Georgia Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Georgia
How safe is Georgia?
Threat level: Low-Medium
The current travel safety advice for Georgia is to remain cautious within tourist districts and border areas, this is due to the higher risk of crime.
Georgia is becoming more and more popular with backpackers, as Georgia is seen as a real undiscovered gem; the Caucasus Mountains with their snow-capped peaks, mountain passes, high pastures and pristine forests. Plus the country has a well-developed etiquette to toasting with vodka that many visitors find amusing.
The terror threat in Georgia is at a medium level and the crime rate is quite high in certain areas. Georgia is famous as the birthplace of Joseph Stalin and the 2003 "Rose Revolution" that saw the country change dramatically. Georgia witnessed an end of the Soviet era of leadership and a move towards a Western democracy.
Some remnants of the uprising remain today, including some unexploded ordnance where fighting took place in August 2008, and land mines in some areas of the Georgia and Russia border.
In areas such as Tbilisi, take care when visiting tourist attractions like Vake, as there has been a recent increase in theft and pick pocketing. Crime targeting foreigners is not uncommon, but basic security precautions like avoiding carrying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive jewellery on display, keeping a low affluence profile will reduce risk significantly.
Power cuts are common in places like Georgia, although this problem has improved slightly in recent years. These power cuts can present prime opportunities for muggers and thieves alike, as people are much more vulnerable.
Outside of the capital of Tbilisi, many of the cities have been slow to develop and still have the "Soviet era" feel about them. Please be respectful of local customs and traditions, it may be best to avoid political discussions when in such surrounding areas, as tensions may still be felt by communities.
Political demonstrations are common in Georgia and typically take place in Tbilisi, these can become violent spontaneously. Please avoid such public gatherings and make your way to a safe area in such circumstances.
Kidnappings have occurred in Abkhazia, South Ossetia area bordering Russia. As such, please avoid travelling alone and take safety precautions and be aware of your surroundings.
Although the dress code in main cities such as Tbilisi are relaxed, rural areas are more reserved and retain conservative attitudes compared to other Western countries. You should dress appropriately and behave modestly in these areas.
Georgia's International Relations
Georgia has quite a turbulent relationship with Russia and is seeking to build strong relations with other neighbouring countries. They have signed a partnership and cooperation agreement with the EU and take part in the Partnership for Peace. Georgia is also a member of the United Nations.
Travelling around Georgia
Be aware that it is illegal under Georgian law to enter Georgia from Russia via South Ossetia and can follow severe consequences, as there is no established border control on either side. Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia border areas are also advised against and may be at high risk of criminal activity.
Some remote areas in the country are susceptible to heavy rains, which may often lead to flooding, which can make certain roads difficult to travel upon. It is advised that travellers should avoid driving at night if possible, as many roads are badly lit and of poor quality, even in normal weather conditions.
There is a zero-tolerance policy towards drink-driving in Georgia and violation of this law can result in serious consequences, including prison sentences. International driving licences and UK driving licences are both permitted in Georgia. Drivers should be familiar with the road conditions before getting behind the wheel, as tourist-related traffic accidents have occurred in recent years.
Do not share Taxis with strangers, negotiate in advance and only use officially denoted firms.
Hiking should only be undertaken alongside recognised groups and organisations familiar with the area. Please be aware in the mountainous regions, the weather can become unpredictable.
Emergency services in Georgia
Emergency services: 112
Religion: Christianity (Orthodox)
Currency: Georgian Lari (GEL)
Consular information for Georgia
U.S. Embassy Tbilisi
11 George Balanchini St,
Telephone: +995 322 27 70 00
British Embassy Tbilisi
51 Krtsanisi St,
Telephone: +995 322 27 47 47
Visa requirements for Georgia
Nationals of the EU countries and the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea or Israel do not require a visa for up to 90 day stay in Georgia. Check with your nearest Embassy before travel to avoid problems during travel.
Health Care and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Georgia are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccinations. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Medical health care is adequate in Tbilisi but can be quite expensive. Make sure to take out necessary health and travel insurance in order to cover costs of expenses overseas. Local authorities may check upon your arrival that your travel insurance is valid.
Note that certain medicines are subject to restrictions in Georgia due to their anti-drugs policy. Therefore, visitors to Georgia who travel with prescribed medicines should carry a doctor's prescription and declare it upon their arrival.
Be aware, particularly in the summer that venomous snakes are common. If bitten by a snake, remain calm and do not try to suck out the venom as it may make it worse. Keep the part of your body that has been bitten as still as possible to prevent the venom from spreading and seek immediate medical attention.
The drinking water in Georgia is not suitable to drink, as it is contaminated and therefore should only drink bottled.