Tbilisi in Georgia: best things to do (2024)

Gamarjoba or welcome to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia! A city with so much heritage, where different cultures and religions live together peacefully. Thanks to its historic location on the Silk Road, Tbilisi is a vibrant city where ancient charm blends with today’s modern energy. Any prejudice because of their communist history is therefore completely unjustified. Along with its warm hospitality and delicious food and wine, Tbilisi is highly recommended for a city break or as a starting point for a tour of Georgia. There is so much to do in this capital city that you could easily fill weeks with activities. We give you a preview of the best sights in Tbilisi so you can discover the city in three days !

Three days in Tbilisi

In this travel guide, we give you the highlights of Tbilisi in Georgia. We recommend spending at least three days in this diverse city. If you have more time, you can slow down and take in the city even more.

Day 1: the historic center

On the first day we explore the historic center of Tbilisi, also called Old Tbilisi or Dzveli Tbilisi. Getting up early is not necessary, as a slow pace prevails in Tbilisi and many restaurants or museums do not open before 10 a.m. A nice hotel including breakfast would be nice.

  • Save
  • Save

1) Free Walking Tour

Discovering the history of Georgia and its capital, Tbilisi, is best done by participating in a Free Walking Tour. For three hours, an enthusiastic local guide will take you through the streets of Tbilisi. You will pass beautiful buildings, churches and other highlights that will tell you more about the history and events that shaped the city. Since you are out with a real “local,” you often get tips on the best activities, restaurants and where to go for a night out as well. We did a Free Walking Tour with GuruWalk and loved it! It is best to reserve a seat in advance, which you can do online.

TRAVEL TIP: Free Walking Tours are an absolute must for any city trip. It gives you the necessary background to get to know your travel destination better. Even though it is a “free” walking tour, you are expected to give your guide a contribution afterwards. Between €5 and €10 per person is often given and is well worth it!

  • Save
  • Save

2) The Leaning Clock Tower

On the Free Walking Tour you will have passed it anyway, but “The Leaning Clocktower” is definitely worth another visit on its own. Located in the heart of Old Town, you will find this fairy-tale bell tower that is part of a puppet theater. What is unique about this clock tower is that you will find both the largest and smallest clock in the city! An angel appears every hour and taps the bell, but the most fun part takes place daily at noon or 7 p.m. Then the doors at the top of the bell tower open and a little puppet show called “the Circle of Life” plays out.

  • Save
  • Save

3) Rike park & Peace bridge

The nice thing about Tbilisi is the contrast between old and new. A 5-minute walk from the Leaning Clock Tower you will find Tbilisi’s Peace Castle. This modern pedestrian bridge takes you across the river to Rike Park. This green lung of the city features fountains, art and flora. A nice place to relax a bit and enjoy the city all around. From this park also departs the cable car towards the Narikala Fort.

  • Save
  • Save

4) Narikala Fort

Located on a hill you will find the Narikala Fortress overlooking Tbilisi. In Rike Park, you can take the cable car to this fort. This cable car belongs to the public transport network, so buying a ticket is very cheap (3GEL or €1) and can be done on the spot. With panoramic views of the city, this ride offers a nice perspective of the surrounding landscape. Once you reach the hill, you can walk toward the Narikala Fort, which was built in the 4th century. Furthermore, you can visit the National Botanical Garden of Georgia or just enjoy a sunny terrace. Afterwards, you can hike back down or take the cable car back.

  • Save
  • Save

5) Mtatsminda park

If you want to enjoy the panoramic view of Tbilisi a little longer, you can continue walking along the hilltop toward Mtatsminda Park. A short 3-km hike takes you first past the giant statue Kartlis Deda or“the Mother of Georgia. You then continue walking through a stretch of forest until you emerge into Mtatsminda Park. This is a (fun) park with free admission for young and old. You can eat something here or walk around among the limited number of attractions (you have to pay for the attractions). Afterwards, you can take the city’s other cable car back toward the historic center.

  • Save
  • Save

6) The sulfur baths

End the day by relaxing in one of the sulfur baths. Located in the center of Old Tbilisi you will find the domed bathhouses. These sulfur baths also explain what Tbilisi got its name from, as Tbilisi literally translated means “hot spring of water. The sulfur baths in the bathhouses are filled with the mineral water from a natural spring beneath the city which is said to contain healing powers. There are several bathhouses, each with its story, and both along the outside and inside they are beautiful to see. Chreli Abano in particular stands out with its iconic Moorish-style facade. Reserve your time slot in advance and book a scrub session with no obligation.

TRAVEL TIP : After a relaxing bath session, you can slide your feet under the table at Usakhelouri where you will find the best khinkali in Tbilisi!

  • Save
  • Save

Day 2: Cultural Tbilisi

Time to discover more of this special city! Today is dedicated to culture and some of Tbilisi’s unique buildings.

1) Chronicles of Georgia

Start your day on time with a visit to the Chronicles of Georgia. This giant monument , with its 16 pillars, each 30 meters high, conveys the historical story of Georgia. All major events in the country’s past are depicted here. The Chronicles of Georgia overlooks the “Tbilisi Sea,” not a real sea but a huge lake where you can cool off, swim and practice various water sports in the summer. You can visit the monument for free and it is open 24/7.

  • Save
  • Save

The easiest way to get to the Chronicles of Georgia is to take a Bolt through the eponymous online cab app (Georgia’s Uber). From the historic center, it is a 30-minute drive to the monument. Ask your cab driver if he can wait for you, with an hour you will certainly have enough time. A round trip costs about 40 GEL or €14.

2) The Holy Trinity Cathedral (Sameba).

When you take a Bolt back downtown, get dropped off at Holy Trinity Cathedral. A testimony to the deep-rooted religious traditions of the Georgian people, a visit to this cathedral is a must in Tbilisi. Holy Trinity Cathedral, better known as Sameba, is the largest Georgian Orthodox church in the country. In addition to its religious significance, the cathedral, opened in 2004, has breathtaking architecture with intriguing details. All around you will find matching green gardens with beautiful fountains. Because of its golden roof, you can easily spot this cathedral from anywhere in the city and thus cannot miss it in the cityscape. You can visit the cathedral for free.

TRAVEL TIP : There are hundreds of Georgian Orthodox churches in the country. When you enter it, make sure that as a woman you always cover your hair and wear a long skirt. Men should wear long pants. You can usually find cloths at the entrance to churches that you may use.

  • Save
  • Save

3) The flea market

Continue walking along the left bank of the Kura River to the Tbilisi Flea Market near the Dry Bridge. At this market you will find a huge selection of jewelry, vinyl records, books, old cameras and much more. If you love vintage and antique things, you’ve come to the right place! In the accompanying Dedeana park, Tbilisi’s many artists display their works of art, which you can also buy. Open every day from 10 am to 5 pm, this flea market is a 10-minute walk from the historic city center. Don’t forget to negotiate for the best price!

  • Save
  • Save

4) The balconies of Tbilisi

You may have already seen them as you walk through the city, the typical wooden balconies of Tbilisi. These adorn the cityscape with vibrant colors and fun designs. Stroll through the winding streets of Old Town and don’t forget to look up occasionally to discover them. Be sure to visit the Queen Darejan Palace. Here you will find a beautiful turquoise balcony hanging over the edge of a cliff. The blue balconies of the House Hotel Old Tbilisi are also well worth a photo stop. For those who can’t get enough of this, you should also take a look inside the houses of Tbilisi. The interior like that of the Kalantarov House is one out of a thousand.

  • Save
  • Save

5) Explore trendy Fabrika

End the day at the city’s hot spot: Fabrika. This transformed old Soviet sewing factory is now a multi-functional complex with alternative art spaces, pop-up stores and fun bars. You will find beautiful street art on the walls of the building and in the streets around. Especially in the evening, there is a vibrant atmosphere in the courtyard. It is the ideal meeting place for locals and travelers where everyone gathers for drinks.

Day 3: the area around Tbilisi

There is much to see not only in Tbilisi, but far beyond. On day three we will show you more of this amazing country.

1) Day trip to Mtskheta or the Kakheti region

With its central location, Tbilisi is the ideal base for exploring more of the country. The best way to do this is to take an organized day trip to Mtskheta, the country’s former capital. A trip to this UNESCO city can easily be combined with a stop at the Jvari Monastery and a visit to the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. If you feel more like exploring the culinary side of Georgia, we recommend a day tour to the Kakheti region from Tbilisi. Besides visiting wineries, you can also find beautiful monasteries in the vast landscapes.

  • Save
  • Save

2) Meidan Bazaar

To end your three-day city trip, buy souvenirs at the Meidan Bazaar. This bazaar is located in an underground tunnel a 5-minute walk from the bathhouses. You will find plenty of artisan and local products such as traditional clothes, wine and local delicacies. In addition, the interior is also very nice to walk through. Those who want can also buy wine-flavored ice cream here, highly recommended! The bazaar is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm.

  • Save
  • Save

3) Wine tasting

Whether you like wine or not, this is something you must have done in Tbilisi! Indeed, Georgia is considered the birthplace of wine and has a tradition of more than 8,000 years. Here wine is still made in earthenware jars, according to the authentic qvevri method. In Tbilisi, you will find several wine bars and merchants where you can do a tasting of Georgian wines. We can absolutely recommend Nino Meris to you!

  • Save
  • Save

Culinary Tbilisi

Surely this is worth a separate mention because Tbilisi is a true food mecca! Georgian cuisine is one of the most underrated in the world but incredibly delicious! There are a lot of traditional dishes to try such as khachapuri, a cheese-filled bread, or khinkali, dumplings stuffed with meat or vegetables. Tbilisi is bursting with cozy restaurants and bars where you can enjoy these flavorful and authentic Georgian dishes. Georgians also strive to make everything fresh. The many cheeses, vegetables or other ingredients you are served are often home-grown or home-cooked. Short chain, and you can definitely taste that! Top this off with a local wine or freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and you have the ultimate culinary experience.

The range of good restaurants is vast, but this one is a must try:

  • Usakhelouri: the best khinkalis in Tbilisi
  • Salobie Bia: one of the city’s best restaurants where you get traditional dishes with a modern twist
  • Shavi Lomi: a real hot spot near Fabrika that you don’t want to miss
  • Café Daphne: worth a stop for the interior alone, but it is also the ideal place for lunch after shopping at the flea market
  • Nikolozi: It doesn’t get any more local than this. Mother is cooking in the kitchen while the son serves you with a smile in their authentic little restaurant.
  • Sulico Wine Bar: for those who want to chat some more with a good glass of wine on their cozy terrace
  • Save
  • Save

Where to stay

The historic center of Tbilisi is the ideal district to stay in for a first time visitor to Tbilisi. The most beautiful sights as described above are within walking distance, but the hippest restaurants and wine bars are also in this neighborhood. Because of its authentic interior, great location and best breakfast in Tbilisi, The House Hotel Old Tbilisi is highly recommended. If you are looking for a balance between budget and luxury, the Tbilisi Inn hotel is a good alternative.

Looking for more options for any budget? Discover 15x the city’s nicest hostels and hotels here.

  • Save
  • Save

Moving around in Tbilisi

Tbilisi’s historic center is not huge and therefore easily walkable. When you combine this with Bolt (an app that offers ride services like Uber), you can smoothly and quickly get anywhere you wish. The city also has a subway line and an extensive public transportation network with two cable cars.

TRAVEL TIP: Looking for a unique experience? To move between two cities in the country, the Mashrutka is the best way. These shared minivans are tremendously cheap and often get you to your next destination very quickly. Comfortable it is not always, but budget-friendly and local!

How to get to Tbilisi

Georgia is a country that is the gateway between Asia and Europe, located against the Caucasus Mountains. The fastest and most common way to travel here is by plane. From Schiphol Airport (Netherlands) you can get to Tbilisi on a direct 4-hour flight. Departing from Belgium, you will probably transfer in Istanbul, Turkey. Here is where to find the cheapest flights to Tbilisi!

From the airport you can easily travel by bus or a Bolt toward the city center. Bus line 337 runs every 15 minutes, takes about 50 minutes and will cost you only 1 Lari (0.35 euros). With a Bolt, you’ll be there in as little as 20 minutes and spend about 25 GEL or €8.5. It is better to avoid a cab, as they are often much more expensive.

  • Save
  • Save

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Tbilisi is from late April through June or September through October. In summer, it is best to avoid Tbilisi, as it can get extremely hot. However, if you are planning to tour Georgia, we do recommend the summer months because some hiking trails in the Caucasus Mountains are only open during this time.

Interesting facts

  • There are a lot of street dogs running around Tbilisi. Fortunately, they are all vaccinated and microchipped. The locals take good care of them and they pose no danger at all.
  • In summer, it can get hot in the city. Nice to know that tap water is safe to drink throughout Georgia. So you can easily bring a reusable water bottle to reduce your waste.
  • Georgia borders Russia and is still an unknown destination for many. This sometimes gives it the wrong image of not being safe. We can confirm that traveling in Georgia is not dangerous at all! In 1991, Georgia declared its independence from the former Soviet Union and became a sovereign nation. Since then, the country has pursued its own course, with its eyes fixed on Europe.
  • Georgian has its own unique alphabet. In general, all Georgians also speak and understand Russian, but many refuse to use the language on principle. More and more people also speak English and certainly in Tbilisi, but in some parts of the country this is less so.
  • Save

Have you been to Tbilisi yourself and found it as wonderful a city as we did? Let us know in a comment below! Looking for more information about your next trip to Georgia? Please do not hesitate to contact us or send an email to snoezelsontheroad@gmail.com

Did you know...

When you make a purchase through our links, we receive a small fee. What you pay remains the same, and you support us with it too. A win-win for everyone!

Flights

Book here inexpensively through Skyscanner

Hotels

Book here inexpensively through Booking.com

Activities

Book here inexpensively via Getyourguide

Support us with coffee

Support us with a virtual cup of coffee

  • Save

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *