Georgia
Jan 2023
2 months

Tbilisi

An essential destination for any remote working wine connoisseurs.

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Georgia's vibrant capital, harmoniously blends Eastern and Western influences.

The architectural t unveils a captivating diversity, spanning medieval, neoclassical, and modernist styles. Kakheti, nearby, is a testament to centuries-old winemaking, integral to the country's cultural identity.

Verdict:
Highly recommended

Well worth a month-long visit if you are looking for a different experience close to Europe. Arguably too inaccessible for a weekend city break from Western Europe.

🌎
Verdict:
Highly recommended

Well worth a month-long visit if you are looking for a different experience close to Europe. Arguably too inaccessible for a weekend city break from Western Europe.

Verdict:
Highly recommended

Well worth a month-long visit if you are looking for a different experience close to Europe. Arguably too inaccessible for a weekend city break from Western Europe.

👎
Verdict:
Highly recommended

Well worth a month-long visit if you are looking for a different experience close to Europe. Arguably too inaccessible for a weekend city break from Western Europe.

🛫
Georgian Lari (GEL)
1.1 Million
💰 Great value
💻 Remote work hub
🥇 Top rated
🧳 Would like to return

Summary

I was wanting to start 2023 with a country I'd never visited before and having heard many positive things about Georgia, Tbilisi appeared to provide a great place to head for.

Accommodation
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Even with the recent influx of people to the city (both Ukranians & Russians arriving as as a result of the war), Airbnb has a decent range if quality apartments at reasonable prices when compared with what is available in parts of Europe.

info
New legislation
Recent changes introduced by the Turkish government has made short-term rentals for under 100 days more restricted. Keep an eye on Reddit threads for up-to-date assessments of how the new legislation is impacting short-term rentals in practice.
Places to work
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

The city has a good number of options dotted across the city with more options constantly springing up. After visiting a few, I particularly liked The Hub which i wrote about below.

Value
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Casual dining is generally excellent value in Tbilisi with a large range of domestic and International eating options. Food delivery and taxi's are particularly good value.

As a nation famed for it's wine production, you can pick up a good quality bottle for a very reasonable price in supermarkets.

info
The yen is currently at a 34-year low
While this is undoubtedly a negative for the Japanese, it makes for an exceptionally good time to visit Japan from abroad. Although this trend is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short term, it's still worth checking before visiting.
Read more
View the cost of living
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Working hours
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Georgia, operates with a 3-hour difference ahead of Central European Time (CET). This can make for some later evenings if tightly following European hours, but working locations are open later into the evening.

Sunrise looking south from the Queen Tamar Bridge
Sunrise looking south from the Queen Tamar Bridge
View across the city from the peak of Mtatsminda Park.
View across the city from the peak of Mtatsminda Park.

Where to stay

I split my time in the city between two different apartments and had two very different experiences.

Would avoid
Recommended
Rustaveli
I loved staying in Rustaveli, everything you need is on your doorstep with some of the best bars and restaurants in the city all within a 5 minute walk.
Would avoid
Recommended
Vake
Perhaps a little calmer than Rustaveli and Dzveli Tbilisi, Vake is home to an array of trendy coffee shops and great food options.
Would avoid
Recommended
Avlabari
Aside from it's proximity to the centre there was little positive I could say about Avlabari as a place to eat. A real lack of amenities in the immedtiate area.

Where to work

The Hub
Top Choice
☕️ Good Coffee
📍 Top Location
🥗 On Site Cafe
🧍Community Focused
⭐️ Quality Fit Out
🌳 Outdoor Space

Recently opened at the start of 2023, The Hub is a 5 minute walk from Fabrika on the East side of the city. Split over two floors, the ground floor provides a number of options for hot desking, with the lower floor providing private offices to small teams.

The working space has an abundance of natural light, large desks with comfortable chairs and an onsite cafe serving espresso. Monthly members get 24/7 access to the space.

The only negative is that there isn't a lot of choices for lunch in the immediate area making you somewhat reliant on deliveries via Bolt. Worked from there for two months and would gladly return.

Remote work visa

No remote work visa
Remote work visa available
Remote work visa coming soon
If staying for a prolonged period, you may want to consider a dedicated visa for this destination.
This country is actively working on a visa support for remote workers.
Check your government website for details of how to obtain a tourist visa.

Georgia offers several options for remote workers, including dedicated programs and a full-year tourist visa for trying out the country before obtaining an official digital nomad visa. The government recently launched the "Remotely From Georgia" campaign to attract remote workers and mitigate pandemic losses.

Although technically not a visa category, this program requires an application process similar to regular visas, hence being referred to as the Digital Nomad Visa for Georgia. Approved applicants can stay in the country for up to a year, along with accompanying family members. The program aims to permit citizens from 95 countries to live and work remotely in Georgia through this Digital Nomad Visa.

View full details
To the best of my knowledge this information was correct as of 27th April 2024. If you notice something has changed drop me a message and I'll update it!

Citizen Remote is a great source of up to date knowledge for everything to do with remote work visas.

Safety

Off-work

Explore Mtatsminda Park

Hilltop amusement park accessible via steep walk from Dzveli Tbilisi. Offers great views of the surrounding area, which options for food and drink at the top. Plenty of walking route options available from there.

Learn more
Hike to the Kojori Fortress

An ideal day trip from, this 11 century stronghold provided the location for numerous battles and sieges in the following centuries. You’ll need to take a bus to Kojori, from where it’s a 30 minute walk to the summit. Likely to be snow covered in winter.

Visit Lisi Beach

More of a summer location, even in winter it provides an aesthetic backdrop for walks around the lake.

Hike to the Kojori Fortress

An ideal day trip from, this 11 century stronghold provided the location for numerous battles and sieges in the following centuries. You’ll need to take a bus to Kojori, from where it’s a 30 minute walk to the summit. Likely to be snow covered in winter.

Explore Mtatsminda Park

Hilltop amusement park accessible via steep walk from Dzveli Tbilisi. Offers great views of the surrounding area, which options for food and drink at the top. Plenty of walking route options available from there.

Visit Lisi Beach

More of a summer location, even in winter it provides an aesthetic backdrop for walks around the lake.

Duration & season

January was characterised by intense snowfall for several weeks with some milder days emerging from the middle of February.

The quantity of snow and short days made it difficult to properly explore the Georgian countryside and I would strongly recommend a visit later in the year where a wider selection of activities opens up.

Food & drink

Riverside Run
·
Run
The river front is a perfect flat area to run in the morning, easily crossable with numerous bridges. The area south of Avlabari is particularly scenic in the dark.
Tbilisi Hills
·
Walk
Well worth a day spent exploring the area of Mtatsminda Park immediately west to the historic centre. A variety of paths can take you back around to Saburtalo or Vake.

People

Since the War in Ukraine began there has been a sizeable movement of people into the country both from Russia and Ukraine. There's a sizeable population from neighbouring countries in Central Asia, students from India as well as both Armenians & Turks.

I found there to be a good international mix of people in the coworking space I worked from with that number likely to rise as the weather improves across the year.

English is spoken widely in the younger generations, with it being very rare in the elders.

Exercise

Riverside Run
The river front is a perfect flat area to run in the morning, easily crossable with numerous bridges. The area south of Avlabari is particularly scenic in the dark.
keyboard_arrow_down
Tbilisi Hills
Well worth a day spent exploring the area of Mtatsminda Park immediately west to the historic centre. A variety of paths can take you back around to Saburtalo or Vake.
keyboard_arrow_down
Riverside Run
The river front is a perfect flat area to run in the morning, easily crossable with numerous bridges. The area south of Avlabari is particularly scenic in the dark.
Tbilisi Hills
Well worth a day spent exploring the area of Mtatsminda Park immediately west to the historic centre. A variety of paths can take you back around to Saburtalo or Vake.

Verdict

Positives
  • A genuinely unique city.Arriving from Europe, some elements feel familiar while others, with others distinctly different.
  • If bringing foreign currency, it can be great value.Eating and drinking out is great value and of comparable quality to Europe.
  • Strong digital nomad visa.If you are looking for a low-tax base to claim residency, it is a worthwhile option to explore.
  • International community.Tbilisi draws in people from across the rest of Central Asia as well as students from the Middle East and India creating a surprisingly cosmopolitan atmosphere.
  • Prominent wine culture.If you have any degree of interest in wine you will find no shortage of great places to sample local varieties. Wine is taken seriously and is of much local pride.
Negatives
  • Winters are cold.If visiting during the winter months, bring plentiful warm clothing.
  • The language is very difficult to pick up.The Georgian script does add to the city's charm and the distinctive feeling there, but you are unlikely to passively pick up on much of it.
  • Some imported items are expensive.Stock up on any cosmetic items you need prior to arriving.
Tips
  • Consider flying in and out of Kutaisi airport.WizzAir operate some incredibly good value flights from Poland to it's regional base in Kutaisi, which is a scenic 3-4 hour drive away. Having spent a couple of nights in Kutaisi itself, I would not recommend the city for anything more than one night.
  • Watch out for stray dogs.If walking on the outskirts of the city be careful for any packs of dogs. These were noticeably less friendly than their Turkish equivalents.
  • Read up on 'Face Control'.A rather confusing and archaic way of allowing entrance to nightclubs and some bars.
  • Agrohub is great for groceries.If looking to pickup items for home, I would head straight there.
Planning a trip?
I loved everything about this trip to Japan. I've put together some thoughts on my entire stay in the country, which may come in handy if you are planning a visit soon.
Fabrika has a great range of places to eat and drink in a former industrial setting.
This quantity of snow was apparently rare for January but it did not budge for two weeks.
If there's any data missing that you would like to see in these articles please leave some feedback and I'll aim to add it in.