I found my way around quite a lot of Tbilisi when I visited in May, and on my second visit in September I dug a bit deeper.
In terms of accommodation, I went back to the same Airbnb apartment for 3 nights in the city at the start of my visit. Its location is ideal and it is quiet and comfortable. At £26 (€29) per night it is great value too.
When I returned to Tbilisi from Yerevan I stayed a night at the 5 Rooms before heading north to Stepantsminda. A hotel is better for a 1 night stay. 5 Rooms arranged a transfer from the airport, which is standard but always helpful.
I got a super warm welcome from the owner, who is a former player in Georgia’s national rugby team and has played in and against Scotland. In fact he forced me to have two glasses of his excellent home made wine.
The hotel has a great location in a quiet courtyard just across the Baratashvili Bridge from the main part of the city centre. I would definitely consider it again in the future. It was £42 (€47) for a large room, with breakfast.
The other hotel I used was Ilja’s Hotel. It is located in the 19th century Vera area, and is just a short walk from Rustaveli metro station. I chose it because it is close to where I had to drop off my rented car after returning from Kakheti, and again it was a one night stay before flying home the next day.
It is great too. It cost £42 (€47), again including breakfast. In fact they gave me breakfast at 7am when it would normally start at 8am, because I had to leave before that for my 9.30 flight. Very Georgian.
I took two tours when I was in Tbilisi – a food tour and a wine tour. I recommend them highly. I learned a huge amount as well as enjoying what was on offer and the company of other “students’. They are both operated by Tbilisi Free Walking Tours (they were not free, but their other tours are). Both guides were excellent.
The food tour took us to 3 different restaurants – Cafe Leila, Orshimowine and Shemomechama – and then a wine bar.
The wine “tour” took place entirely in Royal Wine at 8/41 Amaghleba St, but we “toured” Kakheti by means of 7 bottles of wine and a couple of glasses of tchatcha.
I ventured into 9Mta a couple of times for a beer. They have a great selection. It is 100m from Liberty Square at 10 Galaktion Tabidze St., and easy to find.
I used a taxi once – my first such venture in the city. It was ideal. He put the meter on without being asked and found my destination first time. It was cheap.
I also used the metro for the first time. It is so cheap and easy – 0.40 lari (£0.13 or €0.12) per trip (the same as buses). You need a buy a pre-pay card and then load it with credit. Both are available at sales desks in the city centre stations I used.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2019