21 Things to Know Before You Travel Georgia

21 Things to Know Before You Travel Georgia

Oh Georgia (the country!), you really do have it all.

Beautiful beaches, crazy cities, amazing architecture, magnificent mountains, fabulous food, wonderful wine … the list really does go on and on (as does my penchant for alliteration!)

Safe to say, I often describe Georgia as the whole world in one because, well, pretty much it is!

And on top of all that diversity, Georgia is also super cheap and super exciting – perfect for us budget travellers looking to explore somewhere a bit different.

So if you’re thinking of heading off to this fab country soon, here’s the 21 things to know before you travel Georgia…

Georgia, Svaneti, Me at Ushguli


Related Posts


#1 How to Travel to Georgia?

Georgia, Tusheti, Omalo

The capital of Georgia, Tbilisi has a small, but well-appointed international airport that is an easy taxi (you can also use rideshare app Bolt) from the city centre.

The cheapest flights generally arrive here from Paris, Istanbul & Latvia, so check out Turkish Air, Air France and Baltic Air via Skyscanner if you’re looking to score a well-priced ticket.

Otherwise, many people take a budget flight to Kutaisi in Georgia, and from there head to Tbilisi via a local bus.

Wizz Air flies to Kutaisi from across Europe, including London, offering some great deals.

The super Dingo Hostel is the best place to stay on a budget in Kutaisi, otherwise check out the Newport Hotel for something a bit more upmarket.

Alternatively, if you’re arriving into Georgia overland from Azerbaijan or Armenia, like I was the first time I visited this country, then you’ll be pleased to know tons of local minivan / shared taxi services (known as Marshrutka) can shuttle you over the border and straight into Tbilisi quickly and easily… sometimes a little too quickly!


#2 When to Visit Georgia?

Georgia, Tbilisi, Hilltop Cafes

Winters in Georgia can be fiercely cold with snow and freezing temperatures common across the country, especially in the mountainous areas such as Tusheti and Svaneti.

At this time, many roads become impassable and travelling difficult – trust me I’ve done it!

That said, if you want a super affordable ski adventure, or some pretty stunning snowy scenes, then winter in Georgia is fab – and there’s definitely less tourists around!

On my second visit to the country, I was there in Jan and Feb and it was pretty epic!

If you’re after sun however, it’s probably best to visit Georgia during their summer months, when the climate is wonderfully warm and the skies are almost always blue.

The summer season here runs roughly from May to September, however July & August can be super hot in Tbilisi (like 40 degrees hot), so do bear this in mind if you’re not a fan of the heat and want to enjoy some hiking.

I visited Georgia in June and the weather was perfect – very warm and clear days, with loads of wildflowers around and perfect hiking conditions.


#3 Visas for Georgia

Georgia, Tbilisi, Clothes

I think Georgia is perhaps the country in the world that requires visas for the least number of nationalities (if it’s not the front runner here, it’s definitely up there!)

What this means is that the chances of you requiring a visa for travelling to Georgia are incredibly slim.

Those from Europe, North America, Australia / NZ, as well as many Middle East and Central Asian countries don’t require a visa and will simply be given an entry stamp on arrival.

However, as always, do check your individual requirements with your foreign office in advance of your trip to be sure.


#4 Travel Insurance for Georgia

Georgia, Kazbegi, Glacier

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.




#5 Climate & Topography

Georgia, Tusheti Region, Views

So yes, as you can see from the above details, Georgia’s climate is really quite extreme.

In essence, the country experiences super hot summers and super cold winters.

This is further complicated by the diverse topography of the country – from deserts in the south to mountains in the north and coastline in the west.

What I’m essentially saying is that Georgia’s climate is a bit all over the place (no doubt made more so by global warming).

As such, it will pay to think a little bit about when and where exactly you want to visit in the country in order to get the best travel experience.


#6 What to Pack for Travels in Georgia?

Georgia, Kazbegi, Me

And the issue of a diverse climate is particularly pertinent when it comes to packing for your Georgian travel adventure!

If you’re heading there in the summer, then it’s definitely shorts and t-shirts for Tbilisi or the coast, plus a sun hat, sunscreen and sandals.

As you know, my Birkenstock Arizonas are the only sandals I’d ever travel with.

If you’re heading to the mountain areas of Tusheti, Svaneti or Kazbegi, then you’ll likely be wanting to do some hiking, so pack some active gear including walking shoes, leggings and a good day backpack, like this one.

It also gets chilly up in the mountains at night, even in the summer, so bringing a thermal fleece or jumper, plus a good waterproof / windproof jacket is a must.

In winter, it’s going to be freezing, so I’d advise merino everything (and a lot of it!), plus snow boots and ski jacket.

You might also want to pack the Caucasus Lonely Planet. Still my go-to when it comes to guidebooks, these guys crams in a huge amount of information about travelling in Armenia, Georgia & Azerbaijan and will likely save you the cost of a guide in many of this region’s fabulous historical attractions.

Also, you can’t come to Georgia without a good camera. From the mountain landscapes to the village life, you’ll want a super snapper to capture the best of Georgia and the Sony A6000 mirrorless ticks my box every time!

And finally, if you’re heading to see any monasteries in Georgia, ladies will need to come prepared with a headscarf to enter, as well as a long skirt (or pair of pants) and a long-sleeved top.

Learn more in this article I wrote about what to pack for an amazing trip in Georgia, which includes a full check list.


#7 How Long to Spend in Georgia?

Georgia, Kazbegi, Juta Valley Sculptures

With generous visitor time allowances, most people won’t be restricted by any visa rules about how long they can spend in Georgia.

Neither will they be restricted by a lack of things to do here or high costs!

As such, the amount of time you’ll spend in Georgia will most likely be restricted by you and your travel plans.

As a guideline, I’d allow at least a fortnight to get a good flavour of Georgia – here’s my ideal 2 week Georgia itinerary to give you some ideas.

That said, I think you could easily spend a month in this country… or longer.

If you only have a week or less, I’d base yourself in Tbilisi and spend a few days exploring this fab capital, before heading out on several day trips to some of the fab areas around.


@bigworldsmallpockets 📱 Save these top Tbilisi day trips for your Georgia adventure… 1️⃣ Sighnaghi: known as the Town of Love, if you this visit super picturesque in October expect wine tastings galore! 2️⃣ Kazbegi: the postcard emblem of Georgia – the famous church here sits in front of Mount Kazbegi offering stunning photo opps and glacier hikes. 3️⃣ David Gareja: this ancient monastery complex is perched in the rainbow mountains near the Azerbaijani border and is under 2 hours from Tbilisi, making it one of the easiest day trips on this list. 4️⃣ Uplistsikhe and Gori: located out in a lunar-type landscape, Uplistsikhe is an ancient and abandoned town that’s thought to be one of the oldest settlements in Georgia. Combine with nearby Gori, the birth place Joseph Stalin, and tour the interesting Stalin Museum. 5️⃣ Kutaisi: the second-largest city in Georgia and filled with mythological stories, don’t miss the Bagrati Cathedral here, the local market and nearby Martvili canyons. 6️⃣ Mtskheta: the former capital of Georgia, head to this ancient city to see the impressive Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and the Jvari Monastery on a history-packed day trip from Tbilisi. I always book day trips in advance with GetYourGuide or Viator, so I can plan my trip itinerary and get the most out of my adventures. These companies use local tour operators, with prices and reviews clearly displayed, which makes it easier to get the best experience for your budget. #t#tbilisit#tbilisidaytripst#tbilisitript#tbilisitravelerg#georgia🇬🇪t#tbilisi🇬🇪t#tbilisigeorgiat#tbilisigeorgia🇬🇪g#georgiatravel ♬ original sound – Big World Small Pockets


#8 Best Places to Visit

Georgia, Tusheti, Washing Line

My 14 day top Georgia itinerary gives you a great idea of the highlights of this country, but here’s a shortlist of the top spots I recommend visiting in order to condense it down for you:

Tbilisi – the country’s incredible capital – 2-4 days

Kazbegi – epic mountain area with hiking and winer sports – 2-4 days

Kakheti – the spot to head for wine tasting and picturesque towns – 1-2 days

Tusheti – super remote mountain area only accessible May through October – 4-6 days

David Gareja – ancient monastery complex near the Azerbaijani border – 1 day

Svaneti – fab mountain region for skiing, hiking and cultural sights – 4-6 days

Batumi – black sea coastal resort – 2-3 days

Kutaisi – one of oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world – 1 day

Mtskheta – ancient capital of Georgia and centre of Orthodox church – 1 day

You can learn more about all these spots in my list of the 9 best and most beautiful places to visit in Georgia.


#9 How to Travel Around Georgia?

Georgia, Tbilisi, Metro

But how to move between these destinations within Georgia?

Well, the short answer to that is the marshrutka – the main form of public transport in this country.

Essentially shared minivans that hurtle around Georgia, these guys cost next to nothing and provide quite the hair-raising experience!

Leaving from central depots whenever they are full, marshrutka routes cover most of the country, but generally route through Tbilisi, which means between destinations you’ll usually have to go via the capital.

Some parts of Georgia are also serviced by shared car taxis (literally a 4 person vehicle that takes less time to fill than a marshrutka and therefore costs slightly more), shared 4wds (in mountain areas like Tusheti) and ride-sharing app taxis in cities like Tbilisi (Bolt is the best one).

You can also hire cars to travel around Georgia – check out Discover Cars for good deals.

This can be a very affordable option if there’s a group of you but, do beware, the Georgians drive like maniacs!

Like, really!

Finally you can also take tours to explore areas of Georgia – check out these excellent days trips or these fully guided tours.

Oh and don’t forget that within Tbilisi, an excellent and cheap metro system, which operates via a top-up card system is the perfect budget solution for exploring the city on a shoestring.




#10 Accommodation in Georgia

Georgia, Kazbegi, Camp Kuro

Great news for those travelling Georgia on a  budget – this country has a huge range of accommodation options.

From top 5 star hotels like the Pullman Tbilisi Axis Towers to great mid-range options like the Mercure Tbilisi Old Town, this country also boasts many budget accommodation option toos.

In the major cities and towns you can easily find some great hostels, while in more rural areas, there’s a ton of small, independent guesthouses.

Here’s my pick of the top places to stay in Georgia on a budget…

Tbilisi: Pushkin 10 Hostel

Kutaisi: Dingo Hostel

Kazbegi: Camp Kuro

Telavi: Eto Guesthouse

Tusheti: Hostel Tishe


#11 Costs of Travelling Georgia

Georgia, Kazbegi, Post Office

As you may have guessed from what I’ve already said about this country (i.e. the repeated claims this is a CHEAP travel destination), it’s good to know travelling Georgia is extremely affordable.

You can learn a lot more about the expenses of a trip here in this post I wrote specifically about how much it costs to travel to Georgia.

Suffice to say, my budget was under £40 per day when I was here the first time… and it could have even been less!


#12 Currency and ATMs

Georgia, Juta, Valley

And while we’re on the subject of costs, let’s talk a bit about money and accessing it in Georgia.

The currency in Georgia is the Lari (GEL).

There are notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200, and coins that cover 1 and 2 Lari, as well as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Tetri (the equivalent of cents / pence).

ATMs are prolific across towns and cities and accept both Visa and Mastercard.

In larger towns you can also pay for many things on card.

In rural places however, they may not be any ATM or card facilities, so I highly advise beginning all the cash with you might need.

When it comes to paying for things in Georgia, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees, ATM fees or getting poor exchange rates when using your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise card away with me wherever I travel.

The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates and no markups, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card and it links easily with Google and Apple pay. Grab yours here.


#13 Phones & eSIMs

Georgia, Tbilisi, Metro Top Up

When you’re exploring Georgia, it’ll be handy to have a local data connection to browse Google Maps for directions or trail apps for hiking inspo.

I highly recommend prepaid eSIM data from aloSIM, which I used during my second trip to the country and found incredible reliable with great coverage across the country.


Download your FREE Check List!
Complete Packing List for the Caucasus Region

Just enter your email address below and I'll send it to you for FREE!

Information will be sent to the email provided above


#14 Hospitality, Culture and Language

Georgia, Tbilisi, Chillis

Georgian people are extremely friendly and welcoming.

Having long been at situated at an international crossroads between Europe and Asia, and along the silk route, Georgians are extremely welcoming to strangers.

In the major cities and tourist industries, everyone speaks English and people are very happy to help.

Outside of major towns, especially among older people, English is likely to be limited and Russian is more likely to be helpful if your Georgian isn’t up to scratch.

Because, let’s be honest, whose Georgian is up to scratch?

Unlike any other language in the world (legit it has no living etymological relatives), Georgian also uses its own unique alphabet.

Basically, forget it!

Or forget it besides a few basics like “thank you” that I did manage to pick up!


#15 Religion in Georgia

Georgia, Church, Clothes to Cover Up

Orthodox Christianity is a cornerstone and ancient part of Georgian culture.

Even as secularism increases, especially among younger urban populations, the Christian Church is still hugely important in Georgian life.

Churches can be found across the country and many major attractions here involve ancient monasteries.

Most are beautifully located, with amazing views as well as architecture, and all are free to enter – hoorah!

As I’ve mentioned before, everyone must cover up knees and shoulders before they enter a church in Georgia (and women must cover their heads).

Usually outside church doors however, there are free boxes of clothes you can use for your visit if you aren’t dressed modestly enough – handy stuff!


#16 Safety & Solo Female Travel

Georgia, Watermelons, Me

Happy to say I found Georgia an incredibly safe country to travel… maybe aside from the driving!

Otherwise, the friendliness, openness and rural roots of this country make it a lovely and easy destination to travel.

Solo female travellers will find this too, with close to no hassle or cause for concern.

Even the capital Tbilisi feels very safe and in general, crime here is very low.

Learn more in my article that talks directly about my experience of travelling in Georgia as a solo female and the sensible precautions I take.


#17 Alcohol

Georgia, Tbilisi, Lady

And in line with the hospitality of the Georgian people is the fact that these guys love an alcoholic drink!

A famous, historic and excellent producer of wine (actually thought to be the first wine producing nation in the world!), raising a glass with friends (or strangers for that matter) is a key part of Georgian culture and no matter where you go in the country, you’re likely to be invited to join in at your host’s expense.

Which is a great thing, because the wine here is excellent.

With grapes grown largely in the Kakheti region, you’ll find many households still make their own wine and there’s tastings and cellars across the country.

Actually a UNESCO-listed for its cultural heritage, traditional Georgian wine is made in clay pot called Qveri, which are then buried underground; but nowadays the modern European method runs alongside this as well.

As well as wine, you’ll likely encounter chacha when you’re in Georgia too.

A locally produced strong, clear spirit coming from grapes too (like Italian Grapa), this stuff is dangerous and has been the downfall of more than one Georgian traveller, trust me!

It goes without saying at this point, that the Georgians love a party and a dance too!


#18 Georgian Food

Georgia, Market, Apricots

Eating in Georgia is a hearty affair – they need it to soak up all that booze!

Bread, cheese and meat feature heavily and if you don’t eat one of these 3, you’re likely to eat a lot of the other 2!

There’s also tons of fresh veg and salads on offer, many featuring beetroot and walnut – all delish!

Thankfully, life isn’t hard for vegetarians in Georgia at all – hoorah!

Gluten-free-ers and vegans are likely to struggle a bit more however.

Food is crazy cheap though and, despite being simple, is normally delicious thanks to the use of so many locally grown, non-chemical sprayed products.

The national dish is khachapuri, a stuffed, open focaccia-type construction somewhere between a cheesy pie, pizza and toastie.

Some are made with pastry, others with freshly baked bread; some have an egg, some meat, some spinach and others just cheese.

All are served hot and are delicious in a kind of greasy, hearty way.

Perfect hangover food! Ha!

Don’t miss the chance to try khinkali, badrijani nigvzit, khachapuri, kharcho, pkhali, chikhirtma and lobio too.


#19 Tap Water

Georgia, Kazbegi, Village

Tap water is drinkable across Georgia and delicious, as most of it filters down straight from the mountains’ snowy melts.

Hoorah for budget travellers and the environment, as there’s no need to buy tons of plastic bottles here!

Instead, bring your reusable metal water bottle when you travel Georgia and refill for free from every tap going!

If you want to be assured of drinking safe tap water, then you can’t go wrong with a water-to-go bottle.

Learn more about these fab pieces of travel kit here.


#20 Shops, Markets & Supermarkets

Georgia, Tbilisi, Deserter Market

When it comes to buying food, there are some larger supermarket chains like Carrefour in Tbilisi, otherwise tons of smaller independent stores dot every street.

However the best place to buy anything in Georgia – food or otherwise – are the markets!

There’s so many across the country that discovering at least one on your travels here should be easy.

Not only can you pick up fresh, delicious and brilliantly-priced produce at them, but they also provide an amazing cultural experience.

The huge Deserter Market in Tbilisi is one of the best, and the largest I’ve ever seen.

No surprise therefore, that it’s definitely one of my top 21 things to do in the capital.




#21 Hiking & Skiing

Georgia, Svaneti, Hatsvali Ski Lift

And finally, one of the key things you definitely want to know about travelling in Georgia is that this country is an outdoor / adventure travel dream!

With the Caucasus mountain covering great swaths of the country, these fab mountain areas provide ample opportunities for hiking in the summer months and skiing in the winter.

The best mountain areas to head for summer hiking are Svaneti (the capital Mestia makes for a good base), Tusheti and Kazbegi (the main town of Stepantsminda).

In winter, the closest ski resort to Tbilisi can be found at Gudauri, while Hatsvali in Svaneti boasts a more remote experience.




So there you have it, my list of the 21 things you know before you travel Georgia.

Have you been to this amazing country too?

Do you have any more tips to add to the list?

If so, please pop them into the comments below and help your fellow travellers out…


This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.