Tbilisi tips – 37 things to know before you go

In need of Tbilisi tips on what to see? Look no further – here are 37 things I learned about the location during my stay there.

tbilisi tips

tbilisi wine tasting tour

I travelled to Tbilisi with my boyfriend’s family to celebrate his Dad turning even years. I was very happy to be asked to go on this tour and of course I wanted to join!

However, did I know plenty abou the city before I left? No. Was it on top of my travel bucket list? No. Why? Since I did not know a lot about Tbilisi! But that is also why I want to travel and why I have a travel blog. More things to learn and experience! And it was a great trip and I really recommend going there sooner rather than later as it is an up and coming city.

           

We stayed in Tbilisi for five days in June and the weather of course was nice and hot (30 degrees Celsius) and we had only one rain shower during our last evening there. (And then it rained a lot)

With no further ado, let’s get to the point.

Here are 37 Tbilisi tips, the Georgian capital has a lot to offer

Sights in Tbilisi

There are plenty of sights in Tbilisi. Many monuments and buildings to see. So if you are wondering if you should travel to Tbilisi then finding things to do should be no problem.

1. Tbilisi is the city of contrasts – this you’ll notice walking around the old town

One thing I noticed while walking around in the old town was the buildings. On one side there were buildings that seemed to be falling apart while on the other side there were nice and newly renovated buildings. This said, Tbilisi is quite the up and coming place.

tbilisi buildnings

2. The Bridge of Peace is a popular Instagram spot

This bridge is definitely one of the must-sees.

tbilisi bridge of peace

3. Best view of Tbilisi is found in the Mtatsminda national park

It was so beautiful during night it is one of my wow-moments! Best Tbilisi tip in my opinion.

4. Take a walk up the hill and see the Botanical Garden

You can take a nice walk around the garden. To be honest, to me, this was more of a park than a garden compared to this garden in Seoul.

Nevertheless, you can also take a swim close to the small waterfall if you feel like being close to a lot of other people…

5. The sulphur baths

A popular sight definitely. We did not have time to go (and as it is so hot outside it did not feel so tempting to go to a hot room).

I read that there are nicer ones and more shady ones and that this historically was a place for men to take their mistresses.

6. Freedom square and monument

If you are just walking around the area, you will probably end up going to the freedom square without realising.

freedom square tbilisi georgia

freedom square tbilisi by night

7. Cable car and funicular

We walked up to the hill and then took the funicular down. One of the cable cars have a glass floor for those of you who feel adventurous.

8. Narikala fortress, Mother of Georgia

These are close to each other. Oh and a fun fact: Mother of Georgia is carrying wine!

mother of georgia

9. The Caucasus Mountains are close

Take a look up if you are in Georgia and enjoy the view.

Tbilisi tips – what to do there

Wondering what to do in Tbilisi? Here are some tips!

10. Take a local wine tour – you might get to make bread as well

We took a full day wine tour through TripAdvisor. The daily plan was to go on a wine tour and eat at a local house a couple hours from the capital. It was a fun experience to get to experience this first hand. Our guide also knew a lot about Georgia overall so we could ask anything!

vineyard georgia tbilisi

Want to have the similar experience with a great and involved local guide? Check the tour here! (But be aware there will be as much wine as you wish during dinner) And we booked very last minute but that was no problem at all.

drinking wine in georgia tbilisi

making bread in georgia

One stop on the wine tour was to make bread in this round oven. I was the first to go and it did not go well. You have to smash the dough to the walls of the oven but mine just fell into the ashes. Apparently this means that you are a good mother, so no kids for me haha!

It ended up tasting really good but what a way to impress their family… 

11. Eat Georgian food, aka bread, meat and cheese

In other words, no need to walk around hungry.

12. Try some Georgian delicacies e.g. katchapuri (cheese pizza-ish), khinkali (dumplings) and the dessert (nuts dipped in grape sauce)

georgian food dumplings

13. It is very cheap in Tbilisi: ~15€ for a large dinner with wine

Especially coming from the Nordics, it was very cheap there. You could get a nice dinner out with lots of food and many bottles of wine for 10-20€ per person. (Meanwhile in Sweden you are very lucky if you can find one bottle of wine for 20€)

Tips about Tbilisi – where to stay in this Georgian capital

14. Live near the Rustaveli street

The Rustaveli street in Tbilisi is the main street in the city. We stayed close to it and as it was in the centre we could walk everywhere we wanted to in the city of Tbilisi. I very much recommend staying near this Rustaveli street.

More Tbilisi tips – good to know before going

What culture differences did we realise coming from Finland? Here are some more tips that are good to know before you visit Tbilisi.

15. They share food in Georgia

Are you like Joey from Friends who “does not share food”? Then Georgia is not the place for you. When you go to a restaurant everyone gets their empty plate and cutlery first. After a while the food arrives when it is ready which means you might get your food in a weird order.

At one point we almost thought they forgot our potatoes as this was the last thing to arrive but just as we were about to ask for it, a waiter came with the potatoes.

As all of us on the trip come from Finland (Joey-syndrome alert), this took a bit of getting used to since we always order our own dish at home and do not share too much. However I think sharing is a more social and fun way to eat even though you are used to have your meat with your potatoes. 

Are you vegetarian in Tbilisi? Not to worry, then you can live on salad, bread and cheese! And wine of course, lots of wine.

16. They take credit card at most places

But it is still good to carry some cash.

Their money is called Lari and Tetri are their cents.

17. In the centre of Tbilisi there are many people trying to give you offers for tours and sightseeing

This is very common and got to be a bit annoying as they try to speak to everyone in the same group.

tourist in tbilisi

18. There are many stray dogs

In June the stray dogs were laying around trying to survive the heat. But places also offered water to them so they seemed to be taken care of. Not to be scared, they were lone kind dogs minding their own business.

19. It is very uncommon in the city centre to see crosswalks for a while – you go under the street instead

Just a logistic thing we noticed.

20. They had many EU flags up

Georgia wants to join EU and NATO in the future, however:

21. There is still corruption in the country

This I also learned from our great local guide from the wine tour (you should really book one too)!

22. They have an own alphabet but two languages

The letters are beautiful!

23. Going out? Then you need to know the word ‘kambarjosh’

When I searched Google for Tbilisi tips and tricks I found out that Tbilisi is a great place to party! Which is why you need to know this word that is pronounced something like this: kambarjosh. This means cheers! And the first sip you drink for peace. And thank you is ‘madloba‘.

24. The relationship with Russia is so-so

They have a rocky history with Russia. In fact, Russia occupied parts of Georgia not long ago – back in 2008 when they had a five day war.

25. One famous Georgian is Joseph Stalin

You cannot miss this that Stalin is a popular figure in souvenir shops in Georgia. This ruler of the Soviet Union is on posters, paintings and refrigerator magnets.

26. Religion is important

The Orthodox religion is most popular in Georgia. Their Orthodox church is also different from the Armenian Church and Russian Orthodox church.

Before I went I read that it is common to see people do the cross sign with their hands while passing a religious building – and this is true!

27. Georgians are friendly but the service is slow

Or maybe we are just used to everything happening so fast?

28. Plenty of cafes and restaurants offer free wifi

Yes, yes. So you can update your Instagram stories! And check where to go next.

29. Tipping

Ah, this one gets me every time. To tip or not to tip – or if the tip is included in the price, that is the question.

In most of the restaurants we visited the tip was included in the bill.

30. Georgia is famous for its wine

Georgia is the wine country!

Studies show that the oldest findings of wine come from Georgia. Now this is part of why I love to travel – I get new insights and learn new things like this tip!

And so long Italy – which I though was the wine country before – and hello Georgian wine!

georgian wine

They even have micro zones instead of zones in the country.

31. Their sparkling water is also famous

This was actually one of the reasons we went to Georgia. The first Tbilisi tip we got was on Finnish radio where they said that in Tbilisi they have great sparkling water. Just a fun fact to know.

And further, the water often comes from the springs in the Caucasus Mountains.

32. Is Georgia part of Asia or Europe?

BBC called it European and the city looks more European than Asian. However this is a tricky one since Georgia has a history of being part of both Europe in one part of the time as well as Asia in another period. Culturally it is a mix of Asia and Europe (I think even more European than Asian).

33. There’s lots of Russian tourists

Georgia is somewhat of the Russians backyard. We got confused for Russians a couple of times.

34. They have own soda – green tarragon soda

There is a soda that is popular in Georgia and it is green. This tarragon soda is good to put on your ‘Things to try in Georgia’-list!

35. There are plenty of beggars

In the streets of Tbilisi there are many beggars in the streets. It is the same in Stockholm really and many other places too these days.

One thing that stayed on my mind was one mother begging who had her child with a disability in one of the main streets in the city.

36. There are almost 1,5 million people living in Tbilisi

And 3,7 million in the whole of Georgia.

37. Travelling to Tbilisi in the summer? Then it will rain on you but not from the sky

Wonder why? Because of the air conditioners of course! These are large boxes outside of the houses and as they work hard they produce ‘sweat’ that drops down on the pedestrians.

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For this trip I am forever grateful to my bf’s family!
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You have now reached the end of this post with 37 Tbilisi tips! I just want to summarise that visiting Tbilisi should have been on my top list of travel destinations but I just did not know about it. I have many fond and funny memories of Tbilisi. As for the safety in Tbilisi? I felt very safe in Georgia.

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