Sulphur baths and Soviet markets: The right way to spend a weekend in Tbilisi on a budget


For as little as €10 a meal, you possibly can eat like royalty in Tbilisi.


Georgia’s capital Tbilisi is a beguiling mix of European, eastern, medieval and Soviet culture. 

Town offers up a cocktail of various characters from the faded elegance of the Chugureti neighbourhood to the late-medieval jumble of the old town and the monumental Soviet Mother of Georgia sculpture on the hillside.  

With low-cost, abundant food and low-cost activities, Tbilisi is the proper destination for a budget break. 

Here’s what to do, where to eat and get around the town. 

What to do in Tbilisi on a budget

One of the vital wallet-friendly things you possibly can do in Tbilisi is solely wander around, getting lost in its mosaic of cultures. 

The UNESCO-designated Old Tbilisi is a tangle of brick houses with pastel-painted, picket carved balconies threaded through with lanes that zigzag horizontally and vertically. 

For some low-cost leisure, book a session at one in all the Persian-style spas within the Abanotubani area. Characterised by their series of brick domes, they’re fed by natural sulphurous waters. 

Ranging from €50, you possibly can rent a palatial room with prettily tiled partitions and a domed roof on an hourly basis. In complete privacy, you (or a small group) can flow into between the marble-clad cold and warm tubs and sauna, with using a non-public changing area and toilet too. 

For one more roughly €7, a therapist will provide you with a merciless skin-peeling scrub. 

Nearby, you’ll find the underground Meidan bazaar, Abkhazi Street filled with souvenir shops and Jan Shardeni and Bambis Rigi streets now overrun with gentrified bars. Together with the crooked, much-photographed Gabriadze Theatre and Clock Tower, these are essentially the most touristy areas.  

Where are one of the best places to go in Tbilisi?

As an alternative, stop by Sioni Cathedral in its square below street level. Ensure that you dress appropriately (women should cover their heads) and peek inside for a quiet moment watching the faithful pray and chant.   

Cross the river within the Metekhi neighbourhood crammed onto – and at some points teetering over – a rocky outcrop above the water. Here, there are still many unrestored and dilapidated buildings which provides a glimpse of what much of Old Tbilisi looked like before its controversial 2009 restoration. 

Nearby, you possibly can take a cable automotive for a few euros as much as the irregular twisting partitions of the traditional Narikala fortress. A brief walk takes you beneath the mighty aluminium figure of Kartlis Deda in traditional Georgian dress holding a sword. This Mother of Georgia sculpture was erected in 1958 and measures 20 metres tall. 

If you must wander a quieter area of Tbilisi, you will discover crumbling splendour within the streets and Nineteenth-century architecture on the eastern side of the river.

The Chugureti neighbourhood is filled with pocket-sized vintage boutiques, antique shops, hidden bars and intimate clubs (millennials look no further than Meoba Bar where revellers select 90s hits from a jukebox). 

Stop by Fabrika, an ex-Soviet factory transformed right into a hip cultural hub, bar and hostel and walk the length of Davit Aghmashenebeli Avenue for independent cafès and a series of lavish theatres. 

Hit the markets for affordable souvenirs from Tbilisi

Various flea markets sprawl through the streets of Tbilisi. The best to go to for those who’re staying within the centre is Dry Bridge market, which stretches across the Saarbrucken Bridge and thru 9 March Park and surrounding streets. 

Going down every morning, some sellers display their wares on everlasting shelving while others just arrange tables or throw a cloth on the bottom. You may spend hours here perusing the disarray of flowery crockery, dusty chandeliers, giant daggers and woven rugs. 


This can also be the place to select up a novel and low-cost souvenir like a Soviet medal, a pair of handmade enamel earrings, socks decorated with traditional Georgian foods or a Papakha fur hat. 

Low-cost food options in Tbilisi

For as little as €10 a meal, you possibly can eat like royalty in Tbilisi. Georgia has loads of belt-busting classics. For khinkali – fat, dumpling-like parcels full of spiced minced meat – head to Cafe Daphna or Asi Khinkali. With around five of those at roughly 50 cents a pop, you’ll be loosening your belt. 

Khachapuri are available in different regional varieties but all involve a fluffy bread with melted cheese either stuffed inside or swimming in a pool of butter on top. Try them at Retro or popular chain Sakhachapure No.1.

For an reasonably priced evening meal, eat classics like spicy bean stew lobio and creamy garlicky chicken shkmeruli at restaurants Elene Dariani or Salobie Bia. 

The right way to get around Tbilisi

Tbilisi is a walkable city with many landmarks and attractions positioned close to one another. 


But in case your feet are getting drained, for around €3 for a 20-minute journey, you should utilize the ride-sharing service Bolt. Via the app, you possibly can request a automotive anywhere in the town and it is going to often arrive inside minutes. 

It’s also possible to use Bolt to get to the airport. The journey is around 30 GEL (€9) from most locations in the town centre which is less expensive than hotel transfer services.


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