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Top spring / summer 2022 trends from the catwalks

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DUBAI: If you’re looking for a city vacation that won’t blow your bank, but also doesn’t require you to compromise on quality, then the Georgian capital of Tbilisi – an urban sprawl tucked away in a series of mountains following the Kura River route – well worth a visit.

Its architecture reflects the varied past of the country and its geographical location where East meets (almost) West. The latter’s influence is as evident as that of the Russian Empire and the Soviet era with its imposing residences.

Tbilisi is not a huge city, but you can easily spend a week walking the streets, visiting the various tourist attractions and soaking up its bustling and bustling atmosphere.

The old town of Tbilisi. Getty Images

The airport is a short drive from the city center, but beware; there are people, mostly men, wearing black tabards with the words “airport taxi” on them. Make sure you agree on a price before you start your ride, otherwise you could end up paying up to three times the actual price.

Despite the taxis from the airport, Tbilisi is very affordable. Georgia has joined the European Union but not the euro and as such remains a place where your wallet will be less strained than in many European countries.

You can stay at one of the many 4-star hotels in the heart of the Old Town for as little as $ 300 for four nights – although you can certainly spend more if you want – and you can eat a hearty meal with drinks. for as little as $ 20.

View from Zedazeni mountain. Shutterstock

The concierge at most hotels will help you plan an itinerary, but be sure to include the Zedazeni Monastery. Located at the top of Zedazeni Mountain, it is one of the oldest in the country and boasts a vast metal cross as well as panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

It’s also worth investing in a city bus tour. Tickets are valid for 24 hours and the tour includes all major tourist attractions.

A walk in the old town is essential: the narrow streets are lined with historic buildings, the balconies of the first floor overlooking the tree-lined streets; it’s like a scene from an old French village. Overlooking this idyll is the statue of the Mother of Georgia. It’s a short but steep walk to this monument, and the payoff is a spectacular view of the city.

Statue of the mother of Georgia. Getty Images

Outside the old town, the roads are busier and the traffic is heavy. It’s not the most pedestrian-friendly place – sidewalks often end abruptly, leaving you with the choice of a quick run down the road or a sharp U-turn to find a better route.

Another great place for spectacular views is Mtatsminda Park, accessible via the Tbilisi funicular from Chonkadze Street to the summit, at 727 meters above sea level.

It’s hot in Georgia in the summer, and the city’s galleries and museums provide a welcome getaway. The National Gallery on Rustaveli Avenue is small, but offers an interesting glimpse into Georgian history. A short distance away is the Georgian Museum of Fine Arts, which, in addition to its three floors of works of art, also houses a great cafe.

National Art Gallery. Shutterstock

If markets are your thing, set aside time for the flea market next to the Dry Bridge. It has a wide selection of arts and crafts and is a nice place to walk around, even if you don’t intend to buy anything. Who knows? You might just find this bronze bust of Stalin to add the finishing touch to your guest room.

Tbilisi is also a good starting point for day trips to the rest of Georgia. The country’s third largest city, Kutaisi, is about a three hour drive away, in the mountains, surrounded by awe-inspiring scenery. It is a city with a much slower pace than the capital, with a wide selection of restaurants and cafes to pass the time.

Kutaisi. Shutterstock

Georgia is a beautiful country and a popular destination because it is also remarkably cheap. Remember, however, that people are paid according to this level of cost – so be sure to tip generously when dining out. You can afford it, and it will make your server’s day.

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