There are countless reasons to visit Georgia, its remarkable mix of landscapes, which include snow-tipped mountains as well as lush wine-growing valleys, are covered with ancient towered fortifications, monasteries and UNESCO world heritage sites. This amount of things to do in Georgia makes it a popular tourist destination for hiking, cycling, skiing, horse riding, and traveling of every kind.
Where is Georgia? Set on the coast of the Black Sea, it is in the Caucasus, where Europe and Asia meet. It borders with Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The population of Georgia is 3.7 million and the capital city is Tbilisi. The majority of Georgians are Eastern Orthodox Christian, aside from Russia, the only country to be so in the region.
History of Georgia
Georgians are a proud, cultured people with a deeply complicated history. Situated on the Silk Road between Europe and Asia, Georgia's history has been dominated by power struggles against some of the world’s biggest empires including the Roman, Mongol, Byzantine, Persian, Ottoman, and Russian. It reclaimed its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Food in Georgia also has many influences and it is considered to be the world's original fusion cuisine. Throughout their history, traders and armies traveled through each leaving their culinary mark. The oldest known traces of wine production were found in Georgia, dating back to 8000BC, making Georgia the home of wine. Its wineries in the north are receiving international praise and accolades, so why not enjoy some wine tasting in Georgia!
What to see in Georgia?
Hiking in Georgia: Known as the 'Gem of the Caucasus' and is a great summer destination if you love hiking, trekking or exploring at a leisurely pace. It includes four different mountain ranges where you can hike along many routes through breath-taking landscapes. There is unspoiled natural beauty to complement its unique culture. Quaint villages and towns are dotted around the countryside while modern cities like Tbilisi and Batumi are lively, captivating and photogenic.
Its wonderful heritage is one of the main reasons for visiting Georgia. Its churches, monasteries, old towns, Pirosmani canvases, and ancient cave cities tell of a long, multi-faceted history. But the country's story is far from over, its spectacular contemporary buildings and ever-improving facilities are an important feature of any holiday to Georgia.
Georgia Basic Information
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When to Go
Due to its myriad altitudes, it is possible to travel to Georgia during most of the year. When considering when the best time to go to Georgia is, it is worth first deciding which part you want to see, whether it be the lowlands, the mountains, or a bit of both. Georgia experiences both temperature extremes, summer temperatures reach the high 30°Cs while the winter is sub-zero.
- The best times to visit Georgia are mid-May to early July and early September to mid-October. The weather is generally warm and sunny throughout most of the country so these are the best months to visit Georgia for a rounded visit.
- July and August are the best months to go to the mountains in Georgia, though in the lowlands it is uncomfortably hot and humid.
- Early autumn (September 20 to 20 October 20) is a nice time to experience Georgia’s culture with a whole host of harvest festivities.
- December to February are cold months. Eastern Georgia often suffers below-freezing temperatures.
Georgia is a good destination for:
Georgia Entry Requirements
To enter Georgia a valid passport is required for the length of the stay.
Visas are not required for many nations for stays of up to one year. These countries include the US, Australia, the UK, Canada, EU countries, Russia, New Zealand and Brazil. Check with the embassy if your country is not on this list.
A visa is needed for stays over one year.
Georgia Country Atractions
Jaw-dropping scenery, world heritage sites and lively cities mean that you won’t get bored in Georgia.
Things to see and do in Georgia
- Gelati Monastery. The cultural hub of Georgia’s ‘medieval golden age’, this 12th-century monastery is one of Georgia’s most popular tourist attractions. The main Cathedral is one of the brightest and most colorful in Georgia, complete with fascinating frescoes and a famous mosaic of Mary and Jesus.
- Batumi Boulevard. Batumi is the second largest city in Georgia. Set by the beach, its boulevard stretches 6km and is set among trees paths, fountains, cafes and beach bars, making it the perfect location for an afternoon walk. On your way along you’ll find a number of treasures including a 145m Ferris wheel, a moving metal sculpture known as Ali and Nino, southward, and, on the ‘New Boulevard’, you’ll find the ‘Dancing Fountains’ and an entertaining laser, music, and water show.
- Lake Rica. Surrounded by mountains and forests, this beautiful, clear-watered lake is a fantastic place to enjoy some of Georgia’s most stunning views and experience peace and serenity. The mysterious setting is fed by six rivers and has inspired local legends.
- Georgian National Museum. In 2004 ten different museums were brought together to form the largest museum in Georgia. It includes internationally significant art collections as well as exhibitions on culture, science, and education. You can see ancient relics from the oldest human existence in Eurasia, alongside masterpieces from the Orient, Western Europe, and Russia.
- Funicular. The views from the top of Mount Mtatsminda are truly spectacular and what better way to get to the top than this reconstructed funicular railway. The 500m long line was originally opened in 1905, and then reopened in 2012 and has been a popular tourist attraction in Georgia since. At the top, there are some great places to eat while admiring the scenery.
- Uplistsiche Cave Town. This ancient pagan fortress was built by tribe leader Uplos in a demonstration of his power. It has survived multiple earthquakes and it is fully functioning today. Full of legend and wonder, you will be transported back to a past era of Georgian culture and history, archaeological excavations have revealed many unique and fascinating items
- Do they speak English in Georgia? English is only prevalent in touristic areas, in Tbilisi and some of the mountain ski regions. Georgians are very accommodating and hospitable and will work hard with you to communicate. Georgians speak Georgian and many also speak Russian which is the most important foreign language.
- Driving in Georgia: It is not the safest, the country has some of the highest traffic accident rates in the region so wear a seatbelt at all times. There are trains between some of the cities, there are also mini-buses connecting all major cities.
- Can you drink the water in Georgia? Most people claim that it’s generally safe to drink the water in the city centers but it can vary widely throughout the country. Georgian mineral water is highly rated and is a big export item. It’s affordable to buy so why not treat yourself and avoid the risk while you’re there.
- Are there ATMS in Georgia? There are plenty in the big cities, but not so many in the mountains. Make sure you take enough out when you have the chance.
- Altitude sickness in Georgia is a possible issue and can take people by surprise. Be warned and be cautious if you are visiting the mountains, especially in higher altitudes. The Caucusas are some of the most beautiful mountains in the world but know your limits!
- Is Georgia safe? Georgia is a wonderful country with a rich history and friendly, generous people. However, just like anywhere else in the world, you should be careful. Don’t flash expensive things and take the kind of sensible precautions you would anywhere.