Sulphur baths in Tbilisi: the luxurious baths of Chreli-Abano

Chreli-Abano: Banhos sulfúricos em Tbilisi, versão luxuosa.
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2024-04-24

There’s nothing quite like enjoying the sulphur baths of Tbilisi – an experience that, in my opinion, every traveler in Georgia should have. And if you can add a moment of luxury, even better!

Located in the Abanotubani district, it’s almost impossible not to come across the Chreli-Abano baths, also known as Orbeliani Baths, in the old town area of Tbilisi.

Kings, poets, musicians, and other celebrities have passed through these sulphur baths. They are also frequented by ordinary people, meaning they are accessible to everyone.

The reddish-brown brick domes with smoking chimneys are hard to miss, as well as the majestic building richly decorated with colorful tiles and inspired by traditional Persian baths.

But when it comes to Tbilisi’s sulphur baths, we’re not just talking about moments of well-being and tranquility.

The truth is that the health benefits are recognized, such as in the treatment of skin rashes, joint problems, acne, and dry skin.

Therefore, I recommend including a visit to the sulphur baths on your list of things to do in Tbilisi. However, don’t leave it until the last day, as you may want to repeat the experience.

Fun fact: According to legend, when Mtscheta was still the capital of Georgia, King Vakhtang Gorgasali discovered this place while hunting with his falcon, which fell into a thermal spring. He then decided to move the kingdom’s capital to Tbilisi, which literally means “warm place”.

What are the sulphur baths in Tbilisi?

Banhos sulfúricos em Tbilisi.
Sulphur baths in Tbilisi.
Orbeliani Baths, os banhos sulfúricos em funcionamento à noite.
Orbeliani Baths, the sulphur baths operating at night.
Banhos Chreli-Abano, também conhecidos como Orbeliani Baths, na zona antiga de Tbilisi.
Chreli-Abano Baths, also known as Orbeliani Baths, in the old town area of Tbilisi.
Piscina fria nos banhos sulfúricos. Cabine privada em Chreli-Abano.
Cold water pool in the sulphur baths. Private cabin at Chreli-Abano.
Banhos sulfúricos em Tbilisi. Local onde fazem kisa, ou esfoliação.
Sulphur baths in Tbilisi. The place where they do kisa, or exfoliation.
Sauna.
Sauna.

If you’re already familiar with the baths of Istanbul, Morocco, or Budapest and think they’re all the same, then I must emphasize that the sulphur baths in Tbilisi are different.

The main difference is that the water is not artificially heated, meaning the indoor pools are directly supplied from the thermal springs, with temperatures ranging around 38º-40º Celsius (100º-104° Fahrenheit.)

Another substantial difference lies in the chemical composition of the water, with sulphur, calcium, magnesium, and sodium predominating in the case of Tbilisi baths.

Furthermore, you can either be naked or wear a bikini, whichever makes you feel more comfortable.

In other words, you don’t have the three pools of different temperatures like in Istanbul, or the black soap of Morocco, but as you can see, there are other advantages.

Everything you need to know about the sulphur baths in Tbilisi

Orbeliani Baths, inspirado nos tradicionais banhos persas.
Orbeliani Baths, inspired by traditional Persian baths.
Detalhe de decoração nos banhos sulfúricos em Tbilisi.
Decorative detail in the sulphur baths in Tbilisi.

Are there public baths or only private ones?

Área exterior dos banhos sulfúricos em Tbilisi.
Outdoor area of the sulphur baths in Tbilisi.

In Tbilisi, you can either visit the public sulphur baths, which are more economical, or reserve a space in one of the luxurious private baths.

I opted for the latter option, and honestly, I think it’s worth it for the experience.

Furthermore, I didn’t feel comfortable being undressed in a place with strangers, as is the case in public baths.

However, if you truly want a more local experience, completely open and among unknown people, then public baths are a suitable choice for you.

What are the benefits of sulphur baths in Tbilisi?

Piscina de água termal nos banhos sulfúricos.
Thermal water pool at the sulphur baths.

From what I understand, the sulphuric water that feeds the baths in Tbilisi originates from the city’s thermal springs, which are very close to the bathhouses.

This water is rich in important minerals, such as sulfur, calcium, magnesium, and sodium.

In terms of benefits for human health, sulphur baths in Tbilisi are often associated with the treatment of skin conditions.

I’m referring to the relief of skin problems such as rashes, eczema, dry skin, psoriasis, and even acne. It’s also said to strengthen the immune system and improve blood circulation.

As for my experience, I can add that after several days of walking in Tbilisi, I felt immediate relief in my muscles and joints when I immersed myself in the hot waters of the baths.

What is kisa?

Kisa (luva de esfoliação), toalha e chinelos para utilização nos banhos sulfúricos em Tbilisi.
Kisa (exfoliation glove), towel, and slippers for use in the sulphur baths in Tbilisi.

Kisa is one of the treatments you can have at the sulphur baths. In a nutshell, it’s a good scrub! By the way, kisa means exfoliating glove.

Jokes aside, kisa is performed by specialized personnel who, with the help of an exfoliating glove, that kisa, remove dead skin cells.

It’s like giving your whole body a peel, facilitated by the hot mineral water of the sulphuric springs.

Those who have tried kisa say they’ve never felt so clean!

And from this procedure, in addition to immediate muscle relaxation, you get skin renewal, resulting in a rejuvenated appearance. There are many benefits, don’t you think?

What are the recommendations for sulphur baths?

Área de lavagem, nos banhos sulfúricos.
Washing area in the sulphur baths.

Bring your slippers, towel, and a bottle of water to stay hydrated. Avoid wearing jewelry, such as earrings, rings, or bracelets, as they may get damaged, especially silver pieces.

Since the water is very hot, you shouldn’t stay immersed for more than 4-5 minutes at a time. Pay special attention if you have low blood pressure tendencies.

Alternate with the cold water pool, sauna, or simply relax and enjoy the moment and the beauty of the place.

In terms of etiquette, it’s polite to shower before entering the pool and keep your voice low.

How much does it cost to experience sulphur baths in Tbilisi?

Chreli-Abano: Banhos sulfúricos em Tbilisi, versão luxuosa.
Chreli-Abano: Sulphur baths in Tbilisi, the luxurious version.

Public baths cost around 10-15 GEL per hour, while in private ones, prices start at 100 GEL per hour per cabin, not per person.

So, since I was with a group of friends, the price of the cabin at Chreli-Abano was divided among all of us.

Additional treatments, like kisa, snacks, or tea, are paid separately. If you don’t bring a towel or slippers, you can rent them on-site.

Places to experience sulphur baths in Tbilisi

Abanotubani - Tbilisi Sulphur Baths.
Abanotubani – Tbilisi Sulphur Baths.
Gulo's Thermal Spa.
Gulo’s Thermal Spa.
Interior de Orbeliani Baths.
Interior of Orbeliani Baths, or Chreli-Abano.


As I mentioned, I only tried the Chreli-Abano Baths, or Orbeliani Baths, which are the most luxurious and touristy in Tbilisi.

However, if you want to explore other options for thermal baths, spas, and baths, here’s the information you need, along with their respective locations:

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