Visit Kutaisi & the surroundings

fleuve rioni koutaissi

During our trip to Georgia, we spent a few days visiting Kutaisi and its surroundings. A step that I really liked! After Tbilisi and Vashlovani Park , we are on our way to the 3rd Georgian city. The city of Kutaisi is bohemian. Although there are not many places to visit in Kutaisi, the sweetness of life makes you want to stay there. The city is surrounded by a beautiful nature with sometimes tropical allures, offering many places to discover in the surroundings. Here are my tips for visiting Kutaisi and its surroundings.

How to go to Kutaisi?

Most marchrutki (local buses) arrive at the main bus station 2.5 km from Kutaisi town. From there it is possible to take another minibus to the city center or opt for a taxi for 7 to 15 GEL (depending on negotiation).

Being the third-largest city in Georgia, Kutaisi has a direct fast road connection from Tbilisi, which makes the journey possible in 4 hours. You have to take the bus at Didube station in Tbilisi, from where it leaves every half hour in the morning and every hour in the afternoon to reach Kutaisi.

Rent a car in Kutaisi

As we wanted to visit the outskirts of the city, we started looking for a car to rent in Kutaisi. It was there that we discovered that finding a car in Kutaisi is an impossible task. On Google Maps, there are a few car rental agencies. In reality, none exists! Finally, we found GMX Car on the internet and made the reservation online. Be careful, this is a scam! The agency does not exist any more than the others. So it is extremely complicated to rent a car again in Georgia. The only efficient and reliable solution seems to be to make the reservation with an international rental company such as Avis at Kutaisi airport.

Visiting Kutaisi: what to see?

It is very pleasant to walk around Kutaisi and admire the typical architecture of Georgian cities Besides, strolling through the streets and parks is the main thing to do in Kutaisi, to enjoy the charm of this bohemian city! Remember to take the White Bridge which connects the two banks of the Rioni, the river that crosses Kutaisi. A curiosity in Kutaisi, you will see boxing machines to measure his strength every 50 meters. I do not know why, moreover I did not see any inhabitant using it, it is quite surprising and funny!

visit koutaissi park
visit koutaissi peace bridge
koutaissi park

Regarding the visits, you can discover the very large market of Kutaisi. It was an opportunity for me to buy dozens of spices, including Svaneti salt (a salt flavored with spices) or Georgian saffron. The price of spices is very attractive in this market. It would be a shame to do without! You can also taste tchourtchkhela, a confectionery made from nuts in grape juice, which is part of the country’s culinary heritage.

koutaissi market
spice saleswoman koutaissi market

Finally, in Kutaisi, you can climb the heights to discover the beautiful Bagrati Cathedral and enjoy a view of the city. There is also a cable car to go up the hill. Unfortunately transport was closed during our visit because of the covid.

bagrati cathedral on the heights of koutaissi
view from the cathedral on koutaissi

Good addresses in Kutaisi

I had already spotted a few restaurants before arriving in Kutaisi. Unfortunately, many were closed at the end of August. Despite this, we found our happiness in terms of food in Kutaisi! Here are some good places to eat in Kutaisi .


Papavero is an Italian restaurant in a very nice setting. We had lunch in a shaded courtyard, surrounded by vegetation and vintage objects. It is very pleasant to take a quiet break in this small garden!

Tsisperi Kantselebi Street 5, Kutaisi 4600 Georgia

vintage decoration at papavero restaurant


For a very tasty typical Georgian cuisine, I recommend Agerari. The service is very friendly and the grills delicious! It’s a great place to eat local.

Tsereteli 1, Kutaisi 4600 Georgia


Finally, we tested Palaty, one of the city’s must-see addresses. I was not very lucky with my meat which was overcooked, but the rest of the meal was very good and of excellent quality. The setting of the restaurant is very nice: vintage decoration on two floors and an interior courtyard. By booking, we were even able to dine on a small secluded balcony!

Tsereteli 1, Kutaisi 4600 Georgia

meal at palaty

Visit Kutaisi: the outskirts of the city

Ghelati Monastery

The Gelati Monastery is a must visit during your stay in Kutaisi. It has a very important place in Georgian history. This monastery, founded in 1106 by King David IV (The Builder) has been registered with UNESCO since 1994. For many years, this monastery was a meeting point for philosophers, thinkers, scientists… to such an extent that ‘it was nicknamed the New Athens.

The Gelati monastery is perched on a hill about ten kilometers from the city, thus offering a magnificent view of the surrounding landscape. The site is not in excellent condition, due to the many attacks it has suffered, but you can admire paintings and icons that are still well preserved.

gelati monastery in georgia
interior of gelati monastery

Go to Gelati monastery from Kutaisi

To get to the monastery, you can choose a driver who will be waiting for you on site. To go, we chose to use the Bolt app. The trip cost us 13 laris for a 15-minute drive (approx. € 3.50). We didn’t know how we were going to get back, but each problem in its time 🙂 And in the end, it was not very complicated! Marchrutki make the trip. Be careful, however, that they are not very frequent (approximately every 3 hours). It costs 1 GEL (approx 0.30 €) and the journey lasts 20 minutes. The marchroutka then drops you off near the downtown McDonald’s.

Okatse Gorge (Okatse Canyon)

Be careful, if you are prone to vertigo, it is better to skip your turn for this visit. On the other hand, if the height does not scare you, you may very much like the Gorges d’Okatse. You will be able to walk above empty, on a suspended footbridge that runs along the canyon. The canyon is a natural wonder of limestone rocks, measuring 3 km long and over 50 meters deep. You will be able to enjoy a breathtaking view of the gorges and the nature that surrounds them, in particular thanks to an observation platform that juts out above the void.

Okatse Gorge suspension bridge

Practical information for the Gorges d’Okatse

The canyon Okatse is located 50 km from Kutaisi, in the village of Zeda-Gordi. We chose to opt for a driver who took us there and waited for us at the reception center for the return trip. The race cost us 100 GEL round trip or around 27 €. The drive takes 45 minutes and offers great mountain views.

At the visitor center you have to pay the entrance first (17 GEL per person or approx. € 4.70) From here you can pay extra to reach the bridge by Jeep or decide to walk 2 , 5 km (30 to 40 minutes). The path is rather pleasant, as it passes through the shady forest. It is paved and well signposted, so you don’t risk getting lost! In the outward direction, it’s downhill so it doesn’t require a lot of effort.

After this path, you reach the suspension bridge. You will be able to walk above the void, for about 2 km and enjoy this magnificent panorama. Once at the highest point, the observation platform will allow you to admire the river flowing at the bottom of the canyon.

view of the canyon of okatse

When you’re done with your dizzying ride, you can opt for a Jeep again. The prices offered seemed really exaggerated to us (40/50 GEL), which is why we chose to walk again to reach the visitors center. For a change, we took the Jeep route. It is longer than the path (about 4.5 km) with some fairly steep and more rugged climbs, but the scenery is also very pleasant.

I recommend this visit which, although very touristy, is surprising and allows you to enjoy magnificent landscapes! If you have time, you can go to Kinchkha waterfall, 5 km away.

This is how this article ends to visit Kutaisi, the sweet bohemian city of Georgia. To discover the rest of our 15-day itinerary in Georgia , go to this article.

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