Tbilisi Cable Cars: Exploring the Heights of the Capital
While in Tbilisi, it’s a must to visit the cable cars. They are not only interesting in themselves as a way to see the city in all its glory from a height, but they also lead to other fascinating landmarks. Moreover, you can’t do without them, as they greatly simplify the journey in the mountainous areas of the city.
In this article, I’ll tell you about the cable cars:
- To Narikala Fortress
- To Turtle Lake
- To Mtatsminda Park
As well as:
- The route expected in the near future
- The funicular to Mtatsminda Park
Tbilisi Park Rike to Narikala Fortress Cable Car
The most famous and visited route is the cable car to Narikala. It is located in the heart of the capital, not far from the Peace Bridge.
The cable car offers enchanting views of Old Tbilisi with its roofs made of red tiles, Freedom Square, and the Kura River. The cabin moves leisurely at only 5 km/h, so you can comfortably take your time to observe the city from a bird’s eye view.
At the same time, 7 cabins carry passengers, each accommodating up to 8 people.
The attraction is popular, and during the peak tourist season, a huge crowd gathers at the entrance. But don’t be alarmed—it disperses very quickly, thanks to the efficient work of the staff and the frequency of arriving cabins.
Safety measures have been implemented for the cable car: it is closed in strong winds, heavy rain, and other adverse conditions! If you find yourself on the mountain, and the weather suddenly changes (a common occurrence in Georgia), you’ll have to descend on foot.
The cable car connects the central part of the city with the historic one, leading to the ancient fortress. It was erected in the 4th century and was considered the most impregnable fortification in the entire city. On the territory, a church of St. Nicholas was built. It replaced a 12th-century temple that was destroyed due to a fire. Inside, frescoes depict the history of Georgia and the faces of saints.
In addition to Narikala Fortress, here you can see:
Mother Georgia (Mother of Kartli) – a 20-meter monument that has become a symbol not only of Tbilisi but also of the entire Georgia.
Tbilisi Botanical Garden – 128 hectares of land where 4500 plants from all corners of the world are collected.
One-way cable car Tbilisi ticket price: 2.5 lari (but you need to purchase a MetroMoney card for 2 lari before boarding. You can get it at any metro station or directly at the ticket office here).
Length of the route: 600 meters.
Duration: 2 minutes.
How to get there: Walk to Rike from the “Freedom Square” and “Avlabari” metro stations, about 15-20 minutes. You can also take public transport, buses No. 341, No. 344, No. 345 to Europe Square.
Useful information about the cable car from Rike Park:
- You cannot ride the cable car with food in your hands (put it in a backpack) and open metal cans.
- It is very windy on the mountain, so dress warmly, even if it was warm in the city below.
- There are no cafes or restaurants, so if you plan to stay here for a long time, bring food with you. Near the lift at the top, you can buy ice cream (in summer), a glass of wine or mulled wine, water, and soda.
- From Narikala Fortress, near the lift, there is a pedestrian route down the mountain, so you can go down and up without the cable car. But keep in mind that the descent is very steep, and in the rain, the stony path becomes slippery.
- Bicycles cannot be transported on the cable car.
Cable Car to Turtle Lake in Vake Park, Tbilisi
In the capital, there is a less known but definitely worth visiting cable car to Turtle Lake. It’s a small and shallow lake (only 2.5 meters deep) located on the slope of Mtatsminda. It used to be famous for its numerous turtles, and its shape conveniently resembles a turtle. Currently, swimming is allowed in the lake, but as it is a mountain lake, the water remains quite cold even in hot weather.
Near Turtle Lake is the Tbilisi Ethnographic Museum, consisting of 14 authentic old houses brought from different regions of Georgia. Inside, historical exhibits are displayed, including various decorations, weapons, utensils, furniture, and decorative items. It’s recommended to visit the Ethnographic Museum in good weather.
The cable car starts in Vake Park, featuring beautiful shaded alleys with benches, neatly trimmed greenery of bushes, playgrounds, and cafes. The park is ideal for family leisure.
The cable car to Turtle Lake is the longest in Tbilisi. During the 7-minute journey, you can enjoy the views of new city districts and the greenery of the park. The cabins accommodate up to 12 people each, and passengers will have to stand as there are no seating places. A staff member accompanies passengers, ensuring safety in the gondola.
Important: Cabin capacity: up to 12 people (officially), but in practice, they allow 8-9 people to avoid overloading the mechanism.
Although it is officially stated that gondolas depart every 10 minutes, in reality, they run much more frequently, every 5-8 minutes.
One-way ticket price: 1 lari (with MetroMoney card).
Bicycle transport: 1 lari.
Altitude: 700 meters.
Duration: 7 minutes.
Working hours: from 8:00 to 00:00 in the summer season and from 8:00 to 22:00 in winter. Departs every 10 minutes.
How to get there: from the “Delisi” metro station or take buses No. 345, 359, 301, 388 from Rustaveli station to Chavchavadze Avenue, Vake Park.
From Turtle Lake down to the park, there is the longest zip line in Georgia (1.2 kilometers long). It operates daily from 11:00 to 21:00. The cost is 100 lari per person.
Maglivi – Bagebi
The last, third branch connects the Bagebi district with the building of Tbilisi State University. One cabin at a time accommodates 40 people, meaning it can transport 600 people in both directions per hour. This cable car is mainly used by students and university staff, and there is not much for tourists to see. It often undergoes maintenance and reconstruction.
One-way ticket price: 1 lari (with MetroMoney card), students travel for free.
Located in Vake-Saburtalo.
Route length: 300 meters.
Duration: 4-5 minutes.
Working hours: 08:00-20:00.
I am Victor, the founder of this site and its main, but not the only author.
Traveler and photographer. Visited more than 40 countries.
Born and raised in Batumi. I love to travel in Georgia.
More about me here.