If you have been to Georgia, you must have seen the bottles of mineral water with the label Borjomi. You might have even bought and tried it. Since I became familiar with this name, I decided to visit this little town during winter time. Indeed, it is not only home to the healing mineral springs but it is also a small winter wonderland. If you think you’re going to get bored in this small resort town, read first the list below that I have created to serve as your guide in Borjomi.
5 things to do in Borjomi
1. Visit the Borjomi Central Park
If your hotel or accommodation is quite near to Borjomi Central Park, I recommend that you walk towards it instead of taking a cab. The reason is that you might miss the beautiful teal-colored historic building called Monument Firuza. Moreover, there are shops along the streets where you can buy empty water jugs and bottles that you can fill with mineral water in the park. Don’t be like me who just used discarded plastic cups just to taste the water, definitely unhygienic and totally not recommended. Indeed, you can have a taste of the famous Borjomi mineral water and even bring gallons of it home for free! To be honest, I don’t really like its taste but if you do and/or believe in its healing powers, why not take some free water, right?
There are many playgrounds for kids to play in the park. Although in winter, most kid-friendly rides are closed due to snow but I saw kids playing with their snow sleds and they were having fun. However, if you are like me who doesn’t have kids, walking around the park definitely helped clear my thoughts. Looking around, you will see mountains, trees and river. During winter, they are capped with snow, which makes them more picturesque and also makes you more nostalgic.
Lastly, you should not miss this Prometheus Monument with beautiful waterfalls behind it. In Greek mythology, he was the god that Zeus chained to a rock because he gave humans the gift of fire. Although the statue doesn’t show any chains, it is still a sight to look at.
2. Day Trip to Bakuriani
Even though ski is not on your things to do list, you should experience riding a kukushka or narrow-gauge railroad. It is almost 120 years old but still in perfect condition to take you back and forth to Borjomi and Bakuriani. However, it only runs two times a day from Borjomi: 7 am and 10 am. Since it passes through forests and mountains, it gives passengers a great view of Georgia. Plus, you’ll have that spine-chilling feeling of looking at steep mountain sides outside the train window.
Once you are in Bakuriani, you might even just as well explore the town and also ski. There are many ski rentals spread around town. You can even buy cheap ski clothing and equipment from street vendors. There are many ski areas to choose from in Bakuriani: Didveli, Kokhta and Mitarbi. Just don’t miss the last train or minibus back to Borjomi because I did and it was difficult to find an available taxi at night.
3. Visit Borjomi Local Lore Museum
An old historic place that will familiarize you with history of Borjomi and Georgia: Borjomi Local Lore Museum. Just like its little hometown, this museum is small but houses interesting artifacts from early settlements to stuff that was used in Romanov palace to an exhibition of Borjomi Mineral Water. If you are trying to fill your time in Borjomi, definitely visit this place.
4. Eat from these restaurants
I have fell in love with Georgian food and have found some great restaurants in Borjomi.
I believe this is one of the top-rated restaurants on tripadvisor. It absolutely lives up to its ranking with its large-serving of delicious food at a very affordable price. Having eaten meat for days in Georgia, seeing fish on the menu was appetizing. It has a nice and cozy atmosphere. To top it off, you can borrow board games and play with your friends, of course if you are not alone.
This is the very first restaurant I ate at in Borjomi. Food is better in Bergi but I added this to the list because of its hospitable service and its traditional Georgian interior.
Eating at this restaurant was one of my most memorable moments in Georgia. We ate here hours before New Year’s Eve. When we entered the place, an old local man greeted us with a big and warm smile. He was the chef, server and owner of this little cafe. He even served us his own homemade wine and tangerines, which we really appreciated. We made a mistake of ordering beers because he had to go out for a while and buy them from a nearby grocery store. Food that night was salty and hard to chew, but the authentic local experience is something you should not miss. I wasn’t able to bring bills from my home country but if you do have small bills in your wallet, donate it to the friendly owner because he collects them and proudly displays them on the wall for his customers to see.
5. Drink wine
When everything is said and done, drink Georgian wine. Although Borjomi is famous for its mineral spring and not wine, many cafes, restaurants and stores carry a wide variety of local wine. Indeed, anywhere I go around Georgia, I still get to drink my favorite Kindzmarauli every meal and every night. Mukuzani, Saperavi and Tsinandali are my runner-ups. But just like my experience in Cafe Tourist, some restaurants offer their own homemade wine. If you ever come across to something like this, never say no to their offer.
Even though there are not many things to do in Borjomi, you should not miss visiting this lovely town if you’re traveling to Georgia. I even spent 5 days in this town and I didn’t get bored at all. In fact, I want to go back there again.