20 best things to do in Tbilisi, Georgia
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Tbilisi is the first stop for most visitors to the beautiful country of Georgia and we loved the variety of things to do in Tbilisi. From ancient churches and sulphur baths to unique modern architecture, Tbilisi is a polarised city of two halves. Having spent a number of days exploring the city we’ve put together this list of the best things to do in Tbilisi.
20 Best Things to do in Tbilisi
We recommend spending a few days in Tbilisi and also allowing some additional time for day trips from the city. Here are our 20 best things to do in Tbilisi!
Where to Stay in Tbilisi
There are lots of options for where to stay in Tbilisi from traditional homestays to luxury hotels. Here are some of our favourites:
- Tbilisi Marriott Hotel: where we stayed during our time in Tbilisi. A traditional 5-star hotel with large rooms and grand communal areas. The hotel is perfectly located for exploring the Old Town by foot – check prices now!
- Communal Sololaki: perfect for those seeking a more traditional stay in Tbilisi. The hotel set in a 19th century listed townhouse and it one of the most popular hotels in the city. Located in the traditional Sololaki district around 10 minutes from Freedom Square, it’s where you can experience true local Georgian hospitality in a unique hotel – check prices now!
- Ibis Styles Tbilisi Center – modern and colourful hotel in a great location at the heart of the city – check prices now!
1 | Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi (Sameba Cathedral)
Sitting on a hill overlooking Tbilisi in the residential neighbourhood of Elia, the stunning Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi was completed in 2004. The Cathedral is one of the biggest churches in the world and its lovely gardens offer incredible views across the city. Like many churches in Georgia, the Holy Trinity Cathedral is a Georgian Orthodox Church and its golden roof is visible from almost everywhere in the capital.
The cathedral is one of the most beautiful we visited in Georgia and it’s incredible to stand in front of the church and appreciate its huge size. In the evenings the exterior of the church is lit illuminating the golden dome of the church so it is visible after dark.
Things to do in Tbilisi tip: we visited the cathedral first thing in the morning as it opened and we had the place to ourselves.
2 | The Bridge of Peace
Tbilisi has many pieces of incredible architecture and one of it’s most iconic landmarks is the Bridge of Peace. Spanning the Kura river in the middle of the city, The Bridge of Peace is constructed of metal and glass with thousands of LED lights across its roof.
The wave-shaped pedestrian bridge connects Rike park with the Old Town of Tbilisi and the bridge is visible from most areas in the city. In addition to the unique shape, the after dark light show also distinguishes the Bridge of Peace from any other bridge in the world. The bridge shimmers and shines in the night sky and it instantly recognisable throughout the city after dark.
Best things to do in Tbilisi tip: If you are an early riser, try to visit the Bridge of Peace just before sunrise when the lights are still on and the bridge is relatively quiet. The views from the bridge of the old town and Narikala Fortress are stunning.
3 | Rike Park
Rike Park is a great place to relax for a few hours while exploring Tbilisi. The park is located by the entrance to the Bridge of Peace. This lovely park is great for chilling out and has lots of seating areas with great views of the city.
One of the most unique buildings in Tbilisi, if not all of Georgia, is the recently finished and currently abandoned concert hall. This strange tubular metal structure sits on the side of Rike park overlooking the river. Funding for the project, unfortunately, ran out and the interior of the building has been abandoned since. It is so disappointing that such a unique building and striking building is now abandoned.
4 | The Sulfur Baths
If the legend is to be believed, Tbilisi was built when the king discovered the sulphur water running through the region. Similar to other cities like Budapest there are a number of thermal baths in the city. The best ones to visit are the ornate Orbeliani bathhouse, Bathhouse No.5, the oldest in Tbilisi, and the Royal Bathhouse. Not only are the sulphur baths great to relax in, the mineral-rich water is said to be beneficial for skin ailments like dry skin or eczema and also offer relief for arthritis.
Best things to do in Tbilisi tip: the bath houses are arranged in separate rooms which you can hire out. The prices vary from around 30-50GEL per hour for budget options to 100-120GEL for luxury rooms in bathhouses such as Orbeliani bathhouse.
5 | Leaning tower of Tbilisi
This is definitely the most bizarre structure in Tbilisi and also one of the most fun!
The tower was the idea of the famous puppeteer Rezo Gabriadze, who set up the puppet theatre attached to the tower. Rezo reused old pieces of abandoned buildings in Tbilisi to build the theatre over an incredible 30 year period. Despite its old appearance, the Leaning Tower was only completed in 2011. Located on a random side street in the old town, the leaning tower of Tbilisi is held upright with a large steel column to stop it toppling over. Make sure to visit as it’s a unique piece of art that you won’t find in any other city!
Best things to do in Tbilisi tip: Try to visit the clock on the hour, when a window opens at the top and an angel figure strikes the bell.
6 | The Chronicle of Georgia
Located a few kilometres outside Tbilisi overlooking the large Tbilisi reservoir is the Chronicle of Georgia. It is one of the most impressive monuments in all of Georgia and one of the highlights of Tbilisi.
The Chronicle of Georgia is a gigantic monument that illustrates the history of the country of Georgia. The monument comprises 16 35-metre tall columns which are faced with sculpted bronze panels depicting the history of Georgia. Construction of the monument began in the 1980s, however, it, unfortunately, remains uncompleted, with some panels missing or damaged.
Best things to do in Tbilisi tip: Entrance is free and the monument is easily reached by car from Tbilisi. The nearest metro station is Guramishvili which is around a 30-minute walk from the site.
7 | Streetart at the Baratashvili Bridge underpass
This was one of our favourite things to do in Tbilisi! Located under the Nikoloz Baratashvili Bridge, there is an incredible art installation that has some pretty epic street art. The installation is actually sponsored by the city council in an attempt to rejuvenate the area.
Best things to do in Tbilisi tip: The bridge is a car and pedestrian bridge, with the street art located on the walls of the pedestrian underpass beneath the road. The street art is scattered throughout the underpass so make sure to explore all the corners and walls as it’s easy to miss some of it.
8 | The Sioni Cathedral
Sitting on the banks of the Kura river, the Sioni Cathedral is one of the many Georgian churches in Tbilisi and one of the best to visit in the city. The Georgian Orthodox church is named after Mount Zion in Israel and remains an active Church. it’s interior is adorned with frescos. We were lucky enough to visit during a prayer service and the service and hymns were fascinating to listen to.
9 | Tbilisi Cable Car
One of the most unique things to do in Tbilisi is to ride the cable car. The cable car connects Rike Park with Narikala Fortress and spans across the river. It is an easy and cheap way to get up to the fortress and experience some of the best views of the city. At 1 Lari per trip, it’s super cheap and the views across the city are incredible.
Best things to do in Tbilisi tip: Some of the aerial cable cars have a glass bottom, so look for the cars that say 5 people only for the chance to ride in one of them.
10 | Hike to Narikala Fortress
The Narikala Fortress, which sits on the hill overlooking Tbilisi, is one of our favourite spots in the city. This ancient fortress was set up in the 4th century and passed through the hands of the Arabs, Georgians, Turks and Persians before an explosion of Russian munitions in 1827 destroyed much of the old fortress.
The easiest way to get to the fortress is by the aerial cable car. If you are fit we recommend taking the Narikala Tourist route which ascends the hill by the Mother of Georgia and continues around the hilltop to the Narikala Fortress and the Botanical Gardens. The views from along this route are spectacular, especially after dark when the lights of the city sparkle below.
While it’s possible to walk sections of the fortress walls are in a bad state of repair. Be careful, however, as there are very few safety barriers up here. Most of the sheer drops are unprotected and the loose gravel/bricks make the walk relatively dangerous!
11 | Mother of Georgia & Kartlis Deda Viewpoint
The incredible statue of Kartlis Deda, known as the Mother of Georgia, is located on Sololaki Hill. Built in 1958 to mark the 1500th anniversary of Georgia, the massive aluminium statue depicts a woman in traditional Georgian dress, with a bowl of wine in her left hand to welcome friends, and a sword in her other hand to warn enemies.
The huge silver statue is visible from everywhere in Tbilisi and the views from the base of the massive aluminium status are the best in Tbilisi. You can see almost everything in the city from the base of the statue.
12 | Explore the side streets of the Old Town
One of the best things to do in Tbilisi is to simply get lost in the side streets of the Old Town. One of the main attractions of Georgia is its untouched beauty and this is prominent in the backstreets of Tbilisi.
It’s best to start exploring from Kote Abkhazi Street which is the main street through the old town. From here, the maze of winding side streets is connected by crumbling buildings and hidden courtyards. Strolling around this area is one of the best things to do in Tbilisi.
13 | I Love Tbilisi Sign
Located in front of the Machakhela café on Vakhtang Gorgasali Square is the I Love Tbilisi sign. The colourful sign is actually made from flowers and blooms year-round, drawing tourists looking for a photo opportunity. The square is also a nice place to relax and people watch.
14 | Sculptures
While the Mother of Georgia is the most striking and obvious statue in Tbilisi, there are lots of other quirky and cool statues dotted around the city. There is a mix of old and modern statues scattered throughout Tbilisi including some from Soviet times.
One of our favourites was the smiling Ronald Reagan statue on a bench in Rike park which bears the inscription ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.’
15 | Virgin Mary Metekhi Church
One of the most iconic and visually striking churches in Tbilisi, the Virgin Mary Metekhi Church sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Mtkvari River. The church is truly stunning at night when colourful light illuminates both the river and the striking statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali that sits in front of the church. The church was under repair when we visited, however, the views of the city from its entrance are beautiful.
16 | Freedom Square
The St. George Statue, located in the large roundabout in the centre of Freedom Square, is dedicated to the freedom and independence of Georgia. Prior to obtaining its independence in 1991, Georgia was ruled by the Soviet Union and a statue of Lenin then stood where the current St. George Statue is today.
The fall of the Soviet Union has a massive impact on Georgia and the Freedom Square is an important landmark in the city.
17 | Dry Bridge Market
The now-famous Tbilisi flea market, known as the dry bridge market, should be included on everyone’s list of things to do in Tbilisi. It’s one of the best flea markets we’ve ever been to. It’s possible to pick up some really unique trinkets and memorabilia from the Soviet era of Georgia. Here you can find everything from KGB IDs and gas masks to old cameras and Soviet technology. Prices are very reasonable and you can also buy local hand made products like scarves and artwork.
We recommend spending at least a few hours to explore everything this truly unique market has to offer.
18 | Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
Located a short drive north-west of Tbilisi is the small town of Mtskheta, designated as one of Georgia’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The historic churches of Mtskheta are outstanding examples of early Christian architecture in the Caucasus.
Svetitskhoveli is one of the most important churches in Georgia and the burial place of many of Georgia’s ancient kings. Known as the Cathedral of the Living Pillar, the remaining frescos of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral are some of the most beautiful in Georgia and there is also a copy of the Chapel of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem built into one side of the Cathedral.
Best things to do in Tbilisi tip: The quiet town of Mtskheta is worth taking an afternoon to stroll around and explore. There are some great options for local Georgia cuisine and Georgia’s best restaurants, Salobie, is located in Mktskheta.
19 | Jvari Monastery of Mtskheta
The second of the UNESCO churches of Mtskheta, Jvari Monastery is located just outside Mtskheta on a mountaintop where the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers meet. We recommend visiting the monastery at sunset after spending the day in Mtskheta as the views during the golden hour are spectacular.
The church itself dates back to the 16th century and the church is built in the classic crucifix Georgian design. The Mtskhetis Jvari complex is a short taxi ride from Tbilisi, however, the area is best easily explored by rental car.
20 | David Gareja monastery
Most visitors to Georgia will learn about David Gareja monastery and it is a fantastic day trip from Tbilisi. David Gareja is a rock-hewn monastery complex located around 70km from Tbilisi and right on the border with Azerbaijan. Hundreds of rooms and churches were carved into the steep rocky mountainside of Mount Gareja, with the main monastery complex being the largest structure.
In order to explore the entire site, you’ll need to allow time to make the steep climb up the mountain past the main monastery for incredible views across the countryside and into Azerbaijan.
The easiest way to visit the monastery is by tour from Tbilisi – check prices now!
The views on the drive to the David Gareja monastery are fantastic and almost worth the trip in themselves
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