Your holiday summary

Holiday type Walking holidays
Country Georgia
Travel type Make your own way
Price range From £1460
Travel partner Wild Frontiers
Duration 10 nights
Need help with your booking?
0330 333 6781

Georgia: Wild walk in the Svaneti mountains

Svaneti, Georgia's most mysterious mountain region is like a fairy tale come to life. The region is renowned for its stone villages, punctuated by the defensive towers, and populated by a fiercely independent race, known as the Svans. Still lying almost entirely off any tourist trail, this is a trip for the travel connoisseur who likes to see things real and wild. And of course, this tour is not only about Svaneti. Georgia in general is one of our favourite countries: its cuisine, wine, mountains, churches, hospitable locals and rich and varied history make it a great adventure travel location. Come and see for yourself.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Old Town of Tbilisi
  • A wonderful trek through one of the region’s hidden valleys
  • Experiencing the famous Georgian hospitality
  • Visiting several UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • The bizarre Stalin museum in Gori

Included

  • Full services of a Wild Frontiers tour leader with local guides and drivers.
  • Meal plan as detailed in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) with mineral water as required.
  • All transport as outlined in the itinerary.
  • All accommodation
  • All entrance fees, as per itinerary
  • A carbon-offsetting contribution to Carbon Clear (if booking international flights through WF office)
Not included

  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Local airport taxes
  • Tips (always optional, but some guidance will be given in the predeparture information pack you’ll receive after booking)
  • Beverages and any costs of a personal nature.
  • International flights
  • Airport transfers (unless booking suggested flights through WF office)
Day one: Tbilisi

Should you take the suggested flights, you will arrive late evening on this first day. Hotel (no meals)

Day two: Tbilisi

After breakfast we start our tour of Tbilisi and visit the old and new towns. The city offers a great variety of sights, most of them very ancient. All the places of interest in the old town are very close to each other, within a few minutes’ walk. We start our visit to old Tbilisi from Metekhi church (13th century), then walk to the brickdomed Sulphur Baths. From the Baths we head up the hill to visit Narikala Fortress (forth century) - one of the oldest fortifications in the city. Afterwards we continue to the Synagogue, Sioni cathedral (sixth to seventh centuries) and Anchiskhati church (sixth century). This marks the end of the Old Town. Finally we visit the treasury of the Georgian National Museum, before taking a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue – the main street in Tbilisi. Hotel (B, L, D)

Day three: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Kutaisi

We drive to the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia – Mtskheta - and visit its historic Jvari monastery (sixth century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century) – both UNESCO World Heritage sites. We then head to West Georgia – the famous Land of the Golden Fleece, where Jason and the Argonauts sailed. We arrive in Kutaisi – the second largest city in Georgia and visit Bagrati Cathedral (11th century) – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hotel (B, L, D)

Day four: Kutaisi – Zugdidi – Mestia

In the morning we visit Gelati Monastery and Academy (12th century), a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its frescos and mosaics. Then it’s time to get ready for the most exciting part of your trip – a journey to Svaneti, the region of the highest mountains and glaciers and the most abiding ancient traditions. We drive to Zugdidi and continue our trip into the Svaneti region. Overnight in Mestia in a family guesthouse with shared facilities. Guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day five: Mestia – Lahkiri – Mestia

This morning we drive to the village of Zhamushi and then start our walk through the Svanetian villages of Lakhiri and Mushkeli back towards Mestia, stopping for a picnic lunch along the way. We will walk past many Svanetian watchtowers and through an abundance of wild flowers, while taking in the stunning vistas of the Great Caucasus. Returning to Mestia we visit a unique collection of icons and crosses and see traditional Svanetian House model at the Ethnographic Museum. Dinner tonight will be at the family guesthouse in Mestia. Approx walking time five hours Ascent 150m/descent 400m Guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day six: Mestia – Chalaadi Glacier – Mestia

In the morning we’ll drive for about 40 minutes and then start walking towards the wonderful Chalaadi glacier which starts its journey from the two summit peaks of Ushba. Part of the path is easy to walk but part is steep and stony, although the scenery throughout is well worth the effort. Approx walking time of five to six hours Ascent/descent 700m Guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day seven: Mestia – Ushguli

A three-hour drive in 4WDs will take us to the highest permanent village in Europe – Ushguli (2200m). Ushguli, and generally the whole Upper Svaneti region, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village is most famous for its abundance of watchtowers and this is where you get the view of the highest mountain in Georgia – Mt. Shkhara (5068m). In Ushguli we visit Lamaria Church (12th century) and then walk up the hill to Queen Tamar’s Tower. Approx walking time two hours Ascent/descent 250m Guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day eight: Ushguli – Shkhara Glacier – Ushguli

We start our morning walk to the foot of Mt. Shkhara, walking alongside the wonderful Enguri river which will eventually lead us to its origin – the Shkhara glacier. Afterwards we return to Ushguli. En route we also plan to visit the Lamaria church with its 12th century stone defence tower. Approximate walking time five hours Ascent/descent 500m Guesthouse (B, L, D)

Day nine: Ushguli – Zagaro Pass - Kutaisi

Today is a long but exciting day as we take a newly opened route through wild landscapes enjoying stunning views from the Zagaro Pass. Ultimately we’ll drive via the lower Svaneti town of Lentekhi to finally arrive in Kutaisi for a rest. Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 10: Kutaisi – Gori – Tbilisi

Today we will drive back east to the town of Gori, the heart of the Kartli region, and visit the Stalin Museum and Uplistsikhe Cave Town (first millennium BC) – a fascinating historical spot which was one of the main points along the Great Silk Road. In the evening we’ll arrive in Tbilisi and check into our hotel. Hotel (B, L, D)

Day 11: Tbilisi

The tour ends after breakfast at the hotel. (B)

Extensions

Arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts. Explore the country after your tour on a bespoke Wild Extension or just allow a few days to relax afterwards. Maybe choose all of the above and get cheaper flights mid-week?
Accommodation on our tours varies dramatically in Georgia and the Caucasus from smart hotels in Tbilisi to family homestays and small local guesthouses. Transport on this trip will be mini bus, 4WD vehicle if needed and by foot.

This holiday is booked by phone. Click 'book now' to make a reservation request to our travel partner who will call you back to confirm your booking details and take payment. To speak to a representative now please call 0330 333 6781.

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Departure date Nights Price  
28-Aug-2014 10 1460.00 reserve
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