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Georgia Guide & Travel Advice

Getting there

There are no direct flights to Georgia from the UK with all journeys requiring a stop en-route. Lufthansa via Munich, Turkish Airlines via Istanbul and Qatar Airways connecting in Doha are the best options.

Flying times from UK

An indirect flight to Georgia will take between 6 to 8 hours.

Time zone

Georgia is +4 hours ahead of GMT.

Visa requirements

No visa is required for British Citizens visiting Georgia. On arrival you may be asked to show proof of your return journey and first night’s accommodation.

Do’s and don’ts

Georgia is known for its hospitality and the local people are very friendly. Try to learn a few phrases in Georgian as this will be well received.

Always ask permission before taking photographs of people. Also note that photography is prohibited at airports and military installations.

It is respectful to cover arms, shoulders and legs if visiting religious sites.

Money

The currency in Georgia is the Lari and is sub-divided into 100 tetri. Towns and cities have plenty of reliable ATMs so it is recommended to wait until arriving in Georgia to withdraw local currency. In the majority of Georgia all major credit cards are accepted, however, outside of Tbilisi card facilities are less common. Make sure you carry cash if you plan to take a taxi or will be visiting markets.

Tipping

Tipping is not commonly expected in Georgia and the idea is relatively new. However for good service in a hotel a tip of 10% will be gratefully accepted. A guideline for tipping your drivers and guides will be advised prior to travel.

Food and drink

Georgian cuisine has a lot of different influences. Asian, European and Middle Eastern dishes are all combined to make a rich and diverse menu. Food is a big part of daily life in Georgia and evening meals are a lavish affair with plenty of drink and many shared dishes. Meat, spices and bread products are the base of most dishes with favourites being basturma, cured meats with pickled vegetables, lobio, a bean and walnut salad, and the delicious khachapuri an edible bread bowl occasionally filled with a meat-like stew and topped with melted cheese. Georgia is an underrated wine destination and there are many fine vineyards here. As a result, wine is one of the most popular drinks in the country with fruity reds the best.

Holidays, festivals and celebrations

Georgia follows the Christian calendar and celebrates the usual festivals with enthusiasm and fun. Birthdays are celebrated in Georgia on the day of birth, but a second celebration is held on 'name day' – the national holiday of the saint each person is named after. There are several national holidays throughout the year including National Unity Day on the 9th April and Victory Day and Independence Day which both take place in May. Tbilisi and the other main towns host art and cultural events throughout the year with the Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre particularly well respected.

Shopping

The Bridge Market in Tbilisi is a great place to find local produce, ceramics, embroidery, rugs, clothing and jewellery. Alternatively take home a few bottles of Georgian wine or brandy from neighbouring Armenia. In markets remember to haggle.

Suggested reading

Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Bradt all have very good general guidebooks for Georgia with plenty of information and good maps. Further titles on the history and culture of Georgia include:

‘The Caucasus: An Introduction’, by Thomas de Waal

‘Edges of Empires: A History of Georgia’, by Donald Rayfield

‘Lives and Legends of the Georgian Saints’, by David Marshall Lang

‘A Time of Miracles’, by Anne-Laure Bondoux

‘Georgia, a Sovereign Country of the Caucasus’, by Roger Rosen

‘Georgia: A Rebel in the Caucasus’, by Peter Nasmyth

‘Georgia: In the Mountains of Poetry’, by Peter Nasmyth

‘Bread and Ashes: A Walk through the Mountains of Georgia’, by Tony Anderson

‘Stories I Stole: From Georgia’, by Wendell Steavenson

Health

Your doctor is the best person to advise you on staying healthy whilst abroad and whilst there are no current recommended vaccinations you may wish to consider Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Tetanus and Diphtheria. Yellow Fever is compulsory, but only if you have visited an affected Yellow Fever area within 5 days prior to your arrival. In some instances anti-malarial tablets may also be needed. For current information on health advice you may wish to visit the Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad (MASTA) Web Site on www.masta.org. The NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ website (www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk) is also a useful resource.

Travel advice

For current information on Georgia the best resource is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice) which is a comprehensive resource and updated regularly. We would also recommend visiting the Safer Tourism Foundation website (https://safertourism.org.uk/) before you travel and will be happy to address any questions or concerns you may have.

Georgia Holiday Ideas

Georgia Holiday Review

“It really was a marvellous experience. Georgia is fascinating and the people are so friendly and interested in Westerners, especially if you're old enough to remember Stalin and know the history of that period.”

GH - Georgia - September 2015

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