My Tbilisi Travel Guide & What to Do in Georgia’s Magical Capital!
The Georgian capital is a growingly popular tourist destination and with good reason. A gem among Eastern European or rather Eurasian cities, to visit Tbilisi is to walk among millennia of history! Georgian history dates back to millennia before Christ, and there are traces of this rich heritage everywhere. Read all about my favorite spots in this shabby chic little city in this Tbilisi travel guide and check out my Tbilisi Travel Story. Find out all about what things to do in Tbilisi, plus my favorite hotels in Tbilisi Georgia!
There are so many things to do in Tbilisi, with its hip venues and fascinating architecture. There’s an incredible mix of periods, from the Middle Ages to Soviet years and contemporary times. As a consequence, it’s a magical city for design lovers, and here is also one of my favorite boutique hotel located – The Rooms Hotel. Easily one of the best hotels in Tbilisi Georgia!
Although small, Georgia is full of wonder, and the things to do in Tbilisi and its surroundings include Black Sea beaches to UNESCO sites. The landscapes and cultural offerings in this beautiful country are particularly varied when considering how small it is.
While Eastern Europe is known for being cold and dark, the Georgian climate is more benign. The country has a vibrant feel to it and, of course, the food and wine are amazing. It’s sort of the Italy of Eastern Europe, and the multiple things to do in Tbilisi are proof of that. I really hope my Tbilisi travel guide can serve as an inspiration to visit and feel the wonder!
Traveling – How to Get There?
The Tbilisi International Airport is fairly small, and about 20 to 30 minutes away from the city center. It receives flights from most Balkan capitals, plus some cities in Western Europe and the Middle East. Be sure to look up flights around you before deciding on which things to do in Tbilisi!
As Tbilisi keeps appearing on Cities to Visit lists, it is not a surprise that the airport is growing, as are the things to do in Tbilisi. I am sure that the number of direct flights will increase in the coming years. In other words, this Tbilisi travel guide could end up getting updated in the airport section!
Living – Where to Stay? Hotels in Tbilisi Georgia
The Rooms Hotel
Once a publishing house, this beautiful boutique hotel in Tbilisi is made for design lovers, you should add staying here to your list of things to do in Tbilisi. The Rooms Hotel offers a fully hipster vibe, blending industrial chic design with Manhattanite sensibilities and details. There’s a really eclectic and well thought-out mix of industrial with soft details, and old with new. Much like the city outside its gates, The Rooms is a place of style contrasts – and they definitely work in its favor!
With 125 rooms in total, there are 9 types of rooms with varying amenities, all inspired by the original building. For a boutique hotel, the place is pretty big! Some rooms offer mini-bars with cocktail recipe books, for those looking to bring some DIY mixology to their trip. Other rooms include gorgeous terraces with a view of the city, and different beds, depending on the guests. Each room includes furniture with details in leather, plus a wooden writing desk for when inspiration strikes.
If luxury hotels are your jam, staying at The Rooms should definitely be on your list of things to do in Tbilisi!
I really liked the hotel’s in-house restaurant, The Kitchen. Although I only had breakfast here, I loved the strong New York vibe and the effort on superb presentation. The menu combines healthy meals with more traditional Georgian cuisine, with some great options at the wine bar. Generally speaking, their drinks and wine selection is outstanding! You can read more on my Tbilisi Boutique Hotel review!
Eating & Drinking – Where?
Eat and drink should be on the top of your list of things to do in Tbilisi! Georgia is a country of flavors, and every Tbilisi travel guide will first recommend you to try everything. The food is among the most iconic in the region, with plenty of great local wines to choose from. I’d tried Georgian wines before, but the selection outside the country is limited; once in town, there are many more.
Tbilisi is one of those places where you can find an otherworldly culinary experience in any corner. Prepare your nose and taste buds for some serious deliciousness! Trying out some Khachapuri and khinkali should be one of the first things to do in Tbilisi!
These were some of the places that made eating an otherworldly foodie experience. Add them to your things to do in Tbilisi!
Keto & Kote
One of my favorites, Keto & Kote is a relatively new restaurant located in what was once an old house. There’s still a lot of the original house, which was rich in wood, windows and had a lot of plants. Its Georgian balconies and corbels add to its old charm, although the newer parts are very modern. Contemporary personality and an old history, just like the city – which is one of the reasons it should be among your things to do in Tbilisi!
Located in Vera, it’s a little hidden: you might need some help from your GPS app to find it. The trip is worth it, though: their traditional dishes from the western Georgian region of Samegrelo are outstanding. This place is growing in popularity, so if dding it to your things to do in Tbilisi, it might be a good idea to book ahead.
Another Vera jewel, Lolita is the new kid in town on the Tbilisi nightlife. At a time a restaurant, a bar, a lounge, and a nightclub, this place is growing in popularity. At Vera and right across the street from The Rooms, they serve a modern/international menu with a Georgian touch. Very unique flavors, and a great addition to your list of things to do in Tbilisi!
As for the design, I quickly fell in love with it, starting with the building’s pseudo-Gothic façade. This hipster heaven has an open kitchen and a lovely backyard-turned-terrace with large wooden tables. It feels kind of like a chic picnic, and I loved having it as one of my things to do in Tbilisi! The cobblestone walls set up the environment outside, making a great contrast with the very modern outdoor kitchen. Cute hanging lamps, black & white floors, and cute plants finish the look.
The inside part feels more like a conventional bar/lounge with strong lights at nighttime. All-around, a great place to feel the beat of the city when it comes to things to do in Tbilisi!
On the second floor of the Radisson Blu, this is a great place to unwind after a long day. Without a doubt, the best part of the Iveria Terrace is its view of the city and the Mtkavi River. An Italian restaurant, the food, and drinks are okay, but the spectacle of its panoramic view is worth the trip. The experience of sitting back and letting the wind and sun do their thing should be one of the main things to do in Tbilisi!
This is a seasonal restaurant that’s only open in the more touristic times of the year, between May and October. A great atmosphere and view, it’s the perfect end to a day of getting to know Tbilisi. During the evenings, Iveria turns into a nightclub and a DJ spins the night away. Add partying the night away to your list of things to do in Tbilisi!
A small and cozy restaurant with a very cool and modern design, Culinarium/Khasheria took my heart and stomach. Eating here quickly became one of my favorite things to do in Tbilisi! This place offers an experimental and healthy menu with Georgian and European undertones. The chef, Tekuna Gachechiladze, calls its food “Georgian, anti-hangover cuisine”!
The design is nice and fresh. Although the place is small and cozy, the broad rustic wooden tables and the Mediterranean hues make it seem broader. The design is very modern, with a lot of blues and turquoises, so it feels hip and homey. As you can imagine, one of my fave things to do in Tbilisi was really soaking up the design and vibe of each place!
While the food is excellent and unique, the atmosphere in this place is also particularly pleasant. Of course, as I’ve come to expect from Georgia, the service was outstanding: both friendly and professional. Foodies should certainly add a visit to their list of things to do in Tbilisi.
My Favorite Things to Do in Tbilisi
There are so many things to do in Tbilisi: this growing destination has a very distinct kind of magic. In many ways, particularly when it comes to architecture, the Georgian capital is a city of contrasts. A city of hospitable people, fine dining and centuries of history, Tbilisi is always a dream come true!
1. Get lost in the streets and backyards of the Old City
Although Tbilisi has been destroyed and rebuilt a few dozen times, a lot of the Old City still stands. This area is full of ancient churches, beautiful old balconies, and boutiques of all kinds. Here, you’ll find remains of how the city has looked throughout the centuries, ranging from Medieval to Art Nouveau. You won’t run out of things to do in Tbilisi here. To see the best parts step into the many yards or open the doors and you will be surprised by all hidden gems in this hood.
If you want to mix up with the local and hip crowds, there are two distinct neighborhoods full of things to do in Tbilisi. Vera, an area in the Old City, and Vake, an upscale neighborhood with lots of parks and restaurants. Among these two, there are a lot of great places to hang out to feel the life of Tbilisi!
2. Have a bath or just admire the beautiful setting
Visit the baths! Famous throughout the region, Georgia sulfur baths are the best way to relax while getting in touch with nature. They’re right outside the Old City, they are gorgeous inside and out and one of the most unmissable things to do in Tbilisi! Walk right beside the river, surrounded by green, and then enter these magical baths from a gone era. The architecture, in tune with Byzantine sensibilities, is a thing to behold.
3. Enjoy the scenery from the Bridge of Peace
The Georgian capital has many faces and it’s a city full of contrasts, which is why there are so many things to do in Tbilisi. Crossing the river from the Old City side and you will find another type of neighborhood.
What can be a better way to change scenery than by crossing the new landmark built in 2010 – the Bridge of Peace. Even though controversial, it has almost a magnetic effect. Its contemporary steel and glass design, the view and its 1208 LED light installation, attract people day and night. See the first photo of this Tbilisi Travel Guide. Visiting should be on your list of things to do in Tbilisi, so you can make your own mind about it!
4. Take a break at artsy Fabrika
If you like street art, then you should cross the river and visit the German hoods and hip Fabrika . Once a Soviet sewing factory, now an urban hot spot for locals and travelers looking for a creative and artsy oasis. We had a healthy lunch, got some well-deserved rest after a long day and left full of inspiration. The cool design in the lobby and the colorful street art in this hood makes visiting one of the most worthwhile things to do in Tbilisi.
5. Taste some delicious Georgian wine
In terms of wine, Georgia is a bit like Eastern Europe’s Italy: a paradise for wine lovers. Having tasted Georgian wine in Moscow, I must admit that I was not impressed as I am not a fan of sweet or semi-sweet wine. Luckily I learned that Georgia also has drier options and some bottles made it to my wine shelf at home! Around the corner of Fabrika, is one of the best wine tasting places in town – The Wine Gallery. All wine lovers should include a visit to their list of things to do in Tbilisi.
6. Travel back in time to the UNESCO Site – Mtskheta
Just a 30-minute drive from Tbilisi stands Mtskheta, an ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of the essential things to do in Tbilisi!
Once the capital of the Georgian Kingdom of Iberia, this magical old city is full of sacred places, and a must visit among things to do in Tbilisi. Some highlights include the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and the Jvari Monastery, both from the Early Middle Ages. Mtskheta is one of the oldest cities in Georgia, and arguably the most important in the local Orthodox church. It’s also a natural spectacle, surrounded by mountains and with the Black Sea as a background – like a postcard!
A definite must visit for those enamored with cultural heritage sites, and one of the most breathtaking things to do in Tbilisi. Check out my Mtskheta travel story!
The Georgian capital is one of my favorite destinations and I am sure you will enjoy all the incredible things to do in Tbilisi!
If you’re planning a trip to Tbilisi I’m sure my Tbilisi Hotel Review will come in handy. However, any foodie can’t go without my Tbilisi Restaurant Review! And for unique things to do in Tbilisi, check out my post on Arthouse Tbilisi!
Want more inspiration from hidden gems in Eastern Europe & Caucasus region? Then read my posts about 8 Must Dos in Kiev, 8 reasons why you should add Baku to your travel list or my Full Budapest Travel Guide.
Did you like this Tbilisi travel guide and want to save it for later or share it with others? Find some pins for this post below!