Me and my sister just had very memorable experience backpacking Albania and Georgia last December. We spent 9 days jumping on and off planes, buses and trains. We left UAE December 21, 2021 then returned on the 29th. It was a trip we will never forget.
I love travelling solo hence why I created this blog but it was still a totally different feeling when you’re travelling with someone really close to you.
Residents of UAE don’t need visa to travel to Albania and Georgia, and as of writing, you don’t need PCR test to travel to Albania if you are fully vaccinated. Georgia, on the other hand, has started requiring its visitors a negative test result that’s within 72 hours.
Make sure you have your accomodation pre-booked as airport personnels are likely to check them before departure.
Flights that we booked were below:
|From Abu Dhabi, UAE to Tirana, Albania (Wizz Air)|
|From Tirana, Albania to Tbilisi, Georgia via Istanbul, Turkey (Pegasus Air)|
|From Kutaisi, Georgia to Abu Dhabi, UAE (Wizz Air)|
DAY 1 & 2
December, 21, 2022, we departed Abu Dhabi at around 4PM and landed in Tirana, Albania at around 9PM. Travel time was almost 6 hours. We bought sim card from the airport then took a taxi and went straight to Shkoder, a city in northwest of Albania. Taxi cost us EUR 55 which is kind of expensive but that was our only option that night. We stayed in Eco Garten Guesthouse with very lovely owners. And the persimmon tree in their backyard is a bonus. Me and my sister love persimmon.
The next day we were supposed to catch the bus going to Theth which was the main reason why we went to Albania. Unfortunately, the road was closed due to heavy snow so we had to change our plan the very last minute. We decided to quickly explore Shkoder City by foot that morning before heading to Tirana.
After lunch we took the bus that will take us to the capital city of Albania which is Tirana. The bus station is just three minutes walk from the Guesthouse we stayed in. Bus fare was EUR 4 and took us two hours to reach our destination.
We checked in at Guesthouse Hygge in Tirana. A very modern guesthouse owned by very kind couple who served us really lovely breakfast.
Tirana, the capital of Albania, is known for its colorful Ottoman-, Fascist- and Soviet-era architecture. Pastel buildings surround the city’s focal point, Skanderbeg Square, which is named for its equestrian statue of a national hero.
You must explore the streets and check out one of the bunk arts. Don’t forget to have some bread and coffee from many of lively and relaxing coffee shops. Prices are relatively cheap in Albania except for the taxi. And let me just say that food in Albania are amazing.
This day is also when we have taken a PCR test for our flight the next day. PCR test cost us EUR 40 and result came out after 12 hours.
Took a taxi from Tirana city center to the airport. Taxi cost was EUR 10 and was arranged by the owner of our guesthouse and travel time to the airport took about 30 minutes.
Plane took off at around 2:30AM and reached Istanbul at 6:30AM and stayed for a 5-hour layover. We just spent 3 hours in one of the sleeping pods inside S.Gokcen airport then boarded the plane again at around 12NN. We landed Tbilisi, Gerogia at around 3PM. We took an airport taxi and cost us 50 GEL which is expensive but it is a normal price for an airport transfer in Tbilisi.
We stayed in Rustaveli 14 ApartHotel which is located along the main street. Few steps away from all the main attractions, restaurants and shops in Tbilisi. I highly recommend this place.
We hit the street and checked out the Christmas markets.
We took a train heading to Kutaisi. Train ticket price was only 9 GEL and we booked it through this website. Travel time will take 5 hours and 30 minutes. The train leaves at exactty 8:50AM and reaches Kutaisi at around 2:30PM. This train is taken mostly by locals. The view along the way wasn’t bad at all. I’m sure it’s a lot better during summer when you see all the greens.
We reached Guesthouse Medea on Pushkini 4 at around 3PM and we were greeted by an amazing family and a cute dog.
This is also the day when we had our PCR test needed for our flight two days later. Test result took 24 hours and cost us 60 GEL each.
We arranged a tour with the Guesthouse owner, Gacha, and took us to the most breathtaking places that are just few minutes away from Kutaisi. Georgia isn’t just Tbilisi and Gudauri. Georgia has so much to offer, from caves to canyons and to amazing nature and waterfalls.
It was time for our flight back to Abu Dhabi, UAE. We arranged an airport transfer through our Guesthouse owner and it was for 30 GEL. It was an almost 45-minute drive. We arrived back in Abu Dhabi at around 5:30PM and hired a private car to take us back to Dubai.
The whole trip was rather smooth and we enjoyed every bit of it. Definitely worth the back pains for carrying a 15kg backpack and some sleepless night due to unideal timing of flights.
See you in our next adventure!
BREAKDOWN OF EXPENSES
|Flight from Abu Dhabi to Tirana||268 AED (for 2 pax)|
|Flight from Tirana to Tbilisi||1,000 AED (for 2 pax)|
|Flight from Kutaisi to Abu Dhabi||1,100 AED (for 2 pax)|
|Guesthouse in Shkoder||75 AED (for 2 pax)|
|Guesthouse in Tirana||70 AED (for 2 pax)|
|Apartment Hotel in Tbilisi||340 AED (for 2 pax)|
|Guesthouse in Kutaisi||100 AED (for 2 pax)|
|Pocket Money (Food & Local Transpo)||1,000 AED (for 2 pax)|
3,953 AED (for 2 pax)
(That’s less than 2,000 AED per person)
**Please note that PCR tests and other side trip expenses are not included in the breakdown above.