Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, this charming little church overlooks the city from a steep cliff on the left bank of the river Kura. Throughout its history the church was destroyed and rebuilt several times and is now one of the most important landmarks of Tbilisi. Outside the church stands the equestrian statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali, the city's founder.
This ancient fortress sits on top of a hill right next to the National Botanical Garden and enjoys an unrivalled view over the city. For this reason it had been a key strategic point in the city's defence for many centuries, until it was almost destroyed in an earthquake in 1827. Visitors can reach the fortress on foot or with the new cable car from Rike Park.
The Bridge of Peace was built in 2010 and connects the old town with Rike Park on the other side of the Kura River. This bow-shaped pedestrian bridge is a marvel of modern architecture, a blend of steel and glass that shines with countless lights during the night. The bridge also offers a majestic view over the Metekhi Church and the Narikala Fortress.
Though some parts of it were renovated (or even added) throughout history, Anchiskhati Basilica still remains the oldest church in Tbilisi, dating back to the sixth century. The church is adorned with icons and holy images and in some spots a few of the original frescoes are still visible.
The sulphur baths in Tbilisi are world-famous, in fact the whole city was built on top of thermal springs, with hot water reaching up to 40-50 degrees. There are different baths with different prices, from the cheaper shower rooms to the more expensive private rooms with sauna and massage.
Among both locals and tourists Rike Park has become one of the most important meeting points and recreational areas of Tbilisi, a place to relax and stroll around in tranquillity. Rike Park also hosts the main terminal of the cable car that leads to the Narikala Fortress and the two modern tube-shaped buildings that are the new Concert Hall and Exhibition Centre.
Liberty Square is a focal point in Tbilisi and even though it changed names multiple times during its history, it is now a symbol of the Georgian struggle for freedom and independence. In the centre of the square stands the Freedom Monument, a white column with a golden statue on top depicting St George, the patron saint of Georgia.
The National Botanical Garden of Georgia in Tbilisi covers an area of 161 hectares in the foothills behind Narikala Fortress and contains a collection of over 4,500 different plant groups. An arched bridge built over a waterfall provides a magnificent view on the Tsavkisistskali river and the garden.
Founded by the famous Georgian artist and writer Revaz “Rezo” Gabriadze, this small puppet theatre has become a staple in the city's cultural life. The theatre offers various plays such as "The Autumn of Our Springtime" and "The Battle of Stalingrad" and even has a little cafe out front. Next to it is the so called Leaning Tower, a curious clock tower that was designed to look like it's about to fall down. Visitors are advised to check for availability as the theatre has a limited capacity.
8000 Vintages is a wine shop, restaurant and bar. Their knowledge of Georgian wine is unmatched and so is their selection, which includes the best wines of the region, carefully selected by their experienced staff. If you want to eat genuinely great Georgian food and drink superb wine, 8000 Vintages is the best place in town.
This restaurant is unique in the sense that it offers a complete experience of Georgian cuisine, culture and folklore. Together with delicious local food, at Ethno Tsiskvili you will enjoy shows of Georgian dances, with live music and dancers dressed in traditional clothes. Booking in advance is a good idea if you want to watch a live show.
Mediterranean inspired cuisine, classy interior, attentive staff and quality food. Everything about this restaurant is great and promises a remarkable dining experience. Chefs at La Boheme use local and seasonal ingredients to prepare their fresh and tasty dishes in order to satisfy even the most sophisticated palate.
Xeme is famous for two things: its fresh and tasty Japanese cuisine and the breathtaking vista that you can enjoy from your table. Located on the 31st floor of The Biltmore Hotel, this restaurant provides an excellent service in one of the best settings in Tbilisi, with a view over the whole city.
This restaurant is located on top of Mtatsminda (Holy Mountain), the last stop of Tbilisi's funicular railway at approximately 800 metres above the the city. The restaurant complex was built in 1905 and it houses stylish shops, bars and even a ballroom. From the terrace at Funicular Restaurant you can enjoy a spectacular view of the city and the surrounding area.
Piano serves genuine Italian food using the best locally sourced ingredients and wines. The result is a fusion cuisine that emphasises simplicity while mixing the Italian tradition and cooking philosophy with the delicious local products that Georgia has to offer, like the top quality wines that make this country so proud.
Old Generation is a small, quaint cafe owned by a friendly family that will be pleased to give you a warm welcome and serve some of their homemade wines, which are said to be amazing. Also, the coffee here is one of the best you can try in Georgia: stop by this rustic, yet inviting cafe, and make small talk with the owners, who will give you some useful tips for your stay.
Considered one of the best coffee shops in town, Entrée is a great place for breakfast and will spoil you with a selection of coffee and teas, as well as some mouthwatering pastries, such as croissants and cakes, but also the traditional Georgian pies with cheese, beans or meat. If you prefer to come by for lunch, indulge in a Georgian speciality, a soup or an inviting sandwich. Check out the company's website to look for other Entrée's locations in Tbilisi, all featuring the same cosy ambience.
Welcome to the Respublika Espresso Bar, a lovely, colourful coffee shop located in the heart of the city: if you're walking nearby the Georgian National Museum or the Old Church of Holy Trinity, both a few minutes from the cafe, come by for tasty cheesecakes and chocolate cakes, delicious raspberry pastries, pancakes and much more, and choose from a selection of Moroccan and Georgian teas.
The Cafe Gallery Rhea's Squirrels, a stone's throw from the scenic Tbilisi funicular, welcomes you in a warm setting with a nice counter made of bricks. The staff is friendly and prices are reasonably cheap for such good quality of food and drinks: come by for a light dinner or a glass of fine wine, you won't regret it.
Carpe Diem is a small cafe where you can grab a coffee, a beer or a fresh mojito along with some good cakes and snacks. The location is really unique and cosy, and it features a lovely balcony with a great view of the old town on which you can actually spend hours watching life going by.
Meet a group of party animals at the Fabrika Hostel and get ready to revel in the craziest pub tour in Tbilisi. For just 50 GEL (15 €), you will get unlimited wine, food and shots, discover the local bars, and finish in the coolest disco in town. It is a really fun, exciting experience and you and your friends should definitely join.
The lovely atmosphere of Soul Train, one of the best and friendliest bars in town, will charm you from the moment you walk in with its excellent music and drinks. It is a cool place to have party or just relax while enjoying the nice interior design and, on occasion, great live bands.
No other name for this place could be more appropriate than "Dive": enter this cool, minimalist bar and literally dive into its amazing and friendly atmosphere. Enjoy the good music, help yourself to fine drinks and burgers, and challenge your friends to fun beer pong games. You will surely spend some unforgettable moments there.
Nali is one of the locals' favourite places to hang out for its laid back, casual atmosphere, good food, fresh ales and, most of all, good old loud rock n' roll. Prices are reasonable, the service is friendly and the bands invited to the weekly concerts always play excellent rock and country music.
Breathtaking views, good music, delicious food and fine cocktails are the main features of this lovely venue. In the afternoon, you can enjoy the sun on the beautiful terrace, but come by in the evening if you want to have the most romantic view of Tbilisi, with the soothing notes of the saxophone as background of your unforgettable night.
Considered by many to be the best nightclub in town, Safe Club is a very popular venue for dancing and drinking top-notch cocktails. This great cocktail bar tends to get very crowded and turns into a discotheque late at night: it has a round counter in the middle and tables all around, which are moved to make space for guests to dance the night away.
If you are looking for some traditional Georgian crafts, rather than the same old shopping centre, walk by the Kura river and discover this picturesque flea market. This lovely spot is perfect to find unique souvenirs, ranging from old books and maps, crockery, sweets, army knives and gramophone records: a true collector's paradise.
It is said that Georgia is the homeland of wine, but you will be surprised to know that this country also features amazing craft spirits. This small distillery of course features some regional wines, but the key product here is "Chacha", a strong Georgian pomace brandy made of herbs or fruit like mulberries, figs and tangerines. Do not hesitate to ask the owners to let you taste some products, before choosing the distillate(s) you like the most.
This big shopping centre could be a great alternative to the sightseeing for the whole family, with loads of shops in- and outdoor. At East Point you will find everything from clothing stores to jewellers, cosmetics and dining spots. Its design is modern and pleasant, and, if you happen there during the sales period, you will be able to find some pretty good deals.
Estia Homemade Art Boutique is a colourful workshop where you can find some original souvenirs and gifts from Georgia. Ask the knowledgeable owners about the local culture and arts scene, and they will show you high-quality ceramics, decorations made of wood, canvas, household items and much more.
Prospero's bookstore features a wide range of English books and is a perfect quiet place to read and relax surrounded by the aroma of coffee and tea. In the same location, Caliban's coffeehouse imports a variety of coffee beans from Kenya, Haiti, Brazil, Indonesia and Colombia, and offers one of the best coffees in town, as well as a huge selection of teas.
Citizens of more than 90 countries do not need any visa for visiting Georgia up to one year, but, when entering the country, you will have to produce a passport valid for at least the duration of your stay. For any further information, please visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (www.geoconsul.gov.ge/en), and especially the section dedicated to visa matters (https://geoconsul.gov.ge/en/visaInformation).
The Tbilisi International Airport is located about 20 km east of the city centre, which is easily reachable by bus, train and taxi. The new, modern airport railway station (www.tbilisiairport.com/en-EN/Transportation/Pages/Train.aspx) is situated 70 metres from the airport building, and provides journeys from and to the airport for 0,50 GEL. The new trains have a capacity of 100 persons, and a journey to the airport (or to the city centre) takes about 20 minutes. Several buses operate 24/7 to serve the airport (www.tbilisiairport.com/en-EN/Transportation/Pages/Bus.aspx): you will find the bus stop in front of the arrival hall, and a one-way journey costs 0,50 GEL. Taxis (www.tbilisiairport.com/en-EN/Transportation/Pages/Taxi.aspx) are available 24 hours and are parked just outside the arrival hall. A journey to the city centre will take 20-30 minutes and will cost you from 30 to 50 GEL. For information and reservations: +995 32 2511511.
Although it is a rather small country, the climate in Georgia is very diverse, which makes it a destination that can be visited all year round. Every season has its perks, but generally summer can be very hot, especially in Tbilisi, while winter and autumn are quite mild. The best time to visit the city is in spring, especially starting from the second half of March, when nature begins to flourish and you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and taste delicious food and wines outside. If you are a culture lover visiting Georgia, you won't be disappointed: the country has ancient traditions and folklore is a part of its identity, so many traditional events and fairs take place all through the year. Some of the unmissable events in Tbilisi are the Tbilisi Jazz Festival (www.tbilisijazz.com), the country's main jazz event that already saw 20 editions, the International Film Festival (www.tbilisifilmfestival.ge), held annually in December, the Art Gene Festival (www.artgeni.ge), which takes place in July and features a variety of cultural activities and exhibitions, such as folk concerts, cloth-making and martial art dance, and the Tbilisoba, an annual festival with folk dances, artistic performances, food and wine tastings and much more, happening in October.
The TTC (Tbilisi Transport Company) runs the public transport services, which work reasonably well, providing a network of metro, buses and cable car. The metro line operates on two routes and covers all the major areas of the city. Trains run every 5 minutes and allow you to travel very quickly around the city centre. A large, efficient bus network enables tourists and locals to travel around the city without spending much money: tickets cost about 0,50 GEL and you can purchase them both from the machines and by charging your smartcard (the smartcard will cost you around 2 GEL and can be found at the metro stations). For an alternative, unique way of travelling through Tbilisi, join a ride on the brand new funicular up to Mount Mtatsminda and the modern, 360-degree cable car, from Rike Park up to the gorgeous Narikala Fortress. Both of the journeys are quite cheap and will cost you only a few Lari, so take advantage of seeing the city from another, marvellous point of view.
Taxis are found almost everywhere in Tbilisi, normally parked in the main streets or outside the major attractions and public areas (parks, stations, hotels). They can quickly get you wherever you want around the city centre and fares are generally very cheap, but always be sure to verify the cost of the journey before getting in the car. Taxi Tbilisi +995 32 2474474 www.tbilisitaxi.ge Red Taxi +995 32 2190303 www.redtaxigeorgia.wixsite.com/redtaxi [email protected] Maxim +995 32 2606060 Davinchi +995 32 2105050
Post boxes are scattered all around the city (you will find the full list here: www.gpost.ge/?site-lang=en&site-path=company/postboxmap/&mode=list) and stamps can be purchased at the several post offices (here is the full list: www.gpost.ge/?site-lang=en&site-path=company/servicemap/&mode=list).
Finding a drugstore in Tbilisi won't be a problem, as they are found all around the city centre. One of the main pharmacies is Aversi, with stores everywhere (www.aversi.ge/en/apothecas), most of them open 24h. There are also a couple of alternatives, such as GPC (www.gpc.ge) and PSP Pharmacies.