Tbilisi, the vibrant capital of Georgia, is a city where ancient history meets modern flair, set against a backdrop of rolling hills and the Kura River. For those considering things to do in Tbilisi, exploring the historic Old Town with its narrow alleys, colorful houses, and sulphur bathhouses, and taking a cable car ride up to the Narikala Fortress for panoramic views of the city, are top activities.
The city’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, one of the largest Orthodox cathedrals in the world, stands as a symbol of Tbilisi’s religious heritage and architectural grandeur. Nearby, the bustling Rustaveli Avenue offers a variety of shops, cafes, and cultural institutions, including the National Museum of Georgia.
Beyond its historical and cultural attractions, Tbilisi is also celebrated for its lively arts scene, diverse cuisine, and renowned Georgian wine, offering a taste of the country’s rich traditions and hospitality. For those seeking the best places to visit in Georgia, Tbilisi’s blend of old-world charm, artistic energy, and culinary delights makes it a compelling destination.
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Attractions & Things to Do in Tbilisi, Georgia
1. Narikala Fortress
Perched atop a hill overlooking Tbilisi, Narikala Fortress is an ancient symbol of Tbilisi’s defense. The fortress was established in the 4th century, and visitors can explore its well-preserved walls and enjoy panoramic views of the city and the Mtkvari River.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes as the climb up to the fortress can be steep, and consider visiting in the late afternoon or early evening when the fortress is beautifully lit.
2. Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi (Sameba)
The Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, commonly known as Sameba, stands proudly as one of the largest Orthodox cathedrals in the world. Its stunning architecture, grand scale, and intricate frescoes make it a must-visit. The cathedral complex also includes a monastery, theology schools, and various chapels.
Travel Tip: Check the schedule for services and events, as visiting during a service can be a particularly moving experience.
3. Old Tbilisi
Strolling through Old Tbilisi, visitors can soak in the city’s history and charm, with its winding streets, colorful houses with wooden balconies, and historic churches. Highlights include the Sulfur Baths, the Anchiskhati Basilica, and the vibrant Shardeni Street with its cafes and shops.
Travel Tip: Take a walking tour to learn about the history and legends of this captivating part of the city.
4. Mtatsminda Park
Overlooking Tbilisi from a mountain of the same name, Mtatsminda Park is a funfair and park that offers entertainment for all ages, including a Ferris wheel that provides stunning views of the city.
Travel Tip: Visit in the evening when the city lights are on, creating a magical backdrop for the rides and attractions.
5. Georgian National Museum
The Georgian National Museum brings together a variety of collections, ranging from archaeology and ethnography to contemporary art. Highlights include the ancient gold treasures from Colchis and artifacts from Georgia’s medieval period.
Travel Tip: Allocate enough time to explore the various exhibits, as there is a lot to see and learn.
6. Peace Bridge
The Peace Bridge is a modern pedestrian bridge spanning the Mtkvari River, featuring a distinctive bow-shaped design and illuminated with numerous LEDs. It stands in contrast to the historic architecture of Old Tbilisi, creating a fusion of old and new.
Travel Tip: Visit the bridge at night when it’s beautifully lit up and makes for great photos.
7. Rike Park
Rike Park is a lush and modern green space located along the river, providing a relaxing spot to unwind. The park features fountains, sculptures, and plenty of seating areas.
Travel Tip: Use the park as a starting point to take the cable car up to Narikala Fortress, offering stunning views of Tbilisi on the way up.
8. The Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre
The Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre is housed in an exquisite building and has a rich history of performing arts. Visitors can enjoy a variety of performances, from opera and ballet to modern dance.
Travel Tip: Check the schedule in advance and try to catch a performance during your visit for a memorable evening out.
Fabrika is a former Soviet sewing factory that has been transformed into a vibrant multifunctional space, housing studios, shops, cafes, and a hostel. It’s a popular spot for both locals and visitors to hang out, work, and enjoy the creative atmosphere.
Travel Tip: Visit in the evening when the courtyard comes alive with music and people, creating a lively and welcoming vibe.
10. Anchiskhati Basilica
Dating back to the 6th century, Anchiskhati Basilica is the oldest church in Tbilisi. Despite its small size, the church holds a significant place in the city’s history and religious life. It features a simple yet charming architecture with an old-world feel, and the interior is adorned with beautiful frescoes.
Travel Tip: Respect the religious nature of the site, dress modestly, and be mindful when taking photographs.
11. Sulfur Bath District (Abanotubani)
Famous for its historic sulfur baths, Abanotubani is a unique part of Tbilisi where visitors can experience traditional Georgian bathing culture. The baths are known for their healing properties and distinctive architectural style with domed roofs.
Travel Tip: Choose a public bath for a communal experience or a private room for more privacy, and don’t forget to try a traditional scrub.
12. Rustaveli Avenue
Rustaveli Avenue is Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare, lined with shops, cafes, theaters, and cultural institutions. It’s a lively area, perfect for people-watching and soaking in the city’s atmosphere. Highlights include the Georgian National Museum, the Rustaveli Theatre, and the National Gallery.
Travel Tip: Take a leisurely walk along the avenue, and don’t hesitate to explore the side streets and alleys.
13. Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia
Part of the Georgian National Museum, the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia houses a vast collection of artifacts that tell the story of Georgia’s history, from prehistoric times to the modern era. Exhibits include ancient pottery, medieval weaponry, and a replica of a 5th-century BC gold lion.
Travel Tip: Look out for the temporary exhibits, which often feature unique and fascinating displays.
14. Metekhi Church
Perched on a cliff overlooking the Mtkvari River, Metekhi Church is a historic symbol of Tbilisi. The church dates back to the 13th century and features a distinctive domed design. Next to the church stands a statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali, the founder of Tbilisi.
Travel Tip: Enjoy the scenic views of Old Tbilisi and the river from the church’s vantage point.
15. Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theater
The Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theater is a magical place that brings puppetry to life for adults and children alike. The theater is renowned for its intricate marionettes and enchanting performances, created by the Georgian artist Rezo Gabriadze.
Travel Tip: Tickets can sell out quickly, so book in advance to secure your seat for a performance.
16. National Botanical Garden of Georgia
Spread across 161 hectares, the National Botanical Garden of Georgia offers a lush escape in the heart of Tbilisi. The garden features a wide variety of plants, flowers, waterfalls, and walking paths.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes for exploring the garden’s extensive grounds, and bring a picnic to enjoy amidst the greenery.
17. Mtatsminda Pantheon
Located on the slopes of Mount Mtatsminda, the Mtatsminda Pantheon is a cemetery and memorial where many of Georgia’s most prominent writers, artists, and national heroes are buried. The site offers a tranquil atmosphere and panoramic views of Tbilisi.
Travel Tip: Visit as part of a trip to Mtatsminda Park, and take the time to learn about the notable figures buried here.
FAQ About Things to Do in Tbilisi, Georgia
What are the must-visit historical sites in Tbilisi?
Visitors should not miss the Narikala Fortress, Anchiskhati Basilica, and the Sioni Cathedral. These sites offer a glimpse into Tbilisi’s rich history and provide stunning architecture to admire.
Can I experience local Georgian cuisine in Tbilisi?
Absolutely! Tbilisi offers a variety of authentic Georgian restaurants where you can enjoy traditional dishes like khinkali (dumplings), khachapuri (cheese-stuffed bread), and Georgian wine at local taverns known as ‘marani’.
Are there any natural attractions near Tbilisi?
Yes, the Tbilisi National Park offers beautiful landscapes and hiking trails. Additionally, the nearby sulfur baths in Abanotubani are not only natural wonders but also offer a relaxing experience.
Is Tbilisi good for shopping?
Tbilisi is great for shopping, especially at the Dry Bridge Market where you can find antiques, jewelry, and art. For more modern shopping needs, Tbilisi Mall and East Point offer a wide range of international brands.
What are the best cultural experiences in Tbilisi?
To experience the local culture, attend a performance at the Rustaveli Theatre or the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre. Don’t miss the Georgian National Museum for a dive into the country’s history and culture.
Can I take a walking tour in Tbilisi?
Walking tours are a great way to see Tbilisi. They often cover the Old Town, Freedom Square, and Rustaveli Avenue, with guides sharing insights about the city’s history and architecture.
What are some unique activities to do in Tbilisi?
Unique activities include taking a cable car ride to Narikala Fortress for panoramic city views, visiting the Chronicles of Georgia monument, and enjoying the vibrant nightlife in the Chardin area.
Are there any festivals in Tbilisi I should know about?
Tbilisi hosts various festivals throughout the year, including Tbilisoba in October, celebrating the city’s heritage with street performances, concerts, and food markets. The New Wine Festival in spring is also a popular event for wine enthusiasts.