10 things to do in Tbilisi
The former Soviet republic is home to Caucasus Mountain villages and the Black Sea beaches; this Eurasian country’s capital city has its own charming slogan; Tibilisi – the city that loves you. This indeed is what I had experienced on my two visits to this winsome country. Georgians made me feel more like a local; in one sentence they described Georgia to me as a balcony of Europe.
Here are the 10 things to do in Tbilisi to make the most of your trip.
Stay in Rustaveli
Rustaveli Avenue is the central part of the city, almost all attractions can be covered on foot. Rustaveli is the home to the plush hotels and to backpacker pods. Its central location attracts people widely. Freedom square, Georgian national museum, and the Opera house are at a stone throw away distance from Rustaveli.
If you are travelling on a budget, I recommend you to stay in boombully hostel. It’s economical, centrally located, and reviewed to be one of the best hostels in the city.
Rustaveli is easy to reach from Tbilisi Airport. Just take a bus that runs on route number 37. It costs 0.50 GEL (0.22USD).
Stroll around the Tbilisi old town
One of the best things to do in Tbilisi is to take a day tour to the Old town. The stone hedged streets, old fashioned houses, historic churches, could easily move you back to “once upon a time” period. You could witness some charming sights here, from the traditional art museums to abandoned tram cars.
Visit the Metekhi
Metheki is a church that nestles on the top of an elevated cliff, overlooking the Kura River. This cross- cupola church has its own distinct middle-aged architecture.
Cross The Friendship Bridge
This distinct monumental attraction is more than just a bridge, known as the friendship bridge or the peace bridge, connecting the old town and the new town. This 150 meters bridge stretches over the Kura River providing a unique view of Metekhi Church.
Narikala Fortress and statue of city’s founder Vakhtang Gorgasali on one side, and Baratashvili Bridge and Presidential Office on the other.
Visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral
Locally known as Sameba, the third tallest eastern cathedral in the world has been dominating the Georgian church architecture. Although Sameba sits above the Elia Hill the climb won’t be really tiresome. Sameba is among the prominent places in the city.
Climb the Sololaki Hill
This could be somewhat arduous, but the view from above would be worth the strenuous climb. The Iconic statue of Kartvlis Deda stands on the top of the mountain. Kartvlis Deda has become the symbol of Tbilisi. It is a 23 meters aluminum statue of a lady dressed in the Georgian national outfit.
It is believed that she represents the country’s national character as she holds a bowl of wine on one hand to greet those who come as friends and a sword on the other for those who come as enemies.
Experience the Sulphur Baths
Tbilisi’s famous bath should be on your must-to-do list. Exploring through the winding streets of the old town the strong smell of sulfur would drag you towards one of the five bathhouses. Prices ranging from 20 to 100 GELs (9 to 45 USD), sulfur bathhouses offer public and private rooms. It’s easy to spot these unique Hive shaped houses along the Kura River.
Try The Georgian Wine
Georgian wines have their own distinct taste. During one of my visits to Tbilisi, a bartender told me that the roots of Georgian viticulture have been traced back by archeology to when peoples of the South Caucasus discovered that wild grape juice turned into wine when it was left buried through the winter in a shallow pit.
Much like France, Georgian wines carry the name of their source region, district or village. They are usually blended with two or more grapes. The semi-sweet wines are the most famous ones.
Savor the traditional Georgian Food
One of my favorite things to do in Georgia is to eat Kacha Puri. It is a popular Georgian cuisine. It is the traditional bread filled with cheese, more like a pizza. Pkhali is another delicious cuisine. It is a vegetable paste with pomegranate seeds toppings.
Mtskheta is an old capital of the country. It is one of the popular day trips from Tbilisi. It easy to reach Mtskheta from the capital city by MiniBus, it costs 1 GEL (0.44 USD). To get to the bus station you would need to ride a metro to Didube. From Didube station the market is just 5 minutes’ walk. The bus station is in the market, just walk into one of the counters to buy the ticket to Mtskheta.
Mtskheta is a small ancient town and was the site of Georgia’s adoption of Christianity. Mtskheta is of primary interest to any travelers interested in Georgian history or Orthodox Christianity. It’s easier to see the entire town on foot.