Local tips: a weekend in Tbilisi

WT Writer
Mar 11, 2020

Tour guide Mariam Nozadze shares local tips to help you make the most of a mini break in Georgia’s vibrant capital city – Tbilisi

“There is so much to see in Tbilisi, so if your time here is short and sweet, I’d suggest you start by exploring the Old Town. You can walk there from Shavteli Street, which begins at the Berikaoba statue – there are signs on the ground that will point you in the right direction. There’s a lot to discover along the way, including free mature puppet performances which take place at Rezo Gabriadze Theatre daily at noon and 7pm. 

Another good stroll to take in Tbilisi is along Rustaveli Avenue, which starts at Freedom Square and offers around 1.5km of shops and restaurants to pause at along the way. 

Those with a head for heights can ride the Funicular railway up Mount Mtatsminda for a spectacular bird’s eye view of Tbilisi. Go during the early evening and settle into one of the restaurants or cafés at the top for sunset views as you dine.

View from the Mtatsminda funicular in Tbilisi, Georgia
Riding the Mtatsminda funicular

When it comes to food, khinkali (Georgian dumplings) and khachapuri (cheese-filled bread) are popular local dishes, but I also urge you to taste shkmeruli (chicken cooked in milk and garlic sauce) and chakapuli (a Georgian stew made with lamb or beef with sour green plums) for something a little bit different. 

Khachapuri, a local dish in Tbilisi in Georgia
The deliciously traditional khachapuri

On your second day in Tbilisi, head to my favourite lesser-known part of the city, the Sololaki district, which is a showcase of traditional architecture. It’s home to a number of hidden gems, including Writers’ House Residency on Machabeli St, which has a beautiful Moorish style hall and a dining area with lovely views of the garden. In addition, David Agmashenebeli Avenue is a great place to view 19th-century classical architecture – you’ll find the nicest halls on streets 36 and 93.

The colourful streets of David Agmashenebeli Avenue in Tbilisi

The best way to meet the locals in Tbilisi is to engage in supra – the tradition of feasting. Many local families throw open their doors to visitors, inviting you to join them for a traditional meal complete with lots of singing. It’s a great way to get a sense of the Georgian soul. 

Before you jet off, head to the ancient district of Abanotubani to unwind in the healing sulphur baths. My favourite is the colourful Chreli Abano Sulfur Bath & Spa on the eastern bank of the Mtkvari River.”

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