GEORGIA TRAVEL TIPS AND USEFUL INFO

Traveller in Signagi town in Georgia

If you’re planning to visit Georgia and its charming capital Tbilisi, there’s a few things you’ll need to know before you go. From food to currency and tipping to WiFi, we have all your questions answered.

What vaccinations do I need for Georgia?

Before travelling to Georgia, it’s best to seek advice about vaccinations from your local health practitioner. As a guide, you should make sure you’re up to date with recommended vaccinations such as Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR), Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio. Hepatitis A is also recommended to travelers. Visit the CDC Traveler’s Health page for more information.

Can I take medication into Georgia?

As of 2014, all medications containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine, opiates or any containing similar constituent components are illegal in Georgia. This includes many over-the-counter medications such as Nurofen that are commonly available elsewhere.

Do not bring any medications containing these components into Georgia, even if you are just in transit. Customs agents will treat this as though you are bringing illegal narcotics into the country and it makes no difference if you have a prescription or doctors note. Do not bring these medications into Georgia under any circumstance. It can have huge consequences not only for yourself but, if travelling on an Overland Adventure, for your tour leaders and local guides as well.

If you have any prescription medications that don’t come under the list above, bring the prescription along and declare these on any customs declaration forms.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Georgia?

The tap water in Georgia is generally considered safe to drink. So rather than buying bottled water, be sure to take a reusable water bottle to save money and help reduce plastic waste.

Khachapuri, traditional georgian dish

What’s the food like in Georgia?

Due to Georgia’s proximity to Russia, many presume the country’s cuisine to be quite similar. However, whilst some gastronomic traits do carry over, Georgian cuisine is a unique affair that can now be found served in restaurants in London and New York.

A meal typically features many hot and cold starters, clay pot dishes and stews. There will also be plenty of bread, cheese and, of course, wine. As the oldest wine-making country in the world, Georgia is famous for its traditional method of fermenting grapes in clay vessels known as qvevri. Georgian people love to treat guests to feasts, or supra, which can last for hours with many toasts and speeches.

Of Georgia’s most famous dishes, Khachapuri is a must-try. Likened to an open cheese pie, this dish consists of bread baked into a boat shape and stuffed with gooey, melting cheese, with an egg yolk and butter on top. Georgian dumplings known as Khinkali are another firm favourite, consisting of dough parcels typically filled with meat and spices. Other dishes include lobio, a humble kidney bean stew served in quaint clay pot, and Georgian yoghurt known as Matsoni.

Safe eating while travelling in Georgia

As with any destination, it’s important to follow basic food safety precautions when travelling in Georgia. Ensure that food has been cooked thoroughly, especially meat and fish, and that fruits and vegetables are washed before eating. Avoid eating anything that looks undercooked or unclean.

Is it standard to tip in Georgia?

Whilst tipping is accepted in Georgian culture, it’s not expected and especially not for bad service. Restaurants often include a 10% service charge and taxi drivers most likely don’t expect a tip at all. If you’d like to tip your tour guide, around 10-15% is considered fair, as is around 1-2 lari for hotel bellmen and around 5 lari per day for hotel chambermaids.

Traditional drinking horns called Kantsi in Georgia

What souvenirs are good to shop for in Georgia?

With plenty of artisan shops in the capital city Tbilisi, you’ll soon find that handmade items are the best souvenirs you can buy in Georgia. Blue and white tablecloths known as supra have been part of the country’s culture for centuries and have designs featuring birds, deer and other figures. Traditional drinking horns called Kantsi are also popular choice, as are textiles and ceramics.

Although not handmade, brightly coloured Khinkali socks are another unique souvenir, featuring a print of traditional Georgian dumplings. You may also wish to take some of Georgia’s famous wine back home. You’ll find wine stored in small clay jugs or hand-painted clay bottles, perfect for fitting in your luggage.

What is the duty-free allowance for Georgia?

The following goods may be imported into Georgia without incurring customs duty:

  • 400 cigarettes or 50 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
  • 4L alcoholic beverages
  • Goods up to the value of GEL500 per 30 calendar days or GEL3,000 if arriving by air, up to 30kg in weight

Prohibited or restricted imports include weapons or explosive materials, narcotics, antiques, art, plants and animals.

What is the currency in Georgia?

The currency in Georgia is the Georgian Lari and, although you may find prices occasionally quoted in US dollars or euros, all goods and services must be paid for in Georgian Lari by law. Credit and debit cards are widely used in the capital city of Tbilisi, with ATM’s found in major towns. However, if you’re planning to visit more rural or remote areas, be sure to take enough cash. Traveller’s cheques aren’t widely accepted.

Check OANDA for latest exchange rates.

What do things cost in Georgia?

Georgia is a surprisingly cheap destination, with many cheap hostels in Tbilisi and other major cities such as Kutaisi and Batumi. Rooms cost around $13, with AirBnb being another popular accommodation choice for around the same cost. Local transport in these cities definitely won’t set your budget back, with the bus and metro costing around $0.20. When it comes to eating, dinner in a restaurant serving traditional food might cost you between $10-15 including a beverage.

What sort of plugs do I need for Georgia and what is the voltage?

In Georgia the standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. European-style two pin plugs are used, however we recommend taking a universal travel adapter.

Is WiFi widely available in Georgia?

Almost all hotels, restaurants and cafes have free WiFi in Georgia’s major cities. Whilst there is free WiFi in central areas of Tbilisi, this can be unreliable and you may wish to purchase a local SIM card with data to be on the safe side.

What time zone is Georgia on?

Georgia is 4 hours ahead of Greenwich Meantime (GMT, with no daylight savings time rules.

See Also

If you’re looking for more information about visiting Georgia, take a read of our other travel resources:

Best Time to Visit – the climate and seasons in Georgia
Best Places to Visit – our pick of Georgia’s top destinations
Tourist Visas - what you need to know to enter Georgia