With its partly old, partly modern architecture and history, Tbilisi is a place that is steeped in natural beauty, intrigue, and mystery – it’s a place where people of all ages and cultures come together and find something that suits and fits into their lives. Some people say you need to have a lot of money to spend because there is so much on offer here. There is a lot on offer, sure, but here are ten free things plus a few extras we have thrown in that you can do in Tbilisi. That is how Tbilisi is; it gives you more. Later, you will marvel at the fun you had; that you managed to see and experience Tbilisi that others with a lot of money to spend might not even have experienced. Let’s look at them –
Have a blast at Mtatsminda Park
Can you believe that you can enter Mtatsminda Park free and have the time of your life riding on the rides, swimming and picnicking and filling up your day with sunshine, fun and high entertainment? Doesn’t that sound too good to be true? And if you happen to be there at the time of certain concerts and events, it will also be free for you. So gather your friends or your loved one, or just yourself and have a blast. You can get to this spectacular venue by taking a minibus at the bus station in Rustaveli Avenue, or another way is via the funicular, which leaves from Chonkadze Street.
Discover unique stuff at the Dry Bridge flea market
What you get at this market is excellent original art, and there is a lot of Soviet-era memorabilia available for you to browse through and buy if you are interested. There are furs, car parts, furniture, vintage costume jewelry and old World War 2 military jackets. The sidewalks are full of tourists snapping up these souvenirs to take home. Recognize that there is junk too, like plastic sunglasses from China, heaps of Nokia cell phones, or Dior-inspired jewelry, etc. You can literally whittle away the hours here, and come away with some unforgettable memorabilia.
Attend the Puppet Theatre of Rezo Gabriadze
See how the time passes by with so many free things to enjoy? If you enjoy puppet theatre, then go over to the Clock Tower of Rezo Gabriadze; it’s a beautiful architectural landmark of Tbilisi. There you can watch a puppet show that lasts for 5 minutes. The times to be there are at 10.00 in the morning and 7:00 in the evening. It’s to be found at Shavtel Street.
Take a walking tour
This is fun in the sun – a walking tour in Tbilisi. You can start it from Freedom Square and end up in Old Tbilisi. Walking in Old Tbilisi anything but boring, and It is a fantastic way to see places like Metekhi Cathedral, Mother of Georgia, Narikala Fortress, Peace Bridge, Rike Park, and others. Not to be missed. And best of all, you don’t have to make it on any particular day; it’s a guaranteed fun at any time of the day and night, no matter what kind of weather is happening.
A bit about the Narikala fortress
If you come to Tbilisi, you can use the Narikala Fortress as your identifying landmark because you always see it, no matter where you are. It used to be a defense tower back in history during various invasions. If you want to get magnificent panoramic views over the city’s old district, the fortress will provide you fantastic opportunities to bring out your photographic gear.
Rest at Rike Park
You will love to sink down on to the soft grass after walking around the Narikala Fortress; it’s located on the Mtkvari River. You can enjoy some food and drinks at the café if you like or there’s the lift chair that will take you up to the hill to see the Mother of Georgia statue as well. She holds a sword and a cup in her hands. With the cup in her hand she welcomes those who come in friendship but the sword symbolizes that she is ready to fight those who come as an enemy.
Have a walk over the Peace Bridge
Take a close look at the Peace Bridge; it is constructed to look like a bow. It’s gorgeous in the day time but wait till you see it at night, with thousands of little LED lights lighting it up in amazing color. Standing in the middle of the bridge, you can capture some exciting photography shots.
See the Old City
If you enjoy old buildings of romantic, mystifying architecture, the old city is full of charming buildings; just strolling around the picturesque cobbled streets will reveal many of these to you. You will see the cutest souvenir shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants. Go check out the Vera District; it’s old and lovely, especially in spring and autumn. Kiacheli Street and Akhvlediani Street are full of loud pubs should you want to linger. When you feel hungry and thirsty, pop into a lovely little café with vintage clothing too called O Moda Moda. You won’t regret it.
You will like hiking the hills around
For lovers of walking and seeing the sights, and of course, not forgetting the inspiration that comes from nature, take a lovely hike; Tbilisi is not lacking here. You can hike trails that go near the Mtatsminda Pantheon, Lisi, or Turtle Lake. You can also do strolling, walking, running, or exercising at Vake Park and if you love ping pong and have bats and ball, there are tables there too.
Summertime is terrific in Tbilisi to have a picnic, even right there in the city. You don’t have to travel for miles. Some good examples are Lisi Lake, Tbilisi Sea, and Mtatsminda Park. Some of these venues have concerts and events, making your day even more exciting.
Try Georgian wines
You can taste top-range Georgian wines right in the heart of Tbilisi. There are plenty of shops and cellars that offer guests the chance to do some wine tasting in the old streets. Try these: Winery Khareba, Old Cellar, 8000 Vintages, Twins Wine Cellar, and Wine Gallery. Sometimes the best way to discover Georgian wines is to go on a wine tour where you will find and savor the best of what is on offer, and also enjoy light-hearted, memorable experiences from a guide.
Attend the Tbilisi Flea Market
Another foreign market, the Tbilisi Flea Market, is situated in Dedaena Park. It is held every second weekend. Many crafted and handmade stuff go on display. A lovely friendly, hipster-type environment and vibe exist under the care of young Georgians. There’s a roller park at this flea market which the children love. You might not be able to resist taking home some homemade lemonade and homemade jam. This flea market is quite different from the other one on the Dry Bridge – both are worth seeing.
Discover the Chronicles of Georgia
The Chronicles of Georgia is a huge 30-meter tall pillar that you will enjoy looking at as it portrays the Georgian heroes, kings, and queens. The bottom part has incredible biblical scenes you will also enjoy looking at, all forming part of the Georgian culture.
The “Tbilisi Sea” reservoir
Close by to the Chronicles of Georgia is this big lake or small sea, known as the Tbilisi Reservoir. It is trendy in the hot summer days to escape from the city. The beach is free for you to enjoy and enjoy a swim or the sun. Go there from the Temka Suburb side and sit on a bench to admire the beauty of this area.
The Writer’s House
This home used to be the home of David Sarajishvili, Doctor of Chemistry and Philosophy. He was also the founder of Georgian brandy. His home was used as the meeting place for artists and writers, and today’s artists and writers still gather there to share their work. A fascinating experience, if you love the arts – don’t forget to look at the magnificent pictures on the walls. Who wouldn’t love the terrace where custom-made ceramic tiles can be admired, all from Villeroy & Boch. You will find them in Machabeli Street number 13.
Relive the past at century-old Hotel de Londres
Intriguing, mysterious, exciting, nostalgic – that’s how you would sum up this old masterpiece in Tbilisi. This used to be one of the most famous hotels in the 19th- century, hosting famous people in the past such as the Russian composer, Tchaikovsky, and the Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun – he would tell his wife he was “traveling to the fairy tale”. Always fully booked, unforgettable memories, high-quality service, magnificent décor, and top-notch service from the hostess, Ekaterine Carl, were the order of the day. You might want to go and look-see about those glorious days of age-old decadence. Check out the stairs and entrance halls, made from luxury Italian marble – there used to be a massive chandelier in the center of the main hall, and guests would come and ply the white piano that stood there. They would read the foreigner journals scattered around on the tables. Unfortunately, this magnificent hotel is rather poorly maintained, but if you want to be dragged into another world, go and fulfill your dreams there.
‘THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE’
Not only do you find highly entertaining free things to enjoy in Tbilisi if you are short on the cash. For others, whether on a shoe-string budget or with money to spend, this enchanting city offers what you are looking for; it’s got budget friendly transport; fabulous night places to visit that won’t burn in a hole in your wallet, meals and accommodation that make it the sought after place it is. Get over there, because Tbilisi is having its moment.