Just down the road is Tsinandali, where the noble Chavchavadze family hosted the likes of Pushkin, Lermontov, Alexandre Dumas and Russian playwright Alexander Griboyedov in their own elegant villa. It now stands restored in its beautiful gardens, and welcomes visitors to taste wine made on the estate and hear the dramatic history of the Chavchavadzes and their home. Alexander Chavchavadze, a poet, soldier and statesman, first planted the gardens, and his daughter Nino married Griboyedov when she was just 16 years old.
Within a year she was widowed, when Griboyedov was torn to pieces by a mob in Tehran.
Georgia on my mind
Later, Tsinandali was overrun by fighters loyal to Imam Shamil, who was resisting Russian rule on the other side of the Caucasus. David eventually bought their freedom, but the debts he racked up in raising the ransom led to him losing possession of Tsinandali. From the shade of the villa, a glass of crisp white wine in hand, it is pleasant to imagine gazing back down to Tsinandali from the towering peaks that gleam in the middle distance.
The rewards for getting there are immense, though: it is perhaps the most remote and spectacular trekking country anywhere in Europe, and it stretches all along the Caucasus ridge that curves across northern Georgia before dropping into the Black Sea. Like the rest of Georgia, it will make a powerful impression on those bold enough to try it. Spacious, air-conditioned mini apartments in a perfect location, on the square where Rustaveli Avenue meets the old town. A guest house offering a warm welcome and good value. It is on a side-street off Rustaveli Avenue. A friendly, well-run hostel offering a premium location for a discount price.
My first backpack was a cheap one. Though it lasted a respectable amount of time, it would eventually be held together by duck tape and carabiners, and needless to say, it was far from waterproof. You want the best. A good daypack will be just as useful during your day-to-day activities and should slide nicely into your larger backpack. This app is definitely for you. This is my favourite offline maps app.
It is a great help while calculating expenses. This particular VPN allows for up to five connections which is handy for keeping all your devices connected without having to purchase multiple VPN packages. There are a myriad of ways one can enter the country and start backpacking in Georgia, via land or most convenient air. Buses, both large and small, frequently ply the roads that connect Georgia with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Russia.
Large commercial buses are available in Istanbul and Baku that lead to Tbilisi. These trips can be long, but very beautiful. The only Russian-Georgian border crossing is in Kazbegi National Park and it is currently open to international travelers. The partially recognized states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have their own set of customs and entry requirements though. Entry into either of the splinter nations will require a special invitation. Motivated travelers can still visit these areas but it will require a herculean effort to do so. There are three airports that one can use to enter and exit Georgia internationally: Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Batumi.
Getting to the city proper of Tbilisi from the airport is a painless affair. The airport bus only costs half a lari 18 cents American as of December and drops you right in the middle of the city. One can enter Georgia via Kutaisi or Batumi by air if necessary. Kutaisi is the third largest city in Georgia and is generally thought to be a more laid-back, traditional version of Tbilisi.
Travelers who are planning on visiting the Svaneti region of Northwestern Georgia may find Kutaisi a more convenient gateway. Those who intend on spending more time on the increasingly posh coast of the Black Sea will find Batumi the best entryway. Since reopening in , Batumi International Airport has seen significant increase in passenger traffic and new airline routes. Note that the majority of fly into Batumi are seasonal. Though Georgia is not an official member of the European Union, it still maintains strong political ties with the organization, and offers very convenient travel to its citizens.
Holders of an EU identification card do not need a passport to enter Georgia. Citizens of most other Western nations not from the EU need only a passport to commence backpacking around Georgia visa-free for up to a year. A large number of countries do require visas to gain entry to Georgia. For most of these countries, an e-Visa is sufficient, but a select few will have to visit the Georgian embassy to obtain a visa. For more information regarding visa restrictions, you can visit the website of the consulate here. Transportation in Georgia ranges from super convenient to rough depending on where you are.
In the urban areas travel has never been easier. Most buses display their routes in both English and Georgian; there is usually a brief explanation of these routes at the stop as well. Buses in Tbilisi are monitored by and registered with Google Maps so arrival and commuting times are updated live. There is an extensive railway system linking much of Georgia. Trains are best for traveling greater distances between cities, but Georgian locomotive experiences can be a mixed bag.
Some routes have fast, modern locomotives while some use clunking artifacts from the days of the Soviet Union. Either way, the tickets are cheap and the journeys are scenic. The best method for purchasing tickets is by visiting the offices themselves in the station — travelers have reported problems with the websites of many Georgian train companies. The most common form of public transport is by far the mini-bus, or marshrutka as the locals say.
These can get you just about anywhere, rain or shine. Marshrutkas are cheap, ubiquitous, and sometimes your only option. On a positive note, I found my then seasoned mini-bus experience while backpacking Georgia to be one of the better ones in all of my travels.
Traveling Georgia by campervan is bound to be one of the best parts of your Georgia backpacking adventure. There are a few places in the capital where you can rent a campervan. Hire a campervan and hit the road in Georgia….
- Dutchs Day.
- Boiled Beef and the Billionaire.
- To Sleep.
- Unblotting the Copybook.
Do not feel bashful in any way after an invitation; it is truly their pleasure. Caution should still be had when riding with some Georgians because they have a reputation for being overly aggressive while driving. Sounds weird, right? This is because Georgia, up till very recently, was one of the largest markets for refurbished cars. Sometimes a Georgian can only afford a car from a country that drives on the left-side of the road. Azerbaijan and Armenia have been in numerous armed conflicts — the most recent in — and are technically still at war.
Armenia and Turkey have had a hard time politically recognizing each other, the latter going so far as to deny the genocide that occurred in the former. Neighboring Yerevan in Armenia looks like a lovely city. Photo: Serouj Ourishian. Note that once you cross into any of these countries, you will not be able to cross into another.
Starting in either Armenia or Azerbaijan, prior to backpacking Georgia, is a good idea. Onward travel to Iran from Armenia, Azerbaijan, or Turkey is a very reasonable endeavor, and I hear Iran is a gorgeous country. Backpacking Georgia is very cheap. Eating out is also very inexpensive. It can even cheaper than shopping at the market. Transport is also very affordable in Georgia. Long distance travel — via marshrutka — should cost very little to even the most far flung destination. Why suffer though when you can eat amazing food for a modicum amount of money? I lived a very comfortable life in Georgia and many others could easily spend less.
The official currency of Georgia is the Lari. As of December , 1 lari was equal to. ATMs are found ubiquitously in every urban area of Georgia. If you plan on traveling to some remote corner of the country, like the mountainous regions of the Svaneti and Tusheti, be sure and pull out enough cash to last you a while; there are few if any banks in these places.
The mountain villages are very rural, even anachronistic in there existence, so finding someone or something that will accept a card will be difficult.
A Georgian depiction of the zodiac Sagittarius appears on the fifty note top , and King Vakhtang I — founder of Tbilisi — appears on the twenty bottom. Hitchhiking is an ace way to keep your transport costs down. You can often pitch a tent for much cheaper than staying in guest house or for free all together. Check out this post for a breakdown of the best tents to take backpacking or maybe you prefer a camping hammock? Volunteer: If done properly, volunteering is an excellent way to cut down your costs on the road.
Are you a native English speaker looking to earn cash whilst traveling the world? Teaching English online is a great way to earn a consistent income—from anywhere in the world with a good internet connection. Whether you are keen to teach English online or looking to take your teaching game a step further by finding a job teaching English in a foreign country, getting your TEFL certificate is absolutely a step in the right direction. Internet should never be a problem in the larger, more urban areas of Georgia because connections are fast and abundant.
I streamed whole movies at times, which had been impossible in some places that I visited e. Sub-Saharan Africa. Tbilisi even has free public WiFi in many places. Like all infrastructure in Georgia though, the internet becomes very dodgy in the mountains. Many locals use their phones as a way of connecting to the web. Many shop owners purchase large data packages and offer their networks to paying customers, usually without extra charge. These mobile networks range from alright to frustrating. Georgian hospitality really is some of the best in the world.
Be sure and actually make an effort to speak with the locals. Rejecting an invitation can be offensive. If you accept, remember to always thank your host and show appreciation. Generosity, either given or received, is never forgotten. Nothing but smiles from the locals.
Should you hit it off with a Georgian, congratulations! Georgians really are a stunning people. Georgians are commonly fair skinned, of medium build, and have dark hair and eyes. The best places to meet Georgians are usually at the bars, cafes, and clubs. Before seeking out a relationship with a Georgian man or woman, there are a few things that you should know. Georgian men have a reputation for escalating things too quickly. Men will approach women quite hospitably as Georgians usually do and begin a seemingly innocent conversation.
This behavior can be frustrating. Female backpackers: if a man approaches you and you want nothing to do with him, be stern and tell him to piss off. It is important to remember though that Georgia has had a conservative mindset for a long time. Hopefully, theses changes will lead to greater couth with the opposite sex. Men looking for a Georgian girl will have to deal with a steely defense that most Georgian women have already perfected. Caucasian women are shedding their outdated mantels of being tied to a man and doing their own thing. Georgian food is very hearty. Khachapuri , a bread boat filled with lots of cheese and topped with a soft egg, is a must have.
Other popular Georgian dishes include:. These are only a handful of the delicious dishes that you can find while backpacking Georgia. Any foody will have no trouble finding unique and tasty morsels in this cornocopious country. Wonderful, delicious, fattening khachapuri. Photo: Themightyquill.
- Georgia (country) - Wikitravel?
- Vegas on the Black Sea?
- Site Information Navigation?
Backpacking around Georgia allows you chance to attend one of many thrilling festivals taking place throughout the year. Tbilis oba , Tushet oba , Alaverd oba. There are plenty of music festivals in Georgia that cater to all types of musical tastes. Folk, rock, electronic, jazz, and more are all represented in Georgia. Some Georgian festivals are even world famous. Newcomer GEM Fest was only started in , but has already been recognized as one of the best electronic festivals in Europe. In short: there are plenty of opportunities to dance your ass off while backpacking Georgia!
Copious libations. Takes place in Tbilisi. Tbilisi Open Air June — three day music festival focusing on rock and electronica. Mostly European acts. Art-Gene Festival July — music festival celebrating traditional folk culture. Lasts about a week. Black Sea Jazz Festival July — Jazz-centric festival that offers an increasingly broad spectrum of music. Takes place in Batumi. GEM Fest August — four day electronic festival that is gaining a lot of attention. Takes place in Anaklia on the coast of the Black Sea.
Party buses to and from Tbilisi. Rtveli late September — early October — celebration of the grape harvest! Includes lots of drinking and feasting. Nationwide participation.
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Kakheti places great importance on the event, and has its own additional celebration called Alaverdoba. Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre September — October — one of the chief cultural festivals of the Caucasus region. Tbilisoba latter half of October — cultural holiday celebrating the founding of Tbilisi. Includes open-air concerts, local produce from the harvest, and even a ceremony granting honorary citizenships to Tbilisi. Cheese Festival November — over types of cheese from all over the Caucasus. Local honey and wine also available.
Held in Rose Revolution Square in Tbilisi. Free to attend!
Tbilisi International Film Festival December — focuses on film from local and international directors. Seeks to expose Georgians to new art and modern styles. The Caucasus Mountains are absolutely gorgeous. They are comparable to a not-so-distant geographic cousin, the Alps. Both are mighty chains and offer similar attractions, but the Caucasus are higher, wilder, and offer far more enriching experiences.
Those who are sick of the tangled mess of gondolas and overpriced huts will find the Caucasus a welcome change. There is simply no end to trekking opportunities in these mountains. New trails are constantly being set. Georgian hikes can range from a single day to weeks. Trekking in some areas e. Otherwise, overnight hikers will need to pack the usual tent and wilderness stove. Consider bringing a sleeping mat as well I always have one in my pack or, if you want to ditch the tent all together, bring a hammock instead. Below is a brief list of some classic hikes in the Caucasus.
Backpacking Georgia July - Maps, Itineraries and Things To Do
Greats views of the mountain. Glacial travel on the Gergeti Glacier, with Kazbek in the distance. This is a trail that connects the Kazbegi and Khevsureti regions. Hikers can cover the trail in a day if starting in Juta but will enjoy the walk more if they overnight on the trail. Starting in Roshka is ill-advised due to steep trail conditions.
The Georgian Dolomites. Photo: T. This is the most accessible trail that covers the Tusheti region. Connects Omalo Tusheti to Shatili Khevsureti. It involves some village lodging, but wilderness camping will be necessary at times. Bring a tent! A difficult trail that crosses four mountain passes and experiences heavier than usual rainfall. Hikers will need above average outdoorsmanship and a full backpack.
One of the most well-known treks in Georgia with multiple routes via Zhabeshi or Tsvirmi. This trek offers views of the highest mountains in Europe, and chances to stay with the local Svans. Along the way, hikers can see Shdugra Falls, the highest waterfall in Georgia. Note that this hike runs very close to the Russian border so hikers will have to check-in with a very friendly border outpost at about halfway through. Bivouaquers will need a special permit to sleep at the glacier, otherwise they can spend the night at the outpost if they ask nicely.
A panoramic trail that gives hikers a view of the entirety of the Greater Caucasus. Famous peaks like Ushba, Tetnuldi, Shkhara, and sometimes even Elbrus are visible. Can be an out-and-back trail returning to Ushguli, or as a through hike to Chvelpi. The latter is essentially a connection between the Greater and Lower Caucasus. The entirety of the Greater Caucasus is before you at Latpari Pass.
Imperial Rome, the Ottomans, and the Soviet Union all touched this land. Even the legendary Jason and his fellow Argonauts had supposedly visited Georgia, when it used to be known as the Kingdom of Colchis. Jason pictured left was a very important figure in Greek mythology. Medieval Georgia was subject to many foreign invasions. The Kingdom became a powerful entity, and controlled much land between the Black and Caspian Seas.
The Kingdom of Georgia lasted five hundred years until it collapsed following numerous invasions by marauding Eurasians, and the Black Death. During the latter half of the millennium, the Caucasus was caught between warring Middle Eastern powers. When the Russian Empire emerged, Georgian aristocrats saw it as a means to escape Persian and Ottoman hegemony.
Persians continued abusing region with increased ferocity while Russia did nothing to intervene, besides slowly absorb Georgia into its own territory. Even following the collapse of the Russian Empire, Georgia barely had a moment of freedom. Unsurprisingly, life did not improve for the Georgians under Soviet rule.
Mass-farming of cows etc leads to the rainforest being cut down — which is obviously a huge problem. Recently, my gear-venture, Active Roots has started to sell water bottles. Need more guidance? Even though Georgians are a lovely people, there are still some behaviors to avoid while interacting with them. Be sure to accept or politely turn down their hospitality with respect. No one likes an arrogant backpacker. Georgians are Georgians; they are immensely proud of their heritage and have every right to be. They have never dealt with conquerors without resistance.
This is especially so after the events of the still recent Russo-Georgian War. Always remember when venturing into the wilderness that nature is still a very dangerous place. Use common sense and always be prepared for what the elements might throw at you. Georgia can be a religious experience, in one way or another. Yay for transparency!
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Your support helps me keep the site going. Ralph is a former manager in the hospitality industry turned wild child. With a desire to experience all things unconventional, Ralph enjoys visiting the lesser-known landscapes of the world and has ended up in some pretty strange and wonderful places. Recently, he spent eight months travelling around Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, spending as much time as possible in the wilderness and doing everything to avoid the crowds.
You can follow his adventures at Roaming Ralph or get in touch via his social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. I am planning a trip for April. This is all the budget information I need. There are some treks in Georgia in April but they will most likely be in the foothills of the Caucasus. Excellent overviews — l loved Georgia — and being able to stay there for so long on a free visa.
Good, cheap wine, great food and amazing countryside and people. Just superb! Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. Kutaisi is equal to Tbilisi in cultural and historical significance in every way.
Like the tombs Minas Tirith…. The Best Travel Backpack?! Want to save the world? Single-use plastic bottles are a huge threat to Marine Life — Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle. Look Awesome, Do Awesome! Want to embrace the hippy backpacker style and look? Active Roots hippy trousers are chic, comfortable and perfect for yogis, backpackers and adventurers alike.
Help us support the elephant conservation centre in Laos! Pretty fucking awesome right? One of the best investments you can make is a worldwide travel adapter that will work anywhere! The lush valleys and hills of the Tusheti. A scene from the Soviet Georgia. Bio Latest Posts.