Kutaisi is one of the ancient cities of Georgia and its former capital. The reason for you to start a trip here is simple: the city has a great central location. Here, the number of things to see and do is vast. You can visit centuries-old caves, see dinosaur footprints, wander through the city and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Gelati Monastery and Bagrati Cathedral. Besides, the perfect location of the city gives much better day-trip opportunities to see the western part of the country, especially Vardzia, the giant cave town of the 12th century.
Coastal city Batumi is just a three-hour drive from Kutaisi. The bustling summer destination of the locals boasts modern architecture, an excellent dining scene, international hotels, and busy nightlife during the high season. You don’t need more than a day to explore the sights of the city; however, keep a day or two for exploring the surrounding areas, such as Petra Fortress, Green Lake, or Machakhela National Park.
Zugdidi is a central town of the Samegrelo region and is home to the beautiful façades and captivating architectural exhibits at the Dadiani Palace. The city doesn’t have so many attractions to keep you around for more than a day, but once you get hungry, head towards any restaurant and try some staples of Megrelian cuisine such as ghomi and elarji, cornmeal dishes with sulguni cheese, gebjalia, and Megruli Khachapuri to name a few.
From Zugdidi, drive to Mestia for approximately three hours to experience one of the rural, mountainous parts of Georgia: Svaneti. Enjoy the picturesque views of Tetnulti Mountain, the 10th highest peak of the Caucasus, visit the Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography to learn more about the region’s culture and traditions, and try the local cuisine.
Next day, drive to Ushguli, another small town considered the highest settlement in Europe at an elevation of 2,200 meters above sea level and another UNESCO World Heritage Site of the country. Here you can enjoy the breathtaking view of Shkhara, the highest mountain in Georgia.
On your way to the capital of Georgia, make a small detour to visit another ancient town of the country: Mtskheta. You will need only an hour or two to explore the city. The main attraction of Mtskheta is Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, an excellent example of medieval Georgian religious architecture.
Tbilisi is the city of diversity, where old and new, and Europe and Asia co-exist harmoniously. Explore the town, its narrow cobblestone lanes of Abanotubani, rejuvenate in sulfur baths, learn the culture at the Museum of Georgia, and enjoy the panoramic views over the city from the Funicular.
After you have explored the capital, head towards the eastern part of the country, Kakheti, and visit Sighnaghi and David Gareja. The latter is another cave monastery complex located in desert bordering Azerbaijan. Besides a beautiful complex of the monastery, the area offers picturesque views over the colourful canyons.
Sighnaghi is a newly-renovated city that former president Saakashvili called the ‘city of love’. There’s no explanation why, but the theory is that the city has a civil ceremony centre for weddings open 24/7.
However, this is not what Sighnaghi is famous for. It has much long and rich history seen in every cobblestone street of the town. Explore the centuries-old defense wall, try some traditional wine, and look over the Alazani Valley.