Georgia: the country you are never considering to visit, but should
“Ma’am, where are you flying to?” the badass Israeli lady guard asked as I entered Ben Gurion International Airport.
“To Georgia.” I politely responded.
She scanned my passport, checked the data page and said, “you don’t have a visa to the United States.”
“But I am not going to the United States. You know Georgia? Neighbouring with Armenia? Azerbaijan? Does it ring a bell?”
“Ah, Georgia!” she said with a very hard Israeli accent. She then let me pass and as I entered, why do I always find myself in this situation ever since I announced I am going to Georgia? I know it’s not a very popular country let alone known by default but why is Georgia struggling in the identity department?
I am very curious about that myself that’s why I decided to come here. I like countries that challenge me in terms of showcasing it to the world. I love the idea that I will have my own “visit this country” take that people will actually believe. I did it for Israel and I am still blown away by the results. People actually came.
Even if Georgia was never on your travel bucket list, this is my attempt to make you consider it. Here ate the reasons to visit Georgia ASAP! Right now!
Tbilisi: the iconic capital that often defines Georgia to the world
When you Google Georgia, that southeastern state in the USA will always pop out. But when you try to include ‘Tbilisi’ in the search, it will lead you to the real Georgia you are looking for. Seriously, this country has a big Search Engine Optimization (SEO) problems that need to be properly addressed. To the world, Tbilisi serves as the main identity of Georgia because of how it is distinctly spelled. Although it won’t ring a bell to everyone, Tbilisi is that Georgian capital that is very advanced even if you don’t have any idea where it is.
Ahhh… Tbilisi. It is honestly a place I never thought forward civilization exists. The energy here is something to look into. The Internet will always bring you images of Tbilisi’s touristic icons like churches and monasteries but behind all these lies a life of food, drinks, friends and a very impressive nightlife. I thought Budapest and Berlin are my favorite European cities but today, Tbilisi topped the list!
It is a city I will always come back to because the existence here is very easy… and cheap.
Where to stay in Tbilisi
- Budget: Lithostel – $12.63 USD for 2 single beds and 1 super king bed
- Mid-range: Metekhi’s Galavani Hotel – $37 USD for a private room with breakfast
- High-end: Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel Tbilisi – $200 USD for 2 pax with great amenities
Accommodations in Georgia are really cheap and are all situated in a fantastic view. Don’t worry about getting a shitty one because they’re all good!
The next best thing in European cuisine
Remind me again why I’m going to Georgia on a winter? The food. My tropical island mind and soul is never fit to such harsh weather condition but you know what they say: “the right food will always keep you warm.” And this is on top of the list of the reasons to visit Georgia. In fact, it’s more than enough! I mean, who says no to food?
Blessed with 4 seasons and fairly good altitude, the ingredients used in cooking Georgian food are always fresh. You don’t even need to label it ‘organic’ just to appear healthy! As an expression of culture, Georgian food never needs to try to impress. Eating is a way of life here. For example, they have a great tradition called Supra, a very important part of the Georgian culture which involves feasting. It is widely practiced here and is a valid excuse to gather family and friends.
Georgia’s gastronomy is enough reason to visit the country itself. I think I need to dedicate at least 3 months to be able to get a grasp of what Georgian food is like. Sure, you will say every country has a rich and interesting food history but the one of Georgia is engineered in an unexplainable way that your brain will always get tackled once you get a bite. Georgian food is a very unique experience that you will never find anywhere else in the world. Only here. So you have to come here!
The world should pay attention to Georgia’s wine
One of the oldest wine regions in the world, Georgia prides itself with the good quality of their wine. When we talk wine, Napa Valley, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and Australia are always on top of the list but seriously, Georgia should be at par with these countries. Although many believe that their wines are the best in the world, Georgia claims this is where the civilization of wine began. Over 7,000 years ago, the people of South Caucasus left grape juice buried all throughout the winter and when they dug it, they discovered a great tasting liquid that is wine. From then on, wine productions have been very big in Georgia and world-class technology has been developed in producing their wine. Georgian wines are literally older and wiser.
Georgia’s lands are bountiful. They are blessed with weather conditions crucial in wine production. Both accumulate big points in judging the quality of wine a country produces and this makes Georgia our favorite! You really have to taste it to believe it!
Wine shops you should visit in Tbilisi
- Tsangala’s Wine Shop & Bar at 2 Ioane Shavteli St, Tbilisi
- Winery Khareba at 1 Vakhtang Gorgasali St., Tbilisi
- Vinotheca Wine Shop at 31 Leselidze St, Tbilisi
One of the most preserved cultures and tradition
Did you know that the Georgian language is one of the oldest in the world? I already forgave myself when I couldn’t get a grasp of the language because it’s not very easy. Even the Georgians get confused with their own writing system.
One thing that interests me the most when visiting a country is music. While I am here, I have gathered a lot of Georgian music and I am loving the results! Georgia is also big on cultural dances that they still practice up to now like the Sukhishvili, a Georgian ballet involving acrobatics, sword fighting and what not. And oh, the costumes are very pretty, too!
The world’s most beautiful churches
Georgia is often mistaken as a Muslim country but let me correct that — it is Orthodox Christian. Hardcore. Religion is taken seriously here. Of course, that is not something odd to me as I am from a country that is sacredly practicing Catholicism. The rules are not new to me. In Georgia, it is highly recommended to follow dress codes when visiting religious places. Respect for their religious traditions should also be maintained.
If you are not a very religious person and just in for the beautiful sights and blissful architecture, Georgia has that too. Churches here date back to years and years of civilization and are well preserved. In Tbilisi, I’ve never seen a church that looks similar. Each of them has their distinct architecture that is surely worth to see and investigate.
The great outdoors
One of the best things that make Instagrammers and travel photographers visit is the breathtaking nature adventures in Georgia. From the fierce villages of Svaneti to the gorgeous waters of Batumi to the west, Georgia is never out of amazing sights!
A culture of hardcore hospitality
You will always find them with a cigarette flickering with the right hand (yes, Georgia is a smoking country) and a glass of wine with the left. They will always offer you food and even if they don’t have much, they will always find a way to make you feel comfortable by offering everything they have. Georgians are very generous and very giving. I have never felt anything like it in the world! They are always here to help ad more often, even if you are not asking a question, you will be forced to because of the consequent checking on “do you need anything?” Once you start asking questions, they can definitely recite a chapter of a guidebook. There is no room for follow-up questions because they always offer everything! You can feel it not just with the people you know but even on the streets — everyone is maximum friendly! I will always be thankful for the people who hosted me in Georgia with an ivy league hospitality. This makes coming back to Georgia so easy with no second thoughts! You will be well taken care of. Georgia will always love you. ♥
Have you been to Georgia?
If you’ve been, can you add more reasons to visit Georgia in the list? I would love to hear from you! Please leave your thoughts in the comment box below!