NEW TRIP

Land of the Golden Fleece

Svaneti and the Georgian Caucasus
Repertory Trip: No Future Dates Set

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: TBA  
Length: 10 days
Arrive: Tbilisi, Georgia
Depart: Tbilisi, Georgia
Lodging: 9 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Walking
Trip Level: Walking tours and cultural exploration, easy day hikes
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Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Repertory Trip

This is one of our special Repertory Trips offered every two to five years.  Future dates have not been set for this trip, but you can see the “Itinerary at a Glance” and the “Full Detailed Itinerary” below (there may be small changes to the itinerary for the future departures, and prices will be finalized closer to departure). Contact us to receive early notification of the trip dates. These special trips fill very quickly once the exact dates are set!

The remote Svaneti region of northwestern Georgia is an enchanting realm of high snow-capped peaks and glaciers, deep gorges, rushing rivers, ancient stone villages lost in time, and a rich church art heritage. With its innate beauty and fascinating cultural legacy, Svaneti has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Celebrated in myth as the home of the fabled Golden Fleece (Svaneti belonged to the ancient state of Colchis, from where Jason stole the Golden Fleece), it is home to the proudly independent Svans, a subgroup of Georgians with their own language and traditions whose customs are still vibrantly alive. With veteran Trip Leader Roger Williams, we hike trails leading past picturesque villages dotted with age-old tower-houses, where we meet the keepers of some of the most distinctive mountain cultures in Europe, and up forested mountain slopes for views of the peaks of the Greater Caucasus. We also explore towns rich with the surviving monuments of Svanetia’s storied past, and appreciate the deep breadth of history of this faraway land.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Tbilisi / Kutaisi

From Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, we head to Kutaisi, founded over 3,000 years ago and considered one of the oldest cities in the world. Along the way we explore the Prometheus Grotto, a large limestone cave complex with an underground river and lake and 16 chambers full of extraordinary stalactites and stalagmites.

Days 3-6
Mestia / Ushguli

From our base in Mestia, the tiny capital of Svaneti, we visit one of the 12th century churches in the community of Latali, hike through Svanetian villages past watchtowers and toward the Chalaadi Glacier flowing down from the twin summit peaks of Ushba (15,420'), and explore Ushguli (7,218'), the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe and famous for its many watchtowers, sprawling fortresses, and wonderful views of the highest mountain in Georgia, Mt. Shkhara (16,627'). While in Ushguli, we visit a local family to see how they make cheese.

Days 7-8
Zugdidi / Bakuriani

In Zugdidi, we visit the agricultural market and the Geguti ruins, the remains of a great palace complex dating back to the 12th century. From the mountain village of Bakuriani (5,577'), a winter ski resort surrounded by coniferous forests, we hike trails to the summit of Mt. Kokhta (6,890'). If the weather is clear, we may have views of Mt. Elbrus (18,510'), the highest peak in Europe.

Days 9-10
Tbilisi

We take the 24-mile-long narrow gauge train called the Kukushka (Cuckoo) through the Borjormi Ravine to the settlement of Borjomi, famous for its mineral waters. After tea at the home of a local family, we return to Tbilisi. Depart on Day 10.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

The trip is Level 3, Moderate, according to our trip rating system. While this trip is not expected to be very physically demanding, there is a lot of time spent exploring sites on foot and a few day hikes of four to six hours. Road conditions can be very basic, and trip members should be prepared for narrow mountain roads and some bumpy drives due to remote locations. The most important requirement for this journey is a spirit of adventure. For your own enjoyment, we recommend you make a special effort to be in good physical condition for the trip.

Explanation of Trip Levels