Georgia (country)

From Nomadwiki.org
(Redirected from Georgia)
Jump to: navigation, search

Georgia is a gorgeously beautiful country located in the Caucausus.

Some of its former regions like Abkhazia and Southern Ossetia are now de facto parts of the Russian Federation, using Russian money and being patrolled by Russian army. Because of the mostly general western diplomatic refuse of this, it is often referred to as an occupation (by Georgians firstly).

Georgian language is quite as weird and strange as its alphabet, though some basics are not difficult to learn in few weeks hitchhiking around and with no idea of Russian.

Most of people do speak Russian very well, even if some of them is not so happy to do it.

In remote areas, you might be surprised by how random villagers speak very well various European languages like Spanish or Italian, due to work immigration.

Climate

Summer can be pretty hot in Georgia with temperatures around 35–40 °C so you'll need a lot of water and shelter from the sun. Water is easy to find and in fact most Georgians drink tap water.

Winter is quite cold and snowy, especially the north parts.

Transport

Find info on hitchhiking at Hitchwiki.

Hitchhiking do work extremely well as in most of former soviet countries.

Be careful in very touristic zones such as Svaneti since, due to the lack of local transportation, people often take around tourists asking for money, illegal taxi style, and no matter how poor you want to look but you might easily be confused for a normal tourist view since most of them are mountaineers/outdoor lovers.

Local transportation is also quite cheap.

Companies

Accommodation

Find info on hosp ex at Couchwiki.

Spontaneous hospitality is simply amazing.

You will be surprised by the extreme ease with which any kind of people (clearly of course more in non urban areas) can invite you home to eat, sleep, drink (they drink really really a lot, wine, vodka, chacha, anything) or simply chat and laugh.

Wild camping is also largely accepted and often asking for a good place for your tent you will find a comfortable bed, couch, plenty of food and alcohol. Pitching a tent is a normal thing for the local people, forbidden only in city centres and near ruins.

As usual in the former Soviet Union, it is possible to rent private rooms from local people. In any city or small town one need only go into a shop or small restaurant and ask if someone has a room. Prices start from around 10 lari, and sometimes tea and even dinner is included.

Georgians are very hospitable people. When hitchhiking in the evening or at night, there is a high chance of your driver inviting you to stay at his home. If you are seen at nightfall on the outskirts of a town, villagers may literally pull you into their homes. Note that if you accept Georgian hospitality, your hosts may insist on a marathon drinking session, and you may not get much sleep before having to leave early the next morning.

Meet fellow travellers on hospitality exchange networks: Trustroots, BeWelcome

Food

Find info on dumpster diving at Trashwiki.

It's hard to be hungry in Georgia. There's easy to find delicious and very cheap food in every city, in small villages you will be often invited to eat with locals. Staying away from cities you could easily be fed as a fat king without spending any money.

Generally the price for street food are more than affordable.

Try Khachapoori (fasuli is the best one).

If you are looking for vegan options, just ask for samarkhvo: this word denotes food suitable for the religious (Orthodox) fasting, that is actually completely free of meat, fish (though this is sometimes allowed), milk/cheese/dairy and eggs.

Connectivity

add information about connectivity

Busking

In Tbilisi works pretty, as probably also in Batumi.

Visa

Georgia has visa free entry for people from many nationalities. It makes it the visa hub of the Caucasus. Though it's almost impossible to cross into Russia from here if you're not from a former Soviet country.

In Tbilisi you can make visas to Azerbaijan.

In Batumi to Iran.

Citizens of EU, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries don't need a visa to enter and stay in the territory of Georgia for 360 days.

Abkhazia

Foreigners with a valid Entry Permit can enter Abkhazia from Georgia, but have to return to Georgia. Travelling from Russia through Abkhazia towards Georgia is impossible, as you'll then be regarded as having illegally entered Georgia.

Armenia

There are three border crossings with Armenia, through the towns of Ninotsminda (Georgia), Dmanisi (Georgia) and Bagratashen (AM)/Sadakhlo(GE). There is frequent traffic between these countries, especially between Yerevan and Tbilisi. The Bagratashen-crossing won't give you much trouble - border guards are OK and it will most probably take you less than 10 minutes to cross it.

Turkey

As of 2017, there are three border crossings between Georgia and Turkey, all of which are passable on foot.

When arriving from the west, your likely point of entry to the country will be Sarp-Sarpi border crossing with Turkey on the Black Sea coast. That border crossing has steady traffic. The majority of truck traffic between Georgia and Turkey travels through this crossing, so it is very easy to find rides in either direction. This is the busiest border between the two countries, so it can take time to get across here. It's easy to get a ride in either direction though, just walk a few hundred metres away from each border complex and you'll be able to find a good spot.

There are two other crossings further east. The furthest norther is the Posof-Akhaltsikhe crossing from Posof to the Turkish border settlement of Türkgözü, crossing to the village of Vale and on to Akhaltsikhe. The Turkish border road is large and in good condition, and the road from the border to Akhaltsikhe is smaller, but has been repaved. This border crossing is fairly quite, but there's still a steady flow of traffic and it's easy to find a ride in either direction.

File:Georgia-turkey-border.JPG
The 2015 reopened Georgian-Turkish border close to Akhalkalaki.

In 2015, the Ardahan-Akhalkalaki border crossing between Çıldır and Kartsakhi reopened, having been closed for the previous two decades. It is 30 kilometres from Akhalkalaki, Georgia - which is on a main trucking route to and from Yerevan. On the Turkish side, you will be 10 kilometres to Çıldır. From here, it is easy to get to Ardahan and onwards. Hitchwiki user Ben hitchhiked through this border in September 2017 and found the road on the Georgian side newly refurbished with plenty of traffic to and from Akhalkalaki including a regular flow of large trucks. On the Turkish side the highway is fresh for a few kilometres, before becoming a smaller road. Construction of a new duel carriageway is underway as of September 2017, but despite that, there's plenty of traffic. The truck driver who took Ben told him that many trucks travel from here from Georgia to Istanbul via Erzurum or the Black Sea coast at Hopa. It was a quicker hitchhike from Yerevan to the coast than hitching a ride to the border further away in Batumi. The road from Ardahan, through Artvin, to Hopa at the coast is thoroughly spectacular and switchback filled. It's well worth hitching down here purely for the scenery. The road from this border also passes the intersection to head south to Kars as well as north to the coast.

Russia

Since July 2011 it is also possible to cross the border to/from Russia for all passport holders at the Verkhny Lars-Darial Gorge border crossing.

Cities

Tbilisi

add a city

Travel destinations

add a location