We have already covered a few articles on what stores or malls you need to visit while being in Tbilisi. All of these stores are authentic and colorful, featuring the amazing local and international brands, helping you to get the essence of the local culture. But deciding to relocate yourself and your family to Tbilisi is a whole other deal. It needs a more precise approach, more importantly, a more practical approach, so, you need to know a little about the best locations for practical shopping in Tbilisi.
Whether you’re an investor and plan to live here for a few years, or an enthusiast enamored with the Georgian culture, let’s admit it: relocating is A) stressful and B) also pretty high-cost. So, in order to maintain your budget, you need to know the little tips and tricks that locals use to save money.
Here, I present the stores/bazaars/markets that will help you to reduce your expenses while relocating or living in Tbilisi.
Let’s say you want to freshen up your wardrobe. Where can you go, aside from the fancy shops in the center of Tbilisi? If you want to find pretty cheap clothes and not only clothes: wholesale trade; textiles and carpets; leather and fur; toys and accessories; building and repair materials; dinnerware and household goods; furniture and children’s products, Lilo Mall is your go-to place. Note to remember it’s a pretty crowded place with sometimes no way to go through, especially in the rainy weather, so beware. If you’re up to the challenge you can get a good deal here. As a matter of fact, lots of the bigger shops in the city find their retail from Lilo wholesale options.
Dezerter Bazaar is a place with a rich history and is a very picturesque and authentic location. According to the rumors, Dezerter Bazaar got its name during the war. Soldiers deserting from the Russia-Georgian War in the 1920s would sell their weapons and gear at the marketplace, earning it the nickname ‘deserter’. Dezerter Bazaar is located near Station Square and is Tbilisi’s largest open-air market. It covers more than 2000 meters.
Here you can find local farmers’ products, all fresh and healthy. Here are some of the most popular products here:
- All kinds of fruits and vegetables
- And of course, Georgian cheese
Navtlugi Bazaar is another open-air market, although not as big and crowded as Dezerter Bazaar. But don’t let its smaller size fool you. Products here are as various as at Dezerter Bazaar and sometimes even cheaper. Here you can find many kinds of fruits, vegetables and all sorts of greenery. Note to remember Georgian bazaars feature not only local but international products, so, if you’re oriented on purchasing only local products, always ask the seller.
Supermarkets In Tbilisi
If you’re not keen on open-air markets and prefer the convenience of large (and air-conditioned) grocery stores, here is a list of supermarkets popular in Tbilisi. The size and variety of products at these markets will depend largely on which location you go too, but each will offer all standard groceries.
- Goodwill- open 24 hours (or 10:00 pm depending on location)
- Spar- open 24 hours
- Carrefour- closes at 10:00 pm
- Nikora- open 24 hours
- Ori nabiji- open 24 hours (or at 11:00 pm depending on location)
- Madagoni- closes at 12:00
- Fresco- open 24 hours
Technical Stores near Station Square
If you ask Georgians what Station Square is known for, they probably name two categories: thrifting stores and technical stores. Indeed, there is located one of the biggest chains of thrifting stores and most importantly technical & Lombard stores, that sell pretty cheap tech products. Mostly computers and mobile devices, but occasionally you can find other categories here as well. All you need to do is to be patient. In order to find your ideal technical device, you will need to get around many shops.
Thrifting Places/ Flea markets
In our article about local shops in Tbilisi, we already mentioned flea markets like Dry Bridge, Flea Market near Dede Ena Parka and Samgori. As for thrifting places, the biggest, as already established, is near Station Square. But there are other places you can visit: one of them being just two meters away from Navtlugi Bazaar and thrift store chains located at Tsereteli Station. The distinct feature of thrifting stores at Tsereteli Station is that here you pay according to the weight of the purchased products. So, remember buying a few stuff isn’t an option here. This might be good for those of you wanting to open your own boutique or some major restyling.
P.S Are you planning to live in Tbilisi and want to know how to live like a local? Check out this article.