10 reasons to love Georgia
by Marion Smith
10 Reasons to love Georgia
The views of the Causicaus mountains must be the most beautiful I have ever seen. I knew this was going to be a holiday dreams are made of. From Batumi to Kustasi to Mestia to the pumping pulse of the capital of Tiblisi, I can say I loved every village, town and city that I saw. It may be a small country but the people have a heart twice the size, they are warm, friendly and kind people. Georgia is not only beautiful in summer with brooks and meadows but also in winter. With amazing ski resorts and villages set in post card perfect settings, the snow- laden trees and pristine alpine slopes are enough to make you want to return again and again. so Check out all 10 reasons to love Georgia.
So if you are looking for some adventure at a fraction of the price hop into a creaky minibus and crawl along the breath taking mountain roads, enjoying the journey as much as the destination.
* Visit the Sheraton Hotel in Batumi – even if it’s just for a walk around the lobby and adjoining casino, go up to the 20th floor, and take in one of the best views in all of Batumi while sipping on cocktails and watching the sunset over the black sea.
* Take a photo, or lets say a “ selfie “ at the Alphabet Tower on Batumi Boulevard. This is the main sea side city , with its electric atmosphere from gambling to the modern architecture you can be forgiven for thinking you are in Vegas by the sea
* Grab a bite at the upside down restaurant , designed by a 24 year old and built like the White House , 200m from the Colosseum Hotel. The location is great, on the Boulevard and looking out onto the Black sea. Even if you only go to see the upside down toilets make sure you instagram the moment.
* Drink Georgian wine as often as possible, with over 500 varieties of grapes and the heritage of wine making that dates back over 8 thousand years you cant pass on one of the oldest Georgian traditions. Get addicted to the local sweet made from wine juice and take as many photos as your phones memory can hold. This country is truly beautiful.
* Eat the calorie induced Khachapuri, a cheesy bread of multiple varieties and khinkali, huge broth filled dumplings with meat, cheese and mushrooms.
* Take one of the new trains acquired by the Georgian Railway from Batumi to Tiblisi. First class has unlimited wifi, power points and very comfy chairs. If you love train travel then this route is a must as it winds through the country side.
* The adventure seeker cant leave Georgia without going to Ushguli in Svaneti region. The highest inhabited European village, 45km from the town of Mestia, this is a slice of medieval heaven. A 9km hike in summer time takes you to a glacier for the energetic crowd. Watch towers dot the horizon and are the centre of many heart warming folk tales around the fire.
* The hop on hop off Bus in Tiblisi is good way to see the capital city. But not to be missed is the Holy Trinity Cathedral sitting up on a mountain over looking Peace Bridge, the third tallest Eastern Orthodox Cathedral in the world. Tiblisi is the heart of the country for the young crowd with parties that go on until the early hours.
* Get your dancing shoes on, with no less than 16 different styles of Georgian folk dancing you can’t leave Georgia without having experienced at least one of these. Different dances originate in different parts of Georgia, the Partsa comes from Guria and is characterised by its fast pace, rhythm, festive mood and colourfulness. This dance mesmerises the audience with not only speed and gracefulness but also creates a desire to party. Costumes add to authenticity of the show.
* Bagrati Cathedral stands proudly, high on the hills above Kutaisi. It is a magnificent 11th century Cathedral, with its floor being laid in 1003. With stunning views of the old city a slow amble up the steep cobbled streets takes you back in time as you wonder what it was like in when kings and Queens ruled these beautiful surroundings.
Both Turkish airlines and Qatar have flights to Tbilisi. The easiest is Turkish airlines. The Qatar flight goes via Baku in Azerbaijan ( but you don’t disembark it is just a quick stop ) Currently both flights are around R10 000 taxes included, this can be cheaper depending on dates.
South African passport holders receive a visa on arrival in Georgia, free of charge. The tourist visa is valid for 365 days.
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