Borjomi Bakuriani train journey is the only picturesque rides you can take in Georgia. It follows a narrow gauge of coniferous and pine forest on the edge of a cliff. In winter, the snow-covered trees and railway turn the area into a winter wonderland. So, if you are looking at the details of how to take a Borjomi Bakuriani train journey, here’s a detailed guide of everything you might need to know.
A small history lesson of Borjomi Bakuriani railway
Often referred to as Kukushka, the Russian word for Cuckoo bird, it’s a 37 km narrow gauge railway line connecting the resort Borjomi to Bakuriani ski resort. The construction of the Bakuriani railway started in 1897 when the country was part of the Russian Empire. It took four years to build the road, so the first journey happened in 1902.
In the beginning, the trains were dragged by a Porter-type steam engine imported from America, while the passenger cars were open carriages shielded by handrails. The railway was electrified in 1966 when a small steam engine was replaced by an electric locomotive produced by Czechoslovakian company Skoda.
The famous Eiffel bridge
Borjomi-Bakuriani train road goes over the river Tsemistskali. Michael Romanov, the fourth son of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and the Governor-General of Caucasia, commissioned Gustav Eiffel, the creator of the Eiffel Tower, to construct the bridge. The development of the bridge started in the same year. Parts of the bridge were imported from France to Georgia, and Besarion Keburia, the very first Georgian pilot, was the one who assembled the bridge on the location.
Unfortunately, all the pictures of the Eiffel bridge you might have seen are drone ones. You can’t see it from the side of the train, only the part where it crosses the bridge.
How to get to Borjomi
To be able to take the train, you first need to get to Borjomi. There are different ways to get to Borjomi from different cities of Georgia by marshrutka, a minivan, and a train.
You can read all about Borjomi – how to get there and what to do in my 2-days in Borjomi travel guide.
Borjomi Bakuriani Kukushka train
If you want to catch the Kukushka train from the Tbilisi Borjomi train and go directly to Bakuriani, you need to hop off the train at the second last train stop at Borjomi Railway Station at Charkhistskali. Otherwise, if you will be staying in Borjomi, there are green buses that go to the station. You need to catch those buses at Meskheti street behind the Bank of Georgia office.
Borjomi Bakuriani train price is 2 Lari each way per person
Kukushka train schedule:
- The train runs daily, two times a day.
- Borjomi Bakuriani train leaves at 7:15 am, and 10:55 am
- Bakuriani Borjomi train leaves at 10:00 am and 2:15 pm
The train ride takes around 2:30 hours.
You can buy Kukushka train tickets on the train itself. There will be a guy collecting the fee and giving you a ticket.
Kukushka train has 7 stops until it reaches Bakuriani:
- Small Tsemi
The famous Eiffel bridge is between Tsagveri and Tsemi. In order not to miss it, you can look it up on Google Maps.
The most picturesque part of the train journey starts from Tsemi when the train enters coniferous and pine tree forest, so be prepared to take really cool pictures!
What to do in Bakuriani
Unless you ski or snowboard, there is not much to do in Bakuriani. One of the best things to do in Bakuriani that I would suggest is to go to Didveli, all the way to Panorama Station to have gorgeous views of snow-covered Georgian mountains at 2,702 meters above the sea level. Just look at the pictures I took last year!
The Panorama includes three rides with a gondola, chairlift, and funicular. All three trips in winter cost 15 GEL.
There’s also a Toboggan, which I haven’t tried, so I can’t say much about it. The price is 10 GEL in winter.
You can check all the prices of Didveli here.
Apart from Didveli, Bakurani has two other ski slopes – Kokhta and Mitarbi. I haven’t been to Mitarbi, but the views from Kokhta can’t compete with the panoramic views of Didveli. Here’s the picture from Kokhta mountain so that you can be the judge.
Coming back to Tbilisi from Bakuriani
If you want to go back to Tbilisi directly from Bakuriani with a train, you should take the 2:15 pm train from Bakuriani to Borjomi and then wait for the train to come to the same station. You will arrive at Borjomi Railway Station at around 4:30 pm. Borjomi Tbilisi train leaves Borjomi Park train station (near Borjomi Central Park) at 4:45 pm. The duration of the trip from Borjomi to Tbilisi is around 4:30 hours.
Otherwise, you will need to take a marshrutka or a minivan from Bakuriani to Tbilisi. The price for a van is 10 GEL, and marshrutka costs 7-8 GEL.
Prepare for the trip
To ease your travel planning, check out all the posts about Georgia travel. Additionally, here are some of the websites and services I use when preparing for my next adventure anywhere in the world.
– Book affordable flights on Kiwi.com, a platform that shows the best routes and flight deals to your destination. There’s a money-back guarantee if you miss the flight!
– Check iVisa to see if you need a tourist visa to visit Georgia, how to apply online if applicable, or where’s the nearest embassy or consulate
– Find budget-friendly deals on all sorts of accommodation types on Booking and Agoda, or find a cool apartment on Airbnb and get $34 off on your first stay (my invite expires in 30 days after you sign up! )
– Pre-book a private car transfer from Tbilisi Airport to your hotel
– Buy the most flexible and budget-friendly travel insurance, SafetyWing, to cover all sorts of health problems on the road