Borjomi, located in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia, is a picturesque resort town surrounded by verdant forests and hills. It is easily accessible from major cities like Tbilisi, Batumi, and Kutaisi. The town is famous for its naturally carbonated mineral water, which has been a favorite among Georgian nobility and the Russian imperial family since the 19th century. Borjomi's breathtaking landscapes, mild climate, and curative mineral water have made it a beloved destination for visitors seeking rest, relaxation, and healing.
In addition to its famous mineral water, Borjomi is also known for its stunning national park, which covers an area of over 85 square kilometers. The park is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including rare species such as the Caucasian black grouse and the brown bear.
Other places of interest in Borjomi include the Romanov Palace, a luxurious mansion built for the Russian royal family in the late 19th century, and the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park Museum, which showcases the park's unique ecosystems and biodiversity.
For those seeking adventure, Borjomi offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Visitors can also explore the town's historic sites, such as the 9th-century Timotesubani Monastery and the 13th-century Rabati Castle.
Borjomi's cuisine is also a draw for visitors, with a variety of traditional Georgian dishes on offer, including khinkali (dumplings), khachapuri (cheese-filled bread), and shashlik (barbecued meat).
Overall, Borjomi is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Georgia, offering natural beauty, rich history, and cultural experiences that are sure to delight visitors.
What to see
- Borjomi Park - This park is famous for its mineral water, which is bottled and sold all over Georgia. The water is said to have healing properties and has been popular since the Roman times. Legend has it that the water was discovered by the son of King Erekle II, who had been sick for a long time. One day, he drank from a spring and was immediately healed.
- Borjomi Central Park - Located in the heart of Borjomi, this park is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. It is home to a variety of trees, flowers, and wildlife, and has a number of walking paths and benches for visitors to enjoy.
- Romanov Palace - Built in the early 20th century, this palace was a summer residence for the Russian royal family. It is now open to the public as a museum and features a collection of artwork, furniture, and other items from the Romanov dynasty.
- Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park - This park is one of the largest in Georgia and is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Visitors can hike through the park's forests and mountains, and can also visit the nearby medieval fortresses of Atskuri and Gogia.
- Timotesubani Monastery - Located in a remote area of Borjomi, this medieval monastery dates back to the 12th century. Legend has it that the monastery was built by Queen Tamar, one of the most famous rulers of Georgia.
- Borjomi Local History Museum - This museum showcases the history and culture of Borjomi and the surrounding region. It features exhibits on the area's natural resources, traditional crafts, and famous residents.
- St. George's Church - This 13th century church is located in the center of Borjomi and is one of the oldest buildings in the town. Legend has it that the church was built on the site of an ancient pagan temple.
- Green Monastery - Located in the nearby village of Kveda Gora, this monastery is known for its beautiful frescoes and beautiful setting in the middle of a forest.
- Borjomi Plateau - This plateau offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and is a popular spot for hiking and picnicking. Visitors can also take a cable car up to the plateau from the town of Borjomi.
- Marelisi Castle - This medieval castle is located near the town of Borjomi and dates back to the 9th century. It was once a strategic fortress and played an important role in the region's history.
Where to eat
Borjomi is known for its delicious mineral water, and it also offers a variety of local cuisine options. Here are some recommended cafes and restaurants:
- Borjomi Sulphur Baths Restaurant - This restaurant is located in the historic Borjomi Sulphur Baths and serves traditional Georgian dishes, including a variety of grilled meats and stews.
- Tsikhisdziri Restaurant - This cozy restaurant is located in a restored 19th-century house and offers a variety of Georgian dishes, including khachapuri (Georgian cheese bread) and mtsvadi (grilled meat skewers).
- Eco Cafe Borjomi - This cafe offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as traditional Georgian dishes. It also has a relaxing garden area for outdoor dining.
- Borjomi Plaza - This cafe and restaurant is located in the center of Borjomi and offers a variety of Georgian and European dishes, including pizza and pasta.
- Cafe Tabla - This cafe is located in the heart of Borjomi and offers a variety of Georgian dishes, including khinkali (Georgian dumplings) and chakhokhbili (a traditional chicken stew).
- Cafe Serenade - This cafe is located in the park area of Borjomi and offers a variety of Georgian and European dishes, as well as live music performances.
Note that some of the restaurants may have limited vegetarian/vegan options, so it's best to check beforehand or inquire with the staff.
Where to stay
Here are some highly rated hotels in Borjomi:
- Borjomi Likani Health & Spa Centre - This luxurious hotel offers stunning mountain views and an on-site spa and wellness center.
- Crowne Plaza Borjomi - This modern hotel features stylish rooms, an indoor pool, and an on-site restaurant.
- Borjomi Park Hotel - This elegant hotel offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a beautiful garden.
- Villa Borjomi - This charming guesthouse is located in the heart of Borjomi and offers cozy rooms, a garden, and a terrace.
- Hotel Borjomi Palace - This affordable hotel offers simple rooms and a convenient location close to the town center.
All of these hotels have excellent reviews and are highly recommended by previous guests.
Parking in Borjomi
In Borjomi, there are parking spots on the streets and in designated parking areas. Some hotels also have their own parking lots. However, it's important to note that the roads in Borjomi can be narrow and winding, so it's important to park carefully and avoid blocking traffic.
If you plan on visiting popular attractions like the Borjomi Central Park or the mineral water springs, it's best to park in designated parking areas to avoid parking tickets or fines. Additionally, be aware that parking may be limited during peak tourist season, so it's best to arrive early to secure a spot.
Tips for drivers
Here are some tips for drivers in Borjomi:
- Drive carefully on mountain roads: Borjomi is surrounded by mountains and many of the roads in the area are narrow and winding. Be sure to drive carefully, especially during bad weather conditions.
- Watch out for animals: There are many animals in the area, including cows, horses, and dogs. They often roam freely on the roads, so be alert and slow down when you see them.
- Be aware of the speed limits: The speed limit in residential areas is 30 km/h, while on highways it can reach up to 90 km/h. Make sure to follow the signs and be aware of the speed limits in different areas.
- Avoid driving at night: Some of the roads in the area are poorly lit, making driving at night more challenging. Additionally, there may be animals on the road at night, which can be dangerous.
- Plan your route ahead of time: If you're planning to drive to nearby attractions like the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park or the Akhaltsikhe Fortress, make sure to plan your route ahead of time and bring a map or GPS device with you.
- Be prepared for road conditions: Some of the roads in the area are unpaved, so be prepared for bumpy rides. Additionally, during the winter months, roads can be icy and slippery, so make sure to have snow chains and drive cautiously.
- Be respectful of pedestrians: Many areas in Borjomi have pedestrian crossings, so make sure to stop and let pedestrians cross the road. Additionally, be cautious when driving near children or schools.