Georgia is a country in Asia according to ethnicityology. In the past, privileged Soviet citizens in particular used to vacation in Georgia, and it’s easy to see why: The country has breathtaking scenery, a mild climate and a rich flora and fauna. Stone houses with gardens in which wild grapes grow and winding streets give the capital Tbilisi a Mediterranean flair. Sokhumi, the capital of Abkhazia in the far northwest of Georgia, was a relaxing vacation spot until the political unrest of the 1990s. The port city was popular for its palm and eucalyptus-lined beaches, cafés and cosmopolitan population. Although the situation has calmed down but the urban population has become much more ethnically homogeneous. Georgia gained its independence from the former Soviet Union after a referendum in 1991. Today, Georgia is on the one hand on the move and is increasingly approaching the values of the western world. On the other hand, Georgia is stuck in many ways in times long past. The majority of Georgians are sticking to traditional social structures. The return to the orthodox religion is also a widely observed phenomenon in this Eurasian state. In addition, in many places time seems to have stood still more than a hundred years ago, which is not least due to poverty. Trouble spots continue to be Abkhazia, which is quite isolated from the rest of the country, South Ossetia in the south and the Pankisi Valley in the Caucasus. Georgia declared its independence once before in 1918, at that time from the Russian Empire. Georgians celebrated the centenary of this declaration of independence in 2018.
Arriving by plane
The national airline Georgian Airways (A9) offers non-stop flights twice a week from Berlin-Schoenefeld and from Vienna to Tbilisi. Lufthansa (LH) flies non-stop from Munich to Tbilisi several times a week and offers feeder flights to Munich from Frankfurt/M. and Zurich. Ukraine International Airlines (PS) offers connections from Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt am Main, Vienna and Zurich via Kyiv to Tbilisi, among others. Wizz Air (W6) flies to Kutaisi from Berlin-Schoenefeld, Dortmund, Hamburg, Frankfurt-Hahn, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Cologne, Memmingen and Nuremberg.
Berlin – Tbilisi: 3 hours 30 minutes (non-stop); Munich – Tbilisi: 3 hours 55 minutes (non-stop); Frankfurt/M. – Tbilisi: 5 hrs 20 mins; Vienna – Tbilisi: 3 hours 20 minutes (non-stop); Zurich – Tbilisi: 5 hrs 30 mins
Arrival by car
Entry into Georgia by land from the Russian Federation is only possible for foreigners via the Dariali border crossing, where there are often longer waiting times. Entry by car is also possible from Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Long-distance buses: There are bus connections from Germany via Istanbul to Kutaisi and Tbilisi, and from Vienna and Zurich to Warsaw and Moscow to Tbilisi (journey times between 2 and 3 days). Tolls: There are no toll roads in Georgia. Documents: A driving license issued in the EU is recognized in Georgia; otherwise the international driver’s license must also be carried.
Arrival by train
Getting to Georgia by train from Germany, Austria and Switzerland via Budapest (Hungary), Bucharest (Romania), Istanbul and Ankara (Turkey) is only possible with a detour via the Russian Federation, since the Turkish train network is not connected to the Georgian one connected is. It is quicker to take the bus to Georgia from Istanbul, Ankara or Kars (Turkey).
Arrival by ship
The most important ports are Batumi and Poti. Cruise ships also dock in Batumi. Batumi and Poti have international ferry connections to other Black Sea ports (Odessa, Varna, Sochi, Trabzon and Istanbul).
Cruise operators such as Phoenix and Azamara also call at Batumi on their cruises departing from Greek and Italian ports.
UKR Ferry connects Batumi with Chornomorsk (Ukraine). PB Management ferries operate between Batumi and Burgas (Bulgaria). Navibulgar commutes between Poti and Varna (Bulgaria).
Traveling by plane
The national airline Georgian Airways connects Tbilisi with Batumi. Serviceair operates regular domestic flights to Ambrolauri and Mestia, and between Kutaisi and Mestia from Natakhtari Airport, 30 km from Tbilisi; and Serviceair’s helicopter flight taxi service connects the country’s cities.
Traveling by car/bus
The road network has a total length of around 20,000 km. Well-developed highways lead from Tbilisi to the borders of the Russian Federation, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as to the Black Sea coast. Tolls: There are no toll roads in Georgia. Gas stations are sufficiently available.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
Condition of the roads
The main roads have been renovated and are easily accessible by car or minibus. The tourist areas in particular can be reached on well-developed roads. However, much of the road network is unpaved and often in poor condition.
Rental cars are available at the airports and in the cities; even with a driver. The minimum age for drivers is 21 years.
Taxis can be ordered by phone or hailed on the street. Taxis are everywhere in cities and at the airport. The fare should be agreed in advance. For safety reasons, it is advisable to use the official red taxis and not to share them with strangers.
Buses of widely varying conditions serve numerous localities regularly. The blue buses, which even offer USB ports for passengers, are in very good condition. Mashrutkas (minibuses) also connect the country’s smaller towns.
Traffic regulations: – Alcohol limit: 0.0 ‰. – Obligation to carry a fire extinguisher. – Children must be transported in child seats up to the age of 4 and in the back seat up to the age of 12. Speed limits: – urban: 30-60 km/h; – extra-urban: 80-100 km/h.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; in the event of damage to the vehicle: Tel. +49 (0)89 22 22 22, in the event of illness: +49 (0)89 76 76 76. In the event of breakdowns or accidents with the rental car, the car rental company should be contacted first. The ADAC partner club in Georgia is the Georgian National Automobile Federation (GNAF) in Tbilisi, tel. +995 577 703 307.
A driving license issued in the EU is recognized in Georgia; otherwise the international driver’s license must also be carried. In addition to the insurance policy of the home country, a Georgian liability insurance is mandatory.
Traveling in the city
Tbilisi has a small metro network; Buses and trolleybuses complement the local transport system. Buses can be stopped with a hand signal. Taxis are also available.
Locally on the way by train
The national railway company Sakartwelos Rkinigsa operates the Georgian rail network of approx. 1,600 km. From Tbilisi there are connections to Poti and Batumi on the Black Sea, as well as to the Azerbaijani border in the east. When driving in the country, precautions against theft are in order. All trains require reservations.