The Best Things to Do in Sighnaghi, Georgia’s City of Love


Sighnaghi, Georgia, is a popular day trip from the capital of Tbilisi, situated in the Kakheti wine region (basically the Napa Valley of Georgia).

On my recent trip to Georgia (the country), I was lucky enough to visit Sighnaghi twice, and both times, I was reluctant to leave.

Known as the ‘City of Love,’ Sighnaghi (also spelt Signagi) is a picture-perfect town that overlooks the Alazani Valley and faces the Greater Caucasus mountains, and while it’s one of the country’s smallest towns, it’s easily one of the most popular places to visit in Georgia.


In this post, I’m going to take you on a journey through the charming cobblestone streets of Sighnaghi, Georgia.

I’ll share the best things to do in Sighnaghi, as well as where you can get a delicious Georgian meal, enjoy the best viewpoints, and my favourite Sighnaghi winery (it isn’t the most famous!).

dani posing in front of a multicoloured car
Even the cars are cute in Sighnaghi!


Visiting Sighnaghi, Georgia’s City of Love


Why visit Sighnaghi


Sighnaghi is one of the oldest towns in Georgia, as well as one of the smallest, with a population of just 1600 in 2019.

With stunning 18th and 19th century architecture, breathtaking mountain views (Sighnaghi is 790m above sea level), and wineries around every corner, Sighnaghi could easily be a hilltop village in Tuscany.

Not only is Sighnaghi charming, but it’s also easy to reach, at just 113km away from Tbilisi.

This makes it a great spot for a day trip, as well as the perfect place to base yourself if you plan on exploring the Kakheti region, as some of Georgia’s best wineries are just a short drive from Sighnaghi.

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Best Sighnaghi tours


If you don’t want to visit Sighnaghi independently (or are just short on time!), then the best way to experience Sighnaghi is on an organised tour.

For my second visit to Sighnaghi, I went with a company called Eat This! Tours, and took part in their ‘Signagi Winter Wine Tour.’

This full-day tour included a visit to one of Sighnaghi’s best wineries, a tour of the town, as well as an additional Kakhetian wine tasting, and traditional Georgian supra in a family home.

It isn’t cheap (the tour costs around 160 USD), but it’s well worth it, IMO. You can also use the code JEZEBEL5 for a 5% discount when you book 😉

Click here to learn more about the tours that Eat This! Tours offer.

georgian supra
We enjoyed a supra at a local’s home on my tour!


Alternatively, GetYourGuide has plenty of Sighnaghi tours at a lower price point.

They won’t be as exhaustive as the Eat This! tour, but if you just want a day trip to Sighnaghi from Tbilisi, you can’t really go wrong.

This full-day tour includes tastings at two wineries, a tour of Sighnaghi, and visit to Bodbe Convent.

The best bit?

It’s less than 40 EUR!

Click here for more information, and to read 843 positive reviews!


The best things to do in Sighnaghi


Get married!


Remember I told you that Sighnaghi is known as the City of Love?

Well, not without good reason!

Sighnaghi is famous for having a wedding chapel that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

This means that no matter when the mood strikes, you can get married in Sighnaghi!

This is even true for foreigners – all you need is your passport and two witnesses, and your marriage certificate will be ready in as little as 10 minutes!

the wedding chapel in sighnaghi
The wedding chapel in Sighnaghi


Enjoy breathtaking views


The views in and around Sighnaghi are simply breathtaking, and one of the best things to do in Sighnaghi is to simply take a moment to appreciate them.

One of the nicest views from the town itself can be found here. I took the picture below from this exact spot.

sighnaghi georgia
I took this photo in the centre of Sighnaghi


There’s also a phenomenal view of Sighnaghi from afar, on the road on the way in.

From this point, you can see the entire town perched atop a hill, with the snowcapped Caucasus mountains in the background.

Here is a Google maps pin to the spot from which I took the photograph below.

Not only is this a great viewpoint, but there are also a couple of old men here selling fruit juice, chacha, and traditional Georgian carpets that are far more authentic than the ones you can buy in Sighnaghi itself, so it’s definitely worth a stop.

sighnaghi viewpoint
A photo of Sighnaghi took from the road on the way to the town


Sighnaghi National Museum


For a deeper understanding of Sighnaghi’s history, be sure to take a look around Sighnaghi National Museum.

The museum houses over 60,000 artefacts including archaeological finds from the region, ethnographic pieces such as copper and wooden utensils, work tools, musical instruments, and winemaking tools, as well as a permanent collection of paintings by Georgian artists Lado Gudiashvili and Niko Pirosmani.

You can visit the museum independently or pay a little bit extra for a guided tour. I visited with a guide and really appreciated all of the extra insight into Georgia’s ancient history.


Good to know:

  • The Sighnaghi National Museum is open every day except Mondays from 10am until 6pm.
  • You can find Sighnaghi National Museum at 8 Rustaveli blind-Alley.
  • Admission for adults is 20 GEL, which is about 8 USD. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find information online about how much the guided tour costs, but you should be able to ask at the front desk.
  • You can find out more information on the Georgian Museums website.
inside the sighnaghi national museum
Inside the Sighnaghi National Museum


Sighnaghi Wall


Sighnaghi is surrounded by stone walls that were originally built to fortify the town in 1762 and later reconstructed to preserve them.

Sighnaghi Wall has 23 towers and 6 gates, and its total length is 4.5km, making it the largest fortress in Georgia.

Sighnaghi Wall is without a doubt one of the most impressive things to see in Sighnaghi. It’s so impressive that it’s actually known as the Great Wall of Georgia!


It’s even possible to climb up onto the wall (here’s a Google Maps link to the spot) and walk along part of it to admire the incredible panoramic views all around.

There are also a couple of restaurants strategically placed here to overlook both Sighnaghi Wall and the mountain views beyond it.

sighnaghi wall
The views from Sighnaghi Wall are amazing


Drink Sighnaghi wine at Kerovani Winery


Kerovani Winery is a small, family-owned Sighnaghi winery that produces organic natural wines in Qvevris, a Georgian winemaking technique that goes back 8000 years!

Archil Nasvlishvili, with the help of his family, has been producing Qvevri wine since 2013, and it’s possible to actually take a tour of this small winery, see the Qvevris, and learn about the winemaking process, before sampling several of the wines that they produce, including Georgian amber wine.

a wine cellar with qvevris
The cellar at Kerovani. The holes in the floor are the Qvevris


I visited Sighnaghi in February, so the tasting took place inside the cosy living room area (complete with crackling log fire!), but the property also has a beautiful garden that would be a lovely place to sit and enjoy the degustation.

If you visit, be sure to say hi to the two handsome cats, Grape and Gris!

georgian amber wine
Tasting some amber wine from the Qvevri


Good to know:

  • The cost of a wine tasting with 4 wines is 40 GEL (15 USD).
  • You can find Kerovani Winery here.
  • To arrange a visit, you should contact them on Instagram.
a grey cat
Gris!
archil and ilya, the winemakers at kerovani
Archil (L) and his cousin Ilya (R)


Bodbe Convent


A short walk from the centre of Sighnaghi is Bodbe Convent, a 9th century monastery and one of the most important places in Georgia for pilgrimages.

The reason for this is that St. Nino, who brought Christianity to Georgia in the 4th century, is buried here. St. Nino is the most revered saint in Georgia, and according to Georgian tradition, she died in Bodbe Gorge, and the monastery was built in the place where she was buried.


bodbe monastery
Bodbe Convent


Even if you’re not religious, it’s worth visiting Bodbe Convent for the incredible views over the Alazani Valley and Caucasus Mountains from here, as well as the characteristic red roofs of Sighnaghi.

The complex also has beautiful gardens, thanks to the nuns who reside at the monastery (now a nunnery) and tend to them!

Bodbe Convent is open daily from 10:00am until 6:00pm.

dani taking a selfie with the view from the monastery behind her
Smile!


Try churchkhela


It’s impossible to visit Georgia and not notice the colourful, candle-shaped items being sold at markets and on the side of the road.

This is actually a treasured Georgian candy, often referred to as the ‘Georgian Snickers,’ and it’s made from nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts) and grape juice.

You can get churchkhela in a wide range of colours and flavours, and they make great gifts for friends and family as they keep for a long time (if you don’t open them!).

churchkhela
Churchkhela


World War II Memorial


The World War II Memorial is a striking memorial with the inscriptions of the names of all the soldiers from the Sighnaghi Municipality who lost their lives in the Great Patriotic War.

Also depicted are intricate battle scenes, alongside the ancient Qvevri winemaking traditions.

You can find the World War II Memorial here.

world war 2 memorial in sighnaghi
The memorial. The image depicts ancient winemaking.


Enjoy modern Georgian food at Dergi restaurant


A short, 15 minute drive from Sighnaghi, in the village of Nukriani, is Dergi, a restaurant serving traditional Georgian dishes with a modern flair.

They have an impressive wine selection, a beautiful interior, and everything I tasted there was delicious.

I especially recommend their barbecued pork and mouthwatering salads.

You can find Dergi here.

georgian food at dergi restaurant
Our appetisers (!) at Dergi


Visit a local bakery


While in Sighnaghi, my friends and I went in search of coffee and ended up drinking homemade red wine and chacha in a tiny bakery, served to us by the most adorable old couple ever!

Our hosts spoke no English, but they were incredibly sweet, and the time we spent in their little bakery remains one of my favourite memories from Sighnaghi.

The bakery, which is aptly-named ‘Bakery and Café,’ can be found here. It’s a real no-frills place, but also the most authentic experience you’ll have in Sighnaghi.

a georgian woman smiling
The lovely lady from the bakery


Shop for Georgian souvenirs


As you wander down to Sighnaghi Wall, you’ll pass by many small market stalls, all just begging for your perusal.

There are many souvenirs to be bought here, including Georgian sunflower oil (Georgians use sunflower oil rather than olive oil), homemade wine and chacha, woolly hats, carpets, and more.

You’ll also find lots of old ladies knitting here, so be sure to nab some socks that will keep you warm throughout the winter!

georgian sunflower oil
Sunflower oil
sighnaghi georgia
Some of the carpets for sale in Sighnaghi


Tbilisi to Sighnaghi


Sighnaghi is approximately 113 km southeast of Tbilisi, and thanks to a new road that connects the two, you can reach Sighnaghi in less than 2 hours!

The cheapest way to get from Tbilisi to Sighnaghi is by taking a marshrutka. The shared vans depart from Samgori metro station in Tbilisi every other hour, with a ticket costing between 5 and 10 GEL.

You could also rent a car, or consider visiting Sighnaghi on a tour. I did this and would highly recommend it if you can afford to. If you’d like to visit Sighnaghi with the same company that I did, just click here. The tour that I experienced was the ‘Signagi Winter Wine Tour.’


Sighnaghi Georgia | Final Thoughts


I hope that this post has been helpful and given you some ideas about what to do in Sighnaghi, Georgia!

I may not have included every restaurant or winery in this list, but you can rest assured that I have personally experienced every single thing that I’ve recommended, and can vouch for how good they all are!


Further Reading


Going to Georgia?

You may find the following posts helpful:

How to Choose a Kakheti Wine Tour

8 Facts About Georgian Chacha

Georgian Amber Wine – All You Need to Know

Visiting Mestia, Georgia, in Winter

If you have any questions whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments section below and ask!

Until next time,

XOXO


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