A strong focus on tradition pervades in Georgia, a country which sits at the intersection of Europe and Asia. This makes it a fascinating destination for history buffs and culture vultures, who can visit its many mountain monasteries, UNESCO monuments and ancient villages. The country is also well-suited to oenophiles (wine lovers), boasting an incredibly diverse variety of grapes. If you’re tempted by the promise of this tipple, here are some things to know before travelling to Georgia…


Climate & Weather in Georgia

Georgia experiences variations in climate depending on the region, as the Likhi mountain range divides the country into western and eastern halves, shielding the eastern part of the country from the influence of the Black Sea. This results in a continental climate in the east and a subtropical climate in the western part of Georgia. Summer temperatures range between 20°C and 24°C in both the east and west, however the west is more humid. In the eastern part, winter temperatures can drop to 2°C, while the western part has average winter temperatures of around 5°C. The mountainous areas of the country generally receive the most rainfall.

Currency in Georgia

The official currency in Georgia is the Georgian Lari. Prices are sometimes quoted in US dollars and euros, however Georgian law requires that all goods and services are paid for in local currency.  Credit and debit cards are widely used in Tbilisi, but less so in rural regions, so ensure you have sufficient cash in local currency if travelling to rural or remote areas. ATMs are available in the major towns and you may wish to bring an international card to avoid transaction fees on ATM transactions.

Food & Drink in Georgia

Georgian cuisine is designed for sustenance and to offer energy during the country’s cold winters, making it comfort food at its best. Many dishes feature walnuts, aubergine, flatbread and cured meats. Some popular recipes include lobio (bean and walnut salad), pkhali (vegetable pâtés served with bread), khachapuri (flatbread layered with cheese and egg), kharcho (meat and walnut stew) and mtsvadi (meat kababs). Desserts include gozinaki (caramelised nuts fried in honey) and churchkhela (walnuts on a string, coated in grape juice). Amber wine is a popular Georgian drink, and with more than 500 grape varieties grown here, there are plenty of other wine options as well. The tap water in Georgia is generally safe to drink.

Transport in Georgia

Georgia has a wide range of public transport, including buses, railways, minibuses and a metro. The metro in Tbilisi consists of two lines, which cover most of the city, making it fairly simple to use. The bus system is even more widespread and will also take you to the outskirts of the capital, while marshrutkas (local minibuses) allow you to stop almost anywhere and travel between the main cities. Taxis are another affordable and safe way to get around, although be sure to use registered companies and avoid unlicensed street taxis. Georgia’s railway connects the main cities of the country and some smaller towns, as well as allowing you to travel across the border to Armenia. Renting a car is another option for getting around Georgia, however it’s worth being aware that road conditions can be poor in some regions.

Language in Georgia

The official language is Georgian, spoken by over 86% of the population. Other languages commonly spoken in Georgia include Russian, Azerbaijani, English, Svan and Urum. English is widely spoken in the capital, although less so in other regions so you may wish to learn some Georgian phrases before travelling.

Etiquette in Georgia

As a religious and fairly conservative country, Georgians tend to dress modestly and appropriately. When visiting churches, women must cover their shoulders and everyone should remove headwear. There is a strong tradition of hospitality and generosity in Georgia, along with an emphasis on respect towards visitors.

Health & Safety in Georgia

Crime levels are generally low in Georgia, however you should be cautious in busier tourist areas and remain vigilant as there have been instances of pick-pocketing and burglary. Don’t leave valuables unattended, be aware of your surroundings and be sure to have travel insurance for your possessions. Always keep your passport, air ticket and other valuable items in a safe place and report any incidents to the police. Driving is another hazard in Georgia and street lighting away from main roads can be poor, so be aware of this if renting a car and avoid driving outside of cities in the dark.

Winter and adventure sports are becoming popular in Georgia, however it can be difficult to get information about mountain conditions. If you are considering trekking, mountaineering, climbing, off-piste skiing or other extreme sports, ensure you do so with a specialist guide. This is also advised if hiking close to the Administrative Boundary Lines, as crossing them inadvertently can result in arrest. There is also some risk from unexploded ordnance in this area and near the border with Azerbaijan (an area of the country we would recommend avoiding, for this reason), so take care and take note of any warning signs within these regions.

Things to Bring to Georgia

European adapters, sun cream and sunhats are essentials when visiting during the summer months, while warm clothing and waterproofs are advised for the winter. Insect repellent is another must-bring as mosquitos are prevalent in the warmer months; it’s a good idea to pack enough, as these products can be expensive to purchase once there. Comfortable walking shoes are also a must for exploring the cities, as well as rural and mountainous regions.

Contact one of our Georgia specialists