At the time of our visit in September 2012 there was a large-scale reconstruction of touristic infrastructure in Tbilisi. The central part of the city completely changed.
Tbilisi is beautiful city, but we are sure that it will be much better after the works are complete. In recent years, lots of modern buildings with unusual designs have appeared. Seems like Georgians invited some experts of light, because evening lights around Tbilisi and across the country are just amaizing.
Tbilisi has everything for a good holiday. Large modern avenues, old city, cozy restaurants, even the fortress and the cableway in the downtown. The old city, however, is too old and crumbling. Although it has its own charm, it needs to be repaired.
The part of the old city that is close to the river is already reconstructed. During the time spent in the city we didn't understand whether Tbilisi had a downtown. Many places look beautiful, especially after the reconstruction.
We spent here a day and a half. And now we're going to describe our route, it's pretty simple. You should start near the Rustaveli metro station. Here, on the square, stands a monument to Georgia's most famous poet.
Then move along the Rustaveli Avenue. It was founded in the 19th century by Prince Vorontsov. The avenue has always been a favorite place of the citizens. Here you can find the Parliament, the Academy of Sciences, the National Museum, Opera and Ballet Theatre, Theatre of Shota Rustaveli, Tbilisi Russian Drama Theatre named after Alexander Griboyedov and other architectural treasures.
After the Freedom Square you enter the old city. Here we walked everywhere and for a long time. You can use the map below to find the major sights. Although, as we've already mentioned, old city in Tbilisi should be visited not only at the tourist streets.
After exploring the old city you will come to the Maidan Square, under the Nariqala Fortress. Here stands a big Machakhela restaurant (the menu can be found here). We visited it twice and recommend it. Despite the fact that the restaurant is quite popular with tourists, the food here is real, not like in tourist areas of Italy.
Previously, people walked to the fortress by foot. But in 2012 a cableway was opened. The bottom station is located in the Rike Park. After crossing the Kura river, first turn to the Metekhi Church and the King Vakhtang monument. Around the church you will find a viewpoint, which offers nice urban landscapes.
It is believed that a royal palace built by Vakhtang Gorgasali used to stand here. The church was built in the XII century and reached our days, despite numerous destructions.
We used the cableway twice, during the daytime and in the evening. In the evening the number of people in the queue can be pretty large, consider this fact. The top station offers the best views of Tbilisi.
The Holy Trinity Temple (Tsminda Sameba) is visible from the top. Unfortunately, we had no time to visit it. This is one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world, with a height of 98 meters and a capacity of 15,000 people.
The most interesting object here is the Peace Bridge that connects the banks of the Kura river. It was created by the Italian designer and equipped with thousands of lights, which makes it look gorgeous at night. After talking to the locals we found out that the citizens were not happy with the bridge for the first time. After all, it's too different from the city's arhitecture. But we liked it :)
If you have time, you can go to the Mtatsminda amusement park, which is located on the hill with a TV tower. Despite the apparent closeness of the park, it's located pretty far away. In 2013, a funicular from the Chonkadze Street to the park was opened. You can also drive to the park by bus #90 from the Rustaveli Avenue. We took a taxi. In the park we walked around the territory and took a ride on the Ferris wheel.
Besides the amusement park, there are several historical sites here. And of course excellent views of the city open from several viewpoints.
Getting there: By plane to the Tbilisi International Airport. From the airport, you can reach the city by train (runs rarely), by bus #37 (but you need to have the coins of 50 tetri), or by taxi ($15-20).