Renting a car in Georgia: Is it safe? And is it worth it?

Estado das estradas na Geórgia.
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Is it safe to rent a car in Georgia? And is it worth it? Let me tell you about my experience exploring Georgia by car for 10 days. Spoiler alert: I was initially nervous, but everything went smoothly!

Coming from Europe, I noticed significant differences in Georgian roads compared to what I’m used to.

However, I understand that in a relatively small country with few viable public transportation options, renting a car is almost a necessity.

Therefore, this article is based on the many, many kilometers of road I traveled in Georgia, not from the driver’s seat, but from the passenger seat or back seat.

And I realized two things: first, driving in Georgia is perfectly safe, and second, you need to know what to expect and be prepared. And that’s exactly what this post is for.

In other words, this article aims to prepare you for safe driving in Georgia by providing practical information about roads, cars, and drivers.

I also mention alternatives to renting a car in Georgia, so you can decide for yourself whether renting a car in Georgia is worthwhile.

Shall we get started?

Things to consider when renting a car and driving in Georgia

Alugar carro na Geórgia e cuidados a ter ao conduzir na Geórgia.
Precautions to take when driving in Georgia.

In general, traveling in Georgia takes time, and perhaps that’s why Georgians are accustomed to driving so fast.

And it’s not a prejudice, according to my experience, driving in Georgia is very fast!

Main roads are more or less well-signposted and in relatively good condition, but driving to more remote places can be challenging.

This is because I saw many narrow roads with curves and steep inclines and declines.

I also saw hundreds of trucks, especially on the Georgian Military Highway, which connects Tbilisi to the Russian border.

Autoestrada Militar da Geórgia. Filas de camiões para entrar na Rússia.
Georgian Military Highway. Lines of trucks waiting to enter Russia.

It’s worth mentioning that freight vehicles from Armenia and Azerbaijan use this road to enter Russia. And there are many, many trucks that spend days parked in line to enter Russia.

Additionally, in winter, it’s important to have a four-wheel-drive car, especially for trips in mountainous areas like Svaneti and Gudauri.

The same difficulty applies when refueling the car, as the likelihood of finding someone who speaks English is small. The only exception is in Tbilisi, where English communication is easy.

It’s also important to keep in mind that some areas of Georgia are sensitive. That is, authorities recommend that tourists do not travel to the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, nor approach areas near the border with Russia.

These are my recommendations for traveling by car in Georgia, but I didn’t want to paint too pessimistic a picture.

The fact is that in the 10 days I spent exploring the country, I didn’t witness any accidents.

Not a single car accident, despite the speed of the drivers and the weather conditions not always being favorable.

Everything you need to know about renting a car in Georgia.

Tbilisi, a capital da Geórgia.
Smooth traffic in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.
Alugar carro na Geórgia. Tudo o que precisa saber.
Renting a car in Georgia.
Saiba como é a estrada em Ananuri Fortress ao alugar carro na Geórgia.
Road to Ananuri Fortress, Georgia.
Bombas de combustível na Geórgia.
Fuel pumps in Georgia.

Is it safe to rent a car in Georgia?

Alugar carro na Geórgia e conduzir no inverno.
Driving in Georgia in winter.
Ao alugar carro na Geórgia tenha atenção às ultrapassagens.
Overtaking cars on the roads of Georgia.

Yes, I consider it safe to rent a car in Georgia.

The ideal is to book online in advance and pick up the car upon arrival at Tbilisi Airport.

Check how much it costs to rent a car in Georgia.

There you will find the main car rental companies, such as: Ace Rent a Car, Alamo, Avis, Carwis, Dollar, Enterprise, Europcar, GreenMotion, Hertz, Naniko, SIXT Surprice, and Thrifty.

It’s always advisable to confirm, but as a rule, Hertz and Carwis usually have the most economical prices, and Naniko sometimes offers a free additional driver.

Furthermore, if you plan to leave Georgia and visit Armenia or Azerbaijan, make sure with the car rental company if the rental includes cross-border travel.

To drive in Georgia, drivers need to have an International Driving Permit (IDP).

In terms of driving rules, I think the most important is zero tolerance for alcohol! That means any percentage of alcohol in the blood is punished by law. Always wear a seatbelt and practice defensive driving.

Where to rent a car in Georgia?

I usually rent a car through Discovercars, which in my opinion, offers the best market prices.

What are the roads like in Georgia?

Alugar carro na Geórgia e estado das estradas em todo o país..
Roads in Georgia.
Saiba como são as estradas antes de alugar carro na Geórgia.
What are the roads like in Georgia?
Conduzir a 70 km/h nos arredores de Tbilisi, Geórgia.
Driving at 70 km/h on the outskirts of Tbilisi, Georgia.

There’s a bit of everything, some good roads and some not so good.

The truth is, in the more touristy areas, the roads tend to be a bit better.

In any case, it’s always a good idea to practice defensive driving and not to take risks with overtaking. Expect to encounter many trucks on the road and travel without haste.

As I mentioned before, it usually takes some time to travel from one city to another, even when the distances aren’t long.

Is it worth renting a car in Georgia?

Fronteira Geórgia-Arménia.
Georgia-Armenia border.
Conduzir na neve em Gergeti, Geórgia.
Driving in the snow in Gergeti, Georgia.

I consider it worth renting a car in Georgia if you’re traveling with a group and plan to explore the country beyond the capital.

It’s also worthwhile if you’re staying in the country for several days, as I don’t think renting a car for just two or three days is worthwhile.

Alternatives to renting a car in Georgia

Tour de Tbilisi para Mtskheta.
Tour from Tbilisi to Mtskheta.
Viajar de Bolt em Tbilisi.
Traveling by Bolt in Tbilisi.

If you don’t feel comfortable renting a car in Georgia, I must say there are alternatives, although the public transport network isn’t one of them.

The good news is that you can take day tours to practically any region of Georgia from Tbilisi.

On these tours, you don’t need to worry about the road or driving, and furthermore, these day trips are quite economical.

Another alternative is to arrange the trip with a taxi driver or a Bolt driver in advance. You can ask for help at the reception of your hotel, saying that you want to visit a particular region and if they can recommend someone.

Or, when using Bolt, ask the driver directly if they provide this type of transportation. Almost always the answer is positive.

These trips usually aren’t expensive, but keep in mind that you won’t have the support of a guide, as with organized tours. However, for visiting cities around Tbilisi, it’s perfectly fine.

As you can see, it’s entirely possible to discover Georgia without needing to rent a car.

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