Borjomi, Georgia

Borjomi, Georgia

Coordinates: 41°51'15" N, 43°24'45" E
Elevation: 820 meters
Official language: Georgian
Popular languages: English, Russian
Population: 11 200
Ethnic groups: Georgians, Armenians, Ossetians, Russians
Time zone: UTC+4
Postal code: 1200
Vehicle code: GE

Borjomi is one of Georgia’s most beloved resort towns, famed for its unique healing mineral waters. Home to 11,000 residents, the town sees a surge of tourists each year eager to sample its natural mineral water directly from the source, often comparing it to the bottled variety sold in stores.

Visitors flock to Borjomi not only for the water but to immerse themselves in the quaint, captivating atmosphere of rural Georgia, wander through the ancient Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, and enjoy breathtaking views from the cable car. Borjomi is a jewel of Georgia, celebrated well beyond its borders.

Brief History of Borjomi

Up until the 15th century, the area including what is now Borjomi was known as Tori. It's believed that a village existed here from the 15th to the 18th century, which eventually gave the modern city its name. Borjomi first appears in historical records in the 19th century.

During Soviet times, the town became known for its sanatoriums that promised health restoration. Today, Borjomi remains a vibrant resort destination all year round.

Borjomi Mineral Waters

Borjomi’s mineral water is as iconic as Georgia’s wine, khinkali, and khachapuri. Its healing properties have been recognized for centuries, gaining particular fame in the 19th century when it cured the daughter of Evgeny Golovin, the tsar's viceroy in the Caucasus. Rich in beneficial minerals, Borjomi water is effective against various gastrointestinal ailments and is also recommended during acute inflammatory processes. It helps restore the body's water-salt balance and stimulates insulin production, making it beneficial for many people.

Researchers have determined that Borjomi water originates from 8-10 kilometers underground, absorbing minerals from the Caucasus mountains. Today, the water is extracted from nine different wells and travels to the plant via a 25-kilometer pipeline, maintaining its warmth and arriving at the surface at temperatures between +38 and +41°C.

Borjomi Attractions

Borjomi’s attractions are memorable for every visitor. Most start at Borjomi Central Park, where you can taste the famous water straight from the source, served up by a hospitable local lady. The water, naturally warm and uniquely scented, is still flat, as carbonation only occurs later during bottling. While its flavor might be unusual, it's definitely worth trying. You can collect some of this special water from a pavilion with blue columns and a glass dome at the park’s entrance, which is beautifully illuminated at night.

The park’s pathways run along the small Borjomula River, complete with bridges, children’s playgrounds, and attractions. Don’t miss the impressive statue of Prometheus clutching a symbol of fire by a rock with a waterfall—a truly spectacular sight!

For those who appreciate panoramic views, a ride on the cable car to an observation deck featuring a café and a Ferris wheel is a must. The breathtaking scenery is unforgettable, and the short ride is worth the wait if there’s a queue. Another turn on the Ferris wheel offers even more stunning views and a chance to appreciate the majestic local landscape fully.

The heart of Borjomi showcases charming architecture, with quaint two-story buildings featuring carved balconies and sloped roofs. Notably, the Mirza-Riza-Khan House, built by the Persian ambassador as his residence in Georgian province, stands out with its intricate balconies and ornate patterns. Named "Firuza" (turquoise), this beautiful house is a fixture in Borjomi’s landscape, named for the turquoise stones embedded in the central balcony’s ceiling.

Beyond tasting mineral water and strolling through the park, Borjomi offers thermal sulfur pools three kilometers from the town’s mineral source. The journey to these pools winds through a forest along the Borjomula riverbed. With two pools for adults and one for children, the average water temperature ranges from +32 to +38°C. Nearby facilities include benches, changing rooms, showers, and a café with sunbeds available for rent.

In the nearby village of Likani, you’ll find an amazing Moorish-style palace built for the Romanov family. The royal family visited here during the warmer months to enjoy the fresh air, stunning landscapes, and pure mountain spring water. The Romanov palace today displays various unique artifacts used by the royal family, surrounded by a luxurious garden with decorative columns and a fountain. However, access is limited as the palace is now part of a private hotel.

A short walk from the Romanov palace are the impressive ruins of the ancient Petre fortress. Owning a complex history, the fortress offers breathtaking views of the Borjomi Gorge and is a fantastic alternative for those unable to visit the expansive Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park.

Borjomi Nature

The Borjomi Gorge is a vast expanse of coniferous and deciduous forests, covering over 10,000 square kilometers. The Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park offers a variety of landscapes and ecosystems, with 12 tourist routes suitable for brief visits or multi-day adventures. Visitors can stay overnight in campgrounds or equipped cabins.

Approximately a quarter of the park consists of alpine and subalpine meadows offering mesmerizing views. The park is home to rare plant and animal species listed in the Red Book, and features various rivers, waterfalls, and the picturesque Lake Kahisi.

To visit, register at the park’s information center to receive maps and route advice. Organized horseback rides, as well as bike and hiking gear rentals, are available. The park is accessible in all seasons, with winter visits offering snowshoe walks.

Where to Eat in Borjomi?

Borjomi restaurants offer a wide selection of Georgian cuisine. Here, you can enjoy juicy kebabs, aromatic lobio (bean stew) in clay pots, steaming khinkali (dumplings), and khachapuri (cheese-filled bread), along with tender cheese and mint rolls, and much more. If you're wondering where to dine in Borjomi, here's a list of some of the most picturesque spots with great food and welcoming hosts.

My House – An elegant restaurant with a large selection of Georgian dishes, as well as a vast array of delicious desserts. Favorites include elarji (cheese and cornmeal), Meskhetian khinkali, eggplant rolls, and Adjarian khachapuri. You can also enjoy Turkish coffee brewed on hot sand or treat yourself to a refreshing Georgian lemonade. My House has spacious dining rooms that can accommodate several large groups, making it an ideal choice for dining large tourist parties.

Rio – A Borjomi pastry shop that will delight doughnut lovers. Expect delicious fluffy doughnuts sprinkled with sugar powder and chocolate, along with a wide selection of milk and fruit cocktails that will appeal to any sweet tooth.

Old Borjomi – A cozy and atmospheric restaurant located in the heart of Borjomi. Here, you can sample a full range of Georgian dishes such as khinkali, khachapuri, phali (vegetable pate), kebab, and more. The menu also features various kinds of wine, beer, and lemonades. The restaurant’s interior is perfect for heartfelt gatherings with friends and family.

Café Tourist – One of the city's most unique restaurants, owned by a hospitable Georgian who has been a chef for over 50 years. He personally greets guests and pays close attention to each visitor's preferences. All dishes are fresh, appetizing, and very tasty. As a compliment from the talented chef, you might receive homemade jam or aromatic chocolate brandy. The venue is decorated with items from the Soviet past, such as flags, paintings, and colorful rugs, creating an incredibly atmospheric setting!

You can also buy honey, churchkhela (candied nut strings), and pine cone jam from street vendors.

Borjomi warmly welcomes every visitor, offering a relaxed atmosphere, rejuvenating stays, and plenty of healthy activities. Once you visit Borjomi, you'll definitely want to return to this charming town again and again.