Tourism by Tbilisi? Guide to Visit Tbilisi, Capital of Georgia
Tiflis – or Tbilisi, as the Georgians call it – has always been at a crossroads and has mixed the flavors of Europe with those of Asia. It was one of the stops on the Silk Road and the people of both continents met in their market stores. Nowadays, it is a city with a lot of character and it is fifteen centuries old. It is the most visited destination in the country and it has great attractions for tourists.
One of them is the fact that the city has managed to consolidate the medieval air with the avant-garde architecture without losing its roots. Another thing is that it is an example of harmony between different cultures. A mosque, two synagogues, Orthodox, Catholic, Armenian churches and even an old Zoroastrian temple live together very close to each other.
Tbilisi is a city with a special vibe. The traffic of their cafes, the concerts in the pubs, the coming and going of people in their boulevards, their summer nights, and the love of the good life of Tbilisi people are striking.
And when the good weather arrives, Tbilisi is an incredibly special place to end the day on a terrace with a cold beer in your hands.
It has one and a half million citizens and it brings together a third of the population of Georgia.
The area’s climate is mild continental and it rains a lot in May. The average temperature in January is 33° F and 76° F in July. It is situated at an altitude varying from 350 to 900 meters (1148 and 2952 feet tall). The city full of life and there is something to celebrate every day. It is also a relatively safe part of Georgia – at least at the same level as many European cities. It has good infrastructure and all types of accommodation are offered.
Do not miss the chance to walk through the maze of streets from the historic center (Kala neighborhood). Its streets are full of typical wooden balconies and despite the modernization of some streets, there are still areas preserving their history that make them so special.
In the old area, life runs away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the city and you will understand better the essence of the capital after going through that experience. The urban expansion area, meanwhile, opens up to the pleasures of glamour and luxury; mostly, these are concentrated on Rustaveli Avenue.
In addition, the modernist buildings that have risen in its surroundings are witnesses of the Belle Époque that its inhabitants lived more than a century ago. But today’s Tbilisi does not think about yesterday and buildings that look like the future have recently been built, such as the new theatre, the dome of the Presidential Palace, the Peace Bridge, and the new Palace of Justice. These are the signs that a new Georgia has been born and it is really starting to make an impact.
Although archaeological remains have been found indicating that the area was inhabited since the Neolithic period, Tbilisi was not founded until the fifth century. Like almost everything in the Caucasus, its birth also looks like a myth. According to popular tradition, the mythical king of Iberia, Vakhtang Gorgasali, was hunting with his falcon in the forests covering the current territory of the city at that time.
The falcon caught a bird, but both crashed into hot springs emerging from the ground and they burned and died. The king, thinking he was given a divine sign, decided to create a new village on that spot and moved his capital there from Mtskheta. He called it Tbilisi (tbili means hot). The area where the old Tbilisi was built corresponds to the current Avlabari neighborhood and the Abanotubani area.
Since then, the city has gone through the hands of Arabs, Jorezites, Mongols, Persians, and Russians. Tbilisi has always been like candy for the major powers due to its strategic position as a transit zone between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, Europe and Asia, the North and the South.
Throughout its history, it has suffered about 30 lootings to the point that it could have easily disappeared.
But its inhabitants have rebuilt it each time on those 30 occasions. One of the worst disasters which occurred in the 8th century was when an army of 200,000 Arabs killed 50,000 citizens. Although the fact is shocking, it hides a great truth: at that time the capital of Georgia was already a great city. The last great disaster occurred in 1795 when the Persians burned it down.
But not everything has been a rocky path. Between 1122 and 1226, Tbilisi lived it’s Golden Age. After the famous battle of Didgori, King David Aghmaseneveli (The Builder) recovered the city and he turned into the capital of unified Georgia once again. Georgia was one of the most powerful states in the Middle East at that time.
The king allowed the Muslims to stay in the city. He declared freedom of faith and he issued laws to promote commercial activity. Queen Tamara continued with this work and she took it to levels of education and refinement unknown to date. However, the invasions of the Golden Horde put an end to the Teflite dream.
During the time of Russian domination, Tbilisi grew and the new neighborhoods of the expansion appeared, with their European-style buildings surviving to this day. At the beginning of the 20th century, the city became a pole of attraction for artists and bohemians, earning it the nickname, “Paris of the Middle East”.
Shortly thereafter, with the Soviets, it was industrialized and working neighborhoods were built with the typical buildings for the proletariat of some areas of the outskirts. The Boris Paichadze football stadium, where the Dinamo de Tbilisi used to play, is also from this period.
In 2003, the city’s streets saw the birth of a peaceful revolution supported by thousands of citizens spreading to the rest of the country: the Rose Revolution. The movement marked the beginning of a new era for Georgia and it served as an inspiration to other countries with similar problems.
Tbilisi TOP 10 places to visit
This is the symbol of the city. Narikala Fortress is from the 4th century and the St. Nicholas Church is in the inside. You can see its figure from different points of the city and it offers breathtaking views of Tbilisi. You can get there on foot or travel by cable car.
Also known as the District of Kala. The best way to visit is getting lost in the maze streets of the old town, which decorated with typical wooden balconies. There are areas that have been remodeled but there are still others preserving the look of Tbilisi from the 19th century. These include crooked facades, half-paved floors, people playing backgammon, and secret gardens.
This is a small neighborhood within Old Tbilisi. Here you will find the bathhouses and the mosque. In addition, it was where the legend says that the expansion of the city began due to its thermal waters. From below, you have one of the most typical photos of Tbilisi. Here you will feel the embrace of the East and West.
The Botanical Garden
It is not a well-known place for tourists but it is a peaceful haven in the noisy Tbilisi. The botanical garden is within walking distance of the mosque, just below the Narikala Fortress. It occupies about 120 hectares where more than 3,500 plant species grow. It has its own waterfall and it is a good place to seek refuge under the shade of the trees on hot summer days.
Although the current structure dates from the 13th century, it was built on the same site where the founder of the city built a shrine in the 5th century. It is one of the most famous churches in Tbilisi and together with the nearby statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali, and the slow channel of the Mtkavari passing by your feet, the church is another great place to visit in this city. The tomb of Saint Shushanik is in the inside of this church, by the way.
It is the most revered temple in the city together with the Metekhi church. Throughout history, it suffered various attacks and it has to be restored several times. The current structure dates from the 13th century.
This is the artery of the city and you will find the old Parliament, the Kashveti church, the Georgia Museum, and the National Gallery about 1.5 km (0.93 miles) from here. It was built in the 19th century and it was the main protagonist of the change experienced by the city during the Belle Époque.
Tsminda Sameba Church
This is the largest religious structure in Georgia and the third biggest in size for Orthodox. This sanctuary has the capacity to accommodate 15,000 people and its architecture stands out from many areas of the city. The construction work has not yet been completed.
The Open Air Ethnographic Museum
Visiting this museum is like traveling through Georgia but without leaving Tbilisi. You will find more than 70 typical houses from almost all the regions of the country in its 50 hectares of forest. Many of them are open for visitors and they are decorated in a traditional style, with original objects from the era they are from.
Erekle II, Bambis and Chardin Street
This is the place to go to if you are looking for that terrace experience while sipping a few beers, having a few drinks at night, smoking shisha, or just eating something. The prices are a little high but the quality of the nightlife here is good. Concerts are usually organized on the street and the terraces are full in summer.
Right Side of The Mtkvari River
The Old Tbilisi (Kala)
It is extended to the foot of the Narikala Fortress, on the right side of the Mtkavari River. There are very touristy places like Chardin or Kote Abkhasi streets, with bars, terraces, shops, and restaurants. But there are others where you can still breathe the lifestyle of that old Tbilisi that was written so much about. Simply go to Gomis, Bethlem or Abovyan street. Here, life is that of a tiny town and its maze of streets is hiding interesting buildings, neighbors playing al backgammon, chipped facades and total silence. These are the best places to get lost. You also have to visit:
What better thing than beginning to know the city in the place where everything started? Abanotubani is the area of the bathhouses and the oldest part of Tbilisi. This is where, according to legend, the hunting falcon of King Vakhtang Gorgasali died in a scalding hot spring by falling into its sulfurous waters. Without that event, the king would never have discovered the springs or found Tbilisi.
This area is the most Asian part and the orange domes of the bathhouses make it distinctive. Of all of them, the best known is the bathhouse of Orbeliani, with its majestic facade of tiles and its two small minarets to the side. The structure simply gives off that characteristic touch of Central Asia. Years ago, relaxing inside the bathhouse was one of the favorite pastimes of the Tbilisians and illustrious people like Tolstoy, Pushkin, and Alexandre Dumas enjoyed relaxing times here. Most bathhouses in the area are still open.
The Tiflis Mosque
It is located a few feet away on the street climbing up to the botanical gardens, and its brick minaret crowned by a small sky blue dome rises like a beacon and announces its location. It was built in 1864 and they say it is unique in the world because the Sunnis and Shiites pray together here.
You can enter to see it but you have to take your shoes off first. Behind the Muslim temple is the botanical garden, a haven of peace within the chaotic Tbilisi.
Address: Botanikuri Street
Summer time: from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Price: 1 GEL
The botanical garden is one of the lesser-known treasures of Tbilisi. In its nearly 120 hectares are growing more than 3,500 species from around the world and also other specimens that are at risk of extinction. It has its own waterfall and it is one of the favorite places to visit among couples or lovers.
Although its creation dates back to the 17th century, it became operational as a botanical garden in 1848 and it was the only place in the Caucasus of this kind for over a century.
The Narikala fortress has been here since before Tbilisi existed and it is the icon of the city. Experts say it is from the 4th century and that its name, coming from the Mongols, means the small fortress. The Arabs extended and reinforced it and it became the residence of the emir.
The church of Saint Nicolas is on the inside, and that dates from the end of the XII to the beginning of the XIII, and it has been recently remodeled. If you are traveling as a couple and you are looking for a romantic place, this is the place to be, especially during sunsets. If you want to climb it, you can do it through the streets of Botanikuri (where the mosque is located) or Orbiri (behind Gorgasari Square). There is also a cable car from Rike Park.
Statue of Mother Georgia (Kartlis Deda)
From the Narikala Fortress, you can reach the statue of Mother Georgia. The sculpture is 20 meters (65 feet tall) and can be seen from many points of the town. It summarizes the way of being of the Georgian people.
The statue holds a glass of wine in one hand to symbolize the welcoming of friends. It holds a sword on its other hand to fight against the citizens’ enemies.
The statue was built in 1958 and its sculptor was Elguja Amashukeli. Beyond the statue are the ruins of the Shahtakhti fortress housing an astronomical observatory. And a little further away, the residence of Bidzina Ivanishvili can be found. He is the richest man in Georgia and prime minister between 2012 and 2013.
Gorgasali Square (Meidan)
This small square is often crowded and has plenty of restaurants and tourists. It was built on the area where a bazaar used to stand. Nowadays, it is one of the hotspots in the city and it is where the Metekhi Bridge, the nightlife of Chardin Street, and the Abkhasi (Leselidze) and Tumanian streets converge.
Samghebro Street comes from the upper left corner. The silver dome of the Armenian church of Surp Gevorg (Saint George) is standing there. It dates from the 13th century and the remains of the writer Sayat Nova are found outside. He is the greatest singer-songwriter in the Caucasus of all time for many people and he is a well-respected figure for both Armenians and Georgians.
Kote Abkhazi Street
It is also known as Leselidze. It is the artery of Old Tbilisi and one of the most typical streets of the city. This street connects the squares of Gorgasali with Tavisupleba. You’ll surely come here more than once. It is full of souvenir shops, traditional establishments, and some of the most visited monuments, such as the Great Synagogue (45/47 Kote Abkhazi).
A few meters away, at 41, the Armenian church of Norashen (on the right) and the orthodox Jvaris Mama can be found. A bit further, you will find the statue of general Leselidze, a hero of the Second World War.
The Great Synagogue
Address: 45/47 Kote Abkhazi Street
It is wonderful inside the synagogue. It was built by the Hebrew community of the city between 1895 and 1913. Nowadays, more than 3,000 Jews who still live in Tbilisi gathered there. The building is facing Jerusalem and it is unique with its orange bricks and the menorah with the Star of David at the entrance. It is open to the public.
Erekle II, Bambis and Chardin Streets
These streets are full of bars, pubs, restaurants and art galleries. The city hall really fresh them up and they are trendy. It is the typical tourist place with attractive stores, terraces, and predatory pricing. However, it is bursting at the steams at night. In 12 Bambis Rigi Street, there is a bronze figure of a little man sitting drinking from a horn.
The work is called ‘Tamada’ and it is a replica of the one found in the Vani site dating back from the seventh century BC. It represents a Georgian drinking wine in the traditional way, and it summarizes the soul of the supra, the typical Georgian banquet where toasts are quite an art. It seems that the Georgians were already raising their glasses three thousand years ago.
According to the legend, the first temple to be built in this same place was constructed by the same king, Vakhtang Gorgasali, in the 5th century. It has suffered many attacks throughout its history and it has been rebuilt several times. Therefore, the current structure dates from the 13th century. The best day to visit is Sunday as there is a chorus with polyphonic songs during this time.
Saint Mary Catholic Church
Address: 4 Abesadzis Street
It was built in 1804 by the Capuchins and it housed the only Catholic institution in the Caucasus for many years. We do not know if we believe it or not, but we have been told that it was used as a basketball court during the Communism. Nowadays, it is working again – and the baskets have disappeared.
The Temple of Fire (Ateshga)
Address: 3 Gomis Street
It is an ancient Zoroastrian temple built by the Persians between the 5th and 7th centuries. People adored fire here. This ancient religion spread through Georgia during the construction date of the building. It is believed that it could have been changed into a mosque during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and that it retained its name.
It is located about 30 meters (98 feet) east of the Bethlem church. It’s a bit tricky to get there, but it’s the perfect excuse to get lost in the alleys of Old Tbilisi. The place is declared as a Site of National Interest, but it can only be visited through the house at the end of the stairs going up one of its sides. You should knock on the door and ask the caretaker kindly if he can let you see it.
Basilica of Anchiskhati
Address: 11 C/Ioane Shavtabeli Street
This small sanctuary with three naves is the oldest in the city. It is located between the Bridge of Peace and the Nikolaz Baratashvili Bridge. It usually goes unnoticed by many people, but the most eye-catching thing is perhaps its interior. It dates from the 6th century and it was built by the son of the mythical King Vaghtang Gorgasali, the founder of Tbilisi. It is about 1500 years old and must have been full of frescoes at one time.
Address: 13 C/ Shavteli Street
The clock tower is one of the new attractions of Old Tbilisi. It was built by taking advantage of the complete reconstruction of the old puppet theater, a world jewel of the performing arts and one of the few of this kind still existing in the world. It seems to be taken from a Dickens story, very much in line with the theater and everything it stands for. It was designed by the director himself, the Georgian teacher, Redzo Gabriadze.
He was considered a genius and he has decorated the title of Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters of the Republic of France. There is a brief representation of dolls marking the time change every hour. An angel plays the bell of the clock and the life and death of a couple in love are told.
This is the most important street in Tbilisi and it connects the Freedom Square (Tavisuplebis Moedani) with Rustaveli’s (Rustavelis Moedani). The area of Rustaveli began to be urbanized in the 19th century, during the time when the tsars were dominating Georgia.
In its kilometer and a half are public buildings such as the old Parliament, top-class hotels such as the Tbilisi Marriott, the Georgia Museum, the National Gallery or the Ballet Theater and the Opera. Typically, it has some European style buildings although it also has some Soviet-style buildings. It is one of the busiest roads and you should not fool around crossing the road. There are underground passages you can use to pass from one side of the road to the other.
Freedom Square (Tavisuplebis Moedani)
It has a very revealing name. This square has seen big protests against the rulers and mass rallies. It is headed by a 131-feet golden statue representing Saint George fighting a dragon with his spear. Its sculptor was Zurab Tsereteli and it replaced the old effigy of Lenin that was there during the Soviet period.
The building of the old Town Hall (Tbilisi Sakrebulo) stands in the southern part. It is from 1880 and its eclectic style conveys to perfection the meeting of Europe with Asia.
The Building of the Old Parliament of Georgia
The impressive building of the former Parliament of the country can be found at 8 Rustaveli Avenue. It has a Soviet-style and its sixteen arches represent the sixteen ex-Soviet republics. It has witnessed the main moments of the recent history of Georgia, such as the declaration of independence on April 9, 1991 and the Rose Revolution in 2003.
Today, the assembly where the sovereignty of the nation resides is in the city of Kutaisi. However, you can visit the old Parliament. When? From Monday to Friday at 12:00, 15:00 and 17:00 hours. It is a 70-minute tour that covers all the intricacies of the building (Plenary Hall, Cinema Hall, and the Church of the Annunciation) and the system of parliamentary functioning, structure, mission, and roles of the highest representative body of Georgia.
Its name means ‘Stone that is born’ and it is closely related to another well-known local legend. David Gareja was one of the thirteen missionaries who came from Mesopotamia to encourage Christianity in Georgia during the 6th century. These missionaries came to be known as’ The Thirteen Syrian Fathers’.
The story has it that a nun became pregnant and she accused Gareja of being responsible. And of course, all hell broke loose in Tbilisi. He denied it but few people believed him. Then he said: “If it is true, then a child is born; and if it is a lie, let her bear a stone.”
Do you know what the nun brought to the world? A rock! The people were impressed by the miracle and they decided to build a sanctuary in this place, which they called Kashveti.
The current temple, with the signature of architect Leopold Biefeld, dates back to 1910, but it is inspired by another sanctuary dating from the 11th century. It is remarkable how people cross themselves three times while passing by. Doing so is a Georgian custom.
The Ballet Theater and the Opera.
At the 25 you will find one of the most beautiful buildings in Tbilisi. The Theater of the Ballet and the Opera is another example of the styles of east and west linking to perfection. It is from 1896 and it is considered as the mecca of the song of the capital. It has gone through memorable nights with artists of the caliber of Montserrat Caballé and José Carreras performing there.
Mtatsminda means the Sacred Mount. You can easily find it. Its telecommunications antenna is visible from virtually the entire city. There is an amusement park at the top where there is no room nor even for a pin in the evenings of the summer holidays.
The park is often full of children running around and excited about the attractions. There is a cable car climbing to the top from Chokqadze Street and it stops halfway at the most exclusive cemetery in Georgia:
The Mtatsminda Pantheon
This is a small cemetery located in the middle of the slope of the Sacred Mount. Here rest some of the most relevant poets, artists, writers, politicians, and scientists of the recent history of Georgia.
The views of Tbilisi are worth it from here. People come to pay their respects to the likes of Ilias Chavchavadze, the poet Galaktion Tabidze, the theater director Vaso Abashidze, and the first president of the Republic – Zviad Gamsakhurdia.
Resting here for all eternity is reserved only for the greatest people. The cemetery is inside the Mamadavidi Church (eighteenth century). It was built in the place where the saint David Gareja retired to pray and where they say he dug a small cave house with his own hands. There is a small green rock chapel that is usually closed and that hides a spring, the waters of which are said to produce the miracle of fertility.
Opening Hours: until 11:00 p.m. in summer
This is the amusement park of Tbilisi. It is at the top of the mountain. We will give you more information in the family plans section. You can climb it by cable car.
Opening Hours: from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Price: 2-3 GEL
You can pay for its use through a card that is purchased at the box office (2 GEL). You can top up for more balance when needed. The funicular connects the center with Mtatsminda Park. It is a bit of an extreme experience, especially if you suffer from vertigo. But it’s worth it. The views of Tbilisi from above are amazing.
The Left Side of the Mtkavari River
From Gorgasali Square, the Metekhi Bridge connects the Kala district with the Avlabari district, the two oldest areas of Tbilisi. It was known as the Armenian neighborhood and it was full of merchants and artisans. Today, the Armenian community is not that big but they have made a lasting impression.
Walking through its streets is the best option to discover its nooks, sounds, and smells. Do not miss the charm of the street known as the Ascension of the Wine (Gvinis Agmarti), where the vendors used to negotiate its price in the past. There is also the Sachino Palace (7 Peristsvaleba Street), a 1776 fortress mansion famous for its walls and semi-circular wooden balconies.
Statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali
On his horse, he welcomes everyone who crosses the Metekhi Bridge. He was the town founder and he stood out for his bravery on the battlefield. The statue is made of bronze and it was created in 1967.
Just behind the statue of Gorgasali, you will find the church of Metekhi (13th century) rising like a jewel on the Mtkavari River.
It was built on the same site where the town founder built a Christian sanctuary in the 5th century. It is one of the most famous churches in Tbilisi and it is probably the most photographed. You can find the tomb of Santa Shushanik inside, one of the icons of Orthodox Christianity.
Church of the Holy Trinity (Tsminda Sameba)
Its 85 meters height (278 feet tall) gives away its position from any point in the city. Its main entrance is at the intersection of Yerevan and Samreklo streets.
This is the third-highest orthodox temple in the world and it was built to commemorate the 1,500 years of Georgian patriarchy.
Construction work began in 1995 and although it is already operational, the works of the religious complex have not yet been finished. The facility has a capacity to accommodate 15,000 believers and its lighting gives the city a special touch at night.
It is the landscaped esplanade extending from the cable car that goes up to Narikala. This is an avant-garde zone in Tbilisi. It highlights the new Theatre and Exhibition Hall, the Peace Bridge, and the glass dome of the Presidential Palace.
A little further on, on the other side of the Baratashvili Bridge, the new Palace of Justice, with its completely glazed futuristic façade, can be found. That structure symbolizes transparency and the fight against corruption. Some citizens sarcastically say that “all buildings have their basements’’.
Opening Hours; from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Price of a trip: 1 GEL
Together with the Mtatsminda cable car, this is the favorite form of transportation for the little ones. It is a cable car that connects Rike Park with the Narikala fortress. It flies over the Mtkavari River and it’s worth it just for the views of the Kala district, Avlabari, and the Metekhi Church. You can’t pay in cash, but you have to pay with the Metromani transport card instead. You can buy that at the cable car entrance facilities.
The Bridge of Peace (Peace Bridge)
This avant-garde bridge connects the two sides of the Mtkvari. It is built using glass and steel and it is 150 meters (492 feet) long. At night, its 1208 LED bulbs make it shine with its own light. It was inaugurated in 2010, without controversy.
For some people, it is a work of art. For other people, the traditional architecture of Old Tbilisi is not worth it. To each their own and time will tell. In Tbilisi, many people call it the Puente Plus Ultra, in reference to a well-known brand of compresses.
Opening Hours: Until 11:00 p.m.
Roller coasters, carousels, a Ferris wheel, a house of terror, and water attractions make this place the favorite of the children of Tbilisi. There are also bars, cafes, and breweries for parents. The entrance to the park is free but the attractions are not (they cost between 1 and 5 GEL).
The most direct and comfortable way to get there is through the cable car connecting Tbilisi with the top of Mtatsminda Mount. We warn you: it is not suitable for people who suffer from vertigo or fear of heights.
Address: 3 Shota Rustaveli Avenue
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Price: 5 GEL.
It is one of the largest museums in the country and it shows a good collection of historical artifacts found on Georgian soil. Its permanent exhibition of antique jewelry (gold objects from ancient Colchis, jewels used in burials, etc.) stands out.
The downtown also shows a permanent exhibition about the period of Soviet occupation in Georgia: its liberation movements, the victims of repression, and more. The Georgia Museum organizes a large number of temporary exhibitions. If you want to find more information, go to www.museum.ge
Shalva Amiranashvili Fine Arts Museum
Address: 1 Gudiashvili Street.
The center houses the largest permanent collection of religious works of art in the country: icons, frescoes, crosses of incalculable value, and antique jewelry. It also organizes temporary exhibitions in the rest of the rooms of the building.
Address: 8 Shota Rustaveli Avenue
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Price: 5 GEL
The National Gallery is the most famous art gallery in the country. The artist and political activist, Dimitri Shevarnadze, founded it in 1920. But the building dates back to 1888. It houses temporary exhibitions of contemporary and traditional painting by both Georgian and international artists. Its most important permanent collection is dedicated to the works of Pirosmani, the greatest brilliant artist in Georgia.
Although Pirosmani has his own and unique style, he has been classified as a naive painter. His works have been exhibited in art galleries such as the Louvre. This artist represents the typical self-taught artist with a stormy past who lived in poverty and whose death was the only thing that opened the gates of glory.
He was born into a family of peasants, but soon after he became an orphan. When he was eight years old, he started working as a servant for a wealthy family and he became a pastor and a train driver later on life.
The Museum of Modern Art of Tbilisi
Address: 27 Shota Rustaveli Avenue
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The 3,000 m² of the former Cadet Building houses the work of Zurab Tsereteli now, one of the greatest exponents of contemporary art in the country. However, works by other artists of the national avant-garde are really missed. The center exhibits more than 300 works of the artist ranging from small compositions to large-format creations and 250 photos of his private collection. For more information: www.momatbilisi.ge
History Museum of Tbilisi
Address: 8 Sioni Street
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Price: 5 GEL
It was founded in 1910 in a 17th-century building that was the residence of King Rostom. It was used as a market and hotel later on. Unfortunately, they were remodeling the property during our visit and most of the rooms were closed to the public. We could only see the temporary exhibitions. In our experience, it’s just worth a quick visit.
Tbilisi Tourist Office
Address: Pushkin Park
Opening Hours: from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (high season).
Phone: +995 32 2 15 86 97.
The Tourist Office of Tbilisi is in Pushkin Park, right next to Freedom Square. They are quite professional and they will help you with everything. They have a DBMS with all accommodation, restaurants, and travel agencies in Georgia.
Central Republican Hospital
Address: 29 Vazha–Pashvela Avenue
Phone: +995 32 2 39 57 14.
This is one of the best public hospitals in the country.
Address: 22 A Tashkenti Street
Phone: +995 32 2 25 19 91
This is a private clinic that meets the European quality standards and offers 24-hour emergency service. For more information: www.mediclubgeorgia.ge
Arrival at Tbilisi
The Tbilisi International Airport is the main entrance to the country. It is modern, with exchange offices and a tourist information office that’s open 24 hours. There are also shops offering different mobile phone services in case you want to buy a prepaid Georgian SIM card. It is 18 km (11 miles) from downtown and is about 30 minutes from the center.
It is connected to the capital by trains (airport-Tbilisi central station: 8:35, 5:40 pm; Tbilisi-airport: 7:50, 4:55 pm; price: 50 tetri (15 cents), the bus No. 37 is working for 24 hours (price: 50 tetri, about 15 cents at change), and a taxi to the downtown is usually around 25-30 GEL. If the taxi does not have a meter, you will have to negotiate the price beforehand, and it is likely they will try to charge a couple of extra euros.
How to Move Around Tbilisi?
First, you should move at your own pace through Tbilisi. After that, you should get your Metromani card. Then, you should buy a prepaid Georgian SIM card with Internet data. Not only because you will save money on internal calls and to Spain, but also because you will be able to use Google Maps.
If you want to move around cities of a certain size and chaotic ones like Tbilisi, the Google app will make your life easier. You will know the distance and the shortest route to negotiate with the taxi driver, the fastest public transport lines from your location, and the best possible combinations. What options do you have for moving around Tbilisi and how does public transport work?
- Metro. The Tbilisi metro hast two lines and 21 stations. It is open from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Using the commuter train is only possible with the ‘Metromani’ transport card. It costs 2 GEL and you have to keep recharging it with some balance. You can get it on the subway. Each trip by the metro costs 50 tetri. The information panels are in Georgian and English.
- City buses. There are lines throughout the city and they work from 7:00 to midnight. Each trip costs 50 tetri and you can pay in cash by getting a ticket from the provided machines (exact amount) or with your ‘Metromani’ card. If you pay with the Metromani card, you can get on all buses and metro trains you want for ninety minutes. Buses are assigned their own stops. An inspector sometimes gets on the bus.
- Marshrutkas. They are yellow minibusses spread all over the city. They are usually large Ford Transit vans. Each one has an assigned line and there is no specific stop, but people get on and off whenever they want. To hail one of these, raise your hand and get on. Tell the driver about your destination so he can drop you off as close as possible to it. Each trip costs 80 tetri. You can pay the driver with your Metromani card or in cash.
- Taxis. They are cheap. However, the problem is that the majority do not have a meter and they may cheat you. What is the phrase of the trip? ¡Sami Lari! It means three euros! Many times it is sneaked for travel within the downtown since the rate ranges between three and five laris. You can stop in the middle of the street and you should ALWAYS negotiate the price before getting on, so as not to be surprised. There are also taxi companies with built-in taximeters, such as Reno Taxis (Phone: +995 32 230 60 60). If you are more like a digital kind of guy, the toxify app works very well in Tbilisi.
Transport from Tbilisi
Marshrutkas and buses to other countries: they leave from the Ortachala station (1 Gulia Street)
- To Armenia
- Tbilisi-Yerevan: they leave every hour from 8:00 a.m to 10:00 p.m. Then the frequency reduces and a marshrutka only goes out when they are full, but only until 5:00 p.m. (30 GEL). There are also taxis shared from Avlabari leaving every two hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (35 GEL).
- Tbilisi-Vanadzor 9:00 and 2:00 p.m. (17 GEL).
- Tbilisi-Gyumri 10:30 a.m. (25 GEL).
- To Turkey
- Tbilisi-Istanbul: there are several regular buses every morning.
- Tbilisi-Ankara: 10:00 a.m.
- To Azerbaijan
- Tbilisi-Baku: 5:30 p.m. (30 GEL)
- To Iran
- Tbilisi-Tehran: 12:00 h
- To Russia
- Tbilisi-Moscow from Monday to Saturday at 12:00 h
- Tbilisi-Saint Petersburg: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 12:00 h
Marshrutkas and buses with destinations within Georgia
*From the Central Railway Station.
- Tbilisi-Poti: leaving at 9:00, 11:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 7:00, 9:00 p.m. (15 GEL). This route changes a lot of the time, and you should travel by train.
- Tbilisi-Kutaisi: every thirty minutes from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (10 GEL).
- Tbilisi-Zugdidi: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m (15 GEL)
- Tbilisi-Mestia: at 7:00 a.m. (30 GEL).
- Tbilisi-Kvareli: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (8 GEL).
- Tbilisi-Dedoplitskharo: at 11:00 hours. Marshrutka to Qvemos Qeda also passes through Dedoplitskharo (8:30, 12:00, 13: 230, 3:15, and 5:00 p.m.).
- Tbilisi-Batumi: 9:30 a.m, 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 12:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m (30 GEL).
- Tbilisi-Borjomi: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Tbilisi -Akhaltsikhe: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Tbilisi -Shatili: Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. (20 GEL).
- Tbilisi -Mtskheta: every 20 minutes from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (1 GEL)
- Tbilisi –Kazbegi: from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each hour (10 GEL)
- Tbilisi -Bakuriani: 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. (10 GEL).
- Tbilisi -Gori: 30 minutes from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (3 GEL)
- Tbilisi -Vardzia: at 10:00 hours (12 GEL)
- Tbilisi -Zugdidi: every hour from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
- Tbilisi -Kutaisi: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m (10 GEL).
- Tiflis-Batumi: every hour from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m (30 GEL).
- Tbilisi-Lagodekhi: every 40 minutes from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 08:30, 09:30, 10:20, 11:10, 12:00, 12:35, 13:15, 14:00
- Tbilisi-Sighnaghi: every two hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (6 GEL).
- Tbilisi -Telavi: every 45 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (7 GEL)
- Tbilisi -Mestia: 7:00 a.m. (30 GEL)
- Tbilisi -Shatili: Tuesday and Friday at 9:00 am (20 GEL).
Trains from Tbilisi Central Station
The Tbilisi Central Station is inside a shopping center (Sadguris Moedani metro station). Tickets are purchased at the customer service windows and you must show your passport. You can do it online too. For the most used trains, such as those in Baku, Yerevan, Zugdidi, or Batumi, you should buy tickets a couple of days in advance, especially in high season.
The schedules usually change a lot. Therefore, we believe that it is better to consult all the updates on your own at www.railway.ge. The website is also in English. There are trains from Tbilisi to:
- Baku, Yerevan, Zugdidi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Poti, Borjomi, and airport.
Cheap Lodging in Kala
Address: 27 Betskhli Street
Phone: +995 595 417333.
This bed and breakfast occupies the second floor of an old house of the 19th century. It is located in the district of Kala and it offers three double rooms and one single room, of different sizes and categories. All of them are cozy and decorated with modern furniture.
It is a quiet place, clean, and the staff is very hospitable. No children under 14 years old are allowed. They offer transfers to the airport at cost price (25-30 GEL), Price for double rooms: 80-90-100 GEL. Single room: 50 GEL. For more information: www.ska.ge
Address: 45 Betlemi Street.
Phone: +995 32 2 920 111.
This hostel offers spectacular views. It is modern, clean, and there is a good environment. Bedrooms of 8, 6, and 4 beds and double rooms with or without private bathrooms are available. They organize free guided tours for their guests who wish to explore Tbilisi and go on other excursions around the country (open to everyone).
The hostel is located a short distance from Gorgasali Square and the Chardin Street area, in the Meidan area. Prices in high season: from 28 to 38 GEL/person for shared rooms, 95 to 130 GEL for double rooms with a shared bathroom. For more information: www.envoyhostel.com
Medium Price Lodging in Kala
Dzveli Ubani Hotel
Address: 5 Al Duma Street
Phone: +995 32 2 92 24 04
It is a hotel without great luxuries but it is neat and clean. It is a good option if you are traveling on a tight budget but you do not want to sleep in hostels. The location is excellent, 50 meters from the Freedom Square (Tavisuplebis Moedani). Double room: 100 GEL; triple: 125 GEL; Superior: 170 GEL.
Address: 31 Kote Abkhasi Street
Phone: +995 32 2 92 00 40/ +995 5 99 57 42 07
This is a small hotel with 12 rooms. The decoration is a little old-fashioned and there is little light, but it offers good prices and comfort in one of the busiest streets of the city. Single room: 85 GEL; Double: 100 GEL, Suite: 200 GEL.
Expensive Lodging in Kala
12 Boutique Hotel
Address: 12 Vakhtang Beridze Street
Phone: +995 32 2 55 22 12
It is a boutique hotel decorated with great care. They offer 5 double rooms (225 GEL), 2 single rooms (188 GEL), and one suite (349 GEL). It has a nice terrace on the 2nd floor, an interior patio, and the typical balcony of Tbilisi. The rooms are spacious and cozy.
Citadel Narikala Hotel
Address: 20 Orpiri Street
Phone: +995 32 290 42 42// +995 32 290 41 41
It is a charming boutique hotel located at the foot of the Narikala walls. It has amazing views. It opened its doors in 2012 and the value for money is quite good. It has double rooms and suites, and its own museum in the lobby. The rate varies from the 180 GEL for the simplest bedrooms to the 480 GEL for the most exclusive rooms. For more information: www.hotel-citadel.ge
Avlabari and the Left Side
Cheap Lodging in Avlabari
Green House Hostel
Address: 13 Akhvilidiani Khevi Street
Phone: +995 599 265 432
Expect Georgian hospitality at a hostel away from the hustle and bustle of the center but within walking distance of the action. It is not located in Avlabari as such but in a residential area near the Nikolaz Baratashvili Bridge.
The hostel occupies a large two-story house. It is a charming place with a common room with a fireplace, shared kitchen, patio with fruit trees, and rooms of different types. For more information, visit its Facebook page. Prices – Shared rooms: 30 GEL/pax. Double: 70-80 GEL.
Medium Lodging in Avlabari
Tbilisi Metekhi Hotel
Address: 2 Metekhi Rise Street
Phone: +995 558 553 352
This is an urban hotel next to the Metekhi church. Modern, well-equipped, and comfortable rooms are available. Prices: 150-200 GEL. Good location, in a charming area a quarter of an hour from Rustaveli Avenue. For more information visit: tiflis-metekhi-ge.book.direct/es-es
Address: King Solomon Brdzeni Street
Phone: +995 32 277 03 07
Hotel Nine is a three-star hotel located in the Avlabari area, 3 minutes from the Avlabari metro station It is very close to the Metekhi Church, in a charming area near downtown. They offer single, double, triple and superior rooms. They are well-equipped with air conditioning, wi-fi, TV, and a minibar. Modern-day interior design and comfort at an affordable price. The price of the rooms ranges from 100 GEL to 160 GEL. For more information: www.nine.ge
Garden House Hotel
Address: 16 Avlabari Street
Double, triple and superior rooms. This is an attractive three-star hotel in one of the most charming districts of Tbilisi. Comfortable Georgian style rooms.
Old Metekhi Hotel
Address: 3 Metekhi Street
Phone: +995 32 274 74 04
It is a three-star hotel located in one of the historic buildings overlooking the cliff of Mtkvari River, in the district of Avlabari. It offers rooms of seven types and different prices. Comfortable and well equipped. Rates vary from 100 to 200 GEL. For more information. www.oldmetekhi.ge
Rustaveli and Surroundings
Cheap Lodging in Rustaveli
Boombully Rooms and Hostel
Address: 24 Rustaveli Avenue
Phone: + 995 5 51 10 01 72
It is a boutique hostel in a historic building in an excellent location: in the most central street of Tbilisi. It offers a shared room, doubles, and triples, too. It is a comfortable place, with eco-friendly and recycled furniture. It has its own kitchen, a very nice living room, and they organize tours around the city. Expect a kind of hipster vibe here. Price: shared room (35 GEL), double (90 GEL). For more information: www.boombully.com
Why Not Hostel
Address: 15/4 Tavukashvili Street
Phone: +995 5 99 00 70 30
The bohemian atmosphere of this cozy hostel is great. It is a two-story house with rooms of 2, 4, and 6 beds. It also has a bedroom for 15 people in the loft. The hostel team is a mixture of Polish, American, and German travelers settled in Georgia.
This hostel has a good location as it is just a short distance from Rustaveli Avenue. They organize tours throughout the country. They were thinking of moving to another building during the information collection period of this guide. Price: from 20 to 75 GEL. For more information: www.whynothostels.com
Address: 23 Iashvili Street
Phone: +995 322 931 331/+995 598 161 771
It is a very cozy hostel located in the quiet neighborhood of Sololaki, 5 minutes walking from Rustaveli Avenue. It occupies the first floor of an old house. It has 2 rooms with 10 beds (20 GEL), another with 4 (25GEL) and a double (70 GEL). The bathrooms are shared. It has an open access kitchen and a lounge full of musical instruments and travel guides. Prices: 25-70 GEL. For more information: www.nesthosteltbilisi.com
Medium Price Lodging in Rustaveli
Nest Boutique Hostel
Address: 22 Anton Purtseladze Street
Phone: +995 598 161 771
It’s a mix between a hostel and a boutique hotel. It has a very welcoming environment. Double room: 120 GEL; triple: 120 GEL; quad 35 GEL / pax. It has a shared lounge with a fireplace and kitchen. The furniture is new and it is the perfect place for travelers on a budget seeking comfort, privacy, relaxation, and escape from the hustle and bustle of hostels. It is 5 minutes walking from Rustaveli Avenue. You should make a reservation in advance. www.nesthosteltbilisi.com
Luxury Lodging in Rustaveli
Courtyard Hotel by Marriott
Address: 4 Tavisuplebis Moedani Street
Phone: +995 32 27 79 100
This is located in the Freedom Square, the heart of Tbilisi. Room prices vary every day but they are around 420 GEL. For more information: www.courtyardtbilisi.com
Luxury Lodging in Rustaveli
Radisson Blue Iveria Hotel
Address: Rose Revolution Square 1
Phone: +995 322 402200
One of the best hotels in the city. It occupies one of the few skyscrapers in the capital and it offers 249 urban-style rooms with the best views of the city. There are standard, superior, business classes, junior and executive suites. Some of them are adapted for handicapped people. The hotel has its own SPA with an attractive indoor pool on the top floor of the building. For more information: www.radissonblu.com
Address: 14 Merab Kostava Street
Phone: +995 32 27 30 099
It is the place to go among artists, architects, young entrepreneurs, and creative professionals. It is a design hotel located in the pretty neighborhood of Vere. The owners have been inspired by the architectural style of New York’s industrial buildings. In fact, it occupies an old factory that has been completely remodeled and presents unique details.
The hotel offers stylish rooms of different categories. All are spacious and very comfortable, with abundant touches of ecological wood. Its lobby, it’s Garden Bar, and its famous Restaurant ‘The Kitchen’ are worth checking out. It is one of the most popular in the city where traditional Georgian cuisine is mixed with the new American cuisine. For more information: www.roomshotels.com
Holiday Inn Hotel
Address: 1 26 May Square
Phone: +995 32 23 000 99
It is an urban hotel located in the district of Saburtalo. It is a good bet regarding value for money. The only negative point is that it is a little far away from downtown (about 3 km from Rustaveli Avenue). For more information: www.holidayinn.com
Old Town (Kala)
Cheap Restaurant in Kala
It is a chain of restaurants specializing in Khachapuris, the national dish of Georgia. It is a typical place to eat well for little money and taste the flavor of the country’s traditional dish. Know that you will end up full here. In Tbilisi, there are six Machakhela establishments, but the most famous one is at 26 Kote Abkhasi Street (Leselidze).
Heladería Luca Polare
Address: 32 Kote Abkhasi Street (Leselidze)
If you visit Tbilisi in summer, this is one of the best places to enjoy a good ice cream.
Address: Lermontov corner with Dadiani
It is one of the most authentic places in Tbilisi to celebrate something, and one of the cheapest, too. 100% Georgian food. The place is located in a basement and it is quite an experience. A typical place frequented by young people.
The menu is in Georgian and nobody speaks English at the establishment. You should try the khinkalis and the soko (mushrooms with garlic). You will eat like a king for 15 GEL. You will definitely come back.
Medium Restaurant in Kala
BCN Hispania Restaurant
Address: 6 Samgebro (Gorgasali Square)
Phone: +995 5 58 20 73 08
It is a restaurant offering Spanish cuisine located in a privileged place in Gorgasali Square. It is managed by José, a native of Granada who has lived half his life in Barcelona before settling in Tbilisi. The restaurant offers a varied menu and traditional products.
Moulin Eléctrique Cafe
Address: 30 Kote Abkhazi Street
Opening Hours: 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m
Phone: +995 551 72 23 23
It is a perfect cafe-restaurant for lunch, dinner or a quiet drink. It is located in a hidden courtyard that overlooks a small synagogue. Relaxing music and cozy atmosphere. European cuisine.
Cafe Restaurant Linville
Address: 9 Kote Abkhasi Street, Corner with 2 Abesadze
Phone: + 995 593 32 22 21
Opening Hours: from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
You will feel at home here. As a matter of fact, it looks like the typical Tbilisian house of the early twentieth century. It occupies the first floor of an old building in the old town and it is quite an original place.
The living room is a vintage roll dining room that makes the weekend evenings with piano concerts more pleasant. The floor is made of old wood. The rooms are the perfect place to have a drink. They mix Georgian cuisine with French and Italian cuisine. It is a perfect place for a romantic dinner with your partner as well.
Shavi Lomi Restaurant
Address: 30 Zurab Qvilividze Street
Phone: +995 322 96 09 56
This place was featured in the New York Times. It is one of the best restaurants in the city in terms of value for money and it offers a culinary experience. It is not in the area of Old Tbilisi. You should go by taxi. It occupies an old Tbilisian house with a nice interior patio with tables. Find here Georgian cuisine with a creative touch courtesy of Chef Meriko Gubeladze. They have a good Georgian wine list as well. You should book in advance.
Expensive Restaurant in Kala
Restaurante Citadel Narikala
Address: 20 Orpiri Street
Phone: +995 32 290 41 41
It is the restaurant of the Citadel Narikala Hotel. They specialize in new Georgian cuisine, although they also offer some traditional dishes. There are beautiful panoramic views here, a quiet atmosphere, and a selection of wines from the best wineries in the country. They open their upper floor terrace starting in May.
Address. 13 Machabeli Street
Phone: +995 599 988 308
Opening Hours: from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Main dishes of 36-24 GEL
The Coffee Litera occupies part of the Union de Escritores building and in summer they take the tables from the front to the beautiful garden. It is an elegant and very friendly place. The owner is Tekuna Gachechidlaze, one of the promoters of the new Georgian cuisine. He is mixing the local cuisine with creative touches. Intriguing starters, author’s salads, and tasty main courses are available. There is also a good selection of Georgian wines. It is important to book in advance.
Address: 3 Metekhi Street
Phone Reservations: +995 32 274 74 07.
It is one of the most famous restaurants in the city. The place overlooks the Mtkavari cliff and it offers beautiful views of the Narikala fortress and Old Tbilisi. It is a nice place with a menu mixing Georgian and international cuisine. They have a good selection of wines from the city of Telavi and from the winery of Chateau Mukhrani. They usually organize live music events for their clients from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Rustaveli and Surroundings
Cheap Restaurant in Rustaveli
Address: 19 Mikheil Zandukeli Street
It is a chain store in Tbilisi and they mix French and Georgian cuisine. Here you can sample the typical French sandwiches, a fresh loaf of bread, salads, soups or croissants. The counter shows a good assortment of sweets. It is a concept of healthy fast food and with a Georgian style touch. There are around 15 locations throughout Tbilisi. For more information: www.entree.ge
Address: 37 Rustaveli Avenue
This restaurant is an institution in Tbilisi. It is the khinkali temple, one of the national dishes. It is a cheap place frequented by locals and it is perfect to make a stop here and enjoy one of the most typical recipes of Georgia with a cold beer.
Medium Price Restaurant in Rustaveli
Address: Gorgasali Square, 77 Kostavan Street, 146 Aghmasheneveli Street, 5/7 Pushkin Street
This is a 5-restaurant chain in Tbilisi offering traditional Georgian cuisine at very good prices. The design is modern and the menus are translated into English. You can find soups, khinkalis or salads, and other Georgian dishes on the menu.
Address: 14 Merab Kostava Street
Phone: +995 32 27 30 099
It is the restaurant of the Rooms hotel. It has a New York architecture in one of the chicest places in the city. They offer fusion dishes, taking inspiration from traditional Georgian cuisine and new American cuisine. The menu changes a lot, so it never fails to impress. For more information: www.roomshotels.com
Having a Drink
Canudos Ethnic Bar
Address: 2 Elbaqidze (Samaya square)
Opening Hours: from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Rock, reggae, ethnic music, jam sessions, bohemian atmosphere – these are what you’ll get here. Everyone is welcome here and you will start a conversation with someone just like that. Little by little, this place has been making a name for itself on the night club scene of the city and today it is one of the most famous bars.
Address: 12 Revaz Laghidze Street
It is a pretty alternative bar for the Tbilisi night club scene. It occupies a building with graffiti on the facade and a casual interior where they play reggae, rock, hip hop, and electronic music. It was founded by a group of American aid workers and local people.
This bar has become an institution among backpackers, expatriates, and Georgians looking for a different environment. It has cheap drinks, an open atmosphere, a ping pong table, and a great outdoor space which is perfect for summer evenings.
Address:15 Tabidze Street
It was one of the first wineries opened in Tbilisi and it is one of the most popular, too. It is a temple dedicated to the god Baco where you can taste very special wines from small Georgian wineries. They have a kitchen and a small menu with dishes that really combine well with the wines served.
Expect a relaxed atmosphere in a very nice place built in brick. The staff will give you some tips about the wines and they often nail it. It is a charming place. It’s perfect to have a drink in good company or buy a souvenir bottle. For more information: www.vinounderground.ge
Black Dog Bar
Address: 33 Lado Asatiani Street
Phone: +995 599 03 62 51
It is a bar, pub, and restaurant frequented by beer lovers. There is also American cuisine prepared with great care on the menu and they specialize in craft beer. It is a cozy western-style bar that is ten minutes’ walking distance from Freedom Square. It has good prices and an interesting selection of beers.
Address: 15 Shalva Dadiani Street
Opening Hours: from 5:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
It is a good place to listen to rock while having a couple of beers. Alcohol is cheap and there is a good atmosphere every day. It is in the basement of a building, a short distance from Freedom Square, but you have to cross the Mikheil Lermontovi Street.
The nightlife district of Chardin Street is full of bars, pubs, and there are recently fashionable places preparing shishas for smoking. For all of us, the best place of all is Marrakesh (15 Chardin Street). It is a good place for dinner, having a drink, or relaxing with a beer and a hookah. It is decorated like the typical Moroccan coffee shops, only that it is in the Tbilisi downtown.
Address: Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel
Opening Hours: from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
It is located on the 18th floor of the hotel. It is the best place to have a drink and enjoy some breathtaking views. The prices are in line with the hotel level but the views are worth it. What is the best time to visit? We recommend shortly before sunset.
It is such a unique experience to visit the bathhouses of Abanotubani. However, do not think about the glamour or a modern spa to use. Immersing in sulfurous waters was one of the favorite activities of the wealthy classes of Tbilisi. It is also a place frequented by the merchants of the silk route. It was a meeting place where you could relax and large business deals were closed. The medicinal waters of the bathhouses are famous for treating some skin conditions and you will leave with the skin of a baby.
The first thing you have to know is that there are different bathhouses. Some of them are very old, and the majority are quite cheap. You have the option of a bathroom in a public area or reserve your own room if you are coming with your partner and you want more privacy. There are different sizes. They usually have a small pool with sulfurous water, sink, shower, and a marble massage bed. Some are a little more expensive. There are also others that offer a sauna. If you choose to give yourself a traditional massage, you should know that the masseuses are really strong. However, you will come out like a new person.
- Abano Nº 5. With its 300 years of history, this Abanotubani bathhouse is the oldest one. It has a common bathroom area and also private rooms of different sizes, in case you want a little more privacy. Price of the entrance to the public baths: 3 GEL. Private rooms: 40-80 GEL.
- Royal Bath. It offers a few private rooms decorated in oriental style. It is a little more elegant than the previous one. Price of the private room: 45-80 GEL. Massages: 10.
Shopping in Tbilisi
Address: Erekle II Street Nº 8
Opening Hours: from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
They specialize in the making and repair of handmade Georgian carpets. Spinners sometimes work in the street, especially in summer when the weather is good. It is in the Chardin Street area, near the Sioni Cathedral.
Address: 4 Sanapiro Street
Opening Hours: from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
This store is like a small bazaar where you will find all kinds of antiques, especially carpets.
Khareba Wine Cellar
Address: 50 Rustaveli Avenue
It is one of the best wine cellars of Tbilisi. Here you can buy the best wine and you can take it as a souvenir. For more information: www.winerykhareba.com
Festivals and Carnivals
- Tbilisoba. This is celebrated on the last weekend of October and involves pushing a boat out. The city gets dressed up for non-sporting events such as concerts, traditional dance shows, and other types of cultural expressions. There are also street stalls with fruit, skewers, or wine for sale. The events take place in the old part of the capital and people dress in traditional costumes.
- Independence Day. Georgian people celebrate one of their most important days on May 26. The Shota Rustaveli Avenue is closed to traffic at this time and there is the Armed Forces parade, exhibitions of polyphonic songs, traditional dances, and all kinds of concerts.
- Tbilisi International Film Festival. The date is not fixed but it usually takes place in winter. This festival came to be in 2000 and little by little it has grown. It is a shop window for Georgian directors and it especially emphasizes the broadcasting of European cinema.