One Day Trip to Tbilisi

If you somehow happen to have a few free days before you leave Baku and fly away home and in case you've already seen main regional sights in Azerbaijan, you can actually plan a one day trip to capital city of Georgia - Tbilisi. Tbilisi can be reached in about six-seven hours by driving, half a day by train (overnight ride) or by plane of course. The last option (flight) is too expensive for an hour long flight but if you have no problem money-wise then it is fine. Driving your own car or paying someone to take you there is the easiest and most comfortable option. The ride will take about six hours till the western border (called "red bridge" by locals). Crossing the border (including passport control) will take about 20 minutes most if you walk it. But if you want the driver to cross the border with you and drive you further to Tbilisi, it will take way more time because of huge line of vehicles. So the best way is to say goodbye to your driver on the border, walk through the passport control and take a cab in Georgia which will take you to Tbilisi.

No matter how much a Georgian cab driver wants for you, keep bargaining until he says OK to 40 lari (about 18 manats). That is a normal price till Tbilisi. Taking a bus from Baku to Tbilisi is not a good idea because bus drivers drive like crazy till the border and you have to keep saying prayers until you reach it alive. Train is another uncomfortable way of traveling to Georgia because the trip takes too long (leaves at 22:00 and reaches border at 8:00 in the morning) and plus you'll waste at least an hour on each side of the border until customs officers finish checking all passengers (customs officers of both countries: that is one boring process repeated twice). Or, you can take a train until Gazakh or Aghstafa (Qazax, Ańüstafa) both of which are cities located very close to the border and take a cab till "red bridge" and walk through the border. Ticket prices for trains are: 50 AZN for one person in Baku-Tbilisi train (one way only, a bed in a "kupe" - a compartment for two people) and 20-30 AZN for one person in local Baku-Aghstafa or Baku-Gazakh train (one way only, a bed in "kupe" - a compartment for two people). For more info about these trains please check Transportation Means section.

Now a little about Tbilisi itself:

Food: Food in Tbilisi is way cheaper than in Baku and you can order some nice meals for twice as less than here. Their cuisine is very good and they are also known for making outstanding red wine (I don't drink alcohol so I couldn't rate it, but those who've tried said it is fantastic).

Transportation: There is nothing I can really write about because taxi is very cheap there so considering I had only 24 hours to see as much as I could, I decided to ignore public transport and took cabs whenever I needed (don't forget to bargain, they don't have electronic km-counters so you can always negotiate). 

Georgian people: Just as any other Caucasians they are very nice and helpful. Lots of young people speak English so there won't really be a language barrier.

Precautions: There are lots of street beggars in Tbilisi (mostly gypsies) and they tend to stick to tourists all the time. Don't pay even a penny whether it is a child or a grown up because they have a good network and they will keep following you all time asking for more and more.

Police: Georgian police is extremely polite and helpful. They all speak English well so don't even hesitate to approach a policeman in case you get lost or get into some kind of trouble.  

Architecture: Tbilisi has lots of very old streets with old buildings and houses on them. For a history lover it is a good city to take a walk. Plus, Georgian are quite religious so you'll see many beautiful churches around and within the city. 

Sights: I couldn't see that much in 24 hours because Tbilisi is city with rich history and has really lots of stuff to offer to tourists. Nevertheless, I managed to walk around a little and see some interesting places:

1) Rustaveli avenue is one of central street with boutique stores, coffee-shops, hotels and etc. Kind of reminded me of our fountain square or Istiglal street in Istanbul (Turkey). People walk through this avenue just to do some shopping, sit on benches and read books and have a rest in general. It leads to the square of Freedom from where you can take a cab (5 lari) to see another sight - Mtsaminda park.

Rustaveli avenue
Rustaveli avenue
2) Mtsaminda park is a forest-like amusement park located up on a hill with playgrounds (both for children and adults), cafes, a huge ferris wheel, the TV tower and etc. The main reason why you should come here is because from this height you'll see Tbilisi as a whole and will have a general idea about its size and structure:

City view from Mtstaminda park
3) Narikala fortress is not so far from Mtsaminda park so it will take only a few minutes to see it. Nearby there is also a huge mother-Georgia monument. From that very hill you can take a ride on a cable-way which leads downwards nearby downtown again.

Narikala fortress
City view from cable-way
4) In about a 30 minute cab ride, outside Tbilisi you can visit the old Jvari church (VI century) built on a hill from where opens a view of the first Georgian capital city - old Mtskheta and a merger of two rivers (Kur and Aragva):

Old Jvari Church
Merger of two rivers and the old Mtskheta
5) If you still have time, you can visit Mtskheta itself to see its old Cathedral and drink a cup of coffee in a cafeteria on one of its narrow streets:

Streets of Mtskheta
Old Cathedral in Mtskheta
Good luck folks!