Kutaisi, Georgia’s legislative capital and its second-largest city, is steeped in history and rich in natural beauty. For those pondering things to do in Kutaisi, exploring the Bagrati Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 11th century, and visiting the Prometheus Cave, a stunning underground wonder filled with stalactites and stalagmites, are top activities.
The city’s historic Gelati Monastery, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers a glimpse into Georgia’s medieval past and is known for its impressive frescoes and mosaics. Nearby, the bustling Green Bazaar provides a vibrant atmosphere and a chance to sample local produce and delicacies.
Beyond its historical and natural attractions, Kutaisi is also celebrated for its warm hospitality and delicious Georgian cuisine, with traditional dishes such as khachapuri (cheese-filled bread) and khinkali (dumplings) being must-tries. For those seeking the best places to visit in Georgia, Kutaisi’s blend of ancient history, natural wonders, and culinary delights makes it a captivating destination.
Table of Contents
Attractions & Things to Do in Kutaisi, Georgia
1. Bagrati Cathedral
Bagrati Cathedral stands as a proud symbol of Kutaisi, perched on a hilltop and visible from various parts of the city. Originally built in the 11th century, the cathedral has undergone restoration to preserve its grandeur. Its architecture is a stunning example of medieval Georgian design, and the interior features frescoes and stone carvings.
Travel Tip: Visit during sunset for a spectacular view of the city bathed in golden light.
2. Gelati Monastery
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Gelati Monastery dates back to the 12th century and is renowned for its medieval architecture and frescoes. The complex includes a main cathedral, several smaller churches, and the Academy of Gelati, once a major center of learning in Georgia.
Travel Tip: Take a guided tour to fully appreciate the historical and artistic significance of the site.
3. Prometheus Cave
Discover the underground wonders of Prometheus Cave, one of the largest karst caves in Georgia. Stalactites, stalagmites, petrified waterfalls, and underground rivers create a magical landscape. The cave is illuminated, enhancing the beauty of the formations.
Travel Tip: Bring a light jacket as the temperature inside the cave is consistently cool, and consider taking the boat tour at the end of the walking route for an additional adventure.
4. Motsameta Monastery
Perched on a cliff overlooking the Tskhaltsitela River, Motsameta Monastery offers both spiritual tranquility and stunning scenery. The monastery complex is smaller and less crowded than others in the region, providing a peaceful experience.
Travel Tip: Walk around the monastery’s exterior to enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
5. Sataplia Nature Reserve
Sataplia Nature Reserve is home to another of Kutaisi’s impressive caves, as well as dinosaur footprints and a beautiful conservation area. A glass-bottomed viewing platform provides a thrilling view of the canyon below.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes for walking, and bring a camera to capture the unique features of the reserve.
6. Colchis Fountain
Situated in the central square of Kutaisi, Colchis Fountain displays a collection of intricate gold and silver artifacts replicating those found in ancient Colchis, the region around Kutaisi. The artifacts reflect the skill of ancient Colchian metalworkers.
Travel Tip: Visit the fountain during the evening when it is illuminated, creating a mesmerizing display.
7. Kutaisi Historical Museum
The Kutaisi Historical Museum offers a comprehensive look at the region’s history, from ancient times to the present. Exhibits include archaeological artifacts, medieval manuscripts, and traditional Georgian clothing and textiles.
Travel Tip: Allocate enough time to explore the various sections of the museum, as there is a lot to see.
8. Green Bazaar
Experience the local culture and cuisine at Kutaisi’s Green Bazaar, a bustling market where you can find fresh produce, spices, cheese, and other Georgian delicacies. The market is a feast for the senses, with vibrant colors and tantalizing aromas.
Travel Tip: Don’t hesitate to interact with the vendors and try local specialties; many are happy to offer samples.
9. White Bridge
Also known as the Love Bridge, White Bridge is a charming pedestrian bridge crossing the Rioni River. The bridge is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, providing a peaceful place to enjoy the riverside.
Travel Tip: Visit during the evening when the bridge is beautifully lit, creating a romantic atmosphere.
FAQ About Things to Do in Kutaisi, Georgia
What are the must-see historical sites in Kutaisi?
Kutaisi is rich in historical sites including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery. Don’t miss the chance to also visit the lesser-known but enchanting Motsameta Monastery, perched on a cliff overlooking the river.
Can I explore any natural wonders around Kutaisi?
Absolutely! The Prometheus Cave is a natural wonder not to be missed, offering stunning stalactites and stalagmites, and boat rides on its underground rivers. The Okatse and Martvili canyons also offer breathtaking views and a chance for some light adventure.
Is there a local market in Kutaisi where I can shop for souvenirs?
Yes, the Kutaisi Market is the perfect place to find local handicrafts, Georgian spices, cheeses, and traditional sweets. It’s an authentic experience to mingle with locals and try the fresh produce.
Are there any cultural experiences I can partake in Kutaisi?
Definitely! Kutaisi is known for its cultural heritage. Attend a performance at the Kutaisi State Historical Theatre, or visit during the Kutaisi International Theatre Festival for a showcase of local and international talent.
What dining experiences should I not miss in Kutaisi?
Be sure to try traditional Georgian cuisine at local restaurants. Dishes like khachapuri, khinkali, and local wines are a must-try. Restaurants around the central square offer authentic Georgian dining experiences that shouldn’t be missed.
Are there any parks or gardens in Kutaisi for leisure activities?
Yes, the Kutaisi Central Park is a lovely spot for leisurely walks, picnics, and people-watching. The park often hosts small concerts and public events, especially in the summer months.
Can I take a guided tour to learn about Kutaisi’s history?
Guided tours are a great way to delve into Kutaisi’s rich history. Many local tour operators offer walking tours that include visits to the city’s historical sites, as well as storytelling about its past and present.
Are there opportunities for hiking or outdoor activities near Kutaisi?
For outdoor enthusiasts, the Sataplia Nature Reserve offers hiking trails through lush forests and past ancient dinosaur footprints. It’s a great day trip for those looking to explore Georgia’s natural beauty.