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A Weekend Getaway to Kutaisi, the City of Smile(s)

Kutaisi road sign

It’s easy to get stuck in a routine and hunker down into work, especially if you’ve found an awesome place to land like Tbilisi. All of a sudden it’s been weeks since you’ve left your neighborhood, not to mention the city itself. Luckily, Tbilisi is central enough that getting to another part of the country is totally doable. We particularly like Kutaisi for a weekend getaway. It’s only 4 hours west of Tbilisi, far enough from the hustle of the big city.

Kutaisi Sign

What To Do, What To Do

During your weekend getaway to Kutaisi, wander through the bazaar, tour the monasteries, check out the cave, and, of course, eat and drink.

The Green Bazaar/Kutaisi Market

Getting lost in a bazaar is one of our favorite ways to pass the time. Rows and rows of vegetables, fruits, churchkhela, wine, pickled veg, cheese, meat products (hello, chicken feet and pig’s heads), and handcrafted items can keep your attention for hours.

Market vendors are outgoing and friendly and are usually insistent that you taste their products. Most will be curious as to where you’re from and what you’re doing in Georgia. It’s not a ploy to get you to buy their products, but a genuine curiosity. Don’t shy away! Share your story, and if language is a barrier, use as many hand gestures, smiles, and head nods as you can.

The Soviet-era relief on the outside wall of the market would be hard to miss, so we’d be remiss not to mention it. The sculpture is an impressive feat of artistry and depicts locals conducting trade. It’s quite colorful and makes for some wonderful photos. 

Weekend getaway to Kutaisi: Relief on outside market wall

Gelati Monastery

Yes, there are a lot, and we mean a lot, of monasteries in Georgia. So many that they can get a bit mundane if you’ve visited many before. But Gelati Monastery has a wow-factor, so it is worth a visit. The well-preserved mosaics and frescoes and the sheer size and scope of the structures and land, make it easy to see why it’s a UNESCO heritage site. 

Prometheus Cave

Weekend getaway to Kutaisi: Prometheus Cave
Image credit: Roberto Strauss, from Flickr.

Some of us find underground spaces intimidating and fear-inducing a.k.a. claustrophobia. So long as your claustrophobia isn’t debilitating, then a visit to Prometheus Cave should make your to-do list. It’s a protected area in Georgia so you must go on a paid guided tour if you want to see it. We’re quite fond of stalactites and stalagmites, and Prometheus Cave did not disappoint. Colorful lights highlight the formations, which, at first, we thought were cheesy, but they actually did make for some pretty cool photos. 

Eating and Drinking

  • Toma’s Wine Cellar: This place is top of our list. Toma greeted us personally at the door and gave us a quick explanation of the restaurant history, as well as the family process of wine-making.
  • Tea House Foe-Foe: An eclectic interior and good breakfast menu, famous for waffles. 
  • For more, check out Food Fun Travel’s guide to eating and drinking in Kutaisi. 

Have you been?

Have you made it to Kutaisi yet? What did you like about it? What were your favorite things to do? Places to go? We’d love to hear from you!


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