I am not sure what it is about Georgia that we loved- is it the humble people? Is it the interesting history? Or is it simply the European charm? Whatever it is, it was definitely a treat and we 100% recommend visiting. Here is an informative itinerary with tips that will help you plan, especially for travelers from UAE (Dubai).
Before traveling, make sure you check the visa requirements. If you are a resident of UAE, the visa is free and on arrival but check if the nationality is included.
Weather in Georgia is unpredictable. When we landed, it was sunny and for the next four days, it was raining. Make sure you carry a jacket.
Must have to charge your phone or camera.
Flight and Hotel
We booked a package with SATA (Sharjah Airport Travel Agency) which included, flight, hotel, travel insurance, and transfers.
The agency offers hotels according to your budget (example: 3, 4 or 5 stars). Our hotel was the Orion Hotel. Beds, room, and services (plus a grocery store opposite the hotel) were fabulous however it was a little far from the main tourist attractions, the wifi wouldn’t work properly and breakfast could have been better. If you want an area buzzing with tourist, Ibis Styles can be a great option. If you prefer cool interiors along with Instagram worthy spots, Rooms Hotel is the one. Other than the hotel, we were very happy with SATA services as everything else was great!
**We paid a total of AED 1550 per person for hotel, flight, travel insurance and transfer to the hotel and back to the airport**
The agency offers tours as well but we found them very expensive therefore, booked our tours with a local agency called ‘Holidays in Georgia’. The tours were affordable and very informative. It’s not a spam. They explain everything while on the bus as well as at the attractions and then set you free.
We booked two days of tours with them. The total amount that we paid was 107 Lari (AED 153) per person.
- Day 1
Tip: At the airport, you receive free sims when you buy data which was very useful as we mostly needed to make calls to the hotel for the address as most of the taxi drivers didn’t understand English properly and it’s hard to learn the street names. We bought 7GB data and it was enough for 5 days, especially when the WiFi didn’t work at the hotel.
On day one, we mostly explored around our hotel to check the streets, grocery store, cafes and then had dinner at Prego restaurant.
Tip: everything in Tbilisi opens at 10am and closes at 2am so we didn’t stay at the hotel at all. We were always out exploring or having food adventures. Don’t stay inside, the tourist spots are very safe and the police are present everywhere. Go to Rustaveli street and you will know.
- Day 2
Tip: Before coming to Georgia, we did a fair amount of research and many tourists recommended that we should do the Tbilisi city tour on our own as all the attractions are close and there is no need to book a tour. That was a correct decision because the weather was great and we walked all over the city with ease since almost all the attractions were close to each other and free of charge.
We started walking from Freedom Square, a popular tourist street where you will witness other tourists, Liberty Square (metro station), Galleria mall, parks and endless cafes/restaurants. It was fun to walk around and check out what the city has to offer! We kept walking and came across The Bridge of Peace (a bow-shaped pedestrian bridge, a steel and glass construction illuminated with numerous LEDs), above of the Kura River.
Keep walking towards Rike Park, and you will come across cable car, which will transfer you to Narakli Fortress. During the ride, you witness Mtkvari river, rooftops, and buildings of the Old Town.
The main features of Narikala fortress are:
Stunning views of the city
Mother of Georgia
Instead of taking the cable car, climb down and it leads you to the old district AKA old Tbilisi. Once you enter the streets, you will understand the difference between new and old Tbilisi. I promise you, you will never get tired of walking around in cute little alleys while admiring the architecture and all the little souvenir shops.
Our last and final destination for the day was sulfur bath (Historic bathhouses with pools of hot, sulfur-rich water, with optional private rooms & massage) but it started raining heavily so we had to take a coffee break. Since the rain wouldn’t stop, we took a cab back to our hotel instead of walking. Also, we bought raincoats for 10 Lari (AED 15) from a local store in case if we need it for the next day.
- Day 3
Tip: Book a tour with a local agency. We booked a tour with Holiday in Georgia for Kebzegi region and it cost us 59 Lari (AED 84) each which is way cheaper compared to what we were offered in Dubai.
Firstly, I am glad we booked a tour as we met many other English speaking fellow tourists and it’s a different experience to be with a group. Also, we were blessed with an amazing tour guide, Tete, who kept us involved and entertained.
On this tour, we visited the town of Kezbegi which is truly blessed with natural beauty and we couldn’t appreciate nature anymore. It took us approximately 2 hours to reach. Mountains, farm, farm animals, rivers and the weather being absolutely unpredictable. Experienced heavy and slow rain situations, hailstones, crazy winds and plenty of clouds above my head! I loved it all!
- Day 4
We again booked a tour with holidays in Georgia and it cost us 49 Lari (AED 70) per person.
Another day, another tour but a totally different experience because it was all about a beautiful city called Mtskheta and it’s treasures- religion, markets, food, and cave city. This is not too far from Tbilisi, it took us 30 mins to reach Mtskheta but for the cave city of Uplistsikhe, it took us more than an hour.
Entrance fees for the Cave town is 7 Lari (AED 10) and for the Stalin museum is 15 Lari ( AED 21).
Tip: You can avail student discount with a valid student ID (1 Lari for cave town and 10 Lari for the museum).
Cave city in Uplistsikhe
- Day 5
It was our last day and we had, a few hours left in the city so we decided to ditch the hotel breakfast and go to a well-known eating spot, Stamba. It was located in the beautiful Rooms Hotel.
As for the money, it cost us approximately AED 2250 (612 dollars) per person for the whole trip (Isn’t that shocking?)
It’s true, you learn so much when you travel. We learned from the locals. Their dressing style is simple but they are generous and ready to help with patience. Communicated with us without asking about our religion/nationality. We literally had people chatting with us when they were curious about our language, Urdu.
I finally understood the meaning of ‘I left my heart‘. With that being said, I left my heart in Georgia.