Georgia boasts a diverse natural landscape including snowy peaks, glaciers, and numerous lakes, rivers, mountains where mineral water springs flow out of the ground. Those mineral waters have precious therapeutic properties for treating any number of ailments, as well as providing a warmly relaxing experience. Fancy a visit? Then check out our pick of Georgia’s best hot springs.
Besides being the capital city, Tbilisiis also a health resort. There are only two cities of this kind in Europe – Budapest and Tbilisi. Georgia’s capital sees unique, high content, thermal sulphuric water come out of the ground, with hot sulphuric water outlets on the periphery of the Abanotubani and Ortachala districts. The history of Tbilisi’s foundation, as well as its name, is connected with these springs. In the past, these sulfur baths were well known in the whole region of the Middle East, and have appeared in the writings of famous travelers of the 17th and 18th centuries such as Jean Chardin, botanist Joseph Turnefor, and Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin.
Samtredia, located in the Imereti region some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Kutaisi, was the most significant transportation hub in Western Georgia and one of the major points in the Europe-Asia transit passway. Geologists looking for oil deposits accidentally found hyperthermal water here, when they hit a warm sulphuric water source during a drilling process taking place at a depth of 1,450 meters (4,757 feet). Shortly after analysing the water, the government decided to build a resort, which opened in 1970.
One of Georgia’s most popular spa resorts, Tskaltibo is located 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) away from Kutaisi. Though the summer period tends to be the most busy, natural therapeutic factors allow guests to enjoy appropriate services year-round – the spa resort’s mineral springs are home to a naturally warm (33-35°C (91-95°F)) transparent odorless water. Treatments here are complex: patients can be prescribed mineral water baths, treatment workouts, traditional curing and underwater (hydro) massage, and physiotherapy among other procedures. Famous faces to have visited include Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and Joseph Stalin.
Besides being rich in therapeutic mineral water springs, this resort is also surrounded by coniferous and deciduous forests. According to local legend, Sairme was discovered by hunters chasing a wounded deer – the name Sairme in Georgian means ‘deer place’. The story goes shepherds noticed that the area favoured by deer herds was also where the grass was always green, snow melted very fast and the ground dried quickly after heavy rainfall. Further investigation was carried out, and the cause of this ‘miracle’ was revealed to be thermal, nitrogen-methane, slightly sulphuric mineral water that was discovered in the 1920s.
Torgva Baths is a unique spot with 13 mineral waters that sits near Abano Pass on the road to Tusheti. The name comes from the famous hero Torgva, who came across a spring warm water after being wounded in combat with the enemy. He drank it, bathed in it, and was cured. To protect the area, he built a fortress at the beginning of the Stori river, and used the water to heal his supporters.
Located in Vani municipality, 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) away from the city of Vani, this resort took its name from the Sulori river. During Soviet times Sulori was a favoured visitor spot, and hosted hundreds of visitors each season. Today, the hotel is still going strong, with 32 individual bath rooms. People usually come here to treat conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system, peripheral nervous system, and metabolism to name a few.
Tsaishi, located 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) from Zugdidi in the Samegrelo region, is famous for the therapeutic qualities of its hyper-thermal mineral waters. Its 18 mineral springs have been studied, showing the hypo-thermal mineral water (24-26°C (75-79°F))) to have unique contents, including large amounts of silicon acid used to address the metabolism process, and improve the state of bone, cartilage and skin tissues.