AKHALTSIKHE (ახალციხე)

Our first stop in southwest Georgia, not far from the border of Turkey, was a little town with a millennium-long history – Akhaltsikhe. It is situated on both banks of a small river, Potskhovi, which divides the city between the old town in the north and the new one in the south. It’s the first bigger city after the border, so we stopped here mainly to buy the sim cards, change the money, and buy some groceries. The only sight in the town is Rabati Castle, built in the 9th century. It has been comprehensively renovated from the dangerous, semi-ruined state it was left in a decade ago, and while it was a much-needed investment, sadly, what greets you today feels a bit Disneyfied.

Travel Tips
After easy passport control and customs, we drove to the gasoline station behind the border, where is a little booth from the CIC insurance company. We bought our insurance for the truck (25 GEL / 14 days / special vehicle category) and scooter (20 GEL / 14 days). Then we got sim cards at Akhaltsikhe – Beeline (4 GEL/sim + 12 GEL / 15 GB / 14 days) and Magti (10 GEL/sim + 9 GEL / unlimited data / 7 days). Moneychanger did not have enough cash, so we went to the bank. They were not able to change the money on our EU passport, so we borrowed one local ID to make the transaction (1 EUR / 2,754 GEL). The first dinner we had in Mimino (Pork skewer – 16 GEL, Salad – 7 GEL, Bread – 2 GEL, Mineral water – 2,5 GEL / 0,5 l) and then our first beer at Old Pub (Fried chips – 6 GEL, Kazbegi (ყაზბეგი) beer – 5 GEL / 0,4 l). The local haircut did cost us 15 GEL. Also, we bought groceries in the Smart supermarket (open 24/7) – the shop is well stocked, and they have nice and clean toilets inside (1 GEL). Diesel at Rompetrol did cost – Euro diesel – 3,99 GEL / l and Efix Euro Diesel – 4,99 GEL / l.

We arrived in Georgia from Turkey, but if you want to skip it, there is also one relatively new option: send a car or truck from Romania (Constanta) to Poti (Georgia) with E60 Shipping Line.

Parking location – Akhaltsikhe: 41.643641N 42.982469E (🚻 – 24/7 at Smart – 1 GEL)