Svaneti Georgia (Final Information, 10 Matters to Do, Historical past & Journey Ideas)

Svaneti Georgia may simply be my favourite place in my favourite nation on the planet – so should you’re right here, I’m fairly jealous of you as a result of that in all probability means you’re contemplating touring to Svaneti quickly.

And, boy oh boy, are you in for a deal with … Svaneti is an unimaginable vacation spot that feels a bit like visiting Winterfell from Sport of Thrones.

That will help you plan your journey to Svaneti Georgia, this Final Journey Information is full of all the data you want in your go to: together with the most effective matters to do in Svaneti, the most effective motels in Mestia and Ushguli, learn how to get from Tbilisi to Svaneti, a brief background on the historical past of Svaneti, and so a lot extra!

Why must you belief me to assist plan your Svaneti journey?

Effectively, over the course of two journeys in 2017 and late summer time 2019, I’ve spent a pair weeks exploring Svaneti with penning this information for you in thoughts. Plus, my weblog is among the high English-language Georgia journey blogs.

In case you’re headed to Georgia make sure to additionally take a look at my record of the greatest locations to go to in Georgia, the greatest matters to do in Georgia, and my Georgia Journey Itinerary!

So let’s dive proper into this Svaneti Georgia journey information. That will help you get round, right here’s a useful Desk of Contents (click on to leap to completely different sections):

[Disclosure: links to products or services may earn an affiliate commission for my blog – it helps keep me on the road!]

The Unbelievable Historical past of Svaneti Georgia

Travel Lemming blogger with Georgia Flag looking out over Ushguli Svaneti
Me searching over the towers of Ushguli

No person is aware of exactly how lengthy individuals have lived in Svaneti, however one matter is for certain:

Svaneti has been inhabited for a really, very very long time.

There’s proof of Neolithic inhabitants going again to the Stone Age (12,000+ years in the past!) on the archaeological websites of Lebikva and Lazga. The historic report for Svaneti turns into a bit extra clear after the third millennium B.C., that means that archaeologists have a reasonably clear report of the area’s tradition going again virtually 5,000 years.

Throughout the Bronze and Center Ages, Svaneti was a significant metallurgical web site ruled by the Colchis, who equipped the remainder of Georgia with the copper that was so essential to the event of the complete area.

Ancient weapons in Svaneti Georgia
Historic weapons on show on the Svaneti Museum

Over the centuries, the Svan individuals developed a fierce warrior mentality, because the area’s strategic location meant it was a relentless goal of invaders. Svaneti was even one of many few areas that fended off the Mongols.

Svaneti is legendary for its many stone towers, defensive constructions constructed by these households who may afford it on high of their houses beginning within the ninth century.

Fashionable Svaneti has been bothered by just a few tragic pure disasters which depressed its economic system, however the latest rise of tourism to the area has dramatically improved the usual of dwelling for the Svan (all of whom I spoke to are very desperate to obtain extra guests, after millennia of attempting to maintain them out).

The above brief historical past of Svaneti is predicated totally on the data I realized whereas visiting the Svaneti Museum of Historical past and Ethnography – a superb matter to do in Svaneti to be taught extra in regards to the wealthy historical past of this area and the Svan tradition.

10 Greatest Matters to Do in Svaneti

In case you’re planning a visit to the area, you’ll be spoiled for choices when deciding what to do in Svaneti Georgia.

Having fun with the unimaginable juxtaposition of nature and historical past needs to be on the high of your record, however there’s one thing for everybody on this record of the 10 greatest matters to do in Svaneti Georgia:

1. Prime Matter to Do in Svaneti: Go Trekking or Mountaineering

Hikers in Ushguli Georgia

A fast look across the many out of doors gear retailers in Mestia makes one matter very clear:

Svaneti Georgia is a veritable mecca for hikers.

Whether or not it’s a fast day hike round Mestia, or a multi-day trek between Svaneti’s many mountain cities, mountaineering is undoubtedly one of many high sights in Svaneti for vacationers.

Top-of-the-line elements of mountaineering in Svaneti is that you may keep in a single day at guesthouses within the villages, which suggests you don’t want to hold a lot meals or heavy tenting tools (until tenting is your matter, in fact!).

2. Most Distinctive Place to Go to in Svaneti: Ushguli

Watchtowers in Ushguli Georgia
Ushguli regarded unimaginable from my drone

Ushguli consists of 4 small villages tucked away within the mountains that collectively make up the very best everlasting settlement in Europe – and, in my private opinion, Ushguli is the only greatest place to go to in Svaneti Georgia.

You’ll both want to go to Ushguli as a part of a trek or by hiring a 4×Four in Mestia to courageous the two hour lengthy bumpy experience alongside the only filth street that winds for hours round mountain gorges.

Till ten years in the past, that street was rife with bandits and thieves, making journey to Ushguli a mission for under essentially the most daring. Lately, the federal government has been slowly paving the now-safe street (as of my 2019 go to, solely in regards to the first third had been paved).

Whereas many vacationers simply go to for a day journey, I extremely counsel staying in a single day in Usghuli to actually soak on this magical place!

3. Prime Matter to Do in Mestia: Discover the Svaneti Museum of Historical past and Ethnography

The Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography
The Svaneti Museum of Historical past and Ethnography

To really perceive what makes this space so magical, it’s important to go to the Svaneti Museum of Historical past and Ethnography in Mestia.

This small however well-designed museum options exhibitions showcasing artifacts that expose the unimaginable cultural historical past of the area. A go to solely takes about 30 minutes, however is properly value it and is a good matter to do in Svaneti throughout rain or unhealthy climate.

Visiting information for the Museum:

  • Deal with: A. Ioseliani 7, Mestia
  • Opening Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM (closed Mondays)
  • Value: 5 GEL (~$2)

4. Greatest Matter to Do in Winter: Go Snowboarding

Ski Lift in Mestia Svaneti Georgia
Mestia in winter is a good ski vacation spot

Most vacationers to Svaneti go to in the course of the heat summer time months, however should you courageous a visit to Svaneti in the course of the winter, you’ll be rewarded with what could be probably the most underrated (and definitely probably the most inexpensive) ski locations on the planet.

The ski season in Svaneti runs roughly from December to April, and also you’ll discover a number of ski slopes round Mestia: the Hatsvali/Mt Zuruldi resort simply exterior of city and the Tetnuldi resort about Eight km drive away.

5. Prime Enjoyable Matter to Do in Summer season: Ascend the Hatsvali Elevate to the Highest Restaurant in Georgia

Riding the Ski Lift to Zuruldi Restaurant in Mestia
The views of Svaneti from the elevate are unimaginable in summer time too!

The Hatsvali-Zuruldi ski elevate in Mestia isn’t only for winter sport lovers although!

In actual fact, my information instructed me that the elevate truly sees way more utilization in the course of the summer time months, when you possibly can experience the elevate to the highest and revel in a meal and the vistas of Restaurant Zuruldi, the very best restaurant in Georgia.

After I visited on a sunny day in summer time of 2019, the highest had a decidedly summer-party kind ambiance (the elevate operators had been even blasting social gathering music!).

Elevate tickets price 15 GEL for Adults or 10 GEL for youngsters (you can too hike to the highest and experience the elevate down at no cost).

6. Greatest Place to Go to on the Drive to Mestia: The Enguri Dam

Enguri Dam in Svaneti Georgia
The Enguri Dam from the air

Break up between the border with the disputed territory of Abkhazia is the biggest dam in Georgia: the stunningly beautiful Enguri Dam makes for an awesome stopover to interrupt up the lengthy journey from Zugdidi up the mountain street to Mestia.

The Georgian authorities plans to show the dam into a significant vacationer attraction, full with a guests’ middle and Instagram-friendly glass pedestrian bridge. As of my most up-to-date go to in 2019, nonetheless, the vacationer amenities on the dam had been nonetheless very fundamental.

7. Prime Matter to Do for Households: Go to Margiani’s Home Museum

Throne at Margiani House Museum Mestia Svaneti Georgia
Like Joffrey however much less evil 🙂

See how Svan households historically lived inside this “home,” which is definitely one of many stone watchtowers that make Svaneti really feel a bit like a scene from Sport of Thrones.

You possibly can climb to the highest of the watchtower for some particular views (simply be protected and don’t let your youngsters pull a Bran Stark please!). Oh, and also you even take an image on the “throne” historically reserved for the top of the Svan household.

Visiting Data for Margiani’s Home Museum in Mestia:

  • Deal with: Lanchvali Road
  • Opening Hours: technically 10 AM – 6 PM (closed Mondays), however ask your resort or information that will help you as experiences on-line point out opening hours might be sporadic.

8. Greatest Instagram Spot in Svaneti: The Tower of Love

The Tower of Love in Svaneti Georgia
The Tower of Love

There are just a few native legends about how this lone picturesque tower acquired constructed. My information instructed me that an historic Svan girl spent a lot time ready for her misplaced lover right here that her brothers constructed her this tower as shelter, although there are at the very least just a few completely different legends explaining the tower’s historical past.

For 1 Lari, you possibly can climb to the highest and take a photograph. Situated on the street from Mestia to Usghuli, the Tower of Love makes for a pleasant fast photograph stopover in your journey.

9. Greatest Matter to Do in Mestia at Evening: Watch a Conventional Georgian Musical Efficiency

Georgian Singers at Cafe Laila in Mestia Svaneti
Georgian Singers at Cafe Laila in Mestia Svaneti

Come dusk in Mestia, the city’s many cafes and eating places come alive with conventional musical performances by native bands.

Maintain an eye fixed out on the restaurant indicators in Mestia for particular particulars. Cafe Laila within the central principal sq. hosts probably the most standard performances most nights beginning round 8:30 PM.

10. Most Scrumptious Matter to Do in Svaneti: Get pleasure from The Native Delicacies

Chvishdari in Mestia Svaneti Georgia
Chvishdari (a conventional Svan dish)

Georgia’s many areas are famed for his or her distinctive native delicacies, and Svaneti is not any completely different.

Dishes you possibly can strive embody Chvishdari, a cornbread and cheese dish pictured above, Tashmijabi, a gooey mashed-potato like creation, and Kubdari, a meat and cheese stuffed bread.

Wash all of it down with some native do-it-yourself wine or cha cha (a powerful Georgian spirit).

Oh, and Svaneti is particularly well-known for its Svanuri Marili – or Svanetian salt. Most eating places could have it on the desk, and avenue distributors promote packets of it that make for an awesome present to convey house out of your journey to Svaneti Georgia.

The place to Keep in Svaneti – Prime Guesthouses and Motels in Mestia and Ushguli

Chalet Mestia - a Hotel in Mestia Svaneti
My cozy mattress at Chalet Mestia Svaneti

Lodging choices are comparatively inexpensive all through Svaneti Georgia, and there may be nonetheless a tradition – leftover from the Silk Street – of household run guesthouses that settle for walk-up vacationers. That is very true in Ushguli, and makes for an an attention-grabbing night having dinner and copious do-it-yourself wine with a Svan household.

Nonetheless, Svaneti’s meteoric rise as a vacationer vacation spot implies that it’s greatest to guide motels forward – particularly for stays in Mestia and Ushguli. So right here’s a fast information to some wonderful lodging choices in Svaneti Georgia that you may safely lock in proper now:

Prime Motels in Mestia, Svaneti Georgia

Prime Guesthouses and Motels in Ushguli

Guesthouses in Usghguli Georgia

Vacationers used to the next customary ought to keep in mind that even the most effective motels in Usghuli are fairly fundamental. However the rustic really feel and conventional hospitality (most provide dinner and wine within the room value) is a part of Ushguli’s attraction.

Find out how to Arrange Excursions to Svaneti

Travel Lemming in Svaneti Georgia
Me having fun with my tour of Svaneti with JayWay

Does touring to Svaneti Georgia sound unimaginable however a bit too difficult to prepare your self?

Whereas Svaneti has historically been a vacation spot for impartial trekkers, more and more it’s drawing a greater variety of vacationers. So should you choose to have another person deal with the logistics for you, taking a tour to Svaneti might be an effective way to discover it.

I traveled to Svaneti in summer time 2019 as a part of a sponsored journey with JayWay Journey, a novel tour operator with a specialty for semi-independent journey – which suggests they deal with the logistics of your journey, however you journey in a non-public group with all the flexibleness and selection of impartial journey. Click on right here to take a look at JayWay’s Georgian itineraries.

Alternatively, should you choose group excursions, you will discover a preferred Four day tour to Svaneti right here.

FAQs about Journey to Svaneti, Georgia

Have questions on your journey to Svaneti?

Listed here are solutions to a number of the mostly requested questions on journey to Svaneti Georgia:

How Do I Get to Svaneti?

Possibility 1: Fly (should you’re fortunate!) – The brand new, easiest method is by way of a budget, government-subsidized flights now leaving a pair occasions every week from Tbilisi for Mestia. Guide by way of e-mail to Vanilla Sky. However be forewarned: they guide up approach prematurely!

Possibility 2: Bus/Minivan (Marshrutka) – Alternatively, shared buses and minivans depart often every morning from Tbilisi for the grueling Eight hour journey to Mestia. Buses price round 30 GEL. The journey is simpler if completed from Kutaisi, Batumi, or Zugdidi.

Possibility 3: Practice + Marshrutka – Maybe the preferred route from Tbilisi to Mestia is to take the in a single day prepare to Zugdidi, then switch for the Four hour Marshtrutka experience to Mestia.

When is the Greatest Time to Go to Mestia, Ushguli, and Svaneti?

Nate the Travel Blogger in Svaneti Georgia
Me having fun with summer time in Mestia

The summer time months from about June to early September are the warmest and hottest time to go to Svaneti. It’s when the mountaineering trails will probably be open and when the nights will probably be warmest (although it nonetheless can get fairly chilly in summer time!).

Alternatively, Svaneti is a rising winter sport vacation spot. Ski season lasts from roughly December by April, and visiting in January or February means you’ll doubtless get to see the fantastic thing about snow on Svaneti’s watchtowers!

Is Svaneti Protected to Go to?

Sure, Svaneti is usually protected for journey. The crime issues of a decade in the past are gone and also you’ll discover that Svaneti is usually very protected on that entrance.

With that stated, the roads in Svaneti (particularly from Mestia to Ushguli) are a bit treacherous, and hikers and trekkers have to train warning and look ahead to avalanches, mudslides, and floods.

The underside line is that Svaneti may be very distant and so it’s a good suggestion to get journey insurance coverage for Georgia although. You possibly can click on right here to match insurance policies on TravelInsurance.com.

What Ought to I Pack for My Journey?

Keep in mind to pack a jacket and heat garments even in the summertime because it will get chilly all yr lengthy at evening!

You’ll additionally positively wish to convey sunscreen, insect repellent, rain gear, and good mountaineering footwear.

Additionally, make sure to take a look at my information to discovering the greatest journey backpacks for Europe.

The place Ought to I Journey Subsequent in Georgia?

There are such a lot of unimaginable locations to go to in Georgia, so make sure to discover a few of them after your journey to Svaneti.

I counsel testing my full Georgia Journey Itinerary for more information!

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That’s it for this Final Information to Svaneti! Have a query? Scroll down and depart a remark!

And earlier than you permit make sure to take a look at these useful articles for planning your journey to Georgia:

Oh, and should you’re on Pinterest, click on the under picture to pin this put up for later:

Svaneti is a remarkable isolated mountain region in Georgia (the country). Learn why it's one of the most incredible travel destinations on the planet.

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