Georgia

Table of Contents

General

Places

Tbilisi

  • Head up to the Narikala Fortress on foot or by cable car, then pay your respects to the nearby Mother of Tbilisi statue. This iconic figure welcomes friends with wine, and wards off enemies with a sword.
  • Ogle at the Georgian National Museum‘s fantastic collection of gold jewelry. There are also sections devoted to folk costumes, weaponry, Georgia’s Bronze and Iron Ages, and the Soviet Occupation. We easily whiled away a few hours here.
  • Take in postcard views of Tbilisi from a quiet spot overlooking the sulphur baths. It’s just below the Tabor Monastery of the Transfiguration.
  • Soak up some culture by attending a performance at the Georgian National Opera and Ballet Theater.
  • Admire the frilly wooden balconies and distinctive architecture in Tbilisi’s Old Town.
A Soviet-era car, painted blue and topped with a terracotta qvevri wine vessel, is parked on a Tbilisi, Georgia street.
In the Abanotubani district, just up the street from the sulphuric baths, is this eye-catching display for a wine bar.
Gold jewelry, some of it thousands of years old, is on display in the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi.
A visitor snaps a photo of golden jewelry on display in the Georgian National Museum.

Accommodation

Airbnb and Booking.com were our go-tos for finding accommodation in Georgia. We were pleased with the quality of our rooms and apartments, and were pleasantly surprised by the internet reliability, too. Here are several properties we’d happily stay at again:

  • Kutaisi
  • Stepantsminda / Kazbegi
  • Tbilisi

Transportation

Taxis – Wherever you are in the world, hailing a taxi is often a stressful endeavor. In Georgia, our rides were mostly positive, but we did have at least one unpleasant experience. We’d just arrived in the country, and were at the information desk inside the Kutaisi Airport when a taxi driver approached us. An airport employee kindly translated the details of the taxi journey on our behalf. We thought the fare sounded reasonable, so we accepted and hopped into the driver’s car. However, when we arrived at our guesthouse and it was time to do the financial transaction, the driver tried to double the agreed-upon fare.

Fortunately, fellow travelers soon made us aware of taxi-hailing apps you can use in Georgia, including Bolt, Maxim, and Yandex. Before we were able to download any of the apps ourselves, a helpful local resident even telephoned Maxim on our behalf to order a taxi. This gesture proved extremely helpful, especially when we needed to find a taxi from Kutaisi to Tbilisi at the last minute!

Bolt was often our go-to for getting around Tbilisi. The other times that we hailed cabs on the street, our drivers played by the rules and stuck to the fare we’d all agreed upon.

In short, bad apple taxi drivers exist everywhere in the world. As you would anywhere, be sure to negotiate a price before you start your journey.


Tbilisi Buses and Metro – We used Tbilisi’s local buses and metro network to get around the city. As of 2019, a bus ticket cost .50 GEL, and a metro ticket cost .50 GEL.

To get started with the metro system, we had to buy a rechargeable plastic card for 2 GEL. The two of us were able to share the same card and then top it up with fares as necessary, using the orange terminals. It was possible to view the instructions in English.

On the buses it’s possible to pay by cash or by using the rechargeable plastic card.

See the Tbilisi Transport Company website for routes and timetables.

Tbilisi-Metro-System


Marshrutkas –


Train – Train connections within Georgia are rather limited. Nevertheless, we took the train from Tbilisi to Gori, and found it to be much more comfortable than a marshrutka.

While it’s theoretically possible to purchase train tickets for domestic routes online, we had a hard time negotiating the website. Instead, we went directly to railway stations to purchase our tickets. The attendant at the ticket window and the conductors always asked to see our passports, so be sure to bring yours along.

Also, it’s advisable to purchase tickets in advance — especially if your route is a longer-distance one. We learned this lesson the hard way when we were in Kutaisi. We’d planned to take the train from Kutaisi to Tbilisi. However, when we arrived at the Kutaisi Railway Station about an hour before the planned departure time, we were informed than only one ticket remained. As a result, we had to take a taxi to Tbilisi.

See the Georgian Railway website for timetables.

Georgian Railway train in Georgia


Additional Georgia Resources