So, whenever Georgia comes up in some traveling topic, it can be ambiguous as one either talks about Georgia as the country or as the state in the United States.
Well, today we’re going to cover a city in Georgia, the country. One of the off-the-beaten travel destinations in Europe around the Caucasus.
Things to See Around Kutaisi
Georgia in the Caucasus is a very budget-friendly destination. You’ll be pleased to know that Kutaisi, the country’s third-biggest city, is a bit cheaper than Tbilisi. This is especially good news for anyone flying into Georgia on budget airline Wizz Air.
At the time of writing, 10 USD is equivalent to 32 GEL (Georgian lari). It might not sound like much, but it’s more than enough for a fun day out in Kutaisi.
Browse the bazaar
My favorite morning activity in Kutaisi is wandering through the Green Bazaar. It’s one of the most fragrant and vibrant markets in Georgia, and you’re always bound to find a few things to tempt you.
Grab a small bag of walnuts to graze on while you walk or better yet, a churchkhela, the iconic ‘Georgian Snickers’ made from walnuts or hazelnuts dipped in a sweetened wine roux. 3 GEL should cover it.
Wander the city centre
One of the best things about Kutaisi is how petite and walkable it is. An easy stroll through the centre of town reveals beautiful architecture and the city’s symbol, the sparkling Colchis Fountain.
Wander through the adjacent Kutaisi Park past the Opera House then make a left to cross over the White Bridge – another Kutaisi icon.
Lunch at Bikentia’s Kebabery
Not only does Bikentia’s Kebabery serve up some of the tastiest food in the city, it’s also one of the most budget-friendly restaurants in Kutaisi. This workers’ diner is decorated ‘Soviet-style’ and completely no frills – but that’s all part of the experience.
There’s only one thing on the menu: A generous plate of succulent meat kebab served with mashed potato, homemade spiced tomato sauce and a basket of puri bread on the side. For just 6.50 GEL, your stomach will be satisfied for the rest of the day.
Gelati and Motsameta
Kutaisi is home to a number of important churches, including the UNESCO Listed Gelati Monastery and the nearby Motsameta Monastery. Both are must-visits in Kutaisi.
Gelati is the furthest from town so to make an afternoon of it, I recommend starting there. Take city bus #33 from behind Kutaisi’s theatre to Gelati for 1 GEL.
Like all Orthodox churches in Georgia, this one is free to enter (remember to wear long pants and ladies, bring a cotton scarf to cover your hair). Once you’ve finished admiring the frescoes and taking in the views from the yard, take a short hike to Motsameta via a forest path. Again, entry is free.
A bus back to the city from Motsameta should cost you 1 GEL.
Ride the cable car for a sunset view
Back in town, head straight for Kutaisi’s cable car station. Little red wagons have been ferrying people across the river here since the 1950s. Riding in one is a fun experience – and it only costs 2 GEL return.
A few minutes and the ride is over. At the other end, you’ll find yourself atop a green hill where you can get great city views. There’s also a Ferris wheel if you’re so inclined.
Finish your day at a wine bar
At the end of the day, you should have plenty of lari left in the bank for a glass or two of Georgia’s famous vino.
Tea House Foe-Foe and Black Tomato both serve local Imeretian wines, while at Palaty, you can sip a glass with the added benefit of free live entertainment. Pianists, violinists and vocalists regularly perform at this cozy venue, which is a Kutaisi favorite.
Contributor: Emily Lush from Wander-Lush
Emily hails from Australia and has been traveling and living overseas for the past 5 years. When she’s not writing stories about the Caucasus, the Balkans and Southeast Asia for her travel blog, Wander-Lush, you will probably find her roaming the streets with her camera in hand. She currently lives in Georgia.