Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia, once part of the Soviet Union. Bombed during civil conflict a few years ago, the Tbilisi airport is once again servicing tourists. Tbilisi is a wonderful destination in itself but also a great base for trips into the surrounding wine regions, to the Black Sea or up into the Caucasus Mountains.
Tbilisi National Park
Located on the outskirts of the city, Tbilisi National Park was recently reopened to the public and features walking paths, picnic areas and is within 15 minutes of downtown. This park is especially popular with birders.
Best View for HIkers
Built on a mountaintop in the 4th century and "upgraded" over the centuries by Arab, Persian, Turk and Russian militaries, Narikhala Fortress offers hikers a bird's-eye view of the city and surrounding countryside. It's a steep trek up to the top but worth it. Make sure to bring a camera and binoculars.
Lagodekhi Protected Area
Located approximately 30 miles from Tbilisi, the Lagodekhi Protected Area offers outdoor enthusiasts old growth forests, alpine lakes and abundant wildlife viewing. Hiking trails are well-marked and maps are available--including in English--at the visitor's center.
Tusheti Protected Area
The Tusheti Protected Area is actually a combined National Park and nature reserve with opportunities for observing wildlife that ranges from falcons and bearded vultures in the sky to deer, fox and wild boar at ground level. There are extensive trails for day hikes and lengthier, multi-day treks. Overnight camping is allowed within the Protected Area in designated spots.