Things to Do in Kutaisi, Georgia
Kutaisi is a slow-paced little city half-way between Batumi and Tbilisi and is the third-largest city in Georgia. There’s not a lot of things to do in Kutaisi but it’s definitely worth spending a day or two in Kutaisi during your trip to Georgia. One of the highlights of Kutaisi is a day trip to Gelati Monastery and Motsameta Monastery.
This guide gives you an overview of some things to see in Kutaisi, places to eat, accommodation in Kutaisi and instructions for how to get to Gealti monastery and walk from Gelati to Motsamet monastery
Five Things to Do in Kutaisi
There is a busy local market sprawling through a main bazaar and out into the surrounding streets. You can find everything from reading glasses to walnuts. There some great little bakeries (rooms with an oven and old woman with a rolling pin) where you can get a cheap snack while you wander.
VISIT BARGATI CATHEDRAL
Serched on the top a hill overlooking the town this is one of the top attractions in Kutaisi and is worth a walk up to. The church itself is impressive if you’re not already suffering from church overindulgence (a real affliction in Georgia). But the views of the city also make it a top spot to enjoy the sunset.
SEE THE COLCHIS FOUNTAIN
The fountain in the middle of a giant roundabout in the centre of the city. The centre piece is an armoured horse because who doesn’t need a big one of those in the middle of town. Surrounding it is an army of smaller animals chilling in the water. It also gets lit up at night.
VISIT THE KUTAISI BOTANICAL GARDENS
We visited the amazing ones in Batumi so were keen to see these too. Unfortunately they were ‘closed’ when we got there. By this I mean there were definitely people inside but all we could get out of the woman at the ticket office was ‘no!’. Not sure where we went wrong but if you can get yourself into this VIP zone it looks like a lovely place for a wander. There’s also supposed to be a chapel in the trunk of an ancient oak tree (this was 90% of our reason for going.)
GET LOST IN THE OLD TOWN
Kutaisi has so many beautiful but rundown houses. Walking around was one of our favourite thingsto do in Kutaisi and if you have a love of house renovation this is your playground! Almost every place comes with an adorable balcony and some grape vines growing along it. We seriously considered investing in Georgian property!
Where to Eat in Kutaisi
We had a really nice meal at Papavero. This place also had an amazing interior. However, the service was poor and they mysteriously added about 6GEL to various items on our bill.
So we found a place a little more our style. A busy local place called Baraqa. No nonsense, cheap prices, and good local food. They even had a picture menu for us clueless foreigners who can’t distinguish different types of Georgian food.
There weren’t many cafes in Kutaisi but the couple we did find where great. Tea House Foe Foe is a cosy café filled with books and arm chairs. They do all kids of speciality teas and a range of other drinks and food.
Our Café was just that. We spent an entire day here working, drinking Georgian wine, eating cheese, sipping coffee, and enjoying the amazing décor. Definite Middle Eastern vibes with lots of tiles, carpets, and lamps. Lovely staff and a very relaxed atmosphere. The bottle of wine was €4! How could we refuse?!
A Day Trip to Gelati and Mostsameta Monastery
After several days of cats and dogs kinda rain we rejoiced at the sign of a sunny day and decided to get outdoors. We opted for public transport to Gelati, walking from Gelati to Motsameta and then public transport back to Kutaisi. It’s possible to walk all of these parts but only along the main road which isn’t exactly a top hiking route.
HOW TO GET TO GELATI MONASTERY
We started with a marshrutka (a rundown minivan used as a shared taxi) from this point. Tourist information told us they leave at 8 am, 11 am, 2 pm, 4 pm, and 6 pm and Max was one satisfied German when ours rolled up bang at 11 am! The sign at the front of the van says ‘Gelati Monastery’ in English and in case that wasn’t clear enough, it also has a picture. The journey takes about 20 minutes and costs 1GEL (about 30c). You pay the driver as you leave.