Tbilisi is the capital of the country of Georgia. One of the most charming cities we’ve ever been to. Its cobblestoned old town along the diverse architecture, from Eastern Orthodox churches, to ornate art nouveau buildings and Soviet Modernist structures. As it’s also our favorite city which we had lived here for a while and keep returning so here we wanted to share idea of things to do when you visit Tbilisi for the first time. Have fun exploring!
1. Start from Freedom Square
Freedom Square is located in the center of Tbilisi, has been through a long history but nowadays well known as the site of various mass public celebrations and demonstrations including those for Georgia’s independence.
2. The Bridge of Peace
A stunning design of a bow-shaped pedestrian bridge, a steal and glass construction illuminated with thousands of LEDs designed by the Italian architect Michele De Lucchi, stretches 150 meters over the Kura River in downtown Tbilisi. There is a spectacular light show after sunset. The bridge is connecting Old Tbilisi with the new district. And there is a Rike Park in the new district, a beautiful landscaped gardens with sculptures, playground equipment, water features.
3. Visiting the Historic Metekhi Church
The cross-cupola Metekhi church, is a historic neighborhood of Tbilisi situated on the elevated cliff that overlooks the Mtkvari river which surrounding by stunning views. The district was one of the earliest inhabited areas on the city’s territory. According to traditional accounts, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali erected here a church and a fort which served also as a king’s residence.
4. Historical Abanotubani Sulfur Baths
There is the legend of Tbilisi’s founding states. The legend says that King Vakhtang I Gorgasali went hunting in the heavily wooded region with his beloved hawk. Once, the hawk found a pheasant and started fighting until both of them accidentally crashed into a nearby hot spring and boiling to death. King Vakhtang became so impressed (…was this part true?) then he decided to cut down the forest and build a city on the location and call Tbilisi which means warm location. The Abanotubani Sulfur baths area was a battle field of the hawk and the pheasant which nowadays you can enjoy one of the best spring bath in Georgia.
5. Secret Waterfall (Waterfall Leghvtakhevi) and The Bridge of Love
Waterfall Leghvtakhevi aka Secret Waterfall with the bridge of love is located beside Abanotubani Sulfur Baths. This place is a lovely place for Instagram photo :D
6. Be Amazed with Panoramic View of Tbilisi at Narikala Fortress
Narikala is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, and the Kura River. It’s definitely the best place for a city panoramic view at sunset!
7. Take a serene walk at Botanical Garden
On of our favorite places in Tbilisi. The National Botanical lie behind Narikhala Fortress, on the southern foothills of the Sololaki Range; a spur of the Trialeti Range. It’s very HUGH botanical, occupies the area of 161 hectares and possesses a collection of over 4,500 taxonomic groups. It’s peaceful and beautiful in every season. Rich of aroma in spring, so lush and romantic vibe in summer, colorful trees and leaves in autumn and sometimes even more lovely when snow scattering in winter.
8. Trying Georgian Food
The Georgian cuisine is unique to the country, but also carries some influences from other European and nearby Middle Eastern culinary traditions. Various types of traditional breads, rich with meat dishes and also various types of vegetarian dishes. My favorite dish is Adjarian Khachapuri, a filled bread stuffed with melting cheese which considered to be one of Georgia’s most famous dishes. Another dish is Khinkali, a Georgian dumpling consisted of only meat (lamb or beef and pork mixed), onions, chili pepper, salt and cumin. Khinkali is eaten plain, or with ground black pepper. On the dessert side, my favorite one is Churchkhela; a traditional Georgian candle-shaped candy is made from grape must, nuts and flour, almonds, walnuts, hazel nuts, dipped in thickened grape juice or fruit juices and dried in the shape of a sausage.
9. Tasting Georgian Wine
If you know that you visiting one of the oldest wine regions in the world so you shouldn’t miss tasting its wine. Georgia is the house the source of the cultivated grapevines and neolithic wine production, from over 8,000 years ago. Due to the many millennia of wine in Georgian history, and its key economical role, the traditions of its viticulture are entwined and inseparable with the country’s national identity. UNESCO also added the ancient traditional Georgian winemaking method using the Kvevri clay jars to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
10. Visiting The Holy Mountain
Taking The Tbilisi Funicular Railway to The Holy Mountain will be fascinating by a charming city landscape. The first station will be at The Mtatsminda Pantheon of Writers and Public station where some of the most prominent writers, artists, scholars, and national heroes of Georgia are buried. And then amusement park will be waiting at the end of the line. Mtatsminda park is a family amusement facility located atop Mount Mtatsminda also overlooking the landscape of Tbilisi. It offers carrousels, water slides, a roller-coaster, and my favorite big Ferris Wheel at the edge of the mountain.
11. Vake Park, Beautiful – Huge – Lush
Vake Park is the biggest park in Tbilisi (200 hectares) and is used for a variety of events and gatherings. It was opened as a prime example of a Socialist Classical park, complete with a grand classical entry and a huge stairs leading to a people’s monument, beautiful nature and spectacular fountains.
12. Visiting Sameba, Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi
Sameba is the main cathedral of the Georgian Orthodox Church. It is the third-tallest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the world and one of the largest religious buildings in the world by total area. Sameba is also a synthesis of traditional styles dominating the Georgian church architecture at various stages in history and has some Byzantine undertones.
13. Trying a Tbilisi Metro
Don’t miss one of a very deep and vividly decorated Metro stations in the world. Tbilisi’s rapid transit metro system is opened in December 1966, it was the fourth Metro system in the former Soviet Union.
14. A one day Trip to Mtskheta
Mtskheta is located approximately 20 km north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi river. It’s one of the oldest cities of Georgia. Its historical significance and several cultural monuments, the “Historical Monuments of Mtskheta” became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. As the birthplace and one of the most vibrant centers of Christianity in Georgia, Mtskheta was declared as the “Holy City” by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2014.