Hello, Kutaisi…

For many, Tbilisi is synonymous with Georgia – it is the capital of the country, after all. But a mere 220 kilometres west of this popular city, lies Kutaisi – one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world – just waiting to be discovered. Here’s our travel guide…

Things to see and do

Kutaisi City Centre

As with many cities, the centre is one that needs exploring and here in Kutaisi, all you need is half a day (or a few hours if you’re short on time). Begin at the ornamental Colchis Fountain in Tsentraluri Moedani Square. Found in the heart of the city, the multi-level fountain is adorned with replicas of the ancient gold jewellery discovered at the nearby archaeological site of Vani. The fountain is illuminated every evening, so pay a visit during your post-dinner stroll to really see it come to life.

For culture vultures, head to the Meskhishvili Theatre – one of the oldest theatres in Georgia. It was built in 1861 and is named after one of Georgia’s best-known theatrical figures. The huge stage can host up to 830 spectators. Next, head over to Kutaisi Park (also called Park of Love) to escape the noise and check out some sculptures and monuments, as well as a view Kutaisi City Hall. Close by is White Bridge, which crosses over River Roni. Kutaisi is a city of bridges, and this particular footbridge is said to be one of the most beautiful.

picasso boy kutaisi georgia

Through the glass floor, sneak a peek at some of Rioni River’s white stones, before soaking in the old city views on either side and snap a souvenir photo with the Picasso Boy sculpture.

grafitti art kutaisi

Make your way back to Colchis Fountain and spend time exploring the many cafés and restaurants in the surrounding area. Get some shopping done at Kutaisi Central Market (Green Bazaar) where you can pick up local treats to take home with you, including churchkhela – Georgia’s traditional candy. You can wile away hours just weaving through the lanes, checking out the street art and local shops. As for souvenirs, there are plenty in the area; have a look around before making your final decision to see where you’re getting your Georgian Lari worth of goodies.

Bagrati Cathedral

Bagrati Cathedral

Located in the Imereti region on Ukimerioni Hill, one of the oldest temples in Georgia stands out with its striking, teal-roofed domes. Bagrati Cathedral was built in 1003 and has sadly seen trying times from fires, battles and more over the centuries. Inside the cathedral, you’ll find beautiful frescos but head outside to the South Gate and you will see the original murals dating back to the 11th century. The cathedral was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994 but after major restorations that included the addition of modern elements such as steel and glass, the status was removed. Nonetheless, it is a must-visit for tourists and has one of the best panoramic views of the city.

Prometheus Cave

Prometheus Cave Georgia

The village of Kumistavi is home to the beautiful Prometheus Caves – one of
the largest underground cave systems in the world. You can walk the entire length (1,420 metres) of the cave and gaze upon a seemingly never-ending arrangement of natural stalactites and stalagmites during a one-hour tour. The formations are all enhanced by good lighting so you can take plenty of photos, although do so without flash so that you don’t disturb the sleeping bats. Just as you reach the end, you’ll be treated to a beautiful light show with music. The path is well-maintained, but we recommend wearing comfortable shoes.

Martvili Canyon

For a dose of still calmness packed with nature, hop on an inflatable raft at Martvili Canyon. The boat ride is around 20 minutes, and well worth it to enjoy turquoise waters, lush greenery, and picturesque views away from the city. You will be provided with a life jacket and the boats are limited to six people, plus a guide. After you hop off, you can check out the walking trail where you can see even more waterfalls.

Sairme Zip Line

zipline kutaisi

For those of you who have tried the ziplines in the UAE, you’re about to swap city
skyline views and brown mountain peaks for endless green forests and lush mountains. The 800-metre Sairme Zip Line – which is the longest in the Caucasus region – brings you down from the mountains (700 metres above sea level) to the Sairme Resort. The zip line is divided into two, but you can do both for 50 Georgian Lari (Dhs65).

After your adrenaline-pumping experience, make a pit stop at the small town of Baghdati for its hot springs. The area is dotted with tiny colourful blocks where you’ll find taps dispensing mineral water which has unique properties said to help in overcoming ailments.

Where to stay

Best Western Kutaisi

best western kutaisi

Located near White Bridge, Best Western Kutaisi is a great spot to stay at being so close to the city centre. On the top floor, you’ll find Roof Top Grill Restaurant where you can tuck into dinner and enjoy a drink or two before you turn in for the night. Prices start from Dhs440 per night.


Grand Opera Hotel

Boutique Grand Opera Hotel is a mere five minutes away from Colchis Fountain. The eco-friendly cosy rooms are adorned with wooden furniture, and the hotel even has a rooftop restaurant plus an underground restaurant and wine cellar. Prices start from Dhs420 per night.


Newport Hotel Kutaisi

Rooms at the four-star Newport Hotel Kutaisi are beautiful in a minimalistic way. Previously a courthouse, the building has now been converted into a modern hotel with rooms that pop with ink blue and gold hues and unique design elements. Prices start from Dhs328 per night.


How to get there

Wizz Air makes four trips to Kutaisi, Georgia per week with prices starting from Dhs375 (return).

Images: Getty Images and What’s On