The Caucasus is home to the highest mountains in Europe, glaciers and ancient villages. It is not widely known, but it also has some of the best hiking in Europe.
In North Western Georgia, in an area called Svaneti, the country’s most famous multi-day hike can be found – the Mestia to Ushguli trek. The hike takes you 57km between the two villages. Over 4 days the path meanders through 4 valleys and across mountain passes as high as 2,700 metres.
As you leave Mestia, climbing up the side of the valley the scenery gets better with every step. But the best is still to come. On day 3 you cross the Chkhunderi pass and get the views of the Adishi glacier. This is also the day you will need to navigate the much talked about crossing of the Adishi river. If you are sure-footed you can cross on foot. Otherwise take one of the horses waiting to ferry trekkers across.
Nights are spent in local guesthouses in traditional Svan villages famous for their stone defence towers. Originally built in the 9-13th Century they protected households in times of local feud. Svaneti has a bloody past. And the lawlessness continued until large scale operations were carried out by the Georgian Special Forces as late as 2004.
Today the area is peaceful, and tourism is slowly transforming the region. Villages have kept their traditional look but the lives of its inhabitants have improved. Trekkers provide a much-needed income in this remote corner of the globe.
Being so far off the beaten track means that the journey to get here involves either a long 10-hour bus trip from Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, or a combination of train and bus. A domestic flight is available but it is difficult to book from abroad. Whichever way you travel to Svaneti the travel time will be worth it and the memories of your hike will stay with you forever.
Loved reading about hiking in Georgia? This article was submitted by Kristin of @AdventuresWithEnsuite. If you would like to share where you Venture | Explore | Conquer, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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