Peace Bridge Tbilisi
Region and City Guides

Things to do in Tbilisi

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Georgia was included on the must-see countries in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel list for 2018. But it was the feedback of two acquaintances that spurred me to visit the country.

Given that Tbilisi is the capital and has the largest airport it would be my inevitable first stop. So here’s my Things to do in Tbilisi guide. Firstly, let’s get familiar with the city’s layout.


Tbilisi is a long, narrow city spreading itself on the banks of the Mtkvari River. The area around the city is essentially mountainous so Tbilisi is built in this river valley. Therefore, expect to climb a few hills during your stay.

Tbilisi is divided into different areas with Central Tbilisi encompassing Vere, Mtatsminda, Sololaki, Old Town, Avlabari and Svanetisubani.

Aerial view of Tbilisi


The top things to do in Tbilisi are:

  • Sightseeing
  • Wining/Dining
  • Shopping
  • Cultural Activities

Pretty much all of these activities are available in Central Tbilisi, the part of the city that most visitors stay in. Central Tbilisi runs from Rose Revolution Square at the northern end of Rustaveli Avenue along the Mtkvari River down to the Old Town.

Rustaveli Avenue:

Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare and a fine, beautiful one it is. A number of significant buildings are located on Rustaveli Avenue. If you have a keen interest in arts and culture Rustaveli Avenue is the perfect location for you.

Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi

Starting at Rose Revolution Square head south and the first significant building you will meet is the Moorish-style Opera and Ballet Theatre. About 200 metres along is the National Gallery of Georgia with the Kashveti Church of St. George immediately to its right.

The 9th April Park is at the back of these buildings and is named after the date in 1989 when the Soviet authorities sent in troops to crush anti-Soviet demonstrators.

Opera and Ballet Theatre, Tbilisi

Further along the road, on the opposite side, one will find the Parliament of Georgia building but skip back again for the Georgian National Museum.

Rustaveli Avenue is dotted with street stalls selling food and souvenirs but designer clothes and products with exorbitant prices can be found in Galleria Tbilisi Shopping Centre. The Griboedov and Liberty Theatres are also found in this shopping centre.

At the end of Rustaveli Avenue you will find Freedom Square (also called Liberty Square), a cobbled-surfaced traffic roundabout with a monument of St. George slaying a dragon at its centre.

Freedom Square in Tbilisi

Tbilisi Old Town:

South of Freedom Square is Tbilisi Old Town where the architecture changes from Rustaveli’s Imperial Russian to traditional Georgian with the streets becoming significantly narrower. The buildings in the Old Town have two or three stories and facades of either red brick or pastel-coloured with balconies.

Old Town, Tbilisi

The main street in the Old Town is Kote Afkhazi Street and it is here you will find tour companies offering day trips to other parts of Georgia. Kote Afkhazi Street and particularly its side streets are great places for wining and dining.

At the southern end of Kote Afkhazi Street you’ll find Meidan, in old times a bazaar but now an area of hotels, restaurants and shops. Please see the Travel Essentials below for a list of Georgian speciality products.

Meidan in Old Town, Tbilisi, overlooked by Narikala Fortress

On Sololaki Hill above Meidan is Narikala Fortress which is best accessed by cable car across the river in Rike Park. I would strongly suggest visiting Narikala Fortress on your first day to get a stunning overview of the city below.

On top of Sololaki Hill one will find the Kartlis Deda (Mother of Georgia) monument as well. Passengers must possess a Metromoney card to purchase a ticket for the Cable Car. It’s possible to buy a Metromoney ticket at the Cable Car kiosk.

Walking down from Narikala Fortress is a steep incline for those with dodgy footing but it’s a pleasure to meander along the Old Town backstreets. Cross over the Metekhi Bridge and to your right your will see Metekhi Church on an Avlabari hill looking down on the Old Town.

Metekhi Church in Avlabari, Tbilisi

Walk through Rike Park to the most famous (and unusual) bridge in Tbilisi, the Peace Bridge. Commissioned by former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and opened in 2010, the Peace Bridge is a glass and steel structure with LED lights which illuminate to stunning effect at night-time.

Peace Bridge spanning the Mtkvari River in Tbilisi

Also in Rike Park one will find more outlandish architecture in the form of Tbilisi Concert Hall. Built in the shape of two steel and glass tubed funnels, the structure looks as if it’s ready to spill liquid out onto the park.

Tbilisi Concert Hall

Cross over the Peace Bridge and turn right onto Erekle II Street. Continue to Anchiskhati Basilica and onwards to the quirky Leaning Clock Tower. Surprisingly, this building is one of the newest in the area and is part of the Gabriadze Puppet Theatre next door. Part-artwork and part a homage to Tbilisi’s architectural heritage, an angel appears at the top of the tower on the hour to strike a bell.

Leaning Clock Tower in Tbilisi

The other main sights in Old Town are the many thermal sulphur bathhouses dotted around. Distinctive by their low, red-brick domed roofs the baths avail of the natural hot springs that Tbilisi is situated on.


Where to stay in Tbilisi:

If the above list sounds like an ideal list of things to do in Tbilisi list then the best area to stay is Old Tbilisi, near Rustaveli Avenue and its adjoining streets. has an excellent selection of hotels and apartments in this area.

Bear in mind that Rustaveli Avenue is a very busy street with multiple traffic lanes so ask for a room not facing the main street. I stayed in an apartment on a side street at the north end of Rustaveli Avenue.

The Old Town is excellent for proximity to sights but I’ve heard that night-time in the Old Town is not conducive to a good night’s sleep.

A good alternative for the Old Town is Avlabari and can recommend the very friendly Hotel Vita, an excellent budget option which offers a taxi service to the airport at any time of the day or night.

What to buy in Tbilisi:

Wine, wine and more wine! The Georgians have been making and drinking wine for 8,000 years. Its smooth, non-acrid taste was lip-smackingly good and should be on everyone’s things to do in Tbilisi list.

Handmade accessories such as jewellery, bags and hats are also a good option. Unusual gifts to bring home are traditional knives and wine drinking horns although check with customs in your own country as to whether you can import the former item.

Getting to Tbilisi:

Tbilisi is the epicentre of the Caucasus region and is easily reached from neighbouring Armenia and Azerbaijan by bus and train. I flew from Dublin via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines. The flight time from Istanbul to Tbilisi is approximately two hours. At the time of my visit the only land border crossing between Georgia and Russia was north of Stepantsminda on the Georgian Military Highway.

Getting around Tbilisi:

Central Tbilisi and the Old Town are easily walkable but the main transport connections are spread all over the city. Taxis are excellent value in Tbilisi and are the most convenient way to get from A to B. I highly recommend downloading the Bolt (Taxify) App for taxi trips.

The airport is located 15-20 kilometres southwest of the city and is served by Bus 37.

Tbilisi has a two-line Metro system which comes recommended. Tickets can be purchased from the desks at stations by topping up a Metromoney card. You can purchase a Metromoney card at any Metro station or at the Cable Car kiosk at Rike Park or at Narikala Fortress. Further information on the Metromoney card can be found here.

If you want to travel outside of Tbilisi I recommend you read my Day trips from Tbilisi post. It covers trips done independently and with tour groups. This post will be of particular use to solo travellers as I discovered that tour groups in Georgia tend to cater for visiting groups.

Tbilisi is 5 hours by train from Batumi so I wouldn’t recommend visiting Batumi for a day trip. Batumi is an excellent destination in its own right so worth staying there. Check out my Things to do in Batumi post for further information.

Is Tbilisi safe:

I encountered no problems in Tbilisi in terms of personal safety although I was bothered by a few characters around the Marshrutka and Metro stations at Didube. Some of the side streets have inadequate lighting and broken footpaths so the hazard here is a slip or a fall.

Other Tbilisi travel tips:

I recommend Magti on Rustaveli Avenue for a SIM card. Bring your passport as proof of ID.

Tbilisi is particularly beautiful at night, reminding me of Paris, to be honest.

Tbilisi is a great city for busking so have some coins at the ready for the excellent street performers. And they’ll be more than happy to give you advice on what to do in Tbilisi.

Things to do in Tbilisi

11 thoughts on “Things to do in Tbilisi”

  1. This came at a perfect time, I’m planning a trip soon to Georgia! Thanks for sharing & I’m tagging this for later reference when my trip gets closer!! 🙂


  2. Some of that architecture sure is unique! That clock tower is gorgeous! Definitely a place we would love top explore!


  3. Tibilisi looks like a lovely place to visit! After I saw a photo of that leaning clock tower I knew I wanted to go. It’s so eye catching and unusual. Exploring the Old Town and seeing the views from the top of the fortress would be high on my list along with walking on the Peace bridge as I love the architecture of it!


  4. I would love to visit Tbilisi! It’s actually been on my list for ages but I haven’t managed to find a good flight to it yet.


    1. Thanks Krista. It’s difficult to get direct flights to Tbilisi. I travelled with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul and I found them to be very good. I met a guy from the US who travelled with Lufthansa via Germany (another airline I can recommend).


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