Surrounded by palm trees and lying only 30 mi/50 km from the Black Sea, Zugdidi enjoys a balmy—almost tropical—climate. In town are some lovely botanical gardens and the Dadiani Palace, where coins from ancient Colchis and a death mask of Napoleon are on display. Day trips can be taken to Khobi (sixth-century monastery with frescoes) and the fifth-century Fortress of Nakalakevi (cathedrals, ramparts and secret passages), near the village of Gegechkori. 160 mi/260 km west of Tbilisi.

Note: Zugdidi is very near Abkhazia, and several UN peacekeepers have been kidnapped in the city. Check to see that the area is safe before going there.

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