The Independent on Svaneti: How to hike through most remote region in Georgia
11 April, 2018
The Independent on Svaneti: How to hike through most remote region in Georgia
Svaneti, Georgia’s remote highland has always been quite an attractive place for the tourists and foreign visitors of the country due to its unique wild nature, historic architecture and breathtaking landscapes.

This time, Svaneti was spotlighted by the leading British newspaper The Independent. The online newspaper has recently published quite an lengthy article about Georgia’s historic region. Author of the story is journalist Nick Redmayne, who spent three days in Svaneti and was captivated by its unique beauty.
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Svaneti. Photo
courtesy Giorgi Nikolava


Unlike other tourists, Nick was not interested only in Mestia, the magical capital of Svaneti Region, but he wanted to visit Ushguli, one of the highest villages in Europe, which is sometimes called “The village in the clouds”.

The author of the article stresses the fact that Ushguli is one of the highest populated areas throughout the Europe (located at an altitude of 2,100 metres (6,900 ft) near the foot of Shkhara, one of the highest summits of the Greater Caucasus mountains).
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Ushguli, one of the highest villages in Europe. Photo courtesy Giorgi Nikolava

Georgians themselves rarely visit this remote region due to its harsh climatic conditions (generally, winter lasts 6 months in Svaneti), its location is high in the mountains (the region is quite difficult to reach, especially in winter) and strong, sometimes peculiar character of the locals. It is also worth mentioning that Svan people still maintain their harsh traditions and habits.

But Georgia is changing quickly, and so is Svaneti. Nick Redmayne notes that the main road to Mestia has been upgraded and the town even has a flight to Tbilisi, cutting out an eight hour drive. The new accessibility caused a “tourism renaissance”.
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Shkhara, one of the highest summits of the Greater Caucasus mountains. Photo courtesy Svaneti

Georgian guides, Aleqs and Aleksandre, introduced magnificent Svaneti Region to the foreign journalist. The author expresses his unforgettable and exotic journey quite artistically and tries to describe the whole beauty of Svaneti: “A carpet of wild orchids stretch out ahead, with thousands of purple stems standing proud. Butterflies flicker between the flowers and sweetly melodious birds chatter.”

Nick was walking through the hiking trails together with the local guides, visiting the villages of Svaneti. Firstly, they arrived at Lakhiri, the village in Mestia municipality, located at the elevation of 1760 meters.
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The area is famous for its alpine flowers and unique plant species. Photo courtesy Giorgi Nikolava

“From here on in, the hike is inaccessible – even to 4x4s. Our gear stays with Rames, our smiling support driver, and we set out to Adishi, the next village, carrying only essentials,” Nick tells the readers of The Independent.

After Lakhiri, the journalist visited Adishi, the village of SVnaeti located at the elevation of 2040 meters. “Here, narrow lanes snake between buildings in disarray. Crumbling walls, sagging roofs and Svan towers wavering on their foundations. Some buildings have been refurbished – some more sympathetically than others.
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Svan Towers. Photo courtesy Giorgi Nikolava

Blockwork and UPVC will never be an ideal replacement for stone and wood,” reads the article.

According to the author, next morning they formed a straggling caravan of foreign hikers, big dogs, horses ridden by Svan boys, all making their way out of Adishi and following the Adishischala River up the valley.
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Ushba, one of the most notable peaks of the Caucasus Mountains. Photo courtesy Giorgi Nikolava

The twin peaks of Ushba, one of the most notable peaks of the Caucasus Mountains, white slopes of Tetnuldi, a prominent peak in the central part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, Shkhara, the highest mountain in Georgia located at 5,193 meters above sea level left an unforgettable impression on foreign journalist’s mind. He describes the wild nature of Svaneti in beautiful words: “below, blue sky and white snow, and tousled meadows scattered generously with wildflowers.”
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Tetnuldi. Photo courtesy Giorgi Nikolava

The author also stresses the uniqueness of the Adishi glacier, a valley glacier located in the central part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range. The length of the Adishi Glacier is 9 km (5.6 mi) and its surface area is 12.9 km2. “Six miles of imperceptibly flowing ice,” the author notes.

At the end of the article, the author tells how he finally reached Mestia, the capital of Svaneti Region. “Svaneti has stunning landscapes, outstanding trekking trails and a unique cultural heritage,” with this words he recommends the hikers from all over the world to visit Georgia’s historic Region.
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Mestia, the capital of Svaneti. Photo courtesy Giorgi Nikolava

Nick shares his experience with foreigner travelers and teaches them how to reach Svaneti:

“Wizz Air flies from Luton to Kutaisi from £66 return. From there, Mestia is a 4.5 hour drive. Otherwise, Georgian Airways flies from Gatwick to Tbilisi; from there, Vanilla Sky flies to Mestia from £19 each way.

TravelLocal (an online platform for local tour operators) offers a seven night hiking tour in Svaneti from £1,160pp. The price includes accommodation, most meals a driver and a guide.”
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Svaneti is known for its architectural treasures and picturesque landscapes. Photo courtesy Giorgi Nikolava

Svaneti is located in the northwestern part of the country. It is one of the most remote and thrilling regions of Georgia. Situated on the southern slopes of the central Caucasus Mountains and surrounded by 3,000–5,000 meter peaks, Svaneti is the highest inhabited area not only in in the Caucasus but Europe as well. Four of the 10 highest peaks of the Caucasus are located in the region.
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Svaneti is one of the most remote and thrilling regions of Georgia. Photo courtesy Giorgi Nikolava

Svaneti is known for its architectural treasures and picturesque landscapes. The area is also famous for its alpine flowers and unique plant species. This historic part of the country boasts a number of towers, built between 9th-12th centuries. Some of them are available for rent, so that the tourists can spend a night there.

Related stories:

The Independent: Inside Ushguli, The most remote village in Georgia

Skies Over Svaneti Georgia

First ski descent from Ushba Mount in Svaneti, Georgia – Thrilling footage

Top 5 wild mountainous resorts of Georgia to visit

Mestia – Magnificent capital of Georgia’s Svaneti Region
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