The small city of Borjomi in central Georgia has been a popular destination for tourists since imperial Russian times when the high ranking members of the Russian elite began to notice the healing powers of the city’s natural spring waters. Since then, Borjomi has remained a sought-after destination for those looking to explore Georgia further. With a number of great things to do in Borjomi, the fact that it is very easy to get from Tbilisi to Borjomi, and considering that it’s an excellent jumping-off point to visit the sites of southern Georgia, Borjomi is a must-visit destination on any trip to this Caucasian nation.
How to Travel from Tbilisi to Borjomi
When it comes to getting anywhere in Georgia, it is easiest to transit through Tbilisi, as the capital city has the most frequent connections to the most destinations within the country. So, if you’re wondering how to get to Borjomi from Tbilisi, there are numerous different routes that you can take.
Tbilisi to Borjomi by Bus
The easiest and most convenient way to get from Tbilisi to Borjomi is by marshrutka, or minibus. Buses to Borjomi leave from the Didube bus station where the buses to Kutaisi leave approximately every hour from 8 AM to 6 PM and will depart when full. The journey costs 7 GEL per person (paid directly to the driver) and it takes roughly 2.5 hours to get there.
The buses are located near the Express Bank, which you can find by turning left from once you’ve exited from the Didube metro station. If you have trouble locating the bus, most drivers will assist you and point you in the right direction.
The bus can drop you along the main drag in Borjomi near the tourist information centre or at the bus station a little further down the road. Just get off where it is most convenient to get to your accommodation. There are usually numerous taxis at the central bus station should you not want to walk to your guesthouse or hotel.
Tbilisi to Borjomi by Train
If you are willing to sacrifice the flexibility allowed by taking the marshrutka from Tbilisi to Borjomi to take advantage of a bit more leg room, then there is the option to take the Tbilisi to Borjomi train.
The train leaves from Tbilisi Central Station (near Station Square metro) at 6:40 AM and 4:15 PM. Tickets cost approximately 10 GEL and the journey will take about 4 hours. This can be a good option if you’re not operating on a tight schedule for your Georgia itinerary or if you enjoy travelling by Soviet-style trains.
The Borjomi railway station is located a few kilometres from the city centre, so it is generally necessary to take a taxi from there to your accommodation. Expect it to cost about 3 GEL to get to the centre from the train station.
Tbilisi to Borjomi by Taxi
If you neither the bus nor the train tickle your fancy when it comes to travelling from Tbilisi, then it is possible to get there by taxi as well. However, this is going to be the most expensive of options.
You will be able to find a taxi willing to take you to Borjomi at the Didube bus station, near to where the marshrutky to Borjomi leave from. Expect the cost of a car to be somewhere in between 100-150 GEL.
It is usually possible to wait for other passengers to share the cab with you and cut down on your overall trip cost. If you take a shared taxi to Borjomi with four passengers, expect your per person cost to be about 25-37 GEL.
Depending on the demand, this can either be an extremely efficient way of travelling to Borjomi from Tbilisi (if you are willing to pay for the whole car upfront or are the last to fill it), or you will have to wait for some time to find other passengers to share with you.
Tbilisi to Borjomi by Car
It is popular for visitors in Georgia to rent a car to get around and getting to Borjomi from Tbilisi by your own car is going to be the most convenient (and most expensive) option.
The road leading to Borjomi from Tbilisi is in good repair and the journey should only take you about 2 hours, depending on the traffic conditions.
If you are looking to hire a car in Georgia, we recommend browsing RentalCars.com to find the best deals available. We also would advise to take out a policy with iCarHireInsurance to reduce your excess should there be any damage to your vehicle. These policies are usually significantly more affordable than purchasing directly through the rental company.
Things To Do in Borjomi
Because of its popularity as a tourist destination over the span of two centuries, Borjomi has a lot to offer visitors and it is a pleasant place to spend a day or two exploring. It is also a fantastic jumping-off point for venturing to the fascinating cave city of Vardzia or to the restored fortress complex in Akhaltsikhe.
So, now that you’ve figured out how to get there, here are all of the things to do in Borjomi to keep you occupied:
Borjomi Central Park
Sometimes referred to as the Mineral Water Park, this lush green space is easily one of the main tourist highlights and a great place to visit in Borjomi. The park is massive and fills a couple of kilometres full of benches, walking paths, cafes, and amusement rides that can occupy the whole family.
There is a pavilion where you can sample the famous Borjomi spring water directly from the source. The naturally lightly effervescent water is definitely an acquired taste (and not one that either Michael or I have!) and it is said to cure whatever it is that ails you.
You can have the attendants fill up and entire water bottle for you or just ask for a small cup to sample. I would recommend the latter, as the salty-metallic taste of the water mixed with the sulphuric smell certainly is not for everyone! Regardless of what you choose, the water is free and safe to drink.
Along with all of the rides and green scenery within in the park, there is also a cable car at the entrance that will take you to the top of a hill, commanding great views of Borjomi and the surrounding nature.
Entry into the Central Park is 2 GEL per person and you can easily spend a number of hours there.
Borjomi Sulphur Pools
Located at the end of a beautiful, green path about 3 kilometres from the entrance of the Central Park lies the Borjomi Sulphur Pools. Originally constructed under the orders of the Romanovs themselves in the 19th century, these pools are now open to the public and use natural spring waters to keep them warm and swimmable year round. They are an especially popular place to visit in the warm summer months.
There are three small pools in the complex that are all kept at about 30°C (86°F), making them ideal to relax in for some time. Keep in mind that they do get very busy in the summer months with local families and tourists alike looking for ways to take the edge off of the Georgian heat, so it is best to get here early.
Entry to the pools is 5 GEL per person and there are changing facilities and toilets on sight, along with a beverage stand. However, towels and such are not available for hire so you will need to bring your own.
It is possible to reach the pools from the main path through the Central Park, which is an easy 30-40 minute walk on a path through the lovely forest. You can also take a shorter but very steep path down from the cable car.
Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
If you are visiting Georgia in order to take advantage of all of the beautiful, pristine nature that the country has to offer, then visiting the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is one of the best things to do in Borjomi.
Though this 851 square metre park may not boast as dramatic of scenery that you might find in towns like Kazbegi or Mestia, the underrated lower Caucasus range is home to beautiful, lush greenery and numerous well-developed hiking trails.
It is possible to go for day or overnight hikes here or even ride horses through the numerous trails and routes. If you need more information about visiting the national park, head to the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park Administration where you can get all of the knowledge that you need to visit Georgia’s largest national park.
Day Trip to Vardzia, Akhaltsikhe, and Khervtsi Fortress
One of the most popular things to do in Borjomi is to go on a day trip to the fascinating and beautiful cave city of Vardzia. Located about 100 kilometres south of Borjomi, it is very easy to organise a trip to this incredible historical site along with some other highlights of Southern Georgia.
There are a few options that you can choose from when it comes to getting to Vardzia from Borjomi. If you are trying to stick to a tight Georgia travel budget, then you can reach Vardzia by marshrutka from Borjomi. However, you would need to transfer buses in Akhaltsikhe and they don’t leave that often.
Marshrutky to Akhaltsikhe leave from Borjomi at 8:45 AM and 2:45 PM each day and then buses from Akhaltsikhe to Vardzia leave 10:30 AM, 1 PM, and 3 PM. This can mean that making the connection can be tricky.
A far better budget option for travellers is to take an organised day tour to Vardzia, the Rabati complex in Akhaltsikhe, the Khervtsi Fortress, and the Green Monastery. These can be organised and booked through the tourist information centre and it will cost 50 GEL per person, not including entry fees or lunch. A minimum of three people are required for the tour to take place, however, most days this is not an issue. Most often, you can book just one day in advance.
Another appealing option to get to these places is to hire a private driver. This is the option that we took and the driver our guesthouse organised for us cost 120 GEL for the day. You can either organise this through your guesthouse or hotel or find a taxi or driver on the street in Borjomi — you will definitely be approached with offers so it is not hard to arrange!
Visiting Vardzia, in particular, was one of the highlights of our entire trip to Georgia and we really think that it is worth paying a little extra and going out of the way to visit this incredible 12th-century cave city. Due to its out-of-the-way location, there aren’t large groups of tourists that visit here, making it all the more enjoyable.
Entry into the cave city costs 7 GEL per person. While it isn’t necessary to dress conservatively to visit most of the cave dwellings, neither men nor women will be permitted to enter the cave monastery wearing shorts or sleeveless tops and women must also cover their heads.
We recommend trying to hit Vardzia as your first stop and then work your way back from there. This is the route that we took and we missed almost every big tour group and at the Khvertsi Fortress, we were the only ones there.
Entry into the Rabati complex in Akhaltsikhe is 6 GEL per person and the Khvertsi Fortress costs 5 GEL per person. All are worth visiting.
Where to Eat in Borjomi
Despite being a relatively popular tourist destination in Georgia, there isn’t a lot of options when it comes to restaurants in Borjomi. However, there are a couple of great places to sample local cuisine.
Cafe Tourist — Don’t let the name deceive you as this locally-run restaurant is far from a tourist trap. One of the best places to eat in Borjomi, they have a great menu of delicious Georgian delicacies in an eclectic atmosphere. Their soups are something very special and their Georgian salad with walnuts is one of the best we’ve dined on in the country.
Bergi — This restaurant, located on Borjomi’s main street, is an excellent option for a tasty and hearty meal in Borjomi. They serve a traditional Georgian menu, have an extensive wine list, and streetside seating for warm summer evenings.
Where to Stay in Borjomi
Borjomi is a popular place to spend a night or two when embarking on a longer trip through Georgia and therefore, there are lots of options when it comes to accommodation. If you’re wondering where to stay in Borjomi, check out these suggestions:
Guesthouse Metreveli — Located in a quiet neighbourhood about 10 minutes walking from the city centre, this family-run guesthouse is one of the best budget options in Borjomi. The friendly owners will fill you full with their extensive breakfast (available for an extra charge) and welcome you with their homemade wine and cha cha. There are three rooms available and a wonderful balcony to chill out on after a long day. Click here to see their latest prices
Hotel Victoria — This small hotel is a great option if your budget allows for a little bit more than a family-run guesthouse. Located within easy walking distance of the Central Park, this hotel has a range of clean and comfortable rooms available and restaurant on site. Click here to see their latest prices
Crowne Plaza Borjomi — If you’re after a bit class and luxury when visiting Borjomi, then you can’t go wrong with the Crowne Plaza. This hotel, located in a beautiful historical building next to the mineral water park, is a top option in the city. They have a range of luxe rooms available and numerous other amenities available to make your stay in Borjomi a swanky one. Click here to check their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Borjomi hotels!
Borjomi is an excellent place to spend a few days while exploring Georgia. Whether it’s hiking through the beautiful national park, soaking up the healing mineral waters, or climbing through the cave city of Vardzia, there are numerous things to do in Borjomi to occupy any type of traveller!
When travelling in Georgia, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a travel insurance policy so you’re covered for any unfortunate events! We like WorldNomads and always use them for our trips – click here to get a quote from WorldNomads
Are you planning on travelling from Tbilisi to Borjomi? Have you been? Let us know in the comments!