Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, is a great destination both for a weekend escape and for a longer vacation if you include the surrounding areas in your plan. I have been living in Tbilisi since 2018 and wanted to share my insights about the city. I have a lot of information about accommodation, transportation, weather, dining and etc. in Tbilisi. I hope my Tbilisi guide will be useful in planning your trip. Here is a detailed Tbilisi travel guide from a local.

Top Things To Do in Tbilisi – 2 Days Itinerary

Tbilisi Travel Guide

In this article, you will read about general information on Tbilisi, including accommodation, transportation, weather, shopping, and dining – all the things you need to know before going to Tbilisi. For top places to visit in Tbilisi, I have a separate article with a two-day itinerary. I leave the link below, I recommend you to read it too.

Where is Tbilisi? General Information About Tbilisi

Located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, in the South Caucasus, Georgia is one of the former Soviet Union countries. Georgians have a matriarchal society, meaning women are often the heads of the family. Interestingly, in Georgian, “mama” means father and “deda” means mother, contrary to many other languages. Even the giant statue “Kartlis Deda”, the symbol of the city, is a woman and is referred to as the mother of Georgians. Approximately 85% of the population is Orthodox Christian, with a Muslim minority of about 10%.

Is Tbilisi cheap or expensive?

The currency in Georgia is the Lari (GEL). Tbilisi is not an expensive city; it’s much more affordable compared to many cities in Europe.

Is Tbilisi safe? How are the Georgian people?

In the past, there were some negative stories about safety in Georgia, but those days are long gone. Currently, both Tbilisi and the rest of the country are quite safe. The people of Georgia are generally warm-hearted and know how to enjoy life. They are known for speaking loudly in their somewhat harsh-sounding language, which sometimes leads to misconceptions about them being quarrelsome. At the end of the article, I will also share a few useful Georgian words that might be useful for you.

Tbilisi Transportation Guide

I don’t use public transportation much in Tbilis, but I’ll try to give information as much as I know. First, let me talk about the bus transportation from Tbilisi airport to the city center. You can take bus number 337 to the city center. The last stop of the bus is the central train station, and Freedom Square stop is the best to get off for the city center. It operates from 6:59 AM to 10:59 PM every 15 minutes and costs 1 GEL. At night, you can use bus number 137, which operates every 40 minutes. For city and intercity transportation, you can use the minibuses called Marshrutka. They no longer accept cash; you need to get a MetroMoney card. For other transportation options like buses, you can check this website for bus routes and fares. I will soon prepare a separate article about public transportation with much more detail.

There are two metro lines in the city. You can use the metro by purchasing a MetroMoney card for 2 GEL. This card is also valid for the cable car that goes up to Kartlis Deda. Renting a car should be your last option in Tbilisi, as it can be quite expensive and you can walk to most places. However, if you plan to visit surrounding areas, you might consider renting a car just for those days. In Tbilisi, you may see cars with both right and left steering wheels, but traffic flows on the right. For city transportation, I think the most sensible option is to download the Yandex.Go app and call a taxi through it. It’s cheap, safe, and provides a comfortable way to travel. Even though I have my own car, I mostly prefer Yandex.Go for city transportation. Regular taxis are not always reliable as they can set their own prices. Also, not all of them speak English, so it can be difficult to explain where you want to go. Some people also use the Bolt app.

Let me also talk about telecommunication. If you are staying for a long time, you might consider getting a phone line. I use Magti and recommend it. I have traveled to many parts of Georgia and never had a problem with reception. You can find detailed information about internet, SMS, and call packages here. My spouse uses Geocell, and I haven’t heard of any issues with it. If you don’t get a line, there are free internet spots in some parts of the city, appearing as Tbilisi Loves You or Free Wifi. Of course, all restaurants and cafes have internet as well.

When Is the Best Time to Visit Tbilisi?

I would say that the best time to visit Tbilisi is spring and fall, especially April-May and September-October. The city is much more beautiful in the spring with lots of greenery or in the fall with yellow tones, and you don’t get overwhelmed by the heat or have to freeze in the dry cold of the city. In summer the temperature is really high, so I don’t recommend traveling in summer except for June. If you plan to spend time in the regions such as Kazbegi, Svaneti or Kakheti, it makes more sense to travel in summer.

How many days do you need in Tbilisi?

Tbilisi is a city where you can see the main sights in a weekend, but you can spend much more time if you plan to spend time in the surroundings. For those who plan to stay longer than two days, let me tell you a little bit about what you can explore around Tbilisi. There is a very nice wine route in the Kakheti region of Georgia, you can visit the lush vineyards in spring and taste wine. Tbilisi is also a preferable city for its proximity to ski resorts. As ski lovers, we find the nearby Gudauri ski resort quite impressive and recommend it for winter. Another skiing alternative is Bakuriani, which I recommend especially for families with children and beginners. If you want to venture a little further afield, I would recommend Kazbegi for great scenery and maybe trekking. Mestia is also a great route for travelers, with both Svan towers and skiing opportunities.

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Where to stay in Tbilisi? Tbilisi Accommodation Tips

To be close to most of the must-see tourist attractions in Tbilisi, it makes sense to choose a place around Old Tbilisi. There are many nice restaurants and bars in this area. Rustaveli neighborhood is also an ideal place to stay, you are within walking distance to most activities. I can also recommend Vake & Vera, two of the nice neighborhoods of Tbilisi, for accommodation. There are nice new cafes opening every day and there are parks and shopping opportunities around, but you will need a car for most tourist activities. Prices are a bit high, but if you like to stay in stylish hotels, I recommend Rooms Hotel in this neighborhood. The decoration of the rooms and public areas is very nice. Stamba Hotel, which is right next to it, is another place where I like the interior design. These two hotels are part of Adjara Group and I like their style in general. A more affordable hotel of the same group in another part of the city is Fabrika, which is both a hostel and has private rooms. It also hosts many venues in its courtyard.

Where To Stay In Tbilisi, Georgia?

Best Hotels to Stay in Tbilisi

Since I get a lot of questions about accommodation in Tbilisi, I prepared a detailed article on this subject. I wrote about the best areas to stay in Tbilisi and found very nice hotels for every budget, I also have hostel suggestions for solo travelers, please read that article.

If budget is not important at all, then I recommend you to stay in one of the hotels I am going to list now or in the Adjara Group hotels I mentioned above. The prices for these hotels start at a minimum of $160. Ambassadori Tbilisi HotelRadisson Blu Iveria HotelTbilisi Marriott Hotel

Click here for all suitable hotel options in Tbilisi.

What to eat in Tbilisi? Nightlife in Tbilisi

This is my favorite question. When I visit a ccountry, I love to taste its unique dishes. Georgian cuisine suits almost every taste, they have a cuisine based on pastry and meat. The nightlife in Tbilisi is also quite vibrant; Georgians really enjoy having fun and value spending time with friends. Must-Try Georgian Dishes are Khachapuri, Khinkali, Ojakhuri, Qababi, Ostri, Lobio, Pikhali, Sulguni Cheese, Georgian Salad with walnut and Churchkhela. Georgia is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, its history is said to date back 8000 years. In fact, according to Guinness book of records, Georgia is the oldest wine producing country in the world. By the way, let me also talk about tap water in Tbilisi; we normally buy water from outside to drink at home, but I use tap water for meals, tea and coffee, and if there is no water left at home, I drink from the tap.

Best Georgian Restaurants in Tbilisi

Best Breakfast Cafes in Tbilisi

Best Cafes in Tbilisi for Coffee

The Best Souvenirs to Buy in Tbilisi

First of all, if you like wine, you should definitely buy wine, after all you are in the country that is the oldest wine producer in history. You can also consider buying horns used as wine glasses, these horns called Khantsi are really authentic. Felt products are also very fashionable here; felt toys, shawls, ponchos, bags, chetiks and much more. Papakha, long feathered kalpaks made of lambskin, can also be a fun souvenir. We have both white and black ones at home. As a hat, there are also felt skullcaps worn by Svan people, there are some with Georgian flag patterns, which can be a nice souvenir. In my opinion, these are some of the best unique products of Georgia, and the best places to buy souvenirs are Old Tbilisi and the Dry Bridge market.

Is Tbilisi Suitable for Traveling with Children? Tbilisi with Kids

I get a lot of questions from people who are planning to go to Tbilisi with kids: “Is Tbilisi a suitable city for traveling with a child”. I can only warn those traveling with a stroller about traveling with a child, otherwise I don’t see any problems. A stroller can be a bit annoying especially on the stony roads around old Tbilisi. The other issue might be going up and down the stairs in the underpasses. We first visited Tbilisi with my son when he was only 1.5 years old. Since then, we’ve visited frequently as tourists and eventually started living here. My son has really enjoyed exploring Tbilisi since he was a baby. Therefore, I think it would be an enjoyable trip for children as well.

Top Useful Phrases in Georgian Language

Finally, I’ll write down some words hat may be useful in your daily life and that you will not feel unfamiliar when you hear them. I am writing them directly as they are read.

Gamarcoba: Hello

Rogora har: How are you?

Kargad: Good

Madloba: Thank you

Arapris: You’re welcome

Nahvamdis: Goodbye

Ugatsravat: Excuse me

Ara: No

Diyah: Yes

Angarişi: Bill

Ram deni: How much?

Vay mee: Oh my God

I hope my Tbilisi Travel Guide article will be useful and you have a wonderful trip to Tbilisi. If you have any questions, please write them in the comments. Don’t forget to follow me to stay updated on my upcoming posts and for more photos!

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