This post is the 3rd part of my previous discussions about Georgian itinerary 1 and 2. In this part, I will give you information about Georgia’s third largest cities, Kutaisi.
Kutaisi is the capital of western region Imereti, located 221 kilometres (137 miles) from Tbilisi. Archaeological evidences found in Kutaisi, indicates that the city functioned as the capital of the kingdom of Colchis(kolkhs) in the sixth to fifth centuries BC.
Kutaisi has an ancient cultural and historical meaning to Georgia.
Here is a list of the cultural centers in Kutaisi.
Museums and other cultural institutions:
1. Kutaisi State Historical Museum
2. Kutaisi Museum of Sport
3. Kutaisi Museum of Martial Art
4. Museum of Zakaria Paliashvili
5. Kutaisi State Historical Archive
6. Kutaisi State Scientific-Universal Library
7. David Kakabadze Fine Art Gallery
8. Art Salon
9. Akaki Tsereteli State University
Main sights in/near Kutaisi
The 11th-century Bagrati Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by Bagrat III, king of Georgia, in the early 11th century. The Bagrati Cathedral, and the Gelati Monastery a few km east of the city, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the famous churches in Georgia is Motsameta Church. It is named after two saints, brothers David and Constantine. They were the Dukes of Margveti, and were marty
red by Arab invaders in the 8th century. Besides the churches, there are many interesting places near Kutaisi, such as: Geguti Palace, which was one of the residences of Georgian monarchs; “Okros Chardakhi” – Georgian Kings’ Palace; and the Pantheon, where many notable citizens are buried.
Besides that, there is Sataplia where one can observe footprints of dinosaurs, and Prometheus cave.
In my previous post(Georgian Itinerary) I suggested you to go on day-tours from Tbilisi to different places if you have few days for your holiday, like Kakheti day-tour (Sighnaghi, Bodbe, Kvareli, Telavi), Mtskheta townm Uplistsikhe and Gori day-tour (Jvari, Svetitskhoveli, Uplistsikhe and Gori), Gudauri-Kazbegi day-tour (Ananuri, Jinvali, Gudauri, Stepantsminda). These were day-tours, now I will give you advise about other attractions for sea, mountain and culture lovers for more than one-day trip.
I am talking about Batumi city, the second largest city if Georgia, located on the coast of the Black Sea in the country’s southwest. It is a port city, with beautiful rock beaches and mountains.
Visiting Batumi is best in Summer(June, July, August), but September is also good time to go there and relax, clubs and cafs will still be open, the weather will be great( less rain then in August) and there will be no crowded beaches.
In August it is the high peak of season, hottest weather, most crowded and highest prices. If you are traveling in Winter-sprin-Autumn time, you can still go there, but you won’t get the city’s main charm and beauty, most of the cafes and restaurants are closed at that time, and nothing really happening. But still, you will have a chance to see the Batumi’s wonderful architecture which was recently reconstructed and the center of the city looks really impressive.
Almost every street in Batumi look like this
The road from Tbilisi to Batumi takes around 6 hours by any vehicle(car, train), there is an airport in Batumi, you can also take a plane, which brings you to the city in less then an hour from Tbilisi. Of course it’s more expensive than car or a train. The trains are modern and very comfortable, you can take either night train with a cabin for 4 passengers, or a day-train. There are also Marshutkas (minibuses) driving to Batumi, but train is more comfortable, if you ask me. And of course, a taxi, or a private driver will take you to the destination without any problem. It’s better to order a taxi via phone, rather than stop it in the street randomly and ask them to take you to Batumi. There are several numbers to call to order a taxi, or via mobile applications available in Georgia.
In any case, you have to stay there for at least one night.
As for a private English-speaking driver with comfortable car, who will bring you to the destination safely, is a bit expensive than a regular taxi, but worth it. You can book a tour in advance, or last-minute orders also available via our Facebook- Visit Georgia, or contacts you can search from our website- WWW.VISIT-GEO.COM. Another source to check available tours and packages, please visit our list of tours on our webpage, or download our FREE application Visit Georgia, available on Appstore and GooglePlay.
It does not depend on what kind of vehicle you take, you will have to stay there for at least one night. There are several guest houses, hotels and hostels available at any time of the year, so take a journey to Batumi and have fun!
Georgian Itinerary posts continues and is coming soon with more places, suggestions and tips. Keep up with us !
You have already packed your bags, bought a flight ticket and got your accommodation, but is this enough to have the trip of your lifetime? – of course not.
In Georgia, you can always get tips from locals while you are here, about where to go and what to see, but planning ahead has never did any harm to travelers.
This post is about how to spend unforgettable time in Georgia in any time of the year.
So, this is the ultimate guide about Georgian itinerary.
There are different places you can enjoy on day-trips from Tbilisi, not an obligation to stay there for couple of days if you don’t really want to, because in most of them, you will see what’s good in one day.
For example, Mtskheta(M-‘ts’-‘kh’-e-t-a) city is one of the most popular sights nearest to Tbilisi. It is approximately 30-35 minutes drive from Tbilisi center. There you can see UNESCO heritage sights, such as Svetitskhoveli(S-v-e-t-i-‘ts’-‘kh’-o-v-e-l-i, meaning: Life-giving Pillar), and Jvari(J-v-a-r-i, meaning: a Cross) monastery. Both of them are historically important sights and plus, Mtskheta city will conquer your heart with its spirit and beauty.
This trip will take only a half of your day, so you will have time to visit other beautiful spots nearby, such as Uplistsikhe (U-p-l-i-s-‘ts’-i-‘kh’-e, meaning: The Lord’s Castle), it is a rock-town near the city Gori,amazing chance to have flashbacks of the ancient past of Georgia. Gori itself, is also very popular tourists destination, it is a place where the ruler of the Soviet Union, Stalin was born and raised(yes, he was Georgian).
Another place for a day-tour is Kakheti region– known for its traditions of wine-making, so once you are in Georgia, you HAVE TO visit that region, but not the whole territory, there are couple of places worth seeing:
Sighnaghi(S-i-‘gh’-n-a-‘gh’-i) city, Bodbe(B-o-d-b-e) Monastery, Kvareli (K-v-a-r-e-l-i) lake, Telavi(T-e-l-a-v-i) Kingdom, Gremi(G-r-e-m-i) church..all these you can manage in one day, but if you have time to overnight there, don’t hesitate, you will not regret waking up and seeing beautiful Alazani Valley and gorgeous Caucasian Mountains.
As for the wineries, they are located everywhere in Kakheti, once you see the sign ”Wine rout” on the highway and follow that road, it will lead you to the winery, wine factory or a cellar. If you want to have a look at a family cellar, search them in Sighnaghi city, they will meet you with a great honor and make you feel like you are their very special guest.
Let’s move on to the mountains. What comes in mind first, when we think about mountains in Georgia? Svaneti, Kazbegi, Tusheti, Khevsureti… because they will never leave your minds once you see their nature! Georgia has spectacular mountain-range areas and villages where the untouched nature amazes you, but if you have a short trip to Georgia, go to Gudauri-Kazbegi tour, you can manage it in one day, but staying overnight will totally change your emotions about Georgia.
You have to start your journey to Kazbegi from Tbilisi, to the direction of Georgian military road. Stepantsminda(S-t-e-p-a-n-‘ts’-m-i-n-d-a) is our final destination where we will see Kazbegi mountain and Gergeti church, but on the way, there are other spots you have to stop by and see.
First stop is by the Jinvali(‘zh’-i-n-v-a-l-i) water reservoir, giving spectacular views of crystal clear water filled by the river Aragvi. you will reach Jinvali in 1 hour drive from Tbilisi.
Next stop is Ananuri fortress,after Jinvali, you will reach it in 10-15 minutes. Ananuri is a castle complex on the Aragvi river, dates 13th century. The fortress remained in use until the beginning of the 19th century. In 2007, the complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage Site program.
You will continue the road and after 1 more hour, you will reach a ski resort Gudauri (G-u-d-a-u-r-i). Depending on the season, you might(December, January, February, March, sometimes even until the middle of April) or might not (the rest of the year, end of spring, summer, autumn) see snow there. There you can see a Friendship Wall,
which is giving unbelievable impressions and views of huge mountains surrounding the place, and if it’s snow season, you can also try skiing, or just have a ride by a aerial lifts.
After Gudauri, you will reach Kazbegi, Stepantsminda. Note, that by whatever type of transport you have gone there, you might still need a special 4X4 car, standing in the center of the village, driven by locals. They are masters of that road, so how great your driver migh
t be, it’s better to use that special car with a local driver. The road is crazy there, so my friendly advise is do not eat before going up there 🙂 While being up on the mountain, do not miss the Glacier, which stands gorgeously in front of Gergeti church. If you see it clearly, you are very lucky, because it is usually covered in huge mist and can not be seen clearly until it’s peak of summer, when the weather is perfect for Kazbegi.
There are millions of mobile applications about tourism, which we know and don’t, but there are only couple of them, which are really helpful and informative while traveling to different countries, especially if you are going there for the first time and need tips and tricks not to get in trouble.
Here are couple of them with descriptions, and NOTE that all of them are FREE to download!
KAYAK– Is a free mobile app, helping you to utilize thousands of travel sites to book flights, hotels and car rentals. You can also manage your itinerary, check baggage fees and look up airport information. KAYAK-Travel Problem Solved
Picksie– It is an app, that gives you full information about where to eat when you are in a foreign country. Restaurants, bars, concerts, movies — Picksie can recommend anything you need depending on your interests and location.
Lonely Planet App will become your companion while traveling. Packed with tips and advice from on-the-ground experts, LP city guides app is the ultimate resource before and during a trip.
Yelp– The free Yelp mobile app is the fastest and easiest way to search for businesses near you. Via Yelp you can: write & read reviews; Get directions; Browse nearby; View menu; Add & view photos; Check-in and many more.
For the travelers to Georgia, Visit Georgia FREE mobile app is a great choice to discover where to sleep, what to do, what and where to eat and of course what to see. In all of these, our guides and drivers will help you, if you book a tour right through the application. It is an innovative product, and we are the first one to surprise visitors of our country with our service.
All of the apps mentioned above can be downloaded from App Store or Google Play Store.
Once you decide to visit Georgia, you will have to study or at least understand couple of essential phrases that Georgians commonly use in their everyday lives. There might be many different kind of information, that you ought to know before coming to Georgia, but in this post, let’s stick on useful phrases.
tip: In Georgian language, the best thing is that you pronounce the word as you write it. You read, and then pronounce it as it is written, just like that.😊
Let’s start our lesson about Georgian useful phrases.
As you meet a person for the first time or someone you already know, greet them in Georgian, they will be so surprised and happy at the same time to hear ‘Gamarjoba!‘ from you . It’s a general meeting phrase, used during formal/informal conversation.
When introducing yourself, say: ‘Me mkvia (your name)‘, translated as: my name is …. you can say your full name, or only your first name.
Did you know that Georgians doesn’t call their country -Georgia? It’s ‘Sakartvelo‘, and Georgians are ‘Katveli‘.
When some Georgian is telling you something in the way you can not understand, you can say: ‘Ar mesmis‘, that means you didn’t understand what they just said.
When you agree with something, you say: ‘Ki‘ or ‘Diakh‘ (yes), ki is more informal, diakh is formal. When you deny something, or don’t agree, you say: ‘Ara‘ (no).
To express that you like something, you say: ‘Momtsons‘, or ‘Ar momtsons‘- if you don’t like.
When you want something, you say : ‘Minda!‘, meaning- I want this/I’m taking it. You can use this word while shopping, as well as drinking (Minda another shot!)🙌, or if you do not want something, you say: ‘Ar minda‘.
When you are grateful for something, you say: ‘Madloba’ or ‘Didi madloba‘, meaning ‘thanks’ or ‘thank you very much’.
When you did something wrong and want to apologize, you say: ‘Bodishi‘, means: ‘I’m sorry’. You can also use this word as an excuse, like: Excuse me, are you Georgian?- Bodishi, shen(you) Kartveli(Georgian) khar(are, Auxiliary verb)?
When you’re in a restaurant or club and want to ask someone to dance with you, you say: ‘Vitsekvot ?‘, if the answer is – no, you better don’t ask them again.
When you are in trouble and need help, you say: ‘Mishvelet!’, this way you ask for help. If you are in serious trouble, you call 112 (It’s our 911).
‘Gaetrie‘ or ‘Tsadi‘ is a word for ‘leave me alone’ or ‘go away’. If someone is bothering you, avoid them with these words. It’s like an insult, an informal appeal, but if you are angry, you can use it, but not with friends.
When you haven’t seen someone for a long time and you miss them, you say: ‘Momenatre‘.
And the last one: if you suddenly fall in love with a Georgian girl/boy, tell them: ‘Mikvarxar‘, this means ‘I love you’. ❤ and saying that you love something/someone (to the third person) : ‘Mikvars‘, for example, Me(I) mikvars(love) Sakartvelo(Georgia).