Welcome to the city of Tbilisi, a capital city that has been destroyed and rebuilt around 29 times. Walk down the narrow streets of Tbilisi and admire the old-style balconies, winding alleyways, charming hole-in the wall shops and masterfully preserved churches. Tbilisi is a cosmopolitan city with a wide array of good accommodation, dining options and a vibrant cultural scene and nightlife. Walk through old cities, step back in time at the 4th century Narikala fortress, have sulphur baths and spend the day exploring ancient ruins in this cultural capital of Georgia.
If you’re arriving at Tbilisi by air, you will land at Tbilisi International Airport, located 17km southeast of the city centre. The airport is equipped with modern facilities such as ATMs, a CIP lounge and duty-free shop. The airport operates a number of flights to and from the airport to major cities around the world. From the airport, visitors have a number of options to take them to the city centre. The most convenient way to the city centre is by taking the airport bus which leaves every hour for the city centre. Visitors can also take the train but be warned that the trains only leave twice a day to and from the airport. Taxis are expensive but plentiful outside the terminal. Consider taking the public bus when traveling from one destination to another.
What to see and do
If you’re only in Tbilisi for a day, there is still much that you can do in the city-centre. Start your day by exploring the Georgian Parliament, located in the heart of the uptown district. The towering building stands strong as a memorial to the longstanding nation of Georgia. Be intrigued by the architecture of the building which features modern interpretations of traditional architectural styles. Head to the Freedom Square where you are able to take a selfie of yourself with a giant golden statue of St George slaying a dragon at the back. Be sure to stop at an authentic restaurant serving a typical Georgian meal. Sample rare delicacies such as kinkahli and meals involving mainly meat and spices as you sip local wine.
Continue your day by exploring the labyrinths of alleyways and old buildings in the Old Quarter. As you walk down the street, admire the centuries-old churches, synagogues and mosques along the riverside walkways. If you enjoy modern art, be intrigued by the stunning modern art lining Sioni Street. If you have more time, head to the art galleries along Chardini Street. Pamper yourself after all that walking at a Sulfur Bath at Abanotubani located on the south side of the Metekhi bridge. For something more exclusive, try the Royal Bath. Get there early to avoid waiting for the pool to become available. Get a beer to go along your bath which will leave you feeling rejuvenated at the end of the day.
If you do have the luxury of time, consider climbing the Narikala Fortress. Visitors can get a panoramic view of the old town, the river and even the peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. There is a passage from this hillside fortress where visitors can pass through to enter another ancient fortress overlooking the entire valley.
Before you head back to the airport, be sure to explore the Dry Bridge Market. This is the market you should visit if you want to have a real Georgian experience with a few interesting stories told by locals. Visitors feel extremely comfortable and welcomed in this market but do be prepared to haggle for good-quality jewellery, antiques and musical instruments.
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