Robert Schrader in Sighnaghi, Georgia

Wasting Time in Georgia’s Fakest Town

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I tend to value the opinions of locals more than those of other travelers, but I was conflicted when a man I met on my flight to Tbilisi told me to avoid the small town of Sighnaghi.

“It’s incredibly fake,” he explained, then rattled off a list of other destinations in Georgia that would be more worthy of my attention. “Trust me – you don’t want to waste your time in Sighnaghi.”

The nature of my conflict was two-fold. On one hand, I’d been recommended Sighnaghi by Katie Aune, who is something of an expert in the realm of Caucasus travel. Furthermore, the fact was that my tight travel schedule wouldn’t allow me to visit the other places he’d recommended, one of which (Svaneti) would also put a dent in my budget on account of the fact that you have to fly there.


Of course, my travel itineraries are never set in stone, so I decided to wait out the decision until it absolutely had to be made, i.e. after exploring Tbilisi and then, the charming foothills of Mt. Kazbeg, one of the highest peaks in Europe. And when I say “until it absolutely had to be made,” I mean literally right up to the moment. In fact, when I arrived back in Tbilisi early Monday afternoon, I hadn’t officially decided whether I would be continuing on to Sighnaghi.

To be sure, the conflict my interaction with the Georgian man on the plane had stirred in me was still unresolved. Adding to his testimony (but not taking away from Katie’s in any way), many of the photos I saw of Sighnaghi online were uninspiring. They didn’t show a place that was altogether fake, but one that seemed, I don’t know – boring?

As you can probably guess solely due to the fact that I published this post, I did end up taking Katie’s advice and heading to Sighnaghi. Whether you’ve got a trip to Sighnaghi on the horizon or it’s way down your bucket list, these photos should help you make the decision as to whether the town is worth a stop on your Georgia itinerary.

(Hint: Sometimes, it is better to trust a traveler than a local.)

Leave Your Daily Hell   Filed under: Georgia

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is the author of 794 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Illusen September 6, 2014 at 12:07 am

You haven’t mentioned why it’s a ‘fake’ place.

Zofia Bałdyga September 6, 2014 at 4:36 am

I’ve been there lately too. And I’ve blogged about it lately as well. And I totally second everything you wrote. It’s a nice place to waste time.

Robert Schrader September 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm

That’s because it’s superfluous – i like it enough that i don’t care. (although the reason is that many buildings are reconstructed)

Robert Schrader September 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm


Katie Aune September 9, 2014 at 10:25 am

Whew, you had me a bit scared there that you hated Sighnaghi. 🙂 Did you spend the night there? I only went as a day trip and wished I had more time to waste there.

Robert Schrader September 11, 2014 at 6:19 am

I did spend the night there – absolutely loved it! Thanks again for all your help! (Although as you will seem tomorrow if you read, I did NOT love Armenia!)

Are you going to TBEX?

Katie Aune September 11, 2014 at 8:52 am

Jealous you stayed the night there. I stayed in Telavi, which unknown to me ahead of time, was completely under construction while I was there. Horrible. All the streets were totaly torn up and scaffolding everywhere. The place I stayed was at least really nice, but I had wished I’d stayed in Sighnaghi instead.

Sad to hear you didn’t love Armenia, but looking forward to reading why! And nope, no TBEX for me. Just got back from a week in Bulgaria and speaking at Meet Plan Go in NYC next weekend, couldn’t swing Mexico too.

Robert Schrader September 15, 2014 at 5:58 am

TBEX was a whole lot of fun! Interested to hear your perspective on my Armenia post, which is up now.

Teo Abramia July 19, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Well i am glad u enjoyed your visit, but I am a local and absolutely agree with that guy on the plane. Svanety is a lifetime experiance, the highest inhabitated village in Europe is there and u cant find anything like it anywhere in the world. Besides u dont need to fly there, u can take minibus from Tbilisi central station to Zugdidi ( takes 5 hours and costs 10 USD) and then again minubus from Zugdidi to Mestia ( takes 3 hours and costs max 8 USD) or take tour from Tbilsi for 120$ including 2 nights in guesthouse

Robert Schrader July 26, 2015 at 4:43 pm

I will have to visit next time! 🙂

Teo Abramia August 3, 2015 at 5:53 pm

yeah, there is always next time 🙂

Daniel August 15, 2015 at 10:58 am

Hello Robert. I amie writing this from tibilisi. Tomorow I am going to Armenia. I hope it goes better for me than for you. I was wondering if sighnaghi was worth the visit. Il still not sure as i am ont inspired by fake towns. Should I go? Cheers

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