Georgia is a country in Eastern Europe. Set on the coast of the Black Sea, it lies to the south of Russia, and to the north of Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.

 

Georgia forms part of Europe’s easternmost flank, straddling the continent’s border with Asia.  Georgia is a developing but rapidly improving country with very low levels of both crime and corruption. 

 

From its green valleys spread with vineyards to its old churches and watchtowers perched in fantastic mountain scenery, Georgia is one of the most beautiful countries on earth and a marvelous canvas for walkers, horse riders, cyclists, skiers, rafters and travelers of every kind. 

 

A deeply complicated history has given Georgia a wonderful heritage of architecture and arts, from cave cities to ancient cathedrals to the inimitable canvases of Pirosmani. Tbilisi, the capital, is still redolent of an age-old Eurasian crossroads.

 

But this is also a country moving forward in the 21st century, with spectacular contemporary buildings, a minimal crime rate and ever-improving facilities for the visitors who are a growing part of its future.

 

Top Cities in Georgia: –  

Tbilisi – Borjomi – Kutaisi – Batumi

 

Tbilisi

The most cosmopolitan and diverse of Georgia’s cities, Tbilisi is not just the nation’s capital but also a hub that contains nearly a third of all of Georgia’s population. It is an interesting mix of old classical and ultra modern buildings.

 

Tbilisi has come a long way since the Rose Revolution of 2003 ousted the post-Soviet Shevardnadze government. To Tbilisi’s eternal charms of a dramatic setting in the deep valley of the swift Mtkvari River, picturesque architecture, an ever-lively arts and cultural scene, and the welcoming Georgian lifestyle have been added a whole new 21st-century dimension of inviting cafes and restaurants serving ever better food, up-to-date lodgings from backpacker hostels to international five-stars, funky bars and clubs, spruced-up museums, galleries, parks, plazas and whole streets, modernized transport and a sprinkling of eye-catching contemporary architecture. All of which make it a much easier, and more fun, city to visit and live in than it was less than a decade ago.

But the old Tbilisi is still very much here too. The Old Town, at the narrowest part of the valley, is still redolent of an ancient Eurasian crossroads, with its winding lanes, balconied houses, leafy squares and handsome churches, all overlooked by the 17-centuries-old Narikala Fortress. Neighborhoods not far from the center still retain a village-like feel with their narrow streets, small shops and community atmosphere. Small traders still clog up the pavements around metro stations selling fruit, vegetables, cheese and nuts fresh from the countryside.

 

Borjomi

A picturesque small city with famous mineral water, a national park, and a summer mansion of the Russian Romanov dynasty.

 

Borjomi is a small resort town in the green valley of the swift Mtkvari River. Russian soldiers discovered a health-giving mineral spring here in 1810, and Count Vorontsov, a Russian governor, later developed Borjomi as a resort. 

 

The town, which was considerably smartened up a few years ago, is popular with Georgian holidaymakers and people visiting Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. It’s also a good jumping-off point for Vardzia. The main street, Rustaveli, runs along the northern bank of the Mtkvari. 

 

Just before you reach the heart of town (from the Tbilisi direction), a white suspension bridge crosses the river to the southern half of town, where Borjomi Park train station and the mineral water park are found.

 

Kutaisi

Georgia’s third largest city and the historic capital of ancient Colchis, home to two UNESCO World Heritage sites.

 

 

Capital of several historical kingdoms within Georgia, Kutaisi is today being revitalized after years of post-Soviet decline. Georgia’s parliament was transferred from Tbilisi to brand-new quarters here in 2012, and Kutaisi’s airport has become a destination for international budget airlines. There are several interesting natural, historical and architectural attractions within day-trip reach of the city.

Kutaisi is built around the Rioni River, with the city centre, first developed in the 17th century, on its left bank. To its north, the right bank rises up to an older area where the landmark Bagrati Cathedral overlooks the city.

Kutaisi is built around the Rioni River, with the city centre, first developed in the 17th century, on its left bank. To its north, the right bank rises up to an older area where the landmark Bagrati Cathedral overlooks the city.

 

Mtskheta

The historic former capital of Eastern Georgia, the centre of the Georgian Orthodox Church, and another UNESCO World Heritage site is an easy day trip from Tbilisi.

 

Mtskheta has been Georgia’s spiritual heart since Christianity was established here in about 327, and holds a near-mystical significance in Georgian culture. 

It had already been capital of most of eastern Georgia from about the 3rd century BC, and remained so to the 5th century AD, when King Vakhtang Gorgasali switched his base to Tbilisi. Mtskheta has always kept its status as a spiritual capital, and its Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is still the setting for important ceremonies of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

 

With an alluring setting where the Mtkvari and Aragvi Rivers meet, Mtskheta makes an easy and enjoyable day trip from Tbilisi.

 

Batumi

Georgia’s second largest city, a mixture of classical buildings against the backdrop of rising skyscrapers and palm trees on the Black Sea coast.

 

With a backdrop of mist-wrapped hills, Georgia’s summer holiday capital has sprouted new hotels and attractions like mushrooms in recent years, but it still owes some of its charm to the belle époqueelegance of its original boom time a century ago. 

For travelers arriving from Turkey, Batumi makes a good introduction to Georgia, with its relaxed atmosphere, plentiful accommodation, good restaurants and nightlife.

 

Batumi gained free-port status and became a fashionable resort at the southern tip of the Russian empire. In Soviet times the border with Turkey was closed, making Batumi a bit of a backwater, but it has since bounced back as a hub of commerce as well as tourism.

One of the first decisions of the post-Abashidze administration in 2004 was to make Batumi an attractive place to visit, a project that has notably succeeded. The seaside Boulevard park and the Old Town inland from it have been tastefully renovated, new architecture including a small forest of eye-catching tower buildings has sprung up, and Batumi has developed into one of the Black Sea’s top resort magnets.