The Best Attractions in Georgia
Despite the growing number of international travellers, Georgia is still rather unknown, but we are sure that tourism in this wonderful country will increase rapidly in the future. In the meantime, you’ll have the best attractions in Georgia all to yourself.
One of the reasons for visiting the former Soviet country are the wonderful cities and impressive sights. You should definitely plan in some extra time for sightseeing, since Georgia is full of amazing places.
In this article, we’ll show you the best attractions in Georgia that we think belong on your bucket list. We’ll, of course, also tell you some interesting facts about the cities.
Tbilisi is the capital and also the largest city in Georgia. Located on the banks of the Kura River, it has a population of about 1.5 million. Among travellers, Tbilisi is famous for its distinctive architecture, reflecting the city’s historic past. It has a unique mix of medieval, neoclassical, Art Nouveau, Stalinist, and modernist structures.
The capital is located in the centre of eastern Georgia, to be precise, on the foothills of the Trialeti Mountains. According to a legend, Tbilisi was founded in the fifth century by King Vakhtang Gorgasali who, while hunting, shot a pheasant that subsequently fell into a hot spring and was either cooked or cured of its injury. Either way, this inspired the king to found a city on this very spot. The name “Tbilisi” comes from the Georgian word “tbili”, which translates to “warm”.
Although the city has been largely destroyed and subsequently rebuilt several times, the layout of the old town with its narrow streets and large, winding houses remains. Today, Tbilisi is one of the safest cities in Europe. Thanks to Georgia’s growing tourism industry, it is a popular up-and-coming destination in the world.
A typical leisure activity is walking through Tbilisi’s old town. Its old-fashioned balconies, its historical churches and winding streets with charming shops make it one of the best attractions in Georgia. And the city has no shortage of impressive sights. Ranging from the abandoned tram near Erekle Street, the art galleries on Chardini Street to the stunning modern art on Sioni Street.
Of course, there are also more interesting neighbourhoods. Sololaki in particular is worth visiting due to its Art Nouveau architecture and elegant restaurants. In the Betelmi district, you’ll find the city’s two oldest churches. Don’t miss out on the breathtaking view of the Narikala Fortress from there.
Batumi is Georgia’s second-largest city and one of the best attractions in Georgia. On the coast of the Black Sea, palm trees and mountains surround this city. It attracts even more tourists than Tbilisi. That is mainly due to the eclectic mix of architecture, ranging from charming classical buildings from the 19th century to ultra-modern skyscrapers housing hotels and casinos.
Batumi has been welcoming international travellers for many years, and not only from the neighbouring countries like Russia and Azerbaijan. On the contrary, people from all over the world visit the city on the Black Sea. Known as the regional party centre, Batumi offers a vibrant nightlife, hosting major international DJs and concerts.
You’ll find the most important sights on the Primorski Boulevard, built in 1884. However, its layout has slightly changed over time. The approximately seven-kilometre long boulevard begins at the Bay of Batumi and, apart from the sights, it also offers viewpoints and beautiful places where you can take great pictures. In the old part of the boulevard, you’ll find various fountains and many cafés.
Also, the Piazza, with its unique architecture, is a popular destination for travellers as well as locals. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy a drink or a bite in one of the many cafés. Designed by Georgian architect Vazha Orbeladze, the square perfectly combines different styles and trends that have evolved over time.
The Bay of Batum is home to one particular iconic landmark. The Statue of Love, created by Georgian artist Tamara Kvesitadze, shows two figures representing Ali and Nino.
Ali and Nino are characters from a book of the same name by the writer Kurban Said. The book tells the story of the romantic relationship between Ali, an Azerbaijani Muslim, and a Georgian and Christian nobleman’s daughter in Baku in 1918.
The Chacha Tower is also worth a visit, and it belongs on the list of the best attractions in Georgia. It was originally built around a so-called Chacha Well, which – according to a legend – is home to a ghost. Apparently, the ghost still haunts this place to this very day.
When visiting the sights of Batumi, make sure not to forget the skyscrapers, especially the Alphabetic Tower! It is located near the Statue of Love and is one of the city’s most characteristic features.
The tower is about 130 metres high and resembles a DNA strand. It contains the 33 letters of the Georgian alphabet; each letter being about four metres tall. The impressive building honours the uniqueness of the Georgian language.
Of course, you can take the lift to the top, and the viewing platform offers a stunning view over the city. Make sure to visit this place.
Besides its rather modern appearance, Batumi has also preserved numerous other buildings from the 19th century. These stem from a time when the city was a free port on the Caspian Oil Route to Europe. During the restoration period, these old buildings were renovated as well. Additionally, new buildings were built next to them, imitating the old style.
The highlights on the Europe Square are the Astronomical Clock and the Medea Monument. The latter derives its name from a Georgian woman who placed an important part in the myth of the Argonauts. According to that myth, she helped steal the Golden Fleece from Colchis and bring it back to Ancient Greece.
Kutaisi is one of Tbilisi’s serious rivals when it comes to its status as a capital. In fact, it used to be the capital of ancient Colchis and nowadays, its territory includes western Georgia. It’s one of the largest cities in Georgia, but it doesn’t even come close to the size and the cultural richness of Tbilisi.
Nevertheless, Kutaisi has a very important place in Georgian history, as it’s now home to the country’s parliament. Since then, the entire city and its streets, buildings, and parks have been restored. The city’s crime rate has also decreased enormously since then.
Kutaisi is an exceptionally pleasant city. It may not have the tourist infrastructure like some other regions of Georgia, but the inhabitants treat their visitors from abroad with a great deal of respect. The people of Kutaisi will want to get to know you on a personal level.
The people of Kutaisi are usually extremely helpful towards strangers. Generally, the locals will quickly come to see you as one of their friends and offer you an alcoholic beverage or two. If you buy alcohol or food for one of the extremely friendly people in return, you are sure to make some new friends as well.
Kutaisi is one of the oldest cities in the country and it offers some ancient cultural sights. Palaeontologists have even discovered some dinosaur footprints here. Besides that, you’ll also find caves, cathedrals, and a fountain dedicated to the ancient Greek myth of the Argonauts.
One of the best attractions in Georgia is the magnificent Bagrati Cathedral. It derives its name from King Bagrat III, who commissioned its construction in the eleventh century. From this imposing building, you’ll have an impressive view of the mountain slopes over the city and the Rioni River.
But the cathedral itself is also worth a visit. It is not only a jewel of medieval architecture, but also one of the largest religious sites in the country. Ancient Georgian ornaments and symbols adorn the façade. On the inside, you’ll be able to admire the numerous beautiful frescoes on the walls.
The Gelati Monastery, which you will find near Bagrati, was built in 1106 by King David IV. In Georgian history, he was also known as “David the Builder”. The monastery is also the place where he was buried, and it has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994, together with the Bagrati Cathedral.
About 20 kilometres from Kutaisi, you’ll find the Prometheus Cave, a.k.a. Kumistavi Cave. It was discovered in 1984 and is a true wonder of nature. The cave’s name comes from the Caucasian myth of Amirani. According to the legend, Amirani, just like Prometheus, angered the gods, and he was chained up in the cave as punishment. Eagles tormented him and ate his liver day and night.
In this cave, you will find stalagmites, stalactites, cave pearls, underground lakes and petrified waterfalls that are thousands of years old. The cave is one of the largest in the country, but only a tenth of its territory is open to visitors. You should allow about an hour for the approximately one-kilometre-long tour. Since 2012, boat tours will guide you through the underground river so you can enjoy some spectacular sights.
The best attractions in Georgia are located in the citites of Tbilisi, Batumi and Kutaisi. Each of them has its own perks, which is why you should definitely visit all of them. Thanks to the cultural diversity and history of the country, there is plenty to choose from.
The old town houses most of Tbilisi’s sights. Neighbourhoods like Sololaki and Narikala Fortress are definitely worth a visit, too. The city is so full of impressive architecture. We could hardly stop taking pictures.
In Batumi, the Primorski Boulevard and the Piazza are especially interesting. But sights like the Alphabetical Tower and the Statue of Love are absolutely worth mentioning, too. On the Europe Square, you’ll also see the Astronomical Clock and the Medea Monument.
The capital of western Georgia is Kutaisi, one of the oldest in the region. Did you know that archaeologists have even discovered traces of dinosaurs? Apart from that, you can follow many historical footsteps in this beautiful city. These include the Bagrati Cathedral and the Gelati Monastery, both of which are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Close to Kutaisi, you can also visit an extensive cave system.
We are sure that you’ll fully enjoy your time in Georgia. It’s great to see that many other people are now discovering this culturally rich country as a potential travel destination. This country still retains its original character. Tourism hasn’t changed it completely… yet. So, hurry up and pack your bags!