Kutaisi Gay Travel
Kutaisi is a culture-rich waypoint to add to your Georgian gay travel list. Here’s personalized 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, yet not as heavily influenced by Russian culture as Batumi.
Kutaisi can be explored in a day or two since it quite small and walkable. I flew into the Kutaisi airport and made my way toward Tbilisi soon after. I would say one day on each end of the trip is perfect.
There is not much in the way of a gay scene in Kutaisi since the city is small 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 confirm 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.
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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.
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.
Gay Kutaisi: Where to Stay
My time in Kutaisi was short, but the hotel I stayed in made the visit quite memorable! My friend Hassan and I shared a room in the wonderful and cozy Solomon Hotel. The building is quaint, yet modern at the same time.
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. 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.
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 winemaking 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kutaisi Gay Travel Tips
How to Get to Kutaisi
The company Georgian Bus offers shared vans that shuttle travelers toward the city center. The Kutaisi airport is not very close to the actual city of Kutaisi. You will need to arrange transport in advance.
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. If you are flying into Kutaisi as opposed to Tbilisi or Batumi, take into account the non-frequent flight routes.
Gay Life in Georgia
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.
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.