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Visa and travel documents

Citizens of more than 90 countries have the right to enter and stay in Georgia without visa, for 1 full year. These countries include, among others, EU countries, Switzerland, Great Britain, USA, Canada. 

International travelers who are holders of valid visas or/and residence permits determined by the Ordinance № 256 of the Government of Georgia, may enter and stay in Georgia for 90 days in any 180 day period.

A citizen of foreign country who is not exempted from Georgian visa can apply for E-Visa through E-Visa Portal or through E-Application-System. E-Visa portal must be used for short-stay visits only (less than 90 days). To find information about Georgian Diplomatic missions and Consular offices in your country, please, click here

Travel documents must be valid at the time of entry at least until the time of departure. Citizens of Member States of the European Union may enter Georgia with a travel document, as well as with an identity card issued by a Member State of the European Union. The identity card shall contain the name, surname, date of birth and a photo of the person. Entering the country with an ID card can occasionally lead to slight delays. When arriving via third countries, as well as by land or sea, it is recommended to take a passport with you in order to avoid difficulties and/or delays.

Entry regulations can change at short notice without us being informed of this in advance as the tour operator. Therefore, please inquire in advance at the Georgian consulate in your country. Only there will you receive legally binding information and/or information that goes beyond this information on the entry and customs regulations of your destination country.

Entry options

Entry into Georgia can be by plane, land or sea.

There are 3 international airports in the country, in the major cities of TbilisiBatumi and Kutaisi. From Europe there are direct flights from the following airlines: Aegean Airlines, Air Baltic, Air France, Air Moldova, Belavia Belarusian Airlines, Georgian Airways, Lot Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Wizzair.

Many direct flights arrive early in the morning at inconvenient times. There are good connecting flights with Turkish Airlines and partly with Pegasus, which fly to Tbilisi and Batumi airports several times during the day and night.

From the Middle East there are several direct flights to Tbilisi and Batumi with Fly Dubai, Qatar Airways, Air Arabia, Israir Airlines and El-Al Israel Airlines. Direct flight connections with China, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are relevant from Asian countries.

Regionally, air and rail connectivity with Armenia and Azerbaijan is also important, with rail services to Azerbaijan indefinitely suspended since the pandemic.

The most commonly used border crossings by land are: with Azerbaijan – Lagodekhi/Balakan, 170 km from Tbilisi; with Armenia – Sadakhlo/Bagratashen, 75 km from Tbilisi and Ninotsminda/Bavra, 185 km; with Russia – Kasbegi/Lars, 170 km; with Turkey – Wale/Posof, 222km and Sarp/Sarpi, 390km. All border posts mentioned are currently open. There is only one-way restriction for entering Azerbaijan from Georgia. On the other hand, guests from Azerbaijan can easily enter Georgia.

The self-drivers can drive with an EU driver's license or an international driver's license in Georgia. Vehicles registered abroad are subject to the obligation to take out Georgian liability insurance. Driving under the influence of alcohol is prohibited (0.0 per mille).

At the moment there are no relevant connections by sea that would be of interest to tourists.

Travel Seasons

Georgia is an interesting travel destination in all seasons. Whether you are planning a hiking trip, a wine trip or a skiing holiday in Georgia, there are relevant travel times to consider for different types of travel.

In general, the peak tourist season in Georgia is from mid-April to late October. The less hot months of April, May, June, September and October are recommended for classic round trips and study trips (approx. +20-30 degrees Celsius). For hiking tours, the season starts in June and usually lasts until October. Depending on the hiking area, this period can be even shorter. For example in the Tuscheti mountain region, which is normally only passable from mid-June. For a trekking trip in the higher elevations of the Greater Caucasus, the months of July and August are safer in terms of weather.

If you would like to take part in a grape harvest and/or visit Georgia at its harvest time, you should reserve September and October for this. Depending on the wine region and the winery, the harvest traditionally takes place from mid-September to mid-October.

July and August are considered the high season for beach holidays on the Black Sea (in the valley and on the coast approx. +32-40 degrees Celsius). At this time, many locals and tourists from neighboring countries can be expected there. Less crowded, a bit cheaper but also a bit cooler would be the months of June and September.

Various types of winter holidays in Georgia are best planned in January, February and March, while November and December are ideal for cheap city breaks.

For a longer trip, which should include everything if possible, from mountain to sea, from semi-desert to wine region, it is best to plan the period from June to September inclusive.

Currency

Domestic payment is made in Georgian currency - lari (GEL). 100 Tetri are 1 Lari. US Dollars and Euros can be easily exchanged for Georgian currency in numerous exchange offices and banks as well as at the airport. In most supermarkets, restaurants and shops in larger cities, payment by credit card is also possible as usual. 

You can use your cards to withdraw Lari or USD from numerous ATMs. We recommend withdrawing "out of round" amounts so that you have enough small bills. 

Current exchange rate to foreign currencies (as of 10/06/2024):                                                                           

1 USD: ~ 2,82 GEL
1 EUR: ~ 3,07 GEL

You can find out current exchange rates using this currency converter, for example. Simply enter "GEL" for the Georgian lari in the desired currency.

 

Accommodation

In Georgia there is enough offer of hotels for different tastes; from first-class chain hotels such as Marriott, Sheraton, Radisson to the charming boutique hotels and simple guest houses - you can always find suitable accommodation according to your desired style and budget. Especially the capital Tbilisi offers a wide range of group hotels and small hotels with the Georgian design. More and more new hotels are opened year after year also in the cities of Kutaisi, Telavi, Gori, Zugdidi. In the second largest city, Batumi, there is currently a lack of small boutique hotels, but there is a sufficient range of mid-range hotels and large chain hotels for conferences.

In most mountain regions of Georgia you can now find 3-4 star hotels in addition to guest houses, especially in larger towns such as Stepantsminda and Mestia. In the remote villages, during a trekking tour, one sleeps in simple guesthouses, the owners of which try year after year to make the stay as pleasant as possible for the hikers, whether it is about the private bath or warm water, they try to do the maximum in the limited possibilities to do. The guests are particularly enthusiastic about the special hospitality of the locals and their delicious specialties.

Unfortunately, there is no official certification of hotels in the country (yet) - owners are happy to assign stars themselves and do not have to adhere to any specific standards. In general, however, one can say that Georgian mid-range hotels correspond to those in Europe and often even exceed guests' expectations.

Transportation

Already on the first day of your stay in Georgia you will notice that the Georgian way of driving is very peculiar. Be very careful when crossing a street. If possible, use the underpasses. Many drivers only gradually pay attention to zebra crossings without traffic lights. 

The many cars and correspondingly many traffic jams in Georgian cities can be explained by the fact that Georgians like to drive their own cars and that local and long-distance public transport is not yet well organized. The government is trying to improve the situation in this respect, bus lanes are being drawn in more and more districts and new buses are being used. Payment in public transport is also being modernized year after year. For trips in Tbilisi, you can now buy a top-up card at a counter in the metro stations. The card itself costs 2 GEL and additional credit has to be topped up. A single trip in Tbilisi costs a flat rate of 1.00 lari and is valid for 90 minutes in all directions and for multiple journeys by bus, minibus (collection bus) and metro within the city. You can also buy a season ticket right away. This electronic ticket can also be used for the cable car ride to Narikala Castle (one ride 2.5 GEL). When it comes to public transport, we recommend the subway if you want to get around Tbilisi quickly and easily. The Tbilisi metro operates from 06:00 a.m. to 00:00 a.m.

You can recognize taxis in Tbilisi by their white color and taxi sign. You have to negotiate the price with these taxi drivers in advance as they do not have a taximeter. If your destination is a bit off the touristy places, we recommend that you have the address with you in writing so that you can show it to the driver if necessary. If you want to avoid difficult communication with taxi drivers and also save money, then we recommend you to order a taxi at the hotel reception or better via an app, e.g. Bolt. In the cities outside of Tbilisi there is still no obligation to register for taxis, so it is even more recommended there to order a taxi or use the app.

Long-distance public transport between the towns and villages is currently quite inconvenient and mostly only possible with minibuses, which are only recommended for adventurous guests. Between the big cities of Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi there are also regional buses, which are more comfortable. There is no rail connection in many places, regional trains are poor and very slow. The only train connection that you can safely take is the one between Tbilisi, Kutaisi Airport and Batumi. The new trains for this connection were provided by the Swiss company Stadler Bussnang AG in 2016.

It is important for self-drivers to know that in the cities of Tbilisi, Gori, Kutaisi and Batumi you pay via a corresponding parking app or at the machine. Outside the capital, parking fees are 2 to 3 lari per day. In Tbilisi, parking in central places is charged 1 lari per hour or 20 lari per day. You have to pay attention to the corresponding number plate at the parking lot and enter it in your app. Local rules and fees apply to private car parks, which are usually well signposted. In some neighborhoods you will occasionally see so-called "parking attendants". Sometimes they are a replacement for a missing or broken parking meter, sometimes they simply stand in addition to the public parking spaces you have already paid for without need and look forward to the tip because they were just used to it from the old times.

Eating & Drinking

If you have booked a trip to Georgia, then be prepared to eat rich and good often. The Georgian dishes, which often contain walnuts and many spices, sometimes take some getting used to for "European stomachs" and can occasionally cause short-term discomfort. .

The tap water is drinking water for the locals. Due to unfamiliar bacteria, however, it is only recommended for travelers to brush their teeth. To drink, there is a large selection of mineral waters in the shops.

Of the alcoholic beverages, the first recommendation in the wine-growing country is to taste local wines, which, if traditionally made in the earthenware jars "Qvevri" buried underground, can taste quite archaic and unusual. There is also plenty of local beer on offer, and among the stronger drinks, various types of chacha (Georgian grappa) or Georgian brandy.

In most Georgian restaurants, the table is set according to Georgian tradition. This means that you get different types of starters and main courses on the table at the same time and share them. For locals, a restaurant is a place to enjoy socializing, saying toasts, dancing and singing. Going to a restaurant is something special. Not only the Georgian guests, but also the music that is offered in the middle-class restaurants is often loud to very loud. We recommend that you get involved in this type of music performance and background noise as is customary in the country and enjoy this typical Georgian atmosphere together with other guests. If you know what to expect, this is usually surprisingly easy.

There are more and more restaurants that attach great importance to the pleasant, quiet atmosphere and fine dishes. From simple restaurants with hearty cuisine and a rustic atmosphere to international cuisine and steakhouses to haute cuisine, you will find everything your heart desires in the big cities of Georgia.

Meeting Locals

Georgians are very hospitable, which is not immediatlely evident from the serious faces of the locals. Maybe it's in the Caucasian blood that you meet strangers with a certain skepticism before you trust them. If you say a nice word about Georgia, the locals will often warm up and become particularly entertaining people to talk to.

Georgian is spoken in Georgia and people are very happy if foreigners know a few Georgian words. The younger generation mostly speaks good English, especially in big cities.

In general, in Georgia, as in other countries, foreigners are expected to respect local customs and traditions. It mainly affects holy places and churches. To avoid unintentionally doing something wrong or offending someone, it's better to listen to your guide's recommendations. In the mountainous regions one has to remain cautious with sensitive issues such as single-sex marriages.

In general, the following should be noted:

- When visiting the churches and monasteries, it is generally expected that visitors are modestly dressed. Women often have to cover their heads and shoulders when entering the church, and in some monasteries, even if you wear long trousers, your legs must be covered with a cloth. Entry is usually forbidden to men with shorts. In general, respectful behavior is recommended in churches and monasteries;

- It is not allowed to take photos in Georgian churches during the service. Otherwise, photography without a flash is usually permitted in the churches. In any case, pay attention to the relevant signs at the entrance;

- Before photographing locals directly, please ask permission first. Most of the time you will get an acceptance, since your question alone is taken as a sign of respect. Be especially careful when photographing clergy. Most of the time they don't want to be photographed;

- Elderly people in Georgia expect to be shown respect towards them;

- Tips are welcome but not required;

- Alcoholic beverages are usually drunk accompanied by a toast, especially when it comes to a happy get-together.

Shopping

As usual in many southern countries, life in Georgia starts later in the morning. If you want to have breakfast out, you cannot count on finding a bakery or cafe nearby that is already open at 09:00. There are only a few bakeries such as Entree in Tbilisi that open at 08:00 in the morning and offer fresh breakfast.

Bank opening hours are 10:00 to 18:00 on weekdays and 10:00 to 14:00 on Saturdays. But there are also a few service centers, e.g. from TBC Bank, which are open 24/7.

Most shops open between 09:30 and 10:00 but are also open on weekends including Sundays and most bank holidays. In the evening, the larger shops close at 10:00 p.m. Small shops are usually open until at least 8 p.m.

For shopping in Tbilisi, the most convenient is the Galleria Tbilisi near Freedom Square. In addition to international brands, you will also find shops by Georgian designers for clothing, jewelery and accessories here. You can also discover interesting boutiques by strolling along Chavchavadze Street in the Vake district. Larger department stores are also located at the exit from Tbilisi, Tbilisi Mall in the western part towards Mtskheta and East Point in the eastern part towards the airport and Kakheti wine region.

If you are looking for a souvenir from Georgia, wine is usually number 1. During your trip to Georgia you will definitely visit a winery, where you can usually buy wines. A wide range of different wineries can be found in Tbilisi in wine shops such as 8000 Vintages , Collectionner or Wine Factory Nr. 1 . Georgian tea, as well as spices and sauces can be found at a farmer's market or with a nicer packaging at small stalls in department stores or in Bazari Orbeliani. The delicious Georgian sweet Churchkhela (nuts in grape juice) can be found in larger supermarkets at the Badagi stand.

For gifts such as tablecloths, scarves or crockery with a Georgian pattern, the BlueTabla or Giovanni Morra stand in various department stores is recommended. For Georgian care products Piel Naturals. For the jewelry made according to the ancient Georgian goldsmith art (cell melting technique) Legenda Jewelry or others along Shardeni and Erekle II pedestrian streets in the old town.

The addresses and brands above are only to be seen as a suggestion and recommendation, so that you can find the Georgian production, which is of a slightly higher quality, faster and easier than in the places overrun by tourists.

Safety

The routes that we offer are absolutely safe. In general, you should follow the same safety rules that you know from other countries and from home:

- During evening individual walks, stay in the city center on well-lit streets;

- Watch your bags and valuables in large crowds such as at train stations, markets or at public celebrations;

- Favor cashless payments and only take the cash you need for the day and no unnecessary valuables;

- There is an increased risk of accidents on the road due to the poor road conditions off the main routes, the poor condition of many vehicles and often the incorrect driving behavior of locals. Be extra careful as a self-driver.

If necessary, you can reach the emergency number on 112, which will also help you in English.

 

Health

There are no mandatory vaccinations for entering Georgia. 

Basically, in addition to the generally known rules for disinfection etc., you have to pay attention to two important things:

- To avoid diarrhea, do not drink tap water. This can be used for brushing your teeth;

- Avoid contact with street dogs that may transmit rabies. In the event of bite or scratch injuries, consult a doctor immediately.

Medical care, especially outside of big cities, is often insufficient. For outpatient treatment of minor illnesses, “MediClub Georgia” (English speaking), Tashkent Str. 22 (+995-32-2251991) recommended.

In remote areas of the country, rapid and efficient medical care cannot be expected in the event of illness or an accident. It is advisable to take out travel health and repatriation insurance for the duration of your stay abroad and to take an individual first-aid kit with you.

It is harmless to take a standard “travel pharmacy” with medicines permitted for Georgia, which does not exceed the scope of ten standard packages of medicines. Quantities in excess of this require documentation (certificates, prescriptions). Experience has shown that, especially with painkillers, it is advisable to clarify in advance whether the active ingredient may be imported into Georgia. Be particularly careful when importing narcotic or psychotropic substances for self-care to avoid a possible criminal offense under Georgian law. If you have special needs for medicines, you should urgently contact the responsible Georgian authorities before entering the country in order to ensure that the requirements and any necessary documents for legal import are met. The Revenue Service of the Georgian Ministry of Finance offers further information and contact options.

 

Emergency Contacts

The unified emergency number in Georgia is 112.

For less acute emergencies, primarily contact your guide or the Meet in Georgia office in Tbilisi on 00995 32 2158414. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Outside office hours, you can either call your Meet in Georgia representative, whose contact details are on your travel documents, or the company's general emergency number 00995 599 989673.