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.)