Svaneti – Top Destination for Tourists
25 July, 2013
Svaneti – Top Destination for Tourists
If you ask foreigners what they liked most of all while traveling around Georgia, they will mention Svaneti – mountainous region in Western Georgia. It is often referred to with the epithets like ‘unforgettable’, ‘incomparable’, ‘unimaginable’ etc. Let’s meet Maia Kiknadze, Director of one of the leading tourism companies.
G.J: Are there any facilities for the foreign tourists to have decent holidays in Svaneti?
M.K: Svaneti is one of the components of our main itineraries. Considering the fact that the
infrastructure and the roads have been improved, it is not problematic to see Svaneti and particularly - Ushguli, by cars, minibuses or even mid-sized buses, depending on the number of tourists. As for the accommodation, there is a number of hotels in Mestia (as well as a variety of offers) and ll kind of tourists can get a desired service. In Ushguli there are not so many hotels but there are small guest-houses. The place boasts really great beautiful scenery. It should be noted that Ushguli is the highest inhabited place in Europe, which makes it even more attractive, being a UNESCO-protected site.
G.J: What kinds of tours are available in Svaneti?
M.K: Mainly cultural tours, which include museums, as well as getting acquainted with Georgian and in this case, Svanetian culture – architecture, history, churches, folk art, cuisine, etc. There are also specific religious tours. The Mestia museum was opened recently (it is included in the main museums’ list of Georgia, under the aegis of Georgian National Museum); it was closed for repairs and tourists can visit it now. There are more museums to visit. Hiking is also possible.
G.J: Why is Svaneti said to be a top destination in Georgia?
M.K: Most probably, it’s history, unique location, beautiful mountains, original towers and of course, inimitable Ushguli – the highest village in Europe.
G.J: What can you say about lowland Svaneti?
M.K: You can see it as we stop on our way, but of course, Ushguli and Mestia are the main destinations. I would like to add that a tourist rarely comes to visit only Svaneti, or Kutaisi, etc. Therefore, we also have some mixed tours, such as Imereti-Svaneti, during which we spend one night in Kutaisi (Imereti’s central town), and then continue our trip to Svaneti. We also pass the palace of Dadiani in Zugdidi.
G.J: How does the number of tourists increase from year to year?
M.K: The rise is definitely there. If we talk about this year, number of tourists from Russia and Ukraine is significant. Also, the quantity of western European tourists is growing, as well as the tourists from America and Japan. New customers appear also thanks to international expos as well as positive word of mouth about our country.
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