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Earth > Asia > Western Asia > Georgia > Akhaltsikhe
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Flag of Georgia
State: Samtskhe-Javakheti
Population: 50,000
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Akhaltsikhe is a town in southern Georgia. It is the capital of Samtskhe-Javakheti region, home to a sizable Armenian population.

Get out

West to Vale (for Turkey), Abastumani and Batumi

To get out of town ; Go to the main intersection (right below the police station) and walk about 200 meters and you'll get to a good spot. After 4 kilometers you'll get to a intersection where about 50% of the vehicles are going direction Vale and 50 % are going in the Batumi, Abastumani direction.

To Vale; The road is fairly well trafficked although the last bit to the border can potentially get a bit tricky.

To Abastumani or Batumi; The road sign may say Batumi but truth is that most cars are bound for Abastumani so if you're heading there you shouldn't encounter any problems. However if you intend to cross the mountains and go to Batumi you should prepare yourself for a hitchhiking challenge as people from this area actually prefer going around the mountains rather than crossing them (roughly a 400 kilometers instead of 150) due to the dire state of the road. Even though you could be lucky you should prepare yourself for some village to village hitchhiking. The first 20 kilometers are pretty easy, the next 20 are pretty hard and after that it actually became so hard (20 hours without a single car in the right direction) that hitchhiker Theo actually gave up and went back to Akhaltsikhe instead.

South towards Akhalkalaki, Vardzia, Ninotsminda, Gyumri (Armenia)

For these destinations simply walk to the eastern end of Rustavelli street and hitch once you reach the junction. Traffic leaving Akhaltsikhe this route is plentiful.

Vardzia - Try get there early in the morning. Just hitch a ride with anyone going in the direction of Akhalkalaki/Ninotsminda, and get off at Khertvisi. There's a large castle on a hill here, which you can't miss. From there to Vardzia traffic is very light, (tourist buses and rental cars aside). If you have no luck, there are Marshrutkas that run every few hours. Keep in mind that the last Marshrutka returning from Vardzia departs at 4pm - given that traffic between here and Khertvisi is non existent, it might be wisest to take this. The driver will drop you off at Khertvisi castle if you're travelling onwards to Akhalkalaki/Armenia etc.

Gyumri - As this region has a sizable Armenian minority, there is plenty of movement between here and Gyumri. You should get to Ninotsminda and hitch from there. There are only some minor villages between Ninotsminda and Gyumri. The border is about an more than an hour south of Ninotsminda, but they were constructing a new road (May 2019), so it should be quicker now.

East towards Tbilisi

For Tbilisi you have two options - a northerly route via Borjomi/Khashuri, or a southerly route via Akhalkalaki/Ninotsminda. The Borjomi route is by far the busiest, and much quicker, however the southerly one is worthwhile - especially the section between Akhaltsikhe and Akhalkalaki.