Discover Lagodekhi Nature reserve
Lagodekhi Nature reserve, also called Lagodekhi National Park, is located in the famous district of Kaheti, Georgia.
This Nature reserve is located on the southern slopes of the Caucasus and bordered with Azerbaijan and Dagestan (Rusia). If you are carrying a cellphone from Azrbaijan, you can even receive signal while you are hiking here.
Lagodekhi Nature reserve was the first nature protected area in Georgia. This occured while Georgia was still under the Russian Empire.
In this Nature Reserve, you can find waterfalls, glacial lakes, and sulphur springs. As well as the best representation of caucaus mountains and green forest Georgia has to offer.
Lagodekhi “National Park”
Lagodekhi “National Park” is divided into two areas: Lagodekhi Managed Reserve and Lagodekhi Strict Nature Reserve. Each have their own entrance and are not easily connected. For all your hiking and visiting adventures please take a look at the map and plan accordingly.
Lagodekhi Managed Reseve is best known for its Big waterfall, Ninoskhevi (see the pictures). The entrance is NOT located in Lagodekhi; it is located west of Lagodekhi, passing Shroma, more than 2km from Lagodekhi (see map). The Big waterfall only has one trail. The trail is a single track ending at the waterfall, which will eventually bring you right back to where you started at the beginning. There will also be an additional trail option along the way should you want a longer hike. Both are well signed.
Lagodekhi Strict Nature Reserve (ლაგოდეხის ნაკრძალი ) is located in Vashlovani St, Lagodekhi (google it). It is a 30min.walk from the main road uphill. To find the street easily, get yourself to the ATM at the entrance of the town. Keep walking straight and take the first or second street to the left. Both of these will take you to the entrance of the “national park”. There is a Visitor´s Center with friendly english speaking staff. From there you can hike to the small waterfall or take another path to do an additional sight-seeing circle route.
Check out our video and pictures to see more about what you can expect from this place.
Lagodekhi is a small town, with one main street and houses on both sides. At the begining of the town (arriving from Tbilisi) you can find an ATM and directly in front, a nice “restaurant” to eat at with big round windows one side. These also can be used as doors, if you are feeling like trying something new. We kept returning to this restaurant, as there didn´t seem to be any other and the food was home cooked.
The staff at the restaurant do not understand any english, but by the use of your finger, animal sounds, and a “follow me” to the kitchen to show you what I want, they are happy to oblige. When we were there last year (2014), they had a piece of paper with the english version handwritten for english speaking tourist to choose from. Super friendly people. There is another restaurant 200 meters after, but looks a little more posh and not as authentic. So we stuck to the rustic local choice.
If you continue walking down the street, on your left you will find a traditional bakery working during the mornings, not very common to see nowadays and very cool to see how they bake the bread.
There are several pastry shops on the left side of the main street, a taxi stop and a “Starbucks” coffee shop on the right side. Don´get your western pleasures too high, but you can definitely get a strong small brew of coffee made by the cute old owner. If you want to buy fruit there are several street vendors on the same side of the street, just after the “Starbucks”. After the starbucks, but on the left side of the street you will find a little grocery shop.
There are just a few hostels in town. We stayed in one at the end of the street on your left had side. If it is summer and the place is not full, it is a great option because they have a pool and lovely garden. However, if the rooms are all booked, they only have one bathroom for 9-10 people. Showers and morning duties can break your time schedule.
There are also a few more hostels on the way to the entrance of the Nature Reserve, where the visitors center is. They are all private houses and were closed when we stopped by. There was no other choices that we notice.
Transport and distance
Lagodekhi is 160km from Tbilisi and it takes approximately 2-2,5 hours by car.
The marshrutka to Lagodekhi is located at the Isani Metro Station. When you come out of the station, turn left and head up the first street. It looks busy, you can’t miss it. Every day, every hour during the day, there are marshrutka leaving for Lagodekhi. They cost 7 GEL.
A private taxi will cost 10 GEL.
We took a taxi from Lagodekhi to Telavi because the connections with marshrutka were not very good.
Best time to visit
From May until end of October.
Lagodekhi nature reserve is one of the places that you should visit if you are doing tourism in Georgia, and if you love nature and National Parks. It is a place that we can see ourselves in the future visiting a few times to discover the beauty of the mountains and forests. We totally loved our short hikking and looking forward to find other treasures!