Georgia is a beautiful country in the Caucasus region waiting to be discovered by millions more of international travelers. The country is one huge playground paradise for botanists, bird watchers, hikers, mountain climbers, nature lovers, archeologists, wildlife advocates, and basically anyone who loves to see breathtaking sites, meet friendly people or be immersed in a unique local culture. Tbilisi, the capital city, is connected by plane and rail to the country’s major tourist destinations, and therefore getting around Georgia is convenient and very scenic.
Getting around Georgia by plane begins in Tbilisi’s domestic airport. Airzena Georgian Airlines, the national carrier, flies to the cities of Senaki, Kutaisi, and Batumi regularly. Senaki is a town in western Georgia that is primarily known to for its military history and the Senaki State Theater. It is about 230 kilometers away from the capital city.
Kutaisi, on the other hand, is the second largest and most important city in Georgia. It is known for two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery, and a spectacular mountaintop view of the city and river below. Other attractions are the Palace-itadel, Motsameta Monastery, History Museum, Puppet Theater, and the local market area.
The third city is Batumi, the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara in western Georgia. It is one of the liveliest and hippest cities in the Caucasus region. International artists often come here for concerts and to party by the beach. The most frequented sites are the Batumi Seaside Boulevard, a mile-long green esplanade along the seashore; Mitrala National Park, which covers 16,000 hectares of forests and shrubs that are teeming with a well-preserved ecosystem; and a number of historical monuments, which include the Gonio-Apsaros Fortress.
The tourist cities of Batumi and Kutaisi are also accessible by bus or train. The Trans Caucasian Railway runs along the coastline, taking passengers to every important city in the country, except for the impassable north and northwestern areas due to political unrest in the region of Abkhazia.
Meanwhile, when getting around Georgia on land, know that city buses do not go very far from the capital city. Smaller buses or mini-buses are called “marshrutkas”. They follow fixed routes. Getting a taxi is the fastest way to get around. It is safe, since the city is used to getting so many foreign tourists, but some cab drivers do have a tendency to ask more than the actual fare.
Sadly, taxis and buses can’t reach the mountains with which the country is widely known for. A good number of international tourists come to Georgia to visit the remote mountain regions of Mount Kazbeg, Dusheti and Khevsureti, among others. The only way to enjoy mountain travel is by hitchhiking, on a rented jeep or with a tour company. There are several companies offering adventure tour and cultural tour packages.
Finally, getting around Georgia by boat involves only the ports of Batumi and Poti. However, both port cities are several hundred kilometers away from the capital city. The best and fastest ways of getting around Georgia are still by air and land.