03 Jan 8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Tbilisi Now!
Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, is a real gem! The country of Georgia is located between Asia and Europe in the Caucasus region. Because of this situation, Tbilisi used to be a major trading point on the great Silk Road and has always been fascinating! In this article I am giving all the reasons why you should visit Tbilisi now!
This city has many assets: its architecture, its gastronomy, its Sulphur baths, its landmarks and much more! Discover here why Tbilisi needs to be on your travel bucket list! You will love the Georgian capital!
Both Georgia and Tbilisi are still rather unknown in the travel world and worth discovering! Therefore, if you like to travel to less touristy but beautiful destination, Tbilisi is a great option. This is actually one of the main reasons why you should visit Tbilisi NOW! Read below all the other arguments that will make you travel to Tbilisi!
Visit Tbilisi to admire the amazing Architecture
The architecture in Tbilisi is very interesting. On the one hand, it’s a mix of different style that creates something very original! And one the other hand, there is a contrast between old and new. As a consequence, this city will blow you away by its architecture, and that’s one of the first reasons why you should visit Tbilisi!
Given the geographic location of Georgia at the crossroad between Europe and Asia and its multiple invasions history, the architecture in Tbilisi has been influenced by the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Therefore, many buildings in the oldest parts of Tbilisi have a very interesting style.
If you wander around Abanotubani, the district of the sulphur bath houses and one of the most ancient, inhabited neighborhoods of Tbilisi, you will find the influence of the Persian style. The façade of Orbeliani Bath with its blue tiles is the most impressive of all! If you have visited Iran or Uzbekistan, you will find some similarities in the style!
Then if you go in the Old Town, you will stumble into charming colorful pastel houses. Their style is more European, and they date back from the 19th century. Their carved wooden balconies are beautiful!
But Tbilisi also features an important architectural Soviet Heritage. In fact, in 1921 Georgia was declared as a Soviet state. You can see the remains of this period on some places like the Chronicles of Georgia, the Palace of Ceremonies/Rituals or the Archeological museum. They won’t let you indifferent!
Last but not least, Tbilisi has many modern and futuristic buildings. Those stunning structures are made of glass and steel or concrete. The Bridge of Peace, the Music Hall, the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the House of Justice are some great examples!
Visit Tbilisi to enjoy the Sulphur Baths
Bathing in the Sulphur Baths is a century old tradition in Tbilisi. According to the legend, the King of Georgia was hunting with his falcon in the area in the 5th century. The falcon caught a pheasant but both birds fell into a hot spring and died. That’s how the King discovered the existence of the hot springs. He was so amazed that he built a city around them, that would become later the capital of Georgia. As a matter of fact, Tbilisi means ‘warm place’ in Georgian.
Nowadays the Sulphur baths are still one of the best activities to do In Tbilisi, hence it’s one of the main reasons why you should visit here! They have many benefits. The warm water (from 37 to 50 C degrees) is full of natural minerals that have healing properties. They are recommended for things as diverse as the treatment of acne and eczema, arthritis, insomnia or digestive problems.
The Sulphur bath houses are located in the district of Abanotubani. The ones you can visit today dates back to the 16th century for the oldest. Their architecture is Persian and you will usually find them underground. You can enjoy your bath in a public or a private room. Privates rooms are more expensive (from 50 to 500 GEL per hour – 13 to 125 EUR /15 to 150 USD per hour). But you will have the place to yourself and some of them are very nicely decorated. You can also get a peeling or a massage. It’s very relaxing!
Visit Tbilisi to appreciate the yummy Georgian Cuisine
Georgian cuisine is absolutely delicious, and many would say it’s one of the best of the world! As a foodie myself I was pleasantly surprised to discover all the yummy local specialties when I visited Tbilisi. That’s why trying the Georgian cuisine is one of the reasons why you should visit Tbilisi!
In fact, because of the location of Georgia at the crossroad between Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East and Asia, its cuisine has a lot of different tasty influences.
If you are a vegetarian, you will love the food in Tbilisi. Many Georgian dishes are vegan or vegetarian. One of my favorites is a kind of mezze named Pkhali, made with chopped and minced vegetables, made of cabbage, eggplant, spinach, beans, beets and combined with ground walnuts, vinegar, onions, garlic, and herbs.
But the Georgian cuisine will also please the meat lovers. For example you have to try the famous Georgian dumplings called Khinkali. They are filled with meat (usually lamb) and spices. There is a whole process to eat them properly, and they are very yummy!
Cheese is also important in the Georgian cuisine. The local cheese masters make different types of cheese from cow, buffalo, sheep or goat. The best dish made with cheese is named Khachapuri. It’s a kind of delicious cheese-filled bread! Depending on where you eat it, it can have a thin or thick crust, and have a different form and size. It can even come boat-shaped with an egg in the middle!
If you have a sweet tooth, you will enjoy the surprising Churchkhela. This local treat has a weird candle-shape! It’s a sort of candy made from grape must, nuts and flour.
Visit Tbilisi to be amazed at the extraordinary Landmarks
Tbilisi features a few extraordinary landmarks! They are all quite different in terms of architecture and they will surprise you! Being able to see those gems with your own eyes is a great reason to travel to Tbilisi! Take also the opportunity to tick them off your list of the Best Things to do in Tbilisi!
Orbeliani Bath is one of the Sulphur Bath houses in Tbilisi. Located in the area of Abanotubani, it’s the most luxurious ones. Its blue tiles Persian inspired façade is gorgeous!
The Chronicles of Georgia
The Chronicles of Georgia are a breathtaking monument paying a tribute to the heroes of Georgia. Located at the top of Mount Keeni, this dark temple has a stunning brutalist Soviet architecture!
Sameba Cathedral is the main cathedral of the Georgian Orthodox Church in Tbilisi. Its impressive size (101 meters) makes it also the third-tallest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the world!
The bridge of Peace
The Bridge of Peace was built to connect the Old Town and the New Town of Tbilisi over the Kura River. This amazing pedestrian bridge has a modern structure with a curvy steel and glass canopy top.
The Kaleidoscope House
The Kaleidoscope House got its name from its colorful stained-glass windows. This charming 19th century wooden house also features some pretty carved balconies. You can find it on Betlemi Street.
The Leaning Clock Tower
The Leaning Clock Tower is an enchanting tower built recently by a famous Georgian puppeteer in the Old Town. Twice a day there is a charming puppet theater sharing a show.
Visit Tbilisi to discover its Vibrant side
Tbilisi has an incredible cultural heritage but also a very dynamic, bold and modern side. I am not only talking about the futuristic architecture that you will find in the New Town. In fact, Tbilisi is also a creative hotspot where you can find street-art, talented artists, musical events and great coworking spaces. One of the best places to get those cool vibes is Fabrika, a sewing factory during Soviet times transformed in a multi-functional cultural center. It’s a great place to meet with the locals as well.
Some parts of the city are getting rehabilitated. New Tiflis, a pedestrian segment of the historical Agmashenebeli Avenue, is one of those. It’s the perfect place to shop in local boutiques and enjoy cafes and wine bars.
Talking about shopping, Tbilisi appears also as an emerging fashion capital in Eastern Europe. You should use your visit to Tbilisi to explore the concept stores and find the latest creations from the local designers.
Visit Tbilisi because it’s Budget-friendly
A trip to Tbilisi has a lot of benefits and the price won’t be an issue. In fact, Tbilisi is a budget-friendly destination! This is definitely a very good reason to discover this city!
Firstly, the food is cheap: count around 15 GEL, which is around 5 EUR / 6 USD for a meal in a restaurant. Secondly the drinks are also cheap: around 5 GEL, which is less than 2 EUR / USD for a beer for example.
Thirdly, accommodation in Tbilisi is affordable. Count 60 to 80 euros / 70 to 100 USD for a room for 2 in the center of Tbilisi for a 3 to 4-Star hotel. But you can find entire beautiful apartments to rent on AirBnb in the center for 25 to 40 EUR / 30 to 50 USD. And a bed in a dormitory room hostel is only 6 to 10 EUR / 7 to 12 USD.
In terms of transportation, taxis are economical compared to Europe or the USA. Most of the rides I did Tbilisi costed me around 5 EUR / 6 USD. If you want to take public transports, one way is 0.50 GEL, around 0.15 EUR / USD.
Last but not least, many activities in Tbilisi are free. For example, you can visit most of the landmarks I have shared for free.
Visit Tbilisi to taste the Georgian Wines
Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world! Therefore, if you are a wine connoisseur you should really visit Tbilisi! The South Caucasus where Georgia is located is very fertile and perfect for grapevine cultivation. In fact, this country has been producing wines for over 8,000 years!
Nowadays Georgia is the 17th country in the world for wine export (source: The Association of American Wine Economists – AAWE). In 2018 Georgian wine companies exported more than 86 million bottles of wine to 53 countries around the world.
5 regions of Georgia are well-known for viticulture: Kakheti (Telavi and Kvareli), Kartli, Imereti, Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, and Adjara. Georgia counts 525 grape varieties, red and white ones. Local wine companies are producing sweet, semi-sweet, semi-dry, dry, fortified and sparkling wines. The semi-sweet wines are the most popular.
The traditional Georgian wine-making method named Qvevri is ancient and protected by the UNESCO. The Qvevri is a large egg-shaped earthenware vessel in which grapes are fermented. They are then sealed and buried in the ground. This helps ageing and storing the wine. This unique method gives rich, structured, tannic wines.
Non too touristy yet, an amazing architecture, a yummy cuisine and fantastic wines, relaxing Sulphur Baths, extraordinary landmarks, vibrant and budget-friendly : here are all the reasons why you should visit Tbilisi as soon as possible! But you will probably find many more once you will be there!
What is the argument that convinced you the most?
If you visit Tbilisi, take a look at the Best Things to do in Tbilisi.