Let's get ready to travel to Georgia in 2020 (Travel Guide of Georgia) 08/05/2020

Georgia is situated in the Caucasus region, between Europe and Asia. Historically it has been a fundamental region for trade and war. This made Georgia extremely interesting and full of activities to do and places to see. It is still unknown to many, and a place where you can find a lot of the old and plenty of the new – remote villages are still untouched, while cities are bustling with life. 



1. Visa requirements

Traveling to Georgia is easy for the citizens of 90 countries including the EU member states, Turkey, USA, Australia, UAE, Russia, and some Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries, who can all stay here visa-free for 365 days. Others can apply for an e-visa before departure, which requires five working days to process. 

2. The best time to visit

Georgia is an all-year-round destination. Late spring and early autumn are ideal for those who love exploring cities and lowlands. Summer gets uncomfortably hot in the major cities, making it a perfect time to visit remote mountainous areas. Winter sees heavy snow attracting free-riders and skiers in its alpine and high-altitude slopes. 

November to April is low season in Georgia, with temperatures dropping to below 0ºC in winter months. This may even last until mid-March. 



3. How to get to Georgia by plane



Standing on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia is relatively accessible from any part of the world. There are three airports in the country served both by flagship carriers and low-cost airlines. Major airlines such as Air France, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airlines, Air Arabia, airBaltic, and Ukraine International Airlines fly to Tbilisi International Airport

Wizz Air, a Hungarian budget-friendly airline, offers flights to Kutaisi, Georgia's second-largest city, from more than 35 European cities. In 2019, Ryanair started operating flights from Germany, France, and Italy to Tbilisi and Kutaisi. 

The seaside resort town Batumi is served by airlines including Batu Airways, flydubai, Air Arabia, Air Company Armenia, and Wings of Lebanon. 



4. How to get to Georgia by land and sea

Georgia has one land border with Russia (near the Kazbegi region), taking passengers to Vladikavkaz. Turkey and Georgia share three land borders, of which Sarpi–Hopa is the most frequently used. Borders to Armenia (Sadakhlo–Bagratashen) and Azerbaijan (Red Bridge–Shikhli) are within an hour's drive of Tbilisi, making this the preferred path for those traveling through the Caucasus.

Night trains run daily on the Tbilisi–Baku route, while Tbilisi–Yerevan overnight sleepers operate every second day on odd days of the month. Frequent passenger and cargo ferries transport visitors to two main ports of the country – Poti, and Batumi.

5. Using public transport in the cities

The main cities in Georgia have relatively well organized public transport systems. The metro is only available in Tbilisi, while the primary means of transportation in the rest of Georgia are buses and marshrutkas (minibusses). 

Tbilisi's metro has just two lines, making it very easy to navigate. Buses in Tbilisi and Batumi run on schedules displayed on digital boards at the bus stops. Marshrutkas run more often than buses, making them a favorite means of transport for locals. 



6. Traveling around the country 

Similar to the cities, marshrutkas are the most-used transport when traveling around the country. They run approximately every hour, depending on the destination. However, they are the least comfortable option, with little legroom. Didube Bus Station serves marshrutkas going to the west, while vehicles going to the east depart from Navtlughi Bus Station

Georgia does have a somewhat organized train system, however, the majority of trains date from Soviet times, and they take longer to get to the destination than marshrutkas or buses. The only moderately fast train available is on the Tbilisi–Batumi route. 

7. Cash and ATMs

ATMs are easy to access and safe to use in cities and small towns. The majority of places accept card payments, including convenience shops, restaurants, and pharmacies, to name just a few. If you're heading into the mountains or remote villages, be sure to take cash with you.

8. Travel costs

Depending on how you choose to travel, Georgia can be either expensive or very budget-friendly. There are many international hotel chains for those wanting to spend a little more, but there are also plenty of small boutique hotels in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Batumi. Renting a city-center apartment from Airbnb can cost you around £27 (US$35) a night. 

Georgia doesn't have Michelin-star restaurants, but there are plenty of opportunities to have a luxurious dinner in Tbilisi or Batumi with spectacular panoramic views of either city. A meal in a higher-end restaurant with a bottle of local wine can start from £46 (US$60). 

The price of public transport in major cities starts from £0.11 (US$0.14). Marshrutka tickets to travel around the country start from £0.84 (US$1.10), but the cost varies depending on the destination. Sightseeing is moderately priced as well. Visiting museums can cost you from £1.40 to £6 (US$1.80 to US$7.70). Entrance fees to karst caves, canyons, and nature reserves start at £5 (US$6.40).



9. What to eat in Georgia

Georgian food, the original fusion cuisine, is influenced by flavors from both Europe and Asia. The local kitchen is abundant in meat, dough, walnuts, and various spices. Vegetarians will find plenty of plant-based meals as well. 

Khinkali, boiled meat dumplings, is a national dish of Georgia and a favorite meal for locals and foreigners followed by khachapuri, a pizza-like cheese pie that every region has its own version of. Make sure to add mtsvadi, grilled pork, or beef chunks on a skewer. To lighten your lunch or dinner, order a simple tomato and cucumber salad with a walnut and vegetable paste called pkhali. Spinach, eggplant, beetroot leaves, and cabbage are the most common veggies used in pkhali

10. Get to know Georgian culture

When traveling to a country, it's always helpful to know a few words in the local language. The Georgian language has only around 4 million speakers, and knowing essential words such as gamarjoba (hello) and madloba (thank you) will get you a smile and appreciation from the locals. 

Georgia is known for being a hospitable nation. A guest for Georgians is "a gift from God", so they pay particular interest no matter if a person is a local or a foreigner. Don't be surprised if a stranger you met an hour ago invites you home for dinner with their family. If you choose to go, go hungry; the host will insist you eat every dish on the table and drink as much wine as you possibly can. 

Georgia is still a traditional country when it comes to dressing etiquette. Very short skirts or dresses or see-through clothes are likely to attract a stare. When entering churches, women should cover their heads and shoulders (some churches will provide scarves for this, but it's better if you have your own). Skirts and shorts should cover the knee. Men should ensure shoulders are covered and ideally wear trousers rather than shorts.


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