Posted 14 July 2023 in Travel wanderlust

8 things to do in Tbilisi: A picturesque city in Georgia

Located between the majestic Caucasus Mountains and the winding Kura River, Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, calls upon travellers to its vibrant city. There are so many things to do in Tbilisi, the old town called Dzveli is not the only thing that makes a traveller jump with delight. It just takes a flight to Tbilisi to unravel the charm and beauty, as you can see while exploring the cobbled streets that winds through the historic Old Town, adorned with traditional balconied houses and striking churches, and contemporary architecture and bustling avenues that add a touch of modernity. It is a city where ancient traditions intertwine seamlessly with the excitement of a dynamic urban centre.

So, step into Tbilisi and immerse yourself in a city that holds the past, present, and future in perfect harmony.

1. Wander the Old Town

Step back in time as you stroll through Tbilisi's enchanting Old Town or Dzveli Tbilisi. Cobblestone streets wind their way through picturesque buildings adorned with wooden balconies, creating an authentic atmosphere that captivates the soul. Explore the historic churches, cosy cafes, and boutique shops, immersing yourself in the city's rich cultural heritage.

Here are some must-do activities in Dzveli Tbilisi

  • Climb up to the ancient Narikala Fortress, which stands proudly on a hill overlooking Old Tbilisi.
  • Treat yourself to a traditional bathhouse experience, where you can relax in the soothing warm waters and indulge in a revitalising massage.
  • Visit the Sioni Cathedral, a significant religious landmark in Old Tbilisi.
  • Step inside the Anchiskhati Basilica, one of the oldest churches in Tbilisi, dating back to the 6th
  • Stroll along Shardeni Street, a lively pedestrianised thoroughfare lined with cafes, art galleries, and boutiques.
  • Explore the Sulfur Bath District, an area where you can find several historic bathhouses.
  • Visit Freedom Square and Meidan Square, both are bustling plaza surrounded by grand buildings and monuments.

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2. Narikala Fortress

For breathtaking panoramic view of Tbilisi, hike up to the ancient Narikala Fortress. This imposing structure, dating back to the 4th century, stands tall on a hill, offering an unforgettable vantage point. As the sun sets, the city lights up, creating a magical sight that will remain etched in your memory forever.

Here are some of the top things to do when visiting Narikala Fortress

  • The panoramic vistas make for an enchanting sunrise and sunset photo opportunities.
  • Walk along the ancient fortress walls, admire the watchtowers, and immerse yourself in the historical atmosphere.
  • Hop on the modern cable car that connects Rike Park to the fortress. The cable car ride itself offers stunning aerial views of the city.
  • Step inside the charming St. Nicholas Church located within the fortress and appreciate the traditional Georgian religious art and serene ambiance.
  • Visit Narikala Fortress at night for a magical experience as the fortress is beautifully illuminated, creating a romantic ambiance.

3. Sulphur Baths

Unwind like the locals do at the famous sulphur baths in Tbilisi. The natural hot springs have helped soothe the tired souls for centuries. You can choose from a range of traditional bathhouses, each with its unique ambiance, and treat yourself to a rejuvenating experience.

Here are some tips to make the most of your sulphur bath experience

  • Research and read reviews to select a bathhouse that suits your preferences and budget.
  • If you're visiting with a mixed-gender group, make sure to choose a bathhouse that accommodates your needs.
  • To ensure your comfort and hygiene, it's a good idea to bring your own towel and flip-flops. Some bathhouses may provide them, but having your own is more convenient.
  • Consider visiting the sulphur baths in the late afternoon or evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Bathhouses tend to be more crowded during weekends, so if you prefer a quieter experience, opt for a weekday visit.
  • Treat yourself to a traditional Georgian massage to complement your bathhouse experience.
  • Drink plenty of water before and after your bath to stay hydrated, especially if you plan to spend an extended time in the hot water.

4. Georgian National Museum

Delve into Georgia's rich history and culture at the Georgian National Museum. From ancient artefacts to contemporary art, the museum houses a diverse collection that provides fascinating insights into the nation's past and present.

Here's what you can expect when exploring the museum

  • Expect to see artefacts, artworks, and archaeological discoveries that provide insights into the country's past.
  • One of the highlights of the museum is its collection of archaeological treasures, including ancient gold jewellery, pottery, and tools that showcase the artistic and technological achievements of Georgia's early civilizations.
  • Discover a fascinating array of cultural artefacts, including traditional clothing, musical instruments, religious objects, and folk art.
  • The museum also features a significant collection of Georgian paintings and artworks, ranging from medieval religious icons to modern masterpieces by renowned Georgian artists.
  • Guided tours are available for visitors who want a more in-depth exploration of the exhibits.
  • Some sections of the museum may offer interactive activities, especially in the sections designed for younger visitors.
  • You can explore the museum's gift shop, where you can find unique souvenirs, books, and handicrafts related to Georgian culture. Additionally, many museums have a café where you can relax and enjoy some refreshments.

5. Rike Park

Escape the urban bustle and find tranquillity at Rike Park. This riverside park offers beautiful landscapes, walking paths, and even a musical fountain that comes alive with colourful water displays.

Here are some things you can do at Rike Park to make the most of your visit

  • Take a relaxing walk through the park's green pathways and enjoy the tranquil ambiance.
  • Bring a blanket and have a picnic with friends or family on the grassy lawns.
  • The park features a musical fountain that comes alive with colourful water displays, synchronised to music during the evenings.
  • Visit the Rike Park concert hall for various cultural events. Check the schedule to see if any events align with your visit for an enriching experience.
  • Explore the park in a fun and eco-friendly way by renting a Segway or a bicycle.
  • Don't forget your camera! Rike Park's picturesque landscapes, modern architecture, and stunning view offer ample opportunities for capturing memorable photographs.

6. Dry Bridge Flea Market

Discover unique souvenirs and antiques at the Dry Bridge Flea Market. Locals gather here to sell everything from Soviet memorabilia to handmade crafts, making it an ideal spot for finding one-of-a-kind treasures.

Here are some of the items to consider buying at the Dry Bridge Flea Market

  • Discover vintage furniture pieces such as chairs, tables, cabinets, and mirrors that can add character and charm to your home, that is, if you are living in Tbilisi.
  • Collectors and history enthusiasts can find an assortment of Soviet-era items like propaganda posters, pins, and other memorabilia.
  • Support local artists and find unique paintings, sketches, and sculptures that showcase Georgian artistry and talent.
  • Look for vintage and antique jewellery, including rings, necklaces, and brooches, which make for distinctive and nostalgic accessories.
  • Buy handcrafted items such as traditional Georgian ceramics, woodwork, textiles, and embroidered items to take home authentic souvenirs.
  • Photography enthusiasts may stumble upon vintage cameras, lenses, and other retro electronics.
  • You may find secondhand books, including old novels and art books.
  • Find quirky and one-of-a-kind home decor items like lamps, candle holders, and decorative pieces to add a touch of personality to your living space.

7. Mtatsminda Park

Take a ride up the funicular to Mtatsminda Park, perched atop Mount Mtatsminda. Enjoy thrilling amusement rides, stunning city vistas, and delectable dining options in this family-friendly park.

Here are some of the top things to do in Mtatsminda Park

  • The park boasts a variety of amusement rides, including roller coasters, Ferris wheels, carousels, and bumper cars, providing thrills and excitement for both kids and adults.
  • Take in the breathtaking panoramic view of Tbilisi and the surrounding landscapes from the top of the mountain.
  • Ride the funicular railway that takes you up to Mtatsminda Park from Chonkadze Street, providing a scenic journey with views of the city below.
  • Mtatsminda Park offers a variety of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a meal or a snack with a view.
  • The park's Ferris wheel is a popular attraction, providing a unique perspective of Tbilisi's skyline and an opportunity for memorable photographs.
  • The park has an arcade section with various games and entertainment options, offering a fun way to spend time with family and friends.
  • Visit the Mtatsminda Pantheon, a cemetery where several Georgian writers, artists, and public figures are buried. It is a peaceful and historically significant area within the park.

8. Georgian Cuisine

Lastly, indulge in the flavours of Georgia's delectable cuisine. From khachapuri, a cheesy bread delight, to khinkali, juicy dumplings filled with meat or veggies, the country's culinary offerings are sure to tantalise your taste buds.

  • Khachapuri is a cheesy bread delight. The most famous version is Adjarian khachapuri, boat-shaped bread filled with a blend of cheese, butter, and a runny egg.
  • Khinkali is a juicy Georgian dumpling that are usually filled with spiced meat or mushrooms.
  • Badrijani Nigvzit is a popular appetiser featuring eggplant slices filled with a walnut paste and spiced with garlic, coriander, and pomegranate seeds.
  • A Georgian-style barbecue, mtsvadi consists of skewered and grilled chunks of marinated meat, often served with fresh vegetables and lavash (thin bread).
  • Lobio is a comforting dish of kidney beans stewed with onions, garlic, and a blend of savoury spices, usually served with mchadi (cornbread).
  • Chakhokhbili is a flavourful chicken stew made with tomatoes, onions, and a mix of herbs and spices, often served with rice or bread.
  • Churchkhela is a popular Georgian candy made by threading nuts (often walnuts or hazelnuts) onto a string, dipping them in grape juice thickened with flour, and letting them dry to create a chewy, sweet treat.

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Tbilisi's alluring blend of old and new guarantees an unforgettable experience. Whether you're a history lover, an adventurer, or a food connoisseur, this city has it all. So, embrace the warmth of Georgian hospitality and embark on a journey of a lifetime.

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