What to know before traveling to Georgia

We traveled for 14 days through this wonderful country. We were able to enjoy the culture, gastronomy and landscapes thanks to the fact that we rented a car there. Here I tell you everything you need to know to prepare you bags!

Visa

  • For EU citizens, we don’t need a visa if you visit Georgia for less than a year. But It is recommended to bring your passport.
  • On the page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country you can find all the necessary information.

Vaccines

No vaccination is mandatory to enter the country. However, for those people who have planned a long stay, it is recommended to get vaccinated:

  • Against diphtheria and polio, tetanus, hepatitis B. and A
  • Against rabies (for hunters, zoologists, veterinarians or people who will be in contact with animals).

Safe and security

There are two territories in Georgia that became independent in 2008: South Ossetia and Abkhazia. This led to a conflict between the armed forces of Georgia wit the independent Georgian territory.

In the end, the political intervention of the European Union and a clear military message from the United States put an end to the war. A ceasefire agreement was signed which involved withdrawing the troops and taking them to their original positions. Russia did notft its troops inside South Ossetia. You can not access these territories

In recent years the country has been gaining confidence from tourists and security has grown considerably.

We had all the time the feeling of being in a very safe country.We parked the car everywhere without problem and did not have any altercation. In any case, as everywhere else, go with caution and book a travel insurance. It is always better to be cautious.

Best time for traveling

  • The best seasons to go if you want to visit the whole country by driving, are spring and autumn, since it isn’t hot and all roads are open.
  • In summer, the problem is that there are many areas where there is no shade, such as the David Gareja or Uplistsikhe monastery and it is very hot.
  • Finally, in winter you can find some closed roads, but this is ski season in Georgia. Everything will depend on the type of trip you want.

Currency exchange

  • The currency in Georgia is the Georgian Lari, whose exchange rate (2018) equals € 0.33. We changed at the airport at a good price, but there are exchange houses throughout Tbilisi.
  • In case that at the airport don’t exchange fairly, the most advisable is to change in a bank.
  • It is recomendable to carry loose money, you can pay with a visa at many gas stations and supermarkets, but small businesses do not accept credit cards.

Internet

  • A prepaid card is always a good idea. It costs about € 10 and has up to 7 GB. You can buy  only data or combined with nacional/ international calls. We bought i with MAGTICOM and had coverage throughout the country, including the mountains.
  • There is no WIFI in virtually any establishment

English

  • In Tbilisi you can find more people who speak English but in the rest of the country it is very difficult to find.
  • Therefore, I recommend patience and a smile. With mimicry and google translator you can do miracles.

Transport

There are different ways to get around Georgia:

  • Private driver or taxi
  • Marshrutka or minibus, which is local transport
  • Private buses
  • Rental car :This is the option that we chose.

We rented a Nissan X-trail at Tbilisi Auto Rent and had no problem with the car or the company. Everything very well and within the agreed.

  • It costed € 430 for the 11 days. We did not have to pay a deposit and rented it with full coverage.

Driving in Georgia

In general, driving through Georgia is quite acceptable. It is true that in Tbilisi it was quite crazy and we had to be patient. In addition, this city drives Google maps crazy, so by following the directions to exit, it seemed rather like drive in circles.

For the rest of the roads, driving is normal except that things appear from everywhere: cows, geese, dogs, children, ladies, huge potholes … You have to be very careful, because the Georgians avoid the obstacles calmly, but without stopping, even if it means to invade the opposite  direction.

On the other hand, half of the cars have the steering wheel on the right side. For not known reason. And the other half have cars are a bit damaged. Nobody turns on the lights to drive and overtake as needed. However, they don’t go too fast, don’t honk and, in general they respect that you go more slowly.

We had a great time driving and getting into all the villages and monasteries. Just be patient.

Our road route 

Accomodation

  • We stayed with AirBnb. We had a small issue that I will tell you about in the post of David Gareja, but it was solved without problems. In each post I added the link to the apartment we rented. Keep in mind that we are always happy with everything, so it may not be the luxury you are looking for. But everyone was nice with us.
  • In some guest houses they do not have towels!

Gastronomy

  • Khinkali: nodules made with flour, milk, oil, butter and egg stuffed with minced meat, usually beef or lamb.
  • Khachapuri: it’s a bread stuffed with cheese
  • Lobio: traditional recipe with meat, slightly spicy.

It is a country really made to enjoy with every bite, designed for cheese lovers!

 

 

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