To be honest, before coming to Georgia, I and my friends did not even know that Tbilisi is famous for its Sulfur baths. We discovered them during our walk around the city. Without any hesitation, we decided to try them. Now I am glad to share personal experience and give advice on how to make your stay there more pleasant. How to get there? What kind of additional services are provided? Which bathhouse to select? — these and many other questions are covered below.
The baths are located in the old part of Tbilisi, at the foot of the Narikala castle. Just put on your navigator any of these streets: Joseb Grishashvili str., Botanikuri str. or Abano str. All spa buildings are established in the same area, which gives everybody a great possibility to compare them, before choosing one. You can easily reach them with different kinds of transports:
The taxi in Tbilisi is quite cheap. We spent 10 GEL (~3 Euro) for a car from Rustaveli metro station. It is around 6 km from the baths.
The stop is located directly in front of the spa district, on Vakhtang Gorgasali street. The numbers, which stop there: No 102, 80, 71, 55, 50, 44, 31
The nearest metro station is “Avlabari”. It takes approximately 10 minutes to go from the subway to the spa area. Important to say, that the metro is situated on top of a small hill. So, if you have problems with going upstairs, I highly recommend you on your way back to use another subway. It is “Tavisuflebis Moedani” on Liberty Square. From the baths district, you will need about 20 minutes to reach it, but the road will be more comfortable to walk on.
What is the best day and time to visit Sulfur Baths?
We did not think about this question in advance and went there on Sunday afternoon. Do not repeat the same mistake! Too late we realized that Sunday is a day off in Georgia and all baths are occupied by local people. We asked for a place in four various Thermal houses, but everywhere were offered to wait a minimum of 4 hours before any of them will be free. Luckily our fifth attempt was successful, and we managed to get one small cabin in a spa complex called “Orbeliani”. You may ask if it is possible to reserve a place in advance. Yes, you can do it, but in most places, you have to pay for this service. P. S: you will not get this money back.
Our personal experience of Sulfur Baths in Tbilisi
As I have already mentioned, we took the smallest private room. It costs 45 Lari. Additionally, I spent 10 GEL for peeling and 2 GEl for a towel. My first impression after we entered the area was rather unpleasant. Instead of a comfortable, good-looking room, I found an old premise with white marble walls. I got the feeling that I was in a hospital but not in a spa. Later, I discovered that design is quite similar to a Turkish sauna. The only difference was old chipped marble. The premise consisted of two areas. In the dressing room, you could see a bench, table, and a small mirror. In the second room, you could find a swimming pool with sulfur water, a massage table and a shower (you need to be very strong to switch it on). I do not know why it is called a swimming pool, because for me it was just a bath with sulfur water. The size was about 2 × 0,5 m. Just one person could lay or two persons could seat in it. For me, the appearance of the accommodation is not the priority and after a short time, I did not pay any attention to how everything looked like. It was clean and it was enough.
I am not a scientist or a doctor to evaluate the healing qualities of water. However, I can definitely say that the sulphur water makes your body feel completely relax, and it is one of the best spa treatments you can ever have. I enjoyed the magical effect and wanted to stay there for a long time. Unfortunately, it was not possible for a couple of reasons. First of all, it is advised to spend in water no more than 15 minutes. Secondly, I booked a peeling, and soon one lady came to do it. The peeling was done in the same room with a swimming pool, on a marble massage table. So, if you came with friends, but prefer to stay alone during a spa procedure. I am sorry, I have to disappoint you, it will not work. How was my peeling? It was amazing. It was very hard, but still not painful. Treatment was done by using a hard washcloth and foam soap. It lasted 15 minutes. It is also strict in Georgia that men can provide massage only to men, and women to women. The result was inexpressible. No kind of peeling I have done before could not make my skin so smooth. The masseurs are really professional and do their job scrupulously. Each cell of my skin breathed. I felt a completely different person: relaxed, fresh and full of energy. Before we left, we also visited a small café, which is opposite to the bath’s reception. The café is cozy and an ideal conclusion of such a nice recreational day. There you can buy different kinds of drinks, starting with traditional Georgian wines and finishing with freshly brewed tea. We ordered one big pot of green tea with Jasmin (enough for 6 people) and one Coca-Cola. We gave 10 GEL for it. Worth to mention that the staff was absolutely friendly and like most Georgians very hospitable. In conclusion, I can definitely say that we liked the bath complex “Orbeliani” and it more than worth the money we paid.
5 Tips you should know before visiting Sulfur Baths in Georgia
1. In case you also go to “Orbeliani” spa complex, I advise you to take the cabin based on the number of people you are. Small rooms have an extremely narrow swimming pool and can accommodate not more than 2 persons at the same time. 2. If you do not want to rent a cabin, there is also an option to visit a public bath. Bath complex No 5 (the first one when you come from the bus stop) offers this option. It costs only 5 Lari per hour, and the baths are separate for men and women.
3. Although there is a possibility to rent a towel there, it is much better to have your own. The towels we got were a little dusty, old and were actually bedsheets. 4. Better come from Monday to Friday in the first half of the day. Thus, you will have more available rooms to select from. 5. As we did not plan to go directly home after recreational treatment, I was kind of afraid that my clothes and skin will still have a smell of sulfur. Luckily, shower gel removed all unpleasant smells. Clothes were also not saturated with sulfur. I hope you found this article useful for you. To conclude, I want to stress that Sulfur Baths in Tbilisi is a must-do thing in Georgia.