Georgia has thousands of things to love, but for the sake of the number 18, we give you our top 18.
1. Tbilisi: It one of the most dynamic capital cities in Europe, with a range of places to visit. During its history many cultures have left their mark, creating a mosaic of art building styles.
2. Wine: Though we have long suspected it, science has confirmed Georgia as the cradle of wine. A paper was published with all the details of this nearly 9000 year old culture
3. Wine, part 2: Along with history, the qvevri, the clay vessel Georgians make wine in, is considered intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. Join a wine tour to one of the wine regions.
4. Travel publications: Many end of year travel round ups included Georgia as one of their top places to visit for 2018. If you’re interested come now before Georgia succumbs to the upcoming onslaught of bucket list tourist who will inevitably leave their mark on local culture.
5. Mountains and more mountains: Georgia is tucked between the Greater and lesser Caucasus, meaning people who enjoy mountain activies such as hiking, mountain climbing and skiing are in luck. The Kazbegi and Svaneti regions are open year round and Tusheti is ready for exploration in the late spring and summer. The mountains regions are quite pristine and trails aren’t marked well, so a guide is quite helpful. Get in touch if you want to create a personalised itinerary in the Caucasus.
6. Food: Georgian food is hot right now. Three cookbooks were released last year celebrating this exotic cuisine. Dumplings and cheese bread abound but it’s also fun to explore the food regionally. Georgians use lots of fresh and dried aromatic herbs that create and explosion of flavours. Walnuts are used profusely as well as souring agents. The food goes perfect with local amber wine.
7. Prices: Georgia is very inexpensive for travellers, though prices for moderate hotels tend to be quite high. You can have a three course meal with wine for about 35 GEL (Georgian Lari) which is about $10-12. The exchange rate is very favourable for Europeans and North Americans.
8. Hospitality: Georgians have a saying. “A guest is a gift from god.” You’ll never be treated better than the first time you visit someone’s home. And it’s quite easy to make new friends in Georgia, so an invitation is quite easy to manage.
9. Spas: Tbilisi itself was founded on and is named after its natural hot springs, and the town of Borjomi is an easy day trip. The sulphur baths in Tbilisi are a must and a visit includes a rub down and a scrub.
10. Polyphony: Georgian polyphony is the most beautiful vocal music in the world. Period. It’s also register as Intangible Cultural Heritage with UNESCO.
11. Georgian National Dance: When acrobatica and tradition meet. The National Dance of Georgia is both folk and a feat of physicality. You can understand the history and culture of Georgia through the dance.
12. Ancient churches: Georgia is one of the oldest Christian countries in the world. They adopted the religion as the official religion before the Romans. The majority of Georgians practice Georgian Orthodox rites. There are gorgeous medieval churches atop mountains and hills that seem to defy physics. One of the most breathtaking is Gregeti Church in Kazbegi. Hike the back route for the most dramatic views.
13. Street art in Tbilisi: one of the founding fathers of street art in Tbilisi is Dr. Love. You can find his murals and stencils through the city. They are often a humorous commentary on the state of modern human life.
14. More low cost Airlines flying to Kutaisi and Tbilisi. There are a number of non-stop flights to and from a variety of European cities and through Istanbul that make travel to Georgia easier and cheaper than ever.
15. Marijuana has been decriminalised: That’s doesn’t mean you can buy it on the street or there are coffee houses. It’s a testimony to a culture that is becoming more liberal.
16. Soviet art and architecture: Doted through the countryside and through the cities in the form of murals, bus stops, palaces and huge apartment blocks. All still in use and many buildings have been repurposed for banks or ceremonies.
17. Dumplings: Yes, they are food, but they still deserves their own category. Khinkali are perfect and delicious soup dumplings originating from the mountain areas. Fillings vary but my favorite are made with wild mushrooms. And of course Taste Georgia can arrange a cooking class for you!
18. Georgian language and alphabet: it’s one of thirteen known written alphabets and the script is gorgeous. Lovers of calligraphy and font will go crazy for the letters, and linguists can study the roots of a Non Indo-European language that is unique to the Caucasus and has no relatives
Interested yet? Taste Georgia is Tbilisi based tour operator managed by a small group of experts. We create customised itineraries for our guests. Group and private tours can be arranged. We offer everything from food tours, cooking classes, wine tours and excursions, day trips, multiple day trips in Georgia, hiking and adventure activities in the Caucasus and culture tours. Get in touch or check out our website! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org