Georgia

Useful info

Money
The official currency is the Lari (GEL), which is divided into 100 tetri. Cash is the preferred method of payment in Georgia but major credit cards are accepted in established restaurants, hotels and shops in Tbilisi. Euros, Rubles or US Dollars can be exchanged at any of the widespread bureau de change, but other currencies should be changed at the bank. Traveler’s cheques in Euros or US Dollars are recommended and ATM machines can be found in the major cities. Read more >

Tipping
Tipping is not necessary but appreciated. For restaurants, cafés or taxis, the bill is usually rounded up to the nearest 10 Lari.

Weather
The best times to visit Georgia are in May, June and September, when it is warm and sunny but not overly hot. July and particularly August are uncomfortably humid in many parts, and temperatures regularly reach 40°C. The Likhi mountain range divides the country into western and eastern halves, shielding the eastern part of the country from the influence of the Black Sea, creating a continental climate. Here, the average temperature in summer is 20 - 24°C and 2 - 4°C in winter. The western part of the country experiences a humid sub-tropical climate and in summer the average temperature is 22°C and 5°C in winter.
Georgia can be very hot in July and August.

What to Pack
Given the risk of power cuts, it’s sensible to bring a flashlight. In addition, it’s wise to have some toilet paper and your own soap or shower gel. A sheet sleeping bag may be a comfort in some hotels. You should also consider bringing presents for people you stay with.

What to Wear
Depending on what time of year you visit Georgia, shorts and a t-shirt will generally carry you through your entire trip. During the late fall and winter months, pack your coat and sweater but there’s a chance you may not need it. Whether your trip for business or pleasure, our friendly southern demeanor means casual is the way to go.

Health
Preventative health measures should be taken for malaria; there is no risk in Tbilisi, but visitors to the southeastern areas should take chloroquine before travel. Medical care in Georgia is limited, especially outside Tbilisi. Many doctors and hospitals will expect payment in cash, regardless of whether you have travel health insurance or not.
You are advised to be up to date with vaccinations against tetanus, diphtheria and polio. You should also be covered for hepatitis A and possibly typhoid. For trips over four weeks you would also be advised to have a course of hepatitis B and rabies injections.

Security & Safety
For safety in Georgia, travel to the separatist regions of South Ossetia, Abkhazia and the upper Kodori Valley is not advised at present. These regions have sporadic clashes with the national government. Another area of concern is Pankisi Gorge, where national armed forces have occasionally conducted operations against suspected international terrorists, Chechen fighters and criminals who have taken refuge in the area. Robbery in Georgia has increased, so travelers should not carry large amounts of cash or flaunt their wealth. Walking alone in quiet areas at night is also not safe.

Food & Drink
Georgian cuisine uses familiar products but due to varying proportions of its obligatory ingredients such as walnut, aromatic herbs, garlic, vinegar, red pepper, pomegranate grains, barberries and other spices, combined with the traditional secrets of the chef ‘s art, the common products do acquire a special taste and aroma, which make Georgian cuisine very popular and unique.
Georgian national cuisine is notable for an abundance of all possible kinds of meat, fish and vegetable hors d’oeuvres, various sorts of cheese, pickles and pungent seasonings, the only ones of their kind.
The national beer is Kazbegi. Vodka is a common drink in Georgia, but far less than in Russia.

Public Holidays
*  1 January – New Year`s Day
*  7 January – Christmas
*  19 January – Epiphany
*  3 March – Mother`s Day
*  8 March – International Women`s Day
*  9 April – Rememberance Day
*  April – Easter Sunday and Monday, falling between 4 and 27 April until 2012
*  26 May – Independence Day
*  28 August- Assumption of the Virgin
*  14 October – Sveti-tskhovloba – Mitskheta town festival
*  23 November – ST George`s Day