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Tbilisi

Photo © askgudmundsen

Travel Guide Europe Georgia Tbilisi

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Introduction

Georgian orthodox church, Tblisi

Georgian orthodox church, Tblisi

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

Tbilisi (თბილისი) is the capital of Georgia and is also the largest city in the country. The city is located in the southeast of the country on the Mtkvari River and has well over 1 million inhabitants. People have been living here since over 1,500 years and nowadays the city is the cultural and economic hart of the country and for people flying in to the country, Tbilisi will be there starting point. Recent historical events which were of importance for the country, took place at the central Freedom Square, like the Rose Revolution. But there is an older form of history to be found as well, with churches, mosques and synagoges all mixed together and even standing next to each other! From Tbilisi, it is just a short ride to other interesting regions like the Caucasus Mountains, the wine region of Kakheti and also Armenia is nearby.

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Sights and Activities

  • Metheki Church
  • Freedom Square
  • Tbilisi Old Town
  • Mother Georgia (statue high above the city)
  • Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral, the most important one in the city
  • Narikala Fortress

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Weather

Spring and autumn are probably the best times to visit the city (and the country for that matter) as temperatures are mild and pleasant and usually there is not much rain during these months. Summer can be hot (up to 40 °C) while in winter temperatures can drop way below 0 °C.

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Getting There

By Plane

Tbilisi International Airport (IATA: TBS; ICAO: UGTB) is the main gateway of the country. There are connections to most neighbouring countries and the Middle East. Direct flights from Europe can be taken from London, Munich, Riga, Vienna, Amsterdam, Kiev and Athens. Comming from Asia is best to connect through Dubai or Istanbul. Direct flights via Moscow and Russia at the time of writing have been suspended.
New connections are showing up though, with Georgia being more and more popular lately and more European countries and former Soviet Union republics now have flights, either directly or not, to and from Tbilisi.

From the airport there are several options to getting to the city centre. There is an infrequent rail service to the main railway station or you can take bus 37 from outside the arrivials hall which also finishes at the main railway station. The buses running this route are 'mini-buses' so if you have alot of luggage it's best to take one of the waiting taxis.

By Train

There are train international connections with both Armenia and Azerbaijan which leave Tbilisi and have their finale destination in Yerevan or Baku respectively. There are alos a multitude of local services which go to the regional centers in Georgia, although its much quicker to take a bus and usually around the same price.

By Car

Being the capital between Europe and Asia and lying on the old Silk Road, Tbiisi is easily accessed both internationaly and localy.

By Bus

There are connections to the countries of Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Greece, either by bus or by marshrutka, the Georgian minibus. Buses traveling as far as Istanbul and Athens can take up to two full days to get there.

By Boat

There are no boat connections in Tbilisi, or even ferries for that matter on the Mtkvari River.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Metro
Tbilisi, like most ex Soviet capitals, has a Metro (Subway) system. Although the maps shoes 3 lines there are only two with a third "under construction". The red line "Akhmeteli-Varketili" as well as the green line "Saburtalo" both connect with the main railway station, with the former running in roughly a north-south direction while the Saburtalo running east-west. Fairs are very cheap and most stations have the line map in both Georgian and Latin alphabets.

By Foot

Getting around Tbilisi by foot is quite easy. Walking from the Old Town to Rustaveli through Freedom Square take roughly 45 minutes. Be aware that motorists here rarely give way to pedestrians and if trying to cross a busy road stick with what the locals are doing.

By Bike

Riding by bicycle around Tbilisi is only for the very brave. With the Georgian 'style' of driving and that fact that motorists arn't use to cyclists can make it very dangerous. That been said, the hills surrounding Tbilisi are frequented by many mountain bikers. Many take the cable car from the district of Vake up to Turtle Lake and cycle down through the forest or over to the neighbouring mountains.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Cozy and Modest87 (a)Tsreteli str, apt 26 Didube distrApartment-
Green StairsTsinamdzgvrishvili Str 53 (old name) Klara Cetkin str 53Guesthouse80
GuestApartment1-st off street, Grtsanisi distrApartment-
British House HotelBelonski Str.32Hotel-
Hotel David-Tbilisi16a Paolo Iashvili str, SololakiHOTEL-
Hotel Royal38 Gogebashvili StreetHotel-
Hotel Royal N-TbilisiGogebashvili 38 str.Hotel-
My Place Homestay58 (a) GlsaniGUESTHOUSE-
SkadaVeli27, Vertskhli str.GUESTHOUSE95
Tamara24 Qvemo Zemka SaburtaloApartment-
Argo Palace33 Shanidze streetHotel-
Tbilisi HostelMakhati Turn 22, AvlabariHostel91
Picnic Hostel#14 purceladze st.HOSTEL42
Georgian HouseTbilisi, Georgia 38 Vakhtang VI streetHOTEL-
Old Town HostelKhodasheni str. 7, Tbilisi, GeorgiaHOSTEL88
SkyhostelAgmashenebeli ave#77HOSTEL50
Star Hostel Tbilisi45 Vertskhlis str.Hostel88
Solo-Luckykikodze 10; Tbilisi, 0105Guesthouse87
Old City Sololaki Hostel19. Sergo Meskhi str. SololakiHostel85
Boombully Rooms and Hostel24 Rustaveli ave.HOSTEL87
Nest Hostel TbilisiIashvili st 23HOSTEL89
Why Not? Tbilisi - Legend HostelTabukashvili Street 15 TbilisiHOSTEL90
Hostel Home - TbilisiBrothers kakabadze 11Hostel-
Tina's HomestaySulkhan-Saba street N 5GUESTHOUSE-
Tbilisi Friends HostelOld Tbilisi, Betlemi Str. #28-30 entrance up from ascent Tumaniani street 9HOSTEL83
Hostel Rock n Roll#35 tsurtaveli st. #1 qumsiashvili st.Hostel-
Tourist HousesPoskhverashvili Street 14 Poskhverashvili Street 14Hostel83
Old Guesthousedadiani st.#30 TbilisiGUESTHOUSE-
LTD. Waltzing Matilda City HostelAl. Chavchavadze Str. 11Hostel86
ALV Hostel TbilisiShiraqi str. 30 aHostel-
Rest Hostel68 Dimitri Uznadze st. TbilisiHOSTEL-
Hostel GeorgiaChitaia 20HOSTEL78
Bonney Tbilisi HostelNinoshvili St 19aHOSTEL-
Irina's ApartmentKhandzteli str9/22Apartment-
Chubini Family Guest House20 Chubinashvili StreetHOSTEL-
TEGI ApartmentShevchenko 5, App. 56Apartment-
Betsy's Hotel32-34 Makashvili StreetHOTEL-
Art HostelG.Khandzteli cul-de-sac 2,house 4HOSTEL-
Walker Hostel19 Gomi streetHOSTEL-
DKD-VERETarkhnishvili str. 17Hostel-
Vere Inn53 Barnov St.HOTEL-
Darchee HostelZandukeli str.Hostel-
DownTown Hostel TbilisiBazaleti str. #9HOSTEL-
Besiki44 Besiki StreetApartment-
George's ApartmentVarketili-3, IV M/RAPARTMENT-
Guest Apartment 4 BR23, Kurdiani Street, Tsereteli AvenueAPARTMENT-
Old TbilisiAkhospireli 5HOSTEL-
Hostel PeaceErekle II line # 9Hostel85
Babilina Hotel31 Nishnianidze strHOTEL-
Armis Apartment27, Vertskhli Str.APARTMENT-
Hotel ElitKetevan Tsamebuli ave No 108, SamgoriHOTEL-
Lovely Apartment TbilisiS. Meskhi Str. 15, 1 floorAPARTMENT-
Envoy Hostel Tbilisi45 Betlemi StHOSTEL90
Stay-SeeKikodze 10GUESTHOUSE88
Kolkhi Hotel31 Akaki Shanidze StreetHotel-
DKD-Bridge68 Khizanishvili strHotel-
Hotel Kartli32 Barnov str.Hotel-
Vegetarian House TbilisiG. Akhvlediani Street 17HOSTEL-
Comfortable 2BR ApartmentLagidze StreetAPARTMENT-
Luxury Apartment TbilisiBulachauri StreetAPARTMENT-
Sleep Inn Hostel TbilisiPier Kobakhidze Str. #5HOSTEL71
Tbilisi House14 Nasakirali Str. AvlabariHOSTEL-
BHM Hostel & Tours14 Rustaveli AveHOSTEL-
Comfortable Guest ApartmentRustaveli Avenue Sarajishvili StreetAPARTMENT-
Hosfer HostelNo.3, Ritsa Alley Al. Chavchavadzeh st., RustaveliHOSTEL-
Ori BeliDzmebi Zubalashvilebi 31HOSTEL85
Shine Hotel - TbilisiEnd of Guramishvili AvenueHOTEL-
Maria Tours and HostelLiberty Square 4HOSTEL-
Guesthouse NiceSaiatnova street # 17GUESTHOUSE-
Luca ApartmentZandukeli st 13APARTMENT-
Liberty HostelNiaghvari str. 6Hostel-
Mtatsminda13 David Kipiani StreetAPARTMENT-
Hostel Romantik46. V DolidzeHOTEL75
Home Sweet HomeVera, Melikishvili#18GUESTHOUSE-
Lika GuesthouseGrigol Hantsteli 5GUESTHOUSE-
TiflisLux HostelBarnovi Street 23 Barnovi Street 23HOSTEL80
Mix Hostel11 Abo Tbileli strHOSTEL-
Dadianistudio12 Dadiani Street, Freedom Square TbilisiAPARTMENT-
Tbilisi Lomur HostelGurjaani Str. 4HOSTEL-
Guesthause ZairaLeselidze Str. 31GUESTHOUSE-
Guest House TamarTsinamdzgvrishvili 66TbilisiGUESTHOUSE-
Noah's ArkIII Massive I qvartal, korpus "E"HOSTEL-
Opera Tera HostelM. Lagidze6HOSTEL-
Hotel ElitaDoesi str. 26Hotel-
TBT HostelGriboedovi street 28 2nd floorHOSTEL-
Tbilisi Budget Inn21, Kostava StreetHOSTEL-
Green House Hostel TbilisiAkhvlediani Khevi 13HOSTEL-
Old Tbilisi Center Rustaveli Ave46 Revaz Tabukashvili StreetAPARTMENT-
Kazbegi Avenue24 Alekzandre Kazbegi Avenue SaburtaloAPARTMENT-
Guesthouse NatalyTsinamdzgvrishvili 53GUESTHOUSE-
Mia Guesthouse TbilisiZhiuli Shartava StreetGUESTHOUSE-
Old Street GuesthouseSh. Dadiani str. 7GUESTHOUSE-
Old TiflisBeridze St, No.9HOSTEL-
Tbilisi City HostelLeselidze Street #17HOSTEL-
Tbilisi RoomsNinoshvili str. 8GUESTHOUSE-
Lucky Hostel TbilisiMachabeli street 2/4HOSTEL-
Bavly HostelNo.11, Alexander Chavchavadzi street from RustaveliHOSTEL-
Apartment near Parliament6 Vukol Beridze Street TbilisiAPARTMENT-
Tbilisi City HostelLeselidze Street 17Hostel-
Grand Hotel GeorgiaTelavi str.3HOTEL-
Caravan Hostel41 Kandelaki StreetHOSTEL-

Mid-Range

Hotel Georgian House Tbilisi, rooms from €45, Phone: +99532 791919.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés, locally called "internet clubs", are common and cheap in Tbilisi and Batumi but scarce in Kutaisi. Some places offer free WLAN to their customers. At least in Tbilisi, all hostels have free fast WLAN.

There is free Wi-Fi network all over the Tbilisi. Other places might have some hotels, restaurants etc. with (free) wifi.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

International calling code for Georgia is 995. The emergency number is 112.

Many Georgians have now have access to a mobile phone and as such public payphones are becomming obsolete in the bigger cities, although there are many places offering phone services, usually attached to an internet cafe of 'Xerox' shop.

Georgia uses GSM (900 MHz and 1800 MHz) for mobile phones and has three mobile operators. Magti, Bee Line and GeoCell. The best coverage is offered by GeoCell which covers most of the country and a fair bit of the mountains. SIM cards can be purchased from all the networks and topped up with scratch cards purchesed from shops or various touch screen 'kiosks' in the bigger cities. It usually works out a lof cheaper compared to roaming with your own cell phone, especially regarding internet costs.

Post

Georgian Post offers a range of services, but don't count on it being very reliable or quick. On top of that they are relatively expensive. It is advisable to post letters in central post offices rather than using the post boxes in the street. Opening hours are usually from 10:00am to 6:00pm from Monday to Friday, some larger ones at Saturday and most are closed on Sunday.

"Georgian International Express Mail Service" is a member of the World Network of "Express Mail Services". It sends letters and parcels to 200 countries and delivers inbound items received by EMS network to all Georgian regions. EMS has branches in Kutaisi, Batumi, Poti, Gori, Marneuli. All items are insured by insurance company "IC Group". Nevertheless, you might use international courier companies lik TNT, UPS, DHL or FedEx, as they are reliable, fast and comptitively priced as well.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 41.716667
  • Longitude: 44.783333

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This is version 26. Last edited at 8:46 on Jul 14, 14 by Utrecht. 13 articles link to this page.

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