Here’s a movie about Tbilisi. This movie will give you a quick impression of the destination. The movie is not made by our own IFLY crew members. A special IFLYtheworld movie is in production and will be online soon.
Sameba Cathedral (2 hrs)
Sameba Cathedral is the main Georgian Orthodox cathedral in Tbilisi. It was constructed between 1995 and 2004 and it is the largest religious buildings in Georgia.
The Cathedral is erected on the Elia Hill, which rises above the left bank of the Kura River (Mtkvari) in the historic neighbourhood of Avlabari in Old Tbilisi. The architecture represents the synthesis of traditional styles dominating the Georgian church architecture at various stages of its history, but also contains several innovations. Sameba amazes everyone with its beauty and greatness of grandiose architecture, magnificence of style and exterior decor.
You have to visit this place. You can go there every day during daytime. You can see it from almost anywhere in Tbilisi, so the directions are very easy; just use your eyes.
Rafting (½ - 1 day)
Rafting is a fun sport activity for a half to a full day as soon as the weather is warm enough to melt the snow in the mountains.
There are two options depending on the water level: Mtiuletis Aragvi and Pshavis Aragvi The first offers the bigger waves (when the water is high) and the shorter access, the second the more technical rafting and the more beautiful valley. Whatever the choice, you’ll have to paddle hard to deserve the picnic or barbecue at the end. Equipment is included and you’ll have a professional guide to find the best route down the river.
The rafting companies offer transport from Tbilisi and back. There are several operators like Travel Tbilisi or Jomardi Adventure. Day trips will cost approximately us$ 35 to 50 per person. Best season for rafting is from May to September.
Stalin Museum Gori (1 day)
Gori is a town located at the east of Georgia, in the province of Shida Kartli. Gori is the birthplace of one of Josef Stalin. Therefore, there is the Stalin museum.
In the museum everything is mentioned in Russian and Georgian, so if you don’t understand those languages, it’s recommended to take a guided tour. There are guides who speak English and German for example. The entrance fee is only 1 Lari.
The museum houses the restored birth house of Stalin, his personal train coach and many memorabilia. The museum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm. It is located at Stalin Street 32 in Gori.
Gori is about 67 kilometres from Tbilisi and a great way to go there is by public transportation, a so-called Marshrutka. These mini busses leave from metro station Didube in Tbilisi. There are many busses to Gori but sometimes you have to wait as they only depart when they’re full. The drive is about one hour. From Gori it’s easy to take a marshrutka back to Tbilisi. The price for the transportation is only a few Lari.
Sulphur baths (2 hrs)
Tbilisi is famous for the piping-hot sulphur water that bubbles out of the ground along the banks of the Mtkvari River. There are some bathhouses, all centred on the same district, Abanotubani (bathhouse district).
Once in Abanotubani, you will have a large selection of bathhouses to choose from, most of them partially underground. You can easily find the bathhouses by following your nose; the pungent smell of sulphur (rotten eggs) will lead you right to them.
Enjoy the local way of relaxing. Have a bath, a body scrub and a good massage for a very low price. And mostly the interior is beautifully made with colourful tiles.
David Gareja Monastery (1 day)
One of the most beautiful and amazing monasteries of Georgia is David Gareja. It is a Georgian Orthodox monastery located in the Kakheti region 65 kilometres southwest of Tbilisi. The complex includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face.
A monk Saint David Garejeli founded the complex in the 6th century. The monastery remained an important centre of religious and cultural activity for many centuries. After the violent Bolshevik takeover of Georgia in 1921, the monastery was closed down and remained uninhabited. In the years of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the monastery's territory was used as a training ground for the Soviet military that inflicted damage to the unique cycle of murals in the monastery.
After the restoration of Georgia's independence in 1991, the monastery life in David Gareja was revived. The monastery remains active today and serves as a popular destination of tourism and pilgrimage.
It is located near the Azerbaijan border. Best way to go there is to rent a taxi or a car with driver. As the roads are not very good, most comfortable is to rent a four-wheel drive car.
You can drive to the monastery directly, but it’s also nice to stop about a kilometre before the monastery. Just walk the hill upwards. From there you can hike on the top of the hill. During this walk you will see some wonderful caves with beautiful frescoes. And you will get breathtaking views on the surroundings of Georgia and Azerbaijan. At the end of the walk you will reach the monastery and the view from the top will give you a Lord of the rings feeling.
The Georgian cuisine is a famous cuisine. Many dishes often described Russian, are mostly Georgian. So if you’re in Tbilisi you have to try some local specialities, like the walnut salad and Kachapuri (a stuffed pancake) for example.
You can try this in Dzveli Metekhi for example. This is located at the banks of the river at Metekhi 3. It’s open every day from noon till midnight and during dinner you can enjoy a Georgian dance show. But there are many more small restaurants with local specialities around Akhvlediani Street, still better known by its old name Perovskaya.
Mtskheta former capital (½ - 1 day)
Mtskheta is one of the oldest towns in Georgia. It is the former capital of the Kingdom of Iberia, which existed during the 3rd century BC up to 5 century AD.
Located about 20 km northeast of Tbilisi, at the confluence of the rivers Aragvi and Mtkvari. This town is a unique place with its typical Caucasus architecture and shows the cultural and spiritual prosperity of society then. In the city you will find many ancient churches. Due to its historical significance the city is on UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994.
You can take a taxi from Tbilisi or book a guided tour. You can also take a Marshrutka from Tbilisi's Didube metro station. They will drive to the main street in Mtskheta.
A visit to Mtskheta can be done in combination with a visit to Sio Mghvime Monastery. This is a medieval monastic complex located in a narrow limestone canyon on the northern bank of the river Mtkvari.
From the monastery you can make a beautiful walk through the nature to a small chapel at the top of the mountain. If you combine all this with a picnic, you’ll have a full day of culture, nature, hiking and beautiful scenery.
Uplistshikhe cave town (1 day)
Uplistsikhe cave town is an ancient rock-hewn town, about 10 kilometres east of Gori. It is one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. Uplistsikhe cave town has been built in the 6th century BC. The first written mention of this city is located in the Chronicle, originating from 1 century AD.
It is a wonderful complex to walk around. The complex covers an area of approximately 8 hectares. The majority of the caves are devoid of any decorations, although some of the larger structures have coffered tunnel-vaulted ceilings, with the stone carved in imitation of logs. Some of the larger structures also have niches in the back or sides, which may have been used for ceremonial purposes.
At the summit of the complex is a Christian basilica built of stone and brick in the 9th-10th centuries. You will also see the remains of the oldest Georgian theatre. Preserved with the entire auditorium and stage.
You can go to Gori by marshrutka (see travel tip: Stalin Museum). From there you can take a taxi to Uplistshikhe.
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Language of the world
Of course you like to speak a few words of the local language onboard the plane or at your destination. Here you find some simple basics of the main language spoken in Tbilisi.