From Tbilisi (Georgia) to Kars (Turkey) Part 52/52

By: Nurettin YilmazPublished: 11 months ago

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Georgia-Turkey border crossing at Türkgözü:
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.
I recently crossed at Türkgözü customs. 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.

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