You’re considering Georgia for your next holidays? Here are some basic tips to prepare your trip.
VLOG 1: Tbilissi & Kazbegi
Here is the first episode of my cinematic Vlog series about Georgia. It’ll probably be useful for you to build your itinerary.
VLOG 2: Shatili, Uplistsikhe, Gori, Ushguli and Mestia
In this second vlog, you can come with us to the Russia-Georgia friendship monument, Shatili, Uplistsikhe, Stalin museum in Gori, Ushguli and Mestia.
VLOG 3: Chaladi glacier, Zugdidi, Batumi and Kobuleti
In this third vlog, we take you from Mestia and the Chaladi glacier to Batumi seaside region. This city is probably the most touristic in Georgia and in addition to the many activities inside the city (casinos, beaches, clubs, bowling…), there are also many things to see in the surroundings: the botanical garden, Mirveti and Makhuntseti waterfalls, Makhuntseti bridge, Kobuleti…
The only guide book dedicated only to Georgia I found is the Bradt.
The Lonely Planet gathers Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaidjan.
For this trip, Zviad (a guide that works with the Georgian National Tourism Administration on a regular basis) built our itinerary. He speaks English perfectly. As he said himself, he may not be the best at History and cutlure but knows many nice unknown places. Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, he’ll be glad to answer with an itinerary offer.
Inside the country, the most simple way to move from one place to another is to hire a local driver of course. If you choose to rent a car and drive on your own though, please be very careful. Driving in Georgia is quite dangerous. Seeing animals (pigs, sheep, cows, horses…) on the roads is pretty mainstream. Landslides happen quite often so a lot of roads are really bad and Georgians have their own way of driving, if I might say… So make sure you don’t drive too fast, slow down at any intersection, try to anticipate any dangerous behaviour from other drivers and don’t go to any mountain road without someone who knows the region. Needless to say, you’ll absolutely need a SUV if you’re planning to go anywhere else the main roads.
Except if you’re probably planning to stay more than a year, you don’t need a VISA if you’re from the US, Canada, UK… or any country in this list.
Even though tourism in Georgia is pretty recent, you won’t have too much difficulties finding what you’re looking for, wether you’re into the small guest house or the Design Hotel.
In Tbilissi, I especially recommend Fabrika (an ancient Soviet sewing factory changed into what they call a multifonctional urban space).
And if you’re looking for the best hotel in Georgia, you probably want to spend a few nights in Rooms Hotel, Kazbegi. Outstanding view on the mountains, refined cuisine, indoor pool, excellent service… The Hotel lives up to its reputation.
Local national monney is the Lari. The Georgian banking network is modern and well developped in the whole country. So you won’t have any problem getting cash in ATMs, especially in the big cities like Tbilissi and Batumi.
Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit card payments. However, it can be useful to withdraw a few laris for small shops. If you prefer to change, it’s also possible. There are many exchange offices and they usually offer better change rates than banks.
In November 2017, the change rate was: 1 $ = 2,66 GEL
Best time to go
Theoretically, the best time to go is from May to July and then from September to October. However, august can be a good option as well if you’re planning to spend most of your time in the mountains. Winter is also great for skiing. But as you could see if you’ve watched my 1st vlog, weather was very bad during the first week of our mid-May trip. It almost rained the whole time (we even got some snow in Ushguli). The guide told us it was unusual, but I guess climate change is making this more and more usual…
The official language is Georgian. It’s so unique you probably won’t find anything similar. It even has its own alphabet. However, you’ll easily find people who speak English in the big cities and touristic places. Russian is also spoken by many people.