Georgia is a country famous for its extraordinary hospitality. Before we went there for the first time we had heard a lot of stories about this unique country, how hospitable and selfless its inhabitants are. It is one of the safest countries I have ever been to. In mountain areas there is a code of honor that prohibits theft, so do not be surprised that the rooms are not equipped with locks. Until today we have visited Georgia four times and there will be more for sure. Of course, the beautiful country can’t be explored in one week. But if you are really short of time, here’s the Georgia one week itinerary.
Georgia One Week Itinerary – Where Is It?
Georgia is in Asia, although the Georgians themselves feel more European than the Asians. Its borders are with Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, and its northern part runs through the mountain range of the Great Caucasus. This former Soviet Republic has many to offer, but it will be the most appreciated by mountain trekking enthusiasts and off-road drivers.
Georgia One Week Itinerary – Friendly Culture
I mentioned the hospitality Georgia is famous for. It is true. Sometimes it is enough to ask for directions to the nearest store and suddenly find yourself at the table with a whole Georgian family, having a piece of chaczapuri in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. With a bit of luck, you will be invited to the supra, a Georgian feast led by the tamada, full of food and toasts. This experience is unique, so say “gaumardżos” and come to Georgia to experience it by yourself.
Georgia One Week Itinerary – How Much Does It Cost?
Georgia is not an expensive country. If you do not sleep in the Sheraton, you will spend an average of USD 20 per room per night, and for a rich dinner with a glass of beer about USD 6-8 per person. Money like dollars or euros can be exchanged in money exchange offices or banks, ATM’s are also available. Before you go to the mountains area you need to bring cash, because there is no currency exchanges.The currency of Georgia is GEL (lari) = 100 tetri, 1 GEL = USD 0.40 / EUR 0.34
Georgia One Week Itinerary – How To Get There?
Best by a plane. There are two international airports in Georgia, Tbilisi which operates regular flights, and Kutaisi where low-cost WizzAir flights are landing. From the airport, you can easily get out by local buses called “marszrutka”. You can also use a taxi, but the marszrutka is a cheaper and more interesting option.
Georgia One Week Itinerary – How To Get Around?
The whole local transport is based on the marszrutkas, small buses which can hold few to over a dozen people. Georgian Bus is the cheapest way to travel around the country and it costs GEL 10-20 per person depending on the route. A car rental option is more expensive, but it gives you a lot of fun, especially if you want to go to the mountains. It is necessary to rent a car 4×4, because you will not get to Tushetii by an ordinary car.
In Tbilisi, you will find many international car rental companies (Hertz, Avis etc.) and a number of local, cheaper companies. Cost of renting a 4×4 car starts at USD 60-90/day. If you are traveling with a group of people, it is quite a profitable form of transport.
I recommend a local rental in Tbilisi called Carrentge, which we have used several times. The cost of Mitshubishi Pajero rent is USD 48/day (August 2017).
There is also a subway in Tbilisi, you have to buy a Metromoney card for which you will pay GEL 2 of refundable deposit. Cost of one ride is GEL 0.50. Most of marszrutkas to other parts of the country leave from the Didube station. Some people travel by hitchhiking, it is quite safe.
Georgia One Week Itinerary – When To Go?
The best time to visit Georgia is from April to October. Keep in mind that going to Tuszetia or Chewsuretia in April or October, roads may be still or already impassable because of snow, while from October to April these areas are inaccessible. In the summer the temperatures are high especially in the lowlands and can reach 35 degrees Celsius. In the mountains, the climate is a bit milder.
Georgia One Week Itinerary – What To See?
There are so many destinations to be covered in Georgia. You can’t possibly visit all of them in 1 week. That’s why I encourage you to stay longer or come back for more! Below are my top picks for your considerations.
Tbilisi is the capital of the country, which is taken care by Kartlis Deda, Mother of Georgia. The monument is a woman holding a cup of wine for friends in the left hand and a sword for the enemies in the right one. She stands on Sololaki hill, which offers a beautiful view of the whole city. You can go the steep path to the hill or take the cable car for only GEL 1.
Being in Tbilisi, it is necessary to visit Abanotubano, the bathhouse district. The Royal Baths are the most impressive, but it is worth to go to the side streets and take advantage of the bath for half price. It costs around GEL 50 for a private room. Public baths are the cheapest (few lari), but men and women use separate rooms.
After taking a good bath, you can wander around the streets of the old town. You’ll be captivated by its architecture and its characteristic wooden balconies. The atmosphere of this city is simply amazing.
Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theater advertises a curious looking clock tower. Being in the area you can sit in one of the charming pubs and enjoy a glass of Georgian wine, but it is more expensive than in other parts of the city. You can also visit numerous cathedrals and churches, even if you are not church lovers. They are very different from traditional Catholic churches. You will not find the church dripping with gold and the colorful ornaments. It’s really modest and in my opinion the most beautiful.
Tusheti is one of the most beautiful places in the world that we have ever seen. Although the road to Omalo, the capital of Tusheti, is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world., it doesn’t deter us to go there. The distance of 70 km will take about 4-5 hours by car and the road is not always passable. Several times a year mudslides block access for a few days. During that time, all villages in the mountains are cut off from the world.
Tusheti region is reached by these travelers who really want to go there and are not afraid of the harsh conditions in which they will spend their nights at. There is no regular electricity from the grid in Omalo due to damaged power lines. Electricity comes from solar panels that only provide light and the ability to charge the phone, but forget about using a hair dryer or other high power devices. Therefore hot water or even warm is not always available. Those who like comfort places should carefully consider before they decide to come here. Still want to come here? Great! Awesome views and atmosphere of this place will pay you for all inconveniences.
Tusheti is an ideal place for few days long mountain trekking during which we will reach altitudes of over 3,000 m above sea level. The most popular trail is from Omalo to Shatili in Chewsureti through Acunta Pass (3.431 m a.s.l.). The route is 75 km long and you have to spend 5 days there.
There is no regular transport to Omalo. You can get there in two ways, by rented car or a private car with a driver. For a private car to Omalo, you should look for it in Alvani. One way trip cost around GEL 200 for the whole car (max 4 people), but you can bargain.
Khevsureti is another region in the Caucasus Mountains and although it is slightly easier to reach than Omalo, only a few tourists choose to come here. This place is no less beautiful than Tusheti and it is definitely worth to go there. To Shatili in Chewsuretia marszrutka runs every Wednesday and Saturday from the Didube station in Tbilisi.
Svaneti is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its numerous stone towers. There was a tradition of ancestral revenge in old days, popularly known as “an eye for an eye…”. The towers were created to protect families from the retaliation of another clan.
Stepantsminda and the Georgian Military Road
Stepantsminda and the Georgian Military Road are famous for their views. There you will find one of the highest peaks in the Great Caucasus, Mount Kazbek (5.033 m a.s.l.). The Georgian Military Road was used in ancient times connecting Tbilisi with Vladikavkaz. Most people come here to see picturesquely located Gergeti Trinity Church (Cminda Sameba) or try their luck reaching the peak of Kazbek.
Mtskheta is a city where Georgia adopted Christianity as its religion in 337. In here Christianity was also proclaimed the state religion of Georgia. Some of the city’s monuments have been listed on the World Cultural Heritage List. See Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and the Jvari Monastery.
David Gareja monastery, founded in the sixth century, is located on the border of Georgia and Azerbaijan. This place is a subject of the border dispute between these countries. There is the magnificent view of the steppes of Azerbaijan from the top of mount Gareja.
Vardzia is a fascinating city carved into the rock which could accommodate up to 60 thousands of people in case of a threat. Now it is seen only part of it, because as a result of the earthquake in 1283 city fell apart.
Signagi is one of the most beautiful cities in the Caucasus. It is located in Kakheti, a region famous for its wine. It is worth to visit one of many vineyards where you will learn how the fermentation process differs from that used throughout the world. Tasting will let you feel this difference. I recommend Twins Old Cellar in Napareuli and Khareba Vineyard in Kwareli.
Batumi is a large seaside town which astonishes with its modernity. It looks so unlike than the rest of Georgia and it may seem that we are in another country. It attracts many tourists so prices are a bit higher than in Tbilisi, but this city must be seen. The best view is from the ferris wheel. If you have tasted in the Georgian hooch you can go to the Chacha Tower Clock. There is a fountain from which chacha flows instead of water for several minutes every day. The event starts at 19.00.
Visit local markets. In addition to spices, you can also buy home-made wines, cognacs and chacha. There is a mandatory tasting before buying, because they will not sell you anything without tasting first!
There are still many interesting and beautiful places to see in this small country, but there would be no place to describe them all, so if any of you is interested, I would be happy to provide further information.
WATCH THIS VIDEO. YOU’LL BE SURPRISED.
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Georgia One Week Itinerary – What To Eat?
Georgians love to feast with their families and friends and raise toasts with homemade drinks. And they do it wherever they want to. They often choose places in the bosom of nature, just a piece of grass, a stump or some stones by the river and the place turns into a real feast. Every guest is welcome, so there is a good chance you will be invited. And what should you taste in Georgia?
Khinkali is dumpling stuffed with meat, sometimes also cheese. There is a special way of eating them, but you will find out on the spot.
Khachapuri is a traditional Georgian cheese-filled bread, looks a bit like pizza and you can eat it everywhere. The most popular types are imeruli (bread and cheese) and adjaruli (bread, cheese, butter and raw egg). I recommend both types.
Kababi. Do not confuse this dish with the popular doner kebab. This is a skewer of grilled minced meat, beef or lamb, seasoned with green coriander and fresh tomato sauce. Delicious!
Baldridzani is deliciously grilled aubergine with walnut paste.
Local tomatoes. I assure you that you have never eaten and you will not eat better tomatoes in your life. They are sweet and fleshy with the taste of real tomatoes.
Chacha is a homemade vodka you will find in every home. Only for brave ones
Georgian wine is slowly gaining recognition on the international market and conquer the hearts of connoisseurs of this liquor. Georgian way of wines production differs from that used throughout the world so they are slightly different in taste.
Very often meals are available at the host you stay with. These are breakfasts and dinners consisting of several different courses, so you can taste many local dishes. The cost of one meal is GEL 10 – 15 for one person, but they are very generous, so you will certainly not go away hungry from the table. We paid GEL 10 for a meal in Omalo, GEL 15 in Shatili, GEL 20/dinner and GEL 15/breakfast in Roshka.
I recommend Samikitno in Tbilisi, a chain restaurant that is affordable and opens 24 hours a day. Some restaurants charge 10% or 15% service tax.
Georgia One Week Itinerary – Where To Sleep?
In big cities like Batumi or Tbilisi, it is best to book your accommodation in advance but you can choose in hotels, hostels or apartments. In other places, you can easily find a room without a prior reservation. Accommodation prices start from GEL 20/person. There are very popular campgrounds in the mountains and it will be the cheapest accommodation, but nights are quite chilly so you need to prepare properly.
My accommodation types:
Guesthouse Irina, Ninoshvili 19B St /3rd floor (Tbilisi) – a bit far from the center, but a great backpacker atmosphere. The first hostel that came into being in Tbilisi. GEL 25/pp
Zandarashvili Guest House, Tsminda Giorgi 11St (Signagi) – great atmosphere and daily evening supras for international travelers. GEL 25/pp
Hotel Meskheti, Kostawy 10 St (Akhaltsikhe) – if you want to feel Soviet atmosphere, this place is perfect. This is a “former intourist of the USSR”. Low standard, but what a journey in time, GEL 20/pp
Javakhe Guesthouse (Lower Omalo), GEL 20/pp
Nazo Guesthouse (Lower Omalo), GEL 20/pp – host speaks English
Guesthouse u Leli (Shatili), GEL 20/pp
Guesthouse in Roshka (Roshka) – one of two guesthouses in village, nice backpacker atmosphere, and hosts speak English very well, GEL 25/pp
Other Interesting Facts about Georgia
Georgians do not speak English very well, but you will have no problem to communicate in Russian language. If you do not speak Russian, do not worry about it, “sign language” is universal like in every other country.
In monasteries, women should put on a head-kerchief and have a skirt. But do not worry if you dress in pants, “skirts” are hanging before the entrance to almost every church, just like the scarves. Men also have to wear “skirts” if they are in shorts TO uncover their knees.
Many roads in Georgia are still gravelly, but it is slowly changing. Small villages are the worst, where the ordinary car can go through without problems. Nevertheless, this is always an adventure.
Going to Tusheti, remember not to take any pork products with you, as pork is forbidden.
Black Sea beaches are stony except for Ureka, where sand is present but has an unusual gray color due to magnetization.
About the Traveler
Hello, my name is Elizabeth and I live in Poland. I have a great fiance with whom I share the passion of traveling. It all started 20 years ago when we set out on our first trip – hitchhiking through Croatia. At that time we knew that this trip is only beginning of our great adventure and since then we have already visited 25 countries, some of them several times.
I hope you enjoy my stories and I will inspire you to travel the world. Follow me on Instagram: @elzbietarebisz