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Day 2 – Kutaisi | Seven Days in Georgia

We arrived the previous night at this amazing, Soviet-built, neo-classical hotel called Edemi Hotel (link: booking.com). With the well-lit exterior and beautiful white interiors, the splendor of this place will leave you in awe.

[Lobby of Edemi hotel & Our room]


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Kutaisi to Mestia by bus

There is only one bus leaving Kutaisi at 9:30-10 am from Kutaisi. After checking with multiple sources in Kutaisi, every one confirmed this. This bus takes about 6 hours to reach Mestia. Cost GEL 25 one way.

Other option is to take a mini-bus leaving from McDonald’s bus station, every 30-60 minutes to Zugdidi and then taking another mini-bus to Mestia. Kutaisi to Zugdidi is 2 hours (costs GEL 7 per person) and drivers in this leg will call the drivers waiting in Zugdidi and reserve your place. Zugdidi to Mestia takes about 4 hours (costs GEL 15 per person).



After looking at our options to go to Mestia (See above), we decided to visit the two main monasteries of Kutaisi, before heading to Mestia.

Our hotel offered us a driver who would take us to the two monasteries, but drop off at the last one instead of taking us back to hotel, for GEL 20.

We started early at 8am on a rainy day to the Gelati Monastery. A medieval monastic complex, this is a masterpiece of the Georgian Golden Age, founded in 1106 by King David IV of Georgia and is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It was foggy and rainy when we reached the monastery, while there was restoration work covering the front part of the monastery with construction facade.

[Front of Gelati monastery covered in restoration work]

[Back of Gelati monastery]

[Entrance to Gelati monastery]

[Gelati monastery]

[Murals in ceiling of Gelati monastery]

[Gelati monastery]

[Murals in ceiling of Gelati monastery]

[Bell tower of Gelati monastery]

[Bell tower & residence of priest at Gelati monastery]


We returned back to the city over to Bagrati Cathedral, located across from the river on a hill-top.

Known as ‘The Cathedral of the Dormition’, or the ‘Kutaisi Cathedral’, Bagrati Cathedral is an 11th-century cathedral and a masterpiece of the medieval Georgian architecture. The cathedral suffered heavy damage throughout centuries and was reconstructed to its present state through a gradual process starting in the 1950s, with major conservation works concluding in 2012. A distinct landmark in the scenery of central Kutaisi, the cathedral rests on the Ukimerioni Hill.

[Bagrati cathedral]

[Bagrati cathedral]

[Bagrati cathedral]

[Cross outside Bagrati cathedral overlooking the city of Kutaisi]

[Inside Bagrati cathedral]

[Inside Bagrati cathedral]

[Rioni river flowing in Kutaisi]


It is an easy and comfortable, down-hill, 20-minute walk to city center from Bagrati monastery. I visited the local post office to get a stamp in my Postal Stamps Travelogue book, before heading to a nearby restaurant, Tea House Cafe, for breakfast.

[Breakfast at Tea House Cafe, Kutaisi]

We walked up to a taxi stand nearby and asked the driver to take us to the hotel, from where we picked our bags, and then drop us at McDonald’s bus station. The set price was GEL 5, but after reaching the bus station, he asked for GEL 5 more because we took a detour! So make sure the drivers understand where you want to go and fix a price.


Svaneti Mountains

Mini-buses leave Kutaisi from the bus stand behind the McDonald’s. Just ask for the destination and they will arrange for a mini-bus. When we started from Kutaisi to Zugdidi, our driver asked us if anyone wanted to go to Mestia, and 6 of us raised our hands. So he called another driver in Zugdidi and made our reservations to go to Mestia.

A 2-hour drive to Zugdidi was uneventful and our taxi was waiting. So after a quick transfer and a break, we headed out to the Mestia, a 4-hour drive to this tiny town in the Svaneti mountains.













We reached Mestia around 6pm and checked in to out hotel – Guesthouse Edelweiss (link: booking.com). Located on the main road, this is one of the best accommodation we stayed in Georgia. The owner of the house and his family live there and you get the upper floor with cozy rooms, with private bathroom. Breakfast costs GEL 10 per person.

[Mestia town center]

After checking in, we headed out to the center and stopped by at Sunseti restaurant, which is essentially the tourist restaurant! The food is delicious and the environment is friendly and comfortable.

[pic 1: Aubergine with walnuts; Pic 2: Khinkali]

[Pic 1: djapsandali; Pic 2: Chvistari]

Walked back to the hotel and called it an early night, tried from all the traveling all day.


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Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = GEL 2.34 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.

What Cost Notes
Taxi to monasteries $8.55 GEL 20.
Brunch at Tea House restaurant $6.62 GEL 31 for two people
Taxi to McDonald’s bus station $4.27 GEL 10 per taxi.
Bus from Kutaisi to Zugdidi $2.99 GEL 7 per person.
Bus from Zugdidi to Mestia $6.41 GEL 15 per person. One way.
Coffee on way to Mestia $0.85 GEL 2 per person.
Snacks & water $2.13 GEL 5 per person.
Dinner in Mestia $4.27 GEL 20 for two people at Sunseti restaurant.
Total Costs $36.09 Per person
Overall Costs $224.10 Per person


« PREVIOUS – Day 1

Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Gori, Uplistsikhe

Arriving in Tbilisi & traveling to Kutaisi, via Mtskheta, Gori, & Uplistsikhe.

Day 2


Sights of Kutaisi & traveling to Mestia.

« Seven days in Georgia

Day 3 – NEXT »

Mestia, Ushguli

Sights of Mestia & Ushguli.


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