Georgia

Travel bloggers share their tips for Georgia

A cinema evening in late summer 2017. The documentary film “WEIT. The Story of a Way around the World” is shown at the Palatin art house cinema in Mainz. After 128 minutes I leave the cinema intoxicated and moved and the destination of my next long-distance journey is clear: Georgia.

The small country in the Caucasus had never been on my radar before. But after the pictures in the cinema, the mighty mountains and green valleys, cities in flux and the hospitality of the people, which has already reached me through the cinema screen, I can hardly wait to get on the plane to the southeast in mid-May.

As I’m in the middle of planning my four weeks in Tbilisi, Kazbegi and Co., this is exactly the right time to get inspired by other blogger colleagues who have already explored the country at the Black Sea and have many many tips at hand.

John and Marc from 1 Thing To Do

How did you get to the destination Georgia?

We love to hike. For this reason and also because Georgia is a comparatively cheap destination, we decided to take a short break in the Caucasus region. In addition to this we have our project #GoEast, in which we have been presenting destinations in Eastern Europe for over two years. Georgia could no longer be absent.

How long and at what time of year were you in Georgia?

We spent almost three weeks in the Caucasus – including two side trips from Georgia to Azerbaijan and Armenia. The trip took place in late summer, which had the advantage that even in high mountain areas there was summer air, while it was usually not too hot in lower altitudes.

What did you particularly like about Georgia?

Not surprisingly, it was the mountains of Georgia that impressed us the most. When hiking around Mestia, it took us a while to realise what giants were gathering around us – and how miserably small we were. Both in Upper Svanty and near Kazbegi we climbed over 3,000 metres for the first time and thus pushed our personal limits a lot higher. Hiking in the Caucasus, that means unspoiled nature, as we had never experienced it before. With all its advantages and disadvantages: Once we were caught in a thunderstorm at high altitude, and we also strayed off the trail at least once on each hike.

Photo Credit: 1 Thing To Do

What was your personal highlight in Georgia?

In Juta near Kazbegi our supposed hiking trail even turned into a waterfall. At that moment a rather tricky situation, but in retrospect the hike between Juta and Arkhoti Valley in Kazbegi National Park was definitely a highlight.

What kind of transportation did you use?

In Georgia we got from A to B almost exclusively by marshrutka, the typical minibuses of the region, which are adventurously cheap and surprisingly reliable. For the routes from Tbilisi to Baku or Yerevan we used night trains.

Can you recommend an accommodation?

In Mestia we stayed at the Villa Gabliani (*Partnerlink), a rather simple but very charming guesthouse with an even more charming older lady as owner. Her father was once a well-known mountaineer, she herself also speaks German and is looking forward to a chat to refresh her language skills.

Photo Credit: 1 Thing To Do

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to Georgia?

Maybe, because due to the rugged mountains, for example, the journey from Mestia to Tbilisi takes quite a long time. In other words: We would have liked to have had more time available. With only two or even three weeks of travel time, it is important to prioritise in any case in order to really experience Georgia instead of rushing from sight to sight. This is the main reason why we left it at our stations in Mestia, Tbilisi, Kazbegi and finally Batumi. All places we could not visit are enough reasons to return one day. And we will definitely do that.

On their travels, the two Berliners John and Marc love to turn off in the wrong direction, sometimes more, sometimes less consciously. Why? They are looking for special travel moments! In the age of to-do lists and must-sees, John and Marc want to get closer to the core of travelling again. For this once lay in discovering something new – and not in following the journeys of others. Read what exciting things happen to them on 1 Thing To Do.

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Ariane from Heldenwetter

What motivated you to travel to Georgia?

Without a friend who has lived in Georgia for a long time and is a big fan of the country, I would probably never have come to Georgia as a travel destination. When I started my trip, the flights were comparatively expensive and, above all, terribly impractical. The low-cost airline Pegasus offered me a stay of at least 4-6 hours, preferably from midnight to early morning, in SAW, a small airport in the Asian part of Istanbul, where it is really no fun to stay overnight. But when a friend of mine moved back to Tbilisi for a semester abroad, I just thought, now or never.

How long and at what time of the year were you in Georgia?

Unfortunately, I was only in Georgia for one week – after all, it was more about visiting than about seeing a lot of the country. The season was early November, I remember our first night in SAW was on Halloween. However, if I ever travel to Georgia again, I will choose a different time, because it was really freezing cold and I was freezing bitterly most nights, even with all the clothes I had in my backpack, my sleeping bag closed up to the top and the obligatory 50%-Chatscha.

Photo Credit: Heldenwetter

What did you particularly like about Georgia?

Looking back, I am still impressed by Tbilisi. You really noticed that you were in a city that was not only (what a clichéd term!) on the upswing, but was really inventing itself. I was surprised to see how much young people in Tbilisi are orientated towards the West and interested in Europe, as well as the density of the cultural offer and the partly crazy modern architecture next to historical wooden balconies and Soviet buildings. A trip to Borjomi was also very exciting, where we were probably the only tourists in the city besides three young Lithuanians. I found it exciting to see how the people there organise tourism without any form of infrastructure, and when we went to rock monasteries in the south of the country, which were actually just being secured for visitors, that completed the picture.

What was your personal highlight in Georgia?

I’m afraid this is going to sound very superficial, but apart from the more than exciting Tbilisi and the very curious trip to Borjomi, Georgian cuisine is and remains an absolute highlight for me. Chinkali, stuffed and cooked dumplings, and Chatschapuri, a kind of cheese pizza, are just great, and just the thought of the cucumber-tomato salad with walnuts and coriander makes my mouth water. And the wine, which I can’t stop raving about. Seriously, I’ve never drunk such delicious wine as I did in Georgia – if you disagree with me here, try it in the various shops and bars in Tbilisi!

Photo Credit: Heldenwetter

What means of transport did you use to get around?

For our trips to Borjomi and the surroundings of Tbilisi we used marshrutkas. Without my friend who speaks Georgian, it was not so easy. What many do not know: Georgian doesn’t use the Cyrillic alphabet, but has its own script, in which really not a single letter can be recognised. The only thing you can do is to memorise the typeface for the destination you want to travel to – or to find a trustworthy local with whom you can communicate and who will reliably put you in the right vehicle.

Can you recommend an accommodation?

We have private accommodation in both Tbilisi and Borjomi. Since there is hardly any tourism in Borjomi, there are – or at least existed in 2014 – no hotels or hostels. In the brand new and very dedicated tourist information centre we were referred to an older gentleman with whom I could not communicate a single word due to our linguistic differences. But through schnapps and photos of children and grandchildren we fortunately came to a certain basic sympathy even without words.

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to Georgia?

I don’t know what the situation in Georgia looks like now thanks to Wizz Air, but with my experience I wouldn’t go to Georgia again so unprepared. Moving around the country is really exhausting, as the tourist infrastructure is almost completely lacking. The fact that I can only say “thank you” in Georgian and maybe yes and no in Russian has deprived me of many valuable insights and encounters, because outside of Tbilisi I didn’t get very far with English. At least a basic vocabulary in Russian should probably be available for an individual trip to Georgia. Otherwise, I could also imagine booking one or more guided tours for a trip to Georgia. This way you can also see something of nature, which is often not so easily accessible by public transport.

Ariane lost her heart somewhere between llamas and rusty minibuses in Peru. Since then she wants to learn as much as possible about other countries and cultures. When she’s not travelling, Ariane spends a lot of her time wandering her finger over maps and exploring her own homeland a little better, preferably on foot. You can read Ariane’s stories on Heldenwetter.

Janine und Fridolin from a fabulous world

How did you decide to visit Georgia?

For a long time Georgia was a far away, unknown and small country for us, which we had not planned to visit. Only when we were planning our route for our long-term trip 2017/2018 did we take a closer look at it and were immediately enthusiastic. The big Caucasus has so many natural beauties to offer, which we did not want to miss.

Photo Credit: a fabulous world

How long and at what time of the year were you in Georgia?

We were in Georgia for about 6 weeks in September/ October. That sounds quite long for such a small country, but we never got bored. Autumn has just arrived, which brings a colourful spectacle, but unfortunately also some rainy days.

What did you like most about Georgia?

The undisputed highlight for us was the great Caucasus in Swanetia. Here you can hike, ride a horse, drive a jeep and let the history of the area take effect on you. The nature and the mountains are simply breathtaking. There you can let your soul dangle.

Photo Credit: a fabulous world

What was your personal highlight in Georgia?

We had a breakdown and while we were waiting for the towing service a family, who was watching everything from their house, invited us for coffee and cake. When it turned out that the waiting time would be very long, they planned and cooked a traditional Georgian meal with the neighbour. And the host then took his most valuable and until then well guarded cognac from the shelf. How they have conjured up a feast for us in time just to shorten the waiting time still leaves us speechless. This warm hospitality is not to be expected from the Georgians, but it is worth experiencing!

What means of transport did you use to get around?

We are on the way with our “Balu”, a Fiat Ducato. It also took us through Georgia. And we were actually quite happy to have the wheel in our own hands. Because the driving style of the Georgians is murderous.

Can you recommend an accommodation?

We stayed with Lilia* in the wine town Telavi during heavy rain for days. Here we were very happy to have found a warm and cosy room with kitchen and bathroom as well as a warm-hearted hostess.

Photo Credit: a fabulous world

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to Georgia?

We would like to return in spring or summer. And we would pack a tent so that we could go on hiking tours of several days in the wonderful mountains of the Great Caucasus. There are some lakes and viewpoints up there, which should be worthwhile.

Janine and Fridolin decided to leave jobs and flats behind to travel the world for a longer time. They started in April 2017 in Germany via a part of the Silk Road to Mongolia. You can read their adventures on a fabulous world.

Stefanie from a world kaleidoscope

What motivated you to travel to Georgia?

When I was about 12 years old my family took in an au pair girl from Georgia. I was very fascinated when Nino showed me the Georgian script and told me about her deeply religious country. Thanks to Facebook we stayed in close contact until I visited her in Georgia for the first time in 2015.

Photo Credit: a world kaleidoscope

How long and at what time of the year were you in Georgia?

I visited Georgia twice in September for a total of 3 weeks.

What did you like most about Georgia?

The varied landscapes, the great food and above all the spirited, warm people.

Photo Credit: a world kaleidoscope

What was your personal highlight in Georgia?

My highlight was of course when I visited Nino in Chiatura, met her family and friends and got a direct insight into the life of the Georgians. By the way, Chiatura is still a real insider tip and has some sights to offer, like the Katskhi Rock.

What means of transport did you use to get around?

Mostly with Marshrutki (minibuses), but sometimes I shared a long distance taxi with other travellers.

Can you recommend accommodation?

Unfortunately I only know the restaurant there, but on my next trip to Georgia I would definitely like to spend a night in the secluded, relaxed Oasis Club* in Udabno.

Photo Credit: a world kaleidoscope

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to Georgia?

Next time I would visit the impressive rock town of Uplistsikhe on my first trip.

On her travels, Steffi tries to take alternative paths, and above all to get in touch with locals. To do this, she not only learns foreign languages (the sixth is in progress), but couchsurfing is also essential for her. You can read her stories from over 60 countries on a world kaleidoscope.

Beatrice from Reisezeilen

How did you decide to visit Georgia?

I wanted to travel together with a good friend. After some research, she suddenly came up with the suggestion that maybe we should consider flying to Geogia. A friend of hers had already been there and had enthusiastically told us about his trip. At first I was totally surprised and started to read up on the country. Already at that time I came across a lot of information that sounded very promising: the charm of Tbilisi, the nature of the Caucasus, legendary good food and last but not least the hospitality of the Georgians.

Photo Credit: Reisezeilen

How long were you in Georgia and in which season?

I was in Georgia for a fortnight in late July/early August.

What did you like most about Georgia?

I found the incredible friendliness, open-mindedness and hospitality of the Georgians truly legendary. Meeting the people was something very special. And the food was really delicious – even as a vegetarian!

What was your personal highlight in Georgia?

The incredible mountain world of the Caucasus really knocked me out. We had decided on a hiking holiday in Georgia. The highlight was the three-day trekking, which we did in Swanetia. It was quite exhausting, but a fantastic tour through the mountains and original villages.

What means of transport did you use to get around?

We were on an organised hiking tour. Our little group had a bus with driver available.

Can you recommend an accommodation?

We stayed mostly in very small, private guesthouses, which I can totally recommend. The standard is rather simple, but you can hardly get closer to the Georgian culture. We were welcomed like friends everywhere, were deliciously served and cared for.

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to Georgia?

Unfortunately I didn’t make it all the way to the Black Sea in the west. I would make up for that next time.

Beatrice writes on her blog Reisezeilen about sustainable travel and gives inspiring food for thought on how even small changes can help people to travel and live more consciously in the world.

Jean Mathieu from Jeanmathieu.de

How did you decide to visit Georgia?

I still had a few days of holiday left and wanted to go on a backpacking tour or road trip with my buddy Sacha. On the one hand, we wanted to go to a corner of the world that is not yet so developed for tourism. On the other hand, with 10 days of travel, we didn’t want to spend too much time on the journey there and back. A few years ago, my sister was in Tbilisi with her husband and children visiting her sister-in-law. Shortly afterwards, she and her husband went on a small road trip to Georgia. Since then she has been raving about the country and the people – for Sascha and me it sounded perfect: exactly what we had been looking for.

Photo Credit: Jeanmathieu.de

How long were you in Georgia and in which season?

I was in Georgia for 10 days in early October 2016. 7 days were great weather: sunshine and mostly around 25 degrees, at the black sea you could still swim well. 2 days were cloudy and slightly rainy. The last day was totally rainy and freezing cold. One week later there was already snow in the higher parts of Geogia.

What did you like most about Georgia?

Actually everything: the friendly, but sometimes also shy people. The totally different landscapes: Georgia can be compared with Bavaria in terms of the area of the country. Despite its small size, Georgia has such an incredible variety of different landscapes to offer: Low mountain ranges with coniferous and deciduous forests, high mountain ranges with mountains larger than the Alps, subtropical vegetation, barren steppes and also direct access to the Black Sea with beaches. In addition, there are vineyards and a millennium old wine tradition. In addition, there are very helpful, friendly and open-minded people.

Photo Credit: Jeanmathieu.de

What was your personal highlight in Georgia?

Actually, almost every place was great on its own. However, with a few months gap, three things stuck the most: the steppe around the village of Udabno with the monastery of Dawit Garedscha, the eastern Great Caucasus around the Georgian Military Road with the small town of Stepanzmindna and the Gergetier Trinity Church with the Kasbek in the background and the western Great Caucasus around Mestia.

What means of transport did you use to get around?

We had rented an SUV because we wanted to decide for ourselves when and where we would go. The car was a 14 year old Mercedes Benz M-class. In the end, we got everywhere with it, but had to struggle with an extremely bad state of maintenance: the tyres had permanently lost air, after 5 days the battery was completely dead and we had to bypass the car after every stop and the brakes were about to fail: in the high mountains of the Great Caucasus we had already made first attempts with the engine brake. But Georgia also has a very well developed bus network. The buses here are called Marshrutka. In addition, there is probably a very well developed and inexpensive domestic flight network between the larger cities.

Can you recommend accommodation?

We didn’t have too many requirements for accommodation: a roof over your head, a clean bed and a clean bathroom – we’ve always had that, actually. In Udabno in the Oasis Club* you should definitely book your accommodation in advance! We hadn’t booked and promptly didn’t get a room anymore. Luckily we stayed at Mamuka’s Guesthouse*: since all rooms were already occupied, we were offered the children’s room and the children slept in the bed with grandma.


In Gori we had stayed overnight with a local politician. At the same time there were elections in Georgia: the lady was still with her party at night and waited for the elections, the next morning she was in the kitchen and made breakfast for us at 7 am. Unbelievable.
In Stepanzminda we were in the Haste HQ of Nove Sujashvili*. Very simple but clean and offers a common room with free tea and coffee. If you like it more luxurious you can use the Rooms Hotel Kazbegi* with direct view to the Gergetier Trinity Church and the Kasbek.

Photo Credit: Jeanmathieu.de

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to Georgia?

For our first visit we had planned a road trip through the whole country. We had seen and experienced a lot: the capital Tbilisi, the steppe around the village Udabno shortly before the border to Azerbaijan, the wine region around Sighnaghi and Telavi, the Georgian army road to Stepanzminda shortly before the border to Russia, Gori – the birthplace of Stalin, the cave stand of Uplisziche, Batumi – the Las Vegas of Georgia, the high mountain region around Mestia and the corner in the Lesser Caucasus around Achalziche. I would do this again for a first visit. For a second visit I would pick out individual regions and explore them a little longer.

Home. Travelling. Fitness. These are the central themes on Jeanmathieu.de. Whether road trips, backpacker tours, short trips over the weekend or day trips as well as camping around the campfire, but also relaxing for a week in a comfortable 5 star hotel. Jean Mathieu is open to all kinds of travel. He only has a strong aversion to all inclusive holidays.

Janine from Finding Hummingbirds

What motivated you to travel to Georgia?

A few years ago I didn’t even know where Georgia was. However, during my studies I met a Georgian woman who is now one of my best friends. I heard many stories about her homeland, mostly even during a good, hearty Georgian meal. I was curious how and where she grew up and therefore wanted to see her home country.

How long and in which season were you in Georgia?

I was in Georgia for 4 weeks. That was in June 2017, it was very hot in Tbilisi at that time, but in Svanetia it was a very pleasant climate. Also in Batumi it was very pleasant.

What did you like most about Georgia?

The diversity of the country, which is not very big, is incredible. Only a few hours away from each other are the Black Sea, the breathtaking mountain landscapes of Svanetia, enchanting old towns, grotesque cave villages, yes, and even the birthplace of Stalin.

Photo Credit: Finding Hummingbirds

What was your personal highlight in Georgia?

There are 3 very special places in Georgia for me: Ushguli The small mountain village Ushguli is the highest mountain village in Europe and is situated at an altitude of almost 2,200 km in the breathtaking scenery of the mountain world of Svanetia. Already on the 2nd day you become a regular guest in this small café. Apart from the traditional food, the hike to the Shkhara Glacier is simply fantastic. But be careful: Again and again you have to hike through river sections. Trekking sandals and a walking stick are a good idea here.
The cave complex Davit Gareja Davit Gareja impressed me not only because of the numerous cave monasteries, but especially because of the grotesque, unbelievable landscape. After a rather arduous ascent to the Udabno, a fantastic expanse lies before you. The cave village Uplistihke.


The old cave and fortress town near Gori, was a very special experience. I had never seen anything like it before: A whole city built in rocks. Some things can only be guessed like pharmacy, prison, theatre or bakeries. But the flats are still very clearly and impressively preserved. A must if you are in Georgia! (If you have enough time, you should visit the city of Gori. Here Stalin was born and grotesquely, a museum was dedicated to him. The view of history is seen here from other, very uncritical eyes. But it is interesting in any case 🙂

With which means of transport did you travel?

For the short distances we used the marshrutkas (minibuses), although my Georgian girlfriend asked me (better: warned me) in advance not to use them. She herself dies a thousand deaths every time she drives them. But it is of no use. The marshrutkas are the number one means of transport in the country and we were lucky and had halfway decent drivers. Whenever it was possible we took the train. That works great in Georgia. The trains are clean and cheap and take the passengers through the whole country.

Photo Credit: Finding Hummingbirds

Can you recommend accommodation?

A few, actually: Mestia: Marinas Guesthouse* – perfectly located, clean, spacious and delicious breakfast. Batumi: My Batumi Apartments* – located in one of the chic skyscrapers directly on the beach.

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to Georgia?

Yes, definitely. I would be more relaxed and just trust that everything will work out somehow. Especially in the beginning I was very nervous. A small example of my thought carousel before a marsh rutka trip: First: Will we still get a place in the marsh rutka? Then, when we were the first two passengers: Oh God. Hopefully enough people will still come together. (A marshrutka does not leave until all seats are occupied and thus the trip is worth it for the driver). Once we were sent back to the accommodation to wait for the call for departure: Oh dear. Hopefully he won’t leave without us now, in case we are late for the bus again. Of course everything worked out fine. As always in the country. Even if it takes longer. For the next trip to Georgia I trust in the hospitality and the promised word of the Georgians.

Janine describes herself as a strawberry fairy, dance princess, Baltic Sea sprat and summer soul. Together with her boyfriend and freely according to Aristotle, the two have decided: “We cannot change the wind, but we can set the sails differently”. So in June 2017 the couple set off on a world tour. You can read about their exciting experiences on Janine’s blog Finding Hummingbirds.

Marie from Triff die Welt

How did you decide to visit Georgia?

For a long time I didn’t see Georgia at all. Years ago I came across an article that compared hitchhiking in Georgia and Armenia. I had thought “I want to go there one day” – and then I forgot about Georgia again. It was only when a flight to Kutaisi in Georgia turned up as one of the cheapest in my search that I became aware of the country in the Caucasus again and immediately got stuck.

How long and in which season were you in Georgia?

I was in Georgia for a fortnight in autumn.

What did you particularly like about Georgia?

Georgia burned itself into my heart in no time at all. In spite of all the communication difficulties and the fact that Georgia tried to make me happy with rain and cold most of the time, I could not escape the fascination of the country. This was mainly due to the breathtaking landscapes, the warm hospitality and the unspoilt nature of the country.

Photo Credit: Triff die Welt

What was your personal highlight in Georgia?

I found my personal Georgia highlight in Davit Gareja. The old monastery complex on the border to Azerbaijan is mentioned in many travel guides. But it wasn’t the monastery itself that took my breath away, but the sheer endless expanse of the Georgian steppe around it.

What means of transport did you use to get around?

I almost exclusively used the Georgian Mashrutka, minibuses. Prepare yourself for rapid journeys, cuddling mode and cracks in the windscreen. This is also part of Georgia’s unforgettable adventure.

Can you recommend accommodation?

I can warmly recommend one or more overnight stays in the Davit Gareja region in the Udabno Hostel*. There you will find an oasis of cultural exchange and peace.

Photo Credit: Triff die Welt

Is there anything you would do differently on your next trip to Georgia?

I would plan more time for hiking and pack warmer clothes in autumn.

In 2016 Marie founded her blog Triff die Welt. The blog is mainly aimed at women travelling alone, who want to discover the world in their own way and with backpack. Marie works as a nurse and besides travelling, she loves coming home and the anticipation of the next trip.

*Title picture: 1 Thing To Do

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