Georgia’s mix of natural beauty, medieval history and Soviet influences has made it one of Eastern Europe’s most fascinating destinations. Long hidden behind ‘the curtain’, it has emerged, butterfly-like on travellers’ maps. Boasting hilltop churches, meandering cobbled streets, mountainscapes and a wine region the French would envy, Georgia is sure to capture your imagination.
Georgia Tours & Travel
All our Georgia trips
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At a glance
|Capital city:||Tbilisi (population 1.4 million)|
|Time zone:||(GMT+04:00) Caucasus Standard Time|
|Electricity:||Type C (European 2-pin)|
Best time to visit Georgia
Spring and autumn are the best times to head to Georgia. Summers (especially July and August) can be very hot and humid with temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees Celsius. This is a great time to escape to the Black Sea or the mountains to cool off. Winters can be very cold, although the country rarely freezes over. Power supplies are frequently interrupted however so don’t rely on heating. This is a beautiful, fertile region so bring an umbrella and expect rain at anytime of year!
Geography and environment
Top 10 Georgian Gems
Set along a backdrop of hills and the Mtkvari River, Tbilisi is simply lovely. It’s been Georgia’s capital since the 5th century and the architecture tells the story of the city through the ages. There’s a fascinating mix of European, Byzantine, Middle Eastern and Soviet styles. Explore churches, winding alleys, parks and fortresses.
One of the cradles of Georgian civilisation, Kutaisi is home to the immense Bagrati Cathedral. It may be in ruins but this 11th-century building still impresses from its hilltop.
Once an important strategic post in the Middle Ages, Gori is now better known as the birthplace of Stalin. Learn about his early years and how they shaped the man.
Not far from Gori is one of the Caucasus’s oldest settlements. Dating back to the 5th century and the days of the Silk Road, Uplistsikhe has a 9th-century church, an ancient monastery and a 2nd-century Roman theatre to explore.
5. Chalato Glacier
Take the opportunity to hike to Chalato Glacier. Your efforts will be rewarded with stunning views of snow-covered peaks.
6. Homestay Hospitality
The Georgians are renowned for their hospitality. Be welcomed into a family home and get a taste of what it is to be Georgian. The houses may be simple but Georgian family life is rich.
This nugget of a town may be distinctly Soviet in flavor but its setting is anything but dismal. Enjoy views out to Mt Kazbek and the hilltop Tsminda Sameba Church.
8. Telavi Wine Region
Whatever your favourite drop of wine, you’re sure to find a tipple to tickle your fancy here. Hundreds of varieties are grown and each village in the region has its own.
9. Shaumta Monasteries
One of the highlights of Telavi are the nearby monasteries. Dubbed the ‘old’ and ‘new’ monasteries, they’re nestled into woods among mountains. The old monastery dates back to the 5th century.
Enjoy a beach break Georgian-style along the beautiful shores of the Black Sea. Take in views of rolling hills and holidaying locals as you sip on a Turkish coffee.
FAQs on Georgia
Beer in a bar or restaurant = 2.50 GEL
Cup of coffee = 5 GEL
Simple lunch = 10 GEL
Three-course meal = 20 GEL
Short taxi ride = 3 GEL
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 7 Orthodox Christmas Day
Jan 19 Orthodox Epiphany
Mar 3 Mothers’ Day
Mar 8 International Women’s Day
Apr 8 National Unity Day
May 4 Orthodox Easter Sunday
May 5 Orthodox Easter Monday
May 8 Victory Day
May 25 Independence Day
Aug 27 Mariamoba (Assumption)
Oct 13 Svetitskhovloba (Georgian Orthodox Festival)
Nov 23 Giorgoba (St George’s Day)
Please note these dates are for 2013. For a current list of public holidays go to:
Most nationalities do not currently require a visa for Georgia, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, USA & all EU member states. However, all nationalities should check with the nearest embassy for the latest visa information as this may be subject to change at short notice.
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Georgia Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Georgia
1. Be considerate of Georgia’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
4. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
5. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
6. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
7. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
8. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.
|Stories I Stole||Wendell Steavenson|
|Georgia Through Its Folktales||Michael Berman|
|A Time of Miracles||Anne-Laure Bondoux|