Those who have embarked on a new lifestyle of digital nomadism often flock to those countries that already have become a trendy destination. They rarely think of any other option except Southeast Asia, the Canary Islands, or South America. It’s true that Georgia is nothing like Thailand, Vietnam or Colombia, but it has everything to become the next digital nomad destination. And these are the reasons why.
According to the new law that was adopted in 2014, the maximum allowed period of time for a foreigner to stay in the country is 90 days within 180 days. However, the government has issued a separate ordinance that grants citizens of specific countries to stay here, visa-free, for a year! The list is quite long, so to cut a long story short, if you are a citizen of the EU, USA, Balkans, South America, and some Middle Eastern or Asian countries, you’ll benefit from this law.
Tbilisi perfectly reflects the juxtaposition of European and Asian cultures, traditions, architecture, and the way of life. Here, the old and new, ancient and modern, ideally blend with each other. The city offers a contemporary lifestyle, something alike to European cities. However, it still represents old traditions and culture that are tied deep in its history.
Georgia is a budget-friendly destination, with a wide variety of cheap accommodation, food, and drinks. Here, you can find an entire flat on Airbnb for only $25–28 per night. However, if you are planning to stay longer, then it’s better to rent out an apartment somewhere a bit outside of the city center.
Depending on your budget, and where you are coming from, renting an apartment in the center can still be cheap. The average price for an entire apartment starts from $250 in a somewhat central neighborhood, where you can get a studio or one-bedroom flat. The price lowers as you expand the search to the outskirts. The more you pay, the more prominent apartment you get.
Note that most of the time the rent price is quoted in USD, and you are expected to pay in USD. Though, some owners charge in Lari.
Groceries are relatively cheap compared to those in other European countries, even though the devaluation of the Lari has slightly raised the price of food, petrol, and alcohol. Similar to the renting price, fees for groceries also depend on the district and the supermarket that you visit. The cheapest way is to go to the local bazaar to find local fresh fruits and vegetables. Otherwise, Carrefour is the most affordable supermarket chain in Tbilisi.
Dining out can be inexpensive too, again depending on where you go and how often you’ll eat out. Usually, a meal in an average café will cost around $12–15, including a soft drink and two or three courses.
Transportation in Tbilisi is also very cheap. The public transport system includes the subway, buses, and minibuses called marshrutka. A 90-minute ticket for the metro and a bus costs only $0.20, while one for the marshrutka costs $0.32. Alternatively, you can use a taxi, another cheap means of transport compared to other European or Asian countries.
Georgians are very friendly and hospitable. They believe that the guest is a gift from God, thus expect to be treated much like royalty if you happen to be invited by a Georgian family. And if you befriend a Georgian, there’s a big chance you’ll become a member of his or her group of friends, bringing you along wherever they go, telling you various stories about Georgia and trying to make you fall in love with the country.
Internet connectivity is vital when you are a digital nomad, and here it won’t be a problem. The speed might not be super fast, but you get good coverage almost everywhere you go. Cafés, bars, restaurants, and pubs have free wi-fi, and most of the time they work just fine. And if you’d like to be connected while traveling around, you can purchase a local SIM card from any of the three network providers in Georgia: Geocell, Beeline, and Magti. All three have coverage of 4G but have different price packages and performance levels.
Additionally, the city has its wi-fi hotspot called Tbilisi Loves You, available in the central areas of the city. But the performance and speed are quite weak, so don’t rely on it for work purposes.
Georgian cuisine is heavily influenced by the Middle East and features meals made with dough, cheese, meat, and walnuts. Each region of the country has its traditional dish, making the cuisine authentic and very diverse. Besides being very meaty, Georgian fare has delicious vegetable-based meals too. And if you happen to get tired of those typical Georgian vegetarian meals, the city has a wide range of cafés that serve other vegetarian or vegan dishes from other parts of the world.
The diverse climate of Georgia enables you to experience everything in one season. For instance, you can ski on a summer morning in Svaneti and drive to the Black Sea coast in the afternoon to have an evening dip in the sea. The country offers a wide variety of activities to its visitors; any traveler can find something they love and enjoy.
Gorgeous lakes, the highest settlement and oldest cities in Europe, breathtaking national parks, medieval defense towers, the most dangerous road, lush nature, different hiking trails, and natural wonders await you here. Georgia is an excellent place for real explorers.
The location of the country gives you the possibility to easily travel in the Caucasus region, Europe or the Middle East. The borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia are within an hour’s drive from Tbilisi. There are minibuses and overnight trains each day to those destinations. Turkey, Iran, and Russia are also close.
Additionally, the low-cost airline Wizzair flies from Kutaisi to a total of 20 European cities, including those in the Czech Republic, Germany, Baltic states, Italy, Hungary, Greece, and Austria, to name a few.
Georgia has been making wine for at least 8,000 years and is considered to be the oldest wine-making nation in the world. The country has its traditional method that is different from others. It uses clay jars called qvevri, which are buried underground, with the whole fermentation process taking place there. If you are a wine enthusiast, you might want to read our guide to Georgian wine.