Neither Asian nor fully European, Georgia mixes an intoxicating cocktail of eastern and western influences, spiked with a generous shot of Soviet-style strangeness. The enigmatic capital is in the throes of a renaissance. Ambitious new landmarks, such as the Bridge of Peace and the aerial tramway, are transforming the cityscape, while a crop of boutique hotels, bars and cafés are injecting new life into the ramshackle old town. On the outskirts of the city, beyond the brooding Soviet-era apartment blocks, the Caucasus mountains beckon.
What to do
Take the new cable car up to the 17th-century Narikala citadel for a bird’s-eye view of the city and a close-up of the iconic Mother Georgia statue – cup of wine in one hand, sword in the other. Explore the twisting lanes of the old town with its ornate balconied houses, domed bathhouses and Byzantine churches. Take a trip to the Caucasus mountains: tour operator Wild Frontiers offers a mix of tailor-made and group tours.