50 Things to know before traveling to Georgia

First of all, this travel guide is about Georgia, the country! Not Georgia, the US State 🙂

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 and places to see. However, there are a few things to know before traveling to Georgia, and have a great time!

This post will explore everything you need to know before traveling to Georgia. Here you’ll find travel tips about the Georgian culture, the best attractions, the food, costs, and how to travel in Georgia!

If you want to learn even more about Georgia. Look at the article “What is Georgia famous for”– written in collaboration with a fellow Georgian blogger.

Georgia and the Locals

#1 Georgia will soon become a tourist and backpackers hub! So, if you like quiet countries with much to offer, you should travel to Georgia now! Within a few years, it will be bustling with tourists!

#2 Is Georgia in Europe or Asia? Well, it’s debatable if Georgia is in Europe or Asia because the country is on the frontier between the continents. The border between Asia and Europe is a historical and cultural construct defined only by convention.

Narikala Fortress Tbilisi Georgia, one of the must visit destinations in Georgia
Narikala Fortress in Tbilisi, Georgia | Everything you need to know before traveling to Georgia

#3 However, historically, socially, and culturally Georgia is clearly closer to Europe than to Asia. Even in terms of appearance, generally, Georgians look like Eastern Europeans.

#4 Georgia is a very mountainous country. The Caucasus mountains distinctly mark it, and it has several peaks above 5000 meters, the highest being mount Shkhara with 5193 meters.

However, the most famous is Kazbegi (also known as Kazbek) with “only” 5033 meters of altitude.

Visit Kazbegi in Georgia travel
The imposing Kazbek mount in the north of Georgia | Things to know before traveling to Georgia

#5 In August 2008, there was a war between Russia and Georgia because of the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Depending on who you ask, these regions are considered independent, part of Russia or Georgia.

#6 In the last few years, Georgia has been inching closer to the West, becoming an “aspiring country” to NATO and expressing a desire to join the EU.

With the Ukranian war, this has become more prominent, but the approximation of Georgia to the West has been happening for years now.

#7 One of the most important things to know before traveling to Georgia is that very few people speak English, at least more than just a few words and phrases, even in tourism-related services like guest houses and restaurants.

Russian is still the lingua franca in the region, and many tourists are coming from Russia.

Georgia travel and the Locals
Everything you need to know when traveling to Georgia

#8 There’s kind of an online legend that Georgian people are incredibly lovely to a foreigner. It’s even said that they believe a guest is a gift from God… Sorry, but we call it bullshit!

Georgians are as nice as any other people. There are amiable people, and others not so much… It really depends on who you are lucky to meet.

#9 Georgia is a conservative and religious country. Georgians are mostly Christian Orthodox, Georgian Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church to be more precise. It was also one of the first countries in the world to assume Christianity back in the 4th century.

Top things to do in Tbilisi while you travel to Georgia
The Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, commonly known as Sameba

Travel to Georgia and Tourists

#10 Western tourists and backpackers in Georgia are still a minority. Most of the tourists used to be Russian, but there’s also a surprising number of middle eastern too.

#11 Traveling in Georgia is extremely safe! Even though we weren’t expecting it to be any danger, it still surprised us how safe and relaxed the country is. It’s “children playing in the streets at night” safe…

So, if nothing really weird happens, you have nothing to worry about on this.

What to visit in your Georgia trip
Things to know when traveling to Georgia (country)

#12 Prepare yourself to see a lot of monasteries and fortresses 🙂 And usually, they are up on a hill away from everything, so there is lots of hiking too…

#13 Vardzia is a fantastic place that needs to be included in your trip to Georgia. It’s a monastery and a citadel built inside a mountain. For a very small fee, you can explore it almost freely.

Walking through the tunnels connecting houses, monasteries, and other places in the citadel is awesome. Together with the Khertvisi fortress, it is on the tentative list of UNESCO Heritage sites.

Visit Vadzia in Georgia - everything you need to know before traveling Georgia
The incredible old citadel of Vardzia is something you must visit in Georgia

#14 Usually, Borjomi isn’t the first place people think of when traveling to Georgia, but it deserves your attention. Borjomi is a spa town and home to the famous sparkling water of the same name.

It’s a very green place with beautiful views and great outdoor hot baths, the Sulfur Tsar Baths. We enjoyed resting, relaxing in a hot pool in the mountains, and people-watching.

Travel to Borjomi in Georgia
The Sulphur baths were one of our biggest surprises in Georgia – It was so much fun to be among the locals

#15 Kutaisi and the surrounding area are full of exciting places to visit. From the Bagrati Cathedral to the incredible Gelati Monastery, passing through the beautiful Martvili canyon and the Prometheus Caves. You will have plenty of things to do in Kutaisi.

Click here to check our complete Kutaisi Guide!

Best things to do in Kutaisi Georgia - Georgia Travel guide
The Gelati monastery, very close to Kutaisi

#16 Tbilisi doesn’t really feel like a capital city with 1,1M inhabitants. When you are in downtown Tbilisi, you have the feel of a “small” medieval town.

Despite this, Tbilisi has a vibrant nightlife and plenty of things to see and do. We strongly advise you to take the cable car to the Narikala fortress and enjoy the view of the city.

Things to do in Georgia - Georgia trip
The famous bridge of peace in Tbilisi

#17 The Georgian Military Road is one of the most beautiful roads you will ever drive! The high mountains are incredible, though we need to highlight the view of the majestic Mount Kazbegi in Stepandsminda.

Click here to check everything you need to see and do in the Georgian Military Road

Georgian Military Road Travel Guide
The unreal beauty of the Georgian Military Road

#18 If you are tired of visiting monasteries and old castles, you may want to shuffle things and visit the weird Stalin Museum…

Stalin was born in Gori, Georgia, and in the museum, you can visit his birth house, his train carriage, and many documents and photos. However, you won’t understand anything if you don’t get a guide. Everything is in Georgian and Russian.

Stalin statue in Gori, Travel to Georgia
Stalin Statue in Gori, very close to the museum

#19 Unfortunately, there’s some trash in the streets, and some people throw things to the floor. It isn’t alarming or anything near Cambodia, Laos, or Jordan, but Georgians need to take care of the problem before it worsens.

What to eat in Georgia? A small guide to Georgian Food

#20 One of the things you need to know before traveling to Georgia is that Georgian food is delicious, but a bit too salty. The bread, the cheese, and the pastries were always on the salty side! At one point, even mineral water seemed to be salty…

#21 Bread and Pastries are the base of Georgian food. Moreover, they are extraordinarily cheap and yummy! Though, be aware that your scale may not like Georgia as much as you and your wallet 🙂

Khachapuri georgian food - Things to know before travelling to Georgia
Things to know about Georgia: The food is delicious

#22 There are two things you can’t leave Georgia without trying (and probably repeating)! Khinkali and Khachapuri.

#23 Khinkali is a dumpling with a filling consisting of only minced meat with herbs (originally). However, you can find many alternative fillings to meat, like cheese, potato, or mushroom. It’s freaking good! Juicy, tasty, and yummy all the way!

Khinkali Georgian Food - Things to know before a trip to Georgia
The famous Khinkali that you must eat in Georgia! They are gooood! really good…

#24 Khachapuri is the staple food of Georgia, and it’s simply a dish of cheese-filled bread. The filling contains cheese (fresh or aged, most commonly sulguni), eggs, butter, and other ingredients.

It has several variations, but the most famous ones are the Adjaran Khachapuri and the Imerulian Khachapuri.

Cheese, bread, butter… how could it be anything but amazing? Be aware that it’s very filling too 🙂

Adjaran-Khachapuri Georgian food - What to eat when you visit Georgia
The Adjaran Khachapuri tastes as good as it looks! So yummy…

#25 Weirdly, in a country that likes pastries so much, there aren’t many famous Georgian sweets and deserts…

We looked around, and basically, the only thing we found and tried was the Churchkhela, a candle-shaped candy made of grape must, nuts, and flour. It’s kind of beautiful, isn’t it? It was good, but we were expecting it to be sweeter 🙂

Churchkhela Georgian Food - sweet things to eat in a Georgia travel
The Churchkhela make very colorful pics, don’t they? 🙂

#26 There many, many roadside sellers in Georgia, usually selling fruit, vegetables, honey, wine, and handicrafts. We advise you to buy from these sellers whenever it’s possible. The things are cheap, and you’ll be helping the local community directly! Fruits particularly are very good!!

#27 Food is surprisingly cheap, both in restaurants and in fast food. We usually had one fast food meal and one restaurant every day. Including snacks, water, and breakfast, we averaged less than 10 Euros per day per person! Incredible…

Beautiful Breakfast in Georgia
Excellent free breakfast in one of our favorite guest houses in Georgia

#28 Did you know that Georgians claim to be the creators of the wine around 6000 BC? We are both abstemious and didn’t try it, but apparently, Georgian wines are very good and important for their culture. Furthermore, it can be a great gift to bring back from vacation!

One of the most popular things in Georgia is visiting the Kakheti Wine Region. The small village of Sighnaghi is perfect for two days of wine-sipping and unwinding.

#29 In Georgia (and Armenia), a Lemonade doesn’t need to be made of Lemon! You can have a pear Lemonade or our “favorite” Tarragon Lemonade… YEAP, you read it right… Tarragon… Lemonade…

What to drink in Georgia? A Georgian lemonade
A tarragon lemonade… Honestly, it was better than it sounds. We ended up asking for these more than once

#30 Georgia is quite famous for its quality mineral water, particularly the Borjomi (carbonated) and Bakuriani (plain). In Borjomi, you can fill your bottle with it for free; however, it isn’t the same as you buy in supermarkets.

Money and Costs of traveling to Georgia

#31 What’s the official currency of Georgia? In Georgia, the official currency is the Lari (code: GEL). The exchange rate (in March 2023) is 1 Euro = 2.8 Lari, so keeping track is very easy.

#32 Georgia is an all-around inexpensive country. Probably the worst and heaviest price you will pay is the flight to Georgia, which may be expensive due to the lack of alternatives and location.

Top attractions in Georgia - One of the many things you want to know when planning a trip to Georgia
What to know about Georgia? The beautifully renovated castle of Akhaltsikhe is a must-visit destination

#33 Altogether, we paid 775 Euros, meaning 35 per day per person in Georgia, excluding flights! This is an extraordinary deal and one of the reasons why Georgia will become a major backpacker destination quickly.

#34 Accommodation can be really cheap! Most of the time, prices are on par with South East Asia, however with a big difference: quality is much better! You can find much better value-for-money deals. In Thailand, you get what you pay; in Georgia, you can get much more than you are paying.

#35 Fuel is also inexpensive… We are talking about roughly half the price of most Western Europe countries… We spent 0.6 to 0.7 euros per liter, but today it’s about 1 Euro per liter. Still, pretty inexpensive, right?

What to do in Kutaisi Georgia
Martvili Canyon, close to Kutaisi

#36 Outside the bigger cities, it can be challenging to find an ATM. Be prepared for that!

On the other hand, you don’t pay a fixed ATM fee, which makes your life managing your GEL much easier. You can withdraw small amounts without any issues. Note: We are talking about the ATM fee (like those you see in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, etc.), not your banking or exchange fee!

#37 Most small places, particularly guest houses, restaurants, and very small supermarkets won’t accept cards. So having cash is still very handy! The good thing is that they never charge an extra for using a foreign card, like in South East Asia…

Food stalls in Georgia -
Food stalls by the road in Georgia

#38 Be aware of the service fee in restaurants. Most restaurants charge 10 to 15% service fees, added to the customer’s bill over the menu rates. These are usually (if not always) displayed in the menus.

How to travel in Georgia

#39 Be aware of the hours of your flights when booking. Flights in and out of Georgia tend to be at a very odd hour, which can be very tiring and ruin 1 or 2 days of the trip! The airport is full at 3, 4, and 5 in the morning…

#40 On the upside, there’s a barely free (0,5 Lari – less than 0,2 Euros) airport-Tbilisi-airport bus that runs 24 hour a day! We couldn’t find its schedule, but apparently, it passes every 30 minutes (roughly).

Best treks in Kutaisi Georgia - Travel to Georgia
Okatse Canyon – one of the best day tours in Georgia

#41 Public means of transport and Marshrutka are very cheap ways of traveling; however, we think they are only a good option for urban trips. Longer trips will be very uncomfortable and even dangerous…

#42 If you want to travel around Georgia, renting a car and enjoying all the freedom and flexibility it gives you is much better. You will be able to visit more places and places that you probably wouldn’t have if you had to take taxis or Marshrutka.

Things to do in the Georgian military road - Travel guide
Things you need to know before traveling to Georgia

#43 However, note that Georgians are horrible drivers. The only occasions we didn’t feel perfectly safe while traveling in Georgia! If you aren’t experienced in driving in these conditions, you may have a bad time. Though, also consider that if they are crazy drivers, they are crazy drivers with you inside the buses/vans.

#44 Be prepared to find many people and animals standing in the middle of the road! We are talking about cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, dogs, etc.

Tip: In rural areas, you will see something pretty cool: At the end of the day, cows return home by themselves and stand in front of the gate waiting for the owner to open it! We found it funny! 🙂

We love to travel to Georgia
Everything you need to know before going to Georgia

#45 Another weird thing about Georgian roads is that cars have driving wheels on the right and the left…! We asked about it, and apparently, it’s because it was cheaper to import cars with the driving wheel on the right! Despite this funny fact, they drive on the right side of the road in Georgia!

#46 Roads in Georgia were much better than we anticipated! We had read quite bad things about it, but generally, they are OK, considering that you mostly drive mountain roads. Moreover, if you come from Armenia, Georgian roads will feel like a gift from heaven!

If you are thinking of going to Georgia, consider including Armenia in your trip! Check our 50 tips on Armenia!

Georgian Roads aren't the best in the world, but that shouldn't keep you from travel to Georgia
Georgia travel tips

Other helpful Georgia travel tips

#47 There is WI-FI everywhere. Almost every coffee shop, restaurant, and guesthouse offers it! Even some tourist attractions offer it for free! And it’s usually quite good!

Although if you need to be always online, you can buy a travel sim card at the Airport. They are inexpensive.

#48 The power sockets and plugs in Georgia are type C and F, while the standard voltage is 220v and the frequency is 50Hz. Type C is usually called the Euro plug, and the socket also works with plugs F & E. So, they are similar to or the same as in most continental Europe.

If you need to buy an adaptor, we recommend this one.

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#49 Apparently, one can freely smoke everywhere, even in closed spaces like restaurants. It is uncomfortable for non-smokers…

Things you need to know before traveling to Georgia
The viewpoint of Mtskheta

#50 Finally, be prepared to find some begging in the streets, particularly in Tbilisi. In most prominent streets, you will find old people asking (politely, not pushing) for money. It was very difficult to see and broke our hearts, mainly when it was elderly people.

All in all, we love to travel to Georgia! It has everything we like when traveling: stunning scenery, tasty food, fun activities, exciting history, and low prices! Again, you should visit Georgia ASAP because soon it will be full of tourists!

Planning to visit the Caucasus and don’t know if you should visit Armenia or Georgia? Have a look at our comparison!

Georgia Travel Guides

Georgia (Bradt Travel Guide) –  This is our favorite Georgia travel guide if you are only going to travel to Georgia!

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Lonely Planet Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan (Travel Guide) – is the best option if you plan to travel to Georgia and other countries in the Caucasus!

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1 thought on “50 Things to know before traveling to Georgia”

  1. Thanks, very interesting and informative (but do leave out all the exclamation marks; they don’t make the text stronger).

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