- The capital and largest city of the Republic of Georgia, with a population of 1.5 million.
- Has a rich and varied political and cultural history. The only city in the world where you can find Catholic Church, Muslim Mosque, Orthodox Church, and Jewish Synagogue all situated within 100 meters of each other.
- Tbilisi is literally translated to “warm”
- Currency: Georgian Lari (GEL).
- Spoken languages: Georgian (most know conversational English and/or Russian).
- Best time to visit: from May to September.
- Arriving via airport: public transport is readily available (bus #37 goes through the city’s centre and to the main railway station; the last bus leaves the airport at 10 PM daily; fee is 0.50 Lari). A taxi ride is approximately 20-25 Lari.
WHERE TO STAY
If you’re up for spending money, try Tbilisi branches of internationally renowned five star hotels (e.g. Marriott, Radisson Blu or Sheraton, all situated in the centre, not far from Tbilisi’s most popular attraction, the Old Town). Budget traveler? Go for numerous hostels, also scattered around the Old Town district.
- The Tbilisi subway (metro) is the most efficient and cheap way to get around town. The only thing you’ll need is an “Express” plastic card (net cost 2 Lari) and a minimum balance to take a ride (0.50 Lari).
- The city’s yellow buses are also cheap (0.50 Lari), but the routes may be a little complicated for a foreigner at first. Don’t be shy about asking hotel/hostel staff for help!
- You can flag down a taxi almost anywhere in the city – be sure to negotiate the price with the driver beforehand (within the city, be prepared to pay about 5 to 20 Lari).
- Drinking age is 18, and last call is never.
- Check out Perovskaya Street for the best local nightlife options.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Visit Old Town, for its beautiful ancient churches (Anchiskhati, Sioni Temple) and wonderful maze of narrow streets. Relax in Tbilisi’s famous sulphur baths – old favourite hang out spots of Dumas and Pushkin!
- Climb up to Narikala fortress, built long before the city’s inception.
- Must see museums include the Georgian National Museum and Open Air Museum of Ethnography.
- St. Trinity (Sameba) Church is one of the highest ecclesial buildings in the region, and attracts religious and non-religious sightseers alike.
- Walk from east to west along the Mtkvari River, enjoying the magnificent view of colourful, elaborately carved balconies clinging high to the opposite bank.
- Take a stroll along the Rustaveli Avenue, the city’s main street, where cultural tradition and modern way of life entangle in most curiously peculiar way.
- Walk up the Mtatsminda Mountain and take in the spectacular view of the entire city.
- Georgians consider themselves to be the most hospitable people in the world, so be prepared to make many new friends! Georgia is widely recognized as one of the friendliest countries to visit (especially in the region).
- If you’re looking for a festival, it’s best to visit the capital on Tbilisoba (Day of the City), usually held on the last Sunday of October. Tbilisoba represents the essence of the city and celebrates all things Georgian.
- Where to find good cheap eats: almost anywhere! Do try khachapuri and khinkali. While in town (or country), do not forget to sample the red and white wines Georgians are so deeply proud of!
- Dangerous areas: Tbilisi is generally safe. Safety is ensured by the local police – capable and highly respected.
RECOMMENDED TBILISI GUIDE BOOKS
- Tbilisi Travel Guide (Unanchor) – Weekend Break: Crown Jewel of the Caucasus
- Lonely Planet Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan
Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days