Sighnaghi is a charming little town in Georgia’s Kakheti region, an area famous for its wine. Almost three-quarters of the country’s wine grapes are grown in this part of Georgia.
This lovely town is also known as the ‘City of Love’, because couples can choose to get married at any time of the day at the Wedding House. But no one was getting married when I visited.
Did You Know?
Georgia is generally considered to be the birthplace of wine. Archaeologists traced the world’s first known wine back to the people of the South Caucasus region in 6,000BC. The early Georgians discovered grape juice turned into wine if you buried it underground – a method that is still in use today.
So, What Is There To Do In Sighnaghi, The Capital Of Georgia’s Wine Region
Visit A Winery
Taxis in town or even your guesthouse owner can arrange tours to the wineries a little further out of town.
Wander Around Sighnaghi
One of the nicest things to do is just wander aimlessly around the town. Sighnaghi is a lovely little place with cobblestone streets, ancient orthodox churches, a park, a local market, and many cute coffee shops with amazing views.
And it’s not a town solely for tourists; real people live here, adding to its charm.
Take A Stroll Along The Old City Wall
There’s an old city wall with plenty of viewpoints from which to admire the Caucasus mountain range.
Following the signpost saying tourist track will take you past an old church and along a section of the wall with a few towers. There’s a simple restaurant at the end of the wall; it’s an excellent place to stop for a drink and has lovely views over the valley. You may even see a few people paragliding here.
The Wedding House
Sighnaghi’s wedding house is what gives Sighnaghi the “City of Love” title.
It’s nothing special to look at, but it is the only place in Georgia where you can get married at any time of the day unless it’s a public holiday!
Visit Bodbe Convent
The 9th century Bodbe Convent aka Bodbe Monastery aka the Monastery of St Nino is a pleasant two-kilometre walk from Sighnaghi along country roads. Along the way, you will pass a few local stalls selling fruit and honey – be sure to sample the local honey; it’s really delicious.
Admittedly, you may have overdosed on Georgian orthodox churches on your visit to Georgia, but Bodbe Convent is one of Georgia’s most important religious sites. The remains of St. Nino, the woman responsible for bringing Christianity to Georgia, are housed here.
And the monastery complex is most definitely worth a visit, even if it’s just to enjoy the gardens, the holy spring and the peaceful ambience.
Where To Eat In Sighnaghi Georgia
Walking back from the monastery, I stopped in Amo for lunch. It has excellent views of the town and is famous for its meat dishes and wine. But on this particular day, I craved vegetarian food and just water for lunch, much to the shock of the servers, but the food was excellent and the venue very pleasant.
Not just for wine tasting, Pheasants Tears has an excellent restaurant. Reservations aren’t necessary but a good idea at weekends.
If you get bored of just eating Georgian food?
Try Pancho Villa for Mexican food. Ok, it’s not going to be the most authentic Mexican meal you’ve ever had, but it’s a cute restaurant, and after two weeks of just Georgian cuisine, it was good to try something different.
Where To Stay In Sighnaghi Georgia
Don’t Be Surprised If …
Don’t be surprised if the owner of the guest house invites you to join the family for a glass of wine or two or three. The Georgians are very hospitable, and the wine flows freely!
How To Get To Sighnaghi Georgia
Sighnaghi is just 75 kilometres east of Tbilisi. Both shared taxis and marshrutka vans bound for Sighnaghi depart from Tbilisi’s Isani Metro Station and the Samgori Metro Station. These stations are located along the Red Metro line in the southern part of the city.
To get to Isani or Samgori from Tbilisi Old Town, take the red metro south in the direction of Varketili for 3 or 4 stations, respectively or take a Bolt cab which will be just a few dollars and they will drop you off right by the minivan/taxi point.
A private taxi all the way from Tbilisi to Sighnaghi will be around $35.
Or maybe renting a car, it’s good roads from Tbilisi to Sighnaghi.
If Time Is Short, Consider This
If your time is short in Georgia, consider taking a one-day wine tour from Tbilisi. There are a number to choose from.
After a wonderful two weeks in Georgia, staying in Kutaisi, the capital of Tbilisi, the mountain region around Kazbegi and the wine region of Sighnaghi, I wish I had planned one night less in Kutaisi and spent that extra night here in Sighnaghi. Nothing against Kutaisi but two full days there would have been enough which would have given me an extra day to sip wine and admire the views!
Have You Been To Georgia?
Have you been to Georgia? Where was your favourite place? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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