The capital of Georgia and one of the oldest urban settlements in the world, Tbilisi is definitely among the most interesting places in the Caucasus and has yet to receive the attention it deserves. Relatively undiscovered as a travel destination, Tbilisi welcomes its visitors with a wealth of culture and history. Spectacular panoramas, hiking opportunities, delicious cuisine, and unique architecture make Tbilisi a special place. With its mix of European modernity, Soviet relics, and Asian touches, the city has a lot of character.
Explore the Old Town
If Tbilisi is one of the oldest cities in the world, the Old Town, Tbilisi’s historic district, is a testament to that. Although the city was destroyed and rebuilt many times, the Old Town has been, thankfully, preserved intact. Wandering through the labyrinth of narrow, winding streets, visitors can admire the historic old Georgian houses with charming courtyards. Painted in vibrant colors, all houses include stunning wooden balconies and staircases. The Old Town is also where you can find most of the local art shops, wine houses, bars, and small guesthouses.
Take the Funicular to the Mtatsminda Park
Tbilisi is nestled in a valley, run through by the Mtkvari River and backed by mountains and rolling hills. Since the Mtatsminda Park is situated on the highest hill surrounding Tbilisi, it offers the most amazing views of the city and the surrounding areas. Both locals and visitors love to gather here in the evening, where several small bars and traditional Georgian restaurants await them with affordable drinks and tasty local cuisine. Mtatsminda also includes a small amusement park and a Paris wheel. A modern funicular takes visitors to Mount Mtatsminda, but the park can also be reached by bus 124.
Browse Soviet Memorabilia at the Flea Market
Georgia was part of the Soviet Union from 1921 to 1991, which means that the Soviet influence is still pervasive in the country. One of the best spots to explore the history of Soviet Georgia is the Dry Bridge Flea Market near Dedaena Park. Locals who lived most of their lives under the Soviet regime come here with a staggering range of artifacts for sale. Browsing the items will reveal precious antiques, propaganda books and posters, household items, handmade jewelry, old vinyl records, or war medals. The place is filled to the brim with strange and unique treasures so if you want a souvenir, peruse the assortments and take your pick. Even if you find the diversity of items too overwhelming, the Flea Market is truly a history lesson worth exploring. The market also includes a section for local artists.
Go on a Wine Tasting Tour
Georgia has a thousand-year-old wine-making tradition, using traditional methods that involve huge clay vessels, some examples of which can be admired at the National Museum of Georgia. Naturally, there are many great local wine cellars in Tbilisi, where not only that you can learn more about the Georgian tradition of wine-making, but you can also taste many excellent regional varieties of wine. Depending on the region of origin, Georgian wines can be very different from each other. For the best selections of local wines, visit the many wine tasting spots in Tbilisi, and you will also get a taste of local life. A wine tasting tour is also a great opportunity to experience the hospitability and friendliness of the locals.
Take the Cable Car to the Mother Georgia Statue
Located on Sololaki Mountain, a high hill overlooking Tbilisi, the Mother Georgia Statue is outside of the city, but still within easy reach. A symbol of Georgian character, the statue was built in 1958 to celebrate the 1500th anniversary of Tbilisi. With a sword in one hand and a bowl of wine in the other, Mother Georgia expresses the hospitable and valiant nature of Georgians. To get to the statue, visitors can take the extremely cheap cable car from Rike Park. It is possible to walk as there is a marked path up the hill. At the top, there is also a 4th-century ancient fortress, Narikala, but the main attraction is the stunning panorama of Tbilisi and the valley. The cable car journey is also lovely and offers striking views of the Old Town and other districts of Tbilisi.