10 reasons why you should travel to Sighnaghi instead of Tbilisi

Tural Abbasov10 August 20202123 views8 min. read
10 reasons why you should travel to Sighnaghi instead of Tbilisi
Caucasus mountains. You have probably heard about the capital city Tbilisi, with the Kura river that separates the city in two and provides astonishing sightseeing for visitors. However, this time we are going to discover a city of love and wine - Sighnaghi that is located right in the heart of the country, in the Kakheti region. It is one of the country's smallest towns with a population of about 3,000. I would not even hesitate to say that it is potentially Georgia's (if not the region’s) prettiest city. Sighnaghi weather is one of the main reasons why some tourists prefer to stay in this city rather than in Tbilisi. Starting from its cultural richness to breath-taking mountains, and its cuisine that will provoke your appetite, here are ten reasons why the town is a must-visit, and we will also be talking about what to do in Sighnaghi while traveling in Georgia:

1. Accessibility

As the country’s largest internal and external transportation hub is based in Tbilisi, it is very easy to find a suitable connection between the capital of Georgia and Sighnaghi, whether individually or by day-tours offered. So, if you were wondering how to get from Tbilisi to Sighnaghi, you are on the right track. The fastest and most economical way of traveling on your own without any tourism companies from Tbilisi to the Kakheti area is by marshrutkas or minibusses. As the number of people visiting this hidden gem of the World increases, there are more and more daily connections from Tbilisi to Sighnaghi. “Samgori Bus Station" is where the buses leave. We should also mention that the station is very simple to reach by bus or metro from the city center. Six bus trips take place daily, departure times being 9:00, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00, 17:00, and 18:00. However, the possibility that the bus may not leave at the provided still exists as, in some cases, drivers might want to wait until the bus is "full enough" to leave, which is a common experience in Caucasus countries. So in case if you want everything to go strictly by your schedule, I would strongly advise you to arrive at the station an hour before the bus's departure so your seat will be guaranteed and you won't be tired to hike around the picturesque mountains of the city of love. And after two hours of the marshrutka trip, you will arrive at Sighnaghi. Also, it is worth mentioning that the bus ticket per person is around 6 Georgian lari, which makes up around 2 USD. But how to get from Tbilisi to Sighnaghi without any potential delays and more comfortably? In that case, a taxi is the best option for you. This would, of course, turn out to be comparably much costlier than a marshrutka, but it can be more convenient in many ways.

2. The tastiest food for the best price

Georgia's geographical location puts the country in the position of a bridge between two diverse continents. History, culture, and taste that is so different from what you have ever experienced. It is inarguable that the most recognizable dish in Georgia is the famous khinkali, (parcels of water and flour dough filled with different fillings of either meat or cheese and different vegetables). Although once you are in Sighnaghi, meals as khachapuri, kharcho, pkhali, and lobio should be on your list of “must-try”. Where to eat in Sighnaghi? For me, the best place to eat in Sighnaghi is “Host of Sighnaghi". The restaurant offers all the dishes mentioned above, and prices are highly reasonable. The bill per person usually changes around 20 Georgian lari (6.5 USD). “The Terrace Signagi” is another unique dining place that is recommended by both locals and tourists.

3. History of Sighnaghi

While googling the city, you can easily notice that the city is called Signagi or Sighnaghi, which from old Turkish can be translated as shelter. The first time ever mention of Signagi as a settlement was documented in the 18th century. One of the greatest delights of visiting this small town is only to wander around and explore the unique atmosphere. While touring in the city, it might feel like you are in some North-Italian village, with small houses and mountains from every side, Sighnaghi Georgia still has that charm that makes the city an attractive and hospitable place on earth. Several orthodox churches, a Museum of History and Ethnography, with its narrow streets, Signaghi provides everything to the history lovers. Also, it is worth mentioning that during the last decade, the city has undergone a significant reconstruction program and became an important center of the country's tourism industry. Basically, there is no way that Signaghi will not be your favorite city after your tavel to Georgia.

4. Unbelievably beautiful religious sites

bodbe monastery If you were asking yourself what to do in Sighnaghi as both a history lover and a religious person, we have got you covered! Today, Georgia is known for complete religious freedom and equality as one of the first countries in the world to convert to Christianity in only the 4th century AD. Here people of various religions and cultures have lived together in peace for centuries. Of course, Sighnaghi is no exception, with its monasteries are located on top of mountains and churches dating back to the 9th century. Bodbe Monastery is one of Georgia's most important religious sites, and the main reason is that St. Nino, the country's patron saint, was buried here after his death. Alazani Valley can also be seen from the hill that Monastery is built. I would undoubtedly advise you to walk to the Bodbe. The walking path is relatively straight and short, approximately 30 minutes, and Signagi 's views along the way are fantastic. There is no way to be worried as many road signs show the route to the Monastery. St. Stephen Church is another fascinating religious place that worth tourist’s attention.

5. Wine, I mean a lot of wine!

Sighnaghi is part of the Kakheti region famous worldwide for its winery so no one can imagine their trip to the town without trying delicate Georgian wine. I will not be mistaken if I told you absolutely everyone loves wine here. The numbers do not lie; about 150 million liters of wine are being produced in Georgia per year. Sighnaghi weather is another contributor to the tastiest wine ever. Kindzmarauli and Marani wineries are the two most famous places in Sighnaghi to try some wine. Kindzmarauli offers excursions for groups where you can see the methods of winemaking and bottling. Tastings are fairly priced, as well. Whereas Marani is a family-run small business. The family has a beautiful cellar where they produce some delicious wines using traditional methods. The best part about choosing this winery is that you get to try wine right from the qvevri - an underground clay pot used to produce wine.

6. Sighnaghi hotels

sighnaghi hotel When I got to the Sighnaghi Georgia, one of the questions on my mind was "where to stay in Sighnaghi?". However, I did not really have to think a lot; the city offers options for both luxurious getaways and tourists on a budget. Kabadoni Boutique Hotel is one of the most beautiful Sighnaghi hotels with great reviews with a price of 190 USD per day for one visitor. While the cheapest places to stay in Sighnaghi would be guesthouses. Guest House Pirosmani 60, Maya Guest House, Nato & Lado Guesthouse are the best offers for travelers who want to save money on accommodation. The price usually fluctuates around 15-20 lari (6 USD). Now that we know where to stay in Sighnaghi, let's move on to the best part about the city.

7. Sighnaghi wedding house

wedding palace Georgians love to celebrate different occasions by welcoming lots of guests. Weddings are no exception and seem to have more visitors compared to other celebrations. Besides being the "City of Love", Sighnaghi is the wedding city of the country too. Offices for registry works 24/7, so you are all good to get married absolutely any time! The foreigner or tourists just need their passport and a notarial translation, which you can get from any notary office. So, don’t forget to pack your white gown and suit before your Sighnaghi trip.

8. City center

Sighnaghi is said to be one of Georgia's most beautiful cities, and once you are there walking along its charming streets and looking at the colorful balconies and breath-taking viewpoints, you will be assured that travel to Sighnaghi was the best decision. The main park is another favorite spot for visitors to chill or take pictures. In the marketplace that is usually set up there, you can always dive into unique Georgian culture. Just by walking, you can feel like you are strolling in an Italian village for a second, while coming across wineries will remind you of Bordeaux, France. Still, the atmosphere and people will let you know that you are in Georgia's wine capital - Sighnaghi.

9. Sighnaghi Wall

sighnaghi wall Of course, playing the role of the bridge between Europe and Asia might be a great advantage now, but historically, countries of the region have suffered a lot. Georgian history is no different. The country's history is the history of the fight for freedom. Almost all of the world's largest empires tried to conquer these lands. And in order to keep the Sighnaghi safe Kartli-Kakheti King Erekle II (Heraclius II ), had the Sighnaghi fortress wall built around 1770. Among the locals, it is also known as Georgia's Great Wall. Today, the Sighnaghi Wall stretches through Sighnaghi's Old Town, where you can pay a visit for free and enjoy the magnificent views of Sighnaghi from different angles.

10. Easy way to go back to Tbilisi

samgori metro station In the opposite direction, Marshrutka buses leave the bus station in Sighnaghi at 7:00, 9:00, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00, 17:00, and 18:00. In Tbilisi, bus stops at Metro Station Samgori. However, bear in mind that it is a great advantage to book your seat beforehand or get it directly from bus kiosks.

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