How to Travel to Georgia by Train
Do you want to travel to Georgia by train? In anything from two days to two weeks, you can travel from London to Georgia – land of the supra, amber wine and a certain golden fleece – by a combination of rail and ferry.
You’re sure to meet plenty of new faces along the way, and be spellbound by enchanting scenery – from distant silhouettes of the Alps in Austria to the ebb and flow of the Black Sea. And that’s before you’ve even got to the Caucasus, a collection of countries that owe their name to the towering mountain range.
So, without further ado, here’s a guide to how to travel to Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia without flying.
How to travel from London to Tbilisi by Train
Once you’ve packed your toothbrush, Bradshaw ’s Railway guide and salmon-pink trousers, you’ll be ready to travel across Europe in the style of Michael Portillo. This railway odyssey will take you from London to Tbilisi, Baku and Yerevan without the hassle of airport check-ins and uninspiring in-flight meals.
If you don’t stop for a night in a hotel, you travel to Georgia by train in seventy hours, or just under three days –assuming that the Black Sea ferry runs smoothly. That’s the amount of time it takes to send a second-class letter from Aberdeen to Cornwall.
First Leg: London to Berlin by train
To make sure that you arrive in Berlin in time for tea, catch the early-morning Eurostar from St Pancras. From there, it’s a mere three hours to Frankfurt. Either stay here for the night – or speed on to Vienna, via the twists and turns of the Rhine Valley.
Once you arrive in Vienna you’ve got the option of staying the night or travelling straight on to Poland and Ukraine. That’s part of the joy of train travel. You’re free to set the speed dial, so why not travel at your own pace?
Second Leg: Vienna to Przemyśl by Train
After a schnitzel, pastry and perhaps even a trip to the Leopold Museum, make your way to Wien Hauptbahnof to catch the ten-hour train to Przemyśl Glowny, a medieval city on the Polish border. Though they might not meet Poirot’s standards, eastern European trains offer an immersive experience that more than make up for any lack of reclining seats or warm towels.
Third Leg: Przemyśl Glowny to Odessa by Train
With the glories of the Silk Road awaiting, you’re unlikely to want to stay overnight in Przemyśl. We suggest taking the Przemyśl – Odessa night train, which leaves in the early evening and arrives late morning. Taking fifteen hours – enough time to sleep or read a book or two – this train dives south to Odessa, on the Ukrainian coast.
Fourth Leg: Odessa to Poti by Ferry
Today, you’ll be swapping land for water on a ferry excursion across the Black Sea. These boats are rarely punctual, and can take anything from a day and a half to five days depending on sea conditions. The loading procedure is also amusingly bureaucratic, so there’s really no way of putting down a precise time for when you’ll arrive in Poti. But whatever happens, Odessa is a beautiful, charismatic city to spend time in.
Once aboard, you’ll be looking out to sea alongside Ukrainian truckers and fellow travellers. Sailing across this basin is a calm experience, barring stormy conditions.
Fifth Leg: Poti to Kutaisi by train
Hoorah! You’ve arrived in Georgia. To travel to nearby Kutaisi – city of medieval monasteries, and the capital of ancient Colchis – you can get the train, which takes just under four hours. To get to Tbilisi, it’ll take you another five hours – so why not spend the night in Kutaisi to soak up its history?
Enfolded by the Black and the Caspian Seas, the Caucasus are a charming cluster of countries. Nestled within rolling hills and craggy mountains are vineyards, natural spas and crumbling churches. Exploring the Caucasus by train is a refreshing alternative to a European city break, and is perfect for the more adventurous traveller.
Our Georgia Tours
A great way to experience this country is on our In Joanna Lumley’s Footsteps: Georgia and Azerbaijan tour. Beginning in Kutaisi, this tour will take you to hidden hamlets in the Georgian highlands and the buzzing capitals of Tbilisi and Baku. It was also designed by one of our directors, Antonia, who was a producer on Joanna’s Silk Road Adventure ITV series.
If you’re craving untouched mountain snow, the Caucasus Mountain Ranges boasts slopes that rival the Alps. You can glide down them yourself, and reach the best peaks by helicopter, on our Georgia Ski Trip: Winter Sports and Wine tour.
Tailor-Made Caucasus Travel
If you’d like to us to create a bespoke Georgia, Armenia or Azerbaijan itinerary for you, we can help. We specialise in crafting unique experiences that are tailored to the style of adventure of our clients, and are happy to organise any booking. Why not get in touch?