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The Easiest Way To Visit Mtskheta From Tbilisi


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Danyelle Bryant



When visiting Georgia, a country known for its stunning landscapes and rich history, a trip to Mtskheta is an absolute must. As the ancient capital and spiritual heart of Georgia, Mtskheta offers a glimpse into the country’s past and its vibrant cultural heritage. Nestled at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, this picturesque town is just a short distance away from the bustling city of Tbilisi. With its UNESCO World Heritage sites, beautiful churches, and traditional Georgian charm, Mtskheta attracts both local and international visitors year-round. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape from the city, Mtskheta has something to offer for everyone. In this article, we will explore the different ways to reach Mtskheta from Tbilisi and highlight the top attractions and activities that await you in this ancient town. So buckle up and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the historical and cultural wonders of Mtskheta.


Getting to Mtskheta from Tbilisi

Getting to Mtskheta from Tbilisi is relatively easy and can be done by shared taxi, marshrutka (minibus), train, or private car/taxi. Here are the different options available:

By Shared Taxi

Shared taxis are a popular mode of transportation in Georgia and offer a convenient way to reach Mtskheta from Tbilisi. You can find shared taxis at various locations in Tbilisi, such as metro stations, the central railway station, or Freedom Square. These taxis depart once they are full, so you might have to wait until the seats are filled. The journey takes around 30 minutes and the cost is usually around 5-10 GEL (Georgian Lari).

By Marshrutka (Minibus)

Marshrutkas are another common form of transportation in Georgia. They are larger than shared taxis and can accommodate more passengers. To reach Mtskheta by marshrutka, head to the Didube bus station in Tbilisi. There, you will find marshrutkas that regularly leave for Mtskheta. The journey takes about 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic, and the fare is around 2-3 GEL.

By Train

If you prefer a more scenic journey, you can take a train from Tbilisi to Mtskheta. The train station in Tbilisi is located near the central railway station. Trains to Mtskheta operate a few times a day, with the journey taking approximately 45 minutes. Train tickets can be purchased at the station, and the cost is usually around 1-2 GEL.

By Private Car or Taxi

If you prefer the freedom and comfort of a private car, you can hire a taxi or rent a car to drive from Tbilisi to Mtskheta. This option allows you to explore at your own pace and make stops along the way. The journey takes around 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. Taxis can be arranged through your hotel or a local taxi service, while car rental companies can be found in Tbilisi.


Now that you know how to get to Mtskheta from Tbilisi, let’s explore the top attractions and activities to experience in this ancient town.


By Shared Taxi

One of the most popular and convenient ways to reach Mtskheta from Tbilisi is by shared taxi. Shared taxis are easily accessible and can be found at various locations throughout the city. Here’s everything you need to know about taking a shared taxi to Mtskheta:


Shared taxis in Georgia are typically old, Soviet-era cars that have been refurbished and painted yellow. They are easy to spot and can be found near metro stations, the central railway station, or popular gathering spots like Freedom Square. The cars usually have a sign on the windshield indicating the destination, so look out for “Mtskheta” or ask the driver to confirm before getting in.


The shared taxi departs once all the seats are filled, which means you might have to wait a little while until enough passengers have arrived. However, the wait time is usually not too long, as there are frequent departures throughout the day. If you’re in a hurry or looking for a more private option, you can also pay for all the seats and the taxi will leave immediately.


The journey from Tbilisi to Mtskheta by shared taxi takes approximately 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. The road to Mtskheta offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers.


Shared taxi fares are typically around 5-10 GEL (Georgian Lari), which is an affordable and cost-effective option for transportation. However, it’s always a good idea to confirm the fare with the driver before starting your journey to avoid any misunderstandings.


Shared taxis in Georgia can be quite cramped, as they are designed to accommodate multiple passengers. However, the experience of traveling in a shared taxi allows you to interact with locals and fellow travelers, making it a unique and immersive way to explore the country.


Once you arrive in Mtskheta, the shared taxi will drop you off in the town center, near the main attractions. From there, you can start exploring the historical sites, churches, and charming streets of Mtskheta.


Overall, taking a shared taxi to Mtskheta from Tbilisi is a convenient, affordable, and authentic way to travel. It offers a glimpse into the local transportation culture and allows you to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Georgian countryside along the way.


By Marshrutka (Minibus)

Another popular option for getting to Mtskheta from Tbilisi is by marshrutka, which is a smaller minibus that operates on set routes throughout the country. Marshrutkas are a convenient and budget-friendly way to travel, and here’s what you need to know:


To catch a marshrutka to Mtskheta, you will need to head to the Didube bus station in Tbilisi. Didube is a major transportation hub where many marshrutkas depart to various destinations in Georgia. It’s recommended to ask the locals or station staff to guide you to the correct platform for Mtskheta-bound marshrutkas.


Marshrutkas to Mtskheta operate regularly, usually every 15-20 minutes, throughout the day. There’s no specific schedule, as they depart when they’re full or have enough passengers to make the journey economically viable. However, be aware that during peak hours, marshrutkas can fill up quickly, so it’s best to arrive early to secure a seat.


The journey from Tbilisi to Mtskheta by marshrutka takes approximately 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. The minibus will make a few stops along the way to pick up and drop off passengers, so the exact travel time can vary.


The fare for a marshrutka ride to Mtskheta is around 2-3 GEL (Georgian Lari), making it an affordable option for budget-conscious travelers. It’s customary to pay the fare directly to the driver when you board the marshrutka. If you’re unsure of the fare, you can ask fellow passengers or the driver to confirm.


Marshrutkas in Georgia can sometimes be crowded, especially during peak travel hours. However, they offer a more spacious and comfortable seating arrangement compared to shared taxis. You can expect to find around 15-20 seats in a marshrutka, depending on the size of the vehicle.


Once you arrive in Mtskheta, the marshrutka will drop you off at the central bus station, located near the town center and the main attractions. From there, you can easily explore the historical wonders and cultural landmarks of Mtskheta.


Overall, taking a marshrutka to Mtskheta from Tbilisi is a popular and affordable choice. It provides a convenient way to travel, allows you to interact with locals and fellow travelers, and offers a chance to enjoy the scenic views along the route.


By Train

If you prefer a more leisurely and scenic journey to Mtskheta, taking the train from Tbilisi is a great option. Here’s what you need to know about traveling to Mtskheta by train:


The train station in Tbilisi is located near the central railway station, making it easily accessible from various parts of the city. To catch a train to Mtskheta, you will need to check the train schedule beforehand, as trains operate at specific times throughout the day.


Trains to Mtskheta generally run a few times a day, with the journey taking approximately 45 minutes. It’s advisable to arrive at the train station a little early to purchase your ticket and ensure a seat.


The cost of a train ticket to Mtskheta is typically around 1-2 GEL (Georgian Lari), making it an affordable option for transportation. However, please note that the ticket prices may vary depending on the class of the train and availability.


The train ride to Mtskheta offers a scenic and picturesque experience as you travel through the Georgian countryside. You will get to enjoy panoramic views of lush green landscapes and charming villages along the way.


Once you arrive in Mtskheta, the train station is conveniently located near the town center. From there, you can easily explore the historical sites, churches, and streets of Mtskheta on foot.


Traveling to Mtskheta by train provides a relaxed and comfortable journey, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery. It’s a great option for those who prefer a slower-paced travel experience and want to soak in the surroundings.


It’s important to note that train schedules and availability may vary, so it’s recommended to check the latest information before planning your trip. Overall, taking the train to Mtskheta from Tbilisi offers a unique and enjoyable way to reach this ancient town.


By Private Car or Taxi

For those seeking flexibility and convenience, traveling to Mtskheta from Tbilisi by private car or taxi is an excellent option. Here’s everything you need to know about taking a private car or taxi:


Renting a car or hiring a taxi allows you to have full control over your journey and explore Mtskheta at your own pace. You can either rent a car from one of the car rental companies in Tbilisi or arrange for a taxi through your hotel or a local taxi service.


The journey from Tbilisi to Mtskheta by car usually takes about 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. The route is well-paved and offers scenic views of the countryside along the way.


The cost of renting a car or hiring a taxi may vary depending on the provider and the type of vehicle chosen. It’s recommended to compare prices and book in advance to secure the best deal.


While driving to Mtskheta, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules and road signs. Keep in mind that driving in Georgia may be different from your home country, so exercise caution and patience on the roads.


Once you reach Mtskheta, there are several parking options available near the town center, where you can securely park your car and venture out to explore the historical sites on foot.


Having a private car or taxi allows you the flexibility to make stops along the way or even explore nearby attractions that are off the beaten path. You can enjoy the freedom to create your own itinerary and spend as much time as you like at each location.


Whether you choose to rent a car or hire a taxi, traveling to Mtskheta from Tbilisi by private vehicle provides a comfortable and personalized experience. It’s a great option for those who value convenience, privacy, and the ability to customize their journey.


Before embarking on your trip, it’s recommended to check the traffic conditions and plan your route accordingly. With a private car or taxi, you can embark on a hassle-free journey to Mtskheta and enjoy the sights and sounds of this ancient town at your own pace.


Things to do in Mtskheta

Mtskheta, the ancient capital and spiritual center of Georgia, is a treasure trove of historical and cultural landmarks. Here are some of the top things to do and see in Mtskheta:

  • Visit Jvari Monastery: Perched atop a hill overlooking Mtskheta, Jvari Monastery offers breathtaking panoramic views of the town and its surroundings. This UNESCO World Heritage site dates back to the 6th century and is revered for its religious significance and stunning architecture.
  • Explore Svetitskhoveli Cathedral: This magnificent cathedral is one of the most important religious sites in Georgia. Built in the 11th century, the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is known for its beautiful frescoes, intricate stone carvings, and the reputed burial site of Christ’s robe.
  • Wander around Mtskheta Old Town: Take a leisurely stroll through the charming streets of Mtskheta Old Town and soak in the atmosphere of this ancient settlement. Admire the traditional Georgian architecture, browse through craft shops, and enjoy the vibrant ambiance.
  • Try Georgian Cuisine: Indulge in the flavors of traditional Georgian cuisine at one of the local restaurants in Mtskheta. Sample delicious dishes such as khinkali (dumplings), khachapuri (cheese-filled bread), and various meat and vegetable dishes, accompanied by fine Georgian wine.
  • Shopping for Souvenirs: Don’t forget to explore the local shops and market stalls in Mtskheta, where you can find a variety of unique souvenirs and handicrafts. Take home traditional Georgian textiles, handmade ceramics, or locally produced honey and preserves as a memento of your visit.

Mtskheta’s rich history and cultural heritage make it a captivating destination to explore. Immerse yourself in the ancient wonders of Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, wander through the narrow streets of the old town, and savor the flavors of authentic Georgian cuisine. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a food enthusiast, Mtskheta has something to offer for everyone.


Take your time to fully experience the magic of Mtskheta and create lasting memories of your visit to this remarkable place.


Visit Jvari Monastery

One of the must-visit attractions in Mtskheta is the iconic Jvari Monastery. Located on a hill overlooking the town, Jvari Monastery offers breathtaking views and a glimpse into Georgia’s rich history and religious significance. Here’s why you should make a point to visit Jvari Monastery:


1. Historical Significance:


Jvari Monastery holds great historical importance as it dates back to the 6th century. Built during the early years of Christianity in Georgia, it stands as a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of the country’s connection to its religious past.


2. Beautiful Architecture:


The monastery boasts a unique architectural style that blends elements of Byzantine, Georgian, and Armenian design. The stone structure and intricate details reflect the rich cultural heritage of the region. Visitors are often awe-struck by the monastic complex’s elegance and timeless beauty.


3. Panoramic Views:


Perched on top of a hill, Jvari Monastery boasts spectacular panoramic views of Mtskheta and the surrounding landscapes. It offers a breathtaking vista of the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, the lush green valley, and the distant mountain ranges. This makes Jvari Monastery a photographer’s paradise.


4. Religious Significance:


Jvari Monastery holds immense spiritual importance for the Georgian Orthodox Church. It is believed to be the site where Saint Nino, who converted the kingdom of Iberia to Christianity, erected a wooden cross. The monastery attracts pilgrims and visitors seeking a spiritual experience.


5. Tranquility and Serenity:


When visiting Jvari Monastery, you’ll discover a peaceful and serene atmosphere that allows for introspection and reflection. The tranquil environment, combined with the panoramic scenery, creates the perfect setting for a peaceful escape from the bustle of everyday life.


Make sure to explore the interior of the monastery, admire the ancient frescoes, and light a candle in the prayer hall. Jvari Monastery offers a unique opportunity to experience the spiritual essence of Georgia and connect with its rich cultural heritage.


Whether you’re a history lover, an architecture enthusiast, or simply in search of stunning views and spiritual solace, Jvari Monastery is a must-visit destination in Mtskheta that will leave a lasting impression.


Explore Svetitskhoveli Cathedral

No visit to Mtskheta is complete without exploring the magnificent Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and religious significance, the cathedral is a must-see attraction. Here’s why you should make it a priority to explore Svetitskhoveli Cathedral:


1. Historic and Spiritual Significance:


Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is one of the most important religious sites in Georgia. It is believed to have been built in the 11th century on the site where a previous 4th century church had stood. According to legend, it houses one of the holiest relics in Christianity, the robe of Jesus Christ. The cathedral’s spiritual significance and its status as the spiritual center of Georgia make it a symbol of the country’s religious heritage.


2. Architectural Marvel:


The architecture of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is a sight to behold. The exterior is adorned with intricate stone carvings, ornate decorations, and beautiful frescoes. The interior features high vaulted ceilings, colorful murals, and stunning religious iconography. The combination of Byzantine, Gothic, and Georgian architectural styles creates a unique and visually striking structure.


3. Cultural Heritage:


Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is an essential part of Georgia’s cultural heritage. It serves as a testament to the country’s rich history, architectural excellence, and religious devotion. Exploring the cathedral allows you to connect with Georgia’s past and appreciate its cultural significance.


4. Spiritual Atmosphere:


Visiting Svetitskhoveli Cathedral offers a chance for introspection and spiritual reflection. The sacredness of the cathedral, combined with its awe-inspiring beauty, creates a serene and peaceful environment. Whether you are religious or not, the cathedral’s atmosphere invites contemplation and appreciation for its sacred and cultural value.


5. Location and Surroundings:


Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is situated in the heart of Mtskheta, surrounded by the charming ambiance of the old town. After exploring the cathedral, take a leisurely walk around the historic streets, admire traditional architecture, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. Don’t forget to visit the cathedral’s courtyard, which is home to ancient stone crosses and graves.


Exploring Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is a journey into the heart of Georgian spirituality and culture. Embrace the opportunity to witness its architectural grandeur, experience the serene atmosphere, and appreciate the historical and religious significance of this remarkable site.


Wander around Mtskheta Old Town

Immerse yourself in the rich history and charm of Mtskheta by taking a leisurely stroll through its captivating Old Town. This area is filled with ancient streets, traditional architecture, and significant landmarks that will transport you back in time. Here’s what you can experience while wandering around Mtskheta Old Town:


1. Historical Architecture:


The Old Town of Mtskheta is a living museum, with its narrow winding streets lined with well-preserved buildings that showcase traditional Georgian architecture. Admire the intricate wooden balconies, stone facades, and ornate decorations, which reflect the town’s ancient heritage and cultural identity.


2. Svetitskhoveli Street:


One of the main streets in Mtskheta’s Old Town is Svetitskhoveli Street. This vibrant pedestrianized street is dotted with shops, cafes, and souvenir stalls. Take a leisurely walk along this bustling thoroughfare, sample local treats, and browse through traditional crafts and Georgian souvenirs.


3. Ancient Walls and Gates:


As you explore Mtskheta Old Town, you’ll come across remnants of ancient walls and gates that once fortified the town. These historic structures give a glimpse into the town’s past and the importance of its strategic position.


4. Peaceful Courtyards:


While wandering the streets, take a moment to step into the peaceful courtyards that you’ll find tucked away between the buildings. These hidden oases offer a tranquil retreat from the bustling streets, allowing you to relax and appreciate the atmosphere of old-world charm.


5. Local Life and Culture:


Wandering around Mtskheta Old Town provides an opportunity to observe and engage with the local community. Encounter friendly locals going about their daily routines, observe traditional craftsmanship, and get a taste of the warm Georgian hospitality.


6. Religious Monuments:


Mtskheta Old Town is home to several significant religious sites. Apart from Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, you’ll find smaller Orthodox churches and monastic complexes tucked away in quiet corners. Take a moment to visit these lesser-known gems and appreciate their cultural and spiritual significance.


Whether you’re captivated by historical architecture, curious about local culture, or simply seeking a walk down ancient streets, wandering around Mtskheta Old Town is a delightful experience. Let the captivating ambiance and rich heritage of this UNESCO World Heritage site transport you to a bygone era.


Try Georgian Cuisine

One of the highlights of visiting Mtskheta is the opportunity to indulge in the delectable flavors of Georgian cuisine. Known for its unique blend of flavors, fresh ingredients, and traditional cooking techniques, Georgian food is a culinary delight. Here’s why you should definitely try Georgian cuisine while in Mtskheta:


1. Khinkali:


A trip to Georgia is not complete without trying khinkali, the country’s iconic dumplings. These juicy, meat-filled dumplings are often enjoyed with a sprinkle of black pepper. Be sure to savor these Georgian delicacies filled with beef, pork, or mushroom fillings.


2. Khachapuri:


Another must-try dish is khachapuri, a gooey cheese-filled bread. This cheesy delight comes in various regional variations, with the most famous being Adjarian khachapuri, shaped like a boat and topped with an egg and a pat of butter.


3. Mtsvadi:


Indulge in mtsvadi, Georgian-style barbecue. These skewered and grilled meat chunks, usually made with pork or beef, are marinated in flavorful spices and grilled over an open fire. The smoky aroma and succulent taste make it a true delight for meat lovers.


4. Badrijani Nigvzit:


The vegetarian offering of Georgian cuisine is equally enticing. Badrijani nigvzit is a traditional dish made of fried eggplant slices filled with a flavorful walnut paste and seasoned with various herbs and spices. It’s a delicious starter or side dish that showcases the rich flavors of Georgian cuisine.


5. Churchkhela:


For those with a sweet tooth, try churchkhela, a traditional Georgian candy. It’s made by dipping a string of nuts, typically walnuts or hazelnuts, into a thickened grape or fruit juice. The resulting candy is dense, chewy, and bursting with natural flavors.


6. Wine Tasting:


Georgia is one of the world’s oldest wine-producing regions, known for its unique winemaking methods and diverse wine varietals. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience a wine tasting session and sample some of Georgia’s famous wines, such as Saperavi or Rkatsiteli.


Mtskheta offers several restaurants and local eateries where you can taste authentic Georgian dishes. The warm and welcoming ambiance of these establishments adds to the overall dining experience.


Sampling Georgian cuisine is not just about the flavors; it’s a journey into the country’s rich culinary traditions and cultural heritage. So, immerse yourself in the aromatic flavors and distinct dishes of Georgian cuisine while in Mtskheta, and let your taste buds embark on a delicious adventure.


Shopping for Souvenirs

No trip is complete without bringing back a piece of the destination. When visiting Mtskheta, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to shop for unique souvenirs that capture the essence of Georgian culture and craftsmanship. Here’s what you can look forward to when shopping for souvenirs in Mtskheta:


1. Traditional Crafts:


Mtskheta is known for its rich tradition of arts and crafts. As you explore the town, you’ll come across shops and market stalls selling handmade items such as traditional textiles, embroidery, and woven rugs. These finely crafted pieces make for unique and authentic souvenirs that reflect the local heritage.


2. Ceramics and Pottery:


Mtskheta is also famous for its ceramics and pottery. You’ll find beautifully glazed plates, bowls, and decorative items adorned with intricate motifs and designs. These artisanal pieces make for elegant and eye-catching souvenirs that capture the beauty of Georgian craftsmanship.


3. Local Honey and Preserves:


Georgia is renowned for its delicious honey and homemade preserves, made from local fruits and ingredients. Stop by the local shops and markets to pick up jars of honey, jams, and sauces to bring back a taste of Georgia’s culinary delights. These make for delightful and edible souvenirs.


4. Georgian Wine:


Mtskheta is located in the heart of wine country, and the region is known for its exceptional wines. Explore the wine shops and cellars in Mtskheta where you can find a wide variety of Georgian wines. From rich reds to crisp whites, bring home a bottle or two to savor and share the flavors of Georgia.


5. Traditional Musical Instruments:


For the music enthusiasts, Mtskheta offers an opportunity to purchase unique Georgian musical instruments like the panduri or chonguri, string instruments that are central to Georgian folk music. These instruments are not only beautiful to look at but also provide a way to connect with the country’s musical heritage.


6. Iconic Georgian Souvenirs:


In addition to the region-specific items, you’ll find the classic Georgian souvenirs, such as miniature replicas of famous landmarks, traditional clothing like chokha or national hats, and symbolic items like the Borjgali (solar symbol) keychains or magnets. These souvenirs are easily recognizable and make for charming keepsakes.


While shopping for souvenirs, be sure to engage with the local vendors, who are often passionate about their craft and eager to share the stories behind the products. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations or information about the items you’re interested in.


Shopping for souvenirs in Mtskheta is not just about buying mementos; it’s an opportunity to support local artisans and take a piece of Georgian culture home with you. So, immerse yourself in the vibrant shopping scene of Mtskheta and discover unique treasures that will forever remind you of your time in this enchanting town.



Visiting Mtskheta from Tbilisi offers a remarkable journey into Georgia’s rich history, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. Whether you choose to travel by shared taxi, marshrutka, train, or opt for a private car, the journey itself is part of the experience, allowing you to soak in the sights and immerse yourself in the Georgian landscape.


Once in Mtskheta, you’ll find yourself captivated by its UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. These architectural gems showcase the country’s religious devotion, intricate craftsmanship, and grandeur.


Exploring Mtskheta’s Old Town offers a glimpse into the town’s ancient streets, traditional architecture, and hidden courtyards. Strolling through the charming lanes allows you to connect with the local community, discover small shops, and dive into the vibrant ambiance of this historical town.


No visit to Mtskheta is complete without indulging in Georgian cuisine, from savory dumplings and cheesy bread to succulent barbecued meats. The flavors of Georgia are sure to delight your taste buds and leave you craving more.


As you conclude your time in Mtskheta, take a moment to shop for unique souvenirs that capture the essence of Georgian culture. Handcrafted textiles, ceramics, local honey, and Georgian wine make for perfect mementos to bring back home.


Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or simply seeking a tranquil retreat, Mtskheta offers a truly unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags, embark on the journey, and let the ancient wonders and warm hospitality of Mtskheta leave a lasting impression on your heart.