City: Tbilisi, Georgia

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The Independent Travel

Gazing down from a hill-top terrace restaurant at the glorious jumble of ramshackle houses clinging to the rock beneath Tbilisi's ancient fortress, it is easy to see why so many have become enchanted by Georgia's capital. Since 2003's Rose Revolution, the city has undergone a sustained revival from post-Soviet depression, with widespread renovation of historic squares and an upsurge in new bars, cafés and hotels. But its heart is still the picturesquely crumbling old town, with narrow lanes dominated by overhanging balconies and communal courtyards.

Tbilisi is also a good base for hiking or skiing into the Caucasus mountains, or trips to the vineyard regions or the subtropical Black Sea coast. But the social culture of the city – and its nightlife – revolves around the table. Georgians are passionate about wine and singing, and one of Tbilisi's most magical experiences is hearing diners in different parts of a restaurant spontaneously harmonising their way through a traditional song. Matthew Collin

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