Top 15 Best Things to Do in Tbilisi, Georgia

What are the top tourist spots in Tbilisi?

Things to Do in Tbilisi by Nono Gakhokia via Unsplash

Tbilisi Bucket List: 15 Best Places to Visit in Tbilisi, Georgia

Tbilisi’s historic city offers first-time visitors its ancient and modern image, home to multiple cultural and religious backgrounds. Tbilisi is known for the hospitality of its locals, the fantastic wine, and culinary traditions from the Middle East, Europe, and Western Asia. More people visit this city every year yet it remains an unknown location to many travelers. In this list, we present fifteen of some of the best things to do while in Tbilisi but some quick tips first.

Things to Do in Tbilisi by Nono Gakhokia via Unsplash
Things to Do in Tbilisi by Nono Gakhokia via Unsplash

The best time to travel to Tbilisi, as every travel guide says so, is during the spring and autumn months. A lot of people can’t take the summer heat and the weather will get to freezing temperatures during the winter, deterring many travelers from dwelling in this beautiful city. The pleasant climate of spring and autumn brings more people outside, giving life to the historic and quirky Tbilisi.

Because of this, it is important to bring your most trusted pair of shoes that you are comfortable wearing and walking around with. Exploring the city on foot offers any traveler a glimpse into the ancient Silk Road and heritage homes seized during the Soviet era. The enormous amount of street dogs is a marvel to many travelers. But don’t be afraid as they are all affectionate toward humans. Travelers can also forgo the walks and get a taxi but it is advised to download a taxi app before landing in the city. Local taxis are not metered and rates can skyrocket when they see a tourist. Public buses and cable cars are also available as an alternative way of getting around.

It is important for a traveler to observe the dress code when visiting churches. The country of Georgia is largely populated by Orthodox Christians so modesty is key. Both men and women must wear pants covering their knees and tops covering their shoulders. Women must cover their hair and refrain from tops with deep necklines. Some churches, however, require women to wear long skirts instead of pants.

Lastly, city life is late to rise so travelers must adjust to Tbilisi time. A lot of locals don’t start work until late morning and restaurants don’t open before 11am.

Explore the Old Tbilisi by Foot

Old Tbilisi photo via Pixabay
Old Tbilisi photo via Pixabay

Getting around the Old Tbilisi by foot offers an experience to get up close and personal with the culture and history of this town. Travelers can reach attraction spots and local favorites at their own pace and gain an intimate discovery of what it’s like to belong there.

It is possible to explore the entirety of the town in less than a day but the colorful balconies and curved cobblestone streets might distract travelers from their agenda so be careful to keep up with your itinerary. Walking around the area can give travelers an opportunity to converse with locals and share stories about the city’s past.

Get a Vantage Point from the Narikala Fortress

Narikala Fortress photo via Pixabay
Narikala Fortress photo via Pixabay

Travelers can get from the Old Tbilisi to the Narikala Fortress by foot through the Betlemi Street Stairs. Entry to the fortress is free. From the fortress, travelers can get a beautiful view of the city and roam the fortress’s perimeter through the marked paths. Inside the fortress are stone watchtowers, ruins of the fortress, and the St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Church. The St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Church doors are left unlocked between 11am and 6pm. Taking pictures is not allowed inside the small church and the dress code must be observed. Another spot for travelers to check out near the fortress is the Kartlis Deda.

The Kartlis Deda is situated on the west of the fortress. Displaying a bowl of wine in one hand and a sword in the other, the Kartlis Deda is Georgia’s most important woman, symbolizing the Georgian spirit of hospitality and love of freedom.

The National Botanical Garden and Waterfall

National Botanical Garden of Georgia by Sb2s3 via Wikipedia cc
National Botanical Garden of Georgia By Sb2s3 – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

The National Botanical Garden of Georgia is situated behind the Narikala Fortress and next to the Kartlis Deda. The main attraction of the garden is the Botanical Garden Waterfall and the different kinds of gardens including the Japanese Gardens and a Bamboo Garden.

Travelers are advised to wear proper outdoor shoes. The National Botanical Garden is open every day from 9am to 5:30pm with an entrance fee of 4 GEL per person.

*Rates may change without prior notice.

Get a massage or a scrub at the Sulfur Baths

Sulphur Bath in Tbilisi by Juri Kaljundi via Wikimedia cc
Sulphur Bath in Tbilisi By Jüri Kaljundi, Attribution, cc

Tbilisi is built on the famous thermal hot springs that King Vakhtang Gorgasali discovered when he was out hunting for an eagle. The name “Tbilisi” itself means “a warm place” in the Georgian language.

The Tbilisi Sulfur Baths have become a tourist attraction nowadays but some locals still visit them for a soak. Travelers can make a memorable experience while they get massaged or scrubbed which includes additional fees and can last for 15 minutes. It is important to remember that the sulfur baths are bathhouses and not spas, although some have been turned into spa-like establishments to welcome tourists. There are both public and private bathhouses that offer different experiences. Public baths include the naked experience with the locals while private baths offer a comfortable bath experience. Some private baths even have their own sauna and a private shower. Below are some of the recommended sulfur baths:

Gulo’s Thermal Spa

Operating hours: 7:30am to 11:59pm / Daily
Rates: Starting from 90 GEL per person per hour (for private rooms only)
*Rates may change without prior notice.
Reservations required? Yes (can be booked via Facebook or phone)
Phone: +995 599 58 81 22
Facebook: facebook.com/tbilisithermalspa
Email: tbilisithermalspa@gmail.com

Chreli-Abano (Orbeliani Baths)

Operating hours: 9am to 11am / Daily
Rates: Starting from 70 GEL per person per hour (for private rooms only)
*Rates may change without prior notice.
Reservations required? Yes (can be booked via the website or phone)
Phone: 0322 93 00 93
Email: contact@chreli-abano.ge
Website: booking.chreli-abano.ge

Sulfur Bath No. 5

Operating hours: (Public) 8am to 9pm / Daily; (Private) 24/7
Rates: From 6-8 GEL/hour (public) or from 70 GEL/hour (private)
*Rates may change without prior notice.
Reservations required? No, reservations are not required for the public baths

Visit the Rike Park

Rike Park in Tbilisi, Georgia by Levan Gokadze via Wikimedia cc
Rike Park in Tbilisi, Georgia By Levan Gokadze – [1], CC BY-SA 2.0, cc
Located around Rike Park are the Rike Park Concert Hall and the Bridge of Peace with beautiful modern architecture that travelers can marvel at. The Bridge of Peace is the main attraction because of its unique contrast to the historic homes of Old Tbilisi. The Rike Park is also a cable car station to the Narikala Fortress.

Ride with a Cable Car

Tbilisi cityscapes with a cable car photo by Katarzyna Javaheri-Szpak via Wikimedia cc
Tbilisi cityscapes with a cable car photo By Katarzyna Javaheri-Szpak, CC0, cc

The Tbilisi Cable Car connects the Rike Park to the Narikala Fortress. Travelers can get an aerial view of the city through a Soviet-era passenger line.

Travelers can also find abandoned cable car stations that were transformed into an art spaces. Cable car stations are open daily from 10am to 10pm, and rates are paid using a Metromoney card. These can be purchased in any payment office in the metro stations.

Roam around the Rustaveli Avenue

Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi by Gerd Eichmann via Wikipedia cc
Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi By Gerd Eichmann – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Rustaveli Avenue is home to some of the most important buildings in Tbilisi. Here travelers can see the Georgian National Opera Theater and the Rustaveli State Academic Theater. The avenue is 1.5km long and travelers are suggested to walk along the avenue during their stay. Along Rustaveli Avenue, travelers can see the Apple of Love – a 9-meter-tall building that houses 145 sculptures created by Zurab Tsereteli.

Dry Bridge Market

Flea Market
Flea Market

The Dry Bridge Market of Tbilisi is by far the most famous flea market in the city. Rummage through the Dry Bridge Market and get a chance to buy Soviet memorabilia, maps of the former USSR, war medals, vintage paraphernalia, and loads of other antiquities. Bring cash as the vendors don’t accept cards and be polite to the vendors. Some of the vendors are locals trying to make ends meet.

The Dry Bridge Market started after the collapse of communism in Tbilisi where local vendors would make cash by selling personal possessions. Sometime later, the market has been polished up and the vendors sell solely to the travelers and tourists.

If the weather is not good, the flea market may not operate. Otherwise, the flea market is open daily from 10am until 5pm.

The market can be divided into sections. Handicrafts such as feltworks and knitted items are sold in the arts and crafts market. The antique market is a treasure trove of porcelain, ceramics, and dinnerware. The flea market is where travelers can find Soviet memorabilia and is the main attraction of the Dry Bridge Market.

Visit the Churches

No trip to Tbilisi is complete without paying respect to the churches there. After the Ottoman invasion and the annexation by the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, many churches were destroyed and rebuilt. The long history of repressing the Georgian Orthodox Churches has given it power since Georgia’s independence from Russia. Below are some of the churches in Tbilisi worth visiting:

Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi – the largest church in Georgia, the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi has nine chapels.

Anchiskhati Basilica – Tbilisi’s oldest surviving Orthodox church.

Anchiskhati Basilica of Saint Mary via Wikipedia cc
Anchiskhati Basilica of Saint Mary via Wikipedia cc

St. Peter And Paul Apostles’ Church – is one of the few Catholic Churches in Tbilisi, visiting this church will remind travelers of the contrast between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions. Mass on Sunday mornings is held in English and on evenings are in Latin. Every morning the mass is held in Georgian.

Other than Orthodox Christian and Catholic churches, Tbilisi is served by synagogues and mosques. Tbilisi has a tradition of accommodating people of different religious backgrounds.

Travelers must be responsible and observe the dress code and the behavior code in the churches. The men and women must cover their shoulders and knees and women must cover their hair. Other churches ask women to wear long skirts instead of long pants. Travelers must not run around, talk loudly or smoke on church grounds, especially during mass. Some churches prohibit the taking of pictures of the inside of a church.

All churches in Tbilisi are free to visit.

Mtatsminda Pantheon

St. David Monastery or Mtatsminda Pantheon photo via Wikimedia cc
St. David Monastery / Mtatsminda Pantheon photo via Wikimedia cc

The Mtatsminda Pantheon is a necropolis of some of Georgia’s most important public figures. Being buried here is a form of thanksgiving from the country and a way to honor those who sacrificed their lives for the country of Georgia. Another reason travelers are fascinated by the Mtatsminda Pantheon is the unique gravestone inspired by the figure it commemorates. There is also a great view of the city from the Pantheon if a traveler takes the Tbilisi Funicular to the first station.

Visit the Queen Darejan’s Palace

Remnants of Queen Darejan's palace in Tbilisi by Marcin Konsek via Wikimedia cc
Remnants of Queen Darejan’s palace in Tbilisi By Photo: Marcin Konsek / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

From the balcony of the palace is a sweeping view of Tbilisi. The palace was built in 1776 for King Erekle II’s wife, Queen Darejan. Partially set on the grounds of Queen Darejan’s Palace is the Holy Lord’s Transfiguration Convent. It will be a one-of-a-kind experience to visit Queen Darejan’s Palace and hear the nuns chanting in the garden.

Gardenia Shevardnadze

Gardenia Shevardnadze photo via FB Page
Gardenia Shevardnadze photo via FB Page

Gardenia Shevardnadze is an urban oasis designed and owned by Zura Shevardnadze. The garden has manicured flower beds, greenhouses, and a guesthouse. The garden plants on display are changed every season so visitors can expect to see a different set of plants every month. Visitors can shop for plants or walk around the garden and spend time in a small café called The Little Cafe. Visitors can opt to sit under the sky and let nature envelop their senses.

Operating hours: 10am to 6pm / Tuesday to Sunday
Entrance fee: 2 GEL per person
*Rates may change without prior notice.
Facebook: facebook.com/Gardenia-Shevardnadze
Website: gardenia.ge/

Chronicle of Georgia

The Chronicle of Georgia was sculpted by the same person who created the Apple of Love, Zurab Tsereteli. It is a multi-pillared monument that depicts the history of Georgia with16 columns that reach 114 feet. The lower parts of the columns show the history of Christianity while the higher parts show the rulers of Georgia.

Operating hours: Open 24/7
Entrance fee: Free of charge

Try the Georgian Wine

Wine Tasting
Wine Tasting

Drinking and making wine is an 8000-year-old tradition in Georgia and is one of their biggest exports. Travel guides always suggest for travelers try Georgian wine. There are thousands of varieties of wine and travelers can visit Tbilisi’s bars to get a taste of Georgia’s wine culture.

For those serious about wine, travelers can visit Kakheti, the principal wine region of Georgia.

Shop for Authentic Georgian Souvenir

Tbilisi souvenirs photo via Pixabay
Tbilisi souvenirs photo via Pixabay

Tbilisi is filled with souvenir shops; some may be more overpriced than others. When in Tbilisi, travelers can support independent shops and artists by purchasing craftsmanship that carries the Georgian cultural history. This can be the lurji supra, a blue tablecloth traditionally used during supra feasts, hand-loomed floor carpets, hand-made silver and copper enamel jewelry, traditional Georgian spices, and most importantly, Georgian wine. Some of the most recommended shops to visit are:

Gallery 27
Operating hours: 12pm to 7pm / Monday to Thursday and Saturday to Sunday
11:15am to 7pm / Friday
Phone: +995 599 01 41 87
Email: info@gallery-27.com
Social Media: facebook.com/gallery27.Tbilisi/
Website: gallery-27.com/ge

EthnoDesign
Operating hours: 11am to 8pm / Daily
Email: info@crafts.ge
Social Media: facebook.com/ethnodesignsocielshop/
Website: crafts.ge

Georgian Kalata – Aristaeus
Operating hours: 10am to 11pm / Monday to Thursday and Saturday to Sunday
11am to 11pm / Friday
Phone: +995 599 91 68 15
Email: info.kalata@gmail.com
Social Media: facebook.com/Aristaeusge
Website: kartulikalata.ge/

Tbilisi, Georgia is a safe city for travelers to visit but this does not mean that travelers can put their guard down. Travelers should exercise common sense such as not leaving valuables unattended and locking the doors and windows of the hotel they are staying in. Every city has its issues and Tbilisi is one of them. Travelers can encounter touts and scams and solo female travelers have to take extra steps for their personal safety. This means dressing conservatively to blend in with the crowd and respecting the conservative society and taking proactive steps to ensure personal safety during any road travels. Travelers should be considerate of cultural sensitivities and keep an open mind that no city is perfect.

Some of the recommended boutique hotels for travelers to stay in are the Communal Hotel Plekhanovi, Writers’ House Residence, and the Octava Boutique Hotel.

Our Top Hotel Picks for Tbilisi, Georgia



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Tbilisi, Georgia Travel and Tour Packages

To help you plan out your vacation to Tbilisi, Georgia, we listed places to visit and other unique activities in Tbilisi, Georgia. We also listed some of the best travel deals, tour packages, and excellent flight deals and accommodation.

Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of cheap Tbilisi, Georgia hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

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