My name is Breanna and welcome to my Georgia travel guide. I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Travel was never a big thing where I came from. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that I started to become obsessed with exploring new places and interested in new cultures.
After that, I learned that travel writing was an actual job and that I could travel the world doing it. That was it for me. It had to do it. Thankfully, it was not a hard transition. I worked in digital marketing, so I just had to redirect my focus from marketing a business to marketing myself.
The rest fell into place. I have been working as a travel writer and content producer for over six years. I started off writing about food and drink – which I have always loved – but I started to get burned out on it after a while. Today, I focus mostly on adventure travel and travel in Mongolia and Georgia, where I have spent most of my time over the last two years.
I started both Meanwhile in Georgia and Meanwhile in Mongolia to share my insider knowledge and change common misconceptions about both destinations. Since I’m currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia, my focus over the last year has been on building out my Georgia travel content.
I hope to inspire adventurous and curious travelers to explore off the beaten path villages, boutique hotels, national parks and natural landmarks when they travel here. There are so many adventures in Georgia and it’s hard to find info on all of them in one easy to read, well-organized place.
Meanwhile in Georgia has been my excuse to explore and inspire in a difficult time for travelers and to promote the small businesses and locals who make traveling in Georgia such a special experience.
My Travel Experiences in Georgia
While Georgia isn’t large, there is still so much to explore. From semi-deserts to semi-tropical rainforests, you have it all! I have been exploring the eastern part of the country the most – which I feel tourists overlook.
While Mestia, Batumi and Martvili are cool places in the north and west – I prefer Vashlovani and Lagodekhi National Parks in the east and the wildlands of Tusheti in the northeast of Georgia. Most of my adventures involve off-roading and a bit of hiking. My favorite to date was when I went off-roading through Vashlovani National Park for three days by myself.
I don’t recommend off-roading solo but I was on a mission to explore and photograph. I felt comfortable doing it on my own. They call Vashlovani the safari lands of Georgia – it’s a dry, arid landscape with these beautiful mountains and cliffs that border Azerbaijan and Armenia. I felt like I was on another planet. I couldn’t get over how stunning it was!
And there was barely anyone else there which made it even more special. I had the national park entirely to myself. Car camping there was one of my favorite experiences to date. Last summer, I also hiked to Black Rock Lake, an alpine lake half in Georgia, half in Dagestan. That three-day trek was one of the toughest and most rewarding experiences of my life.
I did it without any training and after being in “lockdown”. So it really pushed me mentally and physically. Next on my list, I want to explore Mestia (yes, that place I said everyone travels to) – but I want to visit in winter. Most travelers go in the warmer months to hike between the villages. I’m excited to see it during a season when most outsiders don’t.
My Favorite Places: Vashlovani National Park and Tusheti
The dry climate, ancient wild pistachio trees and evergreen junipers made photographing Vashlovani National Park an extraordinary experience. Not only is it unlike anywhere else I have explored but doing the trip solo – off-roading through canyons and camping by myself – was something I needed after a long year of disappointment from the pandemic.
After that trip, I felt so recharged. There is definitely some special energy in the lands of Vashlovani. I felt so connected to everything and so disconnected from the rest of the world. It showed me that being in nature and grounding myself are crucial to my well-being and mental health.
Another place that is special to me is Tusheti. The Road to Tusheti is one of the most dangerous in the world and Atsunta Pass is one of the toughest mountain passes to cross. Crossing in a thunderstorm and blizzard and leading a pack of horses across the shale-covered trail with a steep drop-off was one of the most dangerous things I have ever done.
Making it over the pass through all of that and to then see the valley open up to me below, with mountains bigger than I have ever seen still towering over me on either side, was so beautiful that it literally brought me to tears!
Best Things To Do in Georgia
Some of the best things to do in Tbilisi include: eat Khinkali (my favorite is at Klike’s Khinkali), taste Adjaruli Khachapuri (that boat-shaped bread and cheesy goodness anyone who knows anything about Georgia has drooled over), spend a night at Stamba Hotel, watch the sunset and get the best views of Tbilisi from the TV Tower, and picnic at the Botanical Gardens.
Outside of Tbilisi, I think everyone should do the following activities: take a day trip to Abudelauri’s three colored lakes (it’s my favorite day trip from Tbilisi), sleep in a treehouse cabin in Lagodekhi National Park at Duende Hotel, drive the Road to Tusheti and explore Omalo and the ancient villages that make this remote and hard-to-reach part of the country so wild.
The Wonderful Georgian People
Another aspect that makes Georgia special is the amazing local people. Georgians are some of the most hospitable and welcoming hosts in the world. Without asking you will be invited into a home for a meal, given homemade wine, and before you know it you are toasting to everyone’s health (gaumarjos!) with chacha in no time. It’s an awesome experience!
The best way to immerse yourself in the culture anywhere is to simply be open to it. Say ‘Gamarjoba’ to the villagers, don’t be afraid to explore remote towns by foot, ask questions when you can and just be respectful. Georgians love opening their homes and their hearts to travelers.
What to Eat and Where in Georgia
Chances are you know about Georgia’s most famous dish – Khachapuri. It’s insanely delicious (how could bread, cheese, butter and egg not be) and it’s one I regularly order since each region does their own variation on it.
Other famous dishes I love include Khinkali (steamed dumplings), Nigvziani Badrijani (walnut-stuffed eggplant rolls), Lobiani (beans) and you can’t beat a Georgian Salad (tomatoes and cucumbers tossed in sunflower oil).
Additionally, Dezerter Bazaar is a must see. It’s a local, open-air food market that is worth spending a morning walking through. When it comes to bars, a few of my favorites include Cocktail Factory and 41 Gradus for the best cocktails in the city. The courtyard at Fabrika always has something going on too – it’s a great place to mingle with locals and travelers alike.
Accommodation in the Country
I’m currently obsessed with Hotel Sololaki. Sololaki is one of the oldest and, if you ask me – cutest, neighborhoods in Tbilisi. The hotel is well-designed and they even have a negroni trolley which is the way to my heart.
Duende Hotel in Lagodekhi is a must and Lost Ridge Inn in Sighnaghi brews beer and is on a ranch, need I say more? I’m also working on a motel for road trippers and motorcycle enthusiasts in Tbilisi, so stay tuned!
Need to Know Before you Go
Like any place you travel to, always travel with an open mind and be open to new experiences. The local people of Georgia are some of the kindest people in the world and they will welcome you in like family in a heartbeat.
While I would call Georgia safe, keep in mind that Georgians are proud people. Always pay attention to their customs and be polite. Remember that Georgia is Orthodox and 20% of the country is occupied by Russia.
I have enjoyed so many wonderful experiences in Georgia – most of them involving homemade chacha! This is a great country and it offers something totally different than what you find in Western Europe!