Zugdidi is located in Samegrelo region of Western Georgia 327km from Tbilisi. Tourists mostly pass it when traveling to Mestia or Abkhazia (Abkhazia can be legally reached only through village Rukhi -10km from Zugdidi). The name “Zugdidi” means “big/great hill” in Laz and Mingrelian.
Zugdidi Dadiani Palace
Main Architectural sight of this city is the Dadiani Palace museum, built in 19th century. There are also an old Botanical Garden (Queen’s garden/alley) near the Palace. Napoleon’s death mask is on display in the Dadiani Palace Museum in Zugdidi, but the main treasure of this museum is a Shroud of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Museum is open every day, except Monday 10:00AM-5:00 pm. Botanical garden which is very spectacular can be visited also at night.
Things to do in Zugdidi – Taste Megrelian food
The best thing to do can be to eat local food. Megrelian food can be spicy but very tasty. Elarji (some type of polenta with sulguni cheese) is favorite meal. But remember that the best Elarji is for hikers and in the mountains, like Tobavarchkhili lakes trek. Anyway, if you stay with local family in Zugdidi or Anaklia ask for Elarji workshop. You must try Megrelian kharcho with beef as well. Gebzhalia is also another popular cheese meal with mint. Megrelian khachapuri can be also very delicious. Diaroni restaurant inside the city can be a perfect choice to eat.
Rukhi Fortress and Tsaishi
You can also explore places near Zugdidi. You can visit Rukhi fortress near Zugdidi, especially if you are passing or just visiting Georgian-Abkhazian de-facto border. The fortress was built in 1647 by Levan Dadiani and it’s very green -consists of a citadel and an inner courtyard with two impressive towers. It’s worth visiting if you have time.
On the way to Zugdidi (10km) you can visit Tsaishi where you can find hot mineral water springs, where you could take a bath or swim. Also there is an old church (13-14 cc) nearby.
How to get to Zugdidi Dadiani Palace
You can get to Zugdidi via train. Also Minibuses (marshutka) leave from Tbilisi every hour. There is a minibus to Anaklia from Zugdidi also regularly too and there are shared taxis to Mestia from Zugdidi as well. The best way to get to Zugdidi is by omnibus express bus service between Zugdidi train station and Tbilisi Ortachala station. For timetable please see. Besides, there is Tbilisi-Zugdidi train (the second recommended option).
Travel to Abkhazia from Zugdidi and Enguri bridge
You can also get to Abkhazia from Zugdidi. Traveling from and then back to Enguri bridge is not a violation of Georgian law. Entering from Russian side it is. Abkhazia is very beautiful as its an area where Caucasus mountains meet Black sea. Abkhaz people are hospitable. However, there has been cases of voilence against tourists in Abkhazia and most of population is Russian speaking. For more security it is advised to arrange an English speaking Abkhazian driver who will show you Sukhumi, Ritsa lake and surroundings.
For other things to do in Zugdidi: