How to Get to Tbilisi, Georgia
The most popular mode of transport for travelers from Moscow to Tbilisi is by plane. Several airlines regularly operate flights from Sheremetyevo, Domodedovo and Vnukovo. The cost of tickets for direct and connecting flights is almost the same, but flights with transfers are much longer in time. Planes land at the International Airport. Shota Rustaveli, you can get to the city center by taxi, bus or train.
Direct trains from Russia to Georgia do not yet run, but for fans of land travel there are Moscow-Tbilisi buses.
You can move around the capital of Georgia by metro, buses, minibuses and taxis. The Tbilisi metro is a perfect example of the Soviet subway: comfortable, spacious and beautiful. There are 2 branches, trains run from 6:00 to 0:00. The fare is 0.50 GEL, however, you need to buy a Metromoney smart card for an additional 2.50 GEL and “charge” it with money. This is quite convenient, since it can also be used to pay on the bus, among other things, the cost of the second and subsequent trips in one day decreases – 0.30 GEL and 0.20 GEL, respectively. Prices on the page are for July 2021.
According to allcitycodes.com, the names of the stations are written in Georgian, so it is better to ask passengers which train to take and when to get off. As an option – learn a little the Georgian alphabet, it’s not difficult at all!
The bus network covers almost the entire city. The stops are indicated in Georgian – be careful when choosing a route number. The fare is 0.50 GEL.
Minibuses quickly scurry through the streets of Tbilisi, the fare in them is 0.80 GEL for any distance. There are no definite stops – you need to wave your hand to the approaching minibus and, if you are not shy, shout “gaacheret!” (“stop!”). Although you should not rely on the delicate hearing of drivers, a wave of the hand will be enough.
Taxis in Tbilisi are a dime a dozen, both official and not so much. There are no meters almost everywhere, so it is better to agree on payment in advance. A short trip should not cost more than 3-6 GEL, you can get from end to end of the city for 10 GEL.
Another interesting mode of transport in Tbilisi is the cable car that connects Narikala Fortress and Rike Park. The fare is 1 GEL, from the booths there are picturesque views of the roofs of the old city.
Rent a Car
A car is an excellent means of transportation around Tbilisi and the surrounding area. For trips around the city, an ordinary passenger model is suitable, and for traveling to the mountains, where there are practically no roads, an SUV is suitable. Offices of rental companies are located at the airport, on the main streets and in large hotels. Services are provided by both international offices (Avis, Hertz, Sixt) and local ones: for example, Geo Rent Car and Luxury Car Rental. The cost of renting a passenger car – from 117 GEL, an SUV – from 170 GEL per day.
There are quite a lot of parking lots in Tbilisi, most of them are paid: 2–5 GEL per day. Payment is made through terminals or on the websites of service companies.
The only inconvenience for drivers is traffic jams: more than 500 thousand cars move around the city every day, and traffic along the central streets is very difficult during peak hours.
What to bring from Tbilisi
A lot of all sorts of interesting things – from old national costumes to daggers – are sold at the Saturday flea market near the Dry Bridge. Arrive early as the market opens at dawn. A variety of souvenirs can also be found in the store with the telling name “Souvenirs of Georgia” on Rustaveli, 18. It makes sense to look for interior items in the Meydan 91 boutique, and breathtakingly beautiful Georgian carpets – respectively, in “Carpets” on Leselidze, 27. Antique and modern carpets and rugs, as well as Central Asian suzani embroidery, are sold at Rustaveli 32. In search of interesting paintings by contemporary artists, look at the Tiflis Avenue art center and the gallery with the un-Georgian bold name Artgasm. Read more here: shopping in Tbilisi.
Cuisine and restaurants of Tbilisi
The most popular Georgian lunch is served according to the “khachapuri plus khinkali” formula: a cheese cake for an appetizer and hearty dumplings as a main course. You can also dine in barbecue, pizzerias and other international eateries. Georgian pastries are offered in the Machakhela chain of national pop restaurants – only 10 outlets in Tbilisi – as well as in the pretty Lunch Ladies establishment. “Khinkalis Sakhli” on the street. Rustaveli specializes in all kinds of khinkali.
Do not forget to order Georgian wine for your meal and consider yourself lucky if the restaurant serves homemade wines in an earthenware jug.
Many varieties of wines from all over Georgia – in the “House of Wine”.
You can kill a worm, as well as have a hearty lunch at the Gabriadze Cafe – traditional Georgian dishes and very appetizing, the interior – tables and chairs hand-painted by the director himself with plots and phrases from Mimino, Kin-dza-dza and other famous films and performances. To dine with taste, delighting the ear with music, and the look with decor, is in “Dzveli Sakhli” on the street. Sanapiro, in “Kopala” overlooking Avlabar or ethnographic restaurant “Tamada”.
Lunch in an inexpensive Tbilisi cafe will cost about 17 GEL, dinner with wine in a good restaurant – 40 GEL. Food prices here are generally quite democratic: for example, in one of the most expensive establishments, Old Metekhi, a cup of tea will cost only 2 GEL, and kalmakhi (salmon dish) – 6-7 GEL.
The Georgian street food also deserves a mention. In numerous stalls, it is worth trying khachapuri with cheese, white cakes, donuts and white cheese.
The most colorful Georgian establishments are “dukhans”, where local men traditionally gather to eat hearty meals and discuss the latest news. Most of them are located in the old part of the city and are easily recognizable by their austere interiors: dark halls with vaulted ceilings, wooden furniture and lack of any decor. The complete opposite of the “spirits” in mood – noisy and hospitable restaurants with live music, where in the evenings they sing and dance, and the wine flows like water. For example, in “Metekhis Chrdili” there are frequent performances with folk songs, in the restaurant-museum “Melnitsa” – folklore performed by the best local groups, in the “Georgian House” – incendiary dances until the morning. But the prices here are higher: the cost of one hot dish alone can reach 100 GEL.