Georgia is a gorgeous country, with long history and interesting people and nature. What to expect when traveling? Find out some basics here!
Georgia (the country, not the state) is a country in the Caucasus mountain range, at the border of Europe and Asia. It is a relatively small country, bordering Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia and Russia. Once a part of Soviet Union, today it’s an independent country, full of amazing nature and interesting people.
While traveling through Georgia, you can definitely see the influence of the country’s past, especially in the smaller cities and villages. The feel of a rural, primarily agricultural and farming country can be seen everywhere. People are extremely warm and hospitable but understanding them might be a bit difficult if you don’t know Russian.
But, you will see that no one stays a stranger for too long in Georgia, as Georgian people really treat you like friends and make you feel comfortable whenever they can. The use of English is sparce, only in places where the tourism is booming you can expect someone to speak English (which is completely fine by us). The national currency is Georgian lari (₾, GEL) and at the time of writing 1€ equates to ~3 ₾, give or take.
Here are some general tips about Georgia you should know:
- As mentioned – English is not spoken in most places, but that is not really that big of a problem. Hotel owners and restaurant staff they know enough English to know what you need, and if not, you can always try to show them by waving your hands 🙂 In shops you can take products by yourself so there is no problem at all.
- Georgia is cheap. And I mean cheap. Depending where you are, in small towns and villages the prices are ridiculously low, in bigger cities a bit higher but they are still cheap. Josip, our friend and I were eating in the restaurants every day, ordering loads of food, and the most we paid per person was 7 euros (and we felt like we are going to explode from all the food). Usually we were paying about 2.5-4 euros per person for the whole meal.
- Roads in Georgia are…well. Some of them are okay, but those are the most used roads out there. Most of the times there are holes so you need to go pretty slow (but there are signs saying that they are sorry 😀). So if you are planning to travel there by car, you should plan it carefully. More on this topic in the next post.
- Driving in Georgia is fun, we will tell you more about it in a separate topic. From what you need to know, people are respecting some rules on the road, but definitely not others. We need to say, it’s much better than what we witnessed in Jordan.
- Hotels are very nice and deliver exactly what you book (again, unlike Jordan). Out of 7 different hotels/apartments, only one was a bit off from the promised. Tourists are very welcomed in Georgia and there is a lot people who will gladly take you to their own houses for a night.
- There is one thing you should be aware of – wherever you stay, people most likely will offer you their homemade alcohol. Their traditional drink is called chacha, it’s like polish vodka or croatian rakija, pretty strong. They also like to make their own wine which, well…let’s just say could be better. It is good to take the drink they offer not to offend them but be prepared for torture. It also depends on the people who make it and where you go. Some make really good homemade wine, and some really should find a different hoby. 🙂
- Weather in Georgia is, in general, pretty warm for a country surrounded by high mountains. Josip was there since the end of September and he got some tan. My friend and I got there at the beginning of October and it was still pretty warm. We were mostly hiking in mountains so it was windy and a bit more cold(ish) but in the cities, during the day the weather was perfect for this time of the year.
- Cows. If you read our Yellowstone posts, you remember that there are bison and other animals on the road. In Georgia, there are cows. And they are EVERYWHERE. You drive though the village – the cows are on the road. You drive in the city – the cows are on the road. You drive on a highway – yes, you guessed that right, COWS ARE ON THE HIGHWAY. As much as that might be weird and maybe a bit scary, it was okay. They don’t care at all, you can speed up towards the cow lying in the middle of the road and they will not move – we checked (no cows have been injured, don’t worry!)
- Food – Georgians use a lot of spices, and it looks like they favorite food is salt. They put salt in every meal and they put A LOT. So if you like that kind of food, Georgia is best place for you!
- But really, GEORGIAN FOOD is amazing! We ate many different things (more about that in future posts), and we were never once disappointed.
Hopefully these things will be of some help to you in the future! If you want to more information on Georgia, and see what this amazing country has to offer, stay tuned!