13 top things to do in Tbilisi in winter

Is Tbilisi in winter worth it? 

Georgia’s becoming increasingly popular – but should you take a winter trip to Tbilisi? 

If you’re wondering if the capital’s worth visiting in the cooler months, read on! 

I’ve visited Tbilisi twice, once in summer and once in winter, and these are all my thoughts. 

What’s Tbilisi like in the winter?

After spending a summery week in Tbilisi in 2019, I wasn’t sure what to expect on my 2024 winter trip. 

Would it snow? Would there be incessant rain? Would things be open? 

It turned out that Tbilisi in winter had every bit as charm as the summer months. 

It’s quieter, but that’s no bad thing (summer 2019 was a busy season for Tbilisi!). 

The weather can be hit and miss, but we had sunshine nearly every day. 

Plus, it’s a capital city, where over a million people live, so nearly everything is still open!

Tbilisi winter weather

The weather in Tbilisi in winter can really vary. 

There was a little snow before our trip (late January/ early February) and throughout our stay, it was generally around 5 -10°C. We did have plenty of winter sunshine, however!

BUT later on in the month (on 11th February to be exact), after our trip to Svaneti, we returned to Tbilisi and were graced with 16°C and wall-to-wall sunshine!

So, it can really vary, but it’s generally a little warmer than other European destinations. 

Things to do in Tbilisi in winter

Many of Tbilisi’s top attractions are all-weather, so you can do these in both the winter and the summer!

However, there are a few Tbilisi activities that are even better in the winter season. 

Take a cable car up to Mother of Georgia

This is my favourite thing to do in Tbilisi. A cable car connects the old town with the Mother of Georgia statue, which sits on top of one of Tbilisi’s hills. 

The cable car often has queues in the summer season, but in the winter, you’ll likely waltz straight on. It costs just 2.5 GEL (less than a euro) for a one-way trip, too! 

At the top of the cable car, youll find Narikala Fortress. Dating back to the 4th century, this castle was used by the Persians, and by Arabs, Mongols, Ottomans and virtually all the other groups that passed through the city over the centuries. 

From Narikala Fortress, walk along to the Mother of Georgia statue. Dating back to 1958, she stands watch over the city – but, despite the name, she’s not loved by some locals as it reminds them of the Soviet days. 

From Mother of Georgia, you can follow a footpath back down to the Old Town. 

Have a sulfur bath

In Tbilisi in cold weather? Warm up in a sulfur bath!

Tbilisi was built on thermal sulfur waters – in fact, the story goes that King Vakhtang discovered the hot springs and decided to build a city there! 

The sulfur baths have been used throughout the years, and nowadays you’ll find modern bathhouses like Orbeliani and Bathhouse Number Five

You can either opt for a public bath (warning: everyone will be naked) or a private room at one of the bathhouses. 

Private rooms generally consist of a bath with sulfur waters, space outside to relax and a shower. Some also include cold plunge pools and saunas. 

My top recommendation is Orbeliani – you can book your slot online on their website

Check out the Museums

If you’re looking for Tbilisi rainy day attractions, there are plenty of museums! 

The best is probably the Tbilisi History Museum, which has the Tbilisi Wine Museum in its cellar. 

There’s also the Georgian National Museum which focuses on artefacts found all over Georgia. 

Other museums include the Museum of Soviet Occupation and the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts

Wine tasting

One of the beauties of Tbilisi is that you can experience its culture even when the weather is absolutely abysmal.

Why? Because drinking wine is an integral part of Georgia’s culture! 

Georgia has one of the oldest wine cultures in the world, and while Tbilisi isn’t in the heart of its wine region, most of the best brands pass through the capital at various points! 

Try wine tasting somewhere like Wine Library or Laliashvilebi’s Wine Cellar, or do a wine walk with Eat This! Georgia.

Eat the incredible food

Another way to experience Tbilisi’s culture without braving the outdoor elements at all is to sample its extensive (and delicious) food! 

Georgian food is legendary, and locals throughout the country are rightly proud of their hearty and delicious cuisine. 

Dining in Georgia is more of an experience than just a meal. You’ll sit at a table, be served different plates of food (way more than you can eat!) and your host will likely offer toasts about life and love!

Some of my favourite places to eat in Tbilisi are: 

  • Azarphesha – a wonderful restaurant serving Georgian classics, with exceptionally friendly hosts 
  • Ethnographer – they do Georgian dancing shows here, it’s a fantastic place to visit in the evening 
  • Cafe Daphna – this is a friendly, chic cafe that serves delicious khinkali
  • Zodiaqo – another excellent spot for vegetarian khinkali in Tbilisi, Zodiaqo also serves delicious fresh Georgian food

Take the funicular to Mtatsminda 

While Mother of Georgia sits on one side of the city, on the other you can take a funicular up to Mtatsminda, a funfair that dates back to 1929. 

There is a range of rides here – I’ll leave you to decide whether you want to go on them or not – but it also has the best view in the city, sitting 770 m above sea level (Tbillisi is around 380 m). 

The funicular is a fun experience too! 

Hike in the hills above the city 

One of my favourite things to do in the city was to walk from Mtatsminda to Mother of Georgia. 

This trail leads around the mountains, generally going downwards (if you hike toward Mother of Georgia rather than away from it), with views of the city as you go. 

You’ll enjoy the refreshing change of pace as you hike through woodland – there’s even a campsite that people use in the summer (winter will be a little chilly!). 

From the Mother of Georgia monument, you can take a path back down to the old town. The whole hike took us about 1.5 hours. 

Visit the Tbilisi Botanical Garden

Also in the Mother of Georgia vicinity is the Tbilisi Botanical Garden! This lush garden is home to a waterfall and a few hiking trails. 

It’s another Tbilisi spot that’s much more popular in the summer, but still well worth visiting in the winter! You might not see too many other hikers during this time, making it a wonderful retreat from the city. Just do check the weather forecast before you head out. 

Visit the Dry Bridge Market

The Dry Bridge Market sits along the banks of the Mtkvari River, and sells a vast array of products (from the weird to the wonderful!). 

You’ll find USSR-era passports, Turkish tea saucepans and a range of souvenirs. I’d advise doing any souvenir shopping here, rather than in the stores of the Old Town, as you can often get the same products for a third of the price (for example, we got khinkali socks for 5 GEL as opposed to 15 GEL!). 

Even if you don’t want to purchase anything, it’s worth walking around the market to see the array of items on offer. The market is generally open every day from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.  

Explore the city’s many churches 

Tbilisi is a city of many churches; Georgia is a passionately Christian Orthodox country and you’ll find lots of churches all over the country. 

The largest is the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi (or Sameba Cathedral), which is the third-tallest Eastern Orthodox Cathedral in the world. 

Then there’s Anchiskhati Basilica, which is the oldest church in Tbilisi, dating back to the 6th century. 

Sioni Cathedral is also a must-visit, sitting in the heart of Tbillisi’s old town; this used to be the most important church in the city before Sameba was built! 

Virgin Mary Assumption Church of Metekhi is another popular spot, famous for its statue of King Vakhtang in the courtyard and its view over the city. 

If you’re visiting churches in Tbilisi (or anywhere in the Orthodox world), you’ll need to cover your arms and knees and, if you’re a woman, your head as well. You’ll probably already be wearing long clothes in the winter, but I’d recommend carrying a headscarf just in case!

Take a Tbilisi walking tour

Fun fact: my partner and I met on a walking tour in Tbilisi, back in 2019!

While this was in the summer months, plenty of walking tours in Tbilisi take place in the winter season too. 

I recommend walking tours in most cities, but Tbilisi especially. This is because there are so many hidden spots in the old town that you likely won’t find with a guide! 

I’d recommend Tbilisi Free Walking Tours, which will take you through the old town, detail the city’s history and show you some quirky aspects of Georgia’s culture. 

Have a drink at Fabrika

While many of Tbilisi’s best attractions focus on the old town, it’s also worth venturing to the outskirts too. One of the best places to visit is Fabrika, a historic factory-turned-hostel, bar and coworking space!

This enterprise epitomizes Georgia’s modern culture; cool and hip, with murals and greenery throughout. Grab a Georgian wine or beer and soak in the atmosphere, or, if you’re a digital nomad, make use of the WiFi and catch up on some work! 

Go on a day trip

There are plenty of day trips around Tbilisi, and many of them are definitely among the best places in Georgia in winter.

Here are some of the most popular: 

Where to stay in Tbilisi

I’ve stayed in a few different places in Tbilisi, including: 

Alcatraz Jail Hostel – this Tbilisi hostel is, as the name suggests, jail-themed. It’s located in the heart of the old town and has clean, comfortable (despite the jail decor!) rooms and dorms. I stayed here back in 2019, but it looks like it’s still going strong! Click here to read more about it.

Moxy Tbilisi – I was really pleased to discover there’s now a Moxy by Marriot in Tbilisi! Expect a quirky lobby and comfortable modern rooms, not as high-end as standard Marriot rooms, but with everything you need. It’s located by the Dry Bridge Market. Click here for more information.

Family Hotel Triston – this comfortable guesthouse is situated a little way out of the centre, but it provides comfy rooms at excellent value. I’ll never forget the vast spread that they served to me as the included breakfast, complete with a glass of wine! Click here to read more.

Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel – this is possibly Tbilsi’s most opulent hotel, and while it’s definitely more expensive than others on this list, no stone is left unturned when it comes to luxury. The infinity pool on the hotel’s roof is showstopping, as are the rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows taking in the view, squashy super king-size beds and bathrooms kitted out with power showers and baths. It’s one of the most luxurious hotels I’ve ever stayed in! Click here to read more.

I’ve not stayed here, but Rooms has a hotel in Tbilisi and I was very impressed with their property in Batumi. They’re a Georgian-owned boutique brand with minimalist, chic rooms and quirky dining options. Click here to read more.

Where is the closest skiing to Tbilisi? 

The closest skiing destination to Tbilisi is Gudauri, which is the largest ski resort in the country. 

Located about 120 kilometres north of Tbilisi, Gudauri is easily accessible by road.

The resort features well-maintained pistes, modern lifts and amenities that cater to both beginners and experienced skiers. 

It’s worth staying a couple of nights there to enjoy the slopes – some people I know stayed at and enjoyed Gudauri Lodge

To reach Gudauri from Tbilisi, you can either take a public marshrutka or book a private transfer (do so via this link). 

Does it snow in Tbilisi?  

It can snow in Tbilisi! It’s not common, and you’re more likely to have milder winter weather than other European destinations, but if you’re visiting in the heart of winter you may well experience some snow in the city. 

So, are you ready to visit Tbilisi in winter?

It might be cooler than the summer months, but Tbilisi is absolutely worth visiting in the winter! 

Crowds are thinner, prices are cheaper and there’s still the same amount of fantastic things to do.

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