Georgian Language Phrases For Travelers

Georgian Language Phrases For Travelers

When you travel to other countries do you try to learn the basics in the native language? Even if it’s just a few words as an introduction, I’ve found it paves the way for a richer, fuller visit. In addition, it helps to ingratiate you with the local people and gives you a whole other view of the place and culture.

I’ve had many people ask me how in the world I learned Georgian, even after living there for several years. How? I studied. I interacted with people all over the country (and that done with me being an introvert). Was it always comfortable? No, of course not, and language learning is never perfect, but little by little you begin to understand and feel a part. Georgian language phrases

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Useful Georgian language phrases for travelers, free printable over Trinity Cathedral Tbilisi

Luckily for you, if you’re traveling to Tbilisi or any other part of Georgia soon, I’ve put together a handy printable list of useful Georgian language phrases for travelers.

Speaking foreign languages while traveling

I vividly remember the reaction of a woman I met in Baku, Azerbaijan when I attempted to speak to her in Azeri. This was a while ago now, but she was taking money for tickets or a tour at the Maiden Tower, an old Zoroastrian tower in Baku that’s now a local history museum. At first glance, she bore the no-nonsense, expressionless face I associate with former Soviet countries. They all feel Americans smile too much at strangers, as do many other countries. To me, she looked put out at having to be bothered with doing her job and giving out tickets.

Slowly, I stepped up and asked for the tickets in what I thought was correct Azeri. She did a little double-take and really looked at my face, and I was able to respond to whatever she asked me in return. Her face lit up, smiled, and she yelled over to her friend that these girls were actually trying to speak Azeri and NOT Russian. At least I think she said something to that effect. We ended up getting more attention, and a bit of a special tour.

Metekhi Church entrance

My foreign language teacher lecture

Indeed, it’s all about being polite and respectful when you go to someone else’s country, to speak their language. Even if you don’t get very far, or they speak English and cater to tourists, they will generally appreciate your attempt. Don’t be afraid of not getting everything perfect either! I do pretty well in Latin languages and Georgian; however, my German, Russian, Azeri, etc. are pretty horrendous. But don’t fear! Most of the time they don’t expect you to have perfect grammar and pronunciation. The point is to communicate and learn from your hosts.

Georgians are some of the most hospitable and welcoming people I’ve ever met. They take great pride in their hospitality and love to have guests. They, like the Azeri woman I mentioned, are super-excited when foreigners speak Georgian to them and not Russian or another language.


I first fell in love with the Georgian language through traditional Georgian music before I could speak a single word. Music so often communicates the history and passions of a place so I like to listen to what I can before and during my visit. Also, I encourage my kids to do the same thing and so makes travel a huge living lesson for us.

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.

Geoffrey Willans

English Author and Journalist

Need some ideas about things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia?

Narikala Fortress, Tbilisi

In my recent blog post, you can read all about awesome activities to do with kids in Tbilisi, Georgia. It’s an amazing city and so much fun to explore!

Georgian language phrases

The Georgian language is a beautiful language rich in history. What’s it related to? This is generally one of the first questions I get asked when speaking to someone about how I know it. Georgian is in its own family and branch, and therefore it’s not Slavic, Latin, Germanic or others. In addition, it has its own alphabet with 33 letters always pronounced the same way when read, similar to Spanish. Right now I’m not going to go into the alphabet but for our purposes use Latin letters to make it easier for travelers to get some words out!

When you speak in Georgian, do not stress syllables as in English, but read through them with the same level of stress throughout, if that makes sense.

Here are a few examples I’ve mentioned before:

gamarjoba (gah-mar-joh-bah) This means hello!

me lareni var (may lahren-ee var) My name is Lauren.

Tip here: You’ll want to insert your name instead of mine. 😉 In Georgian, you add an ee (long e) sound to the end of your name if it ends in a consonant sound, in this case. I’ll not trouble you with a bunch of grammar right now.

sasiamovnoa (sah-see-ah-mohv-noh-ah) It’s nice to meet you. (I love saying this word so had to add it in.)

didi madloba (dee-dee mahd-loh-bah) Thank you very much.

kargat (kar-gaht) Good-bye! (informal)

nakhvamdis (nahkh-vahm-dees) Good-bye!

Do you want some more? Get the free PDF printable, and practice to your heart’s content. Most Georgians are thrilled to help you with pronunciation and language so if you know someone who’s Georgian enlist their help.

Download your free Georgian language phrases for travelers printable below!

Georgian language phrases preview

Free Printable

A different language is a different vision of life.

Federico Fellini

Italian Film Director and Screenwriter

Travel and languages

Do you tremble with excitement when you learn a new word or piece of language? Well, maybe we won’t go that far, but it’s exciting! Just imagine how much you can learn about a culture with a few simple words, some good food and company, and a lot of observation.

I said it before, but let me stress again, don’t worry about getting it perfect! We are communicating, and a couple words are better than none to get a point across. Language is such an amazing part of a culture and helps form the identity of the people.

Good luck on your travels. I hope you enjoy learning a bit of Georgian today and have the opportunity to travel there someday!

Narikala Fortress and the Mother of Georgia overlooking Tbilisi

Unforgettable Things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia With Kids

Unforgettable Things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia With Kids

First, let me tell you, Tbilisi is one of my favorite cities in the world. There are so many things to do in Tbilisi, so much culture at the Silk Road crossroads, it’s hard to narrow it down. I have many memories as a Peace Corps volunteer coming into the capital from my home site. Now, this was over 10 years ago I can barely believe, but around every corner, there are memories and smiles, and ahas!

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Granted, many things I used to get excited about are no longer as dramatic and appealing:

Ahh! A hot shower as long as I want! And then for good measure, I’ll go to the sulfur baths to get all the winter dirt and grime scrubbed off of me!

No way! They have an internet connection!?

The electricity doesn’t usually go off in the capital!

An English bookstore?! Let’s go!

(I love Prospero’s Books and Caliban’s Coffee House on Rustaveli Street. I’ve spent a LOT of time there, and even had an apartment just around the corner up the hill for a while.)

Tbilisi’s had many changes in the past ten years, and so many have made it an awesome destination for tourists. Of course, one of the main things I love about Georgia is the AMAZING hospitality of the people. So many people are incredibly friendly and ready to go out of their way to help you out. Obviously, be careful, but if you even attempt some basic Georgian phrases you will be a prized welcome guest in someone’s store, B&B, or home. You pretty much can’t miss those eager to share the history, culture, and joy of their country.

Georgian language basics

Therefore, before we get on with our unforgettable things to do in Tbilisi as a family and with kids, let’s practice together:


gamarjoba (gah-mar-joe-bah) This means hello!

me lareni var (may lahren-ee var) My name is Lauren.

Tip here: You’ll want to insert your name instead of mine. 😉 In Georgian, you add an ee (long e) sound to the end of your name if it ends in a consonant sound, in this case. I’ll not trouble you with a bunch of grammar right now.

sasiamovnoa (sah-see-ah-mohv-noh-ah) It’s nice to meet you. (I love saying this word so had to add it in.)

didi madloba (dee-dee mahd-loh-bah) Thank you very much.

kargat (kar-gaht) Good-bye! (informal)

nakhvamdis (nahkh-vahm-dees) Good-bye!

Now say each 5 times fast. Kidding. However, practice makes perfect!

Amazing things to do in Tbilisi with kids

Narikala Fortress view of Tbilisi, Georgia

This past summer we brought both our kids to Georgia, and while traveling with kids is always more stressful than on your own, it was an amazing journey. Do you look at travel as education? I certainly do. There’s a ginormous (yes, ginormous) difference between pointing to a small green blob on the map and label it Georgia on an exam and visiting the country, interacting with the rich culture.

Where to stay: Airbnb

Tbilisi Airbnb kitchen with light from glass door balconyFirst be aware there are certainly a wide variety of hotels in Tbilisi such as the Marriott, Radisson Blu, Holiday Inn, Rooms Hotel Tbilisi, Betsy’s Hotel, and others. You’ll want to decide what kind of experience you’re looking for. Do you want a traditional hotel, a B&B with an amazing Georgian breakfast, or maybe like we did, your own apartment through Airbnb.

I can’t say enough good things about our experience with Airbnb in Georgia. We booked one in Tbilisi and in the west in Batumi when we were there, and had excellent accommodations and hosts. Often, the Airbnb host will pick you up at the airport for no extra charge, give you a mini-tour of the city on the way, and even take you back to the airport for your return flight no matter the crazy time.

Another plus with Airbnb is, personally, I like to have my own kitchen when we travel, especially with the kids. That way they can get up and going slowly, eat breakfast, and enjoy ourselves without rushing off.

Also, as a mom with a kid with a food allergy, it is really nice to prepare some of our own meals and not have to ask about preparation and ingredients.

All that to say, an Airbnb apartment in Old Town within walking distance of many sites is a fabulous option when you’re with kids. You may not consider it one of our official “things to do in Tbilisi”, but where you stay is important. As an Airbnb tip, when you’re selecting your location be sure it had many positive reviews and a history of people staying there.

Tbilisi Airbnb living room with kids on the couch

1. Mtatsminda Amusement Park

Tbilisi Mtatsminda Park entrance with Georgian fairy tale statues

Tbilisi Mtatsminda Amusement Park leaning houses Mtatsminda. The amusement park here is new in the last few years and an awesome activity for kids if they’re tired of visiting beautiful churches and touring Georgian museums. It’s a very popular spot for locals with children, not only tourists. If you look up the mountain to the Georgian Eiffel Tower (the Tbilisi TV Tower), you may see the Ferris wheel next to it. Yes, that’s where the park is located, right up at the top.

Luckily, you can get there pretty easily by taking the funicular from Old Town up to the top for some fabulous views of the city. Or, if you have a child like mine who absolutely refuses to ride the funicular and has an attack of nerves and vertigo just looking at it, you can drive. Or rather, have a taxi or someone drive you up the winding road to the park entrance.

If you are lucky enough to take the funicular to the top you will experience some awesome views and find yourself at the top of the world. First, take awhile to enjoy the view of the city and pick out all the places you’ve visited with the kids. The love this!

View overlooking Tbilisi from Mtatsminda

Next, turn around to find the beautiful white building, the fairly recently remodeled Funicular Restaurant. The three-story building was built from 1936-1938, and a long-time architectural landmark in the city. Moreover, I have it on good authority from the random person we met outside that it was a favorite restaurant of Stalin’s, the KGB, and featured in every single Soviet movie from the 60s-80s with a scene in Tbilisi.

Tbilisi Funicular Restaurant with blue sky

2. The Peace Bridge

Tbilisi, Georgia Peace Bridge

The Peace Bridge is a modern piece of architecture with a great pedestrian walkway. It’s impressive to the kids and located near the Rike Park and Funicular entrance. On your checklist of things to do in Tbilisi, walk across and take a family photo!



Tbilisi Peace Bridge

3. Rike Park (park area with play area, swings, giant chess board)

Rike Park and view of the President's Palace Rike Park is a fun place to walk around in the late afternoon with kids. After you get your photo taken at the Peace Bridge, come on down to the park. There’s a nice playground area for kids with swings and a play structure and even a giant chessboard! Enjoy the early evening and play time before your evening Georgian meal.

4. Old Town

The orange colored roofs of Old Town Tbilisi

Our Airbnb was located in a nice part of Old Town Tbilisi, and so much restoration has been done in the area recently! You’ll have a home base in Old Town to explore the traditional Georgian architecture, tourist shops, cafes, and parks.

If you’d like, you can easily get a tour guide to take you around on a walking tour or by bus or car. There are so many things to do in Tbilisi. Ask your Airbnb host if they know of a local company or ask at a local hotel. If you don’t speak the language and don’t want to be miming most of your trip, this could be a good option. Although, more and more Georgians have been learning English and can help you out.

Want to see more of Old Tbilisi?

Tbilisi, Georgia doors and windows

5. Metekhi Church and gardens

Metekhi Church, Tbilisi

First and foremost, Metekhi Church holds a special place in my heart because it’s the church where I was married. It’s located picturesquely above the Mtkvari River with the great statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali on horseback just in front. The story is that King Vakhtang built a church and residence on the location originally, the buildings destroyed by the Mongols in the 1235 invasion. In the late 1200s, King Demitrius II built the church and over the years it was fortified and restored. It’s been a barracks, a jail, and in Soviet times when religion was banned, an attempt at a museum was made then a theater.

Thankfully it’s been restored back to a church and today is a magnificent symbol and site of Tbilisi.

Tbilisi Vakhtang statue, MetekhiFor kids, there’s a nice little cafe just next door where you can grab an ice cream or a drink then wander around the church gardens. Say gamarjoba to jolly Father Tarieli if you pass him in the garden. You’ll see some amazing views of Old Tbilisi, and have a place to pray and meditate as long as the kids allow. If you go in the church women are expected to cover their heads with a scarf, and there’s a box of shared scarves for guests in most churches (I much prefer my own!). Don’t be alarmed, but a kindly volunteer may chase you around with a scarf until you cover your head.


6. Narikala Fortress

From Metekhi you will be able to get a full view of Narikala Fortress in the distance. The kids will love exploring the old “castle” as you wander along the old wall and yard surrounding. The Church of St. Nicolas was rebuilt recently in 1996-97 after the original was destroyed in a fire. This is another fabulous high point to take breathtaking photos of the city. You can hike up to it, which I’ve done before, however, with kids, I’d recommend taking a cable car up.

Narikala Fortress, Tbilisi

If you’re super-lucky you may even get to see a local herd his flock of sheep through the fortress yard. Consequently, there may be squeals of delight, running about, and much discussion of the amazing sheep of the castle. Let me tell you they are some pretty sure-footed sheep climbing up and down questionable rocky paths. Adventure with the kids and act out a story at the castle!

7. Sameba (Trinity) Cathedral

Sameba (Trinity) Cathedral, Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral, or Holy Trinity Cathedral, is the third tallest Orthodox Church in the world and one of the largest religious buildings. A mixture of traditional Georgian architectural styles, compared to other well-known churches in Georgia it feels new and shiny. Probably because it was built relatively recently, from 1995-2004. It’s huge inside obviously, and the sheer space above and around is impressive.

There’s plenty of space outside to wander around, look at the unusual trees and flowers and let the kids run a bit. This is a must-see in Tbilisi and will be even more impressive to kids. Just imagine being half your height and your eyes going up and up and up!

8. Open Air Museum of Ethnography

The Open Air Museum of Ethnography is just about the only way to get an education in 14 ethnographic zones in one location: Kartli, Samegrelo, Adjara, Abkhazia, Svaneti, Khevsureti, Kakheti, Meskheti, Javakheti, Guria, Imereti, Racha, Lechkhumi and Ossetia. This is a fun place to take kids to explore the houses and artifacts from all the different regions of Georgia. The museum is a fabulous experience even on a regular day; however, they also have awesome festivals and special Georgian folk exhibits so look at their website here as you plan your trip.

History and culture buffs, this is the place for you!

9. Rustaveli Avenue 

Shota Rustaveli statue Tbilisi Rustaveli Avenue is one of the main streets of Tbilisi, and on it, you’ll pass by many Tbilisi sights. Just on this one street, you’ll go by the monument of St. George, the Parliament building, Tbilisi’s number 1 public school, Kashueti St. George Church (with a park behind), the Opera House, the Museum of Fine Arts.

Parent tip: I know it sounds terrible and right now you adamantly claim you would never stop in such a place while traveling. However, after a day of walking and wandering around these amazing places, kids get tired. They refuse to do anything. You are tired and may wish to give in to the Georgian McDonald’s just next to the Rustaveli metro. Ahhhh! NEVER! You say – just wait.

Shota Rustaveli is arguably the most famous Georgian poet. There are universities named after him, almost every town in Georgia has a Rustaveli Street, and you’ll see this statue of him with a fountain in front on Rustaveli Street in Tbilisi. It’s conveniently located just next to the Rustaveli metro stop, and the Rustaveli McDonald’s. There are so many things to do in Tbilisi with Rustaveli in their name!

Shota Rustaveli was a medieval poet, the greatest of the Georgian Golden Age, and composed the epic poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin. Born in 1166, he served during the time of “King” Tamar the Great (female) and is revered by all Georgians. You might even find a copy of the poem from one of the street vendors near the statue.

Tbilisi McDonald's menu

10. Dry Bridge

Man looking at displayed paintings at the Dry Bridge If you’re looking for a souvenir to take home, you’ll find paintings and souvenirs in Old Town shops (probably the most expensive place), outside souvenir and painting shops along Rustaveli Street just a bit north of the Rustaveli metro, or at the Dry Bridge.

The Dry Bridge is fun to visit and just look around at all the paintings, textiles, Georgian figures, anything you could want. I love to look at the paintings, but my daughter, of course, was on a mission to find the perfect Georgian hat, slippers, and doll. The four-year-old got tired after awhile, but it’s a great place to grab any necessary souvenirs. Also, I’d suggest taking a taxi there and back as it’s not the easiest place to walk to.

There’s a sort of a flea market area on top of the bridge where you’ll find people selling old dishes, Communist paraphernalia, binoculars, silverware, whathaveyou. If you have room in your bags and enjoy flea markets and garage sales, it’s a little paradise. Just be careful and haggle a bit as it’s expected.

Georgian dolls, Tbilisi

11. Eat Some Good Khinkali

Khinkali, meat dumplings, Tbilisi This is a do not miss! Definitely, seek out some traditional Georgian restaurants and try the local cuisine. It’s AWESOME. I love almost everything, but make sure to order some good khinkali. A true Georgian will tell you to pick it up the dumpling by the nib, carefully bite into the side, and drink the lovely warm broth out of the middle. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT spill the juice on your plate (you will 😉 ) Only a wimp uses a fork!

You order khinkali by the number, and they come out on a big plate family style in the center of the table. So if I say: Otsi khinkali gvinda, that means we want 20 khinkali. There are different kinds although most places will have pork or beef. Sometimes you can even get potato, mushroom, or cheese. Normally I don’t embrace carbs, but I LOVE khinkali!

12. Sample the Churchkhela

Churchkhela (stringed nuts dipped in grape juice and flour/corn flour mixture and dried) in various colors, Tbilisi Another food the kids will enjoy is called churchkhela. Basically, it’s hazelnuts or walnuts strung on a string. They’re then dipped in a grape juice, flour and corn flour boiled mixture, and set to dry. Traditionally, churchkhela was made as a treat in the home and would last and not go bad for a long time. In World War II and probably even before, men were sent off to war with churchkhela as a sort of travel food. The early Georgian fruit and nut bars that are amazing and addictive.

Allergy Warning: As we have a nut allergy in the family, we are always on guard at all times when traveling. In Georgia, you especially have to look out for walnuts because they are in sauces, salads, desserts, pretty much everything.

So are you planning a trip to Tbilisi?

Lately, I’ve seen Tbilisi on National Geographic’s top places to visit this year, as well as on many other lists. Georgians are open and hospitable, and it’s a culture-filled trip. There are so many more things to do in Tbilisi also. My kids absolutely loved exploring, as well as through the country to the Black Sea. All things considered, it’s an education and experience not to be missed. Your taste buds will thank you!

How To Make Traditional Georgian Bread

How To Make Traditional Georgian Bread

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When you travel do you search out the local restaurants? Do you try to get at least a glimpse of the culture and history of a place? I’m admittedly a history nerd and love to meet with the people who live where I travel to get their inside stories. Georgia is one of those magical places that celebrates and shares its own culture. With warm hospitality, Georgians are more than ready and willing to give you a huge traditional dinner party, dance, and song. Many people struggle on a daily basis in the country, but their pride in culture and tradition are a foundation and bring an optimism for the future.

Traditional Georgian bread pin, tonis puri

The bread and salt of Georgia

My husband is from Georgia, and this summer we got to take the kids over to see family, the people, and places he loves. Guests are greeted with the “bread and salt”, in Georgia generally meaning a feast, always including bread. Most any meal you eat in the country will involve a plate of bread on the table. Moreover, bread is a respected food, almost revered. It’s a huge insult to throw it away or waste it. The salt on the table represents the spice, or the relationships and friendships made.

Being Georgian, my husband has always emphasized the importance of the bread. Can you imagine my 8-year-old’s excitement when she was invited to help make it in the traditional oven? If you look at the picture below, it’s sort of an earthen kiln, called a “tone”.

Traditional Georgian bread, tone

Georgian culture is rich and deep, full of emotion. It’s fascinating to see bread being made today in the same way it’s been made for hundreds of years. It represents the welcoming hospitality of the Georgian people. Take a dive into Georgian culture and learn how this traditional Georgian bread is made. 

Preparing traditional Georgian bread, tonis puri

First of all, make the basic bread dough and set it to rise. Families use a simple recipe including flour, salt, water, and yeast. Then, prepare the oven (kiln) by starting a huge fire in the center and burning down the wood or dried grapevines to ashes. Every household (nearly) in Georgia has their own grapevines and make wine. I could go into the significance and symbolism of using the grapevines, but I’ll save that for another time. The fire must burn for half an hour or more to get the oven hot enough to bake the bread. While this happens the dough rises and you set out the cooling racks.

Preparing the dough

Once the fire burns long enough, the ashes will smolder down at the bottom of the oven. At that point, place large sheets of metal over the hot ashes so the dough can be safely placed on the sides of the oven (tone). 

Traditional Georgian Bread preparation

The oven’s ready

Then, pat out the risen dough and press it in a sort of oval form all over the insides of the kiln. This is not a process you go through for one or two loaves, no! A family will bake 10-20 or as many as fit in the kiln. Then, that bread is used for a large event, or for the family for the next couple of days or so as well as for the cousins and neighbors surrounding. The next time it will be someone else’s turn to bake.

Dough put in the kiln

Bake the traditional Georgian bread

As soon as you stick the bread dough to the walls of the kiln, carefully remove the metal sheets from the ashes below. Now the heat and steam can come up and hit the dough to bake. Finally, close the top of the kiln (tone), and bake the bread for 20-30 minutes.

Traditional Georgian Bread in the kiln

When it’s ready, take off the top of the oven and remove the bread loaves (tonis puri) and set to cool.

Baked traditional Georgian bread

Have you ever smelled freshly baked bread? If so, you will know your mouth immediately begins to water, and you’re drawn to the smell. This is the time the kids, and some adults, suddenly decide it’s time to help so they can rip off a bit of that delicious yumminess. Bread brings the family and guests together with smiles and laughter.

Traditional Georgian Bread supra

Grandmother Tamar’s story

Several years ago we visited my husband’s grandmother’s home in the village of Ali, Shida Kartli region of Georgia, for her 100th birthday. She shared many stories during the time we were there, but one stood out for me. With a big smile, she told me the story of two naughty little boys, my husband and his brother, who used to “help” her around the house.

They would get into everything, but one day she was making the bread in the “tone”, as she did often. The boys were told to stay away from the oven, she would give them bread when it was dinner time. But being two mischievous and impatient boys, they could not wait for dinner. When she found them they had the lid off the oven and two heads were down inside the kiln (oven). Thankfully, it had already cooled down, but there were bits like cracker still stuck to the side. My husband reached far in to get one of these pieces and actually toppled inside. Grandma Tamar had to jerk both boys out, and my husband’s head was covered in the ash from the bottom of the oven.

She cackled and said he had some scratches, was covered in ash, and looked a mess. Really, it could have been worse, but the bread was medicine. They made and shared it together just as her ancestors did and her grandchildren do today.

So tell me,

How do you welcome guests to your house? What traditional foods or crafts does your family enjoy?

Do you want to learn more about Georgia?

Read about our favorite places to visit as a family in Batumi, Georgia, on the Black Sea.

Batumi with kids feature

Learn more about Georgian food and traditions:

Tasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus by Carla Capalbo

Supra: A Feast of Georgian Cooking by Tiko Tuskadze

Lonely Planet Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet

Tbilisi, Georgia: Doors and Windows

Tbilisi, Georgia: Doors and Windows

This page contains affiliate links. Tbilisi, Georgia

I’ve always been attracted to different kinds of architecture, specifically doors and windows. Over the summer we took the kids to Tbilisi, Georgia and then around the country. Naturally, I spent much of the time chasing the kids around, but I also tried to get some good photos to remember the trip. Time and time again I found myself taking pictures of doors, windows, and buildings.

What draws your eye to a door or a window?

To me, a door or a window can say or hide much about a culture. Moreover, a closed-door always makes me more curious. Curiosity’s not a bad thing, so the monkey tells us, but it makes one wonder. What is behind that ancient wooden door?

When I was in college, I spent some time in Oxford, England. There you can walk the streets and see so many closed doors, but then suddenly one opens up, and you get a peek in. Is it to a stairway or a room? No, it opens up to a beautiful quad grassy area with pathways and more buildings across. The colleges of Oxford allow only the chosen ones in through their doors to the beauty of the grass, gardens, and the inside buildings. As a curious one, I had to get myself invited into a few: to a play, a lecture, and even in with a tourist group.


So really, it’s the possibility of what’s behind that door or window that may draw you to it. Whenever I travel I look at the different buildings, old, new, run-down, or immaculate. Especially when traveling in Tbilisi, Georgia and the surrounding areas, what you expect to find on the inside of a door is not at all what you find when you go in for a visit. A run-down building with trash around it, some broken brick, and wires hanging about can lead you into to a modern state of the art apartment, nothing like you’d expect.


Now sit back and imagine. Look at some of these buildings and doors in Tbilisi, Georgia and around the country. Georgia is a beautiful mountainous country with beaches on the Black Sea, skiing in the Caucasus, vineyards, and powerful traditional music and dance. This area of the world’s also had a difficult history, but so many of the strong people there have risen above the hardships and celebrated their culture and traditions in a modern Georgia.

What do you think’s behind that door?

Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi, Georgia, Cat in a doorway

What’s inside this building? Is it someone’s home, an office? Has it been abandoned or now inhabited by cats? Who owns the car in front of it?

Tbilisi, Georgia door with ivy

Now, what’s behind this door? Is it a church, an office, or a storage area? In addition, who goes through this door, and what does that symbol mean?

Tbilisi, Georgia Parliament

This building has seen a lot. Built in Soviet times, members of Parliament convene here and make decisions for the country. What is the monument on the front steps? Furthermore, who else has walked those steps and tried to go through those arched doorways?

St. Nino metal door

A woman carrying a cross. Who could she be? Why Saint Nino brought the distinctive cross to Georgia, formed out of grapevines and entwined with her own hair. Orthodoxy is a major part of the daily lives of many Georgians. Who’s behind this door?

Tbilisi, Georgia church

What has happened to this once ornate church? Did this happen during Soviet times? Who goes through those doors now?

Old town Tbilisi wooden building

How many people live in this house? How long has it been in the family? Does the design on the rug mean anything?

More Tbilisi, Georgia

Door with grapevines

Do you see those vines hanging down? In Georgia, you will see grapevines on nearly every house. Traditions run deep, and Georgians make wine to celebrate and welcome guests. It’s truly an art form. I wonder who planted this vine in the middle of the city?

Brown church door

How long has this door been in place? It’s not a work of art like the Saint Nino door, but it tells a history just the same.

Opera house

What is this place? Can you imagine a famous opera singer on the balcony? The people are dressed up to attend an orchestra or boys’ choir performance. It’s the Tbilisi Opera house!

Restaurant overlooking Tbilisi

If you’re a fan of old Soviet movies, I’ve been told this restaurant appears in all the ones with scenes in Tbilisi. Famous movie stars, politicians, and the well to do have dined at this restaurant at the top of the mountain overlooking Tbilisi, Georgia. The funicular brings you up to the top from the center of town. I can imagine quite a few scenes happening here!

Beyond Tbilisi, Georgia

Train station at night

Train station doors by night. Was that a bat that just dive-bombed me?! Look out for ghosts! Phew, that’s just my shadow.

House front

Here’s a cheerful house front. Grapevines, laundry, a happy yellow with open doors inviting over the neighbors.

Batumi blue apartment building

What is it like to live in one of these giant apartment blocks? How could each one be individualized to the tastes of its owner?

Soviet Batumi building

Imagine this building in its prime. Who would have stayed here at this prime location on the beach of the Black Sea? Vacationers, government leaders? Maybe someone on house arrest?? What do you think happened here?

St. George Batumi

Saint George is not only the Patron Saint of England but also of Georgia. Who doesn’t love the idea of George slaying the dragon?

Batumi green apartments

Again we have the apartment block, but here at the seaside, it’s a brighter shade of green. How many people live here? Incidentally, are they rented out or for vacationers? Hmmm…

Explore Batumi, Georgia!

Batumi with kids feature

Metekhi gift shop door

Small church by the church

Wooden doors

Follow the Open Door

Gonio Fortress

Be curious. Wander. Travel is an education in so many things. Listen to the stories of the people around you. The doors will open up, and you’ll be invited in to be a part of a new culture, tradition, and way of life.

Writing Prompt

Any one of these pictures would make an awesome writing prompt for a short story. If you use one I’d love to read it! Take the time and go through that door to a new world!

Curious to know more? Click on the object to take you to it on Amazon:


Top 10 Things To Do in Batumi With Kids

Top 10 Things To Do in Batumi With Kids

*This post contains affiliate links. Batumi with kids

Are you looking for an awesome beach vacation with a giant dose of culture and post-Soviet vibe thrown in? Have you heard of Batumi, Georgia? We just took an amazing trip to explore this up and coming city and had an awesome time! It’s true we have connections to Georgia (the country, not the state) because my husband grew up there and has a bunch of family still living there. We wanted a fun place to take the kids, along with his mother and niece, for a family-bonding vacation everyone would enjoy.

Batumi was the perfect spot for our vacation and has a lot to offer for kids. We had a clean fast train out from the capital and back, and a great flat experience with Airbnb. For Americans, the exchange rate was about 2.4 GEL or Georgian lari to the dollar so great for us, although not fabulous for native Georgians! We heard a ton of languages around, Russian, Azeri, Georgian, English. My mother-in-law got to relive some of her youth, and her grandchildren were introduced to her past. It was perfect.

Batumi with kids pin

Our Top 10 Things To Do in Batumi With Kids

1. The Batumi Boulevard

Overhead Batumi Boulevard

The Batumi Boulevard was a great place to go to walk, stare out at the sea, and let the kids run. So often on a vacation kids need space to just get out and run around, and this was a scenic, calming place for Mom at the same time. The Boulevard runs North and South along the Black Sea so on one side you have a view of the sea,

Palm tree along Boulevard

and on the other, you have restaurants, hotels, buildings, and art.

Lower Boulevard

The Boulevard includes the larger walkway, and next to it the small red road for biking. Another awesome thing is that there are bikes (1 to 6 seaters) you can rent at several locations along the way. So, of course, the kids get tired, and if they’re old enough you can just grab one of these 4 seaters and pedal your way down enjoying the view.

Warning: We saw a lot of foreign tourists biking with selfie sticks filming themselves as they pedaled. Beware of traffic and people not always paying attention!


While I enjoyed the sea view and palm trees, my son’s favorite part was his chocolate ice cream cone. And admittedly yes, we got ice cream several times! The Boulevard has so much for all the senses. First, we just walked, ate some ice cream, and then used the random exercise equipment. Then, we pondered the art sculptures, sat under a gazebo staring out at the sea, and listened to the traditional Georgian songs of the street musicians. The kids ran, laughed, ate more ice cream, then collapsed on benches because they were so tired and “could not go a step further”. It’s a great place.

Georgian musicians

2. The Ferris Wheel (or in Georgian: “Eshmakis borbali” = the devil’s wheel)

Ferris wheel panoramic

Who doesn’t love a ferris wheel?! The ferris wheel is a fabulous way to get some great views of the city and the Black Sea and definitely makes our top 10 for Batumi with kids. My daughter was initially scared to death of the thing because it looked so high. But actually, it goes around slowly, and the seats are in a circle with bars around them, not with your legs dangling. Also, it never truly stops so you get on and off as it continues to turn.

Harbor view from ferris wheel

Go buy a ticket at the little ticket booth for 3 GEL a person. If you miss the ticket booth and try to buy some as you get on you’ll just get yelled at in Russian (well that’s me since I have blond hair and most Georgians assume I’m Russian) to go back to the ticket booth.  Don’t forget your camera, and enjoy the ride!

City view from ferris wheel

BONUS! Just next to the ferris wheel is the famous Ali and Nino statue that moves continuously to tell the story of the two individuals from the book of the same name. It’s a good resting spot, AND there’s a fairly clean public bathroom near it as well. It’s 50 tetri and so worth it!

Ali and Nino statue

3. The Dolphinarium

I’ve been to many sea lion shows at zoos around the United States but never to a dolphin show. Doesn’t just saying the word “Dolphinarium” sound like something unavoidable in Batumi with kids? Going into the show, I really didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised.

Dolphins throw trainer

The Dolphin Show was fun and upbeat from beginning to end (it lasted about 45 minutes total with the dolphins performing). There was music throughout the entire show paired with each dance or trick of the dolphins. Also, the announcer was pretty amazing going from Georgian to English to Russian pretty seamlessly, excited and engaged in the program. Everything was clean and professional, and you could tell the dolphin trainers loved working with their intelligent dolphin friends.

Dancing dolphins

My entire family loved it, 4 up to 73-year-old, and there were smiles throughout. It was also a fun mix of locals and tourists as we sat by some Russians, but there was a local elementary class just up a balcony to our left. At 15 GEL a person (under 4 free) it was a great time. You should visit too!

Dolphin jump feature

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 4. The Boulevard Beach (the northern section)

Batumi rock beachBeach umbrellas

What’s the first thing you notice? It’s the rocks, right? Yes, it’s a rock beach, and can be hard on the feet (so bring sandals!), but it’s great for Batumi with kids! The kids play in the sand all the time, and beautiful, colored rocks are a novelty.  Both my kids made rock collections, towers, practiced skipping rocks and had a blast. The other thing that won the day? The sea life. There were little jellyfish everywhere and dolphins playing in the distance. We went from screams of fright to joy every two seconds. Loved it.

Medusa jellyfish

5. Europe Square

Europe Square, golden fleeceEurope Square, bikes

Europe Square is what it says and probably the most European-looking location in Georgia. It’s fun for the adults to look around at the architecture, take pictures, and have a coffee. The kids loved the water jumping fountain in the middle and thought the statue of Medea with the Golden Fleece was “super-awesome”. The Astronomical Clock was impressive, and the kids were in the mood to explore and thought it was pretty cool. There’s also some well-tended plants, flowers, and of course palm trees to enjoy as you walk around. It won’t take you too long to walk around but don’t miss this square!

Astronomical clockEurope Square, fountain

6. Sarpi Beach and Turkish border

There’s just something about the beach and cafés at the border at Sarpi I love. It’s about 15 km from Batumi, but you see a lot more Turkish influence in that short distance. We even heard the Muslim call to prayer from the Turkish side. Again, we met with a multi-cultural mix of people (Georgians, Russians, Turks, Azeris), which was great for the kids to see and interact with. My daughter and niece played with some Russian girls for awhile, and to me, that’s a huge educational piece in friendship, understanding, and differences.

Sarpi beach

It’s a little crazy right at the border, but you usually have the beach with only a few other tourists. It gets a lot busier in August and September, but since we were there in June we had a huge section of beach just to ourselves. In addition, we stopped at a fun, open café-type area with lots of tables and umbrellas just before the border. We all got penovani khatchapuri (the cheese bread with puff pastry) and a drink. There are convenient pay toilets close by too, look for the WC sign. Pay toilets mean they’re much cleaner, and it’s not all that expensive. Also, did I mention it’s gorgeous?? I love the views you get around this area of the beach.

Turkish border at Sarpi

Here’s the border crossing. Note the Georgian and Turkish flags.

Sarpi beach with towels


7. Alphabetic Tower

Alphabetic towerThe Alphabetic Tower is located near the Ferris Wheel at the northern end of the Boulevard in Miracles Park. It’s an impressive structure made to look like a DNA helix covered in the letters of the Georgian alphabet. Yes, the Georgian language has its own unique alphabet with 33 letters that are not Cyrillic or Latin, but Georgian! You can ride up to the observation level or even eat at the restaurant, although we didn’t do that at the time. You get some great views of the city through the glass. We enjoyed the outside more and the playful tone of the architecture!

8. Gonio Fortress

Gonio Fortress

The Gonio Fortress is a Roman fortification within what was Colchis. You know, Jason and the Argonauts, the Golden Fleece and all that!? Awesomeness. It is also believed to be the resting place of the Apostle Matthew, although that has not been officially verified. History buffs, you need to visit this place. If you’re bringing kids make it a morning stop on your way to the beaches and border at Sarpi so you can rest on the beach in the afternoon. My kids basically said, “A castle! Cool!” It’s a fun place ponder the history and people who’ve been in this region of the world.


9. Batumi Dancing Fountains

First of all, we happened to stumble upon the dancing fountains during the day, after a small meltdown by the four-year-old. The fountains have some fun bridges that go over them near the spouting water. Kids from all around were running and laughing and trying to touch the water.

Dancing fountain bridge

I didn’t get great pictures, but the day fountain-chasing was a much-needed break. The night show is set to music and lights and is a fun evening when you’re wandering about between the Boulevard and the city. This is a great pick when visiting Batumi with kids.

10. Laguna and Atcharuli Khatchapuri

Okay. So in the country of Georgia, I would say the most popular food people eat on a daily basis is khatchapuri. Khatchapuri is basically cheese bread, and there are many ways of preparing it in which the regions all over Georgia specialize. Batumi is in Adjara, know for their Atcharuli khatchapuri. Oh my yes. This is the kind you’ll see looks like a bread boat filled with cheese, large pats of butter, and an egg broken in on top at the last minute. Just take a look.

Atcharuli khatchapuri

My family just sat staring at the things in awe for a moment, and then remembered proper Atcharuli khatchapuri protocol. First, your boat is brought out to you piping hot with the butter and egg just placed on top. Second, you take your fork and mix it all up inside the boat, pulling out the sides and middle bread even, and mixing it all up to cook the egg. Next, dig in, breaking of the sides of bread and dipping them in the middle as you go. Last, beg for a Borjomi (Georgian sparkling mineral water traditionally used to settle stomachs).

Mixed Atcharuli khatchapuri

I’m drooling just staring at the pictures. Let me tell you, the stuff is amazing. I only got about a third of mine down it was so filling, but my husband cleaned his plate! We went to eat at a place called “Laguna”, recommended to us both by locals and tourists as the BEST Atcharuli khatchapuri in Batumi, THEREFORE the world. I can definitely say it’s the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve had it quite a few times. If you are in Batumi this is a MUST – GO, GO! get yourself a bread boat of this gooey, cheesy, buttery goodness.



This is longer than my normal post, but Batumi is such a fun, different, amazing place to visit, it warrants more than the norm. There are so many other places around this city I could have included, but I tried to stick to those that were enjoyed most by my kids. Several people told us to check out the Botanic Gardens, but I didn’t include them in this list because the four-year-old is not a hiker who enjoys the ups and downs and meandering trails to see plants. It may be perfect for your visit though!

I have so many good memories of this place and fun times with the family. If you’re heading to Batumi with kids definitely look up some of these places before you go. Or, if you’re traveling without kids look them up anyway! You won’t regret it.

Aba hey! Kargat iqavi.  Me at the beach

What are some of your most memorable travels as a kid?

I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Batumi things to do

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