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Georgia - Top Tips

Super Seven

Tbilisi There's a high probability that Tbilisi will be your entry point into the city, so be sure to spend a couple of days here before you explore elsewhere. The city is a great blend of the old and the new with a European vibe in my opinion. The cobblestoned old town is the ideal place to start your sightseeing before take the cable car up to the Mother Georgia monument for panoramic city views. Once back at street level, you can cross the Bridge of Peace and walk to Liberty Square, Vake Park, and the Opera and Ballet Theater, which is architecturally stunning both inside and out. There's also endless restaurants, coffee shops and bars, so your evenings are set.


The easiest day trip outside of Tbilisi would be a visit Kazbegi, which gets you out into the mountain region without having to necessarily hike. One of the most picturesque spots is Gergeti Trinity Church as it's situated right on the banks of the Chkheri river and has Mount Kazbek as the backdrop. You can also tie in a stop at the Dariali Monastery Complex, which is beautifully nestled in the Dariali Gorge, which means you're surrounded by the Caucasus mountain range. This monastery completed in 2011, so the visit is more for the picturesque setting than historical value.

Another worthwhile spot is the Ananuri Fortress Complex, as it's at the halfway point between Tbilisi and Kazbegi. It's late medieval style and overlooks a picturesque gorge on the Aragvi River.

Gudauri Perhaps not renowned as a ski destination, but Gudauri is a great resort and easily reachable via a 2 hour drive from Tbilisi. It's 2,200 metres above sea level so gets a solid 4 month ski season from December to late March and is very affordable in comparison to Europe. There's 35km of slopes for skiers and boarders of all levels and 17 ski lifts, so you're in safe hands. Here's a really useful website that goes into depth about the standard of slopes, ski pass pricing etc. Gudauri has increased in popularity over the past 10 years, so there's now a wide selection of accommodation, bars, and restaurants within easy reach, as well as some great bars directly on the slopes. If you're looking for an extra activity, this is also a great region to paraglide, which can be booked very easily on arrival in Gudauri.


One of my favourite stops in the country was the Black Sea coastal resort town of Batumi, mainly due to the extravagant architecture on show. I'd start off walking Batumi Boulevard, which is a waterfront promenade that has Alphabet Tower as the iconic landmark. The tower is adorned with Georgian script and looks really impressive at night. You also have the iconic Ali & Nino statue which is a giant metal artwork that represents "love". There's a fascinating story behind this with Ali being an Azerbaijani Muslim and Nino being a Georgian princess. They're the equivalent of Romeo & Juliet to the Western world, with the metal statues continually trying to connect, without actually touching. The city also has many squares to wander round and the two I would recommend are Batumi Piazza Square and Europe Square. A final recommendation, albeit an unusual one, check out the stunning architecture of McDonald's Batumi.

Kutaisi A city in the west that's steeped in history is Kutaisi, and it's also one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. On the outskirts of the city you have the centuries-old Bagrati Cathedral and also the Gelati Monastery, with both worth a visit. In the city itself, there's so much within walking distance in a compact area, so it's great to maximise time. Start at David Agmashenebeli Square where you have the Colchis Fountain, then cover Kutaisi Synagogue, Holy Annunciation Temple, Meskhishvili Theatre, White Bridge, and the stunning wall sculpture of Kolkhida. There's also a great food scene and plenty of worthwhile day trips, so Kutaisi is definitely a great place to use as a base to explore elsewhere.


Perhaps the biggest surprise of my trip was a stop in the town of Chiatura, which still has a Soviet vibe. There's large brutalist monuments and rusting Stalin-era cable cars hanging above the streets, which are fascinating to see. Another abandoned spot is the Former Pioneer Palace that overlooks the city, which is easily reachable via car or cable car (modern version). Another big highlight was Mgvimevi Convent, which is partly hidden in a cave, rock-hewn complex on the side of a mountain. The convent is functioning and has impressive wall paintings, as well as views of the tower blocks below. When heading out of Chiatura en route back to Kutaisi, do not miss Katskhi Column which is a small church sitting on top of a 40 meter high rock column. There's a fascinating history here, which you can read about in the small museum at the base of the column.

Wine Tasting Just my opinion, but I feel that Georgian wine is massively underrated and deserves more appreciation. On this basis, it was great to meet a professional wine expert in the form of Gia Chubinidze of Nanua Winery in Terjola. His tasting room was a mondern building at his home with floor to ceiling glass windows, a small vineyard in the garden (he has many elsewhere) and an impressive collection of over 100 different wines. Gia and his family were so welcoming and provided a great wine tasting experience, combined with home-made food, and fascinating conversations. There's a great article here that mentions Gia and his contact details are mentioned in the "Good Guide" section below.

Accommodation Advice

I was happy with all of my accommodation picks for Georgia, but specifically want to recommend Old Town Hotel in Batumi. It's low cost, centrally located, spacious rooms with fast WiFi, and even has parking. Literally everything is within walking distance, so it hits the spot.

Additionally, a special mention to Golden Era Hotel in Kutaisi, as the local lady running the palce was so friendly and always had a helpful smile on her face.

Food Factor

I'm a huge fan of Georgian food in general, so I had many good eats during my stay, but one that stands out is Fleur in Kutaisi. Khachapuri is the national dish which is a canoe shaped bread with gooey melted sulgani cheese baked into the middle and it's amazing! Add the potato and onion dish known as ojakhuri, along with some dumplings and you're set for the day. The reviews of Fleur speak for themselves and this was a restaurant I returned to more than once.

Good Guide

No guide needed, but car rental is essential to see all the country has to offer. I used Sixt Rentals in Kutaisi Airport who were exceptional value at $30 USD a day. If wine tasting is on your list, you can reach wine guide Gia Chubinidze directly via Whatsapp on +995 599 627 363 to book a very worthwhile experience. If you're in Tbilisi and surroundings, I found Envoy Tours great to deal with, even if you're not staying in one of their hostels. Their website is here.


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