Kutaisi: a place for rest and relaxation

Like the city of Batumi, Kutaisi has some backstory to it. It served as the capital of various significant kingdoms within Georgia throughout history. Unlike Batumi, much of its charm remains. When arriving in the city, it’s hard to miss Bagrati Cathedral, perched on a hilltop overlooking the city, but the city has some hidden gems too.

Our favorite? Kvavila Monastery, beautifully perched on a hilltop overlooking the center of Kutaisi. It’s a modest church surrounded by a cemetery filled with all kinds of tombstones. Some are beautiful, and some are straight up bizarre: we saw one with a full body portrait of a guy flashing his Nike Airs, with cigarette in hand. We almost fell asleep by the ruins at the edge of the cemetery–they look over the river, and were cloaked with sunshine just so.

graveyard church kutaisi georgia

The view is magnificent, I was very comfortable, and the graves were very intriguing.

Obviously, there are more churches–have we told you that Georgia is very religious yet? What is the difference between these and the churches Batumi, you ask? Two of the churches in Kutaisi are UNESCO World Heritage listed. Other differences include the lack of ugly skyscrapers as a backdrop, and we only saw one casino in Kutaisi.

Kutaisi is also perfect for those who wish to mingle with the locals. It has two universities so many young people to talk to. The girls are beautiful too, so make an effort to approach them and help them practice their English 😉

Bagrati cathedral kutaisi georgia

Hard-to-miss Bagrati has been completely rebuilt after its destruction by the Ottoman empire.

bagrati nighttime kutaisi georgia

Bagrati at night has a certain romantic feel to it…

crazy man bagrati kutaisi georgia

…but if you try to have “sexy” at Bagrati this man will find you. He acted as our impromptu tour guide/sexy police while at Bagrati, and informed us that Georgian men are lazy, Georgian women are only interested in sexy, and the Turkish people the only ones that ever built anything in Kutaisi.

The main event

The main attraction in Kutaisi, besides its relaxed atmosphere, beautiful surroundings, and gorgeous girls, is Gelati monastery. The monastery, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, is beautifully perched on a hilltop. The interior isn’t too shabby either (alas, the exterior is currently under construction). Definitely worth your while.

gelati monastery kutaisi georgia

Perhaps one of the most colorful interiors in a Georgian monastery.

Colorful roof tiles on Gelati monastery in Kutaisi, Georgia

… and maybe one of the most colorful exteriors, as well.

view from gelati monastery kutaisi georgia

The view isn’t too shabby either.

Gelati is about 10 kilometers out of town, so you have to take a marshrukta to get there. They leave every two hours or so, starting around 8:00. Ask your guesthouse for directions to the marshrutka stop. It’s located on a side street behind the opera house. The driver will likely see you wandering around, and yell at you to see if you’re looking for the marshrutka to Gelati.

marshrutka sign gelati monastery kutaisi georgia

Want to go to Gelati? Look for a marshrutka with this sign. They are stationed about 100m behind the theatre.

Relax, relax and relax some more

I love relaxing (some people might call me lazy, I prefer “masterfully inactive”), so I loved Kutaisi. The relaxing flow of the river, the atmosphere of a student town, the beautiful view from Gelati, it all came perfectly together. Definitely worth your while.

chilling in kutaisi georgia

Lazing on our patio overlooking the city.

pastry in kutaisi georgia

To chill, you need some tasty food…

beet in kutaisi georgia

… and a cheap beer (1.5 GEL!) or two to boot.

Sleeping in Kutaisi

To relax you need a good place to sleep, and we couldn’t recommend Sun Hostel (Guest house) more. The place beautifully overlooks the river, it’s five minutes walking from Bagrati Cathedral, ten minutes from the city center, and has a very homely atmosphere. The rooms are extremely spacious, the owner and his son (who speaks English very well) are very friendly and the wine flows freely. Oh yeah, we also only paid 25 GEL a night. I almost felt bad paying so little and getting so much.

entrance sun hostel kutaisi georgia

The entrance (unlike the dog) is no-nonsense…

room sun hostel kutaisi georgia

..but the rooms are amazing…

sun hostel kutaisi georgia.

…and we couldn’t recommend this place enough.

Transport to and from Kutaisi

Kutaisi is well serviced by marshrutky. These arrive a bit out of town, either at the bus station behind a McDonalds or about 100m up the road from there (pictured below). Take bus 1 from across the street where you are dropped off, and get out once you are on a big bridge over a river to get to the city center. Lots of other people will likely be getting off there as well. The bus costs 0.30 GEL. The city itself is completely walkable.

Marshrutka stop kutaisi georgia.

This is where we arrived from Batumi. The actual bus station is behind the McDonalds, about 100m down the road.

bus station kutaisi georgia

The ticket counter at the actual bus station. The times on the left are for buses to Tbilisi, the middle are for buses to Batumi, and the right are for buses to Zugdidi.

bus to schalkwijk kutaisi georgia

Apparently there are also buses to Schalkwijk, a part of my hometown of Haarlem in the Netherlands.

So there you have it. Two places, two completely different experiences. Our next stop: Mestia, up in the mountains, where I went hiking/exercised for the first time in years while guided by spirit dogs.

Sebastiaan

Just another Dutchie. Extrovert with introverted tendencies. Some say I'm lazy, I say I'm masterfully inactive.

More about Sebastiaan

5 thoughts on “Kutaisi: a place for rest and relaxation

    Drey says:

    “Sexy” police? Too funny. Did you have to pay that guide? Also, beautiful churches and really nice accommodations.

    Alex says:

    Nope, he approached us and took us on a mini tour because why not? I think the walkabout also doubled as an excuse for him to go shake his stick at all of the Georgian kids “making sexy” behind the church 😉

    Willem says:

    Lol! Love the bus to Schalkwijk… I often board buses to various Dutch and German locations here in Kazakhstan too. Can’t wait to visit Georgia while I’m in this part of the world. Nice site.

    Sebastiaan says:

    Haha yeah it always makes us giggle when we see that. Make sure you do, Georgia is great!

    Dave Bernazani says:

    Thanks, guys, for this helpful and informative blog about your travels. The photos are good too!
    I would like to subscribe to this travel blog, but I’m not sure how. Any suggestions?

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