The picturesque capital of Georgia is the perfect destination in any season of the year.
The city has something to offer for everyone – history and architecture enthusiasts can marvel at the ancient buildings, while adventurers can enjoy the exotic experiences that the Caucasus has to offer.
Tbilisi’s rich history and warm climate make it a great place to sample delicious local cuisine, explore the city’s ancient architecture, and meet friendly locals.
And with its beautiful landscapes, Georgia is a country that you’ll want to visit again and again, discovering each region anew.
- Discover Tbilisi hidden gems
- Enjoy a sulfur bathhouse and local cuisine
- A key symbol of identity
- The puppet theatre
- Experience the Tbilisi daily life
- Take a walk exploring Tbilisi architecture
- Museum experience in Tbilisi
- End your trip with a memorable sunset
Discover Tbilisi hidden gems
As the largest city in Georgia, Tbilisi is home to many popular attractions, as well as numerous hidden gems.
In fact, the city itself is a gem, nestled among the surrounding mountains.
To see Tbilisi in all its glory, you must take the Tbilisi Funicular, which leads to Mount Mtatsminda and the lively amusement park at its summit.
Photo on Mtatsminda park
The park offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages, including carousels, roller coasters, and a Ferris wheel that provides stunning views of the city below.
Taking the funicular during the day will give you a breathtaking view of the city set against the verdant mountain backdrop, while a ride at night will provide a magical view of the city’s endless lights.
The funicular ride itself is one of the finest examples of cable railway technology in the world, and seeing the city from above is the perfect way to start any excursion.
From the top of Mtatsminda, you can easily identify other high points that you might want to explore up close.
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Enjoy a sulfur bathhouse and local cuisine
The heart of Tbilisi can be found in the Old Tbilisi district, where the city’s most important sights are clustered.
This area is known for its sulfur bathhouses, fed by natural hot springs, which are an essential stop for anyone who has spent the day exploring the city on foot.
The district also boasts numerous popular and highly-rated restaurants and bars, where you can sample the local cuisine, which is renowned for its delicious bread and cheese.
In this way, Old Tbilisi manages to combine the traditional charm of the Caucasus with the vibrancy of a European metropolis.
A key symbol of identity
History lovers will appreciate Old Tbilisi for its historic landmarks, some of which date back to the 4th century.
The most prominent of these is the imposing Narikala Fortress, which can be seen from anywhere in the Old City.
Originally built for defensive purposes, the fortress was expanded over the course of several historical periods, making it a key symbol of Tbilisi’s identity.
The puppet theatre
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However, the Old City of Tbilisi only provides a small glimpse of the city’s many offerings. Beautiful architectural landmarks can be found on every street and corner.
A prime example is the famous Gabriadze Puppet Theater on 13 Shavteli Street.
At the stroke of the hour, the theater’s grand clock tower comes to life, with adorable puppet performances and an angel figurine announcing the exact time.
Don’t let the idea of a puppet theater fool you – the Gabriadze Theater is known for creating performances that tackle deep and complex topics, and are meant for adults as well as children.
If seeing a cultural performance is on your travel itinerary, be sure to catch an adult puppet show at the Gabriadze Theater.
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Experience the Tbilisi daily life
Located just a short distance away, Rustaveli Avenue offers a different perspective on Tbilisi.
The avenue stretches for about 1.5 kilometers, beginning at Freedom Square and running through the bustling center of the city, with its governmental, cultural, and business facilities, shops, and restaurants.
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While it may seem touristy with its gourmet restaurants and local and international brand stores, Rustaveli Avenue is at the heart of Tbilisi’s daily life.
You can grab a cup of coffee or a glass of local Georgian wine at a street café and watch the world go by, soaking up the city’s relaxed atmosphere.
As Georgians are known for their friendliness, you may find yourself leaving the café with a few new friends.
And there’s no better way to experience Tbilisi than with the locals – they know all the best places to eat khinkali and khachapuri, and can show you hidden gems that no tour guide would know about.
Another way to get a feel for Georgian culture is to haggle at the city’s famous flea market, located at the Dry Bridge.
Here, you can find all sorts of treasures, from Soviet memorabilia and handmade jewelry, to unique painted plates.
Photo on Tripadvisor
Many sellers also offer a range of vintage instant cameras, so if you don’t already own one, Tbilisi is the perfect place to pick one up and capture the memories of your trip on paper.
You can then display your photos on a wall or in an album, reminiscing about your visit to Georgia until your next trip.
Take a walk exploring Tbilisi architecture
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There is something magical about cities with a river flowing through them, and Tbilisi is no exception.
Divided by the Kura river, Tbilisi is connected by numerous bridges that span the water.
One of these bridges, the unique and contemporary Bridge of Peace, features LED light installations that create beautiful reflections in the river at night.
As you stroll along the right bank of the river, be sure to visit Agmashenebeli Avenue.
This cobblestone street, with its beautiful historic buildings and colorful painted entryways, is a sight to behold.
Some say that the avenue captures the essential beauty of Tbilisi, making it the perfect starting point for a walk along the right bank of the river.
Located on the right bank of the Kura river is the Holy Trinity Cathedral, a must-see for anyone interested in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which is the main religion of Georgia.
As one of the tallest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world, the Holy Trinity Cathedral is a prominent feature of Tbilisi’s skyline.
Although much of Tbilisi’s architecture dates back to the 4th century, the Holy Trinity Cathedral was only completed and consecrated in 2004.
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The relatively new cathedral complex includes an underground section, nine chapels, and several auxiliary buildings, as well as beautiful gardens.
A visit to the Holy Trinity Cathedral is a unique opportunity to see a modern take on traditional Eastern Orthodox architecture.
Museum experience in Tbilisi
After exploring Tbilisi’s charming streets (while taking the metro is faster, walking allows you to fully immerse yourself in the city) and warming up after a cold Baltic winter, it’s time to take in some culture and visit a museum. Tbilisi has plenty to choose from!
One of the most impressive museum buildings is the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, which dates back to the 19th century.
The museum displays Georgia’s principal archaeological findings, as well as thousands of artifacts of immense historical significance.
The collections include animal remains dating back 40 million years, as well as archaeological and ethnographic artifacts from the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, Iron, and Middle Ages.
Whether you’re an archaeology expert or not, you’re sure to leave the museum with a wealth of new knowledge.
Art lovers should definitely visit the Art Museum of Georgia. It houses the largest collection of Georgian art in the world, as well as a wide range of European, Russian, and Oriental art, including notable pieces of Persian fine art.
In addition to its permanent collections, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, and frequently organizes workshops, such as mindfulness and botanical imprinting.
Be sure to check the museum’s schedule and register for any events that might interest you before your visit.
End your trip with a memorable sunset
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While it is impossible to fully take in the beauty of Tbilisi in just a few days, the Chronicles of Georgia monument is the perfect place to spend your last day in the city.
Here, you can witness one of the most stunning sunsets of your life.
Located in the northern part of Tbilisi, near the Tbilisi Sea, the Chronicles of Georgia monument is slightly off the usual tourist path, but it is definitely worth visiting.
Photo on Unsplash
Although the monument was started in 1985, it was never finished.
Despite this, it remains a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, thanks to its breathtaking views, the sun setting behind the hills below, and the majestic statues that overlook the visitors.
Invite your travel companions for a picnic on your last day in the city, or meet friendly locals at the monument – it will be a sunset to remember.