5 Reasons To Visit Georgia
It will come as no surprise to you that, here at The Vino Market, we love Georgia!. In fact we love all of the Caucasus countries, not least because of the incredible wine they produce, but because they are simply stunning places to visit. Their rich cultural heritage, coupled with a diverse climate, offer those travelling there some of the most unique experiences imaginable.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a history buff, a nature lover or just a connoisseur of delicious food and drink, then Georgia has something for you. But don’t just take our word for it. If you want to go and see for yourself, then there are a multitude of reasons why you could, so we’ve picked the 5 best reasons that you should!
1. The Varied Climate
Georgia sits in the sweet spot between Europe and Asia, where it spent centuries quietly absorbing influences from both. As such, it benefits from a wide range of climates that will have something for everyone, from sub-tropical valleys to mountain ranges. So whether you like hiking or skiing, they’ve got you covered with stunning things to see, including lakes, canyons and waterfalls. Within a relatively small country, you can easily go from one extreme to the other and take in all of the breath-taking scenery in between.
2. The Meeting of the Old and New
Georgia’s reputation as a dark, depressing place, reminiscent of the 1980s Cold War, may still be common, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course it has remnants of this bygone era, including a museum devoted to Joseph Stalin, but it also has its fair share of stunning modern architecture.
In the old town of Tbilisi, beautifully decorated Georgian houses sit harmoniously with soviet-style offices. If you look across the city however, you’ll also see epic statues (including one of the mother of Georgia, Kartlis Deda; a symbol of friendship and hospitality), side-by-side with modern bridges and gleaming offices of steel and glass, reaching high into the sky.
If you have a head for heights, Georgia is also home to the two highest villages in Europe. Ushguli, in the Svaneti region stands 2200 meters above sea level and Bochorna in Kakheti is even higher at 2345 metres.
3. The People of Georgia
There’s no getting away from the fact that Georgia used to be a part of the former Soviet Union. That may lead you to make certain assumptions about the country and the people. Let’s put that to bed right now. The Georgian people are incredibly warm, welcoming and hospitable. Georgia is known as the hospitable nation. They believe that ‘a guest is sent from God’, so are keen to welcome people into their homes, as they would with their own family.
If it happens to you, don’t be surprised to be offered food and drink every couple of minutes. They are also a proud nation and are very keen to show you around their country and tell you about their ancient culture and traditions. Not speaking the same language probably won’t stop them!
4. Great If You’re on a Budget
It’s true that, as a tourist destination, Georgia is becoming more and more popular every year, but it’s still relatively cheap to visit. Many of the cultural and historical attractions are free to visit and even the museums are only a couple of pounds for entry. Like anywhere in the world, if you’re eating out then there are places that are very cheap and very expensive. Tbilisi, the capital, and major cities like Batumi and Kutaisi are obviously going to be more costly, but it’s definitely possible to find little cafes, restaurants and bistros off the beaten track that offer incredible food at a fraction of the cost.
5. Food and Drink!
We’d be remiss not to include food and drink somewhere in this list right? So last, but not least, is Georgia’s love of delicious food and incredible wines. Just like their geographical diversity, their range of food has something for everyone which has embraced influences from Turkey, Persia and Greece. Their national dish is called Khinkali, a kind of dumpling with some broth on the inside, usually filled with meat, cheese or mushrooms. Whilst a lot of the food is quite heavy, it’s no less delicious. Local delicacies like Khachapuri (a pizza-like cheese pie), Ojakhuri (a family meal of steamed pork, onions and potatoes) both sit very well on any Georgian dinner table. One thing you have to try whilst you’re there is Baje, a walnut sauce that is simply divine.
As for wine, you won’t be disappointed. They have over 500 different varieties of grape, and wine is deeply embedded within Georgian culture. The traditional way to make wine is with a Qvevri (we wrote a blog all about it here), which is a large earthenware pot which is buried deep underground to give their wine a fantastically robust flavour. If you want to saviour the widest range of wine to taste, you should head for Kakheti, but you won’t be disappointed anywhere you go. Many of the vineyards hold tours and tasting events for you to sample their wine.
These are just our 5 reasons to visit Georgia, but there are so many more. If you’re going we’d love to know how it went and, if you found any wine you like, we’d love to know that too!