The capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, is a vibrant combination of old and modern architecture, making it a fascinating place to explore. This beautiful city is dramatically located in a valley setting, lying on the banks of the Mtkvari River. Tbilisi has been destroyed and rebuilt 29 times since it was founded in the 5th century AD. When visiting Tbilisi, you are bound to get a great first impression of Georgia. Here is our list of top 9 things to do in Tbilisi.
Walk around the Old City of Tbilisi
The old town of Tbilisi, Abanotubani, is the central historical part of the city. It has got an interesting story about it. It’s where King Gorgasali’s falcon fell in hot water during a hunt, which led to the discovery of natural sulfur hot springs and, subsequently, to the founding of the new capital.
Also to know: Apparently the name of the capital, Tbilisi, is also connected to the story. The translation of the word ‘Tbili’ in English is Warm.
In the North-East corner, Chardeni is a small area packed with bars, restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs. West of the Old City is called Sololaki, a lovely and fascinating place to wander around and take photographs.
The old city has many attractions up its sleeves, such as the Narikala Fortress, Mother of Georgia, Botanical Garden, Metechi Bridge, Old residential complexes and much more.
Old Tbilisi City © Somesh Rai / @worldnestler
Visit the amazingly beautiful churches
Tbilisi has several beautiful churches, it’s for sure you will be amazed by their architectural beauty and the paintings inside those churches and cathedrals.
My recommendations would be to visit Holy Trinity Cathedral, Metekhi St. Virgin Church, Anchiskhati Basilica, Sioni Cathedral, Mtatsminda Mama Daviti church.
Ladies require scarves in the Georgian orthodox churches, sometimes skirts too, but they can find some in the entrances. Shorts are forbidden in the church.
Holy Trinity Cathedral © Somesh Rai / @worldnestler
Walk the Rustaveli avenue
Starting from Freedom square and extending for about 1.5 km Rustaveli Avenue is full of cafes, restaurants, and shops. It’s a great walk to have where you will see interesting architecture around, come across a park and also a church.
Try the Georgian cuisines
By the time you arrive in Georgia, you definitely will hear about the khankalis and khachapuris. What better way to know these dishes than to try them out yourself.
Khankali is the Georgian take on dumplings; dumplings stuffed with some meat and little liquid from the broth. The trick is to have a bite of the Khankali and then suck the liquid off the Khankali without spilling it on your table and then eat the remaining part.
Khachapuri is a Georgian bread usually filled with lots of cheese. Adjarian Khachapuri is usually the one you will mostly see in the pictures outside restaurants and everywhere else. This particular Khachapuri is a bread shaped like a boat, filled in the center with melted cheese and runny egg which is served straight out of the oven. One serving is usually enough for two people, especially if you are the one who is not into too much fatty food.
Also Read: 6 Must-try foods in Georgia
Souvenir Khankali and Khachapuri © Somesh Rai | @worldnestler
Enjoy a bottle of Georgian wine
It is difficult to overlook on wine when you are in Georgia. Almost every store sells wine and it’s a regular staple in Georgian homes. Red or white wine, you are bound to enjoy and relish the taste of Georgian wine. And it is highly unlikely that you won’t be offered wine in one of your places you stay in Georgia while traveling.
Strip down and enjoy the bath
The Sulfur Baths in the Old City of Tbilisi are a great experience to have. These baths are the ones with natural sulfur hot spring waters. These baths are usually ranging from 30 GEL to 100 GEL.
Sulfur Baths © Marcin Konsek / Wikimedia Commons
Visit the Dry Bridge flea market
It’s the biggest flea market in the whole Tbilisi. You can find all kinds of antique items of Georgian origin, Soviet origin or some items from other parts of the world. Must visit place if you love old and antique things. It’s a place where locals sell their extra possessions to make some extra cash. One can find a huge variety of items here such as antiques, old books, jewelry, pins, maps, badges and other small items on sale.
Be careful of high prices for tourists. Make sure to bargain.
Dry Bridge Market © Alexey Komarov / creativecommons.org
Visit the Mtatsminda park
Located at the top of Mount Mtatsminda this park promises really a splendid panoramic view of the Georgian capital Tbilisi. Mtatsminda Park has carousels, water slides, roller coaster, funicular, and a big Ferris Wheel at the mountain edge offering a breathtaking city view. Park is must visit if you are with kids. One would still enjoy the park even as an adult. It’s not a small park, it has a good big area for walking and fun activities to involve in.
Mtatsminda Park © Somesh Rai / @worldnestler
Take a cable car to the Narikala fortress and Mother Georgia statue
Kartlis Deda, Mother of Georgia, is a statue of a woman overlooking the city of Tbilisi. One hand of the statue carries a sword and the other carries a glass of wine. Glass of wine shows the warm welcoming nature of Georgia and the sword is for the enemies. You can take a cable car from the south end of Rike park to the Narikala fortress and then take a short walk to the Mother Georgia statue.
If you are not in a hurry and like to walk, I would recommend walking all the up to the statue. The path goes through the old city of Tbilisi.
Narikala Fortress in a distant view © DAVID HOLT / creativecommons.org