There are only a few hidden gems left to travel in Europe and Georgia is one of them. A country with a rich culture, lovely quiet towns, impressive forgotten soviet monuments and landscapes not of this world, this ex-Soviet country should be on your bucket list by now and in this article I will give you some tips to make the most of this place.
1 month before your trip
- WizzAir offers tickets to cities like Kutaisi and Tbilisi starting only 15 USD one way.
- Planning a route in advance can be useful. A good option is to arrive in Kutaisi or Batumi, travel across the country and depart from Tbilisi (or vice versa)
- The independent regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia have their own border controls and the situation is very complicated if you want to travel around them. Due to a lack of consulate representation you should avoid entering these places without a valid Russian visa and a local guide or native Russian speaker.
2 weeks before your trip
- Transportation is a complicated issue in Georgia. Renting a car is the best choice to save money and time. Cars4Rent rents out vehicles for all budgets.
- Accommodation in Georgia can be as cheap as 4 USD per night. Get fancy for a day or two and pamper yourself in a 4-star hotel starting from only 70 USD per double room.
- Georgia has amazing trekking routes. Caucasus Trekking shows you most of these routes, has tips on trekking and even helps you finding a hiking buddy.
- Georgians are extremely friendly. Social platforms like Couchsurfing can connect you to locals around the area.
1 week before your trip
- Georgia is the perfect country for budget traveling. Here are some typical daily expenses:
Low Budget: 20 USD/day (hostel accommodation, meals in local restaurants and local transportation)
Medium Budget: 40 USD/day (private room in a hostel, 1 meal in a good restaurant with wine, car rental)
High Budget: 80 USD/day (4-Star hotel accommodation, meals in high class restaurants, a bottle of wine for two, car rental, 1 private tour per day)
- English proficiency is limited in Georgia, getting a Russian phrasebook can make some situations easier.
- A Georgia travel guide is not necessary. Instead, read the information guide of the country and check your places of interest on wikitravel.
1 day before your trip
- Download offline Google maps of the locations you are traveling to.
- Write down important addresses of places of interest, tourist information offices and your accommodation in a separate notebook.
- Deposit half of your total budget on your credit card (preferably a credit card without foreign fee for withdrawals).
During your trip
- Different mobile phone providers offer prepaid sim cards starting at 5 USD with unlimited internet for a certain amount of days or data volume starting 1 GB directly at the airport.
- Get free maps and very useful information at the Tourism Information Office of each location you visit.
- Driving in Georgia is not as easy as in western Europe or America. Avoid driving on the highways at night.
- Taste local food every day. Its variety is amazing and with top restaurants and excellent prices, there is no excuse not to try something new every day.
- Georgia is a wine country by nature. Even some monks ferment wine in their monasteries (yes, we saw it!) There is no better way to finish a long day of sightseeing than with a good glass of wine.
- Tbilisi can sound like a usual boring capital city, but its vibrant nightlife, great restaurants and wonderful little streets make this city one of the most charming and interesting places in Georgia. Spend more than a couple of days here and catch a weekend to get crazy in its nightclubs and alternative bars.
- Most tour companies offer private transportation to the country´s main attractions and since public transportation is horrific, the best way to move around Georgia is renting a car with some friends.
- Georgia is still one of these countries off the beaten path. Spend some time in the nature and get hundreds of km for yourself.
Places you can´t miss
Gergeti Trinity Church in Stepandsminda is like a scenery of The Lord of the Rings, just not so difficult and expensive to reach and in winter probably way more amazing.
Vardzia in Aspindza is a cave monastery in Southern Georgia which makes you feel part of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Katskhi pillar in central Georgia is a location not of this world, which you probably never heard about or even thought it was photoshoped.