Tbilisi Layover Guide
Tbilisi layover guide will give you a compact list of the top tourist sights in the hospitable Tbilisi to make the best of your day or even few hours at your disposal. We compiled a guide of the most interesting places in Tbilisi for those who are waiting a stopover flight, on a business trip or just travelling through Tbilisi. It is surely not enough to get to know this colorful city within such a short time, but our Tbilisi layover tour will give you a bright insight into this beautiful capital city.
It will take 30 min (20km) to reach the city from the airport. Start exploring Tbilisi with a visit to the Tsminda Sameba, the church located on the Elia hill, 5 min walk from the metro station “Avlabari”. The road from metro to the cathedral is very nice as it passes across the “Armenian quarter” of Tbilisi. On the way, you will pass by the market where they sell Georgian well-known spice svanuri marili.
Tsminda Sameba Cathedral is a new construction; its erection started in Tbilisi in 1995 with an offer of billionaire and patron of arts Bidzine Ivanishvili. The construction took 10 years to complete. The cathedral is seen practically from everywhere in the center of Tbilisi not only in the day, but also at night, due to exterior lightening of Tsminda Sameba. There are alleys on the territory of the church where you can take a walk, as well as the café “Lagidze” famous for its lemonades and khachapuri. The road from Tsminda Sameba down to the Kura River and Park Rike lies through colorful streets of old Tbilisi.
The next point of your short but intense walking tour in Tbilisi will be the Bridge of Peace across the Kura River built in 2010. The bridge has other names as well: Crystal, Glass, Lovers’ bridge. The Bridge of Peace is a must-see of Tbilisi especially after sunset when lighting is on not only with decorative, but also an interesting meaningful function: bridge lights communicate in Morse’s code: chemical elements from Mendeelev periodic table that make up human body. This rather original idea of architects and designers will make your walk across the Bridge of Peace romantic.
Park Rike is situated on the left bank of the Kura River revealing a beautiful view of the Bridge of Peace and lights of the Old Town on the other side. In the evenings, people may enjoy dancing fountains.
There is Metekhi church not far from the Park Rike, built in the 13th century – another interesting landmark on the map of Tbilisi that is worth visiting. The monument to the founder of Tbilisi, Tsar Vakhtang Gorgasali is grandly mounting the Kura River, in front of the church. The monument looks old, but it is only an impression, as the stone rider was erected there only half a century ago. The landscape with Gorgasali monument and Metekhi church is the symbol of Tbilisi that are often seen on stands and postcards.
If you still have some more free time, take a ride on the cable car to the Narikala fortress. Interesting fact is that you can pay for cable car with your metro ticket. Narikala fortress is the best place for taking photos, you will enjoy the city view and make few captures.
Tbilisi layover guide without mentioning the Sioni cathedral, one of the main Georgian religious sanctuaries. The Sioni cathedral keeps the famous Christian relic – crest of the Holy Nino. It is the first Christian crest in Georgia that Nino forged from vine and own hair.
Taking a stroll along the streets of old Tbilisi, you will see the unique building of the theatre of Rezo Gabriadze with its clock tower and feel the scent of coffee coming from the café nearby. The café terrace has a magic view of the old town and the Anchiskhati basilica. Rezo Gabriadze created the interior of this café himself filling it with paintings and posters on walls to sculptures and ceramics, tables and chairs to curtains on the windows.
Ideal end of this stopover excursion in Tbilisi should be having meal in one of the numerous cafes/restaurants as Georgian cuisine is one of the major tourist ‘sights’. Khinkali, khachapuri and nice wine in the open-air lounge of the restaurant will make your memories of Tbilisi even brighter.