Is Tbilisi worth visiting?
· ·

Is Tbilisi worth visiting?

Got Georgia on your mind? Wondering ‘is Tbilisi worth visiting?’ Having just returned from two weeks in this incredible city, in this article I share why I think it’s incredibly underrated and well worth visiting before the crowds follow en masse.

Having visited over 25 countries in the last year, it’s not very often I’m surprised by a new city any more. But boy, did I love Tbilisi?! I was truly blown away by the hospitality of this incredible country, as well as its friendly people, iconic cuisine, and origins as the birthplace of wine. In fact, I absolutely fell in love with the city, and even extended my stay. I’d happily go back, and with a strong co-working culture, it’s a popular choice among digital nomads and remote workers. If you’re considering heading to Tbilisi but are unsure of ‘is Tbilisi worth visiting?’, I’m here to tell you why it 100% is. Blending a rich history, diverse culture, and modern charm, it is well worth exploring.

 
A travel guide for Tbilisi

Quick tips for visiting Tbilisi

Get this: a guided Tbilisi walking tour. I always love doing one of these – usually on my first day in a new city – as it really helps you to get your bearings. This tour is super affordable, too.

Don’t miss: a Georgian cooking class. Georgia boasts some incredible cuisine, including the must-try khachapuri (cheesy bread) and khinkhali (dumplings), and there’s no better way to get acquainted than with a fun cooking class. I loved learning to make these dishes.

Bucket list experience: a guided tour to Kazbegi, Gudauri, and Zhinvali. This is an exceptional value tour, and enables you to explore beyond Tbilisi to the gorgeous mountainous regions of Georgia while savouring local delicacies.

Flights: find the cheapest flights to Tbilisi with Skyscanner.

Stay: Find the most affordable hotels in Tbilisi on Booking.com.

Where is Tbilisi, Georgia?

Tbilisi is the capital and largest city of Georgia, a country located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Specifically, Tbilisi is located on the banks of the Kura River in the eastern part of Georgia. The city is nestled between the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north and the Lesser Caucasus to the south. This gives you a beautiful backdrop of the snowy mountains, some of the highest in all of Europe.

How do you get to Tbilisi?

There are a few different ways for you to reach Tbilisi, although I imagine most of you will need to fly. Here are some of the most common ways to reach Tbilisi:

  • By air – Tbilisi International Airport (TBS) is well-connected to a number of international destinations. From the UK, I had to fly via Istanbul, but from May there will be direct connections. You could also look at flying into Kutaisi or Batumi and travelling across to the capital. Upon arrival into Tbilisi Airport, I highly recommend downloading Bolt – it’s the most affordable way to get around the city.
  • By train – if you’re travelling from neighbouring countries like Armenia (do note that Azerbaijan’s land border is currently closed), you might want to take a train to Tbilisi. The train station in Tbilisi is centrally located, and train services connect the city with various destinations.
  • By bus – bus services operate between Tbilisi and nearby cities and countries. International and domestic bus stations in Tbilisi facilitate travel by bus. I recommend checking the schedules and routes with bus companies to plan your journey.
  • By car – if you travelling within Georgia or from nearby countries, you can drive to Tbilisi. Major roads and highways connect the city with various regions. Ensure you have a valid driver’s license and familiarise yourself with local traffic rules – driving in Tbilisi is no joke!

When is the best time to visit Tbilisi?

The best time to visit Tbilisi really depends on your personal preferences and the type of experience you’re looking for. I visited in February – which brought both cold weather and some really surprisingly sunny days – although I’d love to return in summer when I hear the city is really happening. Here are a few considerations for the different seasons in Tbilisi:

  • Spring (April to June): spring is a really pleasant time to visit Tbilisi. The weather is mild, and temperatures become a little warmer. Spring means flowers start blooming, the landscapes look a little greener, and the temperatures are comfortable for exploring the city and its surroundings.
  • Summer (July to August): summer is the peak tourist season in Tbilisi. Although it’ll be busier, I’m so keen to head back and experience the city in the summer. The weather is warm to hot, and the city comes alive with events, festivals, and outdoor activities. Be prepared for higher temperatures, especially in July and August.
  • Autumn (September to November): autumn is another great time to visit Tbilisi. The temperatures are still pleasant, and the foliage starts to change, creating colourful scenery. September and early October are particularly nice for visiting the city.
  • Winter (December to February): winter in Tbilisi can be cold, especially in January. While it might not be the best time for outdoor activities, it’s a great season for those interested in winter landscapes and cultural experiences. The city’s architecture and historical sites take on a different charm in the colder months. I visited in January to February, and although chilly, there’s nothing quite like seeing the beautiful Caucasus Mountains covered in snow as a backdrop.

Have a good think about what you’d like to do in Tbilisi and your preferences regarding weather, crowds, and the specific activities you’d like to engage in when planning your visit to Tbilisi. Each season has its own unique appeal, so the best time to go depends on your individual interests and priorities.

Where is best to stay in Tbilisi?

Tbilisi is only a relatively small city, making it difficult to pick a ‘bad’ place to stay. Choosing the best place to stay in Tbilisi, however, depends on your preferences, interests, and the kind of experience you’re looking for. Here are some of the most popular neighbourhoods in Tbilisi, each with its own unique charm:

  • Old Town (Altstadt): the historic heart of Tbilisi, the Old Town is characterised by narrow cobblestone streets, traditional architecture, and historic landmarks. It’s an excellent choice for those who want to be close to historical sites, cozy cafes, and vibrant street life. I stayed in the Old Town during my visit, and really enjoyed it. It’s a little further out from some of the city’s attractions, but it’s a very pleasant stroll away.
  • Vake: Vake is a more modern and upscale area within the city, featuring parks, trendy boutiques, and a variety of dining options. It’s a quieter neighbourhood but still well-connected to the city centre, making it suitable for those seeking a more relaxed atmosphere.
  • Sololaki: this area is a blend of historic charm and bohemian vibes. Sololaki is known for its colourful houses, art galleries, and eclectic shops. It’s a great choice for those who appreciate culture and creativity.
  • Vera: Vera is a lively district with a mix of residential and commercial spaces. It offers a good balance of trendy cafes, restaurants, and green spaces. Vera is known for its diverse architecture and a vibrant, urban atmosphere.
  • Mtatsminda: if you fancy stunning panoramic views of Tbilisi, Mtatsminda is a hillside district that provides just that. It’s home to the Funicular complex, leading to Mtatsminda Park, and offers a peaceful escape with scenic surroundings.
  • Avlabari: situated near the Old Town, Avlabari is known for its historical significance and proximity to landmarks like the Holy Trinity Cathedral. It’s a little quieter than other areas of the city, and offers a more relaxed atmosphere while still being close to Tbilisi’s main attractions.

The best place to stay in Tbilisi depends on your preferences for atmosphere, proximity to attractions, and the type of neighbourhood experience you desire. Each area has its own charm and unique appeal, so you can’t really go wrong.

Where are the best hotels in Tbilisi?

Tbilisi has a really great range of hotels. I stayed in both a hotel and an Airbnb while visiting for two weeks, although given the choice again, I’d definitely opt for a hotel. From luxurious hotels set in former publishing houses to elegant rooms in the heart of the city, there’s something for everything. What’s even better is that most of the hotels in Tbilisi are very reasonably priced. Here’s my pick of the best luxury and budget hotels in Tbilisi:

Luxury hotels in Tbilisi

The Biltmore, Tbilisi – 5*

Staying at the Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi offers a luxurious and sophisticated experience in the heart of the city. Known for its elegant rooms, central location, and high-end amenities, the Biltmore caters to travellers looking for a premium stay. With a focus on quality service, the hotel has a range of facilities including fine dining options, spa services, a rooftop bar, and an indoor pool, creating an atmosphere of comfort and indulgence. Its central location allows convenient access to Tbilisi’s attractions, making it an great choice for both leisure and business travellers. With a reputation for excellence, the Biltmore Hotel is perfect for those looking for upscale accommodation option in Tbilisi.

Shota @ Rustaveli, Tbilisi – 4*

Shota @ Rustaveli is a boutique hotel in Tbilisi that stands out for its unique artistic design and warm hospitality. Situated in the heart of Tbilisi, it offers a distinctive and intimate atmosphere for guests. The hotel is often praised for its attention to detail in decor, incorporating local art and culture. The rooms are stylish and comfortable, offering a cosy retreat for travellers. Shota @ Rustaveli’s location in the Rustaveli Avenue area means it’s really well situated for cultural attractions, shopping, and dining. If you like boutique accommodation with a personalised touch, Shota @ Rustaveli is a great choice for your stay in Tbilisi, blending creativity and a central location for a unique stay in the city.

Budget hotels in Tbilisi

Tbilisi Laerton – 4*

This is where I stayed in Tbilisi for a whole week, and it was just fine! A short stroll from Avlabary Metro Station, Tbilisi Laerton was clean and comfortable. My room was also impressively spacious. You get free breakfast each morning, served in a terrace that offers a beautiful panoramic view of the city. All rooms have traditional decoration, each with a flat-screen TV, minibar, and seating area. There’s an onsite spa and swimming room too to enjoy after a long day of exploring the city. You might fancy dining in the hotel’s own restaurant, or you can take a short walk or cheap taxi to Freedom Square and its many local restaurants and cafes. I’d recommend staying here if you need a good, affordable hotel.

Hotello, Tbilisi – 3*

Hotello is well located in Tbilisi’s city centre, just a short walk from Rustaveli and Freedom Square. Offering very reasonably priced accommodation, the hotel offers comfortable rooms, and each has a private bathroom, flat-screen TV, and a balcony. Staff are friendly, and are happy to help you plan your stay in Tbilisi to ensure you make the most of your time in the city. A buffet breakfast is served daily at the property too to get you set up for a day of exploring beautiful Tbilisi.

Things to do in Tbilisi

I had wanted to visit Tbilisi for a long time, so when the opportunity came up to visit for a couple of weeks as part of a travel conference, I was there for it! As the capital of Georgia, I knew Tbilisi would be a relatively vibrant city with a rich history, diverse culture, and blend of modern and old, but I really had no idea just how many amazing things to do there are. The country is proud of its strong hospitality culture, and this runs through all the many activities you can engage in while visiting Tbilisi. Here are my recommendations on the top things to do in Tbilisi:

  • Wander the Old Town (Abanotubani): Tbilisi’s history as an important landmark in the Silk Road is fascinating. I loved wandering through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Old Town, exploring the historic Abanotubani district known for its sulphuur baths, and visiting the colourful Narikala Fortress for panoramic views of the city.
  • Visit Freedom Square: this central square is a hub of activity and is surrounded by significant landmarks, including the Georgian National Museum and the iconic St. George Statue. There are plenty of great coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants here to enjoy, too.
  • Take a cable car to Narikala Fortress: I really enjoyed taking a scenic ride on the Tbilisi Cable Car to reach Narikala Fortress. It’s the best way to enjoy stunning views of the city and the Kura River. I actually recommend taking a double cable car ride so you can experience both the old and the new views over the city – something I found quite unique to Tbilisi!
Cable car views in Tbilisi
  • Visit Rike Park and the Bridge of Peace: relax in Rike Park and spot the hot air balloon that takes visitors up for incredible views of the city, and walk across the iconic Bridge of Peace, an architectural landmark that spans the Kura River.
  • Wander Rustaveli Avenue: Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare is lined with shops, cafes, theatres, and cultural institutions. It’s a great place for shopping and exploring, and perfect for visiting in the evenings when you fancy dinner or drinks.
  • Visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral (Sameba): explore the largest cathedral in Georgia, popular for its impressive architecture and beautiful surroundings.
  • Discover Georgian cuisine: if there’s one thing they do well in Tbilisi, it’s food! You have to try traditional Georgian dishes like khachapuri (cheese-filled bread), khinkali (dumplings), and various grilled meats. I highly recommend you take a Georgian cooking class – I did one and it was so much fun and you get to eat everything afterwards!

  • Visit Tbilisi Botanical Garden: enjoy a peaceful stroll in the botanical garden, located in the heart of the city, offering a green oasis with diverse plant species.
  • Get cultured at the art galleries and museums: explore Tbilisi’s art scene by visiting galleries like the Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi Museum of Modern Art, and the National Gallery.
  • Browse the Flea Market at Dry Bridge: visit the Dry Bridge Market for a wide variety of unique antiques, crafts, and souvenirs to take home with you.
  • Experience the Sulphur Baths: try a traditional sulphur bath in the Abanotubani district for a relaxing and unique experience. I really recommend adding on the scrub for a small additional fee – it’s probably the best exfoliation I’ve ever had!

What to pack for Tbilisi

Knowing what to pack for Tbilisi really depends on the time of year you’re visiting, as well as any activities you’re planning for your stay. Here are some items I’d recommend taking with you based on my own experiences of recently visiting Tbilisi:

  • Plug adaptor – if you’re UK based, you’ll need a plug converter. Like most of Europe, Georgia uses type C and F plugs. This plug adaptor is amazing as you can use it in most other countries, no matter what the plug type. I don’t travel without one any more.
  • Multi device charger – I can’t travel without one of these any more, either. It’s so handy for charging a couple of iPhones at once (ideal when you’re travelling with someone and are limited on time or plugs for charging), as well as a couple of other devices.
  • Clear toiletries bags – these are an absolute lifesaver at airport security – no more flimsy sandwich bags for a starter! When I visited Georgia, I’d travelled via Istanbul and had to go through multiple airport securities, so it was super handy just to shove all my toiletries into one of these.
  • SPF 50 – no matter what the weather, if you’re out and about, I can’t recommend a good suncream enough! The sun can be deceptively strong, even when cloudy, so you should make sure you take plenty of SPF with you.
  • A secure day bag for storing essentials like your passport, cash, and cards. I love this crossbody bag from Amazon. As well as being really reasonably priced, I use it for most of my trips as it’s super convenient for storing your phone etc while exploring a city.
  • An underseat cabin bag. If you’re like me and love scoring a bargain on Ryanair or Easyjet, you’ll want one of these bags. I recently purchased one for my trip to Georgia, and it was genuinely a lifesaver. It packs in much more than you’d ever think, and is airline approved so you can save the pennies you’d splash out on taking a suitcase on cocktails at the hotel bar instead.
  • Travel bottles for toiletries – these travel sized containers are so helpful for the 100ml flying restriction. I use the colour coded bottles for my different products – shampoo, conditioner, etc as I hate using the cheap hotel toiletries on my hair.
  • Reusable travel water bottle – I don’t go anywhere without one of these any more. It’s super cheap and is easy to just refill and shove into a backpack when you’re out exploring. I always like to have water on me, and don’t like buying single use plastics, so this is perfect.
  • An umbrella – this is an essential if you’re visiting Tbilisi in the winter or shoulder seasons. The weather can be a little unpredictable in Tbilisi, so make sure you pack one of these into your bag.
  • A Georgian phrasebook – I always think making some effort to speak some of the local language goes a long way when interacting with locals. I took this book with me and tried to learn some simple phrases, which I really think made a difference to my experience!

Is Tbilisi worth visiting? – FAQs

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Tbilisi, and whether or not the city is worth visiting.

Is Tbilisi worth visiting?

Oh, 100%! I absolutely loved it. Tbilisi is well worth visiting for its magical blend of history, culture, and modern charm. There is so much to do in Tbilisi, and it’s really picturesque – you’ll find stunning architecture, churches, and fortresses for a taster of the city’s rich culture. I’ve never experienced hospitality quite like I did in Tbilisi (it’s what Georgia is all about!), and the cultural scene is so much fun. You can experience arts, music, dancing, and some of the best food you’ve ever tried. You can’t visit Tbilisi and not try iconic dishes like khachapuri and khinkali. I also highly recommend visiting the sulphur baths in the historic Abanotubani district for a unique and relaxing escape. Still wondering ‘is Tbilisi worth visiting?’ If I were you, I’d already have booked my tickets!

Is Tbilisi tourist friendly?

Very much so! I found it extremely safe (as a solo traveller), accessible, and easy to communicate with locals. So much so, I actually extended my trip for another week, and I’d quite happily live in Tbilisi for some time. Tbilisi is generally considered a tourist-friendly destination. The city has been actively working to enhance its tourism infrastructure, and as a visitor, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the warm hospitality and friendliness of the locals. Here are reasons why I’d consider Tbilisi to be very tourist friendly:

  • Standard of English – I found almost everyone I interacted with in Tbilisi had good English language skills, making it very easy to communicate and get about.
  • Tourist bureau – Georgia is certainly working on attracting tourists, and therefore makes it easier to get around, sharing maps, brochures, and support for tourists.
  • Signage and information – you’ll find signs and information in English in most places, making it much easier to get about the city and understand the attractions.
  • Accommodation options – Tbilisi has a wide range of affordable accommodation options, from hotels to guesthouses, catering for all kinds of tastes and budgets.
  • Transport – I found it super easy and cheap to navigate my way around the city. Bolts are available and incredibly affordable – I took one to most places, and found they only cost me around £1-2 per journey.
  • Friendly locals – I found the locals in Tbilisi generally very welcoming and hospitable to tourists. It’s also a less conservative city compared to those of some neighbouring countries.
  • Safety – Tbilisi is considered safe for tourists, with low crime rates compared to many other European cities. I felt much safer than in cities like London or Rome, and often walked around on my own at night without any kind of issue. You’ll find there are security cameras everywhere, which I found quite reassuring.

While Tbilisi is generally tourist-friendly, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead, be culturally sensitive, and stay informed about local customs and regulations.

Is Tbilisi cheap or expensive?

I’d say Tbilisi is a very affordable destination, making it perfect for budget-conscious travellers. The city has a range of reasonably priced accommodation, from budget-friendly hostels to mid-range hotels, and the cost of living is generally much lower compared to many other European capitals. Dining in Tbilisi is affordable, especially when exploring local eateries and enjoying traditional Georgian dishes. In fact, I remember having a two-course meal and two glasses of wine for the equivalent of just £10. Public transport, including buses and the metro, is cost-effective, and taxis are relatively cheap. Entrance fees to attractions are usually reasonable, allowing you to explore the city’s cultural and historical sites without straining your budget. While luxury accommodations and high-end dining options can be relatively more expensive, overall, Tbilisi is a cheap destination, allowing you to enjoy the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine without breaking the bank.

Is Georgia part of Russia or Europe?

Georgia is a country located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, situated in the Caucasus region. It’s not part of Russia (having gained independence from the Soviet Union), although it shares a border with Russia to the north. Georgia is an independent and sovereign nation with its own government, culture, and identity. Georgia is considered part of the South Caucasus, and it is often classified as a transcontinental country, straddling both Europe and Asia. The majority of Georgia’s territory lies in the South Caucasus, while a small portion, including the capital city Tbilisi, is situated in Eastern Europe. The country has historical and cultural ties to both Europe and the Middle East. Politically, Georgia has pursued closer ties with Europe and aspires to join the European Union.

I think if you visit Tbilisi, you will see for yourself just why it’s so popular as a destination. I’d say it’s down to a blend of the city’s rich history, cultural diversity, and scenic beauty. The city’s historic Old Town, adorned with narrow streets and ancient structures, showcases centuries of cultural influences, while its vibrant cultural scene invites visitors to immerse themselves in Georgian traditions. It’s also a beautiful city, offering picturesque views of the Kura River and the Caucasus Mountains. The warm hospitality of the locals, iconic Georgian cuisine, and unique experiences like the sulphur baths in the Abanotubani district contribute to the city’s charm. Affordability, safety, and the city’s role as a hub for cultural events and festivals further enhance its popularity, making Tbilisi a popular destination for those seeking an authentic, enriching, and budget-friendly travel experience.

Is Tbilisi safe to walk around?

Tbilisi is generally considered safe for tourists, and I myself felt very comfortable walking around the city. As with any travel destination, however, it’s important to exercise basic precautions to ensure your safety. Here are some tips for walking around Tbilisi:

  • Stick to well-lit areas – especially at night, stay in well-lit and populated areas. Avoid poorly lit or deserted streets, alleys, and parks.
  • Be mindful of traffic – I’d say this is one to be careful of, as the driving in Tbilisi can be quite interesting! Tbilisi’s traffic can be busy, and pedestrian crossings may not always be strictly observed. Exercise caution when crossing streets, and use designated crosswalks.
  • Use reputable transportation – when using taxis, use reputable services or ride-sharing apps to avoid potential scams. I had this on my way from the airport to the city, as I couldn’t get Bolt to work on my phone. Always verify the fare before starting your journey, and use Bolt wherever you can.
  • Emergency numbers – familiarise yourself with local emergency numbers and the location of the nearest embassy or consulate.

While Tbilisi is generally considered safe (and that was certainly my experience), individual experiences may vary, so it’s always a good idea to stay vigilant and take necessary precautions.


‘Is Tbilisi worth visiting?’ Absolutely! I hope you found my guide to visiting Tbilisi, Georgia, and that you’re feeling inspired to travel there yourself. It’s a wonderful place you should definitely visit if you’re looking to explore a beautiful area of Europe that’s a little more off the beaten track. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to help.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.