to come back again and again; a 15 km Kvareli-Nekresi-Kvareli cycle route near the village Shilda, that offers a complex of ecclesiastical buildings and is one of the most important cultural centres of Georgia (the Nekresi monastery ensemble includes several structures built in different times, the oldest being a chapel of the small basilica type built in IV century); a 40 km Kvareli-Shilda-Sabue-Armati-Gremi-Kvareli cycle route that takes you back into Georgia’s history. According to Loliashvili, this is clearly one of the most popular routes that attract professional cyclists. On this route, tourists will pass through areas that are home to several churches, including a 16th-century architectural monument – the royal citadel, the Church of the Archangels, as well as the oldest Georgian wine cellars such as Eniseli and Kindzmarauli;