Tbilisi is one of my favorite cities in the world for a digital nomad. It has all the infrastructure of a modern city with great wifi, cafes to work from, infrastructure, and the like. It’s no wonder that so many people come here for an extended period of time to pursue their online careers. I spent a few months in Tbilisi and loved it. From the beautiful architecture, to amazing food, to seeing the absolutely breathtaking countryside, there is something here for everyone.
Tbilisi cost of living is on the rise
While Tbilisi in general is still very cheap by Western standards, the cost of living continues to increase. Rent prices have gone up a lot in recent years as well as dwindling supply. Salaries have not kept up with the increase in expenses.
Tbilisi has also seen a large influx of Russians that have fled the country due to the war in Ukraine. In fact, Tbilisi and Yerevan in Armenia are two of the cities that saw a huge increase in Russian citizens which have driven the cost of rent up significantly.
Nevertheless, you can still expect to live a much cheaper lifestyle in Tbilisi than other cities like like Rome or Paris. Keep in mind however that the salaries of the typical Georgian worker is substantially lower than that of their Western European counterparts. The average salary of someone in Tbilisi is under $500 per month. It might be cheap for you but it is prohibitively expensive for most locals.
Everyone has different expenses
Just to preface this post, these are simply my expenses which can be very different than your expenses. Full disclosure, I only stayed in Georgia for four months so I ended up renting month to month. This means the rent prices are significantly more expensive than if you sign a year long lease. I’m okay with that however as I prefer to stay in places for only a few months at a time.
As I am financially independent, maintaining a higher budget than most is not a problem for me. I like to live in nicer places and will pay up for it. I also love to eat at great restaurants and visit cool bars so this part of my budget is certainly higher than most other digital nomads.
APartment Rental Prices in Tbilisi- 2,500 GEL (~$800)
Like anywhere else in the world, your rent will be one of your largest if not the largest expense. Tbilisi is an interesting market. Tbilisi is absolutely enormous and is super spread out. There has been a limit on building height for a long time which ensures people build outwards instead of upwards. Rents are generally cheap but if you want to live close to the city center, your prices will go up much more due to the large amounts of Airbnbs.
In general, prices in Tbilisi are very low in comparison to cities in the US or the UK. Keep in mind that salaries are generally quite low in Tbilisi as well. 1,500 GEL a month is considered good in Tbilisi after all!
How much are rental prices in Tbilisi?
Tbilisi really varies depending on where you stay. For long term expats, I would recommend you stay in the Vera, Vake neighborhoods of the city as there are generally more things here for long term digital nomads. I would not recommend staying near the old town because there really isn’t much going on there. It’s a bit of a ghost town at nights and while beautiful, it gets old quickly. It’s perfect to stay in the old town if you’re staying as a tourist for a few nights. Otherwise, it’s best to just visit the old town when you want to. In addition, rent prices are much higher in the old town since it caters a lot to the short term Airbnb market.
In general, you can expect to pay roughly 20 GEL to 30 GEL per square meter (~$6.5 to $10) for apartments in Tbilisi. You can easily rent a studio apartment for under 1000 GEL (~$300) a month and you’ll have something very nice. Of course, if you want something nicer, you’ll have to pay more.
I mainly used Airbnb for my stay in Tbilisi. I would pay for a week at a time and if I liked it, I would simply negotiate with the landlord off Airbnb for a better price (and save on Airbnb fees). Sometimes, the landlord had other friends looking for tenants and I would move around that way.
I stayed in really nice accommodations with amazing views over Tbilisi which means I had to pay up. I could have easily stayed somewhere still nice for half the price of what I paid.
SHort term rental prices in Tbilisi
If you are planning to stay in Tbilisi as a digital nomad for a few months, then you will probably use something like Airbnb to find your accommodations. Short term rentals as you can expect cost much more because you’re renting it from someone who is running a hotel business.
You can find decent monthly rentals in Tbilisi for something like 1,000 to 2,000 GEL a month for a 1 bedroom apartment. These same apartments will probably cost half the price if you are renting for a longer term. Expect to pay more in the summer months as this is Tbilisi’s high season.
What neighborhoods to live in Tbilisi?
Tbilisi is quite a spread out city. There are numerous neighborhoods in Tbilisi that will be great for someone to live in. Most young people in Tbilisi speak good English (and Russian) so you won’t feel left out.
Getting around Tbilisi is easy with
Generally, the most popular and in demand areas of Tbilisi are Vera, Vake, Avlabari, etc.
Gym prices in Tbilisi- 200 GEL
Working out is important for me so I make sure to find the best gyms in every city I go to. Tbilisi has a very good selection of gyms for very competitive prices. There are many modern and great amenity gyms around the city for you to choose from. Make sure to read my detailed post on the best gyms in Tbilisi if you want to know more.
Unlike Athens which has the worst gym selection of any city I’ve stayed in, you’re getting really state of the art stuff in Tbilisi.
I went to most of the gyms in Tbilisi like Oktopus, World Champion, Snap Fitness, Urban Garden, Champion’s Academy etc and they’re all good quite decent.
I ended up working out mostly at Oktopus as I really liked how new the equipment was, the space of the gym, and the overall price. It wasn’t cheap at almost 200 GEL a month but it is a price I’m willing to pay. It’s certainly a much cheaper gym than when I was working out in Bali!
Cell Phone prices in Tbilisi- 20 GEL per month (~$6)
As with most of Europe, mobile service plans in Georgia are is very cheap. The cost of data at the various providers around Georgia is very affordable.
The main mobile providers in Georgia are:
Magti is the national carrier and has the most comprehensive coverage in Tbilisi and is the provider I went with.
My data package was simply 5 GEL per week for unlimited 4G data. At first, I thought the representative was joking about the price but he was telling the truth. No joke, the price for an unlimited 4G plan was 5 GEL a week. I didn’t even bother looking at the other plans and just went through with this.
The speeds in Georgia are very fast and for that price, it’s a waste of time looking for anything else. I could also hotspot this connection to my laptop when I needed but mostly wifi was available in every restaurant and cafe.
Dining Out And Socializing In Tbilisi- 1,500 GEL
Going out to restaurants with friends is a way of life in Tbilisi. It is also very reasonably priced and you get much more bang for the buck vs places like the US or UK. I ate out almost all my meals because there is an abundance of food everywhere.
Eating out in Tbilisi
I absolutely love Georgian food. It’s on the heavier side but the national dishes are delicious. I pretty much lived off of Khinkali which are the national staple of Georgian food. These soup dumplings are incredibly delicious and affordable at roughly 1-1.5 GEL a piece. You’ll be completely stuffed after 6 of them.
In addition to Khinkali, you can expect a lot of meat heavy dishes as well as delicious bread dishes like khatchapuri. There are also countless cafes in Tbilisi serving delicious brunch inspired foods like avocado toast, syrniki, omelets etc. where you can expect to pay 10-15 GEL per dish.
Drinking at bars in Tbilisi
Tbilisi has a vibrant nightlife. It’s common to meet people for drinks and cocktails and there are endless options to be found. Georgia is also known for its delicious wine and I frequented the main wine bars the city has to offer.
A glass of wine can be had for as little as 5 GEL a glass but I would normally never pay more than 10 GEL. Cocktails at nice places in the city are 15-20 GEL.
I spent a lot of food and going out
I ended up spending about 1,500 GEL a month on my food and dining. Keep in mind that most people don’t even make this amount of money in a month so I am clearly not in the norm. I could easily split this in half and I would still eat and drink very well. I think if I lived in Tbilisi for longer, I would cut down considerably on this amount.
Some pricing examples are given below to give you an idea of the standard cost of living in Tbilisi.
- 0.5L of beer at a bar – 5-7 GEL
- Glass of local wine at a wine bar – 6 to 10 GEL
- Cocktail at a nice central Tbilisi bar – 15 to 20 GEL
- Khinkali with beef – 1.2 to 1.5 GEL per piece
- Mtsvadi (meat skewers) – 10 to 15 GEL per stick
- Espresso in a nice cafe – 5 GEL
- Meal at a nice restaurant for two people – 50 GEL
- Cinema tickets – 15 GEL
Cost of Transportation in Tbilisi- 100 GEL
Transportation in Tbilisi is very cheap. There is an extensive bus and metro system encompasses the whole city and is great for those that want to save money. The cost for a monthly transit pass is 40 GEL and this gets cheaper if you buy it for multiple months.
Ride hailing was a way of life for me while living in Tbilisi. Bolt and Yandex are the main ride hailing apps as Uber no longer operates in the city. The cost of a Bolt taxi was so cheap it didn’t even make sense. I’ve been to many places around the world and the cost of a taxi ride in Tbilisi (as well as Yerevan and Baku) are perhaps the cheapest fares I’ve ever seen.
I paid 4-5 GEL per ride. No joke. I would pay $1-2 per taxi ride around Tbilisi and sometimes this would be for 20 minutes or more! At this price, it didn’t even make sense for me to bother with the public transportation.
Tbilisi is also very spread out and getting from place to place can be very tedious with the public transport. Tbilisi is not a very walkable city in my opinion. Therefore, I almost exclusively took Bolts and Yandex around the city.
Here is an example of the prices for transportation around the city
- One way bus/metro ticket – 1 GEL
- Monthly Tbilisi transportation pass – 40 GEL
- Taxi fare from old town to Vera – 5 GEL
- Taxi from the city center to the airport – 20 GEL
Cost of Groceries and Household goods in Tbilisi – 200 GEL
I didn’t do much grocery shopping while in Tbilisi as I just ate out most of my meals. It’s hard to cook anything cheaper when you can get a delicious charcoal grilled stick of mtsvadi meat for 5 GEL at certain local restaurants. I could also eat other cuisines like Thai, Turkish, Italian and more for a very affordable price. I mostly went to the grocery store to buy wine and breakfast items like oatmeal, peanut butter etc.
However, if you are keen to do grocery shopping and cook for yourself, then the most popular grocery chains are Smart, carrefour, and Nikora.
Generally meats, vegetables, and fruits are quite affordable. You can expect to pay more for imported toiletry and name branded groceries. In addition, there are local markets everywhere where you can find fresh products at good prices.
Summary of Monthly Living Costs in Tbilisi
Finally, to sum up the expenses I’ve listed here, I spend somewhere slightly less than 5,000 GEL.
Of course, this is totally variable with your lifestyle and what you value. I could live in a much cheaper apartment outside of the city center and eat out far less. I could easily keep my budget under 3,000 GEL if I tried. Remember most people in Tbilisi live on less than 2,000 GEL a month and obviously make it work.
- Monthly apartment rental (80 m2 place) – 2,500
- Gym Membership: 200 GEL
- Monthly phone bill – 20 GEL
- Cost of toiletries and groceries for the month – 200 GEL
- Dining and drinking out: 1,500 GEL
Total: 4,500 GEL per month (~$1,500)
Coworking Spaces in Tbilisi, Georgia
If you are moving to Georgia and planning to be a digital nomad, coworking spaces might be one of your monthly expenses. Georgia is a very digital nomad friendly place which is obvious as the free visa on arrival is good for one year! There are numerous co-working spaces in Georgia for you to choose from.
You could get the same offerings at one of the many many cafes in the city but your monthly bill might turn out to be the same after buying coffees all the time.
Coworking spaces in Tbilisi
Cafes to work from in Tbilisi
- Lui Cafe
- Coffee Lab
I hope this guide helps you plan your move to Tbilisi. Tbilisi is probably one of the cheapest places I’ve lived in. While costs are going to rise, it will still be far cheaper than other cities in Europe and even around the world.
If you’re a digital nomad and planning to live on a short term lease or on Airbnb, expect to pay much more for rent, especially in the summer months.
Once you are settled in Tbilisi, the lifestyle is very rewarding and fantastic. The social scene is terrific and there’s always something going on.
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