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Hiking in the Georgian Caucasus

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Our Price From 2,440 Per Person
Exclusive Savings 60 Per Person
 Trip Length
9 Days
 Trip Starts
Batumi
 Trip Finishes
Batumi
9 Day Hiking in the Georgian Caucasus Itinerary (Explore)
Countries Explored: Georgia
Trip Style
Walk & Trek
Departures
Accommodation
Simple
Max. Group Size
16
Pace
Moderate
Guide Level
Fully Guided
Trip Code
WGEO

Overview

Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on Explore's 9 Day Hiking in the Georgian Caucasus. The trips offers the chance to trek in a fascinating, off-beat region that's just being discovered by tourism. Georgia's Svaneti region has its own unique history and culture and lies among the craggy snow-capped peaks and deep gorges of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. Stay with the proud Svantian people in remote villages with their distinctive koshki - medieval defensive stone towers.

Itinerary

Our tour starts today in Batumi, on the shores of the Black Sea. Batumi is Georgia's second-largest city and the capital of its Autonomous Republic of Adjara. It is both an important port and a Black Sea holiday resort.

There are no activities planned for today so you\ re free to arrive at any time (please note that your hotel room might not be available until after 2pm). If you\ d like an airport transfer, you'll need to arrive into Batumi International Airport (BUS), which is just a few kilometres south of the city centre. As most UK flights don't arrive until mid-evening, our tour leader will hold a welcome meeting on the morning of day 2 - a note will be left in the hotel reception with timings.

If you arrive in time to explore today, it's worth heading out on foot to stroll along the waterfront Promenade which stretches through the beating heart of the city, with plenty of open-air cafes and restaurants, too. Stay: Hotel Aisi (Comfortable)

This morning, we'll gather for a welcome meeting after breakfast before heading north. We'll follow the Black Sea coast before heading inland, through increasingly dramatic scenery, to the Caucasus Mountains.

Our destination is Becho, in the region of Svaneti, around a five-hour drive in total. Becho lies in the shadow of the magnificent Mount Ushba. At 4,710 metres, Ushba is commonly known as the 'Matterhorn of the Caucasus' because of its distinct spire-shaped summit. Situated on the southern slopes of the central Caucasus Mountains and surrounded by 3,000 to 5,000 metre peaks, Svaneti is the highest inhabited area in the Caucasus. Its valleys are dotted with medieval villages where you'll spot stone towers, or \ koshki, as they are known locally, which were originally built in medieval times to protect the villagers from invaders and provide sanctuary from avalanches. It's an area of stunning natural beauty with glaciers, rivers and coniferous forests. The local people, known as Svans, are a distinct ethnic sub-group with their own language and traditions. Stay: Jena's Guesthouse (Simple) (B/D)

Today we'll drive a short distance up the valley to the starting point of our trek, near the settlement of Mazeri. Our hiking route starts out following the left bank of the Dolra River, ascending gradually through thick forests on a rocky trail. There are views of the beautiful Ushba waterfall along the way. Eventually, we'll cross the river to reach a small military encampment in the woods. From here, the route becomes steeper and the path leaves the forest to reach the impressive waterfall at the base of Mount Ushba. You can choose to rest at the bottom of the waterfall or continue on a steep hike all the way to the top. We'll have a picnic lunch during our hike and enjoy the views before making our way back on the same trail through the forest to our bus.

In the afternoon, we'll drive deeper into Svaneti to Mestia, the main centre in Upper Svaneti and our base for the next two nights. Mestia is a townlet situated at an elevation of 1,500 metres/4,921 feet with a population of over 2,600. It's becoming increasingly popular with Georgians as a ski resort in winter (there are a handful of runs outside of the town) and a centre for trekkers in the summer months. Quite a few of the old stone dwellings on the northern side of the town retain their imposing stone watchtowers and these are illuminated at night, an enchanting sight. At the Margiani House museum you can visit a traditional Svantian home and climb inside one of the watchtowers. The History and Ethnography Museum is well curated with information provided in English and well worth a visit if you\ re keen to find out more about the Svan culture.

Today's 11 kilometre/6.8 mile walk is expected to take approximately 6 hours with a total ascent and descent of 980 metres/3,215 feet if ascending to the top of the falls, 450 metres/1,476 feet to the first waterfall. Stay: Suntower Hotel (Comfortable) (B/L/D)

This morning we'll take a short journey in four-wheel drive vehicles to Jvari. At an altitude of 2,150 metres/7,054 feet, Jvari is the starting point of our hike to the mountain lakes of Koruldi, which lie at the foot of Mount Ushba (2,750 metres/9,022 feet). The views of the surrounding mountains and their snow-covered glaciers are simply stunning. From the top we hope to see several summits including Mounts Tetnuldi (4800 metres), Laila (4008 metres) and Chatini (4012 metres). We'll retrace our steps back to our vehicles and return to Mestia for a second night.

Today's 8 kilometre/5 mile walk is expected to take approximately 3 hours with a total ascent and descent of 600 metres/1,968 feet. Stay: Suntower Hotel (Comfortable) (B/L/D)

This morning, we'll drive to Ushguli (using four-wheel drive vehicles as the road conditions deteriorate).

There's almost a sense of travelling back in time as we approach the four hamlets that make up Ushguli. Nestled at the bottom of a steep valley, with their brooding medieval watchtowers, the site of the settlement is striking. Here, oxen are still used to plough the fields of potatoes and the streets are a higgledy-piggledy warren of mainly stone dwellings.

We'll set out on the first of our two hikes from Ushguli in the afternoon - the ascent of Mount Guro (whose 3,070 metre summit overlooks the village). The hike starts with a steep climb out of the village and continues upwards through pastures carpeted with wildflowers, orchids and tulips. We'll take our time to enjoy the views which open up to Mount Shkhara (Georgia's highest peak at 5,201 metres), Mount Tetnuldi and Mount Laila. The panorama from the top is simply stunning and we'll spend time here before making our way back down to the village.

Today's 10 kilometre/6.2 mile walk is expected to take approximately 5 to 6 hours with a total ascent and descent of 800 metres/2,624 feet. Stay: Hotel Koshki (Simple) (B/L/D)

Mount Shkhara is Georgia's highest mountain, standing at 5,201 metres, it's the eastern anchor of an imposing 12 kilometre ridge known as the Bezingi Wall. Our walk to the foot of the glacier at the base of the mountain follows the course of the Enereti River back to its source along a flat trail and, for the most part, we'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the mountain. Wildflowers carpet the grassy valley and purple orchids can be seen in bloom along the banks of the river. As we reach the final approach to the glacier, the path becomes steeper and the terrain rockier. Finally, we'll reach the tongue of the glacier, with incredible views up to the craggy, snow-covered sides of Mount Shkhara. We'll return to Ushguli on the same route.

Today's 18 kilometre/11.2 mile walk is expected to take approximately 6 hours with a total ascent and descent of 320 metres/1,049 feet. Stay: Hotel Koshki (Simple) (B/L/D)

This morning, we'll take four-wheel drive vehicles to Mulakhi, the starting point of our hike to Mestia. The vehicles will take our luggage on to the hotel while we set out on foot for the final leg of our holiday. The trail skirts around a valley and passes through settlements, opening up to views of the mountains all the way back to the Mestia Valley. We'll stop to appreciate them with a picnic lunch.

Today's 14 kilometre/8.7 mile walk is expected to take approximately 5 hours with a total ascent of 520 metres/1,706 feet and descent of 650 metres/2,132 feet. Stay: Suntower Hotel (Comfortable) (B/L/D)

Leaving the mountains behind us today we'll make our way back to Batumi via the town of Zugdidi. There should be some time on arrival for a seafront stroll or perhaps to head to the city centre and admire some of the city's eclectic architecture. Traditional 19th-century Russian houses, soviet-era apartment buildings and ultra-modern high-rise constructions lie within a few blocks of each other. Stay: Hotel Aisi (Comfortable) (B)

There are no activities planned today, so you\ re free to depart at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you\ d like an airport transfer, you'll need to depart from Batumi International Airport (BUS), around a 15-minute drive from the city centre.

Alternatively, if you\ d like to extend your stay in Georgia and visit the capital, there are regular trains from Batumi to Tbilisi. More info can be found here: https://tre.ge/en or https://tkt.ge/en. Please contact us to book additional nights\ accommodation. (B)

Trip Inclusions

  • Trek beneath the snowcapped peaks of the High Caucasus
  • Spend time with the welcoming people of remote Svaneti
  • Stay among the brooding medieval watchtowers of captivating Ushguli

  • For those who are fit and active, these moderate walks are normally on good paths and tracks at low altitude. Days may include some fairly demanding ascents and descents, so previous experience is preferable but not essential.

  • Accommodation, itinerary and inclusions subject to change.
  • Price is for land, cruise and internal flights as specified. Flights not specified are not included
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About Explore!

Launching in 1981, Explore offer trips from over 130 countries - from classic small group tours. Read more

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