People keep asking me why I’m always travelling to the Republic of Georgia. Did I find love there? A business partner? Did I lose my adventurous spirit and found there a comfort zone? The truth is that there are many reasons to travel to Georgia. While I can’t rationally explain why I like the country so much, I hope this post will help you understand why you should visit Georgia at least once in your lifetime.
So keep on reading and we will figure out, together, why the country is a magnet for me and why it could become the same for you. The pictures will give you an indication of what to see in Georgia, a country with hospitable people, great cuisine and picture-perfect scenery.
1- The People
One of the main reasons I’m a frequent traveller to Georgia, is because of the people. They are welcoming, friendly, proud, not subservient and with good cultural level. They love a healthy debate and take hospitality to the core.
2- The Food
Georgian food is very diverse, often based on the country’s rural nature and austere history. Khinkali, a local version of dumplings, which can be filled with potato, beef, cheese or mushrooms, is a very popular option. But khachapuri, a pizza-like dough filled with cheese, which comes in many versions and toppings is everyone’s favourite, including myself.
Although there’s more to Georgian cuisine than these two popular dishes, I could easily live on khachapuri adjaruli, a boat-shaped dough topped with melted cheese, a soft boiled egg and dab of butter. The list goes on, including mchadi, a corn-made bread which is served with cheese and brown beans paste. Just make sure you exercise enough to burn the calories!
3- Natural Scenery
Despite its diminutive size, nature in Georgia is very diverse. To the north, around places like Kazbegi or Mestia, you have the mighty Caucasus mountains with their snow-capped peaks. Around Kutaisi you will find forests and canyons, or therapeutic spring water in Borjomi. Let’s not forget the Black Sea beaches of Batumi and Poti, and the magic of autumn, when the trees turn bright yellow and orange.
4- Budget Friendly
Georgia has always been a budget friendly destination. On my most recent trips, I saw that the currency, the Georgian Lari (GEL), had devalued by 30% since my previous visits. So if you’re on a very tight budget, you can have a meal for 10GEL (roughly 4USD, £3.30, €3.70).
Although not necessarily known as an upmarket destination, you will find many options to stay in comfort and luxury all over the country.
As I mentioned, Georgians are very hospitable people. On my very first trip to the country, I was impressed by the reception I had by different groups of locals. If you are lucky enough to visit a Georgian home, no matter how humble or how rich, you will be treated like a king. In smaller villages, people may even take personal care of you, as if you’re welfare were their responsibility.
7- The Weather
Yes, the weather. In summer the capital Tbilisi will see temperatures of up to 35 Celsius. On my winter visits, I’ve rarely seen temperature fall below 5C. But it’s good worth remembering that it does snow in many parts of the country, especially higher up
in the mountains. Gudauri, near Kazbegi, is a good place to go skiing or snowboarding, with great infrastructure. Other ski destinations include Bakuriani and Mestia.
8- The Restaurant Scene
Having such a rich cuisine, it comes as little surprise that Georgian cities have a great restaurant scene. Tbilisi has a huge variety of restaurants serving Georgian and international cuisine. I recommend sticking to local food, since you can have anything else in other places you travel to.Chardin street, in Tbilisi, has many good restaurants and cafes lined up – try Tiflis Restaurant (44 Chardin Street) for authentic Georgian or Aladdin for Arab and international cuisine, followed by shisha. Many places also have very original decor, ranging from ultra-modern to traditional, from artsy to nostalgic.