People and cars on a street in Batumi, Georgia at night
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Traveling safely in Georgia

Maysie Dee

Contributing writer

Georgia is quickly becoming a popular travel destination because of its unspoiled natural beauty, gorgeous architecture, lofty vistas from ancient monasteries, and its welcoming people and excellent cuisine

All in all, Georgia is a very safe place to visit. As every country has its particular points to be aware of, Georgia is no different. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you visit.

Georgian roads and drivers

Georgian drivers are notorious for their amazing driving moves. If you drive or even take a taxi through a major city, while you hang onto your seat you’ll marvel at their ability to avoid accidents. Accidents do sometimes happen, though, so if you opt to drive a rental car, drive defensively until you get the hang of the Georgian flow.

Equally so, Georgian roads are not the best in the world. If you’re travelling to remote places, be aware that roads can be bumpy, unpaved, and generally defective. Avoid driving in these areas at night, because there is also often poor lighting. 

Even the ever-present and inexpensive marshrutka minivan ride (around town or between cities) can be harrowing, because the drivers drive erratically, and are sometimes overly-speedy and under-cautious. Therefore, some people opt to hire conscientious drivers with their own private cars, because they will ensure that you are comfortable on the roads.


As a pedestrian, you should make sure to have eye contact when crossing in front of cars, although many drivers will stop to let you pass, even if you’re just standing at a curb. Or, they will politely flash their lights to let you know they saw you, and you can proceed safely.


While the Georgian mountains offer amazing hiking trips that shouldn’t be missed, it’s not advisable to go on these treks alone, especially for women.

In the last several years, the valiant Georgian search and rescue teams have had to respond to many stranded tourists on remote peaks, (not all with happy outcomes, either). So, it’s better to undertake extreme hikes in groups with trained guides. It’s truly better to be safe than sorry!

Even city hikes in lonely forested areas are not advised to do alone, as there have been very rare occasions of harassment and violence against women, even tourists, in these areas. It’s always better to take a buddy with you. 

Politics and culture

Georgia has a contentious recent political history, and the present crisis in Ukraine has only added fuel to the fire. As a guest in the country, avoid voicing strong political opinions, so you don’t offend anyone.

With its history as a Soviet state, many older Georgians also speak Russian, but these days Russian is not preferred (unless you’re talking with a Russian or Belarusian in Georgia!), so don’t flash around your Russian language skills unless you need to...  

It’s also advised to avoid being in the area of political rallies and protests that can occur frequently in Georgia.

A relatively conservative culture

Although you’ll see Georgian women with their hair dyed some amazingly bright non-hair-type colours, don’t get the idea that Georgia is a liberal country.

For sure, there are small liberal bar scenes in Tbilisi and Batumi, but it has its limits. The majority of the Georgian population practices Orthodox Christianity, so they embrace traditional family values. 

Liberal activities or public displays of affection are not generally accepted and could cause a negative reaction, so be mindful of the preferences of your host country.

Drinking in Georgia

Georgia is most definitely a drinking society, so you’ll undoubtedly be offered alcohol in social situations.

This is a wonderfully friendly aspect of hospitality, especially because Georgian wine-making dates back over 8,000 years, and Georgia is home to some delicious fine wines. Do be aware, though, that your wineglass will be refilled every time you empty it, even at a simple family dinner. 

And especially, if you are invited to a supra, or celebratory feast, you’ll be expected to drink a glass after every toast! If you can’t handle that much liquor, you’ll walk away plastered (if you can walk away!) so just drink a sip after every toast.

Also of note is ubiquitous Georgian home-brewed chacha moonshine grape brandy… which is incredibly powerful! It could take some getting used to, so take it easy until you get your bearings.

Scams and pickpocketing

Bar scam

Since we’re talking about drinking in Georgia, now is the time to mention thepopular bar scam that involves inviting an unsuspecting tourist to have drinks and sticking them with a huge bar bill. Another variation could be a bartender suggesting you buy a bottle of wine and if you don’t ask the price first, you’ll get a huge bill after partaking. 

Either way, be a savvy traveler and if invited for drinks, you choose the bar, or at least ask for the prices before ordering anything. Or, pay as you go (although they’ll encourage you to run a tab) to avoid surprises. The police are aware of these scams, so if you get cornered, pay (if you can) and then visit the police – they’ve been known to help tourists recover some of their losses.

Underage Pickpockets

Unlike other popular tourist destinations, Georgia doesn’t have the usual tourist pickpocket networks. Although it’s always wise to keep your valuables in a cross-bag held close to your body (instead of your pockets), you’re more likely at risk from a roving group of Roma children. 

Sometimes found in Tbilisi and Batumi, these kids are ruthless and will pester tourists, hanging on their legs and distracting them while the others pick their pockets. These minors (often undocumented foreigners) are difficult for police to handle because of their age and status, so it’s best to just avoid them if you recognize a group in the vicinity.


Taxis can overcharge tourists, so it’s a good idea to ask a local about the average price of a ride before jumping into a taxi. Your accommodation owner will probably be helpful in this case, and might have a go-to taxi or driver for your needs.

Some visitors prefer to use taxi apps, such as Bolt (the preferred app in Georgia) although some have reported that app drivers can also take a “scenic” route to increase the bill or “forget” to close the app after the ride is finished. You can, however, talk to customer support if this happens and often get a refund.

Disputed areas

South Ossetia came under Russian control in 2008 and entry into South Ossetia is not possible from Georgia; it must be done overland from Russia (with necessary advance visas). Don’t attempt to enter the area from Georgia.

Abkhazia is considered by Georgians to be a part of Georgia still, although Abkhazians consider themselves an independent nation. With proper advance visas, it is possible to enter the area from Georgia, via the city of Zugdidi and the Enguri Bridge.

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Maysie Dee

Author - Maysie Dee

Maysie Dee is a freelance writer, content editor, and recipe creator. She and her husband have travelled across the world for decades as natural product consultants, collecting stories along the way.

Last Updated 24 May 2024

Colourful buildings and churches in Tbilisi, Georgia


Located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia offers a diverse and stunning natural landscape, intriguing history and good food and wine.