Visiting Tbilisi in winter and crossing your fingers for a snowy day? Heavy snow in Tbilisi is very rare – but when it happens, it’s pure magic. Here are my favourite photos of Tbilisi in her winter blanket plus tips for where else to see snow in Georgia.


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How often does it snow in Tbilisi?

Tbilisi is known for its mild winters, with daytime temperatures very rarely dropping below 0 degrees Celsius. Snow is not as common as it was even a decade ago – most years, Tbilisi only has one or two snowy days.

When it does snow in Tbilisi, it usually falls overnight. The snow melts very quickly and is often followed by rain. This is why it’s an extremely rare sight to see the city’s rooftops or streets covered with a white blanket of fluffy snow.

Tbilisi, Georgia under a blanket of snow, with Mtatsminda and the Tbilisi TV Tower in the distance.
I never thought I’d see this much snow in Georgia’s capital!

Snow starts falling in Georgia’s mountain regions as early as late November. But snow in Tbilisi in December is almost unheard of these days. When it does snow in the city, it’s usually in February. For the past two years that I’ve been here, it’s snowed as late as March and April. 

The first snow falls in the higher parts of the city, especially on Mtatsminda, and in nearby Kojori.

My best photos of snow in Tbilisi

Winter 2021 saw unusually heavy Tbilisi snow – and I was lucky enough to be here to experience it. Many locals reported that the snow on February 17 was unlike anything they’d seen in Tbilisi in years (maybe even in a decade).

A week earlier, temperatures had been very warm (up to 16 or 17 degrees some days), and I had fully accepted that winter was over for another year and spring was on its way. Then out of the blue, we woke up to thick snow on the ground and large, fluffy flakes falling. This lasted for the better part of the entire day.

Narikala Fortress and the colourful houses of Tbilisi Old Town.
Tbilisi Old Town & Narikala Fortress, viewed from Metekhi.

Like any self-respecting Queenslander, I was so excited to see snow that I ran out immediately and spent the entire morning walking around the city. I didn’t notice that the sludgy snow on the roads and footpaths was slowly seeping in through my boots. By lunchtime, my feet were frozen and I had to come home to warm up.

Later in the afternoon, the snow finally stopped falling and the sky cleared enough for me to get some good shots of the city from up high.

View of Tbilisi city under the snow, with Sameba Cathedral in the distance.
The view from Betlemi Rise.

I don’t have the right equipment – and I have no real experience taking photos in the snow – but I still enjoyed taking my camera around to some of my favourite streets and viewpoints. This is the most snow I’ve seen since my winter trip to Bulgaria. I forgot how much I loved it!

Tbilisi looks and feels like a totally different city when it’s snowing. The Old Town was mostly silent, but in Rike Park and around Rustaveli Avenue families were out making snowballs and playing in the powder. I even spotted a kid being pulled in a sled over the Bridge of Peace!

A father pulls his child on a sled in Rike Park, Tbilisi.
Sledding in the city.

Snow in Tbilisi Old Town

See how many of these Tbilisi landmarks and walking streets you recognise in the snow!

Tbilisi's Rike Park Concert Hall in winter.
The Abanotubani sulfur baths in Tbilisi covered in snow.
A street in Tbilisi with heavy snow falling.
A popular street in Tbilisi in the snow.
A beautiful blue balcony in Tbilisi, with snow falling all around.
Two men walk along a street in Tbilisi Old Town towards the Juma Mosque.

Snow at Narikala Fortress

I was hesitant to venture too far in the cold, but I’m glad I decided to brave the weather and hike up to Mother of Georgia and Narikala Fortress. The hillside path was completely snowed over and I only saw a few other people on the trail.

A snowy path in the hills above Tbilisi.
Mother of Georgia statue viewed from behind a brick building.
View of Tbilisi city and the Narikala River in February.
View of snowy Tbilisi from Narikala Fortress.

By the time I came down from the fortress in the late afternoon, a lot of the snow had already melted away. I noticed a few steep streets were running with water like rivers. Luckily it was a little too warm to refreeze so ice wasn’t a huge issue like it is in some cities.

The snow lingered on the trees and in the hills for another day or two, then it was gone as quick as it arrived. Weeks later when I was walking in the upper part of the Tbilisi Botanical Garden I could still see traces of ice in the areas that don’t receive direct sunlight.

We had a few more snowy days that winter – but it was February 17 that really left an impression.

Tbilisi in winter, brightly coloured houses under a blanket of snow.
That was one day in Tbilisi I’ll never forget.

Where to go in Tbilisi when it’s snowing

  • For views of the city and hills, I suggest heading to one of these Tbilisi viewpoints. Metekhi is particularly nice because you get a view of the colourful houses with white snow on their eaves and rooftops.
  • The entire Old Town area looks very charming in the snow, particularly the Abanotubani sulfur baths. Had the baths been open, I would have ended my day here – it’s the perfect place to warm up in winter.
  • One of the first places I wanted to visit was Mother of Georgia and Narikala Fortress. The views from the top are excellent, and Kartlis Deda looks pretty spectacular with a dab of snow on her shoulders. In winter or after rain, I recommend taking the steps up from Sololaki rather than attempting the Tbilisi TV Tower hike as the terrain can be very slippery.
  • When you’re done exploring, cosy up at a cute cafe or restaurant.

→ Find more tips in my detailed guide to visiting Tbilisi in winter.


Where else to see snow in Georgia

If Tbilisi’s patchy snowfall isn’t enough to satisfy you, there are plenty of other spots you can add to your Georgia itinerary where heavy snow is guaranteed.

In the high mountain regions, snow falls as early as late November. Winter sports season at Gudauri Ski Resort officially starts in December and continues through to April (or May for the higher slopes).

If you really want to see snow in Georgia, your safest bet is to travel in January/February. Remember that in high areas such as Tusheti, Bakhmaro and parts of Upper Adjara, roads are closed in winter.

Here are some of the best places to visit in Georgia in winter:

  • Forest Sabaduri – an easy day trip under an hour’s drive from Tbilisi, this vast forest of slender trees is picture-perfect on a clear day after snow.
  • Kazbegi via the Georgian Military Highway – stopping off in Gudauri to ride the ski lift (the views are breathtaking on a blue-sky winter’s day). It might be too icy to hike to Gergeti Trinity Church in winter, so I recommend taking a Delica up instead. Occasionally the road between Gudauri and Kazbegi is closed after heavy snow, but it’s usually cleared within a few hours.
  • Ride the Kukushka train from Borjomi to Bakuriani – winter is the best time to experience Georgia’s only scenic railroad.
  • For a real winter adventure, Javakheti – AKA the ‘Georgian Arctic – is covered in thick snow. The lakes freeze over, adding to the majesty of the landscape.
  • Further afield, Mestia and Svaneti are beautiful in winter and there are skiing opportunities nearby. Note that the road to Ushguli sometimes closes after heavy snowfall.
  • Believe it or not, it sometimes snows on the Black Sea Coast and in Batumi! The coast was covered with snow for several days in 2020 and 2021.

Have you experienced a winter in Tbilisi? Were you lucky enough to see some snow? If you’re used to visiting the city in summer I hope you found the contrast in these winter photos interesting!


Georgia essentials

Here are some of the websites and services I use when I’m planning a trip to Georgia and the Caucasus. Remember to check out my full list of travel resources for more tips.

– Find affordable flights to Tbilisi, Batumi or Kutaisi on Kiwi.com, a booking site that mixes and matches airlines to find the best route (there’s a money back guarantee if you miss a connection).

– Use iVisa to check if you need a tourist visa for Georgia and apply for an expedited visa online.

– Pre-book a private transfer from Tbilisi Airport to your hotel or from Kutaisi Airport to Tbilisi with my preferred partners at Friendly.ge.

– Get a great deal on a rental car in Georgia by using MyRentACar to find a local agent.

– Buy your tickets for the Tbilisi to Baku or Yerevan sleeper train online in advance through my partners at Geotrend (get a discount when you use the code in this post).

– Find the best Georgia hotel deals on Booking.com, book a Georgia hostel, or find a unique Airbnb.

– Find the best city tours and day excursions in Georgia.

– Compare mobile providers and pick up a local Georgian sim card.

– Order a copy of the new Lonely Planet Caucasus guidebook (published July 2020).

You might also be interested in…

The ultimate Georgia itinerary: Four detailed & custom designed itineraries

Georgia Travel Guide: All of my 50+ posts plus my top travel tips

Georgia travel tips: 23 things to know before you go

Places to visit in Georgia: 35+ unique destinations around the country

The best things to do in Tbilisi: Favourites, hidden gems & local picks

35+ best restaurants in Tbilisi: Where to eat Georgian food

15 best day trips from Tbilisi: Includes detailed transport instructions

The best time to visit Georgia: Month by month guide to weather, festivals & events

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2 Comments

  1. Hi,when did this photo taken exactly?were here in Tbilisi right now and the snowfall happened today very lightly.i was wondering when did you visit here since people in Tbilisi said that they haven’t experience snowfall in 5years
    Thanks,
    Jenn

    1. Hi Jenn, the dates are in the post – this was winter 2021 (earlier this year), we had two very snowy days. I live in Georgia and was living in Tbilisi at the time. Snow is very rare, you’re lucky! It’s snowing in Kutaisi today too. Enjoy!

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