Why visit Georgia? Is it worth going? The clear and simple answer to this question is a resounding YES! In our opinion, a visit to the former Soviet republic of Georgia should be on everyone’s wish list!
With diverse architecture, stunning mountain scenery and the ancient wine-growing region of Kakheti, Georgia is a country that you need to explore and discover. Below we take a look at our top 6 reasons to visit Georgia!
1. Delicious Food and Wine
Georgian food is an exciting fusion between Persian and Mediterranean cuisine, representing the country’s geographical location on the cusp of both regions. Its delicious Mediterranean style fare regularly involves aubergines, nuts, yoghurts, fish and cheese. We must not forget Khachapuri bread – a cheesy bread which accompanies just about every meal; an unmissable highlight of any trip to Georgia. Find out more about Georgia’s cuisine.
In addition to its tasty cuisine, Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world, commonly thought to be the birthplace of wine. So much so that the ancient traditional winemaking method using clay jars, called Kvevri, has been added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Read more about Georgian wine History.
2. Mountain Scenery
The Caucasus mountain range runs between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, acting as a northern barrier between Georgia and Russia. Its stunning natural beauty is epitomised by picture-perfect Mount Kazbegi (5047m), images of which are often used to represent the region. The Caucasus mountains are so remote and impenetrable that rumour has it Alexander the Great used them as a huge natural prison for his unruly enemies.
Nowadays the mountains are dominated by stunning snow-capped glaciers, crystal clear rivers, and lakes and offer the chance to spot bears, eagles, and wolves. The Caucasus is an ideal location for walking and trekking, particularly in spring and summer when wildflowers are out in abundance.
There are also some great spots for white water rafting, as well as the added bonus of seeing very few other tourists. While walking in the mountains your only fellow humans may be the semi-nomadic people, who take their cattle up to the high pastures during the warmer months.
The history of Georgia alone makes it worth visiting. This country dates back to biblical times and was one of the main routes of the old Silk Road, straddling Europe and Asia. Its location between Christian Europe and Islamic Asia has led to a long chain of invaders. All of whom have left their mark on Georgia’s culture and heritage. From Arabs, Turks and Crusader Knights to Russians, Cossacks, Tatars and Mongols. Even Georgia’s history of winemaking dates back 8,000 years!
4. Extraordinary Sights
Georgia has a huge array of impressive sights for a small country of its size, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some of our must-see highlights include:
- Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in the historic town of Mtskheta (Georgia’s ancient capital), under which is said to be housed part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
- The cave towns of Uplistsikhe and Vardzia, both of which were created to protect Christian locals from being persecuted by warlike tribes.
- Ananuri castle complex on the Aragvi River, which was the scene of multiple battles. The fortifications consist of two castles joined together with two churches in the complex.
- Iconic Gergeti Trinity church located on top of a mountain in the Kazbegi region. A two hour walk through valleys and forests takes you up to the church behind which stands the imperious form of Mt Kazbegi.
- The surreal Stalin Museum in Gori. Retaining Soviet-era characteristics, the museum is dedicated to the life of the former leader of the Soviet Union and you can also visit his house and personal railway carriage.
- David Gareja Monastery on the Azerbaijan border is an amazing complex carved into the hillside, consisting of hundreds of cells, chapels and living quarters.
The beautiful old town of Tbilisi is home to narrow cobbled streets and pretty squares, along with the sulphur bathhouses after which the city is named (Tbilisi means ‘warm’). There is no shortage of things to keep visitors busy, with boutique hotels, great restaurants, the state opera house and the national museum to explore, as well as some great nightlife.
Modern architecture has also taken up residence, including a new bridge over the Mtkvari River – not necessarily to everyone’s taste! It’s now easier than ever to reach Tbilisi with new direct flights from London to the capital operated by Georgian Airways.
6. Georgian Hospitality
The last reason why Georgia is worth visiting (but by no means the least) is what Georgia is probably most famous. Its wonderful hospitality and toasting mentality. The Georgians even have an ancient proverb that “Every guest is God-sent”. Any visitor to Georgia is guaranteed to be invited into the homes of locals, where they will make friends for life.
Now that we've convinced you that Georgia is unquestionably worth a visit, it's time to book a visit.