The Country of Georgia lies between the Black and Caspian sea, at the border between Europe and Asia. Known also as “Gem of the Caucasus”, it occupies the southern reaches of this 1100 km long mountains range. Even though the country is quite small, it is a trekkers paradise – and it doesn’t matter whether you prefer to explore its remote, medieval villages or undertake long treks in the wilderness.
Development of tourism in Georgia was for a long time hampered by wars and a lot of instability overall, but thankfully those times are finally over and the country is quickly opening up to the world.
Yet, there is still very little information about its treks and walks online. And even more surprisingly, nobody has put them on the list as of yet. So let me grab this opportunity and introduce to you 7 multi-day hikes which, in my humble opinion, are amongst the best ones this country has to offer.
1. From Mestia to Ushguli
Trek connects Mestia, center of Svaneti region with the remote mountain village of Ushguli. This is the most popular trek in Georgia and for a very good reason – it offers great natural and historical sights, is accessible and not that long. Another advantage is the possibility to sleep every night in old, rustic villages, so unlike other multi-day hikes, for this one, you don´t need a tent.
If 4 days is not enough for you, you can easily extend this hike into an adventure almost 2 weeks long and explore less touristy parts of Svaneti.
Recommended for: Hikers who are looking for best possible scenery, contact with locals, comfort and don’t mind meeting other tourists.
Distance: 58 km
Duration: 4 days
Tip: For even better views, on the first day take an alternative higher route crossing Zuruldi massif with the sleepover in Tsvirmi (instead of sleeping in Zhabeshi village).
Trail above Mestia
By Pablo Naumkin (for more photos, click on any image)
2. From Shatili to Omalo
This trek connects villages of Omalo and Shatili, historical centers of mountain regions Tusheti and Khevsureti. It’s intriguing not only by natural sights but also by several middle age villages, dominated by stone towers such as Omalo, Shatili, Dartlo and others.
First two days are spent in inhabited valley, then comes the section in the wilderness where you will meet only occasional shepherds, trekkers or border guards. The highlight of the trek is a crossing of the 3413m high Atsunta pass.
Recommended for: Those who want to experience the culture of mountain people, as well as camping in the wilds.
Duration: 5 days
Tip: You may be tempted to break camp on the ridge behind Atsunta pass as the views are incredible, but rather find some lower, better-protected place. Storms in Caucasus can be severe.
By Nela Wurmová
3. Hike through Chaukhi pass
The popular trail connecting Juta village in Kazbegi region with the Khevsureti region . Very interesting due to a proximity of the imposing Chaukhi massif with its seven sharp peaks and a necessity to scale 3338 meters high Chaukhi pass. At the other side of the pass, you will find Abudelauri lakes – three beautiful alpine lakes with different colors (green, blue and white).
If you have more time, you can turn north and visit communities of Arkhoti. Especially upper part of this remote valley is worth a visit – you can expect to find there nice gorges, waterfalls, and complete solitude. The next day you can cross Arkhoti pass and return back to Juta.
Recommended for: People who visited Kazbegi, saw the most iconic sight of Georgia and are looking for another great sceneries in its proximity.
Distance: 21 km (one-way) or 52 km (with return through Arkhoti)
Duration: 2 days (one-way) or 4 days (with return through Arkhoti)
4. Trek from Svaneti to Racha
This beautiful, but very demanding trek takes you to some of the most remote parts of Caucasus. It follows the old road, which once connected Zeskho village in Svaneti with Ghebi in Racha, but fell into disrepair a long time ago. Nowadays almost nothing remains of it, as it has been destroyed by landslides and is now almost totally overgrown.
The route is very difficult, it crosses two steep mountain passes and a completely overgrown valley of Tskhenistskali river. Not for everybody!
Recommended for: Adventurers who primarily don’t seek cultural or natural sights, but go after a sense of achievement, want to overcome obstacles and don’t mind wading through fields of 2-meter tall stinging nettles.
Distance: 39 km
Duration: 3 or 4 days
View from Rioni valley in Racha
By Michal Sochor
5. Trekking in Lagodekhi park
Caucasus is a home to numerous animal species, yes sometimes its valleys feel a bit empty, devoid of life. It is caused by an age-old hunting instinct of local people (or, to put it more bluntly, poaching).
If the wildlife is what you are looking for, you should head for Lagodekhi park, the oldest natural reserve in Georgia. This Park offers several hiking trails, the most interesting of which being the trek to Black Rock lake. You will cross ancient, preserved forest and be able to observe local fauna such as chamois, deer and mountain goats. When you climb above the treeline, some beautiful views of the mountains will open up. Trek ends near Black rocks lake, lying at the elevation of 2800 meters.
Recommended for: Hikers looking not only for natural sights but also for wildlife.
Distance: 40 km (there and back)
Duration: 3 days
Black Rock lake in Lagodekhi NP
By I. Kurtauli
6. Trekking on Keli plateau
This trek, starting in picturesque Truso valley, explores the Keli volcanic plateau which is a barren, rocky piece of land lying west of Georgian Military Highway. Only very few people ever come hiking here as this area is in the close proximity of the territory of South Ossetia and a permit from Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs is needed. The highlight of the trip is a visit to the glacial Kelitsadi lake.
If you want to spend more time in the area, you can explore also the Suatisi and Mna gorges north of Truso valley – they offer interesting rock formations, waterfalls and new unusual views of the Kazbegi massif.
Recommended for: Trekkers familiar with more touristy areas of Georgia, looking for something new and impressive.
Distance: 37 km
Duration: 3 days
7. Trek to Tobavarchkhili lake
Tobavarchkhili (Silver) lake lies at the heart of Egrisi mountains, which separates the Svaneti region from lowlands. To reach it, you have to walk for 3 days, then you can continue north to Svaneti.
There are no cultural sights such as villages or towers on the way, but it’s more than compensated by a very diverse environment – glacial lakes, rocky gorges, waterfalls, shepherds huts and much more.
What’s even better, you will meet only a few hikers, mostly Georgians. Foreign tourists with limited time and even more limited ability to remember crazy Georgian words such as “Tobavarchkhili” usually focus on better-known areas and keep this gem of Caucasus mostly unspoiled.
Recommended for: Nature lovers, who want to avoid crowds.
Duration: 5 days
Tip: Have 1 or 2 days in reserve as the area is quite rainy. If all goes well, you can spend them camping by the lake and doing day trips – good idea is to visit shepherds in Magana gorge and taste their traditional elarji meal. Or you can always try to climb various mountains surrounding the lake for even better views.
Mountains above Tobavarchkhili lake
By Max Richter
Thank you for reading all the way down here. If you think I overlooked some trek which deserves to be in the list or made some other mistake, pls write me via contact button below my photo. (I know, I know, soon I will add an option to comment articles directly). And if you enjoyed this list and are into trekking, you can name your firstborn share it or like my Fb page. Thanks again! Jozef. 🙂