Georgia is a small charming country located between Europe and Asia, bordered by Russia in the north and Turkey in the South. It is known by the winemaking methods that are still preserved today and even protected by UNESCO. It is believed that winemaking had started here, 8,000 years ago. Georgia, or Sakartvelo as the citizens call it, is becoming lately very appealing to the tourists who wish to go further from the popular tourist destinations and explore everything that this magnificent country has to offer.
Needing a visa for Georgia
When it comes to needing a visa to visit Georgia, you should know that Georgia is pretty liberal concerning visas. Residents from the European Union, North America, Australia, and many other countries can visit Georgia without a visa and stay for one full year. What this practically means is that tourists can just show up at the airport in Tbilisi or at any border and enter Georgia without any issues whatsoever. However, make sure you check with the embassy before making arrangements, just to be on the safe side.
Vaccinations you require for Georgia
Even though there are no obligatory vaccinations to travel to Georgia, vaccinations for Hepatitis A and Rabies are recommended. Rabies can be found in dogs, bats and other animals in Georgia, so it is highly recommended to protect yourself from the potential risks.
The official currency in Georgia is (GEL). One US dollar equals about 2.86 GEL. There are ATM’s available in each city, meaning that you don’t need to carry cash – you can simply withdraw money every time you need it. The only exception to this rule is visiting villages and regions such as Tusheti. In addition, there are also adequate exchange offices, particularly in the capital Tbilisi.
Travel Insurance for Georgia
Travel insurance is mandatory for tourists who wish to visit Georgia. On the other hand, there is a great chance that you won’t be asked about it. However, not having it may get you in trouble in case there is some random check.
It’s worth checking out insurance providers such as Allianz-Assistance, which have a wide range of policies that could suit your trip or activity.
Clothes you need for Georgia
Georgia has three diverse climates. The climate along the coast of the Black Sea is rainy and mild, while the climate in the central and eastern areas of Georgia is drier. The average temperature in the mountains during summer can be +20°C and -20°C in winter. Make sure you check the weather forecast before you go, so you can pack the clothes accordingly. If you plan to go hiking and camping in the mountains, carry warm clothes and dress in layers, because even during summer nights can get very cold.
Best time to visit Georgia
Georgia is very appealing at any time of the year, so it really comes down to your preferences. If you are mostly interested in hiking, then the period between May and September would be perfect. At this time of the year, all the roads to the mountains are open and the temperature is great for camping. Also, it is a great period to visit Tusheti, Georgia’s most inaccessible region. As featured in one of the websites such as Tour Guide Georgia, the landscapes are breath-taking and very appealing for tourists who wish to explore this mysterious country.
Traveling in Georgia by public transport
Once you go to Georgia, travel like a local, so you can fully explore the way the locals live. Marshrutka is the usual form of transport and it is very inexpensive, so it should be number one on your list way to get around in Georgia. It is a van that will get you where you want to go. It’s the main communal transport for the locals to travel in and around cities and across the country. Even though the marshrutka doesn’t come with a schedule, you can find them everywhere. Simply stand on the side of the road and wave to the driver when you see one coming.
Hitch-hiking in Georgia
The main way of traveling around Georgia is by hitch-hiking, so don’t get surprised if you see someone doing it. For tourists who aren’t used to this, this may be pretty strange, but this is normal here. Be open-minded and travel like a local. The average waiting time for hitch-hikers is 5 to 10 minutes, which is pretty awesome, especially because you won’t have additional expenses.
If you want to hitch-hike, learn some basic Russian phrases. Although the younger generation speaks English, older people don’t understand it. They speak Russian as a second language. If you are especially adventurous, you could try to learn Georgian but that would be a pretty challenging endeavor.
Accommodation in Georgia
Depending on your budget and preferences, you can choose the accommodation that you like the most. Whether you want to go camping or spend the night in a hostel, lodging house or expensive hotel, Georgia has it all. If you are looking for the cheapest option, look for hostels. The price for one night goes from $5, but it can be significantly higher. Make sure you arrange everything before you go, so you can be sure that you have a place to rest.
Food and drinks in Georgia
Georgia is known for its very tasty cuisine. It’s pretty much influenced by Iran and Turkey, so they use lots of spices and herbs. The most famous food is called khachapuri, which is cheese-filled bread. Besides its interesting look, it is very tasty too. You will soon realize that the locals enjoy socializing and eating, so it is really a delicious way of bonding.
Religion in Georgia
Orthodox Christianity is the leading religion in Georgia. Once you start exploring, you will notice many churches and religious foundations that you can visit. The Georgians are very spiritual. One of the most significant saints in the republic is Saint Nino – the Enlightener of Georgia. Many girls are named after her. Saint Nino was a woman who spread Christianity in Georgia. Thanks to her, Christianity was established as the state religion in the year 330.