Exploring a city on foot is undeniably the finest way to uncover its hidden treasures. I find immense joy in embarking on walking tours throughout Europe. Like any other European city, Tbilisi offers a captivating walking tour experience. It’s an exceptional opportunity to delve into the city’s charming nooks and crannies while gaining insights into its rich history and culture. Despite the availability of guided walking tours provided by various agencies, I opted for the Tbilisi self guided walking tour.
PIN for later reference – Tbilisi Self Guided Walking Tour
This article may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. For complete information, please see our affiliate disclaimer here.
Tbilisi Self-Guided Walking Tour
Explore the captivating streets of Tbilisi at your own pace with this comprehensive self-guided walking tour. Discover hidden gems, historic landmarks, and vibrant cultural sites as you wander through the charming neighborhoods of this dynamic city. Immerse yourself in Tbilisi’s rich history, architecture, and local traditions with our expertly crafted itinerary. Uncover the essence of Georgia’s capital city on an unforgettable journey through its bustling streets and picturesque alleyways.
- Starting Point: Metekhi Cathedral.
- Finishing Point: Abanotubani.
- Total Distance: 4.2 kilometres.
- Time Required: 1 hour.
- Grade: Easy. Mostly flat except for the path to Narikala Fortress.
Itinerary and Things to See on the Walk
- Photography within Orthodox churches is strictly prohibited.
- Georgians hold strong religious beliefs, and respecting and observing decorum when visiting religious sites is crucial.
- A dress code is enforced for entry into churches. Women must wear skirts, often available for borrowing outside the church. Additionally, women must cover their heads with scarves or caps.
- Entrance to landmarks is generally free unless otherwise stated.
- To utilize public transportation, travelers must obtain a Metromoney card, which can be purchased for 2 Georgian Lira at any ticketing office.
Part 1: Metekhi Cathedral to Shardeni Street
- Distance: 2.3 kilometres.
- Time Required: 30 minutes.
- Path: Metekhi Cathedral – Monument of King Vakhtang Gorgasali – Europe Square – Bridge of Peace – Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theatre – Anchiskhati Basilica – Patriarchate of Georgia – Sioni Cathedral – Tamada statue – Shardeni Street.
Built in the 13th century under the reign of King Demetrius II of Georgia, Metekhi church is an orthodox Christian church on the banks of River Kura. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is one of the oldest churches in Tbilisi.
- Church Timings: 10 AM to 4 PM every day.
- Nearest Metro Station: Avlabari metro station.
- Nearest Bus Stop: Europe Square.
You start your Tbilisi walking tour at Metekhi Cathedral.
Monument of King Vakhtang Gorgasali
Directly across from Metekhi Cathedral stands the Monument of King Vakhtang Gorgasali, the esteemed founder of Tbilisi. Renowned for his bravery and visionary leadership, King Vakhtang Gorgasali ruled for 45 years, earning the epithet “Gorgasali,” meaning “wolf head,” bestowed upon him by the Persians.
Legend has it that during one of his hunting excursions in what is now Tbilisi, King Vakhtang Gorgasali encountered a fateful incident. Accompanied by his faithful falcon, which he relied on to retrieve his prey, he inadvertently witnessed a tragic event. While pursuing a pheasant, the falcon and the hunted bird plunged into a hot sulphur spring, a characteristic feature of the Tbilisi region. This incident led to naming the city “Tbilisi,” derived from the Georgian word for “warm water.”
Europe Square, nestled near the old town, is a captivating historical enclave celebrated for its exquisite architecture and culinary delights. This iconic area exudes charm with its stunning buildings and vibrant restaurants, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the city’s rich heritage.
From elegant facades adorned with intricate details to quaint cobblestone streets steeped in history, Europe Square offers a picturesque glimpse into the past while serving as a vibrant hub of modern activity. Whether strolling along its bustling thoroughfares or savoring delectable cuisine in one of its charming eateries, visitors are treated to an unforgettable experience that seamlessly blends old-world charm with contemporary allure.
With its undeniable beauty and cultural significance, Europe Square stands as a testament to the timeless appeal of the city and beckons travelers to explore its storied streets and bask in its enchanting ambiance.
Bridge of Peace
The Bridge of Peace, inaugurated in 2010, is a striking pedestrian pathway linking Rike Park to Tbilisi’s historic old town. Crafted by the acclaimed Italian architect Michele De Lucchi, this architectural marvel spans 150 meters over the Kura River. Its elegant design and modern aesthetics have swiftly made it an iconic landmark in the cityscape. The bridge facilitates seamless access between two significant areas of the city and serves as a symbol of unity and progress for the people of Tbilisi.
With its sleek lines and innovative construction, the Bridge of Peace is a testament to the city’s commitment to blending contemporary design with its rich cultural heritage. Whether admired from afar or traversed up close, this magnificent structure captivates visitors with its beauty and significance, inviting all to appreciate the harmonious fusion of art, architecture, and functionality.
Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theatre
- Theatre Timings: 11 AM to 11 PM every day.
- Admission fees vary depending on the program, ensuring something for every taste and budget.
Whether you’re drawn to whimsical tales or poignant narratives, the theatre promises an enchanting experience that transcends age and language barriers. Immerse yourself in the magical world of puppetry at the Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theatre and witness the timeless artistry that continues to captivate audiences year after year.
Also, Read Jvari Monastery of Mtskheta, a UNESCO Heritage Site
Constructed in the 6th century under the patronage of King Dachi of Iberia, the Anchiskhati Basilica of St. Mary stands as Tbilisi’s oldest extant church. Consecrated initially to the Virgin Mary, this three-span basilica underwent a renaming in 1675, honoring the revered icon of Ancha and adopting the name “Anchiskhati.”
- Church Timings: 10 AM to 4 PM every day.
Experience the timeless beauty and spiritual significance of the Anchiskhati Basilica, a testament to Tbilisi’s enduring cultural legacy.
Patriarchate of Georgia
Dating back to the 5th century, the Patriarchate of Georgia is a revered symbol of Georgian Orthodox Christianity. Situated on the eastern side of Ereke II Square, this historic church occupies the site once held by King Rostom’s palace.
- Church Timings: 10 AM to 4 PM every day.
Experience the profound spiritual significance and rich cultural heritage of the Patriarchate of Georgia, a sanctuary steeped in history and reverence.
While the original Sioni Cathedral dates back to the 6th century, the present structure is inspired by its 13th-century iteration. This revered Georgian Orthodox Christian cathedral shares its name with Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
- Church Timings: 8 AM to 9 PM every day.
The Tamada statue on Bambis Rigi Street depicts a man raising a horn in a traditional Georgian toast during feasts and celebrations. Crafted from bronze, this statue is a replica of another bronze figure unearthed during an excavation in the Western Georgian town of Vani.
In Georgian culture, wine is typically served and consumed from horns, and it’s customary for Georgians, following a toast, to drink the contents of their horns bottoms up, regardless of their size. This ritual underscores the significance of camaraderie and friendliness in Georgian social gatherings, emphasizing the importance of shared experiences and bonds forged over a shared drink.
Shardeni Street buzzes with activity, boasting numerous cafes and restaurants, making it a hotspot for nightlife enthusiasts. This vibrant thoroughfare draws from the renowned French explorer Jan Chardin, who journeyed to Tbilisi in 1863.
Part 2: Shardeni Street to Abanotubani
- Distance: 1.9 kilometres.
- Time Required: 30 minutes.
- Path: Shardeni Street – Mother of Georgia – Narikala Fortress – Juma Mosque – Leghvtakhevi waterfall – Chreli Abano Spa – Abanotubani.
Mother of Georgia
Perched atop Sololaki Hill, the Mother of Georgia monument was unveiled in 1958 to commemorate Tbilisi’s 1500th anniversary. Revered as Kartlis Deda, she embodies the essence of Georgian national identity. With one hand extending a bowl of wine to welcome friends and the other wielding a sword in defense against adversaries, she is a powerful symbol of hospitality and strength.
Tbilisi Cable Car
A convenient way to reach the Mother of Georgia is by boarding the Tbilisi cable car from Rike Park. The fare for a one-way ride is 2.5 Georgian Lari, payable exclusively through the Metromoney card. You can acquire the Metromoney card for approximately 2 Georgian Lari at the ticketing office.
Narikala Fortress, an ancient stronghold dating back to the 4th century, is steeped in legend, attributed to its construction by King Vakhtang I Gorgasali. Within its formidable walls lies the St. Nicholas Church, a site of spiritual significance. The original 13th-century St. Nicholas Church succumbed to fire, leading to the construction of a new church in 1996-1997 to succeed its predecessor.
- Fortress and Church Timings: 8 AM to 8 PM every day.
- Security guards are stationed on-site throughout the day to ensure the safety of visitors.
Constructed in the 15th century, the Juma Mosque in Tbilisi is a rare testament to unity, as it welcomes Sunni and Shia Muslims for prayers. This historic mosque, the sole surviving one in Tbilisi, is nestled within the Old Town, bearing witness to centuries of cultural and religious diversity.
Surprising as it may seem, nestled within Tbilisi’s Old Town is the Leghvtakhevi Waterfall, a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Standing 22 meters tall, this majestic cascade is adjacent to the sulphur baths area. In the Georgian language, “Leghvtakhevi” translates to “fig gorge,” adding a touch of local charm to this natural wonder.
Chreli Abano Spa
As previously noted, Tbilisi’s sulphur water is renowned, and visiting the sulphur baths is a quintessential experience in the city. Among these, the Chreli Abano Spa stands out in the historic district of Tbilisi. Housed within the oldest sulphur baths and spas dating back to ancient times, this establishment offers a range of rejuvenating treatments.
- Spa Timings: 9 AM to 11 PM every day.
- Pricing varies depending on the selected package.
It’s advisable to bring a change of clothes for your comfort and convenience during your spa visit.
Renowned for its sulfuric baths, Abanotubani is a distinct district within Tbilisi’s Old Town, distinguished by its charming brick houses. In the Georgian language, “Abanotubani” translates to “bath district,” reflecting its historical significance as a hub for bathing rituals. In conclusion to the Tbilisi self-guided walking tour, Abanotubani offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage and ancient traditions.
I had a wonderful experience exploring Tbilisi through the walking tour and discovering the captivating landmarks. The city is steeped in history and adorned with legends, each historical landmark offering a glimpse into its rich tapestry of stories. It’s genuinely fascinating to delve into the history and significance of each site, immersing oneself in the tales that have shaped Tbilisi into the vibrant city it is today.
How can you support me?
You know how much I love coffee, so you can buy me a coffee – Buy me Coffee!
Or you can purchase from one of the below travel resources without any extra charge to you:
Book your flight on Skyscanner.com or Trip.com
Reserve your accommodation on Stay22
Reserve your stay at a hostel on HostelWorld
Use RentalCars or DiscoverCars for hiring self-driven cars
Book your tours and travels or purchase tickets on Viator or GetYourGuide
For a universal SIM card, use DrimSim
Buy comprehensive travel insurance on SafetyWing and WorldNomads
Do you have a question? Do you want any suggestions and tips for travel, hikes, and scuba dives? Use the Subscription box below to sign up and get updates by email.