A Photographic Exploration of Svaneti Trekking

One of the highlights of Georgia, and indeed the entire Caucasus, has to be hiking in Svaneti, the remote mountain valleys of Georgia’s northern border filled with epic peaks, lush alpine meadows and towering koshkebi (ancient stone defensive towers).  But it’s not all camping and baked beans up here, there are many day hikes from Mestia (the region’s capital) or better yet, a 4-day guest house hike perfect for anyone looking at getting into the remote nature that Georgia’s very identity is defined by.

Not to mention that the area has the highest peak in Georgia, skiing in Georgia Caucasus, the best trekking in Georgia and some truly beautiful Georgian guest house offering delicious Georgian food (well not all of them, some Mestia hotels and hotels in Svaneti can also be laughably basic – but Hotel Old House was a rare except and one of the greatest hotels in Mestia we saw). Check out this guide for hints on where to stay in Svaneti to ensure you get it right!  In order to encourage everyone to visit this little country tucked between Asia and Europe I thought I’d put together a Photographic Exploration of Svaneti Trekking, because really – a picture paints a thousand words!

Have you booked a room in Mestia, the Svaneti gateway, yet? The best places tend to sell out fast…. Compare great deals for hotels, hostels and B&B’s now with a best rate guarantee, so you can splash out on other things instead!

Svaneti Trekking

And really….Could there be any better endorsement than this!

To read about an easier trip into Georgia’s great mountains read my guide to Kazbegi, a few hours along the dramatic Georgian Military Hwy from Tbilisi.

But first, a little introduction! Svaneti is infamous within Georgia as an ancient land of wild landscapes (and people) hidden deep within the Caucasus’s peaks. This region has never been tamed by any ruler and in times of crisis the relics and jewels of Georgia were sent high up into Svaneti’s mountain valleys for safe keeping. The koshkebi are emblematic here, with Svaneti’s villages being dotted with around 175 of these UNESCO protected buildings. They were designed to protect villagers from invasion. With most built around 1,000 years ago it is impressive they are still standing, although many are crumbling and covered beautifully in moss and trees. And coincidentally its perfect for new profile pictures! There just is no way you won’t love trekking in Georgia – except I guess in the winter, but then there are always plenty of other things to do in Georgia in the winter.


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Svaneti Trekking

The four day Svaneti Trekking trip I would recommend is from Mestia to Ushguli via Zhabeshi and Adishi. The best guide I could find is available at Trekking Caucasus’s, however the Svaneti Tourism Information in Mestia has incredible [free] maps which I found just as useful – but thats it! There is certainly no need for any Svaneti tours as trekking in Georgia, at least on the established path – is safe and easy for any experienced hiker. The best season to walk here is between June and September, just be sure to take all weather gear as when it rains, it rains! An if you can afford it the Mestia to Tbilisi flight really is a great option and saves alot of time – though I did really like the train in Georgia!

Picturesque villages, glacier streams, Sveneti hospitality and crisp mountain air await you – Svaneti is truly one of those hidden places that remains remote and inaccessible, keeping its charm and beauty for only those willing to put in the effort! But enough of the boring words – as promised here is my photographic exploration of Svaneti Trekking!

Svaneti Trekking

Glaciers cracking and crashing around us; echoing down the valley. The only other sound is crickets and the gushing river far below us. Lilac wildflowers light the path ahead, curving and bending to match the mountains will. Barely visible in the distance is Adishi, just a dot that we left behind that morning. The journey ahead leads up and over the valley, my legs ache but the vista beckons ahead. I wipe the sweat from my brow and trudge on upwards to meet the bright blue sky.

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So what do you think about trekking in Georgia? Ready to book your trip to Georgia and your flight from Tbilisi to Mestia to experience Svaneti Trekking? Since you’re in the area be sure to check out the things to do in nearby Armenia and if you’re already heading there why not check out this awesome tour from Yerevan to Georgia! Or if this is not mysterious enough for you how about organising a visa and travelling to Abkhazia?
Have you booked a room in Mestia, the Svaneti gateway, yet? The best places tend to sell out fast…. Compare great deals for hotels, hostels and B&B’s now with a best rate guarantee, so you can splash out on other things instead!

  

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Further Things To Consider Before Any Adventure

Now you're all set and prepared to explore our big wide world, why not sort out everything else out all in one go? If necessary for your travel plans make sure you have brought proper travel insurance, protected your privacy by getting a secure VPN, compared all the top hotel booking sites to find just what you're after, reserved an unbeatable rental car price and - of course - booked the best flight deals!

Or maybe just forget it all and go for a last minute cruise or effortless tour instead?

Many budget travelers (including me) indulge in worldwide airport lounge access, so we can experience luxury while still slumming it in economy. Naturally, we would never leave home without a more a more general travel guide since we couldn’t possibly cover everything here!

Just add an adventurous attitude and plenty of smiles - they go a long way - and that about covers it all! Now go out, find your own path and don't forget to share your best inspiration stories with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...I'd love to hear from you!

30 Comments

  1. It is just a stunning place – I hope you get to go one day soon and experience for yourself

  2. Therie says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m blown away! I already know Georgia is a lovely country, but I never knew it has stunning landscapes to boast!

  3. Hey – I use a Sony A7 … it’s a tad expensive and I kinda regret it though. But with smartphones being so good these days you have to spend over 1k I would say to really notice the difference … plus a little bit of post editing ;$

  4. chris says:

    Cracking photos. I have been debating buying a camera for some time now. Weighing up the pros and cons and lugging it around with me. Shots like these really make e want one. What do you use and what is an average price range for something worth buying?

  5. Alessandra says:

    These pictures are absolutely amazing! I have never even heard about this trekking but you have made me add it to my bucket list. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Such a gorgeous post. A natural landscape with lush greenery, snow on mountains and a small village.
    The place is absolutely stunning and scenic. Heavenly pictures!

  7. Samantha says:

    What a beautiful picturesque place! I woudln’t think to visit Georgia but your photos are giving me inspiration to go!

  8. anna says:

    Wow! That place looks incredible! The landscape and rolly hills are stunning.

  9. Wow those photo’s are just incredible. Treking always reveals beautiful landscapes and your pictures show a true reason to trek.

  10. Viki says:

    I just told my bf that we’ll be going to Georgia next year and explore their gorgeous outdoors!

  11. Punita says:

    These are wonderful pictures! The natural landscape studded with little villages must have made the experience such a delight.

  12. Vyjay Rao says:

    What a heavenly trek. Those pictures are really stunning. You are indeed blessed to have experiences such divine natural beauty. The beauty of the landscape comes vibrantly alive in your post.

  13. Georgia is one of my favourite countries in the world. A couple of years ago I spent there 5 weeks, mostly trekking in the Caucasus. Svaneti is breathtaking and there are so many great hikes in the area. I also loved Tusheti and Khevsureti, where I did 10-day solo trek from Omalo to Kazbegi. It’s still for me one of the best travel adventures ever. Staying with shepherds, who invited me for a night in their shelter was a highlight of this trip.

  14. Those are some of the most beautiful pictures of Georgia I have ever seen. Sharing with my friend who is from Tbilisi to see if she has been. 😉

  15. Georgia is high up on my list! Great post, thanks for sharing. Happy travels 🙂

  16. Ami says:

    Everyone has said it but I am going to still say it – Amazing pictures. They are like unbelievable. The place looks like a paradise. Would love to see this one at least once.

  17. I loved the photographs. They are just stunning . i have never been trekking in my life but I know its a great activity , you get so many amazing views to shoot.

  18. Jessica says:

    WOWWWW! I am planning to go to Kyrgyzstan next month then to Georgia after. I love to see these incredible landscapes too.

  19. Kerri says:

    Yep, you’ve sold me through imagery. Looks like such a stunning place. Hiking here sounds like a great thing to do.

  20. Fantastic photos and the hike sounds wonderful. Have added to our list!

  21. I’ve neer heard of this place before! But your photos just showed this is something I should not miss <3

  22. Lara Dunning says:

    Those photos are so beautiful. Looks like you had a great trek. I’m tempted now.

  23. Claire says:

    Your photos look amazing! Really want to go trekking here now

  24. Tara says:

    Wow! This is such a beautiful spot for a hike. Did you camp or do the guest house hike? I’d really love to visit this beautiful area some day!

  25. Ashley B. says:

    Beautiful photos! I’m too lazy for hiking myself, but this is the next best thing 🙂

  26. Chandi says:

    You give us a good idea of the beauty of this place with the photos, which I enjoyed seeing. What is the food like?

  27. Jenn says:

    Oh. My. Goodness. I’m obsessed with hiking/trekking and these photos look unreal! Have you been to Montenegro? That’s my favorite spot so far that I’ve gone hiking in Europe, but it looks like a visit to Georgia is in order! Did you find it safe? Thanks for posting!

  28. Wowwww, what a beautiful part of the world! Your photos are absolutely stunning. Definitely putting Georgia on my list!

  29. kayla says:

    Absolutely gorgeous photography!!!

    http://www.kelanabykayla.com

  30. Chris says:

    Ah such a stunning spot, I am so jealous!

    We couldn’t get up there when we were in Georgia as the roads were snowed out (and we didn’t have time to linger with an appointment in Istanbul to get our Iranian visas).

    Such a bummer, but I guess that’s what we get for visiting in winter 😉