At the beginning of July, I spent a weekend in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi. I was invited by Tbilisi City Hall to discover the charms of the city! If you are looking for a low key destination, this country should be on your list! Georgia has a lot to offer, in terms of hikes, nature, culture and food!
Here I’m listing all the best things to do in the capital, Tbilisi!
Abanotubani is the ancient district of Tbilisi, known for its sulphuric baths. I didn’t have time to go to one, but I was in awe in front of the architecture! My favorite one was Orbeliani Baths. It actually looks like a Persian mosque thanks to its shape and its tile!
The Royal Baths rooftop is also a great place to hang out, if you want to have a nice view over the old town. But don’t forget: sulphur has a certain smell!
KALEIDOSCOPE HOUSE – GALLERY 27
One of the most Instagrammable places in Tbilisi. This 19th century old wooden house located on Betlemi Street is a real architectural jewel of Tbilisi. I was literally dazzled by all its colors and unique style. It’s the only building in Tbilisi with the colorful stained glass décor and it’s very well preserved. At the time of my trip, the Kaleidoscope House was open from 11 am. Before then, the main door was closed so there is no point to go very early in the morning. At that hour, the natural light is also quite well, so you can play with the reflections of the colorful glass, and get very lovely pictures!
GABRIADZE CLOCK TOWER
The leaning tower of Tbilisi is one of the city’s most unusual buildings. This incredibly odd clock tower seems to come straight out of a fairytale! It’s hard not to fall in love with the playful, naive architecture of the tower. This is especially true when on the hour, a window opens on the small balcony at the top, and an angel strikes the bell. Below the clock, a screen opens and shows the circle of life: boy meets girl, marriage, childbirth and funeral.
Dominating the Old Town skyline, Narikala is an ancient fortress. It consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. The fortress was established in the 4th century as Shuris-tsikhe (i.e., “Invidious Fort”). It was a Persian citadel. It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century. I took the gondola going over the river to get there, but you can also walk up to the top.
CHRONICLES OF GEORGIA
This massive monument is a good example of Soviet Brutalist architecture. It honors the History of the country. Especially kings and queens of Georgia and portrays the Christ’s life (Georgia is mainly an Orthodox country!). Located on top of a hill near the Tbilisi Reservoir Lake, it’s a 20mn car-ride from the center or a 1-hour bus-ride.
BRIDGE OF PEACE
The bridge of Peace is a bow-shaped pedestrian bridge from 2010. It links the historical center to the New City. It is a steel and glass construction with numerous illuminating LEDs that leads to Rike Park.
SAMEBA (HOLY TRINITY) CATHEDRAL
The Holy Trinity Cathedral is a modern expression of traditional Georgian religious architecture. The cross above the gold-covered rises at 84m. It is the biggest symbol of the Georgian Orthodox Church’s post-Soviet revival. Built in 2004, it is also the biggest cathedral in Georgia.
Georgian cuisine is one of the best I’ve ever tried in my life! And I’m French! The dishes are influenced by European and Middle-Eastern cuisines and are so diversified. It also offers plenty of vegetarians/vegan meals as well!
WHAT TO EAT
- Khachapuri, the Georgian version of Italy’s pizza which consists in a hot cheese-filled bread with an egg (DIVINE!).
- Pkhali, Georgian dips mostly made of spinach, beet, walnut and eggplant, with Georgian spices.
- Khinkali, the Georgian juicy dumplings.
Make sure to try some Georgian wine! Georgia is known as the oldest wine-producing region in the world: the people have been cultivating grapevine and producing wine for at least 8,000 years! Their traditional wine-making method using clay jars is part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Kakheti is one of the best-known Georgian wine-producing regions. The traditional Georgian wine is a very dry “white” wine. I mainly tried the Saperavi wine. It’a a dry deep red wine, my favorite kind!
- Culinarium Khasheria: the first restaurant I’ve been to! It’s specialized in modern Georgian cuisine with traditional twists. The dishes are so tasty! And you can also have THE local “desert”: caramelized walnuts!
- g.Vino wine bar: the best place to taste some delicious wines and to try the most amazing khachapuri! The portions are (as usual in Georgia) really big so choose wisely!
- Chveni: definitely a must-do! Everything is so delicious! Even their fresh homemade raspberry limonade! The khinkali are the BEST ever, and so are the pkhali!
- Kafe Leila: a super cute cafe just right by the Marionette Theater. It offers fresh vegetarian spins on Georgian classics in a colorful Persian-inspired room. The pkhali come with a delicious Georgian cheese.
WHERE TO STAY
I stayed at Hotel Citrus in their most beautiful room! I was on the last floor and had a terrace with a view over the city! The room was classy and had a lot of space. The breakfast was delicious: breads and local honey, coffee and tea, Georgian pastries, European viennoiseries, fruits, local meats, etc. Plus, the hotel is located in one of the best central areas in Tbilisi, making it a great place to stay at for a weekend.
These are the highlights from my trip. I hope you enjoyed them! But there are so many other things to do in Georgia! If you consider visiting this country, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’ll be happy to help!