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Georgia – the country of surprises! Dig into a country of big diversity in nature, cuisine, wine and cities!

Overview of Georgia - the country of surprises!

Georgia is a European country, placed in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Eurasia is the combined land of Europe and Asia. As it is placed in the middle of Europe and Asia, there is a clear influence of many different cultures.

Small, but useful facts about the Georgian country

The country borders to Russia in the north, Azerbaijan to south-east, Armenia to the south and Turkey to the south-west. To the west, Georgia has a coastline to the Black Sea.

Georgia has a territory of 69,700 square km and the population is about 4.5 million people. The capital, which is also the largest city is Tbilisi. The currency is Lari (GEL), the time zone is +4 (UTS) and the phone code is +995.

Religion is mostly Eastern Orthodox Christianity (83,4%), the country is ruled by a unitary, semi-presidental republic and is not yet a member of EU. There has been a lot of conflicts, latest being the cold war, soviet and the 2008 Russo-Georgian War.

Nature in the Georgian mountains
Mountain flowers in Svaneti, north west in Georgia

The country is well-known for big national parks with a lot of variety of nature, hereby mountains, lakes, volcanoes, deserts, glaciers, forests and vineyards. Georgia also produce quality wine, they have a high taste of freshly baked white breads and salty cheese. It welcomes travelers with all budgets, from top class five stars resorts and camping. The low budget guesthouses all have shared kitchen and sometimes washing machines.

Georgian Language – one of the oldest in the world

The official language in Georgia is Georgian, but due to the time in Soviet, many people speak Russian too. It is not so common to speak English, so to know some phrases in

Georgian handwritten letter
Georgian handwritten letter

Georgian and Russian can help you. Otherwise stick to the old classic mimic, picture and body language.

 

The written language in Georgia is the Georgian traditional alphabet which is one of the oldest written languages in the world.

Georgian Food and Drink – let your taste buds enjoy!

Be sure to get stuffed in Georgia – both in solid and liquid. The food in Georgia is based on tradition as well as dishes brought from immigrants and nearby countries such as Russia and Greece. People in Georgia lives a long life and one of the arguments is the balance of simple food with high quality along with a moderated consume of wine.

As mentioned, the Georgian wine has been practiced and evolved for many thousands of years – with new adaptions for each era. As with most East-Europe countries, the toasts during drinking alcohol is not to be forgotten. A traditional way of dining is Supra where the leader, head of, the supra is known as tamada. One of tamadas tasks is to conduct highly philosophical toasts – as there is respect to both the guests, the food and the drinks.

 

Georgian wine fill-up!

Wine can be fancy, and it can be easy. Fill up your one liter bottles at the markets from the wine dispensers, go to any of the kiosks, find a vineyard or go for a wine tasting. All of this is possible, it is up to you how you prefer your Georgian wine.

It is also easy to try the traditional Russian drink kvass (pronounced Hvass). Look for the ladies with the big barrels and plastic cups in the parks and at the markets.

When it comes to Georgian food, there are some who are more known than others. Khinkali, dumplings made with meat (can also be found with cheese, potatoes, mushrooms) are mainly from the eastern mountains, but now found everywhere in the country.

One of the most fattening dishes in the world, the famous Khachapuri is a dish consisting of freshly baked bread shaped in different ways (depending on which region you eat them). The version from Adjara is the most famous one, shaped like a boat and when finished baked filled with cheese, butter and egg.

If you get tired of the heavy bread with butter and cheese, do not despair. Everywhere you go in Georgia, you will always find a market filled with fresh and local vegetables and fruits. The colors of these markets is one indicator of the quality of the harvest in Georgia.

Get your daily need of fresh and tasty veggies and fruits here
Vegetables and fruits!

Visa in Georgia – easier than you think!

Georgia is a visa-friendly country for the majority. People from most countries are able to enter visa free up to a year. If you are from following South America, Africa or Asia – check if you have to apply for e-visa. For any resident, do not forget to bring your passport. You will need it for the border control regardless if you can stay for a year without visa or have applied for e-visa.

What to do in Georgia?

As Georgia is a country with such variety of nature and also have old historical cities with good food and wine culture, there are many things to do in this country.

Ocean – The Black Sea coastline of Georgia

Black Sea at Georgia
Coastline in Georgia by the Black Sea

The Georgian coastline to the Black Sea is 310 km long. This is a popular place in the summer, especially in the Ajara region. Lots of tourists, especially Russians, travels here to spend time at the rocky beaches (the “beaches” in Georgia is not with sand, but with rocks – except for the black sand beach at Ureki). This means that many of the places like Batumi and Kobuleti is very touristy. Filled with shops that sells bad quality ocean toys, rubber sandals, plastic necklaces, snacks and beers. Some of the places are more clean than others, but the coastline is not so impressive. No life in the water here, there is garbage and plastic floating around, many people and music playing from the restaurant.

Nevertheless, there are spots where you can enjoy some quiet time with a friendly street (beach) dog and the sunset. The water is warm and comfortable. As there are many rivers ending up in the Black Sea, the ocean water is not so salty.

Go to the ocean for swimming, sunset watching, banana boats and water scooters. You can also take the ferry to Ukraine from several harbor cities.

Hiking in Georgian national parks – untouched and unreal nature

Svaneti ox enjoying summer, Georgia
Animals go free in the mountains of Georgia

As there are so many national parks, Georgia is a paradise for hikers. The largest national park is the Borjomi-Kharagauli National park which covers 1 % of the total of Georgia’s territory. There is also many mountain regions.

Georgian-Military Highway, which starts at Tbilisi, leads up to Kazbegi (Stepantsminda). In the north-west of Georgia you find Upper Svaneti which is famous for its very unique lifestyle, architecture and cuisine. In Svaneti you also find Europe’s highest settlement, Ushguli Village (2200 meters above sea level (AMSL)) and the highest peak in Georgia, Shkhara (5068 meter AMSL).

If you are up for a challenge, try the regions of Mta-Tusheti, Racha and Khevsureti as they are harder to get to due to the bad roads. The road to Tusheti has been awarded one of the most dangerous roads in the world.

There are many travel agents across the country, offering day hikes and longer trekking. Riding is also popular. It is up to you if you want to rent your own jeep and drive around, walk alone or in groups, with or without guide. Even though it is not completely legal, it is possible to wild camp if you show respect to both nature and people. Do not leave anything behind and chose a place far away from private property.

Cities of Georgia – old history and the best clubs in the world

The biggest cities in Georgia is Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi and Rustavi. Hereby comes a short information about the first three.

Tbilisi – the capital of Georgia with old history and upbeat clubs

The capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, has a population around 1.4 million people. The city is filled with old historical buildings and landmarks. Go check out the Parliament, the Georgian National Museum, Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Sameba Cathedral – just to mention a few examples.

It is also recommended to go and get lost in the small narrow streets. There is always something new to discover and no walk is the same. Enjoy the street life, the cafés, shops and all the city cats.

Tbilisi also have an interesting nightlife with well-known clubs where both local and international DJ’s have performed.

Kutaisi – historical buildings and modern cafes

A view of Kutaisi, the third biggest city in Georgia
The third biggest city in Georgia, Kutaisi

The third biggest city in Georgia and is viewed as the capital for the western region of Imereti, but city centre is less interesting than Tbilisi. Kutaisi’s landmark is the Bagrati Cathedral built in the early 11th century. If you have time and interest it can be worth to take a trip over to Gelati Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also walk around in city centre and enjoy the parks, some statues and Kutaisi Synagogue.

Batumi – sea port and casino heaven

Prevously a big harbor city for trading is now one of the most touristic cities in Georgia. Batumi lies only 20 km from the Turkish border by the Black Sea. If you do not care about Batumi Boulevard, the Panoramic Wheel or the Miracle Park, there is also the old city of Batumi. Do not go to the Dolphinarium if you respect other animals and living creatures.

What will you do in Georgia – everything is possible!

Georgia has a lot to offer to many people. It is a diverse country with rich food culture, amazing nature and interesting cities with long history. It welcomes all kinds of travelers. Enjoy!

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