Kutaisi Gay Travel
Kutaisi is a culture-rich waypoint to add to your Georgian gay travel list. Get Kutaisi gay travel advice on where to stay, restaurants & LGBT safety.
The Gay Travel Experience: Kutaisi, Georgia
Kutaisi is a small vibrant city settled along the Rioni River in western Georgia. The town is much calmer than the massive capital of Tbilisi and not as heavily influenced by Russian culture as Batumi.
Two days will be sufficient to explore Kutaisi since the city quite small and walkable. I flew into the Kutaisi airport and made my way toward Tbilisi soon after.
Kutaisi does not have much in the way of a gay scene given since the city is relatively mall and conservative. However, you are not far from Tbilisi, where the LGBT community is much more present.
Georgia in general is a wonderful off-the-beaten-path gay travel destination. There is much to see and various gay events held regularly, especially in the capital. Georgian citizens are unfortunately not so comfortable with the LGBT community.
For this reason, you must take certain precautions must while you are out and about. Read more in the section below about safety while visiting Georgia.
Georgia wants to join the European Union, and so the nation has been pressured to alter its laws to conform to the standards of the European Council. Progress has been slow, however.
Walking through the streets of Georgian cities, you will often see European Union Flags flying alongside the Georgian flag. This symbolizes their strong desire to be accepted into the EU.
Is Georgia Safe for Gay Travelers?
There are a few things you should know before embarking on a journey to Kutaisi as a gay traveler. Although Georgia is not the most accepting place in the world for gays, it is not the most dangerous either.
Homosexuality is not a criminal offense in Georgia. Gay travel to Georgia is quite easy, but keep reading to understand how to stay safe.
Formerly a Soviet territory, many citizens of Georgia possess anti-LGBT sentiment since being gay was illegal under the old regime. Furthermore, the population is heavily Orthodox Christian, which does not mix well with homosexuality. Unfortunately, an overwhelming majority of Georgians are fiercely against homosexuality.
With this in mind, it is important to keep any public displays of affection to private spaces or places that you know are LGBT-friendly. Public affection can draw negative attention and lewd comments from individuals in the streets.
Head to the end of this Kutaisi gay travel guide for more on the subject of LGBT rights in Georgia and public opinion of being gay.
Gay Kutaisi: Hotels & Where to Stay
Solomon Hotel is undoubtedly the most popular and chic hotel in Kutaisi. My friend Hassan and I shared a comfy room here. The building is quaint, yet modern at the same time. This hotel made my short visit to Kutaisi quite memorable!
Solomon Hotel has a nice area to sit outside for breakfast which was beautiful in the early summer sun. I definitely recommend staying here. Don’t let photos of the outside fool you…this is one of the most popular and chic hotels in Kutaisi.
The city center is about a 30-minute drive from the new and modern Kutaisi International Airport. Since local taxi drivers will try to over-charge you, it is best to have your hotel arrange a taxi or book an airport transfer online in advance.
A pre-arranged taxi waiting for your arrival will be quite nice. They are quite inexpensive for the distance traveled.
Kutaisi Gay Travel Experiences
Start by wandering the streets of Kutaisi. Head toward the Colchis Fountain and then take a stroll through Kutaisi Park. I really liked his area for how quaint and peaceful it felt. There are a bunch of small cafés nearby you can try.
I stopped at Café Fleur for some cheap draft beer after walking the entire city center. The service here was amazingly friendly! It was a great place to hang out, connect to fast wi-fi, and cool off inside.
Palaty is a well-known and delicious restaurant in Kutaisi that you certainly won’t forget! This restaurant is my top recommendation for things to do in Kutaisi. They have all the great local Georgian foods (read more on this below).
The interior of Palaty is decorated with mementos left by world travelers who have passed through Kutaisi on their journeys. I loved the little notes posted on the walls written by people from all corners of the world.
Kutaisi Gay Travel: Drink Some Georgian Wine
Georgia is a huge wine-producing country. The traditional Georgian wine-making practice was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. There is a big range of local Georgian wines to choose from, so make sure to get some variety.
Do a little research before your trip about Georgian wine if you have time. Certain local Georgian wines are closer to liquor than the wine you may be used to. When you are at any restaurant, you can also ask the wait staff to try a bit before ordering as well.
An easy and inexpensive way to explore Georgian wine is to grab a few bottles from a local wine shop or grocery store. You can taste a bunch at once for a lower price.
Don’t buy wine from establishments that are non-air-conditioned convenience stores because the wine may not be kept at ideal temperatures. You don’t want to purchase anything that may have been exposed to direct sun for a while.
Local wine tours and wine-tasting events are popular activities in Kutaisi. I personally did not attend one, but some other guys in my hotel booked a Georgian wine-tasting experience.
The Solomon Hotel also has a bunch of local wines for sale in the lobby. Ask your hotel where to find a Georgian wine-tasting event. You can also check Airbnb Experiences for any available wine-tasting events hosted in Kutaisi.
Georgian Food You Should Try
Every single meal I enjoyed while traveling Georgia included this amazing “walnut and eggplant dish.” It’s a savory walnut paste wrapped in eggplant topped with pomegranate seeds. It was my favorite starter. I guarantee you will love it.
Khachapuri is the mother of all traditional foods in Georgia. This stuff will make your brain light up. It is a cheese bread topped with a slab of half-melted butter and usually includes a raw egg.
Fried Sulguni cheese is also a mainstay dish. It is simple, yet delicious. You can get this heap of cheese either plain or with any type of meat or mushrooms.
Alcohol enthusiasts may enjoy ordering a small portion of Chacha. This potent wine is popular with the Georgians for its high alcohol content. It is more like a liquor! The shot size portion is more than enough in my opinion.
Kutaisi Gay Travel Tips
Learn Some Basic Russian
Learning a few basic Russian phrases before setting off to Georgia will be super helpful. Many people do not speak English. As Georgia is a post-Soviet country, Russian is the default language when someone does not speak the local Georgian language.
Usually, you will be able to get by talking about anything related to your accommodation. But for more complicated topics, you may not have much luck with English.
Babbel subscriptions are super cheap and their app makes learning some language basics easy. The most you’ll pay is $14 per month! Plus, it gets even cheaper if you choose a multi-month package.
How to Get to Kutaisi
The company Georgian Bus offers shared vans that shuttle travelers toward the city center. The Kutaisi airport is not so close to the actual city of Kutaisi, so arrange bus transport in advance.
Car-sharing applications exist in Georgia, however, depending on the time of your arrival to Kutaisi they may or may not be available. The taxis tend to only be available when the majority of flights arrive. Check bus times in comparison to your flight’s arrival time.
Lastly, the number of flights to Kutaisi is quite limited. I booked flights from Prague to Kutaisi since it was cheaper than flying to Tbilisi. However, there were only two flights per week from Prague to Kutaisi.
Georgia Gay Life
Georgia is one of the few places in the post-Soviet realm of the world that has protections for LGBT citizens. Although anti-LGBT sentiment is high in Georgia, the LGBT community technically has support.
The government enacted discrimination protections back in 2006. Those protections now include both orientation and gender expression.
Georgia has faced very recent battles regarding marriage equality. In 2016, there was a movement to redefine the current gender-neutral constitutional language to instead expressly state that marriage should exist between a man and a woman.
This crisis received extreme backlash from the international community. However, the parliament went on to pass the proposal, a large defeat to the LGBT population.
Anti-LGBT sentiment is extremely high in Georgia. Polls from 2011 on social attitudes showed that more than 90% of Georgians think homosexuality is completely unacceptable.
Gay travelers must remain guarded in Georgia since these attitudes are so negative. Many individuals in the public eye have suffered negative repercussions, including physical violence, by making pro-LGBT statements in various ways.
Enjoy your Georgian adventures. Be sure to read wolfyy’s Tbilisi gay travel guide and Batumi gay travel guide.