Budget Vacation Guide 2012: Tiblisi, Georgia

Why now? Georgia‘s investments in infrastructure and tourism over the last several years mean that the country is raring to go. Tourist facilities have improved and Tbilisi’s domestic travel agencies are well organized.

With a bustling capital city, Tbilisi, mountainous regions like Svaneti and Tusheti, a prime beach resort in Batumi, and the wine region of Kakheti, Georgia boasts a seemingly unending supply of exciting sites and experiences for visitors. And while Georgians may be feeling the pinch of rising prices, most visitors will experience Georgia as a great bargain.

In Tbilisi, dinner feasts at top restaurants can easily be had within the $10-$15 range; filling khachapuri dinners at hole-in-the-wall restaurants cost around $5. Taxis around town set passengers back around $1, once basic bargaining has been mastered. Tbilisi’s only drawback for budget travelers is its hotel cost index, which is geared toward visitors traveling on expense accounts; hostels and apartment rentals pick up the slack.

For anyone itching to get into some gorgeous wilderness, there is Svaneti, a district that has slowly but surely become a backpacker destination; quick flights connect the regional capital of Mestia to Tbilisi. Another mountain region, Tusheti, receives far fewer tourists. Seasonal farmhouse accommodations in Tusheti can be had for $35 a night, including two or even three meals daily.

[flickr image via shioshvili]