Georgia is an incredibly underrated and often overlooked country. In the English-speaking world it is also often confused with, and overshadowed by, the US state of the same name. In some ways, this is not surprising considering the state is over twice the size and contains nearly 3 times the population of the country. But it is unfortunate, as the country is certainly more unique and, in my opinion, more interesting to visit. Georgia (the country) has its own language, ethnicity, writing system, cuisine and rich culture all waiting to be explored. It is a country of immense natural beauty, from tall mountains to valleys, gorges and plains. Its history is eventful and fascinating, from being one of the earliest adopters of Christianity, through countless invasions, to being the birthplace of Stalin.

Georgia sits in a poorly defined area of eastern Europe and western Asia. There is some debate over whether it is entirely in Europe or spans the two continents. What is certainly true is that the majority of the population identify as European and look longingly west. 77% of the population would like to join the EU, and, despite not being a member, many public places have an EU flag on display alongside the Georgian flag.¹


Georgia country infographic


A few facts about Georgia

  • Capital: Tbilisi
  • Population: About 3.7 million
  • Currency: Georgian lari
  • Official Language: Georgian
  • Official Script: Mkhedruli (Georgian script)
  • Time Zone: GET (UTC+4)
  • Calling Code: +995
  • Internet TLD: .ge
  • Drives On: Right
  • Drinking Age: 16
  • Can Drink In Public: No
  • Can Drink Tap Water: Varies in quality
  • Plugs/Sockets: C & F, 230V (Same as most of continental Europe) more info

Getting there (on a budget)

European budget airlines seem to be increasing their routes into and out of Georgia all the time. Currently, Wizz Air connects Kutaisi in Georgia with 12 European cities including London, Milan, Berlin and Budapest.

Meanwhile there are cheap flights to Tbilisi from Istanbul (Pegasus Airlines & Atlas Global) Athens (Aegean Airlines), Riga (Air Baltic) and Dubai (Fly Dubai).

Tbilisi, Georgia
Narikala Fortress overlooking Tbilisi

Visa information

Visas are not required for citizens of EU members, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many others. For a full list click here.

How much does it cost?

It is easy to get by on a tight budget in Georgia with plenty of hostel beds available for around 20 lari (A$10, €7, US$8) and a meal in a local restaurant costing about 10-15 lari (A$5.50-8, €5-5.50, US$4-6). Eating food from the ubiquitous bakeries can cost less than a dollar.

Transport is very cheap too. A marshrutka (minibus) from Tbilisi to Kazbegi cost only 20 lari (A$10, €7, US$8). The Tbilisi metro costs about 0.5 lari (A$0.25, €0.20, US$0.20) per trip.

If you are short on time or want to see some more out of the way places then the plentiful day tours from Tbilisi, while convenient, will add significantly to your costs. A tour to Kazbegi, for example, will cost about 135 lari (A$75, €50, US$56).

Bridge of Peace, Tbilisi
The Bridge of Peace in Tbilisi

Internet access

Free wifi exists across the entire city of Tbilisi. Just connect to the Tbilisi Loves You wifi network. is a great resource for deciding which sim card to buy for those looking to buy a local sim.

Language barrier

Besides the national language of Georgian, most people speak Russian owing to the country’s past as part of the USSR. An increasing number of younger people speak English as well, making the country relatively easy to get around.

Food in Georgia

Like the country in general, it is amazing that Georgian food isn’t better known outside the country. Georgia has a huge and diverse range of different food but some of the quintessential and ubiquitous foods include khinkali and khachapuri.

Khinkali are boiled dumplings that often contain beef, pork, lamb, potato, cheese or mushrooms. Following Georgian etiquette means eating khinkali with your hands. Using a fork or any other utensils is a big no-no. You grab the handle or knot-like bit at the top, take a bite, drink the liquid inside and then eat the rest, except the handle.

Khachapuri is a delicious type of cheese-filled bread. There are a lot of regional variations including my favourite, the khachapuri adjaruli, which has cheese, an egg and some butter as fillings.

A local Natakhtari beer with some khinkali in the background.

Georgian wine

Georgia has been producing wine for at least 8000 years. During Soviet times, Georgian wine was highly rated across the Soviet Union. In more recent times, Georgia has signed trade deals with the EU, which may see Georgian wine becoming better known throughout the continent.