Georgia has revealed more details of the country’s new visa regulations and announced which countries do not need a visa to enter Georgia and stay here for 360 days. Under the new regulations, citizens from 94 countries can enter Georgia and stay here a maximum of 360 days, without a visa requirement.
Tbilisi International Airport has a contemporary and functional design. It is designed to provide the optimum flow of both passengers and luggage from the parking lot to the planes, with a 25,000 m2 total usable area. There is scope for future expansions without interrupting terminal operations. It has high-tech contemporary systems, keeping passenger convenience and efficiency of the terminal operations in mind, throughout functional spaces organized in an elegant manner. In June 2016, due to an increase in passenger demand, started construction of a new arrivals terminal. For more information please visit the official website: http://www.tbilisiairport.com
Batumi International Airport is an airport located 2 km south of Batumi, a city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. The airport is 20 km northeast of Hopa, Turkey, and serves as a domestic and international airport for Georgia and northeastern Turkey. Batumi is one of three international airports in operation in Georgia. The new airport terminal has been in operation since 26 May 2007. With a total area of 4,256 square metres, it is capable of handling 600,000 passengers a year. For more information please visit the official website: http:// www.batumiairport.com
Kutaisi International Airport is an airport located 14 km west of Kutaisi, the third largest city in Georgia and capital of the western region of Imereti. The airport was closed for renovation in November 2011. Its reopening ceremony was held on 27 September 2012. For preparation works for the commissioning of the airport and training of staff, the French company Vinci Airports was contracted. The priority of Kutaisi airport is to attract low tariff airlines. For 2016 the operator reported 487,939 passengers. For more information please visit the official website: http:// www. kutaisiairport.ge
Georgia is strategically located as a country connecting Europe and Asia, and the active participation of international organisations in the work gives the country the opportunity to develop and strengthen its status as a transit state. Georgia has a motorway system, that is currently under development.
To come in Georgia by car is possible from Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia. As travelers move through the Eurasian continent by car , they often stay on the historical Silk Road. Drivers to move in Georgia need a valid driving license, insurance and a document certifying the ownership of the car. At the entrance to Georgia by car, tourists does not bear any additional costs, although, at the border it is necessary to fill the relevant documents.
Driving is on the right. The speed limit is 60 km/h in towns and cities. In other areas it’s 80 km/h unless indicated.There is a zero tolerance policy towards drink driving.It is compulsory to wear seat belts in Georgia. Children under 7 years of age must sit in child safety seats.
You can arrive to Georgia by bus from Russia, Greece, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Currently available entrance points:
Russia – Larsi (North-East Georgia). Distance to Tbilisi – 153 Km. suggested route: Larsi-Stephantsminda-Gudauri-Tbilisi Azerbaijan -Lagodekhi / Tsodna (Eastern Georgia) Distance to Tbilisi – 170 km (Baku – Tbilisi 600 km / 9-10 hrs driving).
Red Bridge (South – East Georgia) Distance to Tbilisi – 70 km (Baku – Tbilisi 550 km/ 8-9 hrs driving)
From Baku, Azerbaijan, buses leave from 7:30 to 15:00, and are on the journey to 8 to 10 hours.
Armenia – Sadakhlo (South- East Georgia). Distance to Tbilisi – 90 km( Yerevan -Tbilisi 290 km/ app. 6-7 hrs driving).
Bavra (Southern Georgia) Distance to Tbilisi – 330 km (Yerevan -Tbilisi 480 km/ 7-8 hrs driving)
It takes 6-7 hours to come to Georgia from Armenia ( buses goes from Yerevan, Vanadzor, Stepanavan, Gyumri, Artek, and Spitak)
Turkey – Sarpi (West Georgia/Black Sea coast). (Sarpi -Tbilisi 415 km / app. 6-7 hrs driving)
Vale (South West Georgia) (Vale -Tbilisi 305 km/ app. 4-5 hrs driving)
From Turkey daily buses goes from Istanbul (about 34 hours for the road) and Trabzon (about 12 hours). Athens buses leave several times a week. Schedule and prices should be clarified at the local stations. International bus station is located in Ortachala, Tbilisi.
You can come to Georgia by train from Azerbaijan and Armenia, trains arrive in Tbilisi railway station, to the station square.
The train links with Russia are severed.
Azerbaijan – There is an overnight train connecting Tbilisi and Baku. Heading out of Azerbaijan departs nightly from Baku at 20:00. The time of the trip varies considerably based on how long is spent at the border . Trains go daily, ticket price of it is about 40-50 dollars.
Armenia – Also, there is service from Yerevan Armenia. There is an overnight train once every other day to Tbilis. The train links with Turkey and Azerbaijan are severed.
Turkey – Construction of railroad linking the Turkish town of Kars to Baku, Azerbaijan-including both a new line and modernization of existing lines-is underway and will be finished sometime between 2010–2012 This will establish a direct link from Tbilisi to image istanbul and farther to Europe as well as a faster, more comfortable ride into Azerbaijan.To obtain more information, visit the web pages www.railway.ge
You can come to Georgia by ferry across the Black Sea to Batumi and Poti ports. There regularly comes boats with passengers. Marine transportation is between Batumi from Sochi (russia).
Ukrainian ports of Odessa and Illichivsk work with Poti and Batumi. The trip can be made every Tuesday.
There are boat services to Batumi and Poti from Istanbul. Be also aware that Georgian port of Sukhumi is closed for any cargo or passenger boats apart from those with humanitarian purposes. All vessels going to Sukhumi must undergo border check with Georgian coast guard in the nearby port of Poti. For more information visit www.batumiport.co and www.potiseaport.com.
Georgian culture and people
Everything in Georgia speaks about its greatness and cultural wealth of ancient people. Numerous monuments – cult structures of the early Christianity, ancient churches and monasteries hiding in the Caucasian Mountains are silent witnesses to its rich history. Over the last years the country has seen a major transformation and this can be seen in the difference between older and younger generations. Generally speaking, older generations don’t speak English and almost everyone speaks Russian as a second language. The younger generations are very sensible and most of them know English. About 85% of Georgians are Christians and there are dozens of beautiful churches in Tbilisi. However, there are also people of many different faiths living in Tbilisi, Synagogues and mosques can been seen literally side by side.
A country’s customs are formed over many years and passed down from generation to generation. There is one custom you really should know about, that is the concept of hospitality that is shared among all Georgians. The people of Georgia really are very hospitable, they even have a saying that goes; “guests are gifts from God”. Georgians are quick to trust others and will often host complete strangers at home with their family members and offer them food to eat and wine to drink.
Behaving in public
To be honest it’s not difficult to find a common language with Georgian people. Once they know each other well they will become more direct in their communications and will be happy to discuss many different topics. If you try to learn a few Georgian words or phrases you will definitely feel more confident and local people will respect you for making an effort to learn their language.
Georgians, like other nationalities, have some ‘rules’ that govern meeting people in public and these are different depending on whether you’re meeting a man or a woman. Men usually shake hands and close friends and relatives will also kiss and hug to express their deep respect and love for one another. In most cases women kiss each other on the cheeks but if they are meeting for the very first time they usually nod their heads and shake hands. When men and women meet they usually shake hands and the man will often wait for the woman to extend her hand first.
What about an eye contact
You might think that making eye contact can be rude but, by all means, Georgians tend to make eye contact with everyone. During conversation people often stand very close to one another. They believe that if you are a genuine and honest person eye contact is an important requirement as it shows that you aren’t pretending. It also shows your respect and trust towards the person you are speaking to.
If you don’t know yet, feasts in Georgia are called “Supra”. During feasts women usually drink less and generally they don’t smoke in public but, of course, this isn’t true for everybody. If you are ever in this situation you should follow some basic guidelines. Be ready! There tends to be a great deal of pressure to drink. Toasts are very important and every Georgian knows the order in which these toasts usually come. The head, or host, of the Supra is called the ‘Tamada’. They usually force everyone to drink in a series of toasts until the end of the evening. This is a traditional Georgian activity and the tradition has been passed down over many generations.
Some advice about giving presents
Georgians like to receive presents but at the same time they are very modest when it comes to accepting gifts from others. Be sure not to fall into an awkward situation and give overly expensive gifts. A box of chocolates or a bottle of wine is an acceptable gift in almost any situation. Indeed, if your Georgian friend invites you to their home you should take a good bottle of wine with you. They will be very grateful as it is a sign of respect.
Clothes and fashion
You can see Georgians in the streets dressed in dark colors. Georgians don’t usually like colorful clothes, they prefer to dress in dark colors and they usually wear black. Men wear jeans. If they go to a meeting they will also wear a jacket and tie. Their shoes are always cleaned and looked after. People will most likely look down on you and judge you if your shoes are old and dirty.
Women try to follow fashionable trends and dress in designer clothes. Similar to men women often dress in dark colors. Women like to look attractive and attract the attention of men. You will rarely see an unkempt person on the streets . Adults have their own, unique fashion sense. They don’t like to imitate others. They prefer to create something unique and you can easily guess how they feel on any given day because they often dress according to their mood.
Don’t hesitate to ask
Hospitality is an integral part of Georgian culture. With a smile on your face and the magic word “gamarjoba” (hello) you can get help anytime. Georgians love tourists, so don’t be afraid to ask if there is anything you need. Even if there is a language barrier, if you use gestures and body language people will try to help, or call someone who is fluent in your language to help you.