When I decided to visit Georgia I was met with many questions. First I had to explain that I was not, in fact, visiting Georgia the state, but instead Georgia the country. Which raised even more eyebrows. “What is there to do in Georgia?” I was asked over and over again. The truth was, I wasn’t quite sure. But I had full intentions of finding out. I used Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia as my starting point and to say that I was pleasantly surprised is a complete understatement. I spent days wandering through Tbilisi. Drinking ChaCha, drinking housemade family wine, navigating the cobblestone alleyways, and climbing up hills to see the city from a different vantage point. What I came to find out was that Tbilisi is one of the most underrated cities that I’ve had the pleasure to visit. And if you dare to venture off the beaten path, you might find yourself as enamored with this place as I was. Here’s how to spend 3 days in Tbilisi – wandering the streets, eating traditional Georgian cuisine, drinking ChaCha and wine, and day-tripping to remote towns.
Before reading further, make sure to check out Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Georgia to prepare you for your trip.
How to Spend 3 Days in Tbilisi – The Best Tbilisi Itinerary
Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia and the capital of the Mtatsminda district. It’s where the biggest international airport is in Georgia so it’s a great place to fly into for a few days to discover a taste of Georgia, or a great place to start if you’re planning on staying and spending some time in Georgia.
Whether you’re planning to stay a few days or a few weeks, Tbilisi is definitely worth visiting. The city is safe, clean, affordable, and has done a great job at preserving its oldest buildings and traditions, while still expanding and growing.
Transportation in Tbilisi
As mentioned earlier, the main international airport is in Tbilisi, located about 30-minutes outside of the center of the city. If you’re flying in, you have many options when looking for transportation. You can stop any taxi, but make sure to secure a price ahead of time – meters are not utilized in Tbilisi. You can download the ridesharing app Bolt to reserve a ride and a price once you land at the airport. Or you can schedule a ride ahead of time on GoTrip. I utilized this last option for peace of mind. The price costs around 50 Lari ($15) and the driver will be waiting for you inside with a sign that has your name on it.
The cheapest public option is to take the bus. Bus 37 costs 50 tetri (cents) and it runs 24 hours a day every 30 minutes. If you take the bus you’ll want to get off at Pushkin Park and walk or get a taxi to your hotel.
As far as getting around the city the best options are by walking, using Bolt, or flagging down a taxi (they are everywhere). If you take a taxi don’t forget to ask for the price ahead of time.
Where to Stay in Tbilisi
There are so many options when it comes to booking a hotel or Airbnb in Tbilisi. You can find affordable places, luxury places, and everything in between.
If you are looking for an Airbnb, I enjoyed staying at the Diplomat Apartment. It is located in the old town, near major tourist sites and great restaurants. Plus the apartment is fully equipped with a kitchen, wifi, and a washing machine. To top it off, housemade wine will be waiting for you in the fridge.
If you’re looking for a hotel, I enjoyed both Rooms Hotel Tbilisi and the Stamba Hotel. Both hotels are located in the Rustaveli neighborhood, which is about a 45-minute walk to the old town. But it’s still a great, central location with tons of great restaurants and bars around.
Day 1 in Tbilisi
HIGHLIGHTS: FREE WALKING TOUR, NARIKALA FORTRESS, DRY BRIDGE MARKET
Start your time in Tbilisi by participating in the free walking tour put on by Tbilisi Free Walking Tours. They offer three different free tours – Old Tbilisi, Hidden Tbilisi, and Backstreets of Tbilisi. By doing this when you first arrive, you’ll get a good feel for how the city is laid out plus you’ll be able to ask the guide for any recommendations. Don’t forget to bring cash to leave a tip at the end.
After completing the free walking tour, head up to Narikala Fortress for views of the city. Narikala Fortress is free to enter and you can either walk up the hill to reach it or take the cable car for one Lari. If you opt for the cable car it departs from Rike Park on the left bank of the Mtkvari river.
At this point, if you’re hungry, there are two great options nearby. The first option would be to eat at Pasanauri after leaving Narikala. Pasanauri serves traditional Georgian food; there are multiple locations throughout Tbilisi but in this case, the one in the old town is the most convenient. Another option would be to eat at Zakhar Zakharich, a big, blue restaurant underneath the Dry Bridge Market (where you’re headed next). If you choose Zakhar Zakharich make sure to order the khinkali – it’s delicious!
To close out the day, make your way to the Dry Bridge Market; an outdoor flea market that sells just about anything you can think of from Georgian memorabilia to Soviet-era memorabilia. If you want to purchase anything, make sure to carry cash with you. The market is open every day from 11 am to 5 pm.
Before ending your first day in Tbilisi, head to 8000 Vintages to try Georgian wine. You can wine taste here and the staff members are very knowledgeable about wine and winemaking in Georgia. I wouldn’t eat here, instead, I’d head next door to Salobie Bia to try shkmeruli (one of my favorite Georgian dishes).
The food in Tbilisi is incredible! If you’re interested in learning more about Georgian cuisine, make sure to read 20 Georgian Foods You Have to Try When You Visit Georgia
Day 2 in Tbilisi
HIGHLIGHTS: SULFUR BATH, CLOCK TOWER, GEORGIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM
Of all of the places to visit in Tbilisi, a visit to the sulfur baths is a must-do. There are seven different bathhouses in the Abanotubani neighborhood in Tbilisi, near the old town. Legend has it that King Vakhtang Gorgasali came across the springs while hunting and built a city around them. It’s believed that in the 13th-century there were over 60 bathhouses where both locals and people passing through from Europe to Asia (and vice versa) would stop for a soak.
Gulo’s Thermal Spa was a good middle-of-the-road option. It wasn’t the most impressive bathhouse, but it did retain a local feel that I appreciated. Make sure to add on the “scrub” for a true Georgian experience. When you visit the bathhouses in Tbilisi you’ll wear a swimming suit – if you opt for the “scrub” they’ll usually request that you take your top off. Also, bring a towel or you’ll be charged a small fee to borrow one, and make sure to book a reservation in advance. This can usually be done through Facebook Messenger.
Allow yourself time after the sulfur bath to go home and shower before heading out again. Now head to the Clock Tower, an impressive leaning clock in Tbilisi. While the tower looks quite old and impressive, it was built in 2010 by Revaz Gabriadze. If you’re there on the hour you’ll see a small angel come out and ring the bell with a small hammer. Nearby, only a few steps away, is the cutest cafe with outdoor seating – Cafe Leila. Cafe Leila is a vegetarian restaurant that serves Georgian cuisine. I highly recommend eating lunch here while you’re in the area.
Next, head to the Georgian National Museum to learn about Georgian history. Please note, this museum is closed every Monday so plan accordingly. The Georgian National Museum has many different displays. You can find displays of the types of animals found in Georgia, the types of dress that Georgians wore up until the present day, and even fossils that have been found in the country. It’s a pretty interesting museum, I would plan to spend about two hours walking through.
Although I wouldn’t make it a priority, if you like learning about history, you might find a visit to the Tbilisi History Museum worthwhile. This museum isn’t as in-depth as the Georgian National Museum and strictly focuses on the history of Tbilisi. It’s much smaller and you can make it through the museum in under an hour. Please note, the Tbilisi History Museum is also closed on Mondays.
For dinner, head to the beautifully decorated, and quite romantic, Keto and Kote. Keto and Kote serves upscale Georgian cuisine and I highly recommend making a reservation if you plan to eat here. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but I assure you – it’s worth it. For a nightcap make your way to Vino Underground – Georgia’s first natural wine bar.
Day 3 in Tbilisi
HIGHLIGHTS: DAY TRIP TO MTSKHETA AND UPLISTSIKHE OR KAKHETI
On your third day in Tbilisi, I recommend taking a day trip to a nearby town to see more of what Georgia offers beyond its capital city. If you’re interested in history, I recommend a day trip to Mtskheta and Uplistsikhe. And if you’re interested in wine, I recommend a day trip to Georgia’s premier wine region – Kakheti.
FROM TBILISI: A DAY TRIP TO MTSKHETA AND UPLISTSIKHE
Located a half-hour north of Tbilisi, Mtskheta is one of the oldest cities in Georgia and the former capital of the country. It’s worth visiting to see its historic monasteries including Jvari Monastery, a sixth-century church overlooking the city of Mtskheta. Samtavro’s Convent where Georgia’s first King and Queen who declared Christianity a state religion in 326 lays to rest, and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. If you choose to day trip to Mtskheta make sure you’re wearing a skirt or dress that covers your knees, and a hat or scarf over your head so that you’re able to enter the monasteries.
Once you leave Mtskheta head an hour west to visit Uplistsikhe, outside of Gori. Uplistsikhe translates as “the Lord’s fortress” and is an ancient rock town where they believed that ancestral Georgians lived in 1st and 2nd BC.
I believe that the easiest way to make this day trip is by customizing a trip through GoTrip. If you have time after leaving Uplistsikhe, you should also venture into Gori to visit the Stalin Museum – a museum dedicated to the life of Joseph Stalin.
FROM TBILISI: A DAY TRIP TO KAKHETI
Kakheti is the main wine region in Georgia located only two hours east of Tbilisi. You can easily make a day trip here with GoTrip, where a private driver will pick you up in Tbilisi, drive you around while you wine taste, and drop you back off in Tbilisi.
If you choose to visit Kakheti, I recommend wine tasting at Shumi Winery, Shalauri Cellars, and ending the day in Sighnaghi. Once you’re in Sighnaghi I recommend walking the old town walls, having a final taste at Cradle of Wine Marani, and ending with dinner at Pheasant’s Tears.
For more details on visiting Kakheti, including how to make wine tasting reservations, wine tasting tips, and more; read How to Spend 2 Days in the Kakheti Wine Region – Georgia’s Premier Wine Destination
Trip Additions – Dezerter Bazaar + Open Air Museum of Ethnography
If you have extra time in Tbilisi, I think it’s worthwhile to check out both the Dezerter Bazaar and the Open Air Museum of Ethnography.
The Dezerter Bazaar is Tbilisi’s largest food market. It stretches on and on and you can find all types of foods and produce here. Make sure to spend time in the alleyways, as I thought that was where the best gems were kept. Make sure to bring cash and know that you can bargain a little bit. I ended up with incredible spices – adjika and blue fenugreek (both worth buying if you plan to make Georgian cuisine at home). Plus housemade Chacha in a water bottle (very Georgian).
If you’re interested in history, you’ll also want to make a stop at the Open Air Museum of Ethnography. It’s an interesting outdoor replica of old houses that were found in different regions throughout Georgia.
While this is just a shortlist of all that Tbilisi has to offer, spending 3 days in Tbilisi is adequate time to get a good feel for the city before venturing elsewhere. If you’re interested in staying in Georgia and wondering how many days to spend, I would tell you that you could spend a month exploring and not even scratch the surface. However, two weeks is adequate to get a feel for the entire country of Georgia and see the highlights of the country.
If you do want to explore more of Georgia, make sure to check out these posts:
I adored Tbilisi and Georgia in general. It’s a beautiful country filled with people who are wanting to show you their way of life. The food is divine, the wine is graciously poured, and the history is one of a kind. I hope that you have the desire to venture to Georgia at some point in your life.
For more tips on visiting Tbilisi (and Georgia in general), make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel by searching #ppingeorgia and looking for my highlights “Georgia 1”, “Georgia 2”, and “Georgia 3”.