Dear all, we just returned from Tbilisi and I wanted to share with you my impressions. Tbilisi is a city without traffic lights. How’s that possible? Keep reading!
Our trip was quite spontaneous and planned only less than 2 weeks in advance and a week after my trip to Ischia, Italy. The reason for this trip – £25 pounds one-way tickets to Kutaisi, Georgia. Sounded like a great opportunity to discover Georgia, which I wanted to visit for so long. It’s only 4 hours driving from Kutaisi to Tbilisi, so getting to Tbilisi wasn’t a problem. If you have a bigger budget at hand, you can skip Kutaisi and fly directly to Tbilisi. If not, Wizz Air is your friend.
Tbilisi 2-day itinerary. What to see in Tbilisi? Top Tbilisi sights
Prices in Tbilisi
We arrived in the afternoon, used the metro, checked in and went to explore the city. One metro ride costs only 0,5 lari – less than £0,17 but you need to buy a plastic metro card for 2 lari (1 lari is roughly £0.3, so very cheap). If you keep the receipt, you can return your card later and get whopping 2 lari back. You might laugh, but for 2 lari you can actually have a soft drink in a nice restaurant or pastry plus tea for breakfast. Not bad, huh?
Not only the flights to Georgia with Wizz Air are very cheap, but also the prices in Georgia are very low. If you’re on a budget and looking for a destination where you can afford a feast for two people in a posh restaurant for £25, that’s your place. For breakfast, we usually bought some pastries in a local bakery. 2 pastries (giant ones) plus 2 teas would cost us 7 lari or £2.2 (!!!), a lunch in a panoramic restaurant in a tourist place- a big soup, a giant salad plus two drinks – £7 and a dinner of 4 courses in a very touristic zone with vine for two – £15.
Enough reasons to go to Tbilisi?
Tbilisi – a city with no traffic lights
Something that surprised me a lot in Tbilisi is the fact that there are no traffic lights. At all. None. In order to cross an avenue, you will either need to wait for ages or walk to the nearest underground passage. Sometimes there are no underground passages and you need to improvise. 😊
So how do you need to cross a street in Tbilisi, a city with no traffic lights?
Well, wait until there is a gap between cars, start crossing and then if a car approaches, show a stop with your hand and there is 90% chance that the car will stop.
Have you seen any other cities with no traffic lights? I haven’t.
Weather in Tbilisi in October
The weather in Tbilisi in October was majestic. Very warm during the day and quite chilly at night, so it makes sense to take a jacket with you if you’re planning to go out in the evening. However, there is a chance of rain in October (but we were very lucky, all the days were really sunny). In summer, however, it could be very hot. And in winter it can be very cold, so October-November is really the best time to visit the city.
Accommodation in Tbilisi. Top hotels in Tbilisi
If you want to meet locals and know more about Georgian culture, you should definitely stay in a guesthouse or rent a flat. We were a bit unlucky with our accommodation in Tbilisi – we rented a private room in the best-rated hostel in town, but we didn’t bother to read the reviews. And we should have done it. It has such a high rating because people go there to sleep in a dorm for very cheap (a private room wasn’t that cheap) and drink with the host. The host was from Russia (I suppose, cuz he had a Russian name and didn’t look Georgian) and he was getting wasted in the Hostel every day with his friends and guests. So it wasn’t possible to sleep in this hostel because of noise and the lack of the bed – we were actually sleeping on the floor and the mattress was super hard. After two days in this place, we escaped and booked a room in a hotel.
Where to stay in Tbilisi: top hotels in Tbilisi, Georgia
Food in Tbisili
Georgia is a foodie paradise. You might have never heard of Georgian cuisine, but it’s a must-try. It’s so tasty and amazing! And unique, of course. Khachapuri, Khinkali, Phaki, Lobio, Kharcho soup are just a few of the dishes you have to try in Georgia. My absolutely favourite is Khinkali – they are freshly made huge dumplings (5 times the size of an average dumpling) filled with meat or cheese (or anything else) and they taste heavenly! Khachapuri is a local pastry filled with white cheese – it’s also delicious. Try to find a Georgian restaurant in your city – I’m sure you’ll love the food so much, that you’ll buy tickets to Georgia immediately. Warning: you can gain a lot of weight there.
Language in Georgia.
The official language in Georgia is Georgian. It’s impossible to read – there is a special alphabet that looks like this: გამარჯობა როგორ ხარ. Crazy, isn’t it? It’s also hard to pronounce correctly. Luckily, most of the people in Georgia still remember Russian (Georgia used to be one of the USSR republics).Younger people also speak English, especially in the restaurants or touristic places.
Our 2-day itinerary in Tbilisi: what to see in Tbilisi – Tbilisi sights & attractions
On the afternoon upon arrival, we went straight to the old town to see the major Tbilisi sights. We walked the romantic street of Kote Abkhazi, full of wine shops, reached the Metekhi bridge and went inside the beautiful Sioni street. You don’t really need to remember the names, you’ll see where to go. It’s very easy to navigate in Tbisili – you just see a beautiful place or other Tbilisi attractions and you walk there.
Afterwards, we walked the famous bridge of peace and queued for a cable car to the top of the city, where the Narikala fortress is located. The cable car in the heart of the city is one of the best attractions in Tbilisi for sure.
It was ready too late for the fortress, so we used the stairs to get down and return to Sioni street for a delicious dinner in one of the beautiful restaurants with a terrace. I already listed above what were the prices, they were great for the quality of food we got.
Next morning, we woke up a bit late (thanks to the hostel for the lack of sleep) and had a breakfast in one of the little bakeries near the freedom square. We walked around for a while and returned to the Freedom square for a free walking tour around the city. Even though the tour didn’t tell much about the history of the city, I still loved it and our guide, Anna, was very fun. Actually, the free walking tour is one of the best activities in Tbilisi.
After the tour finished, we hurried up to take the best table in a panoramic restaurant on top of the hill. The rush was worth it, look at the panorama of the city.
I wish we had more time in Tbilisi, in this case, we would take some of these tours for sure:
Later, we returned to the old town, wandered for a while and decided to return to the hostel to change. It was getting dark and our outfit was way to light for the night temperatures.
Since we had this problem with the hostel, we decided to leave it and spent some time choosing a hotel and moving there. Finally, around 8 pm we returned to the old town and found out, that lots of restaurants don’t serve Khinkali after 7 pm. Challenge accepted, we went on a Khinkali hunt and found a couple of places near Sioni street.
Later we walked around for a while and found this magical place.
Next morning, we woke up at 7 to catch the minibus to Yerevan, Armenia, departing from Ortachela Bus station. However, due to the lack of passengers and the massive fight between the bus drivers, our bus departed only after 9:40.
Summary: our trip to Tbilisi
To summarise, Tbilisi really surprised me a lot. It’s an atmospheric city with a very beautiful old town. Tbilisi doesn’t have that many attractions, but it has an amazing history and there are enough things to do. However, I expected it to be more modern or European, but it wasn’t. Georgia has many areas of improvement – e.g. regulated transport (inter-city + international). There is not even schedule and you can be just sitting and waiting for a bus to depart for like forever. Service could also be improved – most of the waiters looked like they hated their jobs and the hospitality sphere in general. Apart from that, we enjoyed our visit to Georgia and would probably return again to see the beautiful nature of Georgia and the mount Kazbek!
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