Monday, July 22, 2013

My Travel Guide to Georgia

Recently quite number of friends asked for some tips about Georgia. Where to go, what to see, etc.. so I decided to make a small guide, which turned out to be very helpful for me, as it saves a lot of time from responding separately to everyone. Hopefully it will be useful for people who are still in the process of planning. :)

How to get to Tbilisi:


Wizzair is currently the cheapest option, flying from Warsaw, Katowice, Kiev and few other cities of Ukraine. Take into account that it flies to Kutaisi, the old capital of Georgia, which is 2 hrs drive from Tbilisi. It might be worth seeing actually, as the new parliament is placed there and also few important monuments of the country are in the same area.

Also if you intend to visit Batumi, the main seaside resort, Kutaisi is well placed to get in there also in around two hours.

Pegasus is also very cheap and convenient due to the variety of destinations. It flies in Tbilisi via Istanbul and from most of the European cities you can get there easily.

FlyGeorgia – is a new company just started direct flights from BXL to TBS. Prices are a bit more expensive than Pegasus, but still worth checking, especially if you want to avoid transit flights.

AirBaltic – can also be a good option and sometimes they have good offers.


As I haven’t really stayed in many of the hotels/hostels cannot be very helpful, but still have a look on the list.

Hotels: (AKA not particularly cheap)

Betsy’s Hotel is quite nice one and I think it mustn’t be expensive. It’s a bit on the hill, but nicely located still and view is great

Villa Mtiebi – nicely located in the old town and hotel looks quite cute as well

Hotel Kopala – I’ve stayed there and it’s nice. If you can afford I totally recommend. It has a bar on the top floor with fantastic view! It is walking distance from Old town and from main areas of sightseeing.

British House – nicely located as well, right in the center of the city. 3 mins walk from the main avenue.

That’s all I can say about hotels.. I didn’t include the main ones like Radisson Blue, Marriot, Courtyard Marriot and Sheraton Palace as those are the fanciest and most expensive ones as well. So I guess if you are willing to pay that much you don’t really need my advice J

Also for more info about hotels and anything basically you can visit the web page


I had a look on some hostels and all I can say is that most of them are naturally located in the city center. So you can have a look yourself

Where to go?

Everything depends on the time you can spend in GE. In any situation even within 3-4 day you can see quite a lot as the country is not really big.

Tbilisi is the must see! Even though you might arrive in Kutaisi or Batumi, try to see the capital. It is the most lively and interesting place I assume.
Mtskhetais the first capital of Georgia, before 4th century. Few important monuments are there that are part of the UNESCO heritage. It is 10 minutes drive from Tbilisi and you can see it in half a day basically.

You can take minibus from Metro Station Didube (announcements and signs in the metro are in English as well, as you won’t be able to read in Georgian J)

Within the trip, I totally recommend to stop at place called Salobie. It is traditional Georgian place wherein you can get delicious stuff for really cheap.

Gorias you might know it’s a birthplace of Stalin so you might also be interested to visit. In fact you can combine Mtskheta and Gori in a day.

It is 1 hour drive and Mtskheta is on the way. Bus or a minibus is also leaving from Metro Didube.

Stalin’s museum is absolutely worth seeing, I have been there few times and it is really interesting. and apart from the museum you can see a fortress in Gori, which is a walking distance from the museum.

Kazbegi I don’t know how much you are into mountains, but I’d absolutely recommend to visit Kazbegi and see Gergeti church there. It’s 2200 from sea level and a stunning place. Driving will take 2,5 hrs and on the way you will also see Ananuri water reservoir, which is also very nice.

Even if you are in Georgia for three days, include Kazbegi in the list of places to see. You can leave Tbilisi (From metro Didube again) early morning and be back by the evening.
Gergeti. Kazbegi
Vardzia and RabatiIf you are more than five days in GE, I recommend to go to south of the country. Vardzia is a cave city from 13th century and it is worth seeing. On the way, you can also stop in Akhaltsikhe and see also visit Rabati fortress, which is newly renovated and you need probably 2 hours to see it.

In Vardzia you can stay in local hostel/guesthouse, which will cost you around 15-20 Euro (all inclusive)

Batumi – is the main summer resort and during summer it’s really nice. Especially in July, August and September. So take the train from Tbilisi (will take around 5 hrs) and go there if you have around week.

Also you can arrive there from Turkey, as it is close to the Turkish border. Several flights are also operating there, including Pegasus.

Svanetiif you will have time and if you appreciate mountains, this is the place to go. You can find the highest populated village there, amazing mountains and experience local architecture and cuisine. Trip to Svaneti, requires proper planning. So in case you decide to go that far, drop me a line and I can help in planning.
Ushguli. Svaneti
Eastern part of Georgia is also very nice. This is the agriculture center of the country and Georgian wine mainly comes from Kakheti region.

There are several nice cities, especially Sighnagi and Telavi. Both are 2 hours away from Tbilisi. Both are interesting because of architecture and .


As for the bars and places to go out I can have quite a list, but will suggest my favourites.

Café Galery – It is my favourite place to go out during the week end (mean Friday and Saturday. Sometimes Sunday can be nice as well.. depends on). It is the most lively place currently in the city.

During the day it’s normal bar and by the evening it turns into more like a club. especially on week ends. During Summer you can enjoy bottle of house wine (for like 4 Euro) and they have terrace as well. Once you enter during the day ask them to take you to the terrace, otherwise you might not find it yourself J

Mtkvarze –  This is an alternative place on the river side, same kind of situation as in Galery and same category of people. It’s a bit out of city center but Taxi will cost you like 2,5-3 Euros :D so in case you are up for late fun on week end, after 3 am. go there.

Bars: Few main areas in the city where you can go and experience different kind of things.

  1. Perovskaia Street – It is close to Metro Rustaveli and Rustaveli Avenue, the main street of the city. It is like a neighbourhood wherein many bars are located. Cannot particularly recommend any of them, but bar Dublin, London and few others offer live music almost daily basis so you can just crawl around. For the sake of live music I recommend to go there once at least during the week. after 8-9 pm.
  2. Tabidze Street: It is right next to Freedom Square, beginning of Rustaveli avenue and Old Town. You find the Old City Hall building and it’s on the right side of it. You can find few of my favourite places there were you can have nice meal and enjoy the ambiance. Go to ‘People’s’ (mainly for food), ‘Divani’ and ‘Downtown’ for Coffee.
  3. Shardeni Street/Erekle Street – these two streets are mainly for tourists and posh local ppl J quite expensive for Tbilisi but average for normal European price. However you cannot avoid it. They have nice open air cafes. It is right in the old town and I personally go there a drink frequently in Summer. Places to consider ‘café Kala’, ‘KGB’. The rest you can discover J

Traditional Georgian Food:

If you can genuinely enjoy something in Georgia this is food and wine. Being completely objective here, variety of food is amazing :D

In the city center you can find Network of “Shemoikhede Genatsvale” (the one at Pushkini Street and on Leselidze as well. I think the new one has been opened also at Metro Rustaveli area.

Try ‘Saperavi’ – Georgian wine for sure. As for food, the absolute must is “Khinkali’ (5-6 per person). we mainly eat it with beer or vodka. ‘Khachapuri’ – there will be different varieties of Khachapuri according to the region, but try as many of the m as you can J. Also try ‘Badrijani nigvzit’ (eggplants with nuts), IDK if you eat meat but try “Mtsvadi” as well., apart from this place you might find “Machakhela” network as well. it’s like a network as well all over city center.

Places worth visiting mainly because of the view:

Café Flowers: adr: 1, D. Megreli St (Avlabari Ascent)

Sky bar: Adr: 22 Metekhi St. Tbilisi

Also another bar, which is nearby the fortress Narikala and the ropeway is called '144 Footsteps'. Gorgeous place specially at night!

Certainly there are much more things to see and do, but cannot list all of it. But hopefully this post will be a good start to discover Georgia from the perspective of local.

 Pleasant journey!