Kutaisi is the second largest and oldest city in Georgia. Home to many interesting places and surrounded by incredible scenery, Kutaisi’s central location makes it the best hub to see several wonders of the country. Without further ado, here are the seven best day-trips you can take from Kutaisi.
Located in Racha Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti Region, Shaori is both a reservoir and a lake and is considered to be one of the most significant reserves in Georgia. Just an hour and a half drive away from Kutaisi, the lake is 1.67 miles (2.7 km) long, and its maximum depth is 48 ft (14.5 m). Shaori Lake is terrific during Autumn months when its surrounding forest changes into a warm-color palette.
Okatse Canyon and Kinchkha Waterfall
Okatse Canyon is about 31 miles (50 km) away from the city and is one of the natural wonders of the country. On a two to three-hour pedestrian trail, you will pass through Dadiani ancient forest, cross a half mile-long (780 m) hanging path, and finish at a stunning viewpoint. A waterfall is located near the canyon and is accessible. Kinchkha is one of the tallest waterfalls in Georgia, so make sure you visit it during the spring when the water levels are high and nature is in blossom.
Tskaltubo is a small spa resort town very close to Kutaisi and is famous for radon-carbonate mineral springs that have a natural temperature of 91-95 °F (33-35 °C). The resort focuses on balneotherapy to promote healthy circulatory and respiratory systems, nerves, skin, and more. The town was trendy during the Soviet period and attracted more than 125,000 visitors per year. Even Stalin used to visit the resort and had his own private pool, which you can see for yourself.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and Georgia’s Civil War, the resort’s buildings were devoted to housing Abkhazia refugees and the resort lost its glory.
Located in the Samegrelo region of Georgia, Martvili Canyon takes about an hour and twenty minutes to reach. It’s one of the most beautiful nature spots to visit. You can walk round the gorgeous scenery and the emerald-green river, Abasha. Take a boat ride and visit waterfalls. A .4 mile-long (700 m) stone-paved trail starts from the visitor center and continues along the Dadiani historical pathway. The area has two bridges, three viewpoints, and a 30-step stair created by large limestone boulders.
This natural limestone monolith is situated in Katskhi village, an hour drive from Kutaisi, near Chiatura. The height of the pillar is about 131 ft (40 m) and it overlooks a small valley where the Katskhura river flows. A prominent rock, together with visible church ruins on its top, has been worshiped by locals as the Pillar of Life and is considered a figure of the True Cross. Until 1944, the pillar was unclaimed and unsurveyed by researchers. That changed from 1999 to 2009 when it was regularly studied. Findings revealed that the ruins were of an early medieval monastery from the ninth or tenth century.
Today, you can view a new monastery (build in 2009).
Only an hour drive from Kutaisi, there’s a vital cave city called Vardzia. The construction of the city was ordered by Queen Tamar in the twelfth century and it has since managed to survive various invasions. The city has 13 levels and about 600 apartments, a church with a bell tower, and a throne room.
Akhaltsikhe is a bit far from Kutaisi, but a day-trip can still be managed. Located 109 miles (176 km) from the city, Akhaltsikhe’s main site to visit is the Rabati Fortress. This newly renovated complex displays a fusion of religions and cultures.
According to Georgian Chronicles, medieval Georgian texts, the city was founded by Guram Mampal, the Prince of the Iberia Kingdom. However, as Georgia experienced several invasions from Turko-Mongols, Ottomans, and Russians, the Fortress changed its function and exterior each time, resulting in a unified complex of different societies.
Paliastomi is a small lake near Poti city on the coast of the Black Sea. The lake is within the Kolkheti National Park, which is considered to be one of Georgia’s essential national parks. An archaeological expedition found pieces of the Colchis Kingdom here. To experience the park to its fullest, take a boat tour on the lake, river, and Pichori gorge, and enjoy the splendid landscape.