Tbilisi Take Two

  • Visited July/August 2018

I loved Tbilisi so much when I visited it the first time, I changed my travel plans and just had to return after my long weekend in Batumi. I’m so glad I did because the extra week in Tbilisi really gave me an opportunity to get to know the city more and to do some fab day trips out of the city to explore the beautiful country of Georgia further.

Although the ropeway is fun, the best views of the city are to be had from taking the funicular up to Mtatsminda Park as this takes you so much higher than the ropeway. The views from up there are stunning. It costs 8 GEL per person for a travel card (not the same one as the Metro) and a return trip. There’s a restaurant, theme park and various stalls to buy things. One stall offers all you can drink wine for 10 GEL (about £3.10)!

Some restaurant recommendations in the city for you: the Georgian restaurant behind the I love Tbilisi sign in the Meidan Square area does tasty and cheap Georgian food; Cafe Leila near the Gabriadze clock offers delicious affordable vegetarian/vegan food in a quirky setting; Cafe Kala near Sioni Cathedral does a fab Eggs Benedict; Cafe Theatre below Narikala Fortress  is really lovely on an evening – they project silent movies into the alley in front and the food is good too. A live Jazz/Blues band plays at 9pm. You can eat very well in Tbilisi…

If you are looking for day trips out of the city, Envoy Tours are really good. I used them twice (you get a discount if you are staying in the hostel). The first tour was an ‘Enlightened Georgia’ tour which took me to Jvari Monastery, Uplistsihke cave city (which was amazing!), Gori to visit the Stalin museum and his birthplace and Mtskheta. The second tour was to Kazbegi, via a reservoir, Ananuri Fortress, Gudauri and Kazbegi, where you get to hike up to the Gergeti Trinity Church. The guide for both trips was Qeti – she was brilliant, very knowledgable. Lunch consisting of home cooked Georgian food was provided on both days by local families but a highlight on the second trip was being taught how to make Khinkali dumplings and then eating the ones we had made – along with the obligatory shot of chacha.

My final recommendation is a visit to the sulphur baths in Abanotubani. No trip to Tbilisi is complete without experiencing this. Myself and a friend visited Royal Bath after a long day of sightseeing. The staff were friendly. The private rooms range from 70 – 140 GEL. Only the most expensive room was available when we turned up at 9 pm but we were glad we treated ourselves when we saw the room – it was huge, equipped with a large hot sulphur bath, cold plunge pool and sauna room. We took our own towels but you can rent them if needed or book a massage if you so wish. You can even take a beer in with you (which we did). You rent the room for an hour, are left in complete privacy, and we both felt incredibly relaxed afterwards. This is a definite must do.

Coming back a second time only deepened my appreciation of Tbilisi and the country of Georgia and I hope if you visit this beautiful place, you will love it as much as I do.

Selection of pictures from my stay: