Most cities of the world look one thing in the daytime, but at night time you might not even recognize them. Some absolutely come alive with color and vibes that you are not sure whether the best time to sleep is during the day or the night! And when you’re in love or on honeymoon, for instance, you want to make the romantic moments of nights and days last forever. One city that will meet all your expectations of romance, intrigue, mystery, and love at night is Tbilisi. The city never sleeps and the lights on display make you just want to come out and play; all the time. Come to Tbilisi, beautiful – with a history that makes it a sought after destination. Let us entice you further and introduce you to some night time places and activities that will want to make you want to come on over!
THE MYSTERY OF TBILISI
This capital of Georgia was founded long ago, way back in the 5th-century. Many conquerors tried to invade Georgia – Russia eventually did, staying there until the Soviet era ended. Many cultures have left their mark on the city, so Tbilisi boasts something from the past, the old, the present, plenty of the traditional, and then also the modern with its newly developed architectural designs. You get history, culture, and religion all coming together in centers depicting the typical balconies and carvings on the house, still standing proud amongst the modern – never a dull moment.
ALL TO SEE AND DO IN TBILISI
You can decide whether you would like a tour guide to show you the best of what Tbilisi has to offer, or you can hire a car yourself and follow your own program, doing the things that charm you most. Whatever your choice, you will come away from Tbilisi highly entertained, informed and welcomed, having met some very wonderful people. And at night, the Narikala fortress will always guide you. Bet you didn’t know that King Vakhtang Gorgasali was the founder of Tbilisi – well, his monument still stands on the banks of the Mtkvari River.
The annual festival of Tbilisoba
The annual festival of Tbilisoba is usually held during the last weekend of October. The first one was held on October 28, 1979, and is now a tradition, each year. If you are coming to Tbilisi in October this year, you won’t want to miss this harvest festival. The locals bring their harvests and homemade sweets, and plenty of song and dance takes place – there is even an annual award, “The Honorable Citizen of Tbilisi” for outstanding figures of sports and the arts.
Take a bath
Come and indulge yourself at the local bathhouses – the water comes from the thermal springs located in the old district of Tbilisi. The sulfur baths are famous for their luxuriating baths; they’re a great pleasure in winter as you allow the warm blessings of the natural waters to flow over you. You get expensive rooms and cheap ones; what you get will depend largely on what you pay. A ‘megise’ will come with a special broom made from plants to give you a traditional Georgian massage. Actually, Tbilisi was founded because of these sulfur waters – Tbilisi means “warm waters”. If you want to feel young and beautiful, benefit from these baths; they reduce stress, reduce pain and cramps in the muscles. Try the famous Abanotubani sulfur baths if you like, but there are many to choose from.
Go to Bassiani, an electro music institution
Head over to no. 2 Akaki Tsereteli Ave to be really charged up – here you will find the Bassiani club. It’s situated in the basement of the Dynamo stadium, the Georgian national soccer team’s home. Open on a Friday night each week, believe it when it is said that Bassiani can be compared to the famous Berlin electro club, Berghain – well, Bassiani’s resident DJ often plays at Berghain, so it must be true!
Walk in the old town and watch the world go by
As quaint, charming, and romantic as can be, the old town is home to restaurants and cafes nestling in narrow streets. You will love the architectural gems hidden in the streets – you don’t need to plan what you will see and do; just indulge your senses and wanderlust in these magical streets. And when you want to quench your thirst and treat your taste buds, look out for a romantic little getaway for your dinner, something like Meama, situated in the old, historic part, not far from the main square. Have a meal there with lovely evening views, and not far away, you will see Narikala Fortress, waiting there for you!
The dancing fountains at night
They’re a must-see if you are visiting in Tbilisi. It’s a great show, watching the fountains, synchronized with the music, playing in the background. The fountains are near to a lot of things happening in the city. They’re situated in the middle of Rike Park – sit on the grass and enjoy the lovely vibe coming from all the people having fun around.
On to the Narikala Fortress
There are two ways you can get to the fortress and both are so beautiful it will be hard to choose. The fortress is pretty hard not to see; you can’t miss it from wherever you are in town – an ancient memory and symbol of Tbilisi’s history and defense. The first way to get there is a walk from Meidan in Old Tbilisi and the other is the cable car ride – it leaves from Rike Park and costs around 2.5 Lari – you see everything from up there as the cable cars have see-through floors. There are lovely Georgian souvenirs to buy and take home with you too.
The Bridge of Peace
Between the Old Town and Rike Park is the Bridge of Peace, a magnificent structure of glass and steel. It is beautiful when the sun sets because it lights up from thousands of bright LED lights, illuminating the river and also the buildings on the river banks.
The night market is full of charm and vibe
Those who love antiques and other unique, different bits and pieces will enjoy this night flea market – open night and day. There are paintings, furniture, jewelry, and plenty of other what-not, and you are not likely to come away without something to take home as a remembrance of golden days and nights spent in Tbilisi. Just remember to negotiate with your prices before you buy them.
Admire the capital from its highest point, Mtatsminda Park
Known to be a romantic city, whether your surroundings are the beaches, nature, mountaintops, or the city, one really ideal place if you want to propose or you want to be proposed to is Mtatsminda. Mtatsminda has always been a favorite place for couples. This “holy mountain” has always been popular to make declarations of love, even during Soviet times. What better way to do that and also to view the city than on the Ferris wheel under the moon and stars or during the day.
Mtatsminda Park is an amusement park situated on top of Mount Mtatsminda – actually, it’s the highest point in Tbilisi. If you get yourself a 1-day ticket, you have the pleasure of unlimited rides and fun and sun the whole day. When you are not enjoying all the rides, there are cafes, a wedding house, picnic areas, and many other exciting attractions. You can get to this Park via the cable car, but it’s not the same cable car that goes to Narikala Fortress. There is also the funicular railway, getting you from Tbilisi to Mtatsminda Park in just mere minutes. The station is on Chonkadze Street and you’ll pay 2 Laris for a return trip. You get into Mtatsminda Park free of charge, and then buy a plastic card at the entrance, topping it up with the money to use on all the attractions available. The card costs 2 Laris.
Chronicles of Georgia
Most tourists and Georgians alike will say you can’t leave Tbilisi until you have a look at the Chronicles of Georgia. It’s a huge monument, very impressive and majestic, designed by the Georgian sculptor, Zurab Tsereteli. The top part has been beautifully decorated with kings and queens going back 3000 years and the lower part depicts the life of Jesus Christ. You would get there by taking a taxi or the metro to Ghrmaghele station and from there take a bus, no. 60, which will take you straight there.
Go for a wine degustation
Georgia has some of the superb wines in the world, and the winemakers still use ‘qvevri’, big clay vessels in which the wine ages. This different technique, compared to the oak barrels used across Europe, gives the wine its own special taste – soft and flowery to the palate. Sometimes the ‘qvevri’ get buried in the ground and then covered with wood pieces in order for the wine to age over the years. You can take your pick whether you want to drink a young one or a mature wine. Try three of Georgia’s wines, Lelo, Akhasheni, or Khvanchkara. Look out for top Georgian wines at the Schuchmann Wine Bar & Restaurant.
Another place to go and do wine tasting is Askaneli Gardens in Tbilisi, near the airport, away from the city and surrounded by gardens. There is an old cellar there that still stands to this day. The Askaneli brothers revived the tradition, turning it into one of the largest wineries in Georgia, particularly if you like the famed French grape varieties. You will learn to taste the wine according to its taste, aromas, and appearance, and you can have it available to you straight from the wine tanks.
Tbilisi Botanical Gardens
Can you believe it – there are over 3500 plant types to view over the 128 hectares of the Tbilisi Botanical Garden. If you are with someone special, you can stroll along beautiful paths, shady alleys, over bridges and a river, take a dip under a waterfall, or visit the old cemetery where some distinguished figures lie buried – from the history of the Caucasus. It costs around 3 Lari to get in and stays open until 6.30 pm each day. Anyone longing for some ‘escape’ will love quiet moments in nature while sitting in the shade of centuries-old trees near the river.
Eat traditional Georgian food
There is no other way to describe Georgian cuisine other than delicious! Their best, famous dishes are their eggplant walnut rolls, khachapuri, odjahuri, khinkali, and more. To try out these menus, a good restaurant would be Machakhela–Samikitno, Racha Tavern, or Restaurant Pasanauri.
Georgian candies to entice
Traditional Georgian candies are delicious, there’s no denying that – but one is really special and that the Churchkhela; a sausage-like sweet with walnuts inside. Don’t be misled – some shop owners hang these colored ‘sausages’ in their store windows – they do look fantastic as decorations, sure, but they are sweets. Some main ingredients are walnuts, almonds, often raisins; all threaded on a string which has been dipped in concentrated grape juice forming a chewy coating around the nuts. A healthy candy; often served with coffee.
WHERE TO STAY IN TBILISI
Wherever you stay, Tbilisi will welcome you to magnificent airbnbs, hotels, and guesthouses. Want to propose with garnets and diamonds? A great hotel is the Hotel Garnet Tbilisi and its only 500 m from Freedom Square with an excellent rating on booking.com! It’s simply this, whatever the occasion, there’s a place.
LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE IN TBILISI
Tbilisi, the pulsating heartbeat of Georgia, a cosmopolitan city that draws people into its vibrancy; many people find it difficult to leave. Amongst the crowds and sometimes chaotic lifestyle, you find quaint narrow streets, small shops, leafy squares, quiet retreats, and harmony. Whichever part enthralls you, Tbilisi welcomes you into its embrace.