Example Itinerary

Georgia: Hiking the Greater Caucasus

Duration
13 days / 12 nights
Price Per Person
Interests
Trekking, Amazing Landscapes, Open Spaces
Destinations
Georgia

More than half of Georgia is mountainous, making it a hiker’s delight. This 13-day itinerary explores the mountains in Georgia’s north, the Greater Caucasus, that it shares with Russia. Discover both Kazbegi and Svaneti regions, the two most popular and spectacular hiking destinations. Explore not just the common trails but also go off the beaten path to remote unspoiled corners and take on a couple challenges along the way. Experience the grandeur of the great outdoors in Georgia, from flower-strewn alpine meadows and towering snow-capped peaks to near-deserted valleys, ancient settlements, and pristine wilderness. 

This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.

Highlights

  • Kazbegi’s Alpine Valleys: Due to its accessibility all-year-round, Kazbegi is a popular mountain destination yet few wander beyond Stepantsminda. This journey explores the lesser traveled Truso, Sno, and Khada valleys, revealing the quiet charms of these remote corners. 
  • Svanetian Highlands: Wild and mysterious, Svaneti lures intrepid travelers with its pristine natural beauty, folklore, and preserved history. Take to Svaneti’s beautiful trails and immerse yourself in a grand landscape of ancient towers, medieval stone villages, wildflower-carpeted meadows,  glass lakes, and some of the most impressive peaks in the Caucasus. 
  • Okatse Gorge: Take the exciting opportunity to stand suspended directly over Okatse Gorge, over 150 feet from the bottom. This natural river gorge is a picturesque site with a pathway that leads to a cantilevered bridge overhanging the canyon, rewarding those who brave the heights with panoramic vistas of the surrounding nature and Okatse River below. 

Day-by-Day

Day 1

Map

Tbilisi »

 Arrive in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital and the heart of the Caucasus. Proceed through immigration and security to the arrivals hall where you will be met by your private guide and driver. Transfer to your hotel by luxury sedan, check in, and enjoy the rest of your evening at leisure. 

Hotel Options

Day 2

Map

Tbilisi »

Today will be spent exploring the East-meets-West city of Tbilisi, with stops at iconic sights and landmarks as well as hidden gems. Conquered and reconquered for centuries, Tbilisi’s long history is evident in its buildings.   Begin from the 13th-century Metekhi church where you can take in views over the Old Town before wandering the charming cobblestone streets, past colorful homes with iconic wooded balconies, restored and repurposed Soviet-era buildings, hidden cafes and bohemian boutiques, a smattering of churches, and a hodgepodge of old and modern architecture. Take a cable car up a steep hill to Narikala Fortress, an ancient Persian citadel that dominates the Old Town skyline. From here you can gaze down over the city and Mtkvari River. A meandering scenic trail will take you past the Mother Georgia statue to the historic area lined with centuries-old domed brick sulfur bathhouses. Finish the day at the History Museum where you can see the Archaeological Treasury with its famous ‘Golden Fund’, an exhibition of more than 600 ancient Georgian gold and silver items and jewelry found during excavations. Alternatively, visit the popular flea market to experience the funky side of Tbilisi. An eclectic mix of unique items is on offer at this scavenger’s wonderland, from Soviet memorabilia to household items to artwork. 

Tbilisi

Day 3

Map

Stepantsminda »

This morning, head to Mtskheta just half an hour north from central Tbilisi at the confluence of two rivers. Nowadays a small provincial capital, Mtskheta was the ancient capital of Georgia and a significant economical and political center. Due to its historical significance and collection of several cultural monuments, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. As the birthplace of Christianity in Georgia, Mtskheta still serves as its religious center and a must-see for those interested in the country’s religious foundation. The two most important sites are Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral where it is believed the Robe of Christ is buried. Afterwards, make your way to the Great Caucasus Mountains along the famous Georgian Military Highway. Enroute, stop to admire the Ananuri complex which overlooks the Zhinvali reservoir. After the scenic drive, arrive in Stepantsminda and check in to your hotel for the evening.

Hotel Options

Day 4

Map

Stepantsminda »

Begin your exploration of the great outdoors with a drive through the spectacular Sno Valley. Travel along a narrow road deep into the mountains to the small village of Juta at 2160 meters. Tucked away among towering peaks, this fairy-tale village remains mostly untouched due to heavy snowfall that makes it inaccessible from the rest of the country for six months a year. Begin your walk from the village towards the foot of Mt. Chaukhebi. After a gentle ascent for half an hour, you will start to see the picturesque Mt. Chaukhebi. Continue along the trail and enjoy the alpine scenery before returning to Juta. Afterwards, drive through beautiful valleys and woodland to the iconic Gergeti Trinity Church, which is arguably Georgia’s most picturesque and popular attraction. Located atop a steep hill against a grand backdrop of the snow-covered Caucasus, the juxtaposition of the modest church makes a striking and unforgettable image. Back at Stepantsminda, learn about the traditional handicraft of felting and try different types of homemade jams. 

Day 5

Map

Gudauri

Continue your adventure in the mountains as you drive past age-old villages and alpine meadows to Truso Valley. A popular area for hiking, Truso Valley is where you start to feel the true ‘wilds’ of the Caucasus. There is a main trail that follows along a river and leads to a fortress. Explore the valley and marvel in the scenery of  abandoned hamlets, colored mineral springs, and towering mountains. After visiting the abandoned village of Ketrisi and its beautiful watchtower, return to Truso, then drive to Gudauri where you will overnight at a local guesthouse.

Hotel Options

Day 6

Map

Kutaisi »

Today’s hike takes you around the spectacular Khada Valley. In the summer, its steep slopes are covered in a thick carpet of colorful wildflowers including orchids, europhean bistorts, fritillaries, corn-cockles, campanulas, giant bellflowers, marguerites, and many more. Across the green hillocks stand lonely medieval stone towers, once the valley’s loyal guards. The trail takes you along aged villages, churches, mineral water springs, and a mountain river to Kvesheti, where a car awaits you. From here, drive to Kutaisi, one of the oldest cities in the world. Spend time walking around the Old Town and visiting its heritage sites. Gelati Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most important sites of the country, serving as one of the oldest educational centers in Europe as well as the tomb of David the Builder, Georgia’s greatest king. Spend the evening in Kutaisi. 

Hotel Options
Kutaisi

Day 7

Map

Mestia »

Swing by Kutaisi’s Green Bazaar this morning to check out the western region’s fresh produce and specialty products such as cheeses and wines before heading north to the mountains again. This time, head to the Svaneti region, known for the highest mountains and glaciers and as home of the Svans, an ethnic subgroup of Georgians with their own steadfast traditions and language. Continue on to the sleepy village of Gordi to visit Okatse Canyon, a spectacular gorge that has a sky-high trail that traverses through scenic forest before spanning across the canyon. If you like, see the waterfall just further down the trail before driving onward. Make a short stop at Enguri hydroelectric power plant, an impressive arch dam, before reaching Mestia. This highland town is the main town in Upper Svaneti, situated at almost 5,000 feet above sea level. In this far-flung town, you will be welcomed to stay at a small family-owned hotel. 

Hotel Options

Day 8

Map

Mestia »

Another day of exploration takes you past more alpine grandeur and Svanetian towers to the magnificent Koruldi Lakes situated at the foot of Ushba, a mountain with a double summit. Its location gives way to a stunning 360-degree panorama of the Greater Caucasus. In addition, these placid mountain lakes serve as a mirror, reflecting and multiplying the beauty of the surrounding mountain peaks and clear blue sky. After reveling in the views, return to Mestia where you will have time to visit the Svaneti Historical-Ethnographic Museum to learn more about the ethnocultural heritage of the region. 

Day 9

Map

Ushguli

Today go from Mestia to Mulakhi village. The route passes through meadows with blooming wild flowers and forested areas. After several hours the village of Mulakhi will unfold before your eyes, where centuries-old towers stand to this day, whose history of construction is veiled in mystery. From afar the village is reminiscent of a drawing. Svans selected an ideal place to build a village. From Mulakhi, take a 4WD to Ushguli. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ushguli, a community of four hamlets, is one of the highest continuously inhabited settlements in Europe. Spend the evening at a local family guesthouse. 

Hotel Options

Day 10

Map

Ushguli

Wake up to the splendors of Ushguli this morning. The beauty of the Great Caucasus is proudly on full display here. The humble fairytale village sits amongst the majestic scenery of snow-capped peaks, ancient Svan stone towers, and dramatic valley slopes. From here you can see Shkhara, the highest peak in Georgia, standing at over 16,500 feet. Go on an easy and short hike following the Enguri river and tracing it through the valley to its origin, Shkhara Glacier. In the summer, the valley is lush and covered with bursts of wildflowers in vivid colors, while in autumn, dazzling red, orange, and yellow colors take over. Return to Ushguli, and on the way, stop to visit the 10th-century Lamaria Church and admire its Svanetian architecture. Inside, its ancient frescos have been well-preserved. 

Day 11

Map

Kutaisi »

Today’s hike will be one of the most difficult, and also the most incredible, of the journey. Begin with an easy walk to “King Tamar’s Castle”, a lonely ruined tower on a hill approximately 200-meters above Ushguli. Then, continue onward to Govarshi pass, a classic hike along the Svaneti mountain range that offers some of the best panoramic views of the main ridge of the Greater Caucasus. After making it to the pass, follow the top of the ridge west towards Latpari pass. The ridge is almost flat, making for a pleasant walk, until a tough incline right before reaching Latpari pass. For taking on this challenge, you will be rewarded with sweeping views of crystal alpine lakes, both Upper and Lower Svaneti, as well as the peaks of Ushba (4,700m), Tetnuldi (4,800m), Shkara (5,201m), and Jangha (5,059m). After resting and basking in the views, drive towards Panaga village to switch vehicles and onward south to Kutaisi to spend the evening. 

Hotel Options
Kutaisi

Day 12

Map

Tbilisi »

In the morning , make your way back to Tbilisi. Enroute, stop at a small town just outside of Tbilisi called Gori, most well-known as the birthplace of Stalin. Visit the Stalin house-museum before continuing on to the nearby Uplistsikhe Cave city. Uplistsikhe is cut out of a mountainside, and served as a stopping point along the Silk Road. In its heyday, there were as many as 700 caves full of halls, squares, secret tunnels, and buildings for religious, social, and governmental uses. Earthquakes have reduced the number to around 150, but the cave city is still an interesting visit. Once back in Tbilisi, the rest of the day is yours. 

Hotel Options

Day 13

Map

Departure

Enjoy your final morning in Tbilisi, whether with a leisurely breakfast, strolling around the leafy streets, or shopping for last-minute souvenirs at trendy boutiques. When ready, a private transfer will take you to Tbilisi International Airport to catch your flight onward. 

Why Remote Lands?

Exclusively Asia

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

Travelogues

An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands - a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.

What Others Say

Here is a small selection of the kind words our clients have said about us recently.