6 Best things to do in Kutaisi, Georgia

Kutaisi was founded around 4 millenniums ago, making it one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. It is located in Western Georgia, about 221 kilometers (137 miles) from Tbilisi, on the Rioni River.

There are several natural, historical, and architectural attractions within reach of the city. It is one of our favorite spots in Georgia, so we decided to bring you a list of the best things to do in Kutaisi.

Kutaisi is the capital of the western region of Imereti and the traditional rival of Tbilisi for the capital status of Georgia. Nowadays, it’s only the third-largest city (Batumi is the second) and doesn’t even come close to Tbilisi’s size and wealth.

Despite this, there has been a lot of work on restoring streets, buildings, parks, and monuments. Today, the city is one of Georgia‘s most popular tourist destinations and safe to travel.

Best Things To Do In Kutaisi

Gelati Monastery

Best things to do in Kutaisi Georgia
Things to see and do in Kutaisi

The Gelati Monastery was founded in 1106 by King David IV of Georgia and is a UNESCO heritage site! There are only three in Georgia, the others are the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta and Upper Svaneti.

During the golden age of the Georgian Kingdom, this medieval monastery was also a center of arts and science for centuries.

This massive cathedral is one of the most significant medieval Orthodox monasteries, and it was the burial site of many kings, including David, the builder.

The building is characterized by the facades of smoothly hewn large blocks, balanced proportions, and blind arches for exterior decoration. The inside contains amazing medieval frescos (wall paintings).

Visiting Gelati Monastery

Although it’s one of the best attractions in Georgia, the Gelati Monastery isn’t crowded, making the visit even more pleasant.

While inside, we found there are birds inside the church, usually under the dome! Like many other Georgian monasteries, this one leaves us feeling refreshed and serene. It gives us a sense of inner peace, enhanced by its stunning location and relative solitude.

Tip: Ladies should wear a long dress and headdress. The man should wear long pants.

Ticket price to Gelati

Visiting the Gelati Monastery is free of charge! Georgia is a budget travelers paradise 🙂

How to get to Gelati Monastery?

We did Georgia as a road trip, so we drove ourselves there. The roads are relatively good, and we just need to follow the GPS.

A taxi from Kutaisi Center to Gelati and back should cost about 7 USD. If you prefer using the Marshrutkas, they leave the State Theatre daily at 11.00, 14.00, and 17.00, returning at 11.30, 14.30, and 17.30. It takes roughly 20 minutes each way.

Alternatively, you can book a tour of Gelati Monastery here.

What to do in Kutaisi
Best things to do in Kutaisi

Bagrati Cathedral

Bagrati Cathedral was built in the 11th century by Bagrati III, and it’s one of the biggest in Georgia. It’s located on a high rocky bank of the river, making it visible from all over Kutaisi. Despite being destroyed and rebuilt several times, this cathedral stands as a monument and a symbol of the Republic of Georgia.

The last renovations were made between 2009 and 2012 and used a mix of old stones, new stones, and even steel… This was very controversial, and in 2017, UNESCO removed the cathedral from its world heritage list because the renovation made it lose most of its historical features and value.

What to see in Kutaisi Georgia - Bagrati Cathedral
Where to go in Kutaisi

Visiting Bagrati Cathedral

When arriving at the cathedral, the first thing that one notices is its size… It’s huge, impressively huge! However, it’s from the inside that we can really see how impressive it is. Around the church, there’s a great yard, usually with many people, both tourists and locals.

This is an excellent place for people-watching; if you get lucky and visit it during an event, it would be even better! Bagrati is very popular for weddings…

From the Bagrati cathedral, there is an excellent view of the old Kutaisi, which in our opinion would make the visit worthwhile itself.

Tip: Ladies should wear long dresses and headdresses. Men should wear long pants.

Price of admission to Bagrati

As usual, in this kind of monument in Georgia, the entrance is free of charge.

How to go to Bagrati

Though it climbs quite a bit, the easiest way to get there is probably walking… It only takes about 15 minutes from the red bridge in the center of Kutaisi. As we were on a road trip, we drove there, which was also pretty easy, and so was finding a parking spot.

You can always book a guided tour, which includes a visit to Bagrati

What to do in Kutaisi Georgia - Visit the Bagrati Cathedral
Kutaisi, what to see? These lovely views

Prometheus Cave

The Prometheus Cave is one of the most impressive travel attractions in Georgia. Although being one of Europe’s biggest caves, it was only discovered in 1984. The caves are hidden away in the dense vegetation of the Georgian mountains.

The caves offer an incredible variety of features. In only 1.4 km, one can see stalagmites, stalactites, cave pearls, curtains, petrified waterfalls, and even underwater lakes and rivers! It is even possible to take a short boat trip inside the caves! However, it is only possible to do it when water levels are at a good level…

Despite the name and what you may have read, the Prometheus Caves don’t have any historical connection to Greek legend. They were named after Prometheus only as a marketing stunt, not because the rock where he was chained was close to it… at least according to the official guides.

best things to do in kutaisi - Prometheus Cave
Where to go in Kutaisi

Visiting Prometheus Caves

The visits to the caves are actually guided tours. During the visit, you are always accompanied by a tour guide that explains several features and shows you the most spectacular ones. There are tours in English, Russian, German, and Georgian. We had a really excellent time in the caves, enjoying the fantastic rock formations, the lakes, and the light effects created by the colorful lighting.

Despite it being an easy walk with clear pathways, you should wear comfortable shoes as you walk through the five subterranean halls, and there are lots of stairs.

Please note that the boat ride isn’t available if the water level rises too much in the cave.

Price of admission and timetable

  • The tickets to the cave cost only 20 GEL. If you are making the boat trip to the Cave, you need to pay an extra 15 GEL.
  • Working hours: 10:00 – 17:30
  • Working days: every day except Mondays

How to get to Prometheus Caves

The caves are roughly 25 km from Kutaisi city center and should take you about 30 minutes to get there. The roads are good, and parking shouldn’t be a problem.

Alternatively, at Kutaisi’s central bus station, you can take a bus to Tskaltubo (from the Red Bridge) and then another to the cave.

Or Click here to book a tour of Prometheus Caves

Kutaisi what to see
Visiting the rock formations in the Prometheus Caves

Okatse Canyon

Okatse Canyon is another incredible place close to Kutaisi. This canyon is considered the biggest in Georgia, with a depth ranging between 20 and 100 meters, creating beautiful views.

The exciting new 700-meter-long walkway on the canyon’s edge provides a great way of enjoying this Georgian natural wonder. At the end of the walkway, a viewing platform hangs right out over the middle of the canyon, creating the perfect spot to enjoy breathtaking views untouched by humans.

Best trails in Kutaisi Georgia - Okatse Canyon
What to do in Kutaisi? Visiting the Okatse Canyon

Visiting Okatse Canyon

Okatse Canyon is a great place to hike, relax, and finally have an adrenaline rush on the walkway! From the new tourist information and ticket office infrastructure to the canyon, there is a 45 minutes/1 hour walk through the Dadiani historical forest/park.

Then, you’ll find the checkpoint where your ticket is checked, and you’ll enter the Okatse Canyon and its walkway. The walkway and the final viewpoint are this hike’s highlights and will leave you feeling pleasantly thrilled as you take in its beauty. Unless you have vertigo…

Ticket price to Okatse Canyon

  • The ticket to enter the canyon is 15 GEL (5-6 USD) and should be bought at the visitor’s center. It’s free to hike until the checkpoint. You could also hire a 4WD from the locals to take you directly to the checkpoint, though we advise you to do the walk as it’s pleasant and good exercise. 🙂
  • Working hours: 10:00- 17:30
  • Working days: every day except Mondays

How to get to Okatse Canyon

From Kutaisi central station (Ilia Chavchavadze Avenue, next to Macdonald’s), catch a Marshrutka to Khoni. In Khoni, there is another Marshrutka to Gordi. If you are driving, it should take you about 1 hour from Kutaisi (roughly 50 km). Again, the roads here are pretty good, and there are plenty of parking spots.

Or you can click here and book a tour of Okatse Canyon

Things to visit in Kutaisi - Okatse Canyon
what to visit in Kutaisi

Kinchkha Waterfall

Kinchkha waterfall is located just a few km from the Okatse Canyon, and if you visit one, you shouldn’t miss the other. This waterfall is located at 1000 meters high but what really impresses is its 70 meters high and free-falling water…

Visiting Kinchkha Waterfall

Unfortunately, when we visited the waterfall, it started raining, and we didn’t really enjoy it as much as we could. It was also very foggy, which ruined most of the pictures. However, we could see how big and powerful it is.

You can go even further and visit Lomina Lake, which is about 2 km from the waterfall, though it’s worth the walk. This Lake is located in the heart of the forest, where you can swim and enjoy nature (if the weather allows it). One can even camp and stay the night.

Best Things to do in Kutaisi
Taking pictures with fog is really fun…

Price of admission

It’s free! You may need to pay for parking, though…

How to get to Kinchkha Waterfall

We don’t think there are any buses to the waterfall, but you can take a Taxi for roughly 20 USD.

From Okatse Canyon, it’s 5 km and takes about 15 minutes by car. The road is very, very steep in the last km, but any vehicle should be able to climb it, so you don’t really need to worry about it.

Martvili canyon

Martvili Canyon (sometimes called Gachedili Canyon) is the ultimate wonderland in Georgia and, naturally, one of the best things to do in Kutaisi! This tiny canyon inspires through its natural beauty, not its size. Within the canyon are several waterfalls, an amazing deep turquoise water river, two bridges, and an endless list of incredible views.

There’s a 700-meter-long circular route that crosses the Dadiani historical trail. Throughout the course, there are two bridges, three platform views, and 30-step stairs built with large boulders.

Besides seeing the beautiful waterfalls, hiking the trails, and breathing the pure air of the mountains, you can enjoy a small boat ride through the canyon.

Martvili canyon - Fun things to do in Kutaisi, Georgia
Where to go in Kutaisi

Visiting Martvili Canyon

The Martvili Canyon is probably the most fairytale-like place in Georgia. We can divide the canyon into two parts: the boat ride and the walking trail.

You can enjoy a 300/500-meter boat tour on river Abasha and take in the beautiful views of this mountain river canyon. Despite being a very short trip, we can see a section of the canyon that it would be impossible if not from the river. You are expected to row as the boats don’t have motors, but honestly, that makes it even more fun!

The walking trail is tiny but is entirely full of incredible views and unique features. Everything is so cute, and the colors of the river and lush forest are incredible. This is probably the most charming spot we have been to in Georgia! And Georgia has much more than its share of beautiful places…

What to do in Kuataisi Georgia - Martvili canyon
Beautiful places to visit in Kutaisi, Georgia

Tickets to Martvili Canyon

  • The entry ticket to the Martvili Canyon costs 15 GEL (foreigner), but this doesn’t include the boat ride. If you want to do the boat, you must pay an extra 10 GEL per person.
  • Working hours: 10:00 –  17:30
  • Working days: every day except Mondays

How to get to Martvili Canyon

This is the furthest attraction from Kutaisi on this list. However, if you have a car, it should be very easy to get there on a day trip, as it takes less than 90 minutes to get there from Kutaisi.

The roads are good, and there’s parking close to the canyon entrance. There are several daily buses/marshrutkas from Kutaisi to Martvili, costing 4 GEL each way.

Or you can click here and book a tour of Martvili Canyon

Reasons to visit Kutaisi - Martvili canyon
Best things to see in Kutaisi

If you are looking for places to eat in Kutaisi, we recommend you check this post, which features some of the best Kutaisi Restaurants & Nightlife.

Accommodation In Kutaisi

Hotels and guesthouses are inexpensive in Georgia, and Kutaisi isn’t an exception! In fact, Kutaisi is even less expensive than Tbilisi or Batumi, and they are good. There are a few incredible value-for-money deals in Kutaisi. If you are staying in Kutaisi, these are our recommendations.

Where To Stay In Kutaisi

Best guest houses in Kutaisi

Sisi Guesthouse

This is our favorite guesthouse in Kutaisi. Despite not speaking much English, the owners are very nice, making you feel at home. The room is very comfortable, and after a day of hiking and traveling, it feels like heaven! Breakfast is usually included in the night rate, including coffee, toast, eggs, and even tomatoes! We just loved our stay at Sisi Guesthouse.

Click here to check out this fantastic value-for-money guest house

Amazing Breakfast in Georgia
Best things to do in Kutaisi

Makos Guest House

Makos Guesthouse is another great guesthouse, with a complimentary breakfast, bikes, and private parking. It is excellent value for money. It’s closer to the city center and very close to the Bagrati Cathedral, so this is a perfect option if you are doing Kutaisi with or without a car.

Click here to see the price for your traveling dates

Best Hotels in Kutaisi

Edemi Hotel

Edemi Hotel is located in a historic building in Kutaisi, which gives character. You may rent bikes and play ping pong or billiards freely! This is a lovely place for a couple’s vacation. The free parking and being close to the train station are good options for both self-driving travelers and public transport users.

Click here to check how great is the value for money here.

Crown Hotel

Grand Opera Hotel is located right in the city center, which means you are close to everything and can enjoy a nice city view. It offers a superb buffet breakfast and free parking!

Click here to see the price on your dates

Our Recommended Georgia Travel Guide Books

Georgia (Bradt Travel Guide) – if you are only traveling to Georgia!

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Lonely Planet Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan (Travel Guide) – in case you are planning to travel to the Caucasus 

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