Georgia is a beautiful country full of diverse landscapes, rich culture, and deep traditions. If you’re planning to go and looking for the best cities to visit in Georgia, don’t panic because Georgia has something to offer for everyone.
Below are some highlights not to be missed!
Tbilisi – For a Starting Point
Tbilisi is an obvious choice. And unless you’re driving into Georgia, this is probably where your journey will begin.
It’s the capital city and the largest city in Georgia with a population of 1.5 million. Tbilisi is situated at the crossroads of Europe/Asia, and was once a stopping point on the Silk Road. Naturally, you will see a blend of these influences in the architecture, religion, cuisine, and ethnic makeup of the city.
Highlights include: the Georgian National Museum, a relaxing visit to a sulfur bath, eating authentic Georgian food at one of the numerous open-air cafes on Jan Shardeni Street, meandering around the cobblestone streets of Old Town (Dzveli Tbilisi), and shopping for Soviet-era treasures at the Dry Bridge Flea Market. Tbilisi also has a growing nightclub scene.
Mtskheta – For Religious History
Mtskheta is a small city about 20 km (12 mi) north of Tbilisi but is a city steeped with ancient history. It was the former capital of Georgia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. It is also marked as the birthplace of Christianity in Georgia. Highlights include the Jvari Monastery and the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, both very important landmarks to the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Batumi – For a Beach Break
Batumi is the second largest city in Georgia and sits in the southwester region. Bordering the Black Sea, it is like the cool hipster sister to Tbilisi.
Batumi is a somewhat curious mix of a beach holiday getaway, modern high rise towers, luxury hotels, casinos, fine restaurants, old town charm, and lush nature. It holds many treasures for those who take the time to explore it beyond the surface.
Telavi – For Wine Lovers
Wine history in Georgia goes back thousands of years. Telavi is about 95 km (60 mi) east of Tbilisi and sits on Georgia’s Wine Route.
It’s the perfect place to serve as a home base for those who want to explore Georgia’s ancient winemaking scene. There are numerous smaller tasting spots in Telavi itself, plus some larger vineyard in the neighboring Tsinandali (Tunnel Winery Khareba, Tsinandali Palace).
Borjomi – For Soaking In Nature
Borjomi is a rustic resort town 160 km (100 mi) southwest of Tbilisi. It’s the home of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, an 850 sq km (328 sq mi) protected reserve.
Visitors flock here year-round where they can experience blooming alpine meadows, camping, and scenic hiking trails. Borjomi is also one of the best cities to visit in Georgia for extreme sports like river rafting, horseback riding, and snow shoe trekking.
Also of note is the Borjomi water! This naturally carbonated mineral water has volcanic origins and claims to boost energy levels. You can find bottled versions all over Georgia, but in Borjomi you can taste it from the spring itself.
Mestia – For an Intro to Svaneti Culture
Mestia is a tiny (pop. 2000) medieval town located in the Caucasus Mountains. It is home to the Svaneti people, an ethnic subgroup of Georgians, who have their own unwritten language, cuisine, and traditions.
Although the town is rather isolated it is still tourist friendly, and serves as a gateway for a popular, multi-day trek through the mountains. Architecturally of note are the Svan towers – small, windowless defensive dwellings that date back as far as the 8th century.
Sighnaghi is a a small, picturesque wine town known as “The City of Love” because couples visit just to get married. It is surrounded by old fortress walls from the 18th century.
Stepantsminda is located in the Greater Caucasus mountains, and is also a notable stop for trekkers and mountain climbers. The main attraction for many here is the spectacular view from Gergeti Trinity Church.