Explore the best of Tbilisi in 2-3 days with this guide on what to see, where to go, and the must-visit attractions. Discover the top places and a pedestrian route designed for those visiting Tbilisi for the first time.
Answering key questions:
- What to see in Tbilisi?
- Where to have dinner?
- Where to taste the most delicious khinkali in Tbilisi?
- Where to enjoy the best coffee with a view of the city?
- Where to buy the tastiest churchkhela, fruits, and souvenirs?
- Where to go for shopping if time permits? If you prefer guided tours, there’s a selection of the most popular excursions in Tbilisi led by locals at the end of the article.
Where to stay in Tbilisi
Choose accommodation in the city center to minimize travel distances to the starting point of our itinerary.
For detailed information on the best neighborhoods to stay in and hotel recommendations based on our personal experience, refer to the article “Where to Stay in Tbilisi – Personal Insights.”
The starting point of the itinerary depends on the central district in which we chose to stay. For the sake of convenience, let’s consider Freedom Square in the heart of Tbilisi, where several central streets converge, including Baratashvili Avenue and Rustaveli Avenue.
The starting point of our itinerary and the central square of Tbilisi. For those familiar with Kyiv, there might be some resemblance to Kyiv’s Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti). If you arrive in the Georgian capital before lunch, consider beginning at the khinkali restaurant “U Vel’yaminova”, located just 100 meters from Freedom Square at 8 Dadiani Street. It’s well-known to both savvy tourists and locals from the Soviet era.
Since we’ll be exploring for a few hours, I recommend grabbing a bite before setting out.
From Freedom Square, head down Baratashvili Avenue and descend to Baratashvili Bridge. You can take a moment on the bridge to enjoy the beautiful view of the Palace of Justice and the amusing sculptures on the railings.
After crossing the bridge, return to Baratashvili Avenue, use the underground passage to cross the street, and enter a square with sculptures. From there, proceed along Shavteli Street towards the Gabriadze Theater.
The Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theater is a major city attraction. If you’re interested, attend a performance; tickets can be purchased on the theater’s website for around 30 lari. The theater building houses a café with a beautiful interior, though prices are high, and the food isn’t exceptional. At most, you can enjoy coffee on the outdoor terrace.
Every hour, a performance begins on the tower of the theater. The shutters of the clock tower open, an angel emerges, and a bell rings. The number of strikes corresponds to the time, with 11 strikes at 11 a.m. Plan to be there at the start of a new hour.
Continue walking past the Church of the Nativity and the Patriarchate of Georgia, past the luxurious Shangri-La Casino, until you reach the Peace Bridge. This glass bridge, for some, has become a new symbol of Tbilisi, while others quietly dislike it. We personally find it quite appealing!
Make sure to return to the bridge in the evening when it is fantastically illuminated with various colors. Each visit brings a different spectrum of lights.
Crossing the Peace Bridge, you’ll enter one of the most beautiful places in Tbilisi – Rike Park. The park features greenery, benches, playgrounds, a café by the river with a view of the bridge, a monument to U.S. President Ronald Reagan, and a view of the Presidential Palace, which is also beautifully illuminated in the evening.
You can spend anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours leisurely strolling through the park. Within the park, there’s another, according to many, peculiar structure that we find intriguing.
These are two massive pipes extending over Rike Park. This surrealistic installation was intended to become something like a cultural center or theater but never opened to the public. The complex was built during the Saakashvili era, like many of Tbilisi’s modern architectural wonders.
Above Rike Park, there’s an observation platform. Climb up and admire the old Tbilisi and the view of Mtatsminda Mountain with the TV tower. The tower is illuminated with red light at night, creating a picturesque scene.
Next to the observation deck above Rike Park is the Flowers Café, offering the best views of the city, especially enjoyable in late autumn and even winter.
Avlabari Square and the Holy Trinity Cathedral (Sameba)
After Rike Park, there are two options for the continuation of the route – either walk uphill to Avlabari Square or proceed to the cable car. I recommend including Avlabari Square and the Sameba Cathedral in the route.
First, climb uphill to Avlabari Square. In this area, there are many guesthouses and budget hotels. The main attraction is the monument to the characters from the film “Mimino,” sculpted by Zurab Tsereteli – yes, the same one.
After Mimino’s characters, continue walking uphill to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, also known as the main cathedral of Tbilisi – Tsminda Sameba.
Both the size of the cathedral and the view from the observation platform within the cathedral grounds are impressive. The cathedral is visible from almost any point in Tbilisi, and the view from the platform covers the territory of the cathedral.