Georgia travel guide – practical tips and information
Are you traveling to Georgia and just realized there are loads of information about the country on the internet? Sure, you can read all of them, but to make your life easier, we have written our own Georgia travel guide – concentrating on first-hand travel tips and information.
How to reach Georgia?
Georgia can easily be reached by plane, which will land in Tbilisi International airport. There are many airlines flying there, but check out Turkish Airlines, as it often has very affordable flights. If you are based in Europe, there’s low budget airlines Wizzair, which flies into Kutaisi from some cities, so you might want to check this as well.
Traveling around Georgia
You have two options to travel around Georgia – you can either rent a car or you can travel around with its local transport.
We were in Georgia with our own car, so we really enjoyed everything that country offers – from cities, towns, remote villages to off-roading and dirt tracks, crossing high mountain passes. So if your budget can stand it, we would really recommend you to travel around Georgia with your own transport. If you are more into adventure, make sure to rent a 4WD. The Economy Car Rentals is the place, where we always rent a car if we need one. The price for a small personal car with all the insurances will cost you around 25 EUR/day for a week long rent. Check more offers here.
But on the other hand and if you have more time to spend in Georgia, local transport is good as well. It is very cheap and will take you to all the major tourist attractions and towns. You can travel by buses, but mostly locals and travelers are deciding for »marshrutkas« – vans. They are super cheap, but you have to have enough time to use them as they don’t leave the station before full.
Georgia tourist attractions
Most people decide to travel to Georgia for its mountain regions – the most amazing regions are Kazbegi and Svaneti. But Georgia is much more than these – you can explore stone towns, underground caves, canyons, cities or spend a day tasting the traditional Georgian wine, produced in kvevri’s. Check out more about Georgia tourist attractions here.
Food in Georgia
Food in Georgia can be put under the tourist attractions paragraph, but for many this is the whole new chapter. Lots of foodies and culinary blogs are impressed over Georgian cuisine, which is more similar to the one in Iran and Turkey than Russia. Check out more about food in Georgia here.
Accommodations in Georgia
Hotels, Guest Houses
Due to quick tourism development, Georgia nowadays has a good and wide choice of accommodations to choose from. You can either stay in budget accommodations or decide for hostels, guest houses, hotels or more and more popular Airbnb. Modest but one of the most favorite ways to stay the night among travelers is overnight in guest houses, owned by locals, where you can meet them and see their way of life. Wide options of guest houses are in Svaneti and Kazbegi regions, also a good choice during trekking. Svaneti even offers some camping spots. But the widest range of accommodations can be found in Tbilisi.
Camping – wilderness and official
Georgia is great for wilderness camping as it is allowed all around the country. The only place we did not camp and sleep in our car was the capital Tbilisi. If you’ll be camping, make sure to bring your own camping equipment. We could not find any in Georgia. But luckily some camping spots do have free gas for cooking available.
Our recommendation for Tbilisi accommodation
Georgian House – this nice family run place offers huge rooms, free Wi-Fi, rich buffet breakfast – especially when comparing it to other formal Soviet countries. The location is just underneath the city’s cathedral St. Trinity. The old town can be reached by foot in around 10-15 minutes. The location of the Georgian House is good, as it is surrounded with lots of grocery shops, bakeries, restaurants and fast-food joints. There’s even a small market with veggies and fruit. The Georgian House also has a free parking space available if traveling by car.
Most of the accommodations offers free WI-FI, but having your own SIM card is a good option when you are on a public transport or doing wilderness camping.
There are few mobile services you can choose from, but because we got a free SIM card in TIC from Beeline we used this company. We needed to recharge the SIM card, what was not expensive – 3 GB (3 GEL), 7 GB (7 GEL). *(Our change rate was 1 EUR – 2,83 GEL). The recharging is a bit difficult as there are no English instructions, so we got help from the bank clerk. Otherwise the network is fast and reliable.
Prices in Georgia
Georgia still is very affordable to travel, especially if you’ll be buying food in groceries or local markets. Following some prices:
Traditional puri bread: 0,80 EUR
Tomato: 0,40 EUR/kg
Bottle of water (1,5l): 0,30 EUR
Beer in a restaurant: 1,00 EUR
Local restaurants: 7-10 EUR for two persons (soup, main dish, salad and drink)
Fuel/ diesel: 0,65-0,70 EUR/liter
You also won’t miss if buying local vegetables and fruit from the locals. They are having improvised stands in front of their houses. So you can just stop, honk and they will come out. It can hardly get cheaper and fresher.
Method of payments in Georgia
The best thing is cash – especially if you’ll be using small locals shops, bakeries, markets, eating street food and driving around with local transport. Some hotels and Guest Houses accept credit cards though. You can also pay the fuel with a credit card on every gas station. Credit cards are accepted also with some tourist attractions (Vardzia, Prometheus cave, Canyons…). The ATMs are widely available in the cities. Mastercard and Visa will take you far.
Safety in Georgia
The most problematic region once was Svaneti, but luckily it is safe now and so is the rest of the country.
We were traveling around Georgia with a 10 months old baby and we did not have any problems. We did wilderness camping almost all the time and we loved it.
People in Georgia are extremely nice – they might were even more welcoming because we were traveling with a baby. But the fact is, Georgia is a safe country. There are some safety restrains for traveling to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, so it is not advisable to travel there. The boarder can be crossed, but you need an official paper, you can get online before your arrival. Having all the papers, still does not guarantee border crossing though.
Communication in Georgia
You will be best off if speaking Russian or at least knowing some basic words. Georgia was a formal Soviet Union country so older people still speak fluent Russian. English is not widely spoken, but you can get by with it in touristic areas and sights.
Georgia with a baby / children
Traveling to Georgia with a baby or a child should not represent any difficulties. There are some remote areas, which you can easily avoid if you don’t feel comfortable exploring them.
We did not see any other travelers with a baby on the way, but few families did travel with children and it looked they all are having a great time.
If you are concerned regarding diseases, we did not do any extra precautions or vaccinations – except from the necessary by law.
But because you never know, do take good travel health insurance with you!
Best time to visit Georgia
Most travelers travel to Georgia to visit its northern part (Svaneti and Kazbegi regions) to do trekking, so in this case the best time to travel to Georgia is from May to October, August and September being the best months.
Nevertheless, Georgia should be interesting all year round – believe it or not, but there are even some ski slopes available.
Do we need visa for Georgia?
It depends what your nationality is, so check first, if you need a visa.