My husband and I are becoming intrigued with the idea of including Georgia when we travel to Greece and Turkey next year. Has anyone had any experience traveling there? I would appreciate any information about where you went and what you would recommend as "must see/do" in Georgia. Thanks in advance for any stories or recommendations.
I'd like to suggest you get a copy of the Bradt Travel Guide to Georgia. www.bradtguides.com
I buy mine from AMAZON.
Went to Georgia last summer - started in Tbilisi and then went up to Kazbegi with a stop at Ananuri. Hiked up to the church on the hill while in Kazbegi. Had a great time - enjoyed the city and the food. After coming back to Tbilisi, we move onto Armenia and did a few places there. Had planned to travel to the cave monasteries in the S on our return to Tbilisi but instead chose to have a more relaxing day in Tbilisi itself. Wished we had more time to explore other places but had limited time. I am partial to the Lonely Planet guidebooks and that is what I took with me. Lots of folks head to the Black Sea coast town of Batumi which seems to be a upcoming tourist destination. Check if your local library has the LP or Bradt guidebook. A few months back, one of Rick's friends (guide?) was posting on the website about her visit to Georgia. Do an advanced Google search on this website to see if you can find it.
Thank you both for your responses. We generally like Lonely Planet also, but did note that the Bradt Guide has been updated more recently and was receiving better reviews. I found the blog you mentioned and it is only confirming our interest in seeing Georgia! We are tentatively allocating two weeks to visit there.
Hi, Debra, I was in Tbilisi for 10 days many years ago, and they still have a little piece of my heart!! Very beautiful town, but... and I stress this!!! Be very careful even trying to cross the street!!! (remember the game "Frogger", it is just like that!! They will not stop for you at ALL and you take your life into your own hands!!!) lol!! Very serious!! I was staying in the downtown Marriott which was in a great location, if you get a chance, down the street from there is a restaurant called Marco Polo. Very VERY good food and then there is and if you are need of an American Food fix, there is a restaurant, within walking distance of the hotel that serves AWESOME hamburgers! I cannot remember the name of it, but I think of I will let you know. It is own by a husband and wife that live here in Virginia, but spend most of their time in Tbilisi.. Go up to the church on the hill and climb the ruins and see the statue!!! Very beautiful, but one very true warning!!! Even the Department of State has warned Americans about the "Metro system" DO NOT RIDE THE METRO SYSTEM!!!! If you have any questions or would like to see some pics, let me know. Otherwise, this will be a wonderful trip that you will never ever forget!!
I loved it there!! Janet
Hello Debra, I have been to Georgia in 2010 and 2011, and I can say that it is very lovely, and a country with a very old culture. Tbilisi has a pictoresque old city centre with old churches (Georgian and Armenian), but also one synagogue and one mosque. Some 10 kilometers north you find the old town of Mzcheta which has always been the bishop´s seat. You can visit middle age churches and enjoy the landscape around (the green Northern Caucasian mountains). Another interesting town is Gori, where Stalin was born. Here you can find also Stalin´s Museum.
There are some other things I have not visited yet (but the next time): Kutaisi and Gelati Monastery; or the region of Svaneti with fortified villages (inhabited towers). And if you are travelling from Turkey, than your first town will be Batumi, which is also interesting for tourists. In Georgia you can travel by train or bus. The only problem is that you cannot read where the train/bus is running, because mostly it is written in Georgian. But the Georgian alphabet is not so difficult to learn as it seems. Above Janet wrote, that you don´t have to use Tbilisi Metro. I don´t know why, because the metro system is not complicated, and I always felt safe in metro, because all stations are watched by policemen. Enjoy your journey! Nick
hi, i have lived in tbilisi for the last 6 months now following on from 2 weeks here in 2011. im confused about janets comment about the metro as it is amazing and such a cheap and fast way to get around. most places to visit have been covered like sameba cathedral, narikala fortress, mother georgia and freedom square. also worth getting a short taxi to kus tba (turtle lake... no turtles tho..). should also note we have a new cablecar from the brand new rike park to the top of the mountain where you overlook the botanical gardens and get a close look at the castle. is only 1 lari (50cents roughly) each way. elsewhere in georgia is get a bus from samgori bus station in tbilisi to sighnaghi in the east of georgia. it takes 2 hours to thus lovely village on the side of a hill with amazing views and great wine!!
Thanks to all for your recent responses. We are still planning this trip and any additional insights will be appreciated. As it now stands we will visit Georgia next Summer!
I just got back from a group tour to Georgia (8 days) and Armenia (6 days). I haven't been to Turkey to compare, but I found that Georgia was Middle Eastern, not at all European, with the exception of bits of Tbilisi. I was glad I had taken toilet paper and hand sanitizer. All our lunches and dinners were Georgian food and it was without exception excellent. The fruits and vegetables were great - and this from a group who live in Israel and enjoy really good produce. We all drank bottled water only and no one had intestinal problems. The drivers are crazy. A solid white line is a mere suggestion. For a couple of days, we used smaller cars (5 passengers) for unpaved roads to remote areas - like Ushguli. It seemed that hardly anyone spoke English outside of Tbilisi. Everyone speaks some Russian though.
My wife and I have been to Georgia two times (most recent trip was in April 2-13)and we love it! I refeer to it as the untouched Eastern Europe. It is a wonderful mix of Europe and Asia. You must sample their wine and fresh bread. I would recommend jumping on the subway in Tbilisi and tour around the city, its safe and the people are super friendly and helpful. Plan atleast 4 days to travel to Svaneti (1day of travel by bus each way)
You will love Georgia!
And also, don't miss Savannah and Atlanta.