If someone mentions “Georgia,” what instantly comes to mind is the U.S. state of Georgia. Unknown to some, a country named Georgia actually exists and that is the Republic of Georgia, a country at the intersection of Asia and the old continent of Europe, and a former Soviet republic. The world wide web might have been plagued with news about the country for all the wrong reasons, but there is definitely more to Georgia than just that. Other than a quite challenging language to learn, especially its capital city of Tbilisi, is a humble, quiet, and kid-friendly tourist destination. Additionally, it is home to Caucasus Mountain villages, exceptional historical sites, stunning landscapes, and Black Sea beaches.
The time for Georgia, or Sakartvelo as the locals call the country,is here. Let me take you to some of the best places where you can take your kids in Georgia.
1. The Old Town
The Old Town of Tbilisi is probably one of the most notable sites any visiting family will have on their Georgian getaway itinerary. Sitting at the foot of a hill with rich historical importance, Old Town in the present-day Tbilisi is known as the city’s “historical center.” Kids will love a walk through the old cathedrals, museums, and churches that adorn the labyrinth of streets. Old brick-made houses, along with Sulphur bath-houses, are also some of the things the family will see in this part of the city. The Old Town also boasts a number of structures, which photography-enthusiasts will surely love to take photos of. A good afternoon stroll on the streets, while enjoying the view and the place is a great way to explore Tbilisi as well.
2. The Bridge of Peace
In contrast to the Old Town’s charming and historical vibe, Tbilisi’s Bridge of Peace is a modern piece of architecture, which offers pedestrian with a spacious and walkable pathway. The bridge is arched over the Mtkvari River that attracts both locals and tourist’s attention even from afar. This 511 foot (156-meter) long bridge also offers a stunning view of both the old Tbilisi and the new city, something the family will enjoy. At night, there are also some good things to see. The bridge itself is a star that illuminates magically with LED bulbs.
3. Rike Park
If your Georgian getaway happens to be in summer, you can take the kids to Rike Park where locals and tourists are entertained by the magical display of music and light. Coming from the Old Town, Rike Park is located on the left bank of the Mtkvari River, and is accessible via the modern Bridge of Peace. The park is also a fun place to walk around in the late afternoon with kids, while you feast on the amazing fountain display. From the park, you can buy an Aerial Tramway ticket for the ultimate way to admire the city.
4. Narikala Fortress
Located near the grounds of the Old Town and overlooking the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi, Narikala Fortress, also known as the Mother Fortress of Tbilisi, is an ancient and iconic defense wall that up to this day stands as a boundary of the historic center. Standing tall since the 4th century, the walls of the fortress dwarf anyone or anything that stands near it. However, it also gives anyone who visits the chance to witness a stunning view of the city, especially during sunset. A hike through the 4921 foot (1500-meter) Narikala trail from the Old Town to the top of the ridge is another way to spend a good afternoon.
5. Sameba Cathedral
Aside from being one of the tallest Orthodox churches in the world, Sameba Cathedral is a significant structure to Georgians. Since religion in Georgia is big, the church was built and completed in 2004 to commemorate the 2,000 years of Christianity in the country. Despite being a religious structure, like many churches around the world, Sameba Cathedral also serves as a tourist destination. During the day, its grounds offer space for kids to run around and play a bit, while the parents admire the beautiful and tall structure before them. At night, the cathedral is illuminated with warm lights that blend with the dark and starry sky above.
6. Rustaveli Avenue
Formerly known as Golovin Street and renamed after the famous Georgian poet Shota Rustave, Rustaveli Avenue is one of the major thoroughfares in the city. Centrally located in Tbilisi, this almost one mile (1.5- kilometer) street is adorned with historical sites, public spaces, shops, museums, and other government buildings. Among them are the Museum of Fine Arts, the monument of St. George, the Kashueti St. George Church, the Opera House, and the Parliament building. Walking on the sidewalks with your little one is a good way to enjoy your tour.
Tbilisi is famous for its Sulphur baths known to cure ailments, so a visit to Georgia will not be complete without a side trip to the Abanotubani district. There used to be a good number of historical bathhouses in the area, but only five survived. These bathhouses are historical because it is believed that the kings who once ruled the town frequented the area to relax.
8. Mtatsminda Amusement Park
If ever the kids get tired of visiting historical sites and want to take a break, relax, or have fun, then take them to Mtatsminda Park. Located at the top of Mount Mtatsminda, the park is every child’s playground in Tbilisi. This amusement park does not just offer the locals with children and visiting families with fun and adventure, but also an amazing view of the city. Among the many attractions that your kids can enjoy are the park’s carousels, roller coaster, water slides, and Ferris wheel. Overlooking the Georgian capital, the park can be reached by several modes of transportation, including taxi and the more famous funicular. The funicular that leaves Old Town will take you and your family for a safe ride to the top of the hill.
This article is part of our popular series, Place To Go With Kids!