Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, offers a diverse scene of historical sights. Being part of many trade roads, including the Silk Road, Tbilisi developed into being a unique blend of European and Asian architecture. So, here’s your three-day itinerary of what to do in Tbilisi.
Abanotubani is the central historical landmark of Tbilisi dominated by brick domes of sulfur baths. It was here when King Vaghtang Gorgasali’s falcon fell into hot water during a hunt, leading to the discovery of natural sulfur hot springs and the establishment of the capital.
Walk on the wooden pathways towards the waterfall and admire the typical Georgian houses with carved balconies.
This 4th-century brick fortification was a Persian citadel. Located on the steep hill between the botanical garden and the sulfur baths, the fortress overlooks the city and offers beautiful panoramic views of Abanotubani, Mtkvari River, and Rike Park.
You can walk up the hill to rich the fortress or take a cable car.
Mother of Georgia
Kartlis Deda, translated as Mother of Georgia, sits right next to the Narikala Fortress, “protecting” the capital. This 20-meter high aluminum statue is a symbol of the whole country and represents the character of the Georgian nation. You’ll notice that on the one hand, she has a bowl and in another a sward, meaning that she welcomes friends with a cup of wine, and is ready to defend it from those who come as an enemy.
Metechi Church is home to the statue of King Vaghtang Gorgasali. Situated on the opposite side of Narikala Fortress, this is the place where he constructed the first church and his palace in the 5th century. The current church dates back to the 13th century and has been reconstructed several times.
Peace Bridge and Rike Park
Peace Bridge is one of the first contemporary architectural additions to Tbilisi. This glass-and-steel pedestrian bridge is the creation of an Italian architect, Michele De Lucchi. Opened to the public in 2010, it connects Erekle II Street to Rike Park. Make sure to come back after sunset to see the illuminated bridge.
Cross the bridge towards Rike Park to unwind and relax after all those walks and exploration you did in the old town. The park features fountains, a giant chessboard, pools, and dozens of chairs. During summer, locals and tourists come here to see the Dancing Fountain show accompanied by colorful lights and music.
Made by Rezo Gabriadze, a puppet master and a screenwriter, the leaning and fairytale-like Clock Tower is a relatively new addition to the capital. Part of the clock is adorned with hundreds of handmade tiles Gabriadze made himself. Come here at noon or 7 pm to see a small puppet show called “The Circle of Life,” while every hour, an angel comes out and strikes a bell with a hammer.
Tsminda Sameba Cathedral
Tsminda Sameba, or Holy Trinity in English, is the tallest religious building in Georgia. Located on Elia Hill above the Avlabari district, the Cathedral is visible from almost every corner of the city center, making it very hard to miss. The construction lasted nearly a decade and opened in 2004. Its 84 meters in high together with the gold-covered cross above the central dome.
Flea Market on Dry Bridge
If you are looking for quirky, unusual, and vintage items, look no further – Flea Market of Dry Bridge might have something for your tase. Here, you can find anything starting from jewelry, antiques, Soviet junk, old cassettes, and vinyl; the choice is quite diverse. And even if you are not a big fan of such things, it still is a fascinating place to walk around.
Museum of Georgia
Located on Rustaveli Avenue, the museum has several exhibitions halls, such as the Soviet Occupation Hall, a unique collection of human and natural history with animal remains dating back 40 million years, and “The Archaeological Treasury” to name a few. The latter displays a fascinating and unique exhibition of centuries-old treasures found in archeological excavations. Some of the jewelry items date back to the 3rd century BC.
Art lovers should not miss visiting the National Gallery to get to know local artists. The highlight of the gallery is the works of Georgia’s best-known painter Niko Pirosmani, along with David Kakabadze, and Lado Gudiashvili.
For stunning views over the whole city, go to Mtatsminda Park via the Funicular. This amusement park lies at the top of Mount Mtatsminda, offering different carousels, a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, water slides, and much more. Take a stroll in the park, enjoy the environment, and take in the vibe of the city. And when you get tired, sit down at one of the cafes of Funicular Restaurant overlooking the city and enjoy a hot or cold beverage of your choice. The views are even more beautiful after the sunset when the city is lit up.
Go to the Sulfur Bath
A trip to Tbilisi isn’t complete until you pay a visit to the sulfur baths. The sulfur water is naturally hot at 40°C and has therapeutic minerals that are good for your health and skin. Some of the best places to go are the Orbeliani Bath (also called the Colorful Baths) and Gulo’s Abano. The price varies according to the size of the room and starts from 40 GEL for an hour. This is a recommended time to spend in the bath. For an additional cost, you book a masseuse for a good scrubbing and removing dead skin.
Try Georgian Cuisine
Similar to the sulfur baths, no trip to Tbilisi or Georgia is complete until you try the staples of local Georgian cuisine. Khinkali are meat dumplings and an unofficial national dish of the country. Pair it with a local beer. Best restaurants to try Khinkali are either Zodiako or Klike’s Khinkali.
Another must-try meal is Mtsvadi – grilled pork or beef meat on a skewer. For an appetizer order, either cucumber and tomato salad in walnut sauce or Phkali, a generic name for vegetables in a walnut paste. The most common vegetables used are eggplants and spinach.
Drink up amber wine
Georgia is the birthplace of wine breaking the GUINNESS World Records by making the beverage for more than 8,000 years. The country has it’s own way of producing wine in an egg-shaped clay jar called qvevri.
The vessel is buried underground, where winemakers put grape juice with its skin and stem to ferment for 5-6 months. As a result, Georgian white wine made in qvevri has an amber color. For some of the best natural wines, try Vino Underground and 8000 Vintages.