Kutaisi is the traditional rival of Tbilisi for capital status, and has since the days of the Golden Fleece been considered the capital of Western Georgia (then Ancient Colchis). It remains Georgia's second largest city, but to the irritation of the proud locals, does not come even close to Tbilisi's present day size and wealth. Since the Georgian government decided to move their parliament to Kutaisi, there has been a lot of work on restoring streets, buildings, parks and monuments and the city has become much safer.
But a visit here is nonetheless near mandatory to see the magnificent Bagrati Cathedral, and Gelati Monastery, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, and have commanding views from the mountain slopes over the city and the Rioni river.
New, cheap flights will be instituted from 9/27/2012 to and from Kiev, Warsaw and Katowice by WizzAir.
All trains from and to Tbilisi Central leave from and arrive at the new Kutaisi I station. There is a daily express train (#18) from Tbilisi departing at 8:50AM and taking about six hours to reach Kutaisi I at 3:00PM. A ticket with reserved seat costs minimum 5 GEL (ca. 2.50 USD). Also stops in Mtskheta (old capital of Georgia), Gori (birth place of Stalin) and Zestafoni. Nice journey.
A local but fast train runs from Kutaisi I to Batumi (listed, confusingly as 'Makhinjauri' in the timetable), leaving at 9 AM, arriving 3 hours later. Cost GEL 4, payable on the train. Preferable to the bus.
Train from Skaltubo are running from Kutaisi II station, which is located in the southwest of Kutaisi.
There are more night and day trains running from Tbilisi Central to Rioni station, a few kilometers in the south of Kutaisi.
(City bus 101 runs from this station to central Batumi and on to the border station with Turkey; no need for any other transport.)
Mini-buses (marshrutkas) and full 54-passenger buses depart regularly for Kutaisi from Didube Bus Station located at the Didube metro stop in Tbilisi. Marshrutkas typically depart once an hour; large buses every three hours. Typical fare is 10 lari. Travel by marshrutkas takes roughly 3.5 hours; larger buses take slightly longer due to more frequent stops.
Gelati Monastery. Busses are leaving from the theatre. 1 Lari
Torpedo Kutaisi, Givi Kiladze Stadium. See the local football team in a match at the Givi Kiladze Stadium. Very reasonably priced at 2 GEL.
Already mentioned, but one simply cannot have too much of Georgian wine.
Hostel Kutaisi, 14 Solomon I Street (next to main square in the historical part of the city), ☎ +995 431 25 38 73 / mobile: +995 551 47 11 00 (email@example.com). In the hostel Kutaisi you will be served by experienced people (english spoken). Amenities include free wi-fi, internet, linen, towels, shampoo, coffee, tea, cable TV, maps, different guide books, advice about Kutaisi and Georgia in general.20 to 30 GEL per night.
Suliko's Homestay, (10-15 minutes walk south of the middle of town. Go to number 100 Tbilisi Street (one of the main streets in town). Then, go up the alley that intersects with Tbilisi Street at that address. It will be the third house on the right (number 6, green fence).), ☎ 0 2312 4 30 07. They will give you as much chacha, Georgian wine and Georgian food as you can handle. The food is all hand-made and freshly prepared. It is amazing, the hospitality is unparalleled and only the modesty of the facilities leaves anything to be desired. The beds are clean and the house is good by local standards, and the new bathroom was completed in the summer of 2011 in this friendly homestay. Free Internet is available, and there is a computer available for use. It's easy to get here from any location.between 20 and 30 GEL per night.
Kutaisi Hostel Centre, 3 Jibladze Street (Right in the city centre of Kutaisi), ☎ +995 431 25 10 25 / mobile: +995 597 03 07 30 (firstname.lastname@example.org). checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 10 A.M. In the Kutaisi Hostel Centre you will feel friendly and family atmosphere. You can walk to main tourist sights of the city, many cafes and shopping centers in no more than 2 minutes. Amenities include air-conditioning, heating, fridge, washing machine, free wi-fi, internet, linen, towels, coffee, tea, airport pick up, central bus station pick up. Hostel locks at 10 P.M!15 to 30 GEL per night.
Gia homestay, 41 chanchibadze (very close to Bagrati Temple), ☎ +995 557 669 380 (email@example.com). In the Gia Homestay you will feel like at home. The house is situated on the hill and has beautiful view on the mountains and Kutaisi. You could order breakfast, the food is very good and freshly made. In 10 minutes of walking you could reach Mirzaani brewery, which serves very good food, beer and wines.Price per person is between 20 and 30 GEL per night.
Family Hostel, 25 Tamar Mepe (in the city centre), ☎ +995 571 026 329 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Family accomodation. Contradictory to its name, it's more like a guesthouse than a hostel.25 GEL per night.
Hotel Oazis, (behind the large round theatre in the city centre). Small hotel in the center. Clean, cozy rooms with narrow beds; wifi, A/C, heating. One of the few budget options in central Kutaisi.