visit Georgia: Top 8 reasons

Top 8 Reasons to Visit Georgia & Enjoy Georgian Hospitality

By Kateryna Kirian

Georgia? No, not a state. Yes, it’s a whole and amazing country in the Caucasus. And the first thing to know about this astoundingly beautiful country is that its original name is Sakartvelo. What’s more, we’ll give you at least 8 reasons why you should seriously start thinking about visiting it.

🔸 Why visit Georgia?

If you’re looking for a unique destination to plan your next vacation, there’s an exact match. It’s a magnificent country that combines Asian influence and old European culture. This charming place is Georgia, whose native name Sakartvelo stands for the land of Kartvelians who lived in Georgia’s central region.

➙ A visit to Georgia will surprise you with…

📌 breathtaking natural sceneries untouched by humans,
📌 centuries-old remnants of settlements carved out of rock,
📌 world-famous and literally unparalleled Georgian hospitality and the overall atmosphere of happiness,
📌 mouthwatering dishes and mind-blowing feasts,
📌 luscious wine,
📌 picturesque villages,
📌 affordable prices,
📌 one-of-a-kind towns of Georgia such as Tbilisi, Borjomi, Kutaisi and Batumi.

➙ What kind of travel can you expect if you visit Georgia?

If you’re looking for old buildings bursting with history, hiking and camping places or ski resorts then Georgia is the right choice for you. Also, Sakartvelo won’t disappoint if you’re an admirer of the divine wine. Basically, if you are in for some adventures and open to bond with the locals, visiting Georgia will satisfy all the needs from your wish list. So undoubtedly, Georgia is a country that you should discover and explore at least once in your lifetime.

➙ Before you visit Georgia you should know that…

Parts of Georgia, namely Abkhazia and South Ossetia, are occupied by Russia since Russian invasion in 2008. However, the conflict is frozen, and it’s perfectly safe to travel across Georgia. What’s more, tourism accounts for almost 7% of the country’s GDP and approximately 70% of revenue Georgia receives from exporting services. Thus, when you visit Georgia you don’t only indulge in all the Kartvelians have to offer, but also help them out.

🔸 Nature

 Nature is one of the most convincing reasons why you must visit Georgia. In spite of its relatively small size, Georgia has a lot of things to offer. The first association with the country are majestic mountainous and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. Thus, wherever you go, you will be in awe of the amazing views around you. Located in the Caucasus region, between the Black and the Caspian Sea, Georgia is a country with a lush greenery, full of fertile soil and stunning nature. The beauty of high mountains, green hills and lakes is in its pureness. There’re not so many tracks of the negative impact of industrial development. Once you come to Sakartvelo,

▪️ head out to the mountains in Kazbegi (if you plan ahead, you can even embark on an expedition to the Mount Kazbek – 5,054 m!),
▪️ sunbathe on the beaches of Batumi,
▪️ indulge in the wild nature in Tusheti.

But remember that there’s a risk that you’ll never want to leave!

Nature is one of the most convincing reasons why you must visit Georgia.
Mount Kazbegi, Georgia
Kyrylo Kholopkin on Unsplash

One of the easy-to-reach mountainous places in Georgia is Gergeti Trinity Church situated at an elevation of 2170 meters! What you need to do is find a local bus from Tbilisi heading to Kazbegi/Stephansminda. It’ll take 3-4 hours, costing you just 10-15 Georgian lari. One GEL is more or less 3.4 USD. Then you can go on foot and reach the one-of-a-kind location in a few more hours. However, if you’re not a fan of walking, you can have a ride on a private minibus, which will get you to the very top.

Tips from Airwander

➙ Wanna visit a cave, or maybe a whole cave city?

The incredible fact about Georgia is that this country has its own unusual cave city. By itself, it’s a reason to visit Georgia at least for a few days, and even better for a week or two. Uplistsikhe is considered to be one of the oldest settlements in Georgia. It was carved out of rocks around 1000-1200 BC and once provided housing to more than 20 000 people. The cave city doesn’t only consist of houses, but also has a theater, a court, and a pagan church that was once used for sacrifices.

Prepare well before embarking on Uplistsikhe adventure

Keep in mind that Uplistsikhe is quite big, so make sure you’re properly prepared for the excursion. You better be equipped with trekking boots or really well-fitting and enduring sneakers, but that depends on the season and weather. One of the best decisions will be to hire a guide to help you go through the caves without missing out on anything.

For true cave fans only

Suppose you’re excited with an idea to explore other underground cities. There’s plenty of those in Georgia. For example, Davit Gareja, a rock-hewn Georgian Orthodox monastery, which is carved out of the rock of Mount Gareja. Getting there will take you two hours away from Tbilisi by car.

Cave city is a must-see when you plan to visit Georgia
Uplistsikhe, Georgia
Michael Parulava on Unsplash

🔸 The people & Georgian hospitality

One of the most famous features that distinguish Georgians from anybody else is sincere hospitality. Interestingly, Georgians even have an ancient proverb that says, “Every guest is God-sent.” So if you are going to visit Georgia, you can expect invitations into the locals’ homes to meet their families. You can accidentally find an amazing company for your trip, with a lot of extra insights. It may come as a bit of a shock, seeing lots of heartwarming smiles from the people you come across and getting invitations from random passers-by. But there is nothing strange, Georgians are just glad to have you as their guest.

➙3 important things to remember about Georgian hospitality

✔️ It’s basically a sin to reject hospitality, you better not even try. Otherwise, your hosts will be really disappointed. Honestly, I haven’t met anyone who even managed to escape Georgian hospitality. Neither do I know anyone who’s ever regretted it 😉.

✔️ Hospitality by default comes with a bottle of Georgian home-made wine. Alternatively, something stronger like chacha – a Georgian brandy with a really high percentage of alcohol.

✔️ You don’t necessarily have to speak any common language to perfectly understand each other. This is obviously a bit related to the previous one 🙃. But knowing that you’ll get such a warm welcome, you can learn a few words in Georgian (they are not that difficult), which will melt the hearts of your hosts. Moreover, you can bring some souvenirs from your country to thank Georgians back.

Hospitality is famous feature of Georgians
Tbilisi, Georgia
mostafa meraji on Unsplash

🔸 Georgian “supra”, a.k.a. a traditional & delicious & mind-blowing feast

They say that one of the best ways to get to know the country is by trying its food. From this perspective, Georgia is a food paradise on earth. If you’re a fan of wine, meat, cheese and pastry, Georgian cuisine is something that will really delight you. Georgians are world-famous meat chefs. They are renowned for creating a variety of meat soups such as

▪️ kharcho (beef, tomatoes, rice, herbs and walnuts),
▪️ chikhirtma (chicken & eggs), or
▪️ bozbash (lamb meat with peas, chestnuts and tomatoes).

Also don’t omit the chance to try Georgian kebab called Lyulya, which is made out of the ground meat and often served with tomatoes and pomegranate. If you’re a vegetarian, there’re still plenty of delicious dishes for you! For example, khachapuri – a cheesy sulguni bread covered with an egg on top and some slivers of butter.

For dessert, you can be served

▪️ churchkhela – candle-shaped candy with different nuts and covered in a thickened fruit juice,
▪️ pelamushi – a sweet cereal cooked with grape juice, or
▪️ kada pie – a sweet pastry.

Warning! Georgian food is so delicious that you can’t stop enjoying it 😋.

Go on a free tour and ask about the places where the locals usually eat. You’ll get to try Georgian cuisine at lower prices and in genuine and lovely settings.

Tips from Airwander
Visit Georgia to indulge in delicious food
Khachapuri – a famous Georgian dish
Mike Swigunski on Unsplash

🔸 The birthplace of wine

If you thought that the best wines could only be tasted in France, Georgia would dispel this illusion 😉. Sakartvelo is considered to be a homeland of winemaking as well. It’s a place where grape and wine are deeply interwoven with Georgian culture and religion. Once you visit Georgia, you can witness the traditional way of making wine, which is by using Qvevri – big clay pots that are buried in the ground. Georgian people believe that such an approach makes the wine taste earthy and extremely delicious.

Interestingly, UNESCO found the ancient winemaking method unique and added it to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. But not just wine can you enjoy in Georgia! You should also try chacha – grape spirit with 40% alcohol concentration, which every local can gladly treat you with. If you want to discover the whole process of making wine, you should definitely take one of the wine tours in Georgia. Then, you’ll see amazing vineyards, taste the best sorts of wine and listen to great stories from Georgians.

Georgian wine
Tbilisi, Georgia
Timur M on Unsplash

🔸 Picturesque villages to enjoy when you visit Georgia

Far from city hustle and bustle, there’re some truly remote regions of Georgia in the Caucasus Mountains.  With their picturesque medieval villages, the small communities of Khevsureti and Tusheti partially retain ancient pagan traditions.

Tusheti is bright and breathtaking. It combines a few communities, is full of old towers, churches, and amazing mountainous views. Apart from that, Tusheti offers numerous hiking trails, so you gain a double advantage – physical activity and connection with nature.

Ushguli is another village in Georgia worth visiting. In fact, it’s the highest village in Europe. Placed at an altitude of 2100 meters, Ushguli counts merely 250 of constant habitants. If you’re considering a trip there, it’s better to choose summer over winter. This is because snow covers the entire place. As a result, roads there can be closed and no one can go to Ushguli or come back for quite some time.

Ushguli in Georgia is a picturesque village
Ushguli, Georgia
Alice Pontini on Unsplash

🔸 Affordable prices

Georgia often appears on lists of the cheapest destinations in the world. And this is no mistake! This underrated destination is not only the perfect place for nature, culture and history lovers but is also very cheap to travel or live.

If you’re a camping lover, here comes the good news. Starting from late spring, throughout summer, and finishing with early autumn, you can comfortably camp in the pristine countryside of Georgia. Unlike many countries, Georgia doesn’t have strict restrictions about camping, so you can set up your tent almost everywhere for free.

Hostels and Airbnb options there are also very cheap and seem to be a perfect option if you travel by yourself. Can you imagine that it’s possible to find a bed in a mixed dorm room starting from $5 per night? And it’s all in the capital city of Tbilisi!

If you’re not a fan of hostels and need more comfort and privacy, then you may find it attractive to stay in a guesthouse or homestay. Especially, if you’re travelling with a partner, friend or family. And that also won’t deplete your wallet either. You can find a nice twin or double room starting from $12 per night. And if you’re looking for roommates or any kind of advice about your trip, Georgian Wanders will be a great guide for you.

Visit Georgia to marvel at local crafts
Mtskheta, Georgia
Konstantin Pudan on Unsplash

🔸 Special cities to visit in Georgia

➙ Tbilisi

Tbilisi Old Town

The capital of Georgia is charming and chaotic at the same time. Take a walk through the streets of its hillside Old Town for the best understanding of Tbilisi’s past. A lot of the buildings were thoroughly restored. Amazingly, they still have intricate carved wooden verandahs painted in warm colors. The city of Tbilisi is famous for its sulfur baths in the Abanotubani district. They amuse tourists and are still in use, even centuries after the restorative hot springs were discovered. It’s impressive that you can find buildings from each period of the country’s existence, beginning from the ancient city wall, or the first town ruins, to the modern buildings with futuristic shapes.

Local markets of Tbilisi

Another interesting element of the capital is its numerous markets. You can see them almost in every street. Smiling locals will offer you a huge variety of things like food, souvenirs, antique and other small things for a really low price. You can take them home or present to your friends.

Georgian festivals & art

It’s hard to find a better way to discover rich Georgian culture than attending music, dancing, and theater festivals, most of which take place in the capital. Check out 16 Georgian Festivals, and you’ll find the one you would immediately want to visit! Tbilisi is a city that encourages creativity. One of its expression is through murals and graffiti. You’ll notice they cover many walls and gray facades all across the city.

Buy a local sim-card to have access to the cell phone data whenever you need. Also, don’t forget about the Free Tours – the guides in Tbilisi are super helpful. They’ll share a lot of insights into local history, culture, architecture and cuisine!

Tips from Airwander
The capital of Georgia
Tbilisi, Georgia
giorgi gvilava on Unsplash

➙ The spa town of Borjomi

The spa resort Borjomi is a Georgian national treasure which attracts tourists from all over the world. The mineral springs of the region have healing qualities. Many people go there to try a treatment in the spa area. It’s believed that deep mineral, fresh water and slightly saline water positively influence health and treat different diseases. So if you’re looking for a one- or two-day refreshment and after an active exploring of Georgia, Borjomi is the best option. Another interesting thing you can check out there is Borjomoba. It’s the feast of the city, celebrated in late September. No need to remind you that you can try the best dishes of the regional cuisine, discover Georgian crafts, music and traditional folk dances.

➙ Kutaisi

Old culture

Kutaisi is one of Georgia’s most charming cities and one of the oldest settlements in Europe. It’s definitely worth your visit, as it has a unique beauty. In fact, it looks and feels as if it’s of another era. Also, it’s a good place to take a break, if you’re making a long east-west journey between Tbilisi and Svaneti or Batumi. The city lies only 200 kilometers away from Tbilisi. Thus, it’s easily accessible from almost everywhere in Georgia via minivans or trains. Once you come there, you should see one of the symbols of Kutaisi – the Colchis fountain. One of the fountain’s statues presents the Tamada, the toastmaster of the supra ceremonies in Georgia.

Pristine nature

For those who enjoy active leisure, there’s a great opportunity to go to Martvili canyon. There you can rent a kayak and take a tour of natural green pools and reach the waterfalls through the limestone canyons. Prometheus Cave is another magnificent place to visit. The cave attracts visitors with its wonderful stalactites, stalagmites, waterfalls, and underground rivers.

Kutaisi in Georgia
Kutaisi, Georgia
Michael Bourgault on Unsplash

➙ Batumi

Batumi Boulevard & Europe Square

Batumi has plenty of entertainment to offer. Start exploring Batumi with a walk or a bike ride on the Batumi Boulevard. The first thing you’ll see is the Ali and Nino monument – one of the most notable sights of Batumi. People often call it the Statue of Love. Make sure you go there after the sunset, as it’s beautifully illuminated at night. On your way, you’ll see a Batumi Tower Ferris Wheel – a skyscraper with a built-in Ferris wheel. Another magnificent sight to behold is the 130-meter-tall Alphabet Tower. It has a structure similar to the DNA and symbolizes the uniqueness of the Georgian alphabet. You also have to see Europe Square. It combines renovated old buildings from the period when the city was a free port on the Caspian oil route and new ones in an old style.

Natural paradise

Batumi is also considered to be a natural paradise, which attracts tourists in any season. On a clear day in early spring you can observe the Caucasus Mountains from the city. Summer is a golden time for taking sunbaths and swimming in the turquoise water of the Black Sea. Winter in Batumi is a chance to catch with your camera the picturesque views of the major peaks of the Caucasus Mountains and snowed hills around the city.

Statue of Love in Batumi, Georgia
Batumi’s Ali & Nino – “Statue of Love,” Georgia
Alexandr Nikulin on Pexels

Madloba (‘thank you’ in Georgian) for reading this article and don’t forget to say Gamarjoba (‘hello’) when you visit Georgia!