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People keep asking me why I’m always travelling to the Republic of Georgia. Did I find love there? A business partner? Did I lose my adventurous spirit and found there a comfort zone? The truth is that there are many reasons to travel to Georgia. While I can’t rationally explain why I like the country so much, I hope this post will help you understand why you should visit Georgia at least once in your lifetime.

Reasons to Travel to Georgia - Travel with Pedro

So keep on reading and we will figure out, together, why the country is a magnet for me and why it could become the same for you. The pictures will give you an indication of what to see in Georgia, a country with hospitable people, great cuisine and picture-perfect scenery.

1- THE PEOPLE

Reasons to Travel to Georgia (Country)

One of the main reasons I’m a frequent traveller to Georgia, is because of the people. They are welcoming, friendly, proud, not subservient and with good cultural level. They love a healthy debate and take hospitality to the core.

2- THE FOOD

Georgian food is very diverse, often based on the country’s rural nature and austere history. Khinkali, a local version of dumplings, which can be filled with potato, beef, cheese or mushrooms, is a very popular option. But khachapuri, a pizza-like dough filled with cheese, which comes in many versions and toppings is everyone’s favourite, including myself.

Reasons to Travel to Georgia (Country)

Although there’s more to Georgian cuisine than these two popular dishes, I could easily live on khachapuri adjaruli, a boat-shaped dough topped with melted cheese, a soft boiled egg and dab of butter. Just make sure you exercise enough to burn the calories! 🙂

3- NATURAL SCENERY

Reasons to Travel to Georgia (Country)

Despite its diminutive size, nature in Georgia is very diverse. To the north, around places like Kazbegi or Mestia, you have the mighty Caucasus mountains with their snow-capped peaks. Around Kutaisi you will find forests and canyons, or therapeutic spring water in Borjomi. Let’s not forget the Black Sea beaches of Batumi and Poti, and the magic of autumn, when the trees turn bright yellow and orange.

4- BUDGET FRIENDLY

Georgia has always been a budget friendly destination. On my most recent trips, I saw that the currency, the Georgian Lari (GEL), had devalued by 30% since my previous visits. So if you’re on a very tight budget, you can have a meal for 10GEL (roughly 4USD, £3.30, €3.70).

Reasons to Travel to Georgia (Country)

If you’re not counting coins, you can have a bottle of good red wine for 30GEL (12USD, £10, €11.30) in a good restaurant.

5- LUXURY

Although not necessarily known as an upmarket destination, you will find many options to stay in comfort and luxury all over the country.

Reasons to Travel to Georgia (Country)

Tbilisi, Batumi and Borjomi have a good selection of luxury hotels and refined restaurants. Bear in mind, though, that luxury hotel prices are in US dollars.

Book your luxury accommodation in Georgia with our partner Booking.com

6- HOSPITALITY

As I mentioned, Georgians are very hospitable people. On my very first trip to the country, I was impressed by the reception I had by different groups of locals. If you are lucky enough to visit a Georgian home, no matter how humble or how rich, you will be treated like a king. In smaller villages, people may even take personal care of you, as if you’re welfare were their responsibility.

7- THE WEATHER

Reasons to Travel to Georgia (Country)

Yes, the weather. In summer the capital Tbilisi will see temperatures of up to 35 Celsius. On my winter visits, I’ve rarely seen temperature fall below 5C. But it’s good worth remembering that it does snow in many parts of the country, especially higher up in the mountains. Gudauri, near Kazbegi, is a good place to go skiing or snowboarding, with great infrastructure. Other ski destinations include Bakuriani and Mestia.

8- THE RESTAURANT SCENE

Having such a rich cuisine, it comes as little surprise that Georgian cities have a great restaurant scene. Tbilisi has a huge variety of restaurants serving Georgian and international cuisine. I recommend sticking to local food, since you can have anything else in other places you travel to.

Reasons to Travel to Georgia (Country)

Chardin street, in Tbilisi, has many good restaurants and cafes lined up – try Tifliso Restaurant (44 Chardin Street) for authentic Georgian or Aladdin for Arab and international cuisine, followed by shisha. Many places also have very original decor, ranging from ultra-modern to traditional, from artsy to nostalgic.

9-  SPA

Tbilisi was founded around the site of sulphurous thermal waters. The area called Abanotubani has a number of public and private bath houses, where you can have an exfoliating massage and plunge into a pool filled with sulphurous water – known to be good for the skin and also known to be good in the treatment of asthma and rheumatism, among other benefits.

Reasons to Travel to Georgia (Country)

The town of Borjomi, home to country’s most famous mineral water, was renowned during at the time of the Russian Empire as a healing place, thanks to the therapeutic properties of its water. Today the city also has good, modern spa hotels, like the recently opened Rixos Borjomi.

10- WINE

There’s a reason I left wine as number 10! Research indicates that wine has been made in Georgia for over 7,000 years, so the country can be considered the birthplace of the drink. Also, over half of the grape varieties in the world come from here. Add to that the fact most of the wine is still made in the traditional, artisanal way in family estates and monasteries. My favourite variety is Saperavi, a dark, dry red wine.

Reasons to Travel to Georgia (Country)

Wine is so much part of the Georgian’s everyday life, that many houses are decorated with vines.

Buy Your Lonely Planet Guide To Georgia Here!

11- SAFETY

“Is Georgia safe? What about the war?”, I hear often. Firstly: which war? Secondly: yes, Georgia is one of the safest countries you’ll ever travel to. Petty crime is nearly unheard of, murders, tourist kidnappings, as cited by Come Back Alive, are absolute nonsense. Police corruption is gone, unlike other countries in the region, and our friends in uniform are quite well trained. There’s no war – the conflict in Russia happened and finished in 2008, and the Abkhazia conflict is frozen, you can even travel there with no problem, as I explain here.

On the other side of the spectrum, some sources reveal that Georgia is the third safest country in the world, only behind Singapore and Korea. To avoid any shadow of doubt, Georgia is one of the safest countries you’ll ever visit.

12- CULTURE

Despite the periods of foreign occupation, Georgians worked hard to keep their own culture and national identity intact. Historically, there is some influence from Russia (despite resistance) and Persia, especially in architecture and painting. The country also has a rich literary tradition, with The Life of St Nino being a good read. The arts also thrive in the here, from ecclesiastic to contemporary styles. You will see some quirky works by local artists and sculptors everywhere around Tbilisi and Batumi. Last but not least, Georgian cinema, despite small, started making its mark in the world scenario, with Tangerines, a co-production with Estonia, being nominated to the Academy Awards (watch the trailer below).

13- OLD TBILISI

Old Tbilisi, the historical part of the Georgian capital, is worth a trip on its own – so much so, that on some trips, I’ve only stayed in the capital. Walk around historical buildings from the 17th to 19th centuries, as well as art deco. Many of them desperately need some renovation, but to me, this is where the beauty lies.

Reasons to Travel to Georgia (Country)

The decaying state gives the area a lot of character, creating a melancholic, almost romantic atmosphere. Parts of Old Tbilisi, especially at the foot of Narikhala Fortress, have been renovated, with the contrast making it even more interesting to explore.

14- VISIT A COUNTRY THAT DOESN’T EXIST

If you are in Georgia and have a bit more of time, you can legally visit the breakaway region of Abkhazia, stage of a bloody conflict in the early 90s and the central theme of the movie Tangerines. Its independence is only recognised by a handful of countries. Although possible, it is illegal to travel to Abkhazia from Russia, but you can do so via the town of Zugdidi, in Georgia.

Reasons to Travel to Georgia (Country)

It’s pretty much hassle-free, you just have to contact the authorities in Abkhazia a week earlier and explore this part of Georgia where most Georgians are not allowed to.

Despite being a small country, there are many more than just 14 reasons to visit Georgia. So, why not discover them by yourself?

So, what did you know about Georgia before reading this post? Would you consider visiting it in the future?

MORE ABOUT GEORGIA:

 

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Photo Credit: All pictures by Pedro Richardson (All rights reserved), except for 5-Luxury, by Rooms Hotel Tbilisi.

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39 Responses

  1. GK Samy

    These pictures look incredible! Coming 21st September 2015 I am going to Tbilisi for a week

    Reply
  2. DG

    Your travel blog on Georgia has inspired me to visit the country by week’s end. Great photos as well. Already planning a weekend trip to Kazbegi, most probably by shared (or maybe private) taxi and follow your footsteps up to the church :-). Also thinking about Borjomi … is that doable as a day trip from Tbilisi?

    Reply
    • Pedro Richardson

      Hi DG, I’m really happy to hear I inspired you to visit Georgia! If you leave early, you can definitely do Kazbegi and Borjomi in one day – one day for each place.

      Have a great trip!

      Reply
  3. Maka Macintosh

    Wow, impressed with your article, you’ve covered all the main points. I am proud Georgian from Poti & after leaving in different parts of the world I am more convinced now that we do have very unique land with all the 4 seasons, not many countries have that, I grew up in warm long summer days & 1 m deep snow every winter. Best of both worlds. Keep up the good work, also potential travelers, definitely visit cave city Vardzia, Prometheus cave & definitely attend the grapes harvest in Kakheti.oh yes, I’ve made the boat khachspuri recently, love it

    Reply
    • Pedro Richardson

      Hi Maka, how are you? I’m really glad you liked it! I’m totally in love with Georgia, and visited the country six times in the last 3 years. Of course, I’ll be back soon. Sighnaghi is another place I love, but I actually didn’t make it to Vardzia, despite all recommendations I got. Next time, hopefully! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Prabodh

    Hi Pedro !

    Your article was really helpful & I must say the pictures really stand out ! I’m planning a trip to Georgia with my family by next month & I have a question here, I’m sure you can help me with that……
    Is there any immunization required to go this place ?

    Reply
  5. Chris Bona

    Hi Pedro!
    I’m travelling this coming week to Georgia with my friends and i just finished reading your article on what to visit in Georgia in two days….

    My question is, aside from those amazing places that you’ve mentioned, can you give us more information that we need to see/visit for four (4) days.

    Thank you very much and appreciate your reply.

    Chris from Dubai

    Reply
    • Pedro (The Author)

      Hi Chris, apart from a couple of days in Tbilisi, I’d recommend day trips to David Gareja Monastery (see my post about it), the town of Gori, where you’ll see a very well laid museum in honour of Stalin (yep!) and another day in the town of Sighnaghi.

      Have a great time!

      Reply
    • Maka Macintosh

      Surami castle, Ananuri castle, gergeti trinity church, Vardzia cave city, Prometheus cave, okatse canyon & nearby waterfall. Mtirala national park in Asjara a waterfall. Beautiful everywhere.

      Reply
  6. Amanda

    Hey Pedro! Amanda here- I wound up watching a film called “In bloom” that was filmed/based in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1992 and decided to look up Georgia since I had never heard of this country and came across your post! Now I am planning a trip for this June! Thank you for your post and reassuring the safety matter. I am a woman in my early twenties and will most likely be traveling alone but I feel much better now after reading your post and am happy to learn this trip is actually in the cards.

    Reply
    • Pedro Richardson

      Hi Amanda, you can’t imagine how happy I am to have helped you make your decision to visit Georgia! Stay tuned there are many more posts about Georgia coming up. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Meg

    Thoroughly impressed by your blog! Loved the way you have covered every possible aspect on this breath-taking country! Maybe you could have also thrown some light on the top landmarks, historic UNESCO sites, and other attractions worth checking out in Georgia.This blog only makes my desire to travel to Georgia stronger, which I hope happens soon!

    Reply
  8. Nassim

    Wow I was thinking about Georgia as my next travel destination. Now that I’ve read this, I’m definitely going. Thank you for all the useful info.

    Reply
  9. Parind

    Hi Pedro, You said “it is illegal to travel to Abkhazia from Russia”, but Wikitravel says that it is possible to visit Abkhazia from Sochi as long as you have multiple entry visas to Russia. Is that true?

    Reply
    • Pedro

      Hi! It is certainly possible to travel to Abkhazia from Russia. But for Georgian authorities, you’ll be entering Georgian illegally, since you won’t clear Georgian immigration. You can certainly do that, but if Georgian officers gather you’ve been to Abkhazia via Russia, you may be detained.

      Reply
  10. Safal

    Hi Pedro,
    I recently visited Georgia and your blog was really helpful in helping me plan my trip
    Thanks & Regards,
    Safal

    Reply
  11. Clara

    Hi Pedro!
    Awesome article! It’s amazing that you actually traveled to Abkhazia, what was it like? Do people live ordinary lives there?
    Anyways, I’ve made similar travel experiences, if you want to check them out my blog. 🙂
    I love hearing about foreigners that love Georgia as much as I do!

    Reply

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