Join the Transcaucasian Trail team for a trek across Svaneti, Georgia
The trek across Svaneti is one of the most spectacular walks in the world. You can support our work to preserve and protect this incredible landscape by joining our exclusive 10-day tour of this remote and fascinating region of northwest Georgia.
From the deep forests near the Black Sea, we will trek over high passes with views of 5,000 meter peaks and through the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Upper Svaneti, a fascinating region with a unique language and culture protected for centuries by the surrounding mountains.
These tours will be led by Paul Stephens, the founder and director of the Transcaucasian Trail Association, along with other members of the TCT team in Georgia. We will stay in local guest houses and see up close the work of the TCT and why it is important. All proceeds from the tours will support our work in Georgia.
Keep reading for more details. For enquiries and bookings contact [email protected]
August 4th–13th, or August 18th-27th
Day 1: Travel from Tbilisi to Svaneti
Day 2: Hike to Khichkhuldashi, overnight w/family
Day 3: Hike to Etseri, overnight w/family
Day 4: Hike over Bak pass to Mazeri, overnight w/family
Day 5: Hike Guli pass to Mestia, guesthouse
Day 6: Visit cultural sites in Mestia, guesthouse
Day 7: Hike to medieval villages of Adishi and Khalde, family guesthouse
Day 8: Hike to UNESCO world-heritage site of Ushguli, family guesthouse
Day 9: Travel to Racha, overnight at family-owned winery
Day 10: Return to Tbilisi
A tour with an impact.
The Transcaucasian Trail crews have worked for the past 3 summers to expand the trail network in Svaneti beyond a few highly-visited walks, helping to create new opportunities for sustainable tourism in the region. You’ll be among the pioneering few to walk these new trails, and you’ll be doing it with the team that built them.
This trek is undeniably impressive: we’ll follow ancient paths through traditional mountain villages, past 12th century churches and the unique defensive towers of Svaneti, and over high passes surrounded by mountains taller than any in the Alps or the Rockies.
We’ll visit families that we have worked with in these communities and hear about life in Svaneti, how it has changed over the years, and how the Svans are trying to protect their unique natural and cultural heritage. We’ll also see the work of the Transcaucasian Trail crews first-hand and learn about the design and construction of the trail and plans for the future.
A combination of history, culture, and natural beauty like nowhere else.
Get ready for ten days full of incredible hiking, delicious meals, fascinating history, and friendly people. Svaneti has it all.
Our itinerary is very active, we’ll be hiking almost every day, and a few of the days are long. But you’ll have delicious home-cooked meal and a cozy bed at the end of each day. We will be staying in family run guesthouses in the mountains, and we’ll have a car, so we don’t have to carry all our stuff. Read the itinerary below for more information about distances and elevation gain. If you are wondering about the difficulty of the hikes or the fitness level required, feel free to send us an email at [email protected]
Here are the details:
Day 1: We’ll leave Tbilisi in the morning, and make our way across Georgia to Svaneti, stopping by some historical sites along the way. We’ll arrive in the late afternoon to Nakra, a picturesque logging village that has seen little tourism. We’ll sit down to a hearty dinner with a local family and stay the night.
Day 2: We make our way through the forests of the Nakra valley and over a small pass to Kichkhuldashi, a tiny village with a magnificent view over the Enguri valley. We will stay with Valeri and Maro, the last two inhabitants of the village. (Hiking: 10 km, +1,000m/-500m)
Day 3: We continue along a new section of the TCT through small hamlets above the Enguri valley. We will stop to talk to locals and have them show us the ancient churches they have protected for generations. (Hiking: 10 km, +600/-700)
Day 4: The hike over Bak pass rewards us with views of the south peak of Mt. Ushba (4,710m), a rugged shard of granite carved by immense glaciers. Those who want a higher vantage point can summit Mt. Bak (3,170m) while the rest of the group descends through alpine meadows, past another 12th century chapel, to the Becho valley. (13 km, +1,000m/-1,000m)
Day 5: The steep climb over Guli Pass is demanding but rewarding as we pass directly under Ushba and the mountain’s north peaks comes into view. We descend to Mestia, the regional center of Svaneti with its dense collection of medieval Svan towers. (Hiking: 20km +1,600m/-1,700)
Day 6: Our “rest day” in Mestia will be full of cultural sites icluding: the Svaneti Museum to see the treasures of Svanetian culture, from prehistoric metalworking to medieval Christian art, the Mikhael Khergiani Museum for an insight into the history of alpinism in the region, and a beautifully frescoed church tucked away in the back alleys.
Day 7: We will make our way the incredibly picturesque villages of Adishi and Khalde as we walk in the shadow of Mt. Tetnuldi and under the Shkhara massif, a wall of rock and ice made up of some of the tallest peaks in Europe. We’ll stay in a guesthouse in Khalde, which is famous for its history of resistance in the Tsarist period, and now is mostly ruins. (Hiking: 15 km +700m/-1,100)
Day 8: We’ll use a little-known trail, now being improved by the TCT trail crews to hike over to Ushguli, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a collection of stunning defensive towers nestled below Shkhara (5,200m), the highest mountain in Georgia. (Hiking: 12km +900m/-900m)
Day 9: We drive to Lower Svaneti and Racha by way of a little-used jeep track, and then celebrate our journey at a small, family-run organic winery in the famed micro-climate of Kvanchkara.
Day 10: Drive to Tbilisi.
Hiking Boots At The Ready!
So you’re interested in joining us in 2019? Get in touch using the form below! We’ll send you an application form to join the team. Places are offered on a first-come first-served basis, so register now to secure your spot.
If you prefer not to use the online form, you can contact us directly at [email protected].
What happens after I click the big green button?
This is an enquiry form, not a booking form, and using it neither obliges you to take part in the trek or guarantees you a place! We first want to make sure that you’re fully informed about the experience and that your expectations match what we’re offering. Our team will respond to your message by email or phone to go over the details of the trek and ask you a few more questions relating to your level of hiking experience and fitness. If all is well, we’ll ask you to pay 50% of the amount as a deposit to secure your place on the team. We’ll be in further contact with you before your departure for Armenia, and we’ll always be on hand to answer any questions you may have during that time.