9 Awesome Mountain Villages in Georgia
04 August, 2015
9 Awesome Mountain Villages in Georgia
Georgia is a curious place crowned at the top by the Higher Caucasus Mountains to the north of the country. While cities like Tbilisi and Batumi are beginning to rake in the tourists as the country gradually gains popularity, to really get a true feel for Georgia, it’s best to visit its small towns and villages hidden up in remote (and some not so remote) regions in the mountains, the caucasianchallenge.com reports.
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“The Caucasian Challenge goes through a few of
these mountain villages in Georgia, others not, but that only gives you more incentive to spend some extra time here once the rally is over.

Here are our top picks of Georgia’s best mountain villages!”- the web site says.

“Stepantsminda, Kazbegi
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If you’ve seen any picture postcard of Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains, chances are it’s the church that hovers above the village of Kazbegi (also called Stepantsminda) and under Mount Kazbek – Georgia’s highest mountain. This is one of the more popular mountain destinations in the country, mostly due to its proximity to the capital Tbilisi, which means it can be visited in on a daytrip. The hike up to the church is pretty spectacular, and the journey on the old Military Highway won’t cause you to have a heart attack every 5 metres.

Ushguli, Svaneti

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Tucked up in Upper Svaneti, a region that has gained UNESCO recognition, this settlement can lay claim to the name of being Europe’s highest continually inhabited village. Ushguli is actually a village split up into four hamlets, and is famed for its crumbling defensive towers that are typically characteristic of Svan architecture. Travelling off the beaten track here feels like taking a step back into the past.

Shatili, Khevsureti

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The region of Khevsureti is one of Georgia’s most remote areas. It’s hard to get mobile phone reception here, not to mention there is no electricity here (except for the odd generator here and there). Shatili is the region’s largest settlement, and home to a handful of families who abandon the area in the winter, save for one family who hold the fort when the area gets snowed in and have to make do with supplies that’s airlifted into them. The village is made up of a cluster of medieval towers and is pretty spectacular as it is.

Omalo, Tusheti

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Tusheti is also one of Georgia’s more remote regions, and has an even worse road up to it than Khevsureti. However, unlike Khevsureti, you’ll find a sizable population (in comparison) and numerous villages scattered about. Omalo is the largest, and is best known for its old fortress crowning the top. It might be quite a hike up from the main part of the village, but the view from the top is worth it.

Ambrolauri, Racha

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Racha might not have the remote beauty of Svaneti, Tusheti and Khevsureti, or the proximity to Tbilisi like Kazbegi, but Racha is one of the most interesting wine regions in the country. The climate here is perfect for growing grapes, which makes this mountain town of Ambrolauri the perfect stop for wine and mountain lovers… probably why we like coming here on the Caucasian Challenge. Not to mention that the road from Ushguli to Ambrolauri is deliciously bad!

Mestia, Svaneti

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Mestia was once like Ushguli, a Svan settlement with ancient towers and mountain landscape, but ever since the new road from Zugdidi opened, it’s started to turn into a mini Swiss resort. If you want to get a sense of the Caucasus Mountains with more home comforts than Mestia is a better bet.

Mutso, Khevsureti

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So close to Chechnya, you can see the guards patrolling up and down the ridge that marks the border. This is the last settlement in Khevsureti accessible by car, and home to one family. However, the interesting thing about Mutso is its huge ruined city that hangs above it on a rocky outcrop. It’s quite a challenging climb, but worth it for the views across the valley. It is most definitely one of the most spectacular sites in the Caucasus Mountains.

Dartlo, Tusheti

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The village of Dartlo is tucked even further into the mountains around the region of Tusheti. It looks like something out of a fairytale, nestled into the mountains with the Alazani river flowing by and a waterfall nearby. The historic village might be small, but it does offer a lot of homestays and even a café.

Shenako, Tusheti

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This highland village is set just outside Omalo. It’s best known landmark is the old church of the Holy Trinity, which sits alone on a hillside overlooking the valley below. It’s a small community, but if you want to stay somewhere in a remote part of the mountains, this is a good place to do it.”

Related Stories:

Racha – Georgia’s Forgotten Mountain Region


Malachite of the Caucasus - Exotic Tusheti Reserve


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