Arrival in Kutaisi International Airport
Transfer airport to hotel
Kutaisi, the capital of Imereti, is Georgia’s second largest city after Tbilisi. Elegant, tree lined streets with 19th century houses stretching down to the banks of the Rioni River, along with several attractive parks, make Kutaisi a very beautiful place to stroll around and take in the many sights.
In the Jewish Quarter a number of synagogues demonstrate the long history of the Georgian Jewish community. The town’s largest synagogue, built in 1866, can seat 500 worshipers. The magnificent churches of Bagrati and Gelati – both UNESCO world heritages sites – testify to the importance of the region.
Lunch at Kutaisi – Georgian national cuisine
Sightseeing - Historical district of the city
The historical part of Kutaisi - the Royal District, includes the areas surrounding the White bridge, Tsisferkantselta str., St. Nino str., Tsereteli and Pushkini str.
The construction of Bagrati Cathedral, named after Bagrat III - the first king of a united Georgia, started at the end of the 10th century and was completed in the early years of the 11th century. The Cathedral holds special importance in the history of Georgia as an architectural and cultural monument.
Address: 25 Bagrationi str., Kutaisi
The cathedral is situated 11 km westwards from Kutaisi. The Gelati Monastery, with its main buildings erected between the 12th and 17th centuries, was an important religious, cultural and educational center of Georgia. The monastery complex is included in UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list and its architecture is well known for wonderful mosaics and frescos. King David the Builder, the most celebrated King of Georgia, is buried in the yard of the monastery.
Motsameta Monastery is located 6 kilometers from Kutaisi. The present day church dates back to the 11th century, but historic records show that a church was constructed in this spot as early as the 8th century. Motsameta attracts crowds of tourists with an ancient superstition: if one crawls three times under the ark and makes a wish while touching the hallows, the wish will come true.
Location: village of Motsameta
Kutaisi State Historical Museum
Kutaisi State Historical Museum was founded in 1912 and houses over 200,000 artifacts.
Address: 18 Pushkin str., Kutaisi
Wine tasting and diner
Borjomi is famous for its mineral water industry (which is the number one export of Georgia). Archaeological excavations have revealed the existence of stone baths in the area, proving that these mineral waters have been utilized by people for thousands of years. Because of the supposed restorative and healing powers of the area's mineral springs, it is a frequent destination for people with health problems. Borjomi is also home to the most extensive ecologically-themed amusement park in the Caucasus.
Blue Palace “Firuza
“Firuza” is one of the most important historical buildings in Borjomi. Situated at the entrance of the “Mineral Water Park,” it was built in 1892 by the consul of Iran and is considered a unique cultural monument. The building combines characteristics of Persian, Georgian and European styles.
Address: Baratashvili Street N3
Mineral Water Park
The most remarkable virtues of Borjomi are its striking nature and unique mineral waters. One of the best places to experience this is the “Mineral Water Park” of Borjomi. The park itself dates back to the 1850s and is an attractive destination all throughout the year. Here you can taste the natural Borjomi mineral water and relax in a beautiful environment. Try riding the cable car up to the Ferris wheel at the top of the park!
Address: 9th of April Street
Borjomi Museum of Local Lore
One of the oldest museums in Georgia; it first opened its doors in 1926. The building itself was constructed in 1890, and is unique both in its architecture and building materials used. Today it houses over 36,000 items, including four permanent exhibits. The Museum offers a full range of information about the town, from the flora and fauna to documents confirming Borjomi mineral water’s medicinal properties. It also contains many of the 18th–19th century glass, bronze, porcelain and wood artifacts which belonged to the Russian Royal family.
Address: 5 Saint Nino Street
The Romanovs’ Palace dates back to the nineteenth century. In 1892-1895, the palace was built by the architect Leontin Benua, under the order of Russian Tsar Nikolas II. The palace houses unique exhibits, including a table given to the Romanovs by Napoleon, armchairs given by the Shah of Iran, and a historical hand-made table carved by the Russian Emperor Peter I. You will also find a Romanov era billiard table in the billiards room.
Location: village of Likani
Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
Borjomi-Kharagauli protected area is one of the largest national parks in Europe. Its total territory amounts to 85,083 ha, more than 1% of the territory of Georgia. The national park offers hiking, horseback riding, biking, cultural and educational tours - the routes function throughout the year. Picnic spots and camping sites are also situated along the routes. The National Park visitors’ center will be more than happy to help you with any organizational issues.
Timotesubani Monastery - The Cathedral of Holy Virgin
Located 17 kilometers from Borjomi, the church was constructed between the 12th – 13th centuries. The interior is decorated with some of the best examples of Georgian mural painting of the 13th century.
Address: village of Timotesubani
The Green Monastery
Built between the 9th-10th centuries, the Chitakhevi Monastery of St. George (the Green Monastery) is nestled in the beautiful Borjomi valley, 13 kilometers from the town of Borjomi. The church is constructed from special stones which have a green coloring to them, with some being darker and some lighter.
Kvabiskhevi Church of the Assumption
The three-aisled basilica, constructed in the 8th–9th centuries, is one of the most historic buildings in Borjomi valley, located just 21 kilometers from the town of Borjomi. The frescos within the church date back to the 12th and 13th centuries. Location: village of Kvabiskhevi.
Akhaltsikhe is a town in Southern Georgia, founded in Middle Ages. Its name means “a new fortress”, because the town’s fortress used to be the most important landmark of the region. In 1579 it was a center of a region of Ottoman Empire, then, during Russian – Turkish war in 1828 – 1829, it was brought back to Georgia, which used to be a part of Russian Empire.
Now, the huge freshly renovated fortress of Rabati remains the main landmark of Akhaltsikhe. Its upper part includes the castle of Jakeli family, where the Museum of Samtskhe-Javakheti region is situated; there are also an Akhmediye Mosque, an orthodox church, an amphitheatre and a citadel. The other part of Rabati includes touristic objects as hotels, cafes, restaurants, an information center, and even a marriage hall. It is a very beautiful place for a wedding ceremony and a romantic photo shooting, indeed!
Beside this, there are also several interesting places near Akhaltsikhe: an ancient fortress of Atskuri, which has been constructed in the X century, and also Saphara monastery, which kept its beauty even after the most difficult years in Georgian history.
If we talk about important landmarks of Samtskhe-Javakheti region, we can’t avoid mentioning Vardzia, an impressive cave town founded by King George III in the XII century. During its golden time it accommodated around 50.000 people. The infrastructure included living quarters, wine cellars, religious places like churches or monasteries, and even a library. There was even a sewerage system in the town! Hard to believe, that already in XII century far in the mountains people could live in such a developed town hewn in rocks… That’s why you have to go to Vardzia to see it with your own eyes!
Georgia's ancient and vibrant capital city spreads out on both banks of the Mtkvari River, and is surrounded on three sides by mountains. The most widely accepted variant of the legend of Tbilisi's founding says that in the mid-5th century AD, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali was hunting in the heavily wooded region with a falcon. The King's falcon allegedly caught or injured a pheasant during the hunt, after which both birds fell into a nearby hot spring and died from burns. King Vakhtang became so impressed with the hot springs that he decided to cut down the forest and build a city. The name Tbilisi derives from the Old Georgian word "tbili", meaning warm. Archaeological studies of the region indicate human settlement in the area early as the 4th millennium BC.
This Georgian architectural wonder dating back to the XI century has served as the religious center of the country for hundreds of years. The complex includes the church, a gate, a bell tower, castles, and clerical residences. The mantles of Christ and of the Prophet Elijah are both preserved in the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. The tombs of Tbilisi's founder, King Vakhtang Gorgasali is also inside the building. The cathedral is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Mtskheta State Archaeological Museum-Reserve
The Museum-Reserve contains archaeological artifacts of national and international importance. A wide variety of exhibits from the Bronze, late Middle Ages, and various ethnographic pieces are also on display.
Bebristsikhe castle is located north of Mtskheta, on the right bank of the river Aragvi. It was called Belta in ancient times. The castle was built in the antique period; its total area equates to approximately 1500 m2 and the inner courtyard is about 600 m2.
The VI century Georgian Orthodox monastery is built on a hill opposite Mtskheta, at the confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Shortly after the adoption of Christianity, King Mirian III erected an enormous wooden cross on this site. In the 2nd half of the VI century Guaram, the ruler of Kartli, built a small church beside the Holy Cross. The church is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Monastery of Shio-Mgvime
The monastery is located 8 km from Mtskheta, on the left bank of the Mtkvari River. It was constructed in the beginning of the second half of the VI century by one of the Assyrian fathers named Shio. The complex includes facilities of different time periods: a cave church, the Church of St. John the Baptist, a bell tower, the church of Shio, St. Mary’s Assumption Cathedral with its tower, refectory, and rock-cut caves - reservoirs, clergy houses, a spring, a water supply system and the Ascension Church.
Ilia Chavchavadze Saguramo State Museum
The museum complex includes the residence, auxiliary buildings, and the family vineyards of the famous Georgian writer and public figure Ilia Chavchavadze (1837-1907). The museum preserves memorial items and manuscripts from the writer, photo portraits of famous XIX century Georgian public figures and photographs reflecting the time period. Location: village Saguramo.
The main sights of the city are clustered in the Old Tbilisi district. This area is well-known for its sulfur bathhouses fed by natural hot springs.
Nearby on Shardeni Street you will find plenty of modern, popular restaurants, open air café-bars, trendy night clubs and art galleries.
Overnight in Tbilisi
Freedom Bridge Metekhi Church Square of Europe
Narikala Fortress can be seen from any point within Old Tbilisi. It was constructed for defense purposes in the 4th century and was considerably expanded over subsequent historical periods.
Rustaveli Avenue and Freedom Square
Rustaveli Avenue begins at Freedom Square and extends about 1.5 kilometers. This is the center of the city, where many of the governmental, cultural and business facilities are located. Strolling down Rustaveli you can observe daily life in the city, explore shops from both international and local brands, and get something to eat.
The Tbilisi Funicular is one of the finest examples of cable railways in the world. The railway leads to Mtatsminda- a beautiful leisure and amusement park overlooking the entire city.
The Dry Bridge is home to a famous flea market, where you can find art exhibitions and antique items for sale. Whether you're interested in Soviet memorabilia, handmade jewelry, or personal keepsakes- remember to haggle! Open daily in good weather from 10:00 - 17:00.
Agmashenebeli Avenue is one of the longest and most beautiful streets of the city. Here you can find gorgeous historic buildings, painted entryways and distinctive architectural ornaments.
Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia
The museum's origins date back to the 19th century. Today, the museum exhibits Georgia’s principal archaeological findings, thousands of artifacts of immense historical significance, animal remains dating back 40 million years, and archaeological and ethnographic collections from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, Iron and Middle Ages.
Address: 3 Shota Rustaveli Avenue
Art Museum of Georgia
Located near Freedom Square, the Art Museum of Georgia is one of the most important museums in the country. There are approximately 140,000 items of art on display from various cultures and time periods.
Holy Trinity Cathedral
The Trinity (Sameba) Cathedral is one of the tallest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the World. The cathedral complex includes an underground section and integrates nine chapels, various supplementary buildings, and beautiful gardens.
Overnight In Tbilisi
Tbilisi - Bodbe
City of wine and love, as it is being called in recent years, is very much appealing to those who are tired of rush and hustle, and like everything lovely, cute and small. Walking through Sighnaghi, you might feel like in Italy - the architecture is pretty similar to small Italian towns. Romantic cobbled streets, carved balconies, 24/7 marriage registration... What is there in this town for those who don’t want to get married right now?
Walk around the city walls
Sighnaghi is famous for its long city walls: there are well preserved 4.5 kilometer of stone walls - which stretch along small mountain ridges. There are two entrances to the wall, so you can stroll along it and admire the Alazani Valley.
Visit the Museum of Sighnaghi
Learn more about the history of the city, the region, and look at the rare works by Niko Pirosmani and Lado Gudiashvili.
Rise to the church of St. Stephen
The peculiarity of the church is that it was built inside the tower, and the bell tower was built next to it. The bell tower offers a beautiful view of the city.
Explore the wineries
Do not forget that Kakheti is a land of wine. Take a look at wine shops and cellars, tasting famous Georgian wines: Rkatsiteli, Tsinandali, Saperavi. Ask the owners about the way their wine is produced - they will gladly share with you this precious experience!
Visit Bodbe monastery
Located two kilometers far from the Sighnaghi, this beautiful monastery is one of the most important places for Georgians, because St. Nino, who brought Christianity to Georgia, is buried there. Her grave can be visited – people say that the saint helps fulfill your cherished wishes.
Strolling through the magnificent monastery garden makes you feel calmed down and relaxed... You can also go down to the holy spring of St. Nino, and plunge into healing cold water.
Alexander Chavchavadze inherited this village, lying in the Alazani River vally, from his father, Prince Garsevan. He refurbished the estate, constructed a new Italianate palace and built a decorative garden in 1835. It was the place where Chavchavadze frequently entertained foreign guests with music, wit, and – most especially – the fine vintages made at his estate marani (winery). Familiar with European ways, Chavchavadze built Georgia’s oldest and largest winery where he combined European and centuries-long Georgian winemaking traditions. The highly regarded dry white Tsinandali is still produced there.
The first archaeological findings from Telavi date back to the Bronze Age. One of the earliest surviving accounts of Telavi is from the 2nd century AD, by Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemaeus, who mentions the name Teleda (a reference to Telavi). Telavi began to transform into a fairly important and large political and administrative center in the 8th century. Interesting information on Telavi is provided in the records by an Arab geographer, Al-Muqaddasi of the 10th century, who mentions Telavi along with such important cities of that time's Caucasus as Tbilisi, Shamkhor, Ganja, Shemakha and Shirvan.