Going to a city where you have done very little research in advance is sometimes an advantage. This was the case for me in Tbilisi, Georgia because I was going on a student field trip and we had a tour guide. Most of the itinerary was planned by the students and the tour guide. However, I found joy in learning about everything in the moment. Here are my ten things you should do in Tbilisi, Georgia.
1. Eat a Churchkhela!
This is the traditional Georgian sweet you will see hanging outside of many shops in Tbilisi. It is made of nuts, usually walnuts; then it is dipped in a mixture of grape juice and cornmeal. It sounds a bit strange, but it tastes good. It isn’t too sweet, and it keeps for a long time. I ate mine over three days!
2. Take the cable car
The cable car is meant to take you to the Narikala Fortress, but the view of Tbilisi from the cable car is not to be missed. And this is coming from someone who is afraid of heights! Best of all it is 1 Lari.
3. Climb the Narikala Fortress
For an even better view of Tbilisi, climb the fortress once you are up there. On one side is Tbilisi and the other is the botanical gardens.
4. Visit the Mother of Georgia
You will see this metal statute from just about everywhere in Tbilisi, and while you are up visiting the fortress, you can walk down the path to see her up close. She was once made of wood.
5. Visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi
This ancient looking cathedral was actually finished in 2004! The architecture is amazing, and the inside is still being finished. However, I found the inside fascinating as you can see what is planned and if you stay for awhile, you might be able to see how much progress happens.
6. Try the local wine
Georgia is known for having a huge wine culture. It was everywhere. Since I was on student field trip, I could not partake, but I hear it’s great.
7. Walk across the Bridge of Peace
This pedestrian bridge links old Tbilisi to the new district of Tbilisi. It offers great views of the Kura River.
8. Eat a traditional Georgian meal
The food in Georgia was so fresh and most of it homemade. Try the bread they eat for breakfast; I can’t seem to find the name of it. It is a long strip of bread and is baked over a fire. Eat the lobio, which is a bean soup and will probably be called that in English. The Georgians are also whizzes at dishes with nuts and potatoes, get the roasted ones. My favorite thing was the eggplant slices with a walnut filling! If you have a nut allergy, be careful in Georgia as even salads had nuts on them.
9. Explore old Tbilisi
The architecture in old Tbilisi is so odd and interesting. Some building looked like they would fall down at any moment and some, especially the churches, looked like they would last another 500 years. The bricks are also very different from what I am used to seeing and I loved them.
10. Visit Metekhi Church
Sitting across the river from old Tbilisi, it overlooks the whole old city. The view is great, and you can get up close to the statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali.
I am sure there is tons more to see in Tbilisi, but these are the things I really enjoyed. Most of these things were inexpensive or free as well making Georgia a great place to spend an extended amount of time in.
Have you been to Tbilisi? What was your favorite part?