Tbilisi is a very peculiar city, the charm of which lies in the leisurely pace of life, the incredible hospitality of local residents and the Georgian color unlike anything else. Going to Tbilisi, be prepared to spend hours strolling through the old quarters of the Old City, listening to sincere chants, having fun from night to morning and enjoying delicious local cuisine, which is definitely worth making a World Heritage List.
What to see in Old Tbilisi
If this is your first visit to the capital of Georgia, and you still have no idea where to go and what to see first, go on a sightseeing tour in the company of a local resident who will take you to the most interesting places in Tbilisi, tell the glorious history of the city and, by example, will demonstrate why Georgians are the most fun and good-natured people in the world.
If you want to feel the history of Tbilisi and enjoy the tranquility while strolling through the cobbled streets of medieval quarters and squares - explore Old Tbilisi. The central part of modern Tbilisi has not changed much since the accession of Georgia to the Russian Empire. Here, in addition to several Armenian churches, synagogues and mosques, you will see the ruins of the fortress wall, the famous Sioni Cathedral with strict bas-reliefs and medieval frescoes, and the VI century Palestinian-style temple of Anchiskhati.
Anchiskhati. Photo: @aleksandra_hohlova
Be sure to look into the quarter of Abanotubani, which any local will help you find, to see the sulfur baths and take beautiful selfies on the background of the domed roofs of buildings. The baths are built on the site of hot sulfur springs and are open to the public. Cost - from 3-4 GEL per hour.
Next to the baths, on the top of the mountain, is the Narikala fortress - a complex of fortifications built more than 1,500 years ago. You can get to the fortress on foot, walking along the cobblestone path from Meydan Square, or on the modern funicular, which is a separate Tbilisi landmark. It’s worth visiting Narikala for the sake of the best viewing platform for exploring the historical quarters of Tbilisi with their low buildings, picturesque gardens and ancient churches.
Narikala. Photo: @nlintvera
Where in Tbilisi to try local food
Traditional Georgian cuisine is the best proof that culinary masterpieces that people in many parts of the world will admire from simple ingredients with an original creative approach. In a few words, local dishes are selected meat, lots of herbs and aromatic sauces based on fresh vegetables, herbs and secret spices. You can talk about local food endlessly, but it is better not to waste time and quickly go to one of the restaurants.
Georgian cuisine. Photo: @tetri_studio
Gldanis shaurma is one of the best places in Tbilisi where you can taste delicious and really high-quality shawarma. The institution offers more than ten types of this oriental dish. The hallmark of Gldanis shaurma - huge portions, selected ingredients and a large selection of hot sauces.
Location: intersection of Kerch and Vekua streets, 41a Javakheti street, 3 Chabukiani street
Opening hours: daily from 9:00
Georgian cuisine is, first of all, juicy khinkali. There are many establishments in Tbilisi that serve traditional khinkali according to the Tbilisi recipe, and there is only one restaurant that you should go to not only for the sake of excellent cuisine, but also for the special atmosphere - “Fantastic Dukhan Sofia Melnikova”. The establishment is located in a cozy quiet courtyard, which has preserved the charm of old Tbilisi and gives it to others. The pride of the restaurant is khinkali with mushrooms and young wine from the best winemakers in Tbilisi.
Location: courtyard of the Literary Museum. St. Tabukashvili.
Opening hours: from 9:00
Want to have a romantic dinner in the most unusual place in Tbilisi? Book a table in the panoramic Funicular restaurant, located so high above the Georgian capital that you can only get here by cable car. The restaurant menu includes dishes of Georgian and European cuisine. A specialty is chicken chakhokhbili. A table for two will cost 100 GEL.
Location: the second floor of the Funicular complex, Mtatsminda plateau, Tbilisi.
Opening hours: daily from 13-00 to 00-00.
Evening Tbilisi. Photo: @ 10vernova.
Visiting the heart of Georgia and not taking local wine with you is unforgivable. Therefore, rather go on a gastronomic tour to the country's wine regions - sunny Svaneti and ancient Kakheti. A few hours' journey and the centuries-old secrets of Georgian winemaking will open for you. What could be better than buying a few bottles of wine from the cellars of family wineries!
Where to see art in Tbilisi
There are no world-class museums in Tbilisi, however, there are many places in the city that all lovers of the beautiful should pay attention to.
To get acquainted with classical art in Tbilisi, you should see the collection of the State Museum of Art, which includes over 140,000 paintings and sculptures of Georgian, Russian, European and Asian cultural heritage.
Museum Location: st. L. Gudiashvili, 1
Opening hours: daily, except Monday from 9:00 to 21:00.
Ticket price: is free
The National Gallery of Tbilisi keeps a collection of original paintings by famous Georgian artists, including the famous Pirosmani, a primitive artist who has been painting on oilcloths all his life and making money by writing signs. After the death of the master, all his works were ranked among the masterpieces of Georgian art.
Museum Location: 11 Shota Rustaveli Avenue
Opening hours: daily except Monday from 10:00 to 18:00.
Ticket price: adults - 7 lari, students - 0.5 lari, students - 1 lari. Children under 6 years old - free of charge.
Picture of Pirosmani. Photo: @yana_novakk
You can watch contemporary Georgian and world art in Tbilisi at the TBC Gallery, a gallery where exhibitions of innovative art, book presentations and award ceremonies are held.
Museum Location: Marjanishvili street, 0102
Opening hours: daily except Monday from 9:00 to 21:00.
Ticket price: 1-2 euros.
What to see in the vicinity of Tbilisi
Having completed your acquaintance with Tbilisi, go on a field trip to the nearest surroundings, especially since ancient settlements near the capital store no less amazing artifacts.
Just 25 km from Tbilisi is the city of Mtskheta - the place where Christianity in Georgia was born in the 4th century AD. Despite the fact that in recent years Mtskheta has become quite touristy, not to visit here and not see with your own eyes the churches of the era of early Christianity means not to see true Georgia.
Mtskheta. Photo: nikolozrexviashvili
If you want to join the local traditions of winemaking, but do not have time to visit the remote wine regions, go to the Chateau Mukhrani - a winery 45 km from the city. Wine production is located in a historic castle. Here you will learn the history of Georgian winemaking, taste wine and snacks, and take part in a master class on cooking khinkali and khachapuri, which you can later enjoy in the restaurant at the winery.
Castle Chateau Mukhrani. Photo: _georgian_wine_
Do you dream to see real mountains? Drive to the village of Stepantsmida, located at the foot of the great mountain Kazbek. This is truly a fantastic place where you can spend several days devoting them to contemplating mountain landscapes and relaxing in an atmosphere of calm.
Tbilisi Attractions Route
Tbilisi is an amazing city. Every day you can find new places in it, admire the unusual combination of seemingly incompatible buildings and even entire neighborhoods, be surprised and enjoy the peaceful coexistence of Orthodox churches, a Muslim mosque and a Jewish synagogue.
Next to the bell tower on the territory of Tsminda Sameba temple there is a poultry house and a small pond.
Here you can spend a month immersed in the local flavor or a couple of days, seeing all the beauty of the city, and maybe its heart ...
To fall in love with Tbilisi, it is best to take a walk along it with a local guide. It so happened that in 2018, on the advice of friends we bought an individual tour and spent a fantastic 12 hours with Dina. Fascinating stories, new amazing places, including ceremonial, as well as a pleasant company - this is what awaits you on a walk with a guide. By the way, if you didn’t manage to find a “tasty” place with good Georgian cuisine, focused not only on tourists or don’t know which bath is better and how to order it, ask the guide during the tour. They will prompt and help with the choice. Dean can be found on the website: Georgia4travel.ru.
If you are traveling without a guide, we recommend starting from Shota Rustaveli Street, from Tsmind Sameba Cathedral, the main cathedral in Georgia, or from the cableway that leaves the new modern Rike Park. Any of the selected options will bring not only a lot of joy and positive impressions, but also allow you to get acquainted with the local beauties of the city.
The main attractions that we managed to visit during our stay in Tbilisi, we sorted for convenience into groups. We will try to characterize and describe each of them in detail.
Bridges and parks
As the Kura River flows through Tbilisi, there are quite a few bridges in the city. The most interesting and visited by tourists are just four of them: the ultramodern Peace Bridge, Nikolai Baratashvili Bridge, Metekhi Bridge and the well-known Sukhoi Bridge. Each of them is valuable and in its own way magnificent not only for travelers, but also for the local population. For two of them, we have separate, more detailed articles (highlighted in blue).
The Bridge of Peace is one of the main decorations of the city, a symbol of its modern appearance. It connects the two banks of the Kura River, parts of one Tbilisi: the old and the new. The bridge is most interesting in the evening when the lights turn on. Bulbs mounted in the frame, according to the Morse system, transmit encoded information containing the DNA of each person.
Bridge of Nikolai Baratashvili located a little further. He is older, but no less attractive. On its two sides are the original figures of people, made in full growth. Some of them are posing spectacularly, while others seem to be preparing to jump into the water in reality, and they are still “cute” with each other. Tourists love to take photos against their background: the frames are lively and fun.
Metekhi Bridge - An important and necessary building for the city. One of its sides, he goes to the church of the same name and a monument to the great king Gorgasali, and the second - to the area of restaurants, cafes and sulfur baths. Each tourist must pass through it at least once during his stay in Tbilisi, because a beautiful view of the temple opens from the bridge.
Recently, a flea market on the Sukhoi Bridge has turned into a regular average market, where you can see junk that no one needs.
The dry bridge, in our subjective opinion, is too popular a place for tourists. If earlier it was possible to find truly exclusive, unique things on it, now there are practically no rarities and antiques. Therefore, those who are not keen on antiquities have nothing to do on it. Unless succumb to the temptation of numerous guides recommending this place, and see for yourself its worthlessness.
There are also plenty of parks in Tbilisi, otherwise in the summer it would have been impossible to be in the city. Practically in each of them fountains work, in many there are drinking sources.
Particularly interesting is the new Rike park, located literally in the city center. Even despite the fact that he did not have time to finish building it, now it is a popular vacation spot for adults and children. It is quite spacious, has many convenient benches, but due to its youth it is still not too shady. In the evenings, it sometimes hosts free concerts by local musical groups, and a singing fountain is turned on.
A nice quiet park with many convenient places, a small fountain and various monuments.
The next, less popular park, is called Park April 9. It is large and cozy, located right behind the Kashveti Church and the National Gallery of Georgia. The park is shady, it has a nice cascading fountain, several monuments and small flower beds, a huge number of shops.
Mtatsminda Park on the mountain of the same name is very popular with young tourists. A wide variety of attractions made it the main attraction in Tbilisi, primarily for children. Adults in the park will also not be bored: the Ferris wheel located at the highest point will allow you to see the city from a bird's eye view, and the Funicular restaurant will delight visitors with delicious dishes of Georgian national cuisine.
Heydar Aliyev Park modestly sheltered in the area of sulfur baths, Abanotubani. Very green, well-groomed and equipped, the square attracts connoisseurs of a relaxing holiday. There is always a bench for relaxation and a drinking fountain to refresh yourself in the summer heat. And what are the magnificent flower beds flaunting around.
Cableway and funicular
If we compare these two sights, then, in truth, we liked the cable car much more than the funicular, popular far beyond Tbilisi. Perhaps this conclusion was facilitated by the huge queue and further clogging of the car during the ascent and descent from Mount Mtatsminda.
At the very beginning of Rike Park is the lower cableway station.
Tbilisi cableway is in many ways different from Batumi: in size, price and, of course, panoramic view, but we recommend everyone to ride it.
It begins in Rike Park, passes over the old part of the city and takes tourists to the observation platform near the Narikala fortress. Such a two-minute pleasure will cost you 2.5 GEL. GEORGIAN GEL COURSE:
2.5 GEL = 0.83 euros,
2.5 GEL = 0.95 dollars,
2.5 GEL = 63.05 rubles,
2.5 GEL = 26.6 hryvnias,
2.5 GEL = 2.13 Belarusian rubles.
Course and prices may not be accurate. one way. We advise you to go down already on foot - so you will be able to see more.
The funicular is essentially an unjustifiably expensive pleasure to go upstairs to the Mtatsminda Park in a packed car. One way fare - 3 GEL. GEORGIAN GEL COURSE:
3 GEL = 0.99 euros,
3 GEL = 1.14 dollars,
3 GEL = 75.66 rubles,
3 GEL = 31.92 hryvnias,
3 GEL = 2.55 Belarusian rubles.
Course and prices may not be accurate. . At the same time, you must buy a card for 2 GEL. GEORGIAN GEL COURSE:
2 GEL = 0.66 euros,
2 GEL = 0.76 dollars,
2 GEL = 50.44 rubles,
2 GEL = 21.28 hryvnias,
2 GEL = 1.7 Belarusian rubles.
Course and prices may not be accurate. which cannot be returned at the end to return the balance. If you go during the day, you can exit in the middle of the way, for an overview of the pantheon and the temple of St. David. Further travel from the Pantheon will cost an additional 3 GEL. GEORGIAN GEL COURSE:
3 GEL = 0.99 euros,
3 GEL = 1.14 dollars,
3 GEL = 75.66 rubles,
3 GEL = 31.92 hryvnias,
3 GEL = 2.55 Belarusian rubles.
Course and prices may not be accurate. .