08.09.2017. Georgia’s splendid food, breathtaking nature and rich culture have long made it a sought-after destination for adventurous travellers. But the country - which this year opened up to British travellers with new direct flights from Gatwick to the capital Tbilisi (courtesy of Georgian Airways) - has far more to offer than khachapuri and red wine. Thriving amidst its Orthodox Christian cathedrals and farmsteads is a culture of gourmet coffee, clubbing and casinos. Where else could you dance the night away in a Soviet-era sewing factory, then recover on a tropical beach or in a cool mountain cave town? Here are seven surprising reasons you should go to Georgia.
1. You can visit Europe's most zany seaside town
Georgia’s Black Sea coast enjoys a bizarre, subtropical microclimate that feels more like Bali than Belarus. The best place to soak it all in is Batumi, an enticingly zany seaside town where casinos and skyscrapers - one with a Ferris Wheel stuck to the front - pop up in the middle of its lovingly renovated 19th-century boulevards. Just outside town the Botanical Gardens carpet the hillside with palm trees and plants from South America, Mexico and south-east Asia. In summer it can be suffocatingly humid and thunderstorms are frequent, so pack a raincoat alongside your swimwear.