Ushguli and Mestia Hiking Tour from Kutaisi

Zagari Pass, Ushguli Architectural Complex and Ethnographic Museum, Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography, Chalaadi Glacier, Enguri Dam, Dadiani Palace

Ushguli and Mestia Hiking Tour is a trek to far-flung destinations in Georgia’s northernmost reaches. Lose yourself in discovery of the ethnically endangered Svan settlements of Ushguli and Mestia and find repose at Zagari Pass and Chalaadi Glacier as you hike the Caucasus. During this 3-day hiking tour in Svaneti region, you’ll overnight in mountain villages and experience history come to life through museums, churches and personal encounters with an ancient culture.
Ushguli settlement in Georgia’s Svaneti region lays claim to fame as the highest village in all of Europe and one of the most remote communities in the country. Along with regional capital Mestia, the towns are regarded among the most mysterious, gorgeous and culturally distinct treasures in Georgia. Nearby, the history and location of Zugdidi provides a curious link between Georgia proper, Abkhazia, the minority Svan population and, believe it or not, even Napoleon Bonaparte himself.

Meet your driver and mountain guide in Kutaisi to start your three-day hiking tour in Svaneti. Depart Kutaisi in the morning and drive to Ushguli Village (170km, 4hrs 30min).
Explore the mysterious and ethnically unique Upper Svaneti region as you drive a scenic mountain road. Take an off-road to Zagari Pass (2620 meters), passing through the wild nature of the High Caucasus in a region whose famous original architecture has earned it the nickname “Land of a Thousand Towers”. Enjoy spectacular views, countless photo opportunities and a picnic lunch along the way.

Arrive to Ushguli (2200 meters), one of the most remote settlements in Georgia. Ushguli highlights include:

  • Exploration of the village and Ushguli Architectural Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with medieval stone houses, turrets, churches, castles and watchtowers that were used as valley guard posts from the 10th- 14th centuries;
  • Visit to Lamaria Church (12th century) to admire its wall frescoes and learn its fascinating history;
  • Tour of the Ushguli Ethnographic Museum to experience life as a rustic medieval villager.
Take a 3-4 hour hike and enjoy the picturesque view of Mount Shkhara (5068 meters), the highest peak in Georgia from which the waters of the Patara Enguri River flow.
In the evening, enjoy a dinner of delicious local dishes. Overnight at a guesthouse in Ushguli.
Meals Provided: boxed lunch, dinner

After breakfast, depart Ushguli and drive to Mestia (50km, 2hrs). Upon arrival in Mestia, enjoy some free time before your guided tour of the following:

  • Nesguni Church (9th century), an unassuming chapel with intricate wood carvings;
  • St. Nicholas Church, a newly built chapel flanked by a postcard-worthy background;
  • Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography, where you can see an original Svan house (machubi) and tower (koshki), in addition to a praiseworthy collection of regional artifacts.
Continue your Svaneti trekking with a hike to Chalaadi Glacier (1850 meters), from which you’ll have a panoramic view of Mestia. After a short rest at the glacier, hike back down to Mestia to further explore its ruins and get a taste of village life.
Snap some sunset photos before dinner. Overnight in a Mestia guesthouse.
Meals Provided: breakfast, boxed lunch, dinner
Wake up early to watch the sun rise above Mount Ushba and Mount Laila, enjoying the view from a quiet garden setting. Spend the morning photographing the surrounding landscapes.
Depart Mestia and drive to Zugdidi (140km, 3hrs). On the way, view Enguri Dam, the world’s second-largest concrete dam which runs along the border of Georgia and Abkhazia.
Arrive in Zugdidi and visit Dadiani Palace (19th century), a famous mansion which once belonged to the prominent Dadiani family, who were known for their close ties to Napoleon Bonaparte. The palace now doubles as a historical museum (closed Mondays).
End of Ushguli and Mestia Hiking Tour.
Meals Provided: breakfast
After your Svaneti trekking experience, continue your Georgia tour with a drive from Zugdidi to Tbilisi (330km, 5hrs) or Batumi (130km, 2hrs 30min). There is also a daily direct train from Zugdidi to Tbilisi.

Price includes:

  • Private, local guide;
  • Transportation throughout the tour;
  • Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
  • Meals: 2 breakfasts, 2 boxed lunches, 2 dinners;
  • Mineral water (1 liter per person per day);
  • Accommodation in a guesthouse (2 nights).

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