Take the 2-minute tour ×
Travel Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for road warriors and seasoned travelers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Going from Georgia into Turkey overland—can you do that without problems? (Assume no visa requirement for either country.) What border crossing points are there?

Also, what are the public transport options like: Are there any direct connections e.g. from Tbilisi or Batumi crossing over into Turkey? Or if you cross on foot, are there good connections for continuing from the border in the direction of Ankara and Istanbul?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

No problems at all. The two countries are friends especially due to the pipeline bringing oil from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia. Nationals of either country can visit the other without visas.

Border crossings

There are two active border crossings and I believe one inactive one.

The main one is on the Black Sea coast and is very busy and has been modernized on both sides of the border. The Turkish side is Sarp (Hopa district) and the Georgian side is სარფი (Sarpi). Many trucks cross at this border between Europe and Georgia and beyond to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and even some Arab countries (well at least before the Arab Spring). The highway passes through here from Samsun to Trabzon on the Turkish side to Batumi on the Georgian side.

There is also a very small rural one. The Turkish side is Türkgözü (Posof district) and the Georgian side is ვალე (Vale). The highway here connects Kars on the Turkish side to Akhaltsikhe on the Georgian side. This border crossing is very quiet on both sides. Scheuer's answer has opening hour details.

At least for tourists and I'm pretty sure for truck drivers too there is no corruption on either side. You can cross at both points on foot with no problem. The Georgian customs and immigration workers at Sarpi are among the friendliest I've ever dealt with. It usually takes a while to cross here because many busfuls of passengers cross and due to Armenia's borders with both Turkey and Azerbaijan being closed, everybody has to pass through here.

The rural crossing is quite quick to cross. The road has very little traffic which will affect you if you're hitchhiking like I was. There are very few facilities in the villages on either side but the police in Vale on the Georgian side are extremely friendly and helpful. There are many stray dogs around the rural border which worried me because I was on foot and there was nobody to give me a ride, and there were no businesses or houses close to either side in case I were to need help. But even the big ones turned out to be very docile so no problem.

On Google Maps you might be able to make out another rural crossing at Kartsakhi Lake / Lake Aktaş. This one is not operational and I do not know whether it has ever been in use.

Transportation

There are international bus routes passing through the Black Sea crossing connecting at least Batumi and Tbilisi to Trabzon, Samsun, Ankara, and Istanbul. There are even buses connecting Tbilisi to Thessaloniki and Athens in Greece! There are no scheduled buses crossing at the rural crossing. There are no rail crossings between the two countries but Georgia does have rail crossings with all of its other neighbours. (The one to Russia is not operating as of May 2012 however).

Turkish international buses were quite nice and quite cheap. Individual TVs on the back of each seat on at least Luks Karadeniz. I took Samsun to Tbilisi and was told it would take 10 hours but instead it took 15 hours: 10 from Samsun to the border and 5 from the border to Tbilisi (roughly).

If you cross on foot most people take a very cheap taxi from the border to Batumi. I don't know details for the Turkish side. Both countries are famous for their hospitality though. As for the rural crossing, it's a fun challenge to cross on foot as there are no connections and few trucks and cars. Nevertheless if you don't mind waiting in quite beautiful settings it is very easy to hitchhike on both sides though getting to Kars might take a while if you're not young and blonde (-:

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks a lot! Looking at wikipedia & google maps, it looks like Türkgözü is the Turkish town bordering Vale (while Posof is the name of the whole district); I edited that bit a little. –  Jonik May 7 '12 at 15:48
2  
Just so you know, there is an outhouse in no man's land at the Türkgözü-Vale crossing. It even has toilet paper! –  SigueSigueBen May 10 '12 at 15:44
1  
(Again about my edit: LP actually calls the crossing Vale/Posof, and online too that seems a lot more common than Vale/Türkgözü. Oh well, best to mention both Posof & Türkgözü.) –  Jonik May 11 '12 at 8:12
1  
@SigueSigueBen: Hmm—according to Wikipedia, Türkgözü is a (small) village on the border (not just the name of the border crossing?), while Posof is the district it belongs to. If this is wrong, consider editing the Wikipedia articles! –  Jonik Sep 16 '12 at 9:21
1  
@Jonik The Wikipedia information is correct. However, Posof is both district and the town about 15km from the border. Officially, you cross at the Türkgözü border post, but you would say to someone that you crossed at Posof, since that is the largest settlement in the area. This situation is the same for most other Turkish border posts: Kilis/Öncüpınar, Silopi/Habur, Hopa/Sarp, etc. –  SigueSigueBen Sep 16 '12 at 12:40

Very good info. Some points to add: I recently crossed at both Sarpi and Türkgözü customs. Sarpi customs are open 24 hours, Vale-Türkgözü just from 9 am to 8 pm. The road from Ardahan still takes some time as you need to cross a high mountain pass, so don't start too late. On both sides of Türkgözü crossing there are good asphalt roads. We didn't manage to arrive in time and slept on the Turkish side just 500 m from Türkgözü village on some private field. At both crossings the officials are very friendly, no corruption observed. It seems to be politics of Georgia to employ the most beautiful girls of the country at Sarpi crossing...

Originally we wanted to cross into Georgia at Lake Aktaş. At a gas station near Ardahan we were told that the crossing still is not in use. Google research shows the same. Also, there was nothing signposted on the main road.

Please let us know when the Aktaş crossing opens. It will be much shorter to cross into the Armenian inhabited region of Georgia that way.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.