The currency of Georgia is Lari.
The coins are called tetri. You can change money both in banks and in exchange points which can be found literally at every step. The exchange rate in tourist areas is about 10% worse than usual. Cheating with hidden commissions sometimes occurs, but very rarely.
Credit cards also work normally. In banks, at the post office, in shopping malls and in many tourist places there is always an ATM with the ability to withdraw money from the card. Credit cards are accepted in hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, many souvenir shops and boutiques.
In small towns (such as Akhaltsikhe) or villages with exchangers and banks are very scarce. Therefore, we recommend that you go there already with the currency.
The city has a metro (the only one in the country), a system of buses, minibuses, as well as a cable car and funicular.
In the centre of Tbilisi, all information boards at bus stops are usually duplicated into English. The further away from the centre, the rarer it is: the scoreboard is either only in Georgian, or there are none at all.
Going around the city via public transport is possible using the Metromoney cards, as well as credit cards and the newly introduced Travel Cards.
Metromoney is a universal payment card operating in municipal transport (metro, buses), as well as in minibuses and by cable car from Rike Park to Narikala Fortress. You can buy a card at the ticket offices at any metro station and cable car. The passengers will be able to choose the plan they want from the payment system.
The card is not personalized, you do not need a passport to purchase it. Be sure to save the receipt confirming the purchase of the card: it is needed to return the collateral value.
Replenishment: at any metro station and cable car, at Bank of Georgia terminals and service centres.
Find out the balance on the map: when crossing the turnstile in the subway, on a paper bus ticket and at the ticket offices of all stations.
For a one-time trip, a passenger will have to pay 1 GEL, with which they can use bus, minibus, subway or the ropeway for 90 minutes.
Metro schedule in Tbilisi: daily from 06:00 to 00:00.
Unlimited season tickets for any type of public transport:
• 90 minutes per day — 1 GEL;
• Within 1 day — 3 GEL;
• For 1 week — 20 GEL;
• For 1 month — 40 GEL;
• For 3 months — 100 GEL;
• For 6 months — 150 GEL;
• For 1 year — 250 GEL.
At present (2022), the metro consists of 23 stations that belong to the Akhmeteli-Varketil (red, long) and Saburtalinskaya (green, short) lines. There is only one transfer point — “Sadguris Moedani” (“Station Square”).
The interval of train movement: during peak hours — up to 3 minutes, the rest of the time — 1-2 minutes.
The announcement of stations in the train cars is carried out in Georgian and English. Other information (station names) is also duplicated.
The bus fare is 1 GEL for 90 minutes using a Metromoney card or in cash through the cash register at the entrance to the bus. When paying in cash, it is better to have change, since the machine does not give out change.
Tbilisi buses are green or blue. They stop only at bus stops that are equipped with electronic displays. The board shows the arrival time and nearest routes.
Bus schedule: from 06:00 to 20:00.
Stops are announced in Georgian, in rare cases the information is duplicated in English. A board can be installed in the bus cabins, where the route and the next stop are marked.
Each stop is assigned a unique number. If you send an SMS with the stop number to 93344, you will receive information about the arrival time of the next bus in response.
In addition to municipal buses, passengers are transported by minibuses designed for 16-18 seats. New cars are equipped with air conditioning.
The fare is 1 GEL. The fare is paid with Metromoney cards upon boarding.
The schedule of minibuses: from 08:00 to 22:00 (varies from route to route).
Minibus taxis stop at bus stops.
The quality of communication in Georgia is excellent almost throughout the country. 3G is available almost everywhere, except in very remote mountainous areas, and in large cities: Tbilisi, Batumi – there is 4G.
In order to purchase a local SIM card, you will only need a passport. Sim cards are sold right at the airport, on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi (there are offices of all operators there), as well as in many hotels.
Free SIM cards of different operators can be offered to you at the airport, hotel, metro – anywhere. You can get all of them, study the tariff plans in the hotel room, figure out which will be the most affordable and convenient. These cards are “empty”, they need to be replenished and activated. If the card is not used, then in six months it will deactivate itself, there is no need to call or write anywhere for this, no reprisals will follow. This is just an advertising campaign for the operators.
If you purchase a SIM card from a consultant, then he/she will activate it for you, so you don’t need to worry about that.
If you bought it first, then were choosing for a long time, and only then decided to activate it, you can still contact the nearest consultant, even in another city – he/she will be happy to help you out.
You can activate the SIM card yourself by simply calling the number indicated on it. But at the same time, it is necessary to take into account the following: mobile internet is most often activated separately. If this is not done, it still can be used be, but it is expensive.
The easiest way to top up your account is through payboxes. In the cities of Tbilisi, Batumi or Kutaisi, you can easily find them at shops, cafes, near transport stops (just do not park your rented car at the bus stop – they are to be fined quickly). The color of the paybox indicates the bank that services this machine.
It is not necessary to search for a paybox of the certain colour. In any case, the commission is 0.5% and the minimum amount is 1 GEL. Payboxes do not accept any currency but Gels. You need to exchange currency in advance.
Parking in Georgia can be chargeable and free. The car can be parked wherever it is not prohibited to do so and where your car does not interfere with traffic. The locals, by the way, do not always follow that rule. But you should not look up to them or you will have to pay a fine