Since the Georgian Parliament moved to Kutaisi in 2012, there has been a lot of work on restoring streets, buildings, parks and monuments in the city, and it has become much safer. There seems to be a bit more variety in the materials, facades, and designs of the buildings along Kutaisi's streets. In both Kutaisi and Tbilisi a look up to the second floor can reveal balconies of elaborate ironwork. Kutaisi's central park is a nice (and safe) place to sit and watch people. In addition, a visit to Kutaisi is near mandatory to see the Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery, which are both UNESCO World Heritage sites and offer views from the mountain slopes over the city and the Rioni River.
address: Kopitnari, 14 km west of Kutaisi proper on the main S1 highwayRelatively small airport that has second terminal in construction. It has around 160 flights per month during low-season and 240 during high-season. The airport services domestic flights to Tbilisi and several international flights.
There is a space where you can lie down underneath the inclined windows right after the arrival exit inside the terminal. This can be good for spending the hours (sleeping) before or after an early/late flight.
There is a money exchange bank counter at the airport, but the ATMs also give small notes down to 5 lari. Bank of Georgia charges a 2 lari fee for some cards without indicating beforehand.
- The Hungary-based, low-cost carrier Wizz Air provides low-cost, low-quality no frills flights to/from Budapest, Hungary; Berlin Dortmund Memmingen, Germany; Kiev, Ukraine; London Luton, England; Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, Gdansk, Katowice, Poland; Larnaca, Cyprus; Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece; Bari and Rome and Milan, Italy; Riga, Latvia; Vilnius, Lithuania; Tallinn, Estonia; Prague, Czech Republic; Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg and Paris, France; Copenhagen, Denmark; Vienna, Austria.
- Ukraine Airlines flies to Kiev and Kharkiv.
- SkyUp Airlines flights to Kharkiv.
- Ural Airlines flies to Moscow Domodedovo, Russia.
- There are also occasional flights to Baghdad, Iraq, on Iraqi Airways.
- Marshrutka – Many go by the airport, heading east to Tbilisi (by Kutaisi), or west to Zugdidi, Batumi, Poti, Samtredia, etc. The prices for theses more distant destinations are pretty much like from Kutaisi itself (see prices below). Most marshrutkas will not go into the airport lane, so just head to the highway, 100 m from the airport, and hail them there. From the airport to Kutaisi it is 2 lari, not more!
- Shuttle Bus – Georgian Bus and Omnibus Express provide bus service between the airport and Kutaisi city center, Tbilisi and Batumi, with bus schedules following flight arrivals. Shuttle buses to Tbilisi (20 lari, 4 hr) terminate at Freedom Square, while shuttle buses to Batumi (18 lari, 3 hr) terminate at the Radisson Blu Hotel. Shuttle buses to Kutaisi city center (5 lari) will stop at any address within the city. Tickets may be purchased online or upon arrival with cash or bank card at the Georgian Bus counter located near the exit, and when returning to the airport, may also be purchased directly from the driver. If you're riding the Georgian Bus service from Kutaisi, you must e-mail them with the name of the hotel from which you will be picked up from.
# (several times during the day and 1 overnight) A way via Samtredia train station which is 13 km away (or Rioni, which is 30 km away). Hail marshrutka (couple of lari) or taxi (20 lari) to Samtredia. Overnight train to Tbilisi (departs around 01:00, arrives to Tbilisi 06:30), 20 lari. Besides overnight train, there are daytime trains (around 10:00, 13:00, 20:00 and takes 3-4 hr). Buy train tickets beforehand, because there might be no free beds/seats.
Kutaisi Iaddress: Tamar Mepe StThis is the main station in the east of town, but away from the main bus station in the west. It serves Tbilisi, Tkibuli (1 lari no matter where you get on/off, but the marshrutka is faster), and Sachkhere (for Chiatura).
- Train 633 – Kutaisi I-Sachkhere – 05:30-08:55, return: Train 634 – Sachkhere-Kutaisi I – 10:10-13:30
- Train 635 – Kutaisi I-Sachkhere – 16:05-19:25, return: Train 636 – Sachkhere-Kutaisi I – 20:05-23:25
- Train 6323 – Kutaisi I-Tkibuli – 09:25-12:20, return: Train 6324 – Tkibuli-Kutaisi I – 13:05-16:26
- Train 6325 – Kutaisi I-Tkibuli – 18:15-21:10, return: Train 6326 – Tkibuli-Kutaisi I – 05:30-08:51
Kutaisi II stationTrain from Tskaltubo are running to Kutaisi II station.
Rioni stationaddress: Kutaisi-Baghdati-Abastumani-Benara RoadThis is the preferred train station to get to/from Kutaisi—also the one you should use for searches on the Georgian Railway Webseite or with the app. There are many more trains (day and night) from here than from Kutaisi I, and also the ones from/to Kutaisi I generally stop here.
All trains from and to Tbilisi Station Square (which is next to the Station Square metro station) leave from and arrive at the Kutaisi I station. There are three daily departures to Tbilisi, and the journey takes five-and-a-half hours. All Georgia Rail Timetable A ticket with a reserved seat costs 9 lari (Apr 2016); a passport is required to purchase the ticket and to board the train. From and to Tbilisi the train also stops in Mtskheta (the old capital of Georgia and Orthodox heart of the country), Gori (the birthplace of Stalin and home of the Stalin Museum) and Zestafoni. It is a relatively comfortable journey because passengers can stand and stretch and walk the length of the wagon) but slow due to long, intermediate stops, including one at Rioni, right outside Kutaisi. There are bathrooms on board (but bring tissue, just in case). There is no cafe or dining car, so bring water and snacks, too.
A local but "fast" train runs from Kutaisi I to Batumi (listed Makhinjauri in the timetable — the name of the station about 8 km north of Batumi), leaving at 09:00, arriving three hours later. The cost is 4 lari, payable on the train. Trains to Kharagauli leave every day (4-10 lari, 3½ hr). While private drivers and transport from Tbilisi are available (Mtskheta and Gori are day trips from Tbilisi), the Tbilisi-Kutaisi train route offers a good backbone for a tour of Georgia (with a look at its snow-capped mountains even in May) with leisurely overnights in Mtskheta, Gori, Kutaisi, and on to Batumi and the Black Sea.
Kutaisi IServes nearby destination to the east, like Tkibuli, Tuzi and Oni. Timetable for leaving Kutaisi this way see at the end.
Red bridge stationRegional marshrutkas, marshrutkas to Racha. The official city's website has most correct departure times and prices.
From specific destinations:
- Tbilisi – Marshrutkas and full 54-passenger buses depart regularly for Kutaisi from 'Didube Bus Station' located at the Didube metro stop in Tbilisi. Marshrutkas (hourly, 3½ hr, 10 lari); large buses (every 3 hours, 4 hr). While marshrutkas get to Kutaisi quicker than the train, they are not as comfortable. The driver may not leave Didube until the mini-bus is full, which could mean as many 20 people sitting with bags and backpacks in five rows of four seats. There is no guarantee of any stops along the way to smoke or go to the toilet. There is no standing, of course, and, really, very little room to wiggle, especially if there are people sitting on the aisle seats. The best seats in marshrutkas are the ones next to the driver; however, he may, if he chooses, ask you to move to the back of the bus and give your seat to someone else.
- Batumi – The marshrutka will get you to the town centre, or drop you off at the airport on the way, for 15 lari. Usually it takes 2-2½ hr, but give yourself about 3 or so. The bus will wait in Batumi until it is full, which could mean waiting on the bus for an extra 45 min. In Batumi, the buses leave from nearby to the entrance to the cable car, but the port. You will see them all parked there.
- Borjomi – Several during the day, every hour or so, 8 lari, 2 hr. If you do not find a direct bus, it is said to be easy to change buses in Khashuri—3 lari between Borjomi and Khashuri.
- Akhaltsikhe – 10:40, 15:00, and 18:10. 3½ hr. 10-12 lari.
- Kharagauli – Twice a day, 10 lari, 3½ hr.
- Zugdidi – There are hourly (or so) marshrutkas until 16:00. 1½-2 hr, 7 lari.
The interesting parts of the town are walkable. To visit the monasteries in the mountains nearby booking a day-tour may be a time-saving option.
By busNo. 1 city bus is a useful circular route (both clockwise and anticlockwise direction) linking the main city square, Kutasi I (main train station), and Kutaisi II (bus station). 0.40-0.50 lari, pay the driver at exit, change given.
From Kutasi II (bus station), clockwise direction (to the left, cross the road from McDonald's) is the faster route to the city centre. Note each direction takes slightly different route on the centre of the city (east side of the river). The clockwise direction does not go in front of Kutasi I but goes south on Tsereteli St. along the river. The anticlockwise direction stops in front of Kutaisi I then goes uphill on Solomon Piveli Street and downhill on 26 Maisi (May) Street towards the main square.
Local marshrutkas ply the city but it can be difficult to find the route for average tourists. Nonetheless, bother enough locals with a map and some broken Russian, and eventually one will take pity and frog march you to the right bus stop.
By trainSchedule of Georgian railways is here.
Bagrati Cathedral (UNESCO World Heritage site)address: Bagrati StreetAncient church that was built in the 11th century by King Bagrat III, a symbol of a unified Georgia. Foundations of an earlier building have been found. Blown up by marauding Islamic invaders in the 18th century, then carefully restored over the last 100 years; the interior is also almost completed. The difference between original and replacement is clearly obvious. The ongoing reconstruction aimed at returning Bagrati Cathedral back to its original state as a religious space has led ICOMOS to recommend that it should be left as a ruin and added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in danger.
Synagogueaddress: 57-59 Boris Gaponov St
St. Thekla churchaddress: Daniel Chonkadze St
St Elijah the prophet church.address: Chekhovi Street I
St. Cyprian and Justina churchaddress: David Agmashenebeli Ave,
address: Irakli Abashidze StCompleted in 2012. It was one of the most prestigious projects of President Mikheil Saakashvili to relocate the parliament from Tbilisi to Kutaisi. However, the relocation of Parliament is cancelled by the new government Ivanishvili. In what way this new €50 million building will be used is still unclear.
White BridgeOver the river Rioni, known by the bridge Springer scene in the movie "Neobyknovennaja Vystavka"
Small Local History museumaddress: Rustaveli Ave. and Tesereteli St. cornerwith English signs like "pottery shreds" offering very little in-depth information
Kutaisi Museum of Sport
Kutaisi Museum of Martial Art
Museum of Zakaria Paliashvili
David Kakabadze Fine Art Galleryaddress: 8 Shota Rustaveli StreetHouses collections of the 19th and 20th century artists
Motsameta MonasteryA 11th-century monastery richly decorated with frescoes. On a ridge in between a impressing mountainous region. Has far less tourists than Gelati, but often considered the more beautiful one, due to its interesting location. From along the train tracks you might be able to get a better picture with the hills around the monastery than from within the monastery itself.
address: 7, Nazarishvili str
Geguti Palaceaddress: Geguti villageOne of the few secular monuments of the medieval Georgian kingdom, located on the banks of the River Rioni. It is well preserved and developed for tourism. It's not protected anyhow and thus it's free to enter.
Vani archaeological siteone of the most important cities of antique Colchi, from 8th-6th century BC have been discovered. The city was destroyed in the 1st century AD.
Sataplia Nature ReserveThree main attractions of the reserve - a pavilion with well-preserved dinosaur footprints, karst cave and glass balcony - an observation deck on top of the mountain Sataplia (highest point of the reserve). However, the guides are unsatisfactory since they either only speak Russian or give little information. Read the online reviews before heading here.
- Do as the locals do: Sit in the city centre park (Central Garden) and watch the world pass by.
Torpedo Kutaisi F.C.address: Giorgi BrtskinavaleSee the local football team in a match at the Givi Kiladze Stadium.
phone: +995 599-091610address: 23, Rustaveli ave., TskaltuboBesides the decaying old building of the old sanatorium, there is this hotel which offers spa and mineral treatments, sauna and massages. Probably a good option when it's raining in Kutaisi.
address: Gelati Street
Botanical Garden "Kolchuri"Rather small but still nice botanical garden. Some trees has signs in English. There is also interesting chapel built inside the tree.
Park of Culture and Restaddress: Vazha Pashavela St
Central Gardenaddress: Rustaveli AvenueA great central location to rejuvinate, observe, meet, and plan.
Kharazov Parkaddress: Solomon Pirveli Street
Youth Parkaddress: Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze Rd.
Kikvidze Parkaddress: Zviad Gamsakhurdia St
WhatThe homemade wine in the bazaar in Kutaisi is apparently not that good, because more than often they mix with sugar and other stuff. This is at least what some locals are saying.
Bazaaraddress: off Zakhira Paliashvili (Paliashvili V Aly) StIn addition to fruits, vegetables, and whole chickens, natural, homemade red wine is sold in Kutaisi's market, bottled in re-used plastic soda pop containers (from 2 lari a bottle). Look for a row of sellers in the first floor of a shabby building not far from the sellers on the street; the wine seller is on one end of this building in a walk-up stall.
Regular storesaddress: along Tsereteli St.
Chinese RestaurantTrue Chinese cuisine. Owners are obviously Chinese. Offer huge variety of national dishes. It's a bit pricey, however tea comes for free. It's a big surprise to find it in Kutaisi.
Club Almanoaddress: On Alexander Pushkin Street between Tamar Mepe and Tsereteli Ststheculturetrip.com says Almano "offers Georgian food in a charming European atmosphere. This is a great place to try ojakhuri, a Georgian dish that often appears on the supra (the special Georgian feast) table. It involves meat and potatoes that are roasted and mixed together. You can’t go wrong with the other options on the menu, however, like shashlik, another form of roasted meat, or, of course, the ubiquitous khachapuri. If you want something green on the table, try their starter salads with the delicious Georgian bread". American favorites like club sandwiches and potato wedges are also served. Salads include lettuce.
El PasoSpecialising on Khinkali, but also has other Georgian dishes. Does not seem to charge the 10% service fee.
El Depophone: +995 431244273Seems to be the same owner as El Paso, hence similar dishes. But more like a pub for the evening though.
KhvichaFor an authentic experience, where only locals eat, try to go to this place. Do not expect much — it is a dukkan. There is no menu. You can order a tasty soup or khachapuri. Portions are really big. They speak only Georgian and Russian.
phone: +995 598 29 06 95address: Clinda Nino st. No. 13Authentic Russian cuisine from the owners who know how to cook it right. Food tastes good, big portions, nice personal, Russian music as an accompaniment. Note this place doesn't have English sign on the entrance so just look for a wooden sign (saying სუდარუშკა Сударушка) or a window with a Russian girl in a national costume in it.
Tea House Foe-Foephone: +995 577577533address: Rustaveli St. 5Free Wi-Fi. Menu: Speciality teas, and Georgian, European, and Mediterranean dishes (main courses, soups, salads, crepes, sweets). This is one of the Althaus-brand tea houses, similar to the two in Tbilisi. It appears that this cafe is in the wide lobby of what was once an office building with multi-tier seating on the steps leading up to the office's main entrance. Floor-to-ceiling windows make watching passer-bys easy. Hip music, hippy vibe, tasty tea, decent food.
El GaleonSpecialising on Rock Music.
ReflectorAssociates itself with Bassiani.
Bude RecordsHip but not posh, if existent.
phone: +995 598 36 26 36address: 108 Tbilisi streetMeet the small family that runs the hostel. Spacious and quiet house. Residential area near a park and a shop. Accessible on foot from the main square. Minibus 34 passes close to the hostel.
phone: +995 591031030, +995 593442611address: 92 Tbilisi St.Inexpensive hostel with great reviews. Near the center, colors bridges and just 25 min to the Bagrati Cathedral. Try Whatsapp for the best rates.
Hostel Kutaisiphone: +995 431 253873, +995 551 471100 (mobile)address: 14 Solomon I (Solomon Pirveli St) StreetIn the hostel Kutaisi you will be served by experienced people (English spoken). Amenities include free Wi-Fi, internet, linen, towels, shampoo, coffee, tea, cable TV, maps, different guide books, advice about Kutaisi and Georgia in general.
Medico & Suliko Guest Housephone: +995 431 243007address: Tbilisi Street 3rd Lane #6Run by a retired couple, a large room of their house serves as a dorm, two smaller private rooms are available. Theoretically one may stay to sleep only, alas one is very likely to be treated to the excellent fare the lady of the house serves up as well as the homemade wine the husband produces, i.e., if they like you, you are likely to be treated to one of those infamous Georgian welcomes, heavy on your liver. They will give you as much chacha, Georgian wine and Georgian food as you can handle. The food is all hand-made and freshly prepared. It is amazing, the hospitality is unparalleled and only the modesty of the facilities leaves anything to be desired. The beds are clean and the house is good by local standards, and the new bathroom was completed by summer 2011 in this friendly homestay. Free WiFi Internet is available, and there is a computer available for use.
Temi Hostelphone: +995 551 44 47 74address: Tamar The Queen Street 60, II floorSmall, social hostel in a great location in the city. The owner is friendly and helpful. The hostel has a kitten (May 2018) and a balcony which is great for relaxing and meeting other guests. All facilities are kept very clean. Book in advance! A year on since it opened it is now very popular.
Gelati Guest Housephone: +995 597 986222address: 26 May Street, (Vtoraya Liniya 4), Second Turn.5 rooms, 12 people.
Guesthouse Zelimkhaniphone: +995 431 22244114 comfortable rooms for 28 people.
Guesthouse Bekaphone: +995 431 246923address: 26 Debi Ishkhnelebi Street16 comfortable rooms for 30 people.
Guesthouse Goraphone: +995 431 252170, +995 599 574625address: 22 Debi Ishkhnelebi Street43 comfortable rooms for 100 people.
Hotel Kolkhaphone: +995 597 731056address: Axalgazrdoba Avenue 38
Hotel Oazisaddress: Mari Brosse St.Small hotel in the center. Clean, cozy rooms with narrow beds; wifi, A/C, heating. One of the few budget options in central Kutaisi.
phone: +995 592 961515address: Zviad Gamsakhurdia Str.4531 air-conditioned guestrooms with separate bathrooms. Room service 24 hr. Complimentary full breakfast in the breakfast area. Multilingual staff, laundry facilities, free car parking, free wireless Internet access in all areas of the hotel.
Hotel Rcheuli Palacephone: +995 431 292900address: 21b Gr. Khandzteli St28 comfortable rooms, 50 people.
Hotel Imperialiphone: +995 579 191939address: 28 Mchedlidze St9 comfortable rooms, 18 people.
Hotel Aieti’s Sasakhlephone: +995 431 253533address: 34 G. Tabidze St.13 rooms, 26 people
Hotel Dzveli Kalakiphone: +995 431 251451, +995 599 51 60 56address: 3/4 Ioseb Grishashvili St.10 rooms for 24 people.
Hotel Bagratiphone: +995 431 25 55 55address: 2a Tsereteli St16 comfortable rooms with a maximum capacity of 32 people.
The tourist office kiosk between the two main bridges is staffed during the summer season only. Rest of the year it is located in the annex building left to the city hall at the ground floor. (It is a bit hard to find since the mayor don't want to have signs to it. Ask in the city hall if you cannot find it.)
Dingy post office on Tamar Mepe St. Previously existing Internet cafés have closed due to numerous freely available hotspots.
- Batumi – The capital of Ajara and Georgia's third largest city is a pleasant Black Sea port with great Ajaruli cuisine
- Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park (for details see Borjomi) – The largest national park in Georgia. The diversity of physical, geographical and especially climatical conditions of its has shaped the wealth and variety of its flora and fauna. Apart from the largely untouched nature of Borjom-Kharagauli, there are numerous cultural monuments. In particular, there are two easily accessible churches, built in 9th century. Eight tourist trails are operating in the national park. They vary in length, duration and complexity. Open from Apr until October.
- Jvari – A small town with a couple of great attractions nearby, namely Enguri Dam and Silver Lake. The latter is one of the most impressive alpine treks that you can do in Georgia. The marshrutka to Zugdidi leaves from the main marshrutka station behind the central McDonald's. The journey is 133 km. In Zugdidi connect with the Jvari marshrutka just over the bridge and a minute's walk away.
- Mestia – The "capital" of Svaneti and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Oni – A very pretty, rustic town on the Rioni River up in the mountains that was for millennia a center of Georgian Jewish culture. Today it is becoming a major tourist destination for domestic travelers as well as attracting adventurous foreign travelers attracted to its natural beauty, remote setting and a local culture that has not seen the effects of tourism yet.
- Tbilisi – The beautiful and interesting capital, Georgia's largest and most cosmopolitan city.
- Tskhaltubo – A balneological ex-resort that was very popular during Soviet times (8 km away from Kutaisi). Many sanatoria are populated with refugees since war with Abkhazia. Destroyed luxury Soviet-time hotels are very interesting places to see.
- Zugdidi – A not very popular city with tourists for itself, however many of them pass through it on their way up to Mestia in Svaneti.
From Kutaisi I station by marshrutka to the east
- Tkibuli (ტყიბული) – 08:00, 11:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00, 16:40, 17:40. 3½ lari.
- Chkhari (ჩხარი) – 08:00, 12:10, 16:25. 2½ lari.
- Tuzi (თუზი) – 10:25, 17:30. 3½ lari.
- Zeda Alisubani (ზედა ალისუბანი) – 13:40. 2.70 lari.
- Tavasa (თავასა) – 10;00, 15:20. 3 lari.
- Oni (ონი) – 16:25. 10 lari.