Ketevan’s Guidebook

Ketevan

Ketevan’s Guidebook

Sightseeing
One of old Tbilisi's most emblematic structures is also one of its newest, a higgledy-piggledy clock tower, built by puppet master Rezo Gabriadze during a renovation of his theatre in 2010. On the hour an angel pops out of a door near the top and strikes the bell outside with a hammer. Below the clock, a screen opens and shows the circle of life: boy meets girl, marriage, childbirth and funeral. It’s hard not to fall in love with the playful, naive architecture of the tower.
The clock tower
13 Ioane Shavteli St
One of old Tbilisi's most emblematic structures is also one of its newest, a higgledy-piggledy clock tower, built by puppet master Rezo Gabriadze during a renovation of his theatre in 2010. On the hour an angel pops out of a door near the top and strikes the bell outside with a hammer. Below the clock, a screen opens and shows the circle of life: boy meets girl, marriage, childbirth and funeral. It’s hard not to fall in love with the playful, naive architecture of the tower.
Narikala dates right back to the 4th century, when it was a Persian citadel. Most of the walls were built in the 8th century by the Arab emirs, whose palace was inside the fortress. Subsequently Georgians, Turks and Persians captured and patched up Narikala, but in 1827 a huge explosion of Russian munitions stored here wrecked the whole thing, and today it's a rather picturesque ruin, with only its walls largely intact. The choice way to reach Narikala is by cable car from Rike Park. Or you can walk up from Meidan or via the Betlemi St Stairs, which lead off Lado Asatiani street in Sololaki. The views over Tbilisi from the top of the fortress are superb.
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Narikala Fortress
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Narikala dates right back to the 4th century, when it was a Persian citadel. Most of the walls were built in the 8th century by the Arab emirs, whose palace was inside the fortress. Subsequently Georgians, Turks and Persians captured and patched up Narikala, but in 1827 a huge explosion of Russian munitions stored here wrecked the whole thing, and today it's a rather picturesque ruin, with only its walls largely intact. The choice way to reach Narikala is by cable car from Rike Park. Or you can walk up from Meidan or via the Betlemi St Stairs, which lead off Lado Asatiani street in Sololaki. The views over Tbilisi from the top of the fortress are superb.
The major highlight of the impressive national museum is the basement Archaeological Treasury, displaying a wealth of pre-Christian gold, silver and precious-stone work from burials in Georgia going back to the 3rd millennium BC. Most stunning are the fabulously detailed gold adornments from Colchis (western Georgia). On the top floor, the Museum of Soviet Occupation has copious detail on Soviet repression and local resistance to it. On the ground floor are exhibits from Dmanisi, the archaeological site in southern Georgia whose 1.8 million-year-old hominid skulls are rewriting the study of early European humanity.
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Georgian National Museum
3/10 Shota Rustaveli Ave
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The major highlight of the impressive national museum is the basement Archaeological Treasury, displaying a wealth of pre-Christian gold, silver and precious-stone work from burials in Georgia going back to the 3rd millennium BC. Most stunning are the fabulously detailed gold adornments from Colchis (western Georgia). On the top floor, the Museum of Soviet Occupation has copious detail on Soviet repression and local resistance to it. On the ground floor are exhibits from Dmanisi, the archaeological site in southern Georgia whose 1.8 million-year-old hominid skulls are rewriting the study of early European humanity.
This is where Vakhtang Gorgasali built his palace, and the site’s first church, when he made Tbilisi his capital in the 5th century. The existing church was built by King Demetre Tavdadebuli (the Self-Sacrificing) between 1278 and 1289, and has been reconstructed many times since. The building is thought to be a copy of King David the Builder's 12th-century church on this site, which was destroyed by the Mongols in 1235.
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Metekhi St. Virgin Church
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This is where Vakhtang Gorgasali built his palace, and the site’s first church, when he made Tbilisi his capital in the 5th century. The existing church was built by King Demetre Tavdadebuli (the Self-Sacrificing) between 1278 and 1289, and has been reconstructed many times since. The building is thought to be a copy of King David the Builder's 12th-century church on this site, which was destroyed by the Mongols in 1235.
The ride up the hill Mtatsminda on the city's funicular is spectacular, as are the views from the top.
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Funicular
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The ride up the hill Mtatsminda on the city's funicular is spectacular, as are the views from the top.
Built by King Gorgasali’s son Dachi in the 6th century, it's a three-nave basilica whose weathered frescoes and walls of big stone blocks emphatically bespeak its age. The church's name comes from the icon of Anchi Cathedral in Klarjeti (now in Turkey), which was brought here in the 17th century and can be found in Tbilisi’s Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Art.
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Anchiskhati Basilica
11 Ioane Shavteli St
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Built by King Gorgasali’s son Dachi in the 6th century, it's a three-nave basilica whose weathered frescoes and walls of big stone blocks emphatically bespeak its age. The church's name comes from the icon of Anchi Cathedral in Klarjeti (now in Turkey), which was brought here in the 17th century and can be found in Tbilisi’s Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Art.
For most visitors the highlight here is the hall of wonderful canvases by Georgia’s best-known painter Pirosmani (Niko Pirosmanashvili, 1862–1918), ranging from his celebrated animal and feast scenes to lesser-known portraits and rural-life canvases. There’s also a good selection of work by other top 20th-century Georgian artists Lado Gudiashvili and David Kakabadze. Enter from the park beside Kashveti Church.
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The National Gallery
11 Shota Rustaveli Ave
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For most visitors the highlight here is the hall of wonderful canvases by Georgia’s best-known painter Pirosmani (Niko Pirosmanashvili, 1862–1918), ranging from his celebrated animal and feast scenes to lesser-known portraits and rural-life canvases. There’s also a good selection of work by other top 20th-century Georgian artists Lado Gudiashvili and David Kakabadze. Enter from the park beside Kashveti Church.
Tbilisi's most exhilarating ride is its massively popular cable car, which swings from the south end of Rike Park high over the Mtkvari River and the Old Town up to Narikala Fortress. To ride it, you need a Metromoney card, available at the ticket offices if you don't have one.
Aerial Tramway
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Tbilisi's most exhilarating ride is its massively popular cable car, which swings from the south end of Rike Park high over the Mtkvari River and the Old Town up to Narikala Fortress. To ride it, you need a Metromoney card, available at the ticket offices if you don't have one.
This 20m-tall aluminium symbol of Tbilisi holds a sword in one hand and a cup of wine in the other – a classic metaphor for the Georgian character, warmly welcoming guests and passionately fighting off enemies. It's a short walk along the ridge from Narikala Fortress and the cable-car station.
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Mother of Georgia
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This 20m-tall aluminium symbol of Tbilisi holds a sword in one hand and a cup of wine in the other – a classic metaphor for the Georgian character, warmly welcoming guests and passionately fighting off enemies. It's a short walk along the ridge from Narikala Fortress and the cable-car station.
The biggest symbol of the Georgian Orthodox Church's post-Soviet revival towers on Elia Hill above Avlabari. Tsminda Sameba, unmissable by night and day, was consecrated in 2004 after a decade of building. A massive and lavish expression of traditional Georgian architectural forms in concrete, brick, granite and marble, it rises a staggering 84m to the top of the gold-covered cross above its gold-covered central dome.
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Treenighedskatedralen
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The biggest symbol of the Georgian Orthodox Church's post-Soviet revival towers on Elia Hill above Avlabari. Tsminda Sameba, unmissable by night and day, was consecrated in 2004 after a decade of building. A massive and lavish expression of traditional Georgian architectural forms in concrete, brick, granite and marble, it rises a staggering 84m to the top of the gold-covered cross above its gold-covered central dome.
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Parliament Of Georgia
8 Shota Rustaveli Avenue
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This collection of traditional, mostly wooden houses, from all around Georgia, is spread over a wooded hillside with good views, and makes for an enjoyable visit. The most interesting exhibits are in the lower section (near the entrance), where the buildings are kitted out with traditional furnishings, rugs and utensils, and the attendants can often explain things in English.
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Open Air Museum of Ethnography
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This collection of traditional, mostly wooden houses, from all around Georgia, is spread over a wooded hillside with good views, and makes for an enjoyable visit. The most interesting exhibits are in the lower section (near the entrance), where the buildings are kitted out with traditional furnishings, rugs and utensils, and the attendants can often explain things in English.
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The Bridge Of Peace
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Sulfur baths
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Legvtakhevi Waterfall
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National Botanical Garden of Tbilisi city
12 Bambis Rigi Street
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Dry Bridge Market
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Kashueti St. George Church
9 Shota Rustaveli Ave
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Mtatsminda Park
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Mother of Kartli
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Anchiskhati Basilica
11 Ioane Shavteli St
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Opera and Ballet Theatre of Tbilisi
25 Shota Rustaveli Ave
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Mtatsminda Pantheon
Georgian Museum of Fine Arts
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Moma Tbilisi
27 Shota Rustaveli Ave
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Jan Shardeni Street
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Tbilisi History Museum
8 Sioni St
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Museum of illusions Tbilisi
10 Betlemi St
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Orbeliani Baths
31 Abano St
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Tbilisi Digital Space
New Tbilisi Zoo
საჰაერო ბუშტი თბილისი
Tbilisi Central Mosque
32 Botanical St
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Gino Paradise Tbilisi
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Lake Lisi
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Turtle Lake
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If you are limited in time and would like to get a glance over the entire city this Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour is a great match. https://city-sightseeing.com/en/42/tbilisi
Hop On Hop Off CitySightseeing Tbilisi
If you are limited in time and would like to get a glance over the entire city this Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour is a great match. https://city-sightseeing.com/en/42/tbilisi
https://tbilisifreewalkingtours.com/tbilisi-free-walking-tour/
Tbilisi Free Walking Tours - Official
https://tbilisifreewalkingtours.com/tbilisi-free-walking-tour/
Food scene
Iasamani (‘lilac’ in Georgian) is set in a historic house in Tbilisi’s oldest neighbourhood, Sololaki. The combination of crisp white table linens and peeling paint on the walls is so utterly ‘Tbilisi’, I can’t think of a dining experience that better sums up the local food scene. The curated menu highlights seasonal produce and changes regularly. The bar here serves some of the best classic cocktails in Tbilisi
Iasamani • იასამანი
33 Lado Asatiani Street
Iasamani (‘lilac’ in Georgian) is set in a historic house in Tbilisi’s oldest neighbourhood, Sololaki. The combination of crisp white table linens and peeling paint on the walls is so utterly ‘Tbilisi’, I can’t think of a dining experience that better sums up the local food scene. The curated menu highlights seasonal produce and changes regularly. The bar here serves some of the best classic cocktails in Tbilisi
Conveniently located in the middle of bustling Rustaveli Avenue, Salobie Bia is one of the best restaurants in Tbilisi centre, run by one of the city’s most acclaimed chefs, Giorgi Iosava. The dining room is plastered with paintings and retro posters. This is definitely one of my favourite places for an easy lunch. If you’re coming for dinner, arrive early because it gets very busy after 7pm. The tagline, ‘Simple Georgian Food’, says it all. A curated, hand-written menu highlights traditional recipes, sometimes with a modern twist (this is one of the only restaurants in Tbilisi where the salad tomatoes are peeled – a revelation!). I love the decadent Lobio set with pickles and cornbread, the Shkmeruli (garlic chicken) and the Kharcho. Whatever you do, don’t miss the house dessert: Tkemali sour plum sorbet with white chocolate mousse.
Salobie Bia
17 Shota Rustaveli Avenue
Conveniently located in the middle of bustling Rustaveli Avenue, Salobie Bia is one of the best restaurants in Tbilisi centre, run by one of the city’s most acclaimed chefs, Giorgi Iosava. The dining room is plastered with paintings and retro posters. This is definitely one of my favourite places for an easy lunch. If you’re coming for dinner, arrive early because it gets very busy after 7pm. The tagline, ‘Simple Georgian Food’, says it all. A curated, hand-written menu highlights traditional recipes, sometimes with a modern twist (this is one of the only restaurants in Tbilisi where the salad tomatoes are peeled – a revelation!). I love the decadent Lobio set with pickles and cornbread, the Shkmeruli (garlic chicken) and the Kharcho. Whatever you do, don’t miss the house dessert: Tkemali sour plum sorbet with white chocolate mousse.
Wine Factory No. 1, a wine production plant built at the end of the 19th century and relaunched in 2017, is one of Tbilisi’s premier dining precincts. There are a dozen or so eateries to choose from – my pick is Shushabandi, which occupies the loveliest dining area plus a covered outdoor area, and channels old-world opulence perfectly. The menu here puts a fine-dining spin on all the classics: Chicken with Bazhe walnut sauce and Elarji, Veal Tashmijabi, Apkhazura (meatball with barberry), creative salads (Imeretian cheese with green Adjika sauce) and yummy corn breads (I love the Mchadi with mint). Mains start from a very reasonable 16 GEL.
Shushabandi•შუშაბანდი
1 Vasil Petriashvili Street
Wine Factory No. 1, a wine production plant built at the end of the 19th century and relaunched in 2017, is one of Tbilisi’s premier dining precincts. There are a dozen or so eateries to choose from – my pick is Shushabandi, which occupies the loveliest dining area plus a covered outdoor area, and channels old-world opulence perfectly. The menu here puts a fine-dining spin on all the classics: Chicken with Bazhe walnut sauce and Elarji, Veal Tashmijabi, Apkhazura (meatball with barberry), creative salads (Imeretian cheese with green Adjika sauce) and yummy corn breads (I love the Mchadi with mint). Mains start from a very reasonable 16 GEL.
Also located inside Wine Factory No. 1, Veriko is one of the top restaurants in Tbilisi for casual dining and very popular among the local lunch set. I love eating on the breezy covered balcony here in summer.Veriko is a touch more expensive, but I think the tasty food and friendly service is worth it. Portions are generous, too. The creamy Shkmeruli is mind-blowing and the homemade Kupati sausage with plum sauce and Elarji is packed with flavour.
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Veriko
1 Vasil Petriashvili Street
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Also located inside Wine Factory No. 1, Veriko is one of the top restaurants in Tbilisi for casual dining and very popular among the local lunch set. I love eating on the breezy covered balcony here in summer.Veriko is a touch more expensive, but I think the tasty food and friendly service is worth it. Portions are generous, too. The creamy Shkmeruli is mind-blowing and the homemade Kupati sausage with plum sauce and Elarji is packed with flavour.
In Georgian, the word Shemomechama means something along the lines of ‘I accidentally ate the whole thing’. It’s not hard to overindulge (accidentally or on purpose) with so much delicious food going around. Both Shemomechama restaurants feature an open kitchen, so you can watch your food being prepared. More importantly, the chefs can see the look of ecstasy on your face as you slurp down some of Tbilisi’s best Khinkali. Dumplings are hand-made (as you can see) and boiled to order – totally worth the wait. The grilled meat, classic tomato and cucumber salad, and Chvishtari cornbread (the latter is only available at the Old Town branch) are all top notch. I love the quirky names for the dishes (‘Uneducated Khinkali’, for instance). The Vake restaurant is done up Soviet-style and looks a bit like the milk bar from A Clockwork Orange.
Shemomechama
8 Mtskheta St
In Georgian, the word Shemomechama means something along the lines of ‘I accidentally ate the whole thing’. It’s not hard to overindulge (accidentally or on purpose) with so much delicious food going around. Both Shemomechama restaurants feature an open kitchen, so you can watch your food being prepared. More importantly, the chefs can see the look of ecstasy on your face as you slurp down some of Tbilisi’s best Khinkali. Dumplings are hand-made (as you can see) and boiled to order – totally worth the wait. The grilled meat, classic tomato and cucumber salad, and Chvishtari cornbread (the latter is only available at the Old Town branch) are all top notch. I love the quirky names for the dishes (‘Uneducated Khinkali’, for instance). The Vake restaurant is done up Soviet-style and looks a bit like the milk bar from A Clockwork Orange.
Possibly Tbilisi’s best-looking restaurant, the food at Cafe Daphna is as good as the interior design. Casual in atmosphere and well-priced, this is a great option for a quick lunch if you’re at the Dry Bridge Market or sightseeing around Rustaveli Avenue. Their Khinkali are my favourite in Tbilisi right now: Plump, juicy and pimped out with all kinds of herbs and spices. The potato version is very good as well.
კაფე დაფნა / Cafe Daphna
23 Shota Rustaveli Ave
Possibly Tbilisi’s best-looking restaurant, the food at Cafe Daphna is as good as the interior design. Casual in atmosphere and well-priced, this is a great option for a quick lunch if you’re at the Dry Bridge Market or sightseeing around Rustaveli Avenue. Their Khinkali are my favourite in Tbilisi right now: Plump, juicy and pimped out with all kinds of herbs and spices. The potato version is very good as well.
Amo Rame Art Cafe is located behind Liberty Square and has long been a fixture on Tbilisi’s restaurant scene. The vibe here is fresh, healthy Georgian food, including an incredibly tasty rendition of cheesy mushrooms cooked in a clay pot. Amo Rame recently opened a second restaurant across the road dedicated entirely to their popular handmade Khinkali. The ‘old Tbilisi’ style interior and placement of a Lagidze soda fountain on the bar gives this restaurant a nostalgic feel. If you don’t fancy a chocolate soda (it’s actually delicious!), there’s also craft beer on tap.
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Amo Rame
4 Pavle Ingorokva St
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Amo Rame Art Cafe is located behind Liberty Square and has long been a fixture on Tbilisi’s restaurant scene. The vibe here is fresh, healthy Georgian food, including an incredibly tasty rendition of cheesy mushrooms cooked in a clay pot. Amo Rame recently opened a second restaurant across the road dedicated entirely to their popular handmade Khinkali. The ‘old Tbilisi’ style interior and placement of a Lagidze soda fountain on the bar gives this restaurant a nostalgic feel. If you don’t fancy a chocolate soda (it’s actually delicious!), there’s also craft beer on tap.
Maspindzelo is another Tbilisi mainstay. The food here isn’t necessarily the best quality, but the menu is huge and it's very affordable – plus the location near the Abanotubani sulfur baths is very convenient. The outdoor terrace is a really nice place to dine in summer or spring. Almost every Georgian dish is represented on the menu. One thing I always order here is Chebureki, a deep-fried flat pastry filled with either cheese or sautéed mushrooms.
Maspindzelo
11 Mirza Fatali Akhudovi
Maspindzelo is another Tbilisi mainstay. The food here isn’t necessarily the best quality, but the menu is huge and it's very affordable – plus the location near the Abanotubani sulfur baths is very convenient. The outdoor terrace is a really nice place to dine in summer or spring. Almost every Georgian dish is represented on the menu. One thing I always order here is Chebureki, a deep-fried flat pastry filled with either cheese or sautéed mushrooms.
Tekuna Gachechiladze, the New-York trained chef behind Culinarium Khasheria, has been labelled ‘the rebel of Georgian cuisine’ for her unorthodox treatment of classic recipes (think Kharcho with shrimp instead of beef). Every one of her dishes is inventive and original. If you’re a foodie, you can’t miss her flagship restaurant, Culinarium, one of Tbilisi’s premier contemporary dining experiences. The name is a clue to the specialty dish here: Khashi, a heady broth used to cure hangovers, is the soup of choice. Culinarium’s version is spiced with Adjika and fresh ginger. Also worth trying, Culinarium’s Khinkali soup is a delicious Asian-style broth with shiitake mushrooms and miniature dumplings. This restaurant is the perfect place to eat after a visit to the adjacent sulphur baths. The vibe strikes a perfect balance between polished and laid-back.
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Culinarium Khasheria
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Tekuna Gachechiladze, the New-York trained chef behind Culinarium Khasheria, has been labelled ‘the rebel of Georgian cuisine’ for her unorthodox treatment of classic recipes (think Kharcho with shrimp instead of beef). Every one of her dishes is inventive and original. If you’re a foodie, you can’t miss her flagship restaurant, Culinarium, one of Tbilisi’s premier contemporary dining experiences. The name is a clue to the specialty dish here: Khashi, a heady broth used to cure hangovers, is the soup of choice. Culinarium’s version is spiced with Adjika and fresh ginger. Also worth trying, Culinarium’s Khinkali soup is a delicious Asian-style broth with shiitake mushrooms and miniature dumplings. This restaurant is the perfect place to eat after a visit to the adjacent sulphur baths. The vibe strikes a perfect balance between polished and laid-back.
Shavi Lomi, or ‘Black Lion’, is one of Tbilisi’s most talked-about eateries. The chef here takes inspiration from Georgian staples then elevates them to a new level of yum. Managed by a group of friends (including a chef, an interior designer and a film director), Shavi Lomi is more than just a restaurant. Much like nearby Fabrika, it’s a vibrant cultural space and a wonderful place to while away the afternoon over a bottle of wine. Choose between the garden-facing main room, intimate dining spaces (super cosy in winter), and a wonderful summer/spring terrace shaded by a giant plum tree. One of the most popular things to order here is Ghobi, a large wooden bowl of Pkhali, eggplant and other appetisers that’s designed to be shared. They also do a great ploughman’s lunch-style platter with pickled Jonjoli, fresh cheese and a hunk of bread. I love the gnarly Kupati sausage served on a bed of compact rice, and the cheese balls with yogurt sauce and green grits (Shavi Lomi’s take on traditional cornbread). The winter menu is all comfort food: Beef with pomegranate sauce and mash, and trout with fresh orange and spiced pilaf.
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Shavi Lomi
28 Zurab Kvlividze St
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Shavi Lomi, or ‘Black Lion’, is one of Tbilisi’s most talked-about eateries. The chef here takes inspiration from Georgian staples then elevates them to a new level of yum. Managed by a group of friends (including a chef, an interior designer and a film director), Shavi Lomi is more than just a restaurant. Much like nearby Fabrika, it’s a vibrant cultural space and a wonderful place to while away the afternoon over a bottle of wine. Choose between the garden-facing main room, intimate dining spaces (super cosy in winter), and a wonderful summer/spring terrace shaded by a giant plum tree. One of the most popular things to order here is Ghobi, a large wooden bowl of Pkhali, eggplant and other appetisers that’s designed to be shared. They also do a great ploughman’s lunch-style platter with pickled Jonjoli, fresh cheese and a hunk of bread. I love the gnarly Kupati sausage served on a bed of compact rice, and the cheese balls with yogurt sauce and green grits (Shavi Lomi’s take on traditional cornbread). The winter menu is all comfort food: Beef with pomegranate sauce and mash, and trout with fresh orange and spiced pilaf.
The renovated and pedestrianised part of Agmashenebeli Avenue boasts some of Tbilisi’s most handsome facades. But the cafes and restaurants on this street are far too touristy for my taste. If you find yourself in this part of the city (or at the nearby Dry Bridge Market), I suggest ducking down the side street to Chveni. Chveni is a boutique hostel with a restaurant on the bottom level. It’s petite but lovely, with sun-drenched tables, an open bar and an outdoor wood-fire oven. The award-winning chef interprets traditional Georgian flavours in a totally unique way – case in point, ‘Georgian croquettes’. Choose from chicken balls with Shkmeruli sauce, Ghomi balls with Badze (walnut) sauce, Lobio balls with Jonjoli sauce, or Elarji and Kuchmachi balls with Satsivi (yogurt). I only wish there was a sweet version! The menu here is overwhelmingly long, with a dedicated sushi section and a range of Asian dishes. This is the only place where I’ve seen Mtskhetian Khachapuri with pulled Tenili cheese on the menu.
Chveni
48/10 Davit Aghmashenebeli Ave
The renovated and pedestrianised part of Agmashenebeli Avenue boasts some of Tbilisi’s most handsome facades. But the cafes and restaurants on this street are far too touristy for my taste. If you find yourself in this part of the city (or at the nearby Dry Bridge Market), I suggest ducking down the side street to Chveni. Chveni is a boutique hostel with a restaurant on the bottom level. It’s petite but lovely, with sun-drenched tables, an open bar and an outdoor wood-fire oven. The award-winning chef interprets traditional Georgian flavours in a totally unique way – case in point, ‘Georgian croquettes’. Choose from chicken balls with Shkmeruli sauce, Ghomi balls with Badze (walnut) sauce, Lobio balls with Jonjoli sauce, or Elarji and Kuchmachi balls with Satsivi (yogurt). I only wish there was a sweet version! The menu here is overwhelmingly long, with a dedicated sushi section and a range of Asian dishes. This is the only place where I’ve seen Mtskhetian Khachapuri with pulled Tenili cheese on the menu.
Located down the lane opposite Rustaveli Avenue, the open-air courtyard dining on offer at Alubali is a welcome contrast to the shadowy pubs and bars this area is known for. This restaurant presents a modern take on Megrelian cuisine and highlights organic and seasonal produce. The menu changes regularly as a result, but there are some mainstays, including a nice rendition of Kharcho and staple sides Ghomi and Elargi. The village-style Kupati sausage, house-made Sulguni cheese and simple-but-delicious kebab rolled in lavash and sprinkled with sumac are also worth trying. In springtime, try the Chakapuli (lamb, plum and tarragon stew).
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Alubali
6 Giorgi Akhvlediani St
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Located down the lane opposite Rustaveli Avenue, the open-air courtyard dining on offer at Alubali is a welcome contrast to the shadowy pubs and bars this area is known for. This restaurant presents a modern take on Megrelian cuisine and highlights organic and seasonal produce. The menu changes regularly as a result, but there are some mainstays, including a nice rendition of Kharcho and staple sides Ghomi and Elargi. The village-style Kupati sausage, house-made Sulguni cheese and simple-but-delicious kebab rolled in lavash and sprinkled with sumac are also worth trying. In springtime, try the Chakapuli (lamb, plum and tarragon stew).
Zala is a family-style restaurant that seeks to modernise classic flavours and cooking methods while staying true to its roots. They serve one of my favourite burgers in Tbilisi – a succulent beef burger with a Georgian kick courtesy of Saperavi grape sauce. It’s absolutely finger-licking. Oyster mushrooms cooked in Saperavi, Georgian salmon with citrus sauce, Chikhirtma soup and Kharcho with Ghomi are also on the menu. I hear the local pork fried in honey and cinnamon is also very good. There’s a beautiful dining room with exposed brick walls and plenty of leafy plants, and a small courtyard out the back. At lunch, Zala offers relaxed dining, but the vibe is a bit more up-scale after dark.
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Zala
24 Tamar Chovelidze St
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Zala is a family-style restaurant that seeks to modernise classic flavours and cooking methods while staying true to its roots. They serve one of my favourite burgers in Tbilisi – a succulent beef burger with a Georgian kick courtesy of Saperavi grape sauce. It’s absolutely finger-licking. Oyster mushrooms cooked in Saperavi, Georgian salmon with citrus sauce, Chikhirtma soup and Kharcho with Ghomi are also on the menu. I hear the local pork fried in honey and cinnamon is also very good. There’s a beautiful dining room with exposed brick walls and plenty of leafy plants, and a small courtyard out the back. At lunch, Zala offers relaxed dining, but the vibe is a bit more up-scale after dark.
"Z10" pairs unparalleled service and fine dining within an intimate ambiance. Restaurant located in center of Tbilisi, in a building built in 1889. Restaurant provides elegant modern Georgian and Europe cuisine using the finest seasonal ingredients.
Z10 Restaurant / Cafe / Hotel
"Z10" pairs unparalleled service and fine dining within an intimate ambiance. Restaurant located in center of Tbilisi, in a building built in 1889. Restaurant provides elegant modern Georgian and Europe cuisine using the finest seasonal ingredients.
Republic 24 offers a unique dining experience. Set inside an ultra-modern glass box building near Rustaveli Metro Station, diners eat while looking out onto the bustling street, with the iconic Radisson Blu (formerly Hotel Iveria) in the background. The decor and service here are up-scale. Prices are a bit more expensive than some of the other restaurants on this list, but I think it’s still good value for money. I especially love the stuffed Pkhlovani here. Republic 24’s Khinkali are known for being some of the best in town (there are lots of varieties to choose from, including one version that’s flavoured with Asian-style spices and served in a bamboo steamer basket).
Republic 24
6 Rose Revolution Square
Republic 24 offers a unique dining experience. Set inside an ultra-modern glass box building near Rustaveli Metro Station, diners eat while looking out onto the bustling street, with the iconic Radisson Blu (formerly Hotel Iveria) in the background. The decor and service here are up-scale. Prices are a bit more expensive than some of the other restaurants on this list, but I think it’s still good value for money. I especially love the stuffed Pkhlovani here. Republic 24’s Khinkali are known for being some of the best in town (there are lots of varieties to choose from, including one version that’s flavoured with Asian-style spices and served in a bamboo steamer basket).
Housed in the courtyard belonging to the historic Writer’s House of Georgia in Sololaki, Cafe Littera is without a doubt one of Tbilisi’s most beautiful restaurants. Tables dotted around a sculpture garden are especially nice in summer (cocktails under a plum tree, anyone?), while the Old Tbilisi-style dining room is dripping with history, retro wallpaper and all. Cafe Littera is run by Tekuna Gachechiladze, the same chef behind Culinarium Khasheria. The menu is light, fresh Georgian-European cooking with a little extra finesse, think zucchini flowers with mint and Nadugi (cottage cheese). Save room for one of the decadent desserts, preferably the mille feuille with fresh berries. Reservations are mandatory – Littera sometimes gets booked out months in advance.
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Café Littera
13 Ivane Machabeli St
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Housed in the courtyard belonging to the historic Writer’s House of Georgia in Sololaki, Cafe Littera is without a doubt one of Tbilisi’s most beautiful restaurants. Tables dotted around a sculpture garden are especially nice in summer (cocktails under a plum tree, anyone?), while the Old Tbilisi-style dining room is dripping with history, retro wallpaper and all. Cafe Littera is run by Tekuna Gachechiladze, the same chef behind Culinarium Khasheria. The menu is light, fresh Georgian-European cooking with a little extra finesse, think zucchini flowers with mint and Nadugi (cottage cheese). Save room for one of the decadent desserts, preferably the mille feuille with fresh berries. Reservations are mandatory – Littera sometimes gets booked out months in advance.
It takes some detective work to find the entrance to Keto and Kote. From Rustaveli Metro Station, you need to head north then duck through a specific archway, go down an alleyway, and finally climb up a flight of stone stairs. Before you go inside, pause to drink in the panoramic views. Keto and Kote takes its title from a popular Georgian opera, and the setting (a classic Tbilisi-style house with carved balconies) harks back to the country’s Golden Age. As you enter, you’ll see a table spread with the day’s fresh cakes and tarts, a sign of good things to come. Hardwood floors, chandeliers, and tables dressed in "lurji supra" / blue tablecloths, Keto and Kote is all class. At night, it’s fine dining to a T – but I’ve also eaten lunch here a couple of times and found the vibe during daylight hours is quite laid-back. Western Georgian dishes such as Gebjalia and Elarji are among the Megrelian-born chef’s specialties. Keto and Kote do an exquisite rendition of a classic Georgian salad, served with walnut paste, a slab of cheese and a piece of house-baked bread on the side.
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Keto & Kote
3 Mikheil Zandukeli Dead End
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It takes some detective work to find the entrance to Keto and Kote. From Rustaveli Metro Station, you need to head north then duck through a specific archway, go down an alleyway, and finally climb up a flight of stone stairs. Before you go inside, pause to drink in the panoramic views. Keto and Kote takes its title from a popular Georgian opera, and the setting (a classic Tbilisi-style house with carved balconies) harks back to the country’s Golden Age. As you enter, you’ll see a table spread with the day’s fresh cakes and tarts, a sign of good things to come. Hardwood floors, chandeliers, and tables dressed in "lurji supra" / blue tablecloths, Keto and Kote is all class. At night, it’s fine dining to a T – but I’ve also eaten lunch here a couple of times and found the vibe during daylight hours is quite laid-back. Western Georgian dishes such as Gebjalia and Elarji are among the Megrelian-born chef’s specialties. Keto and Kote do an exquisite rendition of a classic Georgian salad, served with walnut paste, a slab of cheese and a piece of house-baked bread on the side.
The name of this restaurant is a tribute to a Tbilisi phrase with ancient Persian origins, Siraj being the name for traders who carted barrels of wine on their backs in Tbilisi’s old Silk Road days. It’s no surprise then that the concept revolves around the wine, led by sommelier Magda Surguladze and complemented with recipes by renowned chef Keti Bakradze. Eating here is a true feast for the senses, especially if you can snag a table by the glass-walled wine cellar that sits in the centre of the restaurant. Dishes match traditional Georgian recipes with Middle Eastern influences for some truly unique flavour combinations. I love the salad of fresh grapes. Needless to say the wine list is very well-rounded!
SIRAJKHANA
8/10 Vakhtang Orbeliani St
The name of this restaurant is a tribute to a Tbilisi phrase with ancient Persian origins, Siraj being the name for traders who carted barrels of wine on their backs in Tbilisi’s old Silk Road days. It’s no surprise then that the concept revolves around the wine, led by sommelier Magda Surguladze and complemented with recipes by renowned chef Keti Bakradze. Eating here is a true feast for the senses, especially if you can snag a table by the glass-walled wine cellar that sits in the centre of the restaurant. Dishes match traditional Georgian recipes with Middle Eastern influences for some truly unique flavour combinations. I love the salad of fresh grapes. Needless to say the wine list is very well-rounded!
144 Stairs Cafe is a nice cafe with a magnificient view.
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144 Stairs Cafe
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144 Stairs Cafe is a nice cafe with a magnificient view.
Not only is Barbarestan one of the best restaurants in Georgia, it’s also been named among the top 50 best restaurants in the world. Everything about this place is pure elegance and refinement, from the silverware to the tablecloths and the coiffed waiters. The concept is very interesting: Chefs here take their flavour cues from Barbare Eristavi-Jorjadze, a Georgian duchess, poet and feminist who in 1914 published a seminal Georgian recipe book titled Complete Cooking. Fast-forward a century, and Barbarestan recreates her best-loved recipes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. The dining room is set inside an old butcher’s shop (you can still see the old meat hooks on the walls). Choose from intimate basement dining or an airy upstairs room made to look like Mrs Jorjadze’s home office (natural light, indoor plants and Caucasian carpets aplenty).
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Barbarestan
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Not only is Barbarestan one of the best restaurants in Georgia, it’s also been named among the top 50 best restaurants in the world. Everything about this place is pure elegance and refinement, from the silverware to the tablecloths and the coiffed waiters. The concept is very interesting: Chefs here take their flavour cues from Barbare Eristavi-Jorjadze, a Georgian duchess, poet and feminist who in 1914 published a seminal Georgian recipe book titled Complete Cooking. Fast-forward a century, and Barbarestan recreates her best-loved recipes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. The dining room is set inside an old butcher’s shop (you can still see the old meat hooks on the walls). Choose from intimate basement dining or an airy upstairs room made to look like Mrs Jorjadze’s home office (natural light, indoor plants and Caucasian carpets aplenty).
Cafe Maria Magdalina
5 Mikheil Zandukeli Dead End
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Tbili Sio
1 Vasil Petriashvili Street
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Mama Terra Veggie Corner
2 Ivane Machabeli St
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Kiwi Vegan Cafe
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Do you want a delicious pizza? Visit "Cheers Wine and Pizza", where prices are very affordable and the wine is very tasty.
Cheers
14 Ivane Machabeli Street
Do you want a delicious pizza? Visit "Cheers Wine and Pizza", where prices are very affordable and the wine is very tasty.
Best burger in Tbilisi.
PIPES Burger Joint
16/8 Giorgi Akhvlediani St
Best burger in Tbilisi.
best steak in Tbilisi
Organique Josper
12 Bambis Rigi St
best steak in Tbilisi
If you are looking for a quet place overlooking Narikala fortress, Sky7, located on a rooftop of the Hotel Mercury, is for you.
SKY7 terrace and lounge bar
9 Vakhtang Gorgasali St
If you are looking for a quet place overlooking Narikala fortress, Sky7, located on a rooftop of the Hotel Mercury, is for you.
Restaurant Kopala, located on a rooftop of the hotel, offers delicious food, wine and has a phenomenal view on the Old Part of Tbilisi.
Kopala Hotel
Restaurant Kopala, located on a rooftop of the hotel, offers delicious food, wine and has a phenomenal view on the Old Part of Tbilisi.
HB Sanapiro
Café Canapé
15 Abano St
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Bread House
7 Vakhtang Gorgasali St
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VINOTEL Wine Cellar
Kala
10 Erekle II St
Souvenirs
SILKROOM is a textile art studio established by Georgian artist Eka Khuntsaria in Tbilisi, Georgia. SILKROOM hosts a permanent exhibition of paintings created on silk for wall decor; screens and lamp shades handcrafted on silk; scarfs hand-painted on silk etc. The works are created on silk using the technique - Batik. So, if you are looking for such souvenirs, Silkroom is for you.
Silkroom
7 Mikheil Zandukeli Street
SILKROOM is a textile art studio established by Georgian artist Eka Khuntsaria in Tbilisi, Georgia. SILKROOM hosts a permanent exhibition of paintings created on silk for wall decor; screens and lamp shades handcrafted on silk; scarfs hand-painted on silk etc. The works are created on silk using the technique - Batik. So, if you are looking for such souvenirs, Silkroom is for you.
Kato, the young designer behind QisaBags, started off selling her creations at street markets before launching her studio/shop. Each bag is hand-tooled and one-of-a-kind, inspired by the artisan craftsmanship behind Georgia’s 11th-century qisa pouches, which were used by merchants to carry coins or tobacco. Totes, convertible backpacks, wallets, laptop cases and more are all formed from natural and coloured full-grain leather and split suede. Available online via the official website (free international shipping).
Qisa Bags
7 Nikolioz Kipshidze Street
Kato, the young designer behind QisaBags, started off selling her creations at street markets before launching her studio/shop. Each bag is hand-tooled and one-of-a-kind, inspired by the artisan craftsmanship behind Georgia’s 11th-century qisa pouches, which were used by merchants to carry coins or tobacco. Totes, convertible backpacks, wallets, laptop cases and more are all formed from natural and coloured full-grain leather and split suede. Available online via the official website (free international shipping).
ESTIA - handmade arts
58-60 Mikheili Tsinamdzghvrishvili Street
Ethnodesign
23 Giorgi Akhvlediani Street
Ikorta Enamel Jewelry
ბადაგი / Badagi
6 Roman Miminoshvili St
Specialising in fine jewellery inspired by Georgian culture, Istoriali looks more like a museum than a shop. Fine gold and enamel accessories carry traditional Colchian forms and motifs, and are very contemporary at the same time.
"Istoriali" showroom of Cultural Gifts
7 Niko Nikoladze Street
Specialising in fine jewellery inspired by Georgian culture, Istoriali looks more like a museum than a shop. Fine gold and enamel accessories carry traditional Colchian forms and motifs, and are very contemporary at the same time.
This Georgian ceramics studio in the trendy Vera neighbourhood makes porcelain tableware, painted Easter eggs and Christmas ornaments. Aiming to revitalise traditional pottery techniques, the artists behind WHITE Studio use faience and red clay, and decorate their creations with hand-painted designs.
White Studio
22/26 Simon Janashia Street
This Georgian ceramics studio in the trendy Vera neighbourhood makes porcelain tableware, painted Easter eggs and Christmas ornaments. Aiming to revitalise traditional pottery techniques, the artists behind WHITE Studio use faience and red clay, and decorate their creations with hand-painted designs.
Tucked away in the courtyard near Sofia Melnikovas restaurant, behind the Museum of Georgian Literature, 17 Kvadrati produces leather bags and clutches on-site by the owner/artist.
17 Kvadrati
8 Giorgi Chanturia Street
Tucked away in the courtyard near Sofia Melnikovas restaurant, behind the Museum of Georgian Literature, 17 Kvadrati produces leather bags and clutches on-site by the owner/artist.
City/town information
Mtskheta is by far the most popular day trip from Tbilisi. Georgia’s former capital, the small city is home to a collection of UNESCO World Heritage monuments and is absolutely dripping with history. Svetitiskhoveli Cathedral and Jvari Monastery, two of Georgia’s most important religious sites, are both located in or near Mtskheta, making this a must-visit for history buffs and cultural travellers. This day trip also features stunning river views, an optional hike, a collection of smaller monasteries and fortresses to explore, plus lunch on the river. Mtskheta is located on the highway between Tbilisi and Gori so you can easily combine it with Gori and Uplistsikhe to make this an extended day trip.
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Mtskheta
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Mtskheta is by far the most popular day trip from Tbilisi. Georgia’s former capital, the small city is home to a collection of UNESCO World Heritage monuments and is absolutely dripping with history. Svetitiskhoveli Cathedral and Jvari Monastery, two of Georgia’s most important religious sites, are both located in or near Mtskheta, making this a must-visit for history buffs and cultural travellers. This day trip also features stunning river views, an optional hike, a collection of smaller monasteries and fortresses to explore, plus lunch on the river. Mtskheta is located on the highway between Tbilisi and Gori so you can easily combine it with Gori and Uplistsikhe to make this an extended day trip.

Råd om byen

Sådan kommer du omkring

Weekend Travelers Georgia

for social-focused day trips, Weekend Travelers Georgia organises regular day trips from Tbilisi geared towards expats and long-stay travellers. It’s a great way to meet people and explore places away from the usual tourist path.
Sådan kommer du omkring

Get Your Guide

I personally use Get Your Guide to find and book day tours in Georgia. It’s a reliable platform with a huge range of offerings and a generous refund policy.
Sådan kommer du omkring

Car Rent

If you want to hire a car and drive yourselfI only recommend this if you’re a confident driver. If there’s mountain roads or long distances involved, it’s much safer to go with an experienced driver who is familiar with conditions. If you do decide to hire a car in Tbilisi, I recommend using the MyRentACar website to find an affordable rental from a local agent. Many come with insurance included and don’t require any deposit.
Sådan kommer du omkring

Road Safety

Road safety is a serious issue in Georgia and something you should be mindful of at all times – both when using marshrutka vans and when selecting day tours. I highly recommend you avoid travelling after dark whenever possible, avoid very long day trips (4 hours on the road is the maximum distance covered here), and consider private cars or tours for longer journeys and more challenging roads. I do not recommend visiting these places on a day trip from Tbilisi: Khevsureti, Tusheti, Vashlovani National Park.
Sådan kommer du omkring

Day Trips from Tbilisi

These 7 easy day trips from Tbilisi are all popular itineraries: 1. Mtskheta – Georgia’s historic capital 2. Kazbegi & the Georgian Military Highway – Caucasus mountains adventure 3. Sighnaghi & Kakheti – Georgian wine country 4. Telavi & Kakheti – Alternative wine country route 5. David Gareja & Udabno – Cave monasteries and rainbow hills 6. Gori & Uplistsikhe – Stalin’s hometown 7. Borjomi & Bakuriani – mineral water, hiking and a scenic railway
Sådan kommer du omkring

Travel Agency for Day Tours

https://www.getyourguide.co.uk/
Det skal du pakke

What to pack for Tbilisi in Spring

Wet weather gear is essential – I recommend a fold-up travel umbrella and a lightweight travel raincoat that you can carry in your day pack at all times. Waterproof shoes aren’t necessary if you’re staying in the city, but if you plan on trekking in the national parks or mountains around Tbilisi, then you should also bring quick-dry clothing and proper waterproof boots. Note that the climate in other parts of Georgia differs considerably to Tbilisi, and you’ll get vastly different conditions in Kutaisi, Batumi, and especially in the mountainous regions. Keep this in mind planning your trips.