Georgian, Abkhazian Currency:  Georgian Lari
Once part of the Soviet union, the country of Georgia (formerly known as the Republic of Georgia) is a true east-meets-west destination, sitting in the Caucasusregion alongside Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan to the south and Russia to the north. With a vibrant culture, a storied past and a cornucopia of stunning natural formations, Georgia is seriously underrated. Nature lovers will be thrilled by the mountain ranges of Kazbegi and the deep gorges of Svaneti, while history buffs will be awe-struck by the Gelati Monastery and the colourful old town of capital Tbilisi, which was founded around 400 AD.
Georgia sits at the crossroads between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, and it's up for debate which continent it actually belongs to. It is, however, a member of the Council of Europe, along with several other transcontinental states such as Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Wine has been grown in Georgia for at least 8,000 years, and the ancient wine region of Kakheti has long been a popular stop for wine connoisseurs. Georgians use a special wine-making technique involving large Kvevri clay jars, which are either buried below ground or set into the floors of cellars to allow the wine to ferment and age. This method is so ingrained in life here that it has been added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. There are almost 400 grape varieties to choose from in the country, with the semi-sweet types the most popular.
There's no doubt that Georgia is wild and rugged, but that's the very basis of its appeal. Add Georgia to your trip planner to experience one of the most fascinating and original countries on Earth.