Georgia is an ancient and fascinating country. Straddling both Europe and Asia, the Georgian capital of Tbilisi is one of the most unique cities on either continent.
Even better: it has gone almost undetected by the hordes of tourists. An up-and-coming destination in Eastern Europe, There are many reasons to visit Tbilisi.
If I had to describe Tbilisi in one word, my answer would be simple: eclectic.
The architecture spans the ages giving it an eclectic personality with a blend of old and new.
Visiting Tbilisi, Georgia
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Why Visit Tbilisi?
Georgia is rapidly developing. It is fast becoming one of the countries from the former Soviet-era bloc with the least amount of crime and corruption.
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia is one of the safest cities in Europe.
With its love for food and wine, Georgia has a similar vibe to Italy but is more affordable.
It’s also a geographically diverse place, with breathtaking beaches and some of the tallest peaks in Europe.
Tbilisi is a hip city of flavors and experiences that you simply cannot miss.
There are so many things to do in Tbilisi and below are my favorite things!
Check out another great Georgian city at our Batumi Travel Guide
1. The Picturesque Old City
Tbilisi has been through wars and occupations throughout its history. Because of its location between Europe and Asia, it has been the center of many conflicts.
It has been destroyed dozens of times, but magically a lot of the Old City of Tbilisi remains.
You can get lost in here for hours, seeing its ancient buildings and old balconies.
The colorful streets are full of boutiques that are perfect for shopping to take something home.
A peek through open windows and the many green yards will give you a truly authentic feel of the everyday Tbilisi life!
2. The Architecture Contrasts
Due to its vast and convoluted history, full of invasions and cultural exchanges, the Tbilisi architecture is very eclectic.
It is a place where east meets west.
Byzantine buildings from the Middle Ages share spaces with Art Deco constructions.
And then, everywhere, traces of the stark Stalinist grandeur remain.
Even more impressive are the modern-day buildings and huge glass structures like the Bridge of Peace.
It’s a must spot on the list of Tbilisi attractions.
I love how the newer building designs are fully transparent, to convey the government’s commitment to the fight against corruption.
The architecture is so varied and eclectic, it’s hard to settle on a single place to look at when in Tbilisi!
So instead, take it all in and enjoy the view!
3. The Settings & Views
Tbilisi lies at the foothill of the Trialeti mountain range on the Mtkvari River (Kura River).
The scene of rolling hills and flowing water makes for truly amazing viewpoints.
There’s an aerial tramway that goes up the mountains.
Take one of the cable cars from Rike Park on the left bank of the River up to Narikala Fortress where you can overlook the city.
4. Narikala Fortress
Narikala is a medieval fortress built in the 4th century located beside the botanical gardens.
It’s the perfect place to get unforgettable pictures of Tbilisi. A truly magical setting!
5. The Incredible Food & Hip Eateries
One of the most popular and satisfying things to do in Tbilisi is eating.
Georgia is a country for foodies, with a rich cuisine dating back centuries.
And you can not leave Tbilisi without trying one of my favorite Georgian foods, Khachapuri, Khinkali, and Pkhali.
You should try to have a home-cooked meal for a taste of traditional Georgian cuisine. Of course, this can be difficult, but Georgians are friendly people and you never know.
If not, these are my favorite restaurants in Tbilisi.
6. For the Fantastic Food Scene in Tbilisi
Tblisi has an amazing food scene offering beautiful outdoor settings and chic indoor decor.
These are my favourite restaurants in Tblisi.
- Keto & Kote. An Old City gem, the food is delicious and, much like Tbilisi itself, the design mixes old and new. It’s an old house renovated with a fully modern look!
- Lolita. Serving international food with a Georgian twist, it’s a super cool eatery that’s also part of the local nightlife. Perfect evening spot during weekends with a great vibe and delicious cocktails!
- Iveria Terrace. Located at the Radisson Blu, it offers a magnificent view of Tbilisi, perfect for a lazy afternoon or a nightcap!
- Culinarium Khasheria. Experimental cuisine based on the traditional flavors of Georgia, using purely organic ingredients.
- Fabrika. A former Soviet sewing factory, it’s now a hip brunch place with an amazing vibe and very cute design.
- Arthouse Tbilisi. A truly unique place and the very first club house in Tbilisi full of restaurants, clubs, gym and creative spaces. A must visit!
7. The Famous Georgian Wine Bars
Many historians believe Georgia may be the oldest wine region in the world – they’ve been producing it for 8,000 years!
As they definitely know their way around vino, Georgians have a wide selection of fine wines.
Whether you’re into sweet, semi-sweet or dry, you’ll find plenty of options here.
For an incredible wine tasting experience, Wine Gallery, near Fabrika, is the place to be.
8. The Artsy Vibe
There’s something in the air in Tbilisi that is very hard to express into words.
As a growing city making its way into the future after a turbulent past, there’s an invigorating sense of life here.
There are artists and creative people of all sorts in the Georgian capital – and you can definitely tell!
I love all the hipster art murals and hipster hot spots around town.
One of my favorite things to do in Tbilisi is a visit and brunch at the creative old sewing factory Fabrika.
9. A visit to the Public Baths – A Must Among Things To Do In Tbilisi!
Just outside the Old City, the ancient baths are among the most popular things to do in Tbilisi.
Famous all-over Eastern Europe, the sulphur baths of Abanotubani are a unique experience.
Thought to help with skin issues, there are beautiful Byzantine structures built around the natural phenomenon.
Each of the baths is a colorful wonder from the outside and going inside takes you back in time to that ancient era. .
When you plan a trip to the baths, why not walk along the Kura River? It is a lovely trip.
10. Palpable History & Mtskheta
Georgia was part of many kingdoms during ancient times, and it has been a unified nation since the Middle Ages.
The country has been occupied by the Mongolians, the Ottoman Empire, Russia, and the USSR.
It is an ancient and proud nation, and the Capital of Georgia, Tbilisi showcases examples of that everywhere. And so does the city’s surroundings.
Book day tours to Mtskheta here.
11. Sololaki Hill
A statue at the top of Sololaki Hill known as Mother Georgia represents the character of Georgia. Holding a bowl of wine, she welcomes friends while wielding a sword to fend of her foes.
Mtskheta is one of the oldest Christian settlements in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Barely 30 minutes away from Tbilisi by car, Mtskheta makes for a great day trip from Tbilisi.
Mtskheta is actually considered a Holy City in the Georgian Orthodox Church, as it is where Christianity first bloomed in the country.
So if you are up for and excursion, put Mtskheta on your list.
11. The Georgian Hospitality
If there’s one thing Georgians are known for – besides making great wine – is their hospitality.
It’s well-regarded as one of the nicest nations in Europe, and everyone will always give you a hand.
My tour guide, Gaggi, was a prime example: he didn’t just take me to the landmarks, he showed me the pulse of Tbilisi and even invited me into the homes of some locals.
Just as I met him, he told me I wasn’t his client but his guest – and I could feel his honesty.
Whenever you visit Georgia, wherever you go, whether it’s a hotel, a restaurant or a landmark, everyone is super nice. Georgians are incredible hosts!
12. The Cool Hipster Hotels
There are few things I love more than staying at a beautiful boutique hotel where you get a true experience and can feel the personal touch.
Between the Georgian hospitality, the beautiful contrasts of Tbilisi and the city’s vibe, there are plenty of those here.
The hotels alone are a great reason to visit.
My favorite hotel in town is The Rooms Tbilisi. It’s in the Old City, specifically in the shabby chic area of Vera. A boutique and hipster dream!
Once a publishing house, its current design mixes industrial chic and New York style.
It’s a cozy place full of books, with lovely facilities and drinks. A true gem!
How to get to Tbilisi?
Tbilisi is easily accessible by plane, as its airport receives flights from most Balkan capitals and many western Europe and Middle East cities.
The airport is between 20 to 30 minutes away from downtown and will probably grow further soon!
So, for the road less travelled, Tbilisi is a must for your bucket list! But…you better go sooner than later as it is making it to more and more hotspot travel lists!
Georgia is located on the east side of the Black Sea. It is bordered by Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.
Tbilisi is the capital of the country of Georgia.
Tbilisi is very safe, in fact, it is one of the safest cities in Europe.
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