When you search the internet about Georgia, the state in the southeastern USA will always pop up. Most people are familiar with the state in the US but remain hazy about the country of Georgia. It is a country most of us never consider visiting, but definitely should. It’s a long way to come for just 3 days, but if that’s all you can spare, then this 3-day suggested itinerary for Tbilisi will be very useful. There are, of course, numerous other destinations in Georgia other that its capital city of Tbilisi but you might want to mix and match the suggestions below to create your own itinerary.
Things to know before travelling to Tbilisi, Georgia:
Language – Georgian (Kartuli) is the official language of Georgia. Did you know that the Georgian language is among the 10 oldest languages still spoken in the world today? Younger people in the city and other main tourists spots, speak English so you can absolutely get by without speaking Georgian language. Older people speak Russian and Georgian only. Like other countries, speaking at least some Georgian phrases or attempting to learn is greatly appreciated by the locals.
Etiquette – Georgians are friendly, warm and hospitable people. Most foreign visitors who come to Georgia are pleasantly surprised to know that the locals welcome them wherever they go. There are, of course exceptions, but generally you can expect to be treated well. They will always offer you food and a glass of wine. In social meetings, people shake hands with everyone present while saying “Gamarjoba” (means hello in Georgian).
Money and currency – The Georgian Lari (GEL) is the official currency of Georgia. Exchanging money is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in Europe. You can exchange currency at the airport, hotels, malls, local banks, and money changers throughout Tbilisi. ATMs are plentiful, all accepting international credit cards and debit cards, so it’s easy to withdraw your money in Lari. Credits cards are commonly accepted in most restaurants and hotels.
Getting around – Tbilisi features a good transport network consisting of metro, buses and taxis. The center of the city is a fairly compact area which can be explored on foot or on a bicycle. If you plan to bike around the city, then please consider the hilly topography of Tbilisi. If you are on a luxury vacation, consider hiring a driver to take you around the town and the surrounding area. This option is expensive but will give you complete control of the trip. Renting a car and driving on your own is another great option.
Where to stay – Tbilisi has a wide range of accommodation options, with something for every level of comfort and budget. There are also plenty of apartment rentals if you prefer the comfort and convenience of having your own place with cooking facilities. The Old Town (Altstadt) is the best base for you to visit Tbilisi’s main attractions if you are staying for a short period of time.
Hotels to consider in Tbilisi:
Hotel British House (32 Chovelidze | Belinski St. 32, Tbilisi 0108, Georgia)
Rooms Hotel Tbilisi (14 Merab Kostava Street | Entrance From Chovelidze Street, Tbilisi 0108, Georgia)
Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi (Rose Revolution Square 1, Tbilisi 0108, Georgia)
Betsy’s Hotel (32 – 34 Makashvili Street, Tbilisi, Georgia)
Artists Residence in Tbilisi (Teleti Street 4, Tbilisi 0105, Georgia)
Detailed Itinerary: Spend 3 days in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia
Assuming you had to cross an ocean to get to Georgia, your first day will be rife with jet lag. Take a flight that arrives in Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport (TBS) as early as possible and check into your preferred hotel/hostel. The airport is about 17 kilometers away from the city center. Taxi service is available outside the Arrival Hall and provides 24-hour service to the passengers. Please note, taxis in Tbilisi do not use meters, so negotiate the fare in advance (one way fare to the center costs around 15-20 USD). To walk off your jet lag, hit one of the quirky breakfast and brunch spots along Rustaveli Avenue.
After breakfast, begin your Tbilisi walking tour. There’s no better way to get acquainted with the city than visiting Rustaveli Avenue (formerly known as Golovin Street), Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare. Named after the famous Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli, the avenue is home to the Freedom Square, the Rustaveli Museum, Kashveti Church and Parliament of Georgia. It is also home to Georgian National Opera Theater (formerly known as the Tiflis Imperial Theater), which had been burnt to the ground during Georgia’s post-Soviet turmoil. Now that it has been restored, visitors may watch a ballet or opera and appreciate the cultural re-birth of the country. For performance schedule and ticket prices, visit their official website.
In the afternoon, take a stroll through Old Town (Altstadt), the historic district of Tbilisi. At night, head for dinner at one the top-rated restaurants in downtown to celebrate your first night in the city. Do not miss to at the best Khachapuri in Tbilisi, which can be found in Samakitno-Machakhela.
On the morning of Day 2, get set to experience the glories of Tbilisi. Start by grabbing some breakfast. Then, make your way to oldest Georgian Orthodox Church in Tbilisi, The Anchiskhati Basilica of Saint Mary. If you are traveling with kids, a visit to Mtatsminda Amusement Park is a must. This amusement park is located atop Mount Mtatsminda, which offers a fantastic panoramic view of Tbilisi. Another option is Narikhala Fortress, an ancient stronghold dominating Tbilisi’s Old Town Skyline.
After lunch, head to the Little Cafe at Gardenia Shevardnadze. It is one of the best places in the city to get coffee or tea. In the afternoon, try the Sulphur Baths in Abanotubani. This trip will give you opportunity to see where the famed thermal mineral waters sprung. It is also a great stop for hangover most especially during the winter. No trip to Georgia will be complete without a traditional Georgian dinner and the best wines of the country. In the evening, head to Wine World at Lagidze Street. This wine bar has a restaurant which offers some of the best Georgian dishes and a wine bar with a large selection of traditional Georgian wine.
Your final day in Tbilisi can be spent on last-minute shopping and seeing those city attractions that you haven’t yet had time for. If your last day happens to be on a weekend, then wander around Tbilisi’s flea market known as Dry Bridge. You may also dedicate this day to Marjanishvili neighborhood, situated fairly close to highly-frequented spots in the city. Also, not to be missed is The Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi (also known as Sameba Cathedral), Tbilisi’s main symbol of the Georgian Orthodox church. Head back to your hotel, then to the airport in time to check in for your international flight, or you may opt to continue traveling independently in the countryside of Georgia, or extend your stay in Tbilisi.
This is the end of our 3-day suggested itinerary. Remember, this is just a guide for planning and is in no way, shape or form, the only way to travel Tbilisi. There are several alternative routes of travel within the area and it will depend on your intended length of stay. Enjoy Georgia!
Have you been to Tbilisi or anywhere else in Georgia? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.