a women in the streets of Tbilisi surrounded with outdoor market

How to Spend 3 Days in Tbilisi: First Time Visitors Guide

Are you planning to spend 3 days in Tbilisi, Georgia but you are unsure where to start? I am so happy for you and glad you stopped by here.

Tbilisi is known for its ancient history, diverse culture, delicious cuisine, stunning nature, and friendly locals.

If you had found me through this article, you may not have known I am a native Georgian and I grew up in Tbilisi.

After a few years and two kids later, we visited Georgia and brought our kids with us for the first time. I wanted to make the most of the trip, so I did a ton of research and put together an itinerary that worked well with us. Now, I want to share it with you!

Wondering in the cobblestone streets of Old Tbilisi, admiring the traditional architecture, strolling on Rustaveli Avenue, and indulging in Georgian cuisine are just a few of my favorite things to do in Tbilisi.

This itinerary is perfect if you are visiting Tbilisi for the first time and only have a few days to spend in the capital of Georgia. So let’s get to it.

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links, and I will earn a small commission for any sales made through such links – at no extra cost to you.

Things to Know Before Visiting Tbilisi

Location: Tbilisi is Georgia’s capital and the largest city. It is at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

Name: Georgia is a Western name of the country, but locals call it Sakartvelo.

Culture: Tbilisi is a melting pot of cultures with influences from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

History: The city has a long and storied past, with landmarks like the 4th-century Narikala Fortress offering a glimpse into its ancient history.

Language: Georgian is the official language. Many Georgians speak English, but I would encourage you to learn a few casual phases in Georgian.

Currency: The currency is the Georgian Lari (GEL). (1 Lari = 0.37 USD as of January 2024.) Credit cards are widely accepted in Tbilisi, but we advise carrying some cash, especially for smaller shops, street art, and markets.

SIM Card: To avoid connectivity issues while in Tbilisi, we highly advise purchasing a SIM card when you get to the Airport. Otherwise, you will need to go to specific shops in the city center to buy one, for example, on Rustaveli Avenue.

Safety: Tbilisi is generally considered safe for tourists, but standard travel precautions should be taken.

Visa Requirements: Getting a visa for Georgia is easy and convenient. Some nationalities, including the US, can enter Georgia visa-free for short stays or work. However, always check the latest visa requirements before traveling to a new country.

Tbilisi evening scene overlooking Mtkvari River, Metekhi church, and King Vakhtang Gorgasali Statue

3 Days in Tbilisi Itinerary

Getting to Tbilisi

Getting to Tbilisi, Georgia, from other countries is relatively easy. The Tbilisi International Airport (TBS) is the primary international gateway to Georgia and is well-connected with direct flights from many cities.

Several international airlines operate flights to Tbilisi, including well-known carriers like Qatar Airways, Emirates, Delta, Turkish Airlines, and KLM, indicating a range of options for travelers.

There has yet to be a direct flight from the USA. You will need to take connecting flights. The availability of multiple airlines and frequent flights makes it quite accessible for travelers from different parts of the world to reach Tbilisi.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Tbilisi is spring (March to May) or fall (September to November) when the weather is pleasant with fewer crowds. Summers can be hot and humid, while winters can be cold and snowy here, so you must plan accordingly.

Where to Stay During 3 days in Tbilisi

Tbilisi offers various accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. You can find something that suits your needs, from luxury hotels to budget hostels. Some popular areas in Tbilisi that are popular include Old Town, Sololaki, and Vera.

Tbilisi Marriot HotelIf you want a luxury stay in the center of Tbilisi, I highly recommend the Tbilisi Marriot Hotel in the heart of Rustaveli Avenue. We stayed here for two nights and had a fantastic experience.

The rooms, location, service, and atmosphere are sophisticated and high-quality. The hotel has a great breakfast buffet and offers Georgian and International dining experiences.

Check Price and Availability For Marriot Tbilisi

The interior of Marriot Hotel Tbilisi; One of the best places to stay during 3 days in Tbilisi
Tbilisi Marriot Hotel
A woman enjoying her cup of coffee overlooking the window at Marriot Tbilisi
Tbilisi Marriot Hotel Breakfast

Rooms Hotel Tbilisi: We have not stayed in Tbilisi but stayed at the Rooms Hotel in Kazbegi and fell in love. I can only hope the service and quality are comparable to Kazbegi. Located in the Vera district, you are only steps away from many cafes, restaurants, and boutique stores.

Check Price and Availability for Rooms Hotel Tbilisi

Getting Around Tbilisi

Tbilisi is a very walkable city, and the best way to get around is by walking. However, occasionally, you may still need some public transportation. We traveled with kids, and we quite often used a car service to accommodate little travelers.

I highly recommend using Bolt if visiting Tbilisi for the first time. It is similar to Uber and a convenient way to get around. We had no issues with it, and rides can be as affordable as 2 GEL+, depending on your destination.

The Tbilisi metro system is efficient and cheap if you prefer public transportation. Buses and minibuses (marshrutkas) are also available but can be crowded and confusing for first-time visitors.

Day 1 of 3 days in Tbilisi

Explore the Old Town

Welcome to Day 1 in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia! Wear comfortable shoes and start by exploring the charming Old Town, the city’s most historic and picturesque part.

You can easily explore Old Tbilisi on your own or choose one of the Old Tbilisi Guided Tours to help you navigate easier.

Old Tbilisi is the historic heart of the Georgian capital. It is known for its cobblestone streets, colorful architecture, and vibrant atmosphere. It is easily accessible on foot from many parts of the city.

Clock Tower

The Clock Tower in Old Tbilisi, Georgia, is a whimsically designed structure that has become one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks.

The Clock Tower symbolizes the creativity and artistic spirit that thrives in Tbilisi. It’s located near the equally charming Gabriadze Theater, which hosts puppet shows and is a significant cultural venue in the city.

A woman dressed in long brown trousers and a cropped top smiling standing in front of Gabriadze theatre

The area around the Clock Tower is a popular tourist spot, with its cobblestone streets, street markets, and nearby attractions, including cafes, galleries, and other historical sites.

Flea Market in Tbilisi Old Town displays paintings, jewelry, and other items.

Narikala Fortress

Next, head over to see the Narikala Fortress, a must-see attraction in Tbilisi and one of my favorite places for stunning city views. This ancient fortress dates back to the 4th century and offers spectacular city views. Narikala is an ancient symbol of Tbilisi’s defense.

You can hike to the fortress or take the cable car for a more comfortable ride, which is also super affordable (2.50 GEL one way).

Traveling by ropeway is possible only under a “Metromoney” card. If you do not have a card, you can purchase it in the payment offices of Wire Rope. The cost of the card is 2 GEL.

Once you reach the top, you can explore the fortress and enjoy panoramic city views.

We took a Gondola, which was convenient and fun for kids to view the city from above.

Sulfur Baths

If you want a unique experience, head to the Sulfur Baths in the Abanotubani district. These iconic baths are a popular attraction in Tbilisi and offer an exceptional experience.

The baths are heated by natural hot springs and have healing properties. You can choose from various bathhouses with unique styles and ambiance.

Bathhouses range from budget to luxury and from private rooms to public. Be sure to book in advance to avoid waiting in line.

A women happily poses in front of Sulphur Baths. Must visit attraction during 3 days in Tbilisi

Tbilisi Botanical Garden (Waterfall)

Located in the heart of the Old Town, next to the Narikala fortress and the Mother of Georgia monument, the botanical gardens offer a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Here, you enjoy a variety of plant species, some of which are native to Georgia, as well as picturesque landscapes, waterfalls, and bridges. We loved our time here. It felt like a mini-city escape.

The garden’s highlight is a tall waterfall that is very easy to find. Follow the water sound to the stunning waterfall.

Our son had a great time here and even cooled off by splashing his feet in the water.

The garden is open daily, including weekends, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or 7:00 p.m., depending on the season.

Tbilisi Botanical Garden Waterfall

Stroll through Shardeni Street

End your day by strolling down Shardeni Street in the heart of the Old Town. This vibrant street is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. You can sample local cuisine, shop for souvenirs, or enjoy the lively atmosphere.

That concludes your first day in Tbilisi! Rest up and get ready for another exciting day tomorrow.

Day 2 of 3 Days in Tbilisi

Visit Georgian National Museum

Start your day at the Georgian National Museum, home to an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase Georgia’s history and culture.

The museum houses over 200,000 items, including archaeological finds, medieval manuscripts, and traditional costumes. One of the museum’s highlights is the Treasury, which displays a collection of gold and silver artifacts from the ancient kingdom of Colchis.

Admire Holy Trinity Cathedral

After the museum, head to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, also known as Sameba Cathedral. This impressive structure is one of the largest Orthodox cathedrals in the world and is a symbol of Georgia’s religious heritage.

The cathedral, completed in 2004, features stunning frescoes and mosaics. Admire the beautiful architecture and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.

Pictured is the Holly Trinity Cathedral of Georgia also called Sameba

Grab Lunch at Puri Guliani

Puri Guliani is one of my favorite places to eat in Tbilisi. I would be here if I could visit one place every day. This place offers an authentic Georgian bakery and kitchen.

Enjoy various meals, from breakfast to dinner, in a cozy, casual establishment offering an indoor and outdoor courtyard space. I

If you have yet to try Adjarian Khachapuri, this place knows how to make it right.

Adjaruli Khachapuri on a plate (A cheeseboat with an egg yolk in the middle)

Visit Mtatsminda Park

In the afternoon, make your way to Mtatsminda Park, located on the top of Mount Mtatsminda. This amusement park offers stunning city views and is popular with locals and tourists. It is also stroller-friendly!

Take a ride on the Ferris wheel or the roller coaster, or stroll around and enjoy the atmosphere. The park also has several restaurants and cafes, so you can grab a bite while enjoying the view.

Taking the Tbilisi Funicular Railway is the most popular and scenic way to get to the park. The ride is very smooth and quick. You’ll need to purchase a 2 GEL plastic card at the ticket office and add credit for your rides. For example a Funicular Ride is 8 GEL from 8:00AM to midnight.

Tbilisi Funicular Car
a woman posing in front of Tbilsi TV Broadcasting Tower in Mtatsminda Park.

Day 3 of 3 Days in Tbilisi

Visit Chronicles of Georgia

The Chronicles of Georgia, located in Tbilisi, is a monumental sculpture of 16 towering pillars depicting scenes from the history of Georgia. Monuments show important events and figures, such as kings and queens, as well as stories from the Bible.

a lady holding a baby going up on the stairs of Chronicles of Georgia

Tips

  1. Location: The monument is on a hill near the Tbilisi Sea, a short distance from the city center. It is not easily accessible by public transport so I recommend visiting by car.
  2. No Entrance Fee: Visiting the Chronicles of Georgia is free.
  3. Open Hours: The site is open 24/7, allowing you to visit any time that suits your schedule.
  4. Best Ways to Experience: To fully appreciate the monument, consider joining a guided tour that can provide insights into the history and significance of the carvings.

Lunch at Gardenia Shevardnadze

From Chronicles of Georgia, you must stop by Gardenia Shevardnadze for lunch! This Unique botanical garden and cafe is such a hidden gem.

It’s a rejuvenating place that offers more than just a walk among greenery; you can also taste delicious homemade cakes, lemonade, and jams, as well as coffee and tea at the vintage-style café located within the garden.

The garden has an entrance fee of around 2 GEL, which is very affordable and contributes to the maintenance of this lovely spot. It’s a great place to visit for those who enjoy botany and peaceful outdoor settings or are looking for a picturesque place to unwind.

Gardenia Shevardnadze is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 10 pm, and plants can be purchased until 6 pm.

Lunch table setting inside a beautiful garden surrounded with flowers
A lady sitting with one leg crossed on another at the outdoor table eating a dessert

Day Trips From Tbilisi

Depending on your schedule, you can take multiple trips from Tbilisi.

Sighnaghi

Known as the “City of Love“, Sighnaghi is famous for its charming architecture, cobblestone streets, and the defensive wall with watchtowers. It’s also a gateway to the Kakheti wine region, where you can enjoy wine tasting and local cuisine.

Street with colorful houses in Sighnaghi, Georgia

Kazbegi National Park

As the highlight of our Georgia trip, Kazbegi National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers.

Located in the Caucasus Mountains, the park is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in Georgia, including the towering Mount Kazbek.

While I recommend visiting Kazbegi at least for 2 nights, it is still possible to make it there as a day trip and make the most of it with well organized Private Tour from Tbilisi to Kazbegi.

The journey from Tbilisi to Kazbegi takes about 3 hours and you will have an opportunit to stop at mutiple popular viewpoints. Once you get to Kazbegi, you will explore the most beautiful Gergeti Church and I highly recommend having your lunch or dinner at the Rooms Hotel Kazbegi.

To learn more about Kazbegi, check out our Ultimate Kazbegi Travel Guide.

yazbegi georgia valley with mountains and horses eating grass

Uplistsikhe

Explore this ancient rock-hewn town, one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. Uplistsikhe contains various structures dating from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages.

Where to Eat in Tbilisi

Tbilisi has a variety of restaurants and cafes that serve traditional Georgian cuisine as well as international dishes. Here are some of the best restaurants to check out during your three days in Tbilisi:

  • Machakhela: This restaurant serves traditional Georgian dishes in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The portions are generous, and the prices are affordable.
  • Restaurant Sofiko: In Old Tbilisi, Restaurant Sofiko is a well-regarded dining establishment known for its Georgian casual dining experience and fantastic city views.
  • Ezo: This restaurant is located in the heart of Old Tbilisi and serves various Georgian and European dishes. The outdoor seating area is perfect for enjoying a meal on a sunny day.
  • Iasamani: famous for its beautiful atmosphere and super delicious food. It is particularly noted for serving tasty Georgian cuisine. The restaurant is at 33 Asatiani Street and can be found behind a green wooden door in the entrance hall of an old Tbilisi house, adding to its unique charm and concept. 
  • Puri Guliani: As mentioned above, this place offers an authentic Georgian bakery and kitchen. Here, you will enjoy a range of meals, from breakfast to dinner, in a cozy, relaxed environment. Address: Saarbrucken Square Tbilisi Tbilisi, 0102, Georgia

Traditional Georgian Dishes

Georgian cuisine is known for its hearty and filling dishes. Some of the must-try traditional Georgian dishes include:

  • Khachapuri: This famous Georgian cheese bread is made with various cheeses and baked until golden brown.
  • Khinkali: Georgian dumplings filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. They are usually served with sour cream and can be enjoyed as a main course or appetizer.
  • Nigvziani Badrijani: Nigvziani Badrijani is a traditional Georgian dish made with fried or baked eggplant slices rolled and filled with a spiced walnut paste. It is a popular appetizer or side dish in Georgian cuisine and is known for its rich, nutty flavor combined with the distinct taste of eggplant.
  • Elarji: traditional Georgian dish originating in the Samegrelo region. It is a hearty and comforting meal made primarily from coarse cornmeal, cornflour, and a stretchy, melted cheese called Sulguni. Combining these ingredients results in a dense, cheesy, and gooey dish that is distinctive and beloved in Georgian cuisine.
  • Lobio: A flavorful bean stew often cooked with spices, herbs, and sometimes walnuts. It is typically served with pickles and cornbread (mchadi).
  • Mtsvadi: Georgian shashlik or skewered and grilled chunks of meat, usually pork or lamb, marinated with onions and spices and cooked over an open flame.
  • Churchkhela: While this is not a meal, it is a traditional Georgian snack and dessert that consists of nuts (usually walnuts or hazelnuts) threaded onto a string, dipped in thickened grape juice, and dried to form a chewy, candy-like treat. You will want to pack up a few to bring back home too!
4 pieces of Khinkali on plate
Khinkali
Different colors of Churchkhela hanging  on the ropes
Churchkhela


Georgian Wine

If you did not know, Georgia is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world based on archeological evidence. The Qvevri winemaking method, which uses buried clay vessels to ferment wine, is a part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

This makes it so unique to try the Georgian wine. The best way to learn more about Georgian wine is to sign up for group or private tour in wine region of Georgia Kakheti if schedule allows. You can also try to sign up for a food and wine tasting tour in Tbilisi.

Hand holding a Georgian wine, "Qindzmarauli,"  with the mountain backdrop.

Cultural Performances

Tbilisi is also home to a thriving cultural scene, with plenty of performances to enjoy in the evening. Check out the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre for a night of world-class performances. The stunning building alone is worth the visit, and the performances will impress you.

Visit Dry Bride Flea Markets

Tbilisi has several flea markets for various vintage and second-hand items. One of the most popular flea markets is the Dry Bridge Market in the city’s heart.

Here, you can find all kinds of old Soviet paraphernalia, trinkets, tools, clothes, and books. Even if you’re not shopping, there are so many exciting things to spot, including KGB spy cameras, old records, and ancient maps.

Another excellent flea market is the Dezertirebi Market near the Dry Bridge Market. This market specializes in antique furniture, carpets, and other collectibles. If you’re willing to haggle, you can find some great deals here.

Conclusion: 3 Days in Tbilisi Guide

There you have it. Our comprehensive guide to spending 3 days in Tbilisi. 3 days is not enough to completely explore Tbilisi, but with this, you have enough to see and do including some main attractions.

And if you are planning more things to do in Georgia, you may also like Travel Guide to Kazbegi, Georgia.

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