Georgia has opened borders for the second time for international travelers, from 01.02.2021. For particular moments are happening negotiations between airline companies and country leaders.
Because of COVID-19 pandemic in the world, life is getting back on track slowly, and it
might not be the same at all, including traveling. Places where we’ve dreamed to travel,
countries where we have planned vacations this year might not be accessible for some time. So here is a great opportunity to explore Georgia, the country you haven’t been before or regions you haven’t visited yet. New travel regulations will be implemented in the world soon and Georgia with its practice against the virus already can be named one of the safest destinations to travel after the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
A small country on the east coast of the Black sea, at the heart of the great Caucasus range. Let’s take a look for the reasons why it’s a good idea to travel in Georgia after lockdown:
Why is it safe to travel in Georgia?
It’s hard to say anything in the middle of the battle yet, but so far Georgia has been doing quite well in fighting against coronavirus. The government has acted fast from the country’s very first case of coronavirus and taken effective measures timely ever since. Flights were suspended and proactive border checks have been introduced pretty successfully, as they were able to quarantine arrived people with a history of interaction with diseased ones.
The world hasn’t seen such hard times for a long time, scary to think of how things can develop, but out of all countries, nowadays it feels safe to live in Georgia. Nighttime curfew has been introduced, and public transport suspended on weekends. It might not be the end yet, but we have managed the first 2 waves well. Witnessing how far the doctors can go to save their citizens, authorities taking fast decisive actions to postpone the outbreak and a highly conscious population, is just profound. It makes us only believe that it will be done everything further on too to keep us safe and healthy. So that’s another vote for traveling safely in Georgia after coronavirus!
The best hiking trails in Georgia
First of all, even when things will settle in the world, borders will open and it will be safe to travel, we will still have to follow current basic rules: washing hands often, or using sanitizing gels, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and try to stay away from crowded places. It’s important to be mindful of it and be a responsible traveler. That is why it would be preferred to travel and enjoy a vacation in remote areas. And guess what, Georgia has a lot of wonderful places to offer which is not overcrowded with tourists.
Nature is just amazing in here, believe it or not, you can enjoy any type of landforms you wish for. Undoubtedly, mountains are winning as we can’t just avoid the magnificence of the Caucasus mountain range, but that’s not all! Do you want to desert? Go to Vashlovani national park and have a lovely horse ride there. Curious about mysterious canyons? Take a boat tour in Martvili canyons or hike near Tbilisi in the endless labyrinth of Birtvisi canyons. Fancy chilling on the beach? Then go for it, the seaside of the Black Sea has various small beautiful towns where you can have peaceful rest, or have active summer adventures in Batumi.
Now let’s get back to the mountains, did you know that Europe's Highest permanent village is in Georgia? Ushguli at the altitude of 2060-2200m is in a picturesque region of Svaneti where you can take any trail and let your eyes marvel on splendid landscapes. Racha, another amazing highland area next to Svaneti in western Georgia, and compared to any other regions it is not very well-known among travelers. Khevi, Khevsureti, Tusheti, each region truly deserves a separately dedicated article to depict all its glory.
For example, in Lagodekhi national park, Kakheti region, you can hike through the subtropical forest all the way up to the alpine meadows with fantastic views, experiencing different climate zones and swimming in the alpine Black rocks lake at the border with the Republic of Dagestan. The fact is that whichever region you will hike, you will basically have nature all for yourself, only rarely meeting fellow travelers, even at the most famous Mestia - Ushguli 4 day hike in Svaneti.
Affordable prices in Georgia
Haven’t you heard that Georgia tourism is cheap? Well, it is! But what does cheap mean, really? At some places real estate is cheaper, at another alcohol, public transports or petrol. We like facts, so we used the Numbeo index to compare the average price of a dinner in a middle-class restaurant for 2 people, 3 courses. So, what we find out is that compared to countries in central Europe where you can enjoy both mountains and sea for example, in France or Italy, you will pay about 54 EUR, but in Georgia about 20 EUR. Same story is about accommodation and transportation. Basically, all activities around tourism will be 2.5 times less.
Math is simple here, nowadays flights inside Europe region have about the same prices season to season. And keep in mind that low cost companies such as Wizzair and Ryanair have flights in Georgia (the government is actively communicating with companies to renew flights after 1st of July). So if flight prices are approximately similar, and as we found out, expenses in Georgia are at least twice cheaper, then it means you can have twice longer vacation, or include services that you could not afford in other destinations. Georgia also might be the best country where to take your parents on a trip and don’t ruin your annual budget. OK, there is one expensive thing - roaming, calls abroad cost about 2-10 EUR / min and 1 Mb can cost up to 10 EUR. But there is a simple solution, don’t check mails, and post on Instagram only after you get a local sim card, which you can buy immediately at the airport exit.
After the coronavirus outbreak, no matter how affordable are prices, many people will decide to stay and travel in their home country or make short road trips, which makes sense. A softer economy in some cases will change traditional 2-week long vacations into a long weekend. And Georgia could be the best destination for it! As the country itself is relatively small, only 69,700 km² and very easy to navigate as the main road passes through the whole country connecting big cities like Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi.
Traveling becomes very simple especially if you rent a car, it gives you total flexibility as well as safety thanks to personal space. A bit of planning in advance and you can make the best out of 3-4 days. Visiting several regions, even including short trails in the mountains like Kazbegi, stopping by a museum of Stalin in Gori or incredible cave city - Vardzia will provide you a mix of culture and history of the country. It’s all up to you, as already mentioned, there are a lot of ways to spend quality time here, just you will need to choose the most interesting places for you.
Also, for more comfort, you can find a lot of themed tours on TripAdvisor that will take all the planning fuss from you. For adventures and urban exploration, you can reach us. If tour dates or programs don’t suit you, we will adapt to your needs and offer the best travel experience you can get in Georgia. A safe and hassle-free trip is what we want after all.
Georgian cuisine and wine-making traditions
Georgian culture and one of the oldest civilizations is undoubtedly unique, American Top Ten journal rates it as the second most interesting antic civilization between Greece and Egypt. Want more facts?
It doesn’t count as overstatement to say that Georgia is a cradle of wine. It’s one of the oldest regions where 8000-years-old pottery fragments were found with the evidence of grape wine-making. So imagine a tiny country with over 500 local grape varieties and natural wines made with nearly no chemicals or human interference. Even today it is often used an ancient method of wine making: grapes with its skin, stem and all are filled in huge clay jars called qvevri and buried underground for natural fermentation, followed by a few months of aging. You can find a lot of wonderful wineries where you will learn more about Georgian winemaking traditions, taste it and maybe even take part in a joyous grape gathering season in the Kakheti region.
Well, wine might not be for everyone, but Georgian traditional dishes, is not what you can say no to, for sure. The taste and spices differ from region to region, you can find a variety of delicious dishes and vegetarian options. Also, should be mentioned unique Georgian party tradition. If you happen to be invited to a traditional family dinner, don’t get lost. Every wine drink or shot of chacha (local grape vodka) has a toast behind it. In important celebrations it is tamada, who is the master of everything that happens around the table. If you are traveling for food experience, it will easily become your travel highlight.
Active nightlife in Georgia
Do you love to be surrounded by open-minded people, tended to creation. Prefer party at rave and love to meet friends in local craft breweries? Or do you like classic restaurants, saloons and pubs? Tbilisi can offer it all for you. Around downtown you can find places of any taste. Great techno night clubs, hipster quarters as Fabrika in Tbilisi, classic terraces in the old town, or Turkish cafes in eastern style. If you are more into beach parties, casinos and luxury relaxation then Batumi - Caucasian Las Vegas which never sleeps, is for you.
What about safety? According to Numbeo crime level in Georgia index is 20.35 and 47.45 in the United Kingdom. So basically it makes your romantic walk from club to home in Tbilisi 2.3 times safer than in Manchester. There is only one extra danger in Georgia, hangovers after too much Chacha from drinking with hospitable Georgians.
Sustainable travel in Georgia
Tourism is one of the key industries in the country and a large part of the population is working in this sphere. Your visit on a holiday to Georgia will be a huge support to locals that had to stop their businesses while lockdown. Eat in local restaurants, stay in local hotels, buy local products, you will take a bit of weight off a small nation to overcome hardship during a crisis. If you love to endorse local communities more than corporations, then it is the right country to travel to. After all, isn’t local experience and activities what makes traveling so memorable and unique? So make your safe journey to Georgia unforgettable.