Georgia Hiking and Mountain Village Tour13 Days | Tbilisi, Jvari Monastery, Mtskheta, Uplistsikhe, Kutaisi, Okatse Canyon, Gelati Monastery, Mestia, Ushguli

Georgia Hiking and Mountain Village Tour

Explore the stunning mountain scenery and historical mountain villages of Georgia’s mysterious Svaneti region on your own two feet with this hiking tour. In addition, discover many of Georgia’s other historical and scenic highlights, from the mix of old and new in the vibrant capital city of Tbilisi, to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mtskheta, the ancient rock-hewn town of Uplistsikhe, and the beautiful Okatse Canyon. Get to know the culture of this fascinating country in the heart of the Caucasus as you meet the local people, taste their food and wine, and hear their stories.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Tbilisi – arrival
 
Arrive in Tbilisi, meet your driver, and transfer to a hotel for overnight.
Day 2: Tbilisi – city tour
 
Breakfast. At 09:00 start a sightseeing tour of Tbilisi. Start at Metekhi Church and the monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. Take a cable car to Narikala Fortress to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Walk past Tbilisi’s only mosque, down to the sulphur bath house district. Enjoy a stroll through the Sharden area, which is full of narrow streets with cozy cafés, wine bars, and souvenir shops, and breathe in the history of Old Tbilisi. Also visit Sioni Cathedral, Anchiskhati Basilica, and the famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre’s clock tower, before crossing the Bridge of Peace to Rike Park. After a couple of hours at your leisure, meet the rest of the group at the hotel to go for a traditional Georgian dinner and folklore show. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3: Tbilisi – Jvari – Mtskheta – Uplistsikhe – Kutaisi
 
After breakfast, visit Jvari Monastery, which is built on a hilltop and is a true architectural masterpiece of the early medieval period. From here you can enjoy the views of the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Continue to Mtskheta, one of the oldest towns in Georgia and the country’s cultural and religious centre. Mtskheta was the capital of the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli from the 3rd century BC. Visit Svetitskhoveli, which is the main cathedral of Mtskheta and a sacred place where the robe of Christ is kept. Continue to the cave town of Uplistsikhe, which dates to the Hellenistic period and is notable for its unique combination of various styles of rock-cut architecture, including both pagan and Christian. After exploring the cave town, drive to Kutaisi, the second largest city in Georgia which, according to legend, was the ultimate destination of Jason and Argonauts when they were searching for the Golden Fleece. Overnight at a hotel in Kutaisi.
Day 4: Kutaisi – Okatse Canyon – Gelati – Kutaisi
 
Breakfast. Then drive to the beautiful Okatse Canyon, a natural monument. Take a 2-3 hour walk through the historical Dadiani Forest and following a 780m hanging trail that offers breathtaking views of the canyon and the forest. You’ll also see the ruins of the 18th century palace of the Dadiani princes. The walk to the canyon is very pleasant, as the path is mainly descending – but on the way back, you should be prepared for a constant ascent. The route from the visitor centre to the canyon and back is about 7 km. Continue to Gelati Monastery and Academy (12th century), which was built by King David the Builder (considered the most powerful king in Georgia’s history). Gelati was a centre of spiritual and scientific life in the Middle Ages and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After returning to the hotel in Kutaisi you’ll say goodbye to your driver and guide from this part of the trip. Overnight at the hotel.
Hiking distance: 7 km
Day 5: Kutaisi – Mestia
 
After breakfast, meet your mountain guide and driver (with a 4x4 vehicle) to start exploring the mysterious Svaneti region. Svaneti is the home of a unique ethnic group – the heroic and courageous Svans – who are distinguished from other Georgians by their culture, traditions, and customs. The region is also famous for its original architecture and is called the “Country of a Thousand Towers”. These towers historically played both economic and defensive functions. Mestia, today’s destination, still has dozens of medieval stone houses with the watchtowers and inhabited towers that were used to protect valleys and churches between the 10th and 14th centuries. After arriving in Mestia, enjoy some free time before dinner to rest in preparation for tomorrow’s hike. Dinner and overnight at a hotel.
Day 6: Mestia – Zhabeshi
 
After breakfast, start a 4-day hike to Ushguli village, one of the highest continually-inhabited settlements in Europe (2,200m). Our destination for today is the village of Zhabeshi, located at an altitude of 1,680m. The area we’ll be hiking in is remote and beautiful: we’ll hike along the river, up hills, and across meadows. Enjoy a packed lunch on the way. After arriving in Zhabeshi, take a break before enjoying a delicious traditional Svanetian dinner. Overnight at a guesthouse.
Hiking distance: 16 km, including 763m uphill and 523m downhill
Day 7: Zhabeshi – Adishi
 
After breakfast, continue enjoying Svaneti’s beautiful nature as we hike to Adishi village, which is located at an altitude of 2,040m. The route passes through beautiful forests and meadows. Enjoy a packed lunch on the way. After arriving in Adishi, take a break before dinner. Dinner and overnight at a guesthouse.
Hiking distance: 10 km, including 909m uphill and 527m downhill
Day 8: Adishi – Iprali
 
Breakfast. Then start hiking towards another beautiful village, Iprali, which is located at an altitude of 1,800m. Today will be the longest day of hiking. During the hike, cross the river on horseback and enjoy the beautiful views of the Caucasus mountains from the Chkunderi Pass (2,655m). Enjoy a packed lunch on the way. After arriving in Iprali, have dinner. Overnight at a guesthouse.
Hiking distance: 18 km, including 860m uphill and 1,070m downhill
Day 9: Iprali – Ushguli
 
Breakfast. Today we’ll hike 12 km to reach our destination, the village of Ushguli, which is located at an altitude of 2,200m. Enjoy a packed lunch on the way. After arriving in Ushguli, enjoy some free time to rest or wander around the village. In the evening, enjoy a delicious dinner of local dishes. Overnight at a guesthouse.
Hiking distance: 12 km, including 677m uphill and 436m downhill
Day 10: Ushguli – Mestia
 
After breakfast, explore Ushguli. In recognition of its outstanding cultural value to humanity, the Ushguli Architectural Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy a stroll through Ushguli’s old, narrow streets and visit the Lamaria Church complex with its impressive 12th century wall frescoes. Locals believe that Queen Tamara was buried under this church. Enjoy a picturesque view of Mount Shkhara which, at 5,068m, is the highest peak in Georgia. Then hike for 6-7 hours along the Enguri River towards the Shkhara glacier. While, for safety reasons, you’ll not be able to walk on the glacier itself, the views of the glacier, mountains, and river are beautiful. Have a packed lunch on the way. After the hike, return to Mestia for dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Hiking distance: 12-14 km
Day 11: Mestia – Zugdidi – Tbilisi (by train)
 
Breakfast, followed by a free morning in Mestia. We suggest visiting the Mestia Ethnographic Museum, exploring an original Svan house (“machubi”) and tower (“koshki”), and taking the cable car to Hatsvali Mountain. In the afternoon, transfer to Zugdidi train station to catch the 18:15 train to Tbilisi. Please make your own arrangements for dinner – we recommend eating in Zugdidi or before leaving Mestia. Arrive in Tbilisi at 23:52 and transfer to a hotel for overnight.
Day 12: Tbilisi – free day
 
Breakfast. Free day in Tbilisi (guide and transportation are not provided). Overnight at the hotel.
We suggest the following activities and places to visit in Tbilisi:
  • Georgian National Museum on Rustaveli Avenue – to visit the “Archaeological Treasury” exhibition.
  • National Gallery on Rustaveli Avenue – to see the works of the famous Georgian artists Niko Pirosmani, David Kakabadze, and Lado Gudiashvili.
  • Tbilisi flea market at Dry Bridge – where you can find antiquities (many of which are from the Soviet era), paintings by local artists, and handmade Georgian souvenirs.
  • David Agmashenebeli Avenue – a recently-renovated pedestrian street full of historical buildings that have beautiful facades in the art nouveau, pseudo gothic, and classicist styles with a mix of typical Georgian ornamentation and balconies. All along the street there are plenty of cozy art cafés, galleries, shops, and wine bars.
  • Dezertirebi Bazaar – which sells local, natural products including Georgian sweets (such as churchkhela); various types of dried fruits, nuts, and spices; and Georgian cheeses.
  • Funicular railway to Mtatsminda Mountain – which offers a beautiful view of Tbilisi.
  • Wander around Sololaki – a neighborhood full of art nouveau houses
  • For nature lovers, we offer a day hike to Birtvisi Canyon and Fortress. Contact us to find out more.
In the evening, you can visit the famous Tbilisi sulphur bath houses to relax in the hot, naturally sulphur-enriched water after a long day of exploring (both public and private rooms are available, but private ones should be booked in advance).
For those who are interested in culture, we suggest visiting the State Opera House of Georgia of Georgia to enjoy a ballet or opera performance (opera.ge). You can find out what other cultural events are on in Tbilisi, and book tickets, at tkt.ge.
Day 13: Tbilisi – departure
 
Breakfast, followed by hotel check out (by 12:00). Free time until your transfer to Tbilisi International Airport. End of the tour.
  • All transfers;
  • Accommodation, with breakfasts included;
  • Sightseeing tour programme with local, English-speaking guide on days 2-4;
  • Local, English-speaking mountain guide in Svaneti on days 5-10;
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Transport for your luggage during the Svaneti hike (please note: you will need to carry your own day pack but your main luggage will be transported separately to the guesthouse each day);
  • Horses for the river crossing in Svaneti;
  • Meals: 12 breakfasts, 5 lunches (on days 6-10), 6 dinners in Svaneti (on days 5 to 10), and a welcome dinner in Tbilisi;
  • Economy class train ticket Zugdidi-Tbilisi;
  • Mineral water (500ml per person per day).
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • Personal expenses;
  • Tips are not included, but would be appreciated;
  • International flights before and after the tour.

 

Accommodation:

Economy Option
Comfort Option
Lux Option
Tbilisi - 4 nights
Tiflis or similarRiver Side, Citrus or similarTiflis Palace, Ambassadori or similar
Kutaisi - 2 nights
Solomon, Terrace Kutaisi, Old Town, Empire or similarKing David, Tskaltubo Plaze, Argo Boutique or similarBest Western Congress
Mestia - 2 nights
Chubu, Villa Mestia, or similar guesthouseBangurianiBanguriani
Zhabeshi - 1 night
Local guesthouseLocal guesthouseLocal guesthouse
Adishi - 1 night
Local guesthouseLocal guesthouseLocal guesthouse
Iprali - 1 night
Local guesthouseLocal guesthouseLocal guesthouse
Ushguli - 1 night
Local guesthouseLocal guesthouseLocal guesthouse

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