Renting In Tbilisi: What You Need To Know
Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, is a desirable place to live and work. The cost of living is fair and for most foreigners renting is affordable. To get an idea of what it might cost to live in Tbilisi we recommend you visit the Numbeo cost of living database. For example, rent in New York City is 922% higher; and in London (U.K.) it is 653% higher than in Tbilisi. A basic studio apartment in Tbilisi starts at around US$300 per month (not including utilities). You’ll find a much smaller portion of your budget is going to rent in Georgia.
Apartments and houses are available all over the city for long-term rent. However, for newcomers to the city, the number one question on many expat Facebook groups is: What area of Tbilisi is the best to live in?
Where you live will depend on your lifestyle preferences, your job perhaps, as well as your living arrangements (i.e., single person, in a relationship or with family). DazHomes has experience answering this question – here are some tips and advice to get you started renting in Tbilisi.
Where To Rent in Tbilisi
Tbilisi is mapped out into districts and areas; once you understand the general layout of the city you are in a much better position to decide what location best suits you. If you like old world charm, you might like to stay in Old Tbilisi. If being in a bougie neighbourhood is imperative, Tbilisi has those too. And if you just want to be away from the hustle of city centre life, Tbilisi has districts that offer just that.
Let’s divide some popular Tbilisi locations into three buckets to make this easier to understand.
People looking to live in an old historical part of the city should consider Sololaki, Chugureti, Mtatsminda and Avlabari.
Newcomers looking for an address with cachet should consider the prestigious streets and buildings for rent in Vake, Vera and Saburtalo.
And in the last bucket, for people who like to have more personal space, better access to nature, they should consider renting in Ortachala, Digomi, Lisi and Bagebi.
Based on your preferences, let’s cover some pros and cons for each of these buckets.
Old School Tbilisi
In general the older parts of Tbilisi are best suited for people who like busy streets, lots of walking and exploring, and a dynamic mix of locals, expats and tourists. Solo living might best suit Old Town, as many of the older buildings are smaller spaces and many flats are studio or one bedroom; not ideal for family living.
Mtatsminda – located on a hill
Pros: Easy access to Mtatsminda amusement park (top of the hill) for incredible views of Tbilisi: you can hike up or take the funicular. Walking distance to Liberty Square and Rustaveli metro stations. Lots of great restaurants, cafes and bars. Museums, galleries and other cultural attractions are in this district.
Cons: The hill is steep, therefore carrying groceries, pushing a buggy or just dealing with summer heat can make life more challenging on a daily basis. The streets get very crowded during the high season, which can bring unwanted noise and traffic. And it can be hard to find a modern home.
Average rent for a one bedroom apartment: US$300-600
Sololaki – the centre of Old Town
Pros: Easy access to Liberty Square metro station. Excellent Georgian restaurants and touristy bars. Lots of historic landmarks and atmospheric locations. Fun fact: Sololaki has been included in Time Out’s list of the 50 coolest neighbourhoods in the world.
Cons: Can be noisy at night, over crowded streets during high season. Hard to find a modern home; most are without elevators, have old appliances and no parking.
Average rent for a one bedroom apartment: US$300-600
Chugureti – roughly on the other side of the river from Mtatsminda
Pros: Reasonable rent. Aghmashenebeli Avenue and Marjanishvili Square are always buzzing with tourists and locals shopping and dining. Has a metro station (only one stop to Rustaveli). The district has a fun bohemian vibe, plus many cool bars, restaurants and shops.
Cons: Can get crowded and noisy during tourist season. Traffic congestion. A little more pricey than Avlabari.
Average rent for a one bedroom apartment: US$300-500
Avlabari – on the other side of the river from Sololaki
Pros: Cheaper to rent than in other parts of Old Town Tbilisi. Very close to Sololaki area. Has a metro station (only one stop to Liberty Square). Lower cost of living compared to other areas nearby. Near a wonderful big park: Rike Park. You can walk to Chugureti/Marjanishvili if you want a bit more action.
Cons: It can be hard to find a modern style home in this part of the city. Doesn’t have much in the way of amenities like trendy cafes and bars, gyms, big grocery stores or coworking spaces. Fewer expats tend to live here.
Average rent for a one bedroom apartment: US$200-400
Living Your Best Life
These three spots are popular with expats, especially foreigners who want the comforts of home nearby; like gourmet groceries, international cuisine, bougie gyms, coworking spaces, English speaking salons, posh boutiques, and juice bars. Definitely Vake and Vera are suited for single folk, couples and people with small families – working professionals and entrepreneur types for sure. The Saburtalo district tends to attract more family types and students (lots of Universities out this way).
Vake – tends to attract more expats than the rest of Tbilisi
Pros: Lots of modern and refurbished places to rent, but probably the most expensive rents in the city. Very walkable. Lots of boutiques, trendy cafes, bars, restaurants and coworking spaces. Access to great big parks: Vake Park, Mziuri Park, and Turtle Lake is also not far off.
Cons: No metro station and the streets can be jammed with traffic a lot of the time. Frequent interruptions with water and power services. It’s considered a more expensive neighbourhood for food, drink and dining. And Vake Park is currently closed for renovation.
Rent range for a two bedroom apartment: US$500-1,000
Vera – begins at Rustaveli Avenue, Vake is next door basically
Pros: Close to other popular parts of Tbilisi: Rustaveli Avenue, Vake and Mtatsminda. Not far from Rustaveli metro. You can still find cheaper places to rent in Vera compared to Vake. Has green space: Vera Park. Lots of local bars, restaurants and cafes. Excellent central location overall.
Cons: The area can feel congested. More car pollution. No big grocery store in the area, so food shopping might take longer and a bit more effort. Besides Vera Park, there is not much other green space around.
Rent range for a two bedroom apartment: US$500-1,000
Saburtalo – an expat enclave outside the city centre
Pros: Always lots of places for rent in this district, from very cheap to super expensive. You will find new, modern apartments with great design and amenities like parking, gym and concierge service. There is Delisi metro station for zipping down to the city centre and avoiding traffic. Lots of cafes, restaurants and food shops that appeal to foreigners, and a big shopping mall, City Mall Saburtalo, that has a big grocery store, cinema and brand name stores. Big Central Park for walking and relaxing.
Cons: The cheaper apartments can be quite grim and isolated. Some parts of Saburtalo are known for late night street racing and the noise that goes with it at 3 a.m. If you don’t live near Delisi metro be prepared to walk a lot and spend more on Yandex and Bolt. Not much in the way of historical sights. Almost zero nightlife, you will need to head down to the city centre if you want to party.
Average rent for a two bedroom apartment: US$300-1,000
Getting Away From It All
Welcome to the easy life in the suburbs, where most Georgians live. The communities detailed below are excellent for families and perhaps people who want a slower pace of life and easier access to places outside of Tbilisi. The suburbs are seeing much interest from property developers who are building homes for investment and living. Can be very affordable rents in these places.
Lisi – just north of Saburtalo proper
Pros: Great place for family living. Access to Lisi Lake: an artificial lake and park area good for walking, picnics, bike riding plus it has a few places for food and drink, coffee and donuts, and kids love it. Fresh air and nature. Lots of new homes available.
Cons: Kinda isolated from the rest of the city, you really need a car in this spot.
Rent for a three bedroom apartment: US$1,000+
Dighomi – includes Didi Dighomi and Dighomi Massive areas
Pros: Big shopping mall, Tbilisi Mall, and two big supermarkets, Goodwill and Agrohub. Cheaper rent in this area.
Cons: The area is big and spread out. Isolated from the rest of the city centre. It can be a challenge to get to the centre in good time.
Rent for a three bedroom apartment: US$400+
Bagebi – west of Vake Park
Pros: More hills, elevated area. Popular with families because of less traffic, and less pollution. Much nicer air, and better access to green spaces outside the city for walks and playtime with kids. Seeing more apartment development in this part of the city.
Cons: Not much of a nightlife scene here. For some people it might be too far away. You would be better off with a car in Bagebi.
Rent for a three bedroom apartment: US$700+
Ortachala – up-and-coming southern suburb
Pros: Good location south of Old Town. Because of the district’s higher elevation it is popular for its cleaner, fresher air. Easy access to the airport. Lots more new apartment options as development and investment in this district increases. Good area for families.
Cons: No metro. Can feel a bit isolated from the rest of the city. Not much of a nightlife scene.
Rent for a three bedroom apartment: US$600+
Tbilisi Tips for Newcomers
We already covered the cost of living at the start, but you can also use Numbeo to look-up healthcare quality, traffic statistics, and food and gas prices. Most apartments and homes for rent are fully furnished and often include dishes, pots and pans, bedding and towels, so you can save some money there. Typically utility costs are not included in the rent price. You pay separately for electricity, gas (for cooking), water (a set price) and street cleaning/garbage pick up (a set price). Compared to Western and European prices you will find the cost of Georgian utility bills very affordable. However, bills do vary from summer to winter – typically your bills will increase for heating and A/C. You cannot survive a Tbilisi summer heat wave without air conditioning, and older homes don’t have very much insulation, so in winter you cannot spare having heat.
The internet in Tbilisi is considered reliable and cheap. Options for mobile and home include Magti, Silknet, Beeline and Geocell. Your landlord may already have a package in place when you start renting, however you can upgrade if necessary or negotiate to change your provider if you are not satisfied. If you just want to connect your laptop off your mobile (hotspot) then you might want to cancel the package your landlord uses. Average cost is about US$12/month.
For those people remote working in Tbilisi, and concerned about speed, make sure you rent a flat that is on fibre. Depending on your Georgian internet provider you can pick what speed you need to work, for example 30mb, 50mb and 100mb. If you want to find out what other digital nomads are doing to boost speed we recommend you check out Facebook expat groups for Tbilisi – there are always debates and conversations going on about this topic within the foreigner community.
Food prices in Tbilisi vary greatly. There are little independent food shops and market stalls all over the city with fresh produce, cheese, nuts, meat, etc, and these little shops/stalls tend to be cheaper than big box grocery stores like Carrefour, Goodwill, Europroduct and AgroHub. Yet these bigger supermarkets are essential to expats who crave soy milk, tofu and fresh lemongrass, but you will pay a premium for these special foodstuffs. If you just need convenience groceries (eggs, milk, toilet paper), then most likely you will be hitting up your local Spar, Smart or Nikora, but just like your home country, convenience items are not the cheapest option. If you want the big outdoor market experience go to Dezerter Bazaar, near the central train station, you can find fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices plus so much more.
Food tip for newcomers: it is often cheaper to eat out (not order takeaway…) at a Georgian restaurant than buy all the food and take the time to prepare it – plus, as most plates of food are shared in Georgian restaurants, everyone gets to taste a range of dishes and split the bill in the end – that’s how it is often done here, especially when you first get to Tbilisi.
Options include: GPI, Imedi, Ardi, Unison and Irao, as well as SafetyWing (which seems to be popular with remote workers who do lots of outside travel).
We recommend you do your own research, as needs do vary for individuals and families. A good place for that is on any of the Facebook expat groups for Georgia (Tbilisi). Be prepared for lots of debate in these groups on “the best” insurance – you can learn from other foreigners’ personal experiences with different providers.
English Speaking Healthcare
These healthcare services may be more expensive than the average Tbilisi clinic, but if you want an English speaking doctor or specialist then these might be your best options.
Expats tend to use MediClub Georgia and American Clinic in Tbilisi. Some Aversi Clinics have English speaking staff. We recommend you send a Facebook or WhatsApp message before booking an appointment to confirm you can get a consultation in English. Messaging and texting tends to yield faster results than calling. Make sure you ask the prices in advance; sometimes there are different prices if you have insurance than if you don’t, and the visit will be one cost and test costs and other procedures will be another separate price. Always ask the price.
Overall the weather in Tbilisi is mild and good. During winter there are only ever one to three days of light snow. It doesn’t really get cold until the end of December and it never really goes below zero. Early spring is wonderful! However, July and August in Tbilisi are super damn hot – we strongly advise you rent an apartment with air conditioning.
Popular Eating & Drinking Spots in Tbilisi
- Black Dog Bar
- Asado Steakhouse
- Living Vino
- Wine Factory N1
- 8000 Vintages
- Keto & Kote
- Stamba Pink Bar
- Shavi Lomi
Looking to rent in Tbilisi – check out our rental listings here: https://dazhomes.com/
How to get in contact with DazHomes
DazPhone: +995 322 90 08 27
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By Sonja Andic for DazHomes.