Zugdidi, a city of about 43,000 (2014), is the capital of the region.
While Zugdidi is not a very popular city with tourists for itself, many pass through it on their way up to Mestia in Svaneti. It does have a few things to see, though, and is located near a national park.
Trains run to Tbilisi and all stops on the way. Night trains are also available, and are the most popular way to get from Tbilisi to Zugdidi, since the marshrutkas to Mestia are coordinated with them (see Go next section). Arrival in Zugdidi is at 6:25 (as of 2014). Marshrutkas and buses are also available to most major cities in Georgia.
- 1 Museum Dadiani, 2, Zviad Gamsakhurdia str. (500m beyond the north end of Zviad Gamsakhurdia), ☎ , , e-mail: email@example.com. Tu-Su 10:00 – 18:00. Exhibits of natural cultural heritage of Georgia – Tagiloni treasure materials, Mother of God holy vesture, the icon of queen Bordokhan – mother of queen Tamar of Georgia, manuscripts from 13th – 14th centuries, miniatures, memorial relics of Dadiani dynasty, and objects connected to emperor of France Napoleon Bonaparte – brought to the palace by the husband of David Dadiani's daughter, prince Achille Murat, grandson of Napoleon's sister, Carolina. Adult 2 lari, students and schoolchildren 1 lari.
- 2 Botanical garden (east of the Dadiani Palace).
- Zugdidi bazaar.
- Vlakernoba in Zugdidi (the day of the Blachernae's Virgin Mary) (Georgian: ვლაქერნობა). This is the main annual event in Zugdidi, an Orthodox Christian feast celebrated every year, on July 15. On this day, the robe of the Blessed Virgin Mary is taken from the Tower of Virgin of the Queen Palace (now a museum), where it is kept, to the Cathedral of the Blachernae Icon of the Mother of God.
There is a 24/7 small supermarket just at the crossroad with the road to Mestia.
There are a few hotels and one hostel in this town.
- 1 Zugdidi Hostel, Rustaveli 8 (10-15 min walk from city centre, bus/train station), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a place where people get together, party and have a good time, storytelling and Georgian wine tasting. Soft beds, a vineyard, cozy old Asian atmosphere and funny staff; tips on travelling, tours of the region and maps are also available. Hostel: 15-25 lari, bed in dorm: 20 lari, bed in single/double room: 25 lari.
It can be hard to find Wi-Fi access in town, except in a few cafés.
- Mestia. Marshrutki to Mestia wait in front of the train station. The price is 20 lari (March 2015). Note that these marshrutki will only go if there are enough passengers. Therefore expect some hours of waiting in the worst case. Duration: 4 hours. An alternative is a shared minivan (also called marshrutka by the locals). They start at a fixed time in the Gulua street at the crossing with the Dutu Megreli street. (Go from the train station to the main road (Rustaveli street), turn left and follow it towards the city, just before the bridge turn left and go in the Gulua street about 200 m, there should be a sign on the right side at a kiosk.)
- Kutaisi: at least one marshrutka per day.