After a wonderful two months in Northern India, we took a slight detour on our way home to the UK and stopped off in Georgia for a week and a half. I had visited very briefly back in 2013 on the Mongol Rally, our 11,000 mile drive from London to Mongolia, and was excited to be back to see more of the country.
Formerly part of the USSR, Georgia became independent in 1991 and over the past few years tourist numbers have been increasing rapidly. The first thing we noticed as we stepped out of the capital’s airport was the wonderfully pleasant weather after the stifling humidity of our last week in India and this beautifully sunny and mild weather continued for our whole trip.
We flew into Tbilisi from Delhi and spent our first two days exploring the city’s pretty mix of old and new, and enjoyed its many places to drink and eat. Georgia is one of the world’s oldest wine regions and home to fantastic wine, both red and white. It’s food is also delicious and over the next 10 days we would try many varieties of khachapuri, cheese-filled bread, as well as the dumplings known as khinkali and a divine creamy, nutty spiced walnut paste that’s served in rolled aubergine and on salads.
Staying just off the main Rustaveli Avenue, we first walked to Freedom Square where we enjoyed a delicious, albeit rather stingy, scoop of Modo ice cream. We continued to the leaning clock tower for the noon puppet show before trying our first glass of Georgian wine in the sunshine at Leilas restaurant.
From here it was a lovely walk across the impressive Peace Bridge and up to the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, otherwise known as the Tsminda Sameba Cathedral. Completed fairly recently in 2004, it’s one of the world’s largest religious buildings and its size is certainly impressive.
After our first of many, many khachapuris at one of the city’s no doubt thousands of bakeries, we headed up the cable car for fantastic views across the capital from the base of the Mother of Georgia statue. Having seen the busy looking narrow streets of the old city as we headed up we decided to walk down and find a few places to try the local beers. The Black Lion craft beer was particularly delicious!
On our second day we visited the Georgian Museum where we happily spent a few hours admiring its thousands and thousands of artefacts. It was incredibly interesting to read how far back the country’s history goes and to learn about the Soviet invasion and rule.
Not too far from the museum is the funicular railway and the beautiful view from the top towers over any other vantage point. There’s also an amusement park at the top of the hill and a number of fun rides to check out.
We spent the next few hours popping our heads into different restaurants to eat and drink before ending our day with a scrub and massage at one of the city’s many sulphur hot springs. It was definitely the cleanest we’d been in months!
Where we Stayed
There is no shortage of accommodation in Tbilisi and we thoroughly enjoyed staying with the wonderfully warm and friendly Valera at his home stay.
It’s a very walk-able city and the metro is cheap if you need to take it. Valera’s home stay is 2 minutes from the main train station and metro.
- Accommodation – $11/night
- Cable Car – 3 each way/person
- Funicular – 3 each way/person
- Georgian Museum – 7/person
- Baths – 150 for us both (this included a soapy scrub and a massage)