Svaneti, one of the most remote areas of Georgia, is a land of medieval defense towers, breathtaking nature, 10 highest peaks of the Caucasus Mountain range, and UNESCO World Heritage Site. With recently renovated infrastructure, the area offers plenty of things to do for its visitors, and we compiled the best activities you can enjoy on your next trip to Svaneti.
Located 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) above sea level, Mestia is a great spot to start exploring the region. From here, you can walk to glaciers, learn about the Svan culture at the museum, try local delicacies, and ski at one of Georgia’s ski resorts.
Visit the History and Ethnography Museum
Photo Source: wikkicommons.org
This is one of the most important museums you must visit in Georgia. Located in Mestia, the museum was founded in 1936 and showcases several significant historical artifacts both from Svaneti and the rest of the country. Here, you’ll learn about the lifestyle of Svans, see unique engravings and icons, explore medieval weaponry, and see unique works of jewelry to name a few.
Learn more about the Georgian Alpinist
Mestia-born alpinist Mikheil Khergiani (1932-1969) was a Merited Master of Sport, who won seven gold medals in mountaineering and rock climbing at the USSR Championships. The house museum shows his memorabilia such as photos, clothes, climbing equipment and awards.
Embark on a trek to Chaladi Glacier
Chaladi Glacier Photo Source: beyondchasingdreams
If you are not a fan of long hikes and camping, but you prefer a small day-trips, then hiking to Chaladi Glacier might be your cup of tea. At 1,850 meters (6,069 feet) above the sea level, the trek takes only five to six hours both ways. This relatively moderate hike, with a little elevation gain is the only one that extends into a frozen zone offering breathtaking views.
Explore the villagesof Svaneti
For those of you who don’t like walking, there are minibuses that operate from Mestia to its neighboring villages such as Mazeri, Mele, Lentekhi, and Soli. However, their schedule might not be consistent and the best way to take advantage of your limited time here, would be to take a taxi. Locals are used to tourists and hikers who come to their small villages, therefore they are welcoming and friendly.
Hike up to Ushguli
Ushguli Village Photo Source: wikkicommons.org
Hiking lovers will enjoy their time in Svaneti, as there are plenty of opportunities here. One of the most popular trek to embark is from Mestia to Ushguli. Taking around four days, the path is well marked and the tourist information center in Mestia has all the information you need. Ushguli is one of the most remote villages of Georgia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the highest settlement in Europe.
Don’t worry about the accommodation, each village along the trek has a guesthouse for you to stay overnight. However, if you’re not up to that long hike, there are minibuses going to the village.
Visit Lamaria Church in Ushguli
Lamaria Church Photo Source: georgianjournal.ge
Having Shkhara mountain as the background, Lamaria Church offers spectacular views of the surrounding. Named after the Virgin Mary, the church has unique and old frescos inside.
Embark on a trip towards the Shkhara Glacier
Shkhara Mountain Photo Source: en.wikipedia.org
Once in Ushguli, you can also hike to Shkhara Glacier, which is one of the most beautiful hikes you can do in Svaneti. The pathway might not be pleasant as it follows the dirt road, but the views of Georgia’s highest peak is worth it.
Enjoy panoramic views of Tetnulti Mountain
Tetnuldi Photo Source: medium.com
Svaneti is home to the highest restaurant and hotel in Georgia, located at Mount Zuruldi. From here, you have breathtaking views of Tetnuldi and the Caucasus Mountain Range. In order to get there, you need to drive to Hatsvali and then take a 1.5 kilometer (0.93 mi) long ropeway.
Hike to some of the most beautiful lakes
Georgia boasts with stunning lakes and some of them are situated in Svaneti. Koruldi Lakes is a must visit places ones in Svaneti. It’s a great day hike opportunity from Mestia. Laying at foot of Mount Ushba, the trek takes around seven hours with gorgeous views along the way.
Try local Cuisine
Kubdaari Photo Source: ratatui.ge
Georgia’s every region has its cuisine and Svaneti is no exception. Even though some of its meals are spread across the country, to get the real, authentic taste, it’s always good to try them locally. Kubdari, Tashmijabi and Fetvraal are the staples of the region.
Ski until April
Skiing in Svaneti Photo Source: Svanetibackcountry.com
Ski lovers will enjoy their time in Svaneti as the skiing season here lasts until mid-April. The ski resort Hatsvali is great for both snowboarding and skiing with 5,6 km long slopes of different difficulty. There are four lifts operating in the area to take you do any slope you prefer. The ski season varies each year but on average you can come here from December to April.