Public Transport in Georgia

Hiring a Car in Georgia

Public intercity transport exists in the country, but it is not that well developed, especially to the more remote spots, as for instance in Western Europe, where I would never want to have a car. Hence, if you visit, it would be much more convenient for you if you hire a car and drive. You don’t need a car inside Tbilisi and to travel to some cities, but some parts are not reachable by public transport at all.

That said, Georgians drive like crazy. While road infrastructure has somewhat developed and there are highways, the road conditions in many places are not great. That combined with reckless driving creates dangerous situations. I wouldn’t suggest driving in Georgia, unless you are an experienced driver and used to crazy driving. You should always be alert and be able to anticipate that drivers around you won’t always follow the rules. Of course, I have seen countries with a lot worse driving habits (looking at you Morocco, Nepal and Cambodia 😀), but it’s not easy in Georgia either.

Trains in Georgia

From Tbilisi you can travel to Kobuleti and Batumi at the Black seaside by faster train. These trains are quite convenient and take about 5-5.30 hours. These trains make a stop near the Kutaisi airport (the stop is called Kutaisi airport, when you search), which is very convenient way to get either to the airport or to Kutaisi itself.

There are also slow trains too running from Tbilisi to Zugdidi via Kutaisi, etc, but they take about 8 hours overall and are relatively inconvenient, however still best mode of transport, rather than buses and mini buses.

Train tickets: You can buy train tickets online at the official website of the railway or on the website. I do suggest the official website, although it’s sometimes glitchy. adds a fee, as any third party site. Otherwise, if you aren’t travelling on a popular route, you can wait till you arrive to Georgia and get them at the train station.

Trains from Tbilisi to Batumi are best pre-booked online, especially during summer months. You may be able to get the tickets on the day of departure in some cases (definitely in winter and weekdays of spring and autumn), but during the busy season, including all summer and weekends, tickets may sell out even a couple of weeks in advance.


From Kutaisi airport you can take a bus to Tbilisi, as well as Batumi and to Kutaisi center. Two major companies currently provide this service – Georgian bus and Omnibus. You can take Georgian bus from Liberty square in Tbilisi, while Omnibus from Republic square near Rustaveli metro station. The stops in Kutaisi and Batumi you can find on their websites (Official website of Omnibus and official website for Georgian bus).

Tickets for buses: you can get tickets online in advance on the official websites of the above-mentioned bus companies. You may be able to get them on the spot as well, but on some busy days that may not be possible, so if you need to take them at a specific time, do prebook.


The rest of the country is not covered by trains or buses and the only way to travel by public transport are the minibuses. If you need to ask anyone, where certain minibus is say “marshutka” and your destination. They are not a convenient mode of transportation. The space is cramped. The drivers usually drive fast and don’t care about passengers’ comfort. There is hardly any luggage space, so make sure to enquire if you have any luggage bigger than a regular backpack with you. Despite all this, minibuses are the only mode of public transportation in many parts of the country and still okish, if you are on a budget.

Usually, minibuses run with no apparent schedule. They may tell you it goes every half an hour, but it means little, as they usually wait to be full or almost full at least. So you may have to wait for a very short or a very long while, depending how lucky you are.

In Tbilisi, the biggest minibus station is Didube one. You will be taking them from here in most cases. There are also some minibuses near the main Train Station, and some in Samgori (Navtlughi).

Here is a website, which gives at least some information of the minibuses running from the Didube station.

Other cities basically have one minibus station.

Minibus tickets: In most cases you can get tickets for minibuses at the ticket office at major stations. Alternatively, if you are hopping on them somewhere along the way, you can pay cash to the driver. Prebooking them is not possible and also doesn’t make any sense, as they run without any particular schedule and on a first-come first-serve basis.

Taking minibuses from the Didube station in Tbilisi:

Go to Didube metro station, near which you will find a bus station. You will have to go through some sellers and market area before getting there (certainly not my favorite area). The station is towards your right after getting out of the metro.

While you try to find the bus station, many people will be offering you a ride to here and there. You can ask some of the sellers, but if they tell you minibuses don’t exist or that they don’t run and you should take a car, just don’t mind. Some of them even offer shared options and it may not even be too expensive, if you prefer to do that. I never tried, as I hate haggling and they always start with higher prices. Just tell them you are looking for a “marshutka” and the name of the city you are heading to, they may even tell you the direction.

The minibuses at least have more or less fixed prices, unlike shared cars, so it’s a bit less haggling.

Using Taxis in Georgia

Taxis are quite widely used in cities, as they are not as expensive, as in some countries (although their fares rose in recent years) and generally widely available.

First thing to know is, don’t hail a taxi on the street. While they are available, as soon as they see you are not local, they will give you much higher price, than usual. However, if you know exactly how much you should be paying and can haggle, then go for it.

Whenever I need a taxi, I always use Bolt app, which is safe and directly provides a fare you will be paying. You won’t have to communicate your destination to your driver or haggle about the price. Bolt also has good customer service, so if you have any issues, you can contact them. The drivers are aware of this and I have never encountered any problems with this app.

There are other apps (Yandex and Maxim), which are Russian owned and I never use them. People say they are cheaper, but whenever I compared, that’s not really the case. I have heard people encountering many issues with them. So I wouldn’t suggest them.

Getting a taxi from a village location via the apps is hardly ever possible. Although you can order one from a major city to a village destination.

In-between cities and to some villages, you will have the shared taxis, which are usually available around the minibus stations (like in Didube). While they are a cheaper option, like the minibuses, they are even less convenient, so I suggest using minibuses, if possible. Keep in mind that you will have to wait until the car is full before they go. If you do take these shares taxis, the fare should be approximately what you would pay for the minibus ride.

Public Transport in Tbilisi

The city has more or less developed public transport. Metro is the most convenient and the only transport I usually use. It has only two lines and doesn’t cover all areas of the city, but it covers most tourist areas, so you can easily use it. I prefer to walk from metro stations, than take buses or minibuses.

Outside rush hours, buses are quite all right too (Google maps usually provides correct information on which transport to take to your destination). Buses also can get very crowded not only during the rush hour. Bus 37 goes from the airport through Avlabari, Liberty square, Rustaveli and gets to the train station. There are also many buses from near the old town through Rustaveli to Vake area and elsewhere.

Minibuses are also abundant, but inconvenient for tourists and unnecessary inside the city, so unless you can ask, where they go, etc, take another transport.

Payment options

For any of the means of transport you can use a bank card (any of them with the chip) or a transport card, which can be bought at any metro station for 2 laris. Buses and metro cost 1 laris per trip. Most buses no longer have cash payment option, while that’s still possible in minibuses. If, by any chance, you forgot your car, at the metro stations, there are some people standing with the cards. You can give them cash and they will let you pass.

How to Get to Airports and Sightseeing Locations

from Tbilisi Airport to the City Center

Bus #37 during daytime: If you are arriving or leaving to/from Tbilisi airport during the daytime (from 6am to 10pm), you could take a bus #37. The bus runs from the airport via Rustaveli and Marjanishvili areas to the train station. You can pay at the bus with any bank card (which has the contactless option) or you can get a transport card at the Bank of Georgia office at the airport.

Taxis: If you are travelling at night – unfortunately many flights depart overnight – your only options are taxis. Absolutely avoid the taxis standing outside the airport – their fares are insane. Whenever I wait for someone to pick me up or just am outside airport, they don’t leave me alone. I don’t imagine, how much they bother non-Georgians.

I suggest using Bolt application to order a ride. Bolt works really well in Tbilisi and I and most people around me always use it, when we need a taxi. The price from the airport usually is 25-35 laris depending on the distance and time of day/night. There are also some Russian owned apps operating, but I don’t advice using them.  You can order a ride by using the free wifi “Tbilisi loves you”, which works quite fine at the airport.

How to Get from Kutaisi Airport to Kutaisi City Center, to Tbilisi or Batumi

Train: The fast trains from Tbilisi to Batumi stop near Kutaisi airport. There are 4 departures a day from each direction and schedule can be found on the official website. From Tbilisi it takes about 3.5 hours, from Batumi – about 1.5-2 hours. They provide a shuttle service from the train station to Kutaisi airport and vice versa. This service is included in the price of the train ticket. You can buy tickets at the  official website of the railway or the website.

Bus: Two major bus companies currently provide this service of transfer from Kutaisi airport to Kutaisi, Tbilisi and Batumi – Georgian bus and Omnibus. You can take Georgian bus from Liberty square in Tbilisi, while Omnibus from Republic square near Rustaveli metro station. The stops in Kutaisi and Batumi you can find on their websites (Official website of Omnibus and official website for Georgian bus). It’s best to prebook tickets online. The buses run according to the flight schedules.

How to Travel from Tbilisi to Mtskheta

Mini bus: At Didube station, after alighting from the metro, find the minibuses with the direction to Mtskheta you will see a cash desk next to them, where you buy the ticket (this is approximate location) – a couple of years ago the price was 3 laris, it may have changed slightly. Either tell the driver you want to get off near “Svetitskhoveli” – that’s the church and city center or use GPS to see when you are close to it and hop off the minibus. I doubt you will be the only one getting off there, so you shouldn’t miss it.

This is the approximate location from where you can get the minibus back to Tbilisi.

How to Travel from Tbilisi to Batumi

Train: The best option for this is the train from the Tbilisi train station (there’s only one), which should take about 5.30 hours. There are 4 departures a day and schedule can be found on the official website. It’s preferable to prebook tickets, especially during the busy times (especially in summer). You can buy train tickets online at the official website of the railway or on the website. Otherwise, if you aren’t travelling during the most popular period in summer, you can wait till you arrive to Georgia and get them at the train station.

Mini bus: Another, less convenient option, is taking a minibus from the Didube station. It should cost approximately 20 GEL and runs without a specific schedule.

How to Travel from Tbilisi to Akhaltsikhe

Mini bus: The minibuses to Akhaltsikhe run mainly from Didube station as well. You will need to find the area, where most minibuses stand – towards right from the metro station, try to ask around. In this case too, you should find the ticket office and get your ticket there. You may even be able to still pay the driver – ask him about this. The price should be about 10-12 GEL. You will be dropped off at the Akhaltsikhe bus station, which is close to Rabati fortress.

How to Travel from Tbilisi to Mestia

For travelling to Mestia, Svaneti you have several options:

Flight: The most convenient way is to fly from Natakhtari airport (a small airport near Tbilisi) directly to Mestia (the company flying is Vanila sky). Tickets can be purchased online here (the issue is that tickets sell out very fast and need to be booked way in advance. The flight takes approximately an hour, and the views are simply gorgeous. Make sure to sit on the right side, while flying to Mestia and on the left side – from Mestia. This way you will have amazing views of Caucasus mountains.

To get to Natakhtari airport, they actually pick all passengers up with a bus from central location in Tbilisi – bicycle statue in front of Radisson Blue. They will also drop you off here after arriving to Natakhtari from Mestia.

From Mestia airport (which is tiny and has only one flight), you can get to the city even on foot. We did that in about 15-20 minutes.

A major disadvantage of the flight is that it highly depends on the weather. So if the weather doesn’t allow, it may get cancelled, which can affect your plans significantly. So be aware of this possibility and plan accordingly to avoid disappointment.

Note: there are also flights of Vanila Sky from Kutaisi to Mestia, but only twice a week, so it’s not convenient.

Train and mini bus via Zugdidi: Another option is taking the train to Zugdidi and then a minibus from there to Mestia. This option is time-consuming, as the train takes about 6 hours and then minibus takes about 3 hours (unless there are delays on the road). There’s one train a day in each direction – 8.40 departure from Tbilisi arriving to Zugdidi at 14.30; 17.25 departure from Zugdid arriving to Tbilisi at 23.15pm.

After the train, you may find minibuses, which are waiting for the train to arrive and continue your journey. Other times of the day minibuses depart from next to the Zugdidi market (somewhere around this area, do ask the people there to direct you).

Note: waiting for minibuses can be frustrating, as they wait till they are full. We visited during the covid times and we had to wait for the morning minibus to depart for about 3 hours. Some days they may fill easier, while other slow days you may have to wait for long.

Alternatively, if you want to break your journey in two, you can spend a night in Zugdidi. We arrived in the afternoon, visited the Dadiani palace and walked around Zugdidi and next morning we took minibus to Mestia. On the way back catching 17.25 train is certainly easier.

Train and minibus via Kutaisi: You could also take the train to Kutaisi first (train runs at 8.50 at arrives to Kutaisi at 14.30, on the way back you can catch a 12.25 train). From the train station you will need to go to the Kutaisi bus station (near McDonalds around this area).

From the bus station you can catch a minibus to Mestia, which should take around 5 hours.

Mini bus: The direct option from Tbilisi is taking minibuses from Samgori bus station. They run only once a day at 7am. This should take about 10 hours. The minibuses will drop you off in a central location in Mestia. You can take a minibus from Mestia at this location as well.

Car: You can drive to Mestia with any type of car. The road is winding but paved and not dangerous. However, once you get to Mestia, unless you have a 4×4 and are very experienced driver, don’t attempt to go to other areas of Svaneti. So basically, hiring a car for driving to Mestia doesn’t make sense.

How to Travel from Tbilisi to Sighnaghi

Mini bus: The minibuses are the only option. They run from Samgori (Navtlughi) near the Samgori metro station. This is the approximate location, where you will be dropped off. You can take a minibus back from here as well.

How to Travel from Tbilisi to Stepantsminda (Kazbegi)

Mini bus: Kazbegi minibuses run from the Didube station. Technically, they run every hour, but as mentioned above that doesn’t mean they will really leave at a set time. The drive takes around 3-4 hours depending on the traffic. The road is winding and if you are prone to motion sickness, be aware of this and carry water and sit at the openable window, that helps a lot. I have travelled on this road a few times, while I don’t often get nauseous, I did twice, during a winter time.

Using minibus for this route is not entirely great, as you can make stops to see the Ananuri fortress or Gudauri viewpoint for instance.

The minibuses arrive to this location, from which you can walk to the pathways leading up the Gergeti Trinity church.

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