In a world where places are famous for being famous, Georgia stands in sharp contrast. Despite its rich and ancient culture, a combination of distance, geography, and politics have kept it closed off to visitors for much of its history. Visiting is still not a walk in the park, despite heavy investment in tourism over the past decade, but for a country smaller than the state of Maine, Georgia is home to an astonishing variety of mostly unspoiled landscapes. Even more astonishing is how the people have complemented the landscape with old churches, watchtowers, and castles in places like Svaneti, Ateni, and Davit Gareja.
- Hiking through Nature Georgia’s history and geography has largely protected its remarkable natural environment from exploitation and pollution, making places like Tusheti National Park as unspoiled as they come on the planet.
- Playing Indiana Jones Although often in a ruined or semi-ruined state, Georgia’s mountaintop and cliff-side castles, monasteries, and towers contain more than a trilogy’s worth of mystery and mysticism.
- Eat and Drink, from Nose to Tail Between European and Middle Eastern influences, Georgian cuisine draws from both, especially in Khinkali dumplings stuffed with spiced meat. Whatever the choice, pair it with a bottle of Georgia’s justly famous wines.
- Discovering the Centuries in Tbilisi Although still somewhat rough around the edges, Georgia’s capital displays a unique array of architecture in its old town that reads like a résumé of its history.
- Meeting Georgians Few travelers return from Georgia without singing the praises of the hospitality. With few valuable natural resources like gas and oil, locals generally embrace guests and consider them a gift from God.