Tbilisi, Georgia

Three Trip-Defining Days in Tbilisi

I spent my first morning in Tbilisi, Georgia in a state of travel equilibrium. I was precisely as exhausted from the long journey to get there as excited by what I saw out the window of the landing plane, as methodical about plotting my introductory walk around the city center as I was lost in existential thought about what the stray dog following me could mean, in the bigger picture.

Spending three days in Tbilisi provided an alluring introduction to my larger Caucasus trip, even if it was ultimately anticlimactic—see my posts about Armenia and Azerbaijan for more info as to why that’s the case. Here’s how to make the most of your trip to Tbilisi, which I believe is the next “It” city of European tourism.

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Where to Stay in Tbilisi

First impressions are everything, and in addition to being conveniently located and beautiful, my Tbilisi home Atlant Hotel provided an incredible value for the small amount of money I paid—and I didn’t pay a lot. The high-value proposition of spending three days in Tbilisi seems to extend to backpacker and luxury accommodations as well as boutique ones, so you should likewise be satisfied if you save at Hostel Star Georgia or splurge at the Museum Hotel Orbeliani.

Day One: Fortresses and Fortitude

I hit the streets of Tbilisi almost immediately upon arrival. Truly getting a feel for the Georgian capital took the entirety of my first of three days in Tbilisi, to say nothing of regaining the strength I lost during the full day in took to travel there.

The highlight of Tbilisi, as far as most travelers to the city are concerned, is Narikala fortress. Whether you enjoy views it reflecting from the Kura River below, or scale it to enjoy a panorama of Tbilisi with the “Mother of Georgia” watching over it, Narikala (and attractions close to it, such as the Old City and the National Botanical Garden of Georgia) will define your entire first day in Georgia.


Day Two: Toward a New Europe

The jury is still out as to whether Georgia is technically part of Europe, but Tbilisi feels more European than some places on the continent, as sacrilegious as it might be to say that. This is particularly the case as you walk up and down Rustaveli Avenue, whether you enjoy breakfast at a sidewalk café, enjoy an afternoon at the Georgian National Museum or marvel at the beauty of Freedom Square as night falls.

And Tbilisi’s European appeal isn’t just of the classical sort. To be sure, spend the second half of day two in Tbilisi traipsing through the grounds of the futuristic Presidential Palace of Georgia, or admiring (questioning the existence of?) some of the bridges over the Kura. Watch sunset from the Sameba Holy Trinity Cathedral, which isn’t particularly bizarre, but is absolutely massive—by most accounts, the largest Orthodox church in the world.

Day Three: A Tale of Two Day Trips


You could easily spend all three days in Tbilisi in the city center, but if you want to see the true diversity of this destination, make a day trip on Day 3. Your first option is to visit the rock-hewn David Gareja monastery, buses to which leave around 8 a.m. (get there a little early, to be safe, and plan on departing a little late) from Freedom Square.


An alternative day trip (which, to be fair, is also a worthy overnight excursion) would be Sighnaghi, a charming “old” town near the border with Azerbaijan. I put the word old in quotes because, according to some (even some local residents) this town has largely been reconstructed for the sole purpose of wooing tourists, and wasn’t actually very charming up until a few years ago.

The Bottom Line

Tbilisi is the best city in Georgia, and since Georgia is the best country in the Caucasus, it’s the best city of the entire region. This means, of course, that while your three days in Tbilisi will be fulfilling, they’re also likely to be anticlimactic in the context of your larger trip, with the only possible exception being the mountain paradise of Kazbegi, located just to the north of the city.

Leave Your Daily Hell   Filed under: Georgia

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is the author of 847 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

SVooDA.com August 31, 2014 at 2:26 am

I can’t wait my Georgian experience :).

Robert Schrader August 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I know you will enjoy it. 🙂

Ryan Biddulph September 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Hi Robert,

You had me at the titi monkey 😉 Awesome blog and shot. We fed them from our porch in Quepos, Costa Rica. About 20 of them. They were so gentle, and for monkeys, calm.

As for your post I vibe with your dog experience. Each leg of our current trip has afforded us the opportunity to connect with street dogs or cats, so we’ve built a steady bond with many. Last year in Costa Rica though, we met a pit bull, he followed us around like a puppy, although he was about 90 pounds of monstrous muscle – and then after 45 minutes, he disappeared forever.

I also recall a handful of other dogs following us. I feel profound sadness when they disappear, as it’s like they just want to stop being lonely for a few minutes. No food, nothing else in some instances. It’s just wanting to connect with someone/living thing.

Thanks for sharing the wonderful post and your recount of Georgia, Robert. The images are stunning, and it’s a part of the world I know little about…..which means I need to add it to my list.

I’ll tweet this in a bit.

Signing off from Savusavu, Fiji.


Robert Schrader September 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Thanks for the heartfelt and personal comment, Ryan! It really made my day.

Anton September 10, 2014 at 3:07 am

Hello Robert,
How’re you? You may remember me, neighbour guy in the plane, we talked so much about Georgia 🙂
Thanks for beautiful photos and fascinating blog about our city.
When will be the other parts of story available? You been not only in Tbilisi as I remember.
Best, Anton.

Robert Schrader September 11, 2014 at 6:19 am

Hi Anton:

I was just about to email you – thank you for your comment! Here are some other Caucasus posts:


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