(Free) Things to do in Tbilisi
There are so many things to do in Tbilisi, that you can easily spend 1 or 2 weeks there without getting bored. The city offers a lot of cool stuff e.g. outdoor activities, cultural sightseeing, nightlife action and much more. A lot of things are free so you don’t even have to spend a lot of money. Good thing when you travel on a budget. In this “ULTIMATE BEST THINGS TO DO IN TBILISI GUIDE” we listed the best activities to add to your Georgia visit!
- Tbilisi Old Town Streets
- Sulfur Bathes
- Listen to Live Music on the streets
- Holy Trinity Cathedral
- Stalin’s Printing House
- Museum of Ethnography
- Theater in the Clock Tower
- Glass Bridge at Night
- Wine Tasting
- Dezerter Bazaar – Local Farmers Market
- Join a free Walking Tour
- Flea Market on Dry Bridge
- New: Hot Air Balloon
- Botanical Garden
- Stained Glass House
- Turtle Lake
- Mtatsminda Park
- Tbilisi Sea
- East Point Mall
TBILISI OLD TOWN STREETS
The best way to explore the georgian character is by wandering in the streets of Old Tbilisi. Here are paved, narrow streets with a maximum of four-story vintage buildings. All the way, there are a lot of cafes where you can get to known georgian local cuisine along with the architecture. Alongside the old town, there is the Narikala Fortress. It sits on a hill between the Botanical Garden of Tbilisi and the sulfur baths. Also, do not leave the place without visiting Abanotubani, as it is the oldest district of the capital, dating back to the 4th century. After all, if you still have time, you can walk on the Bridge of Peace that leads to the Rike Park.
FAMOUS SULFUR BATHES
Georgia has a lot of turkish influences, not just in food. In the center of Tbilisi you find the Abanotubani district with its famous sulfur baths. Formerly there were spread out all over Tbilisi but nowadays just the ones at Abanotubani are preserved. The entrances and dome lights are one of the most popular photo motives but I can highly recommend visiting a sulfur bathhouse and taking a spa.
Listen to live music on the streets
If you are a lover of local live music, then this is really for you. There are lots of street artists on the road that play really good music. Some tourists enjoy standing to watch them sing. The best place to find these people is in front of the Liberty Square Metro. They are always there, mostly in the evenings. They ask that you give them money at times, but it is not compulsory at all, as you can still listen to the music for free and have a good time.
HOLY TRINITY CATHEDRAL (also known as SAMEBA by the locals)
This is the biggest cathedral in Tbilisi and has a lot of Historian facts attached to it. This building is very big and beautiful. It is much better to visit here in the evening, to watch the lights of the building come on. It has a massive space of land, with so many cool shades to relax; it is a great place of escape. There are so many tourists here during the summer. I love here so much for the peace and calm, and so many beautiful places to take amazing pictures. Entrance to the Cathedral is free. It’s located in the Avlabari district in Tbilisi and you can walk to the Cathedral from the Avlabari metro station or take a taxi straight to the Cathedral.
INSIDER TIP: STALIN'S UNDERGROUND PRINTING HOUSE
If you are interested in history you should definitely visit one of the georigan museums in Tbilisi. As long as Georgia is a Post Soviet country there are a lot of places from Soviet times. One of the most interesting and little-known places for tourists as well as locals, to visit is Stalin’s Underground Printing House placed under a well (17 meters below), which was established at the beginning of the 20th century. It was built for spreading Soviet propaganda by young Stalin and his accomplices. At the entrance, you can see the guest impression book along with Stalin’s and Lenin’s 3D photos. People rarely visit this place, so guides will be more than glad to make a private tour for you. So if you want to see the place where the foundation of creating the Soviet Union laid, there is no better place than Stalin’s Underground Printing House in Avlabari, Kaspi Str. 7.
MUSEUM OF ETHNOGRAPHY
Another georgian museum is The Museum of Ethnography. It is a miniature model of Georgia and reflects its diverse ethnocultures. It is located on an open-air space with one-story historic homes and gardens from every part of Georgia. An audio guide not only explains the peculiarities of each home but gives you the opportunity to listen to folk music and songs. The museum is considered to be a repository of natural, material, and spiritual-cultural heritage monuments. In total, the museum exhibits about 70 residential houses and agricultural buildings. After visiting the museum, nearby there is a Turtle Lake where you can rest and have dinner. In summer times, people are often swimming and getting tanned. So if you are visiting Tbilisi in summer do not forget to take a swimsuit with you.
The Fabrika is located in Chugureti and old historical district of Tbilisi and an urban, subcultural hotspot. The property where you can find the biggest hostel in Georgia and a coworking space was originally an old sovjet sewing factory. The open courtyard offers a lot of cafes, restaurants, bars and shops. Everyone can go inside, you don’t have to be a guest of the hostel. This place where you can also find graffiti from georgian artists everywhere around has a unique look and it’s definitely worth seeing.
THEATER IN THE CLOCK TOWER
If you like theater you definitely should visit The Clock Tower in Tbilisi. In 2010, it was built by a famous Georgian screenwriter, film and stage director, painter, sculptor, and puppeteer Rezo Gabriadze. The tower standing next to the puppet theatre was decorated by Rezo himself with hundreds of tiles of his design and it straight away became a paramount architectural attraction of Tbilisi. Though, most of the tourists do not know about this place. There is a small mechanical puppet theatre inside the tower and twice a day at noon and at 7 pm you can see the show – “The Circle of Life”. Besides that, an angel comes out to ring the bell with a hammer every hour.
WALK THROUGH THE GLASS BRIDGE at NIGHT
This is also known as The Bridge of Peace and connects from Old Town with the Rike Park. It’s a must visit place. You should come here twice. Once during day time and definetly a second time when it’s dark. Like a lot of buildings also the bridge is enlightened with a small light show as well. So grab a beer or georgian wine, walk over the bidge and watch it for a couple of minutes from the the edge of the Rike Park.
Georgian Wine Tasting
You haven’t been in Georgia if you did not drink at least one glass of the famous georgian wine. Georgians are very proud of their old wine tradition and you learn more about it. In Tbilisi you can find a lot of wine tasting offers. Some of them are even free.
Dezerter Bazaar - Local Farmers Market
Visiting the local market is always a top thing to do when you explore foreign countries and their products. The biggest market in Tbilisi (and I think in whole Georgia) is the Dezerter Bazaar. It’s a farmer market where you can buy everything a fresh market could offer: vegetables, fruits, cheese, meat & fish and of course the famous georgian spices and georgian wine. Take a walk and watch wholesalers doing their daily business and take the chance to taste (and buy) some good and fresh products. Georgia is among other groceries famous for their pomegranate products. I bought a small bottle of selfmade pomegranate juice and it was the best I ever drank. Buying at the local market is also good idea for all those who have a small travel budget for Georgia. The groceries are cheaper than in the big supermarkets. The Dezerter Bazaar is located near the Central Railway Station and the main entrance is on Tsinamdzgvrishvili Street. If you drive there with a scooter (Scooter Rental Tbilisi) you can find some parking spaces around the markets but maybe you have to look for a free one for a while.
Opening Hours Dezerteer Bazaar Farmers Market: Thuesday – Sunday (7 A.M. to 5 P.M.)
It is recommendable to go there in the morning. In the afternoon a lot of dealer already packing their stuff together and close earlier.
Join a free walking tour
There are a lot of free walking tours in Tbilisi. They usually start from the very central location Liberty Square. In the hot summer days it’s a good advice to join the evening group, when the temperature is cooling down. Going with the group allows you see so many places in Tbilisi you would not see while taking the bus or the taxi. You get to navigate through the Old Tbilisi as well as the modern parts of the city.
FLEA MARKET ON DRY BRIDGE
If you want to save some money a cool thing to do for free in Tbilisi is the Dry Bridge Flea market. People sell their old, vintage things. So, if you are a vintage lover, here you can discover works of art, old books, household appliances, vinyl discs, cameras, and camera supplies. This is the biggest, permanent Flea Market in Tbilisi. As a tourist, it is a great place to buy souvenirs and get a taste of the local culture and history.
New: Hot Air Balloon at the Rike Park
If you are not afraid of heights and looking for a cool and unique experience in Tbilisi you can take a ride with the hot air balloon. It’s a new attraction opened in July 2020 and located very central in the middle of the famous Rike Park. You will go up for about 150 meters and have an amazing view over the city for about 15 minutes. The price is 50 GEL (about 12 Euro) for tourists. It’s not very cheap but worth the money for this special experience.
If you are a nature lover, a Botanical garden is a place for you to discover Georgian flora. It is a peaceful place for rest, relaxation, and cognition. If you are looking for some adrenaline, you will find there a zip line and rock climbing, which is pretty cool. In case of traveling with children, the garden administration offers special spaces for them to have fun and explore science. Here you will find a variety of roses, a collection of lilac, a collection of conifers, a Japanese garden, a beautiful waterfall, bridges, and fountains hidden in the trees. Among all of the listed above, there is a festive space where one can arrange a wedding ceremony. You can also find a cafe and a museum as well.
Stained Glass House
When you walk through the city you should make a stop at a very unique stained glass house. It’s the only one with these special glass windows in Tbilisi and it looks pretty cool. Another highlight is the balcony decorated with carvings and ornaments and the round staircase. You can walk into the building, go up the stairs and take some pictures for free. On the upper level is a typical Tbilisi veranda where you can find a cute little shop with handcrafts. The glass house is located at Betlemi Street and popular for some instagram shots.
This place is absolutely beautiful, located in one of the beautiful areas of Tbilisi called Vake. It has a wide span of land and is very peaceful. It got its name because of the turtles that used to live there. Usually it’s not very crowded that you can easily come here to have a picnic or have a swim in the lake. To get to Turtle Lake the best option is using the cable car from Vake park or drive there with a rented motorbike or taxi.
After inspecting the Botanical garden you can visit Mtatsminda as there is a walking path going from the garden straight to Mtatsminda. On the way, you can also come across the statue of the Mother of Kartli, who is holding a sword in one hand for enemies and a bowl of wine for neighbors and friends. She is a symbol of Georgian national character. As for the Mtatsminda park, it is the biggest park overlooking the whole of Tbilisi.
The interesting thing about this specific sea is that it is artificial, and also serves as a reservoir. Tbilisi Sea, being on the outskirts of town is a peaceful space to stay away from the noise of the city. There are a lot of people here in the summer anyway, but it’s a pretty cool place to check out. You can come here to hang out with friends, swim, go fishing and take beautiful pictures as well. Games like basketball are played here too, mostly in the evening.
To get there you have different options. You can drive there by scooter or car, or you can use the Tbilisi Metro, and stop at Guramishvili station, there are a good number of buses coming to this area directly. You can come in at any time, there’s no limit.
East Point Mall
The East Point Mall is one of the biggest malls in Tbilisi. It’s different from other malls because it has a wider span of land and it is an open mall, so the buildings are scattered all over, and not just in one building like other mall. The East Point is a pretty good shopping place if you want to take some clothes or other stuff back home. The biggest grocery store in Tbilisi (Carrefour) is also located in this mall. East point is very close to the airport, you will literally see it while leaving the airport.
To navigate your way around here, you will need to use a taxi, or better still use the small buses popularly known as “Mashutka”, they have different ones that come here, just ask around, depending on your location for which of them is coming to East Point.
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