Join us on a journey to hikers' paradise - Georgia. Nestled on the edge of Europe and Asia, it’s known as "the Balcony of Europe" and holds a unique mixture of diverse scenery - from the highest peaks of the continent to gentle vine clad valleys and ancient settlements. A country with ancient traditions and warm hearted people that is believed to be the birthplace of wine.
Experience the essence of Georgia on this week long trip in the heart of the Great Caucasus Mountains. Dive into the unspoiled beauty of the Svaneti - hike to giant glaciers, admire the mesmerising alpine Koruldi lakes, and visit the highest permanently inhabited UNESCO village in Europe. We will be staying in the mountain town of Mestia that has best preserved the colourful Georgian culture and heritage and we will visit the vibrant town of Kutaisi, which is also one of the oldest towns in Europe.
• Visit Georgia - the birthplace of wine and home to Europe’s highest mountain
• Reach the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe - the ancient Ushguli
• Hike to the magnificent Ushba waterfall - towering at 2200m above sea level
• Hike to two mountain glaciers
• Explore the medieval Svaneti region - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
• Reach the base of Georgia’s highest peak at 2400m
• Visit Kutaisi - one of the oldest towns in Europe with reminders of Russian and Ottoman conquests
• A fine balance between hiking and culture to fully experience the magic of Georgia
• A small group limited to just 16 with 2 English speaking local Georgian Mountain Guides to keep it really special
Photos - All photos were taken by Outdooraholics
Mountainous, warm, colourful and vibrant is the best way to describe Georgia. Caught between two worlds, the country is a spectacular blend of European and Middle Eastern culture with immense natural diversity.
We have chosen the spectacular UNESCO listed mountain region of Svaneti that is preserved in time due to its isolated location surrounded by the Great Caucasus Mountains. We will venture to the base of the highest peak in Georgia, admire Chalaadi and Shkhara glaciers and explore the picturesque village of Ushguli dating back to the 9th century. We'll also enjoy the reflection of the snow capped mountains in the mirror like Koruldi lakes and hike to one of the highest waterfalls in Georgia.
Amazing Georgia keeps so many treasures that it deserves a full week to truly experience it all - hike around spectacular untouched scenery while also getting a taste of the amazing local cuisine and hospitality. Let's not forget the unique wine tradition dating 8000 years back.
Although this trip is designed as a mixture of varied hiking and sightseeing, some of the hikes involve long descents on steep ground and also some rough and uneven walking on rocks and boulders. There are some tough and long uphill/downhill sections and this trip is only suitable for hikers with experience of mountain hiking. Hiking boots ideally with ankle protection are essential due to the uneven and rocky terrain on some hikes.
Sunday 22nd September
Arrive at Kutaisi airport around midnight. Complimentary transfer to the accommodation in Kutaisi for the night.
Monday 23rd September
Our first day of exploration begins with a scenic drive through the majestic mountains towards the ancient town of Mestia - the historical and cultural centre of the Svaneti region. On our way we'll stop by the Enguri Dam - the second highest dam in Europe (271m). Enguri Dam is the first of several photo opportunities that await us. We’ll also visit a colourful local market.
Tuesday 24th September
Tuesday’s hike: Chalaadi Glacier
Distance: 3.8 miles (6km)
Hiking time: About 3 hours
Today we are hiking to the spectacular Chalaadi Glacier that lies in a valley with jagged Caucasus Mountains peaks towering high above. We hike through tranquil green pine forests before we venture into a glacial valley. We reach an altitude of 1850m to see the Chalaadi Glacier - a fascinating treat for the eye and the source of a rushing glacial river. This is a fairly easy hike with a few rocky sections that allows us to fully relish and take in the surrounding scenery.
Weather dependent, there's a possibility for a cable car ride with a view of Ushba and also to visit a traditional Svan fortified tower.
Wednesday 25th September
Wednesday’s hike: Koruldi lakes
Distance: 10 miles (16km)
Hiking time: About 7 to 8 hours
Our next conquest are the beautiful alpine Koruldi lakes - nestled at the foot of the 4710m high Ushba peak, known as the "Matterhorn of the Great Caucasus Mountains" for its spire shaped double summit. Our hike follows a steep path that elevates to an awe inspiring view point at 2500m. On our way we pass green forests and lush meadows followed by the idyllic sounds of cow bells. It’s one of the most challenging trails in the area and tough, but extremely rewarding with breathtaking vistas of the surrounding Great Caucasus Mountains.
Thursday 26th September
Thursday’s hike: Ushba Waterfalls
Distance: 5 miles (8km)
Hiking time: About 4 to 5 hours
Today our hike leads us to one of the highest waterfalls in Georgia - Ushba. Our trail crosses a small river and continues deep in the wonderful pine smelling woodlands. Our day finishes with a special treat - dinner at a local restaurant with typical folklore entertainment.
Friday 27th September
Friday’s hike: Shkhara Glacier
Distance: 9 miles (15km)
Hiking time: About 5 to 6 hours
We will travel back in time to the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe - Ushguli (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Today's hike takes us to the foot of the highest peak in Georgia - Mt Shkhara (5193m). We will have the chance to relish the majestic Shkhara glacier that feeds the main river in the area - Enguri. We'll admire the gushing river and enjoy the view over the ice mass and towards the summit. If you feel adventurous you can do part of the hike the genuine Georgian way - by horse (optional extra activity).
Saturday 28th September
After breakfast we head back to Kutaisi for our last night in Georgia.
Sunday 29th September
Breakfast marks the end of our adventure. You're welcome to make your own arrangements to the airport - a taxi is typically about €15
To join us please RSVP Yes and pay by PayPal. All trip payments are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Once full payment has been received for the trip and the trip is sold out (full) then you may try to sell your space to a member of the same sex by advertising it for sale on this page.
For details of how to advertise a fully paid for space for sale (and the process of selling/buying it) please click this link: https://www.meetup.com/Outdooraholics/pages/FAQ
Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided each hiking day. We have planned a special treat dinner on Thursday at a local Georgian restaurant with traditional dishes and a special folklore show. Vegetarian food can be catered for, but will be a more limited choice and please email to let us know ([masked]). Some dietary requirements such as lactose free, nut free, gluten free or vegan cannot be catered for, please check for any other requirements.
The price includes:
• 7 nights accommodation in guest houses (twin rooms)
• All travel for the hiking days and a complimentary airport transfer at the start of the trip for everyone taking the suggested flight only
• Breakfast, lunch and dinner on each hiking day
• Georgian/English speaking mountain guide/s who are also Qualified Outdoor First Aiders
• Compliance with the 1992 Package Travel Regulations including Financial protection
The price doesn’t include:
• Drinks and personal expenses
• Travel insurance
• Meals other than the above mentioned
• Airport transfer on the last day
• Any optional activities/museum entrance fees/cable car fees if taken
It is essential that you have valid travel insurance that covers the cost of emergency medical treatment and also specifically the activity of hiking (up to 3000m in this case). It is also recommended that this covers illness, cancellation and curtailment. You will be required to provide a copy of this on the trip and without it we cannot accept you onto the trip and no refund will be due in this case.
Outdooraholics cannot verify policies or what they cover so please confirm this with your insurer and the guide accepting your policy is not an indication that we confirm it is valid or covers what we list, only your insurers can confirm this.
There are many insurers covering hiking such as the BMC: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/insurance
You will also need to ensure you have all valid documents to visit Georgia including a passport and possibly Visa if you require one.
Suggested flights - ALL times are in local time to the town i.e. the times listed for Georgia are in local Georgian time GMT+4
The trip starts at Kutaisi airport and you're welcome to choose any flights you wish. We suggest a group flight below and for everyone on it we'll arrange a complimentary transfer to the accommodation. If you arrive earlier you're welcome to wait for our transfer at 12:55am. However if you arrive after this you'll need to make your own way to the accommodation which is about 30 min away.
Please note: the below is for guidance only, it's your responsibility to pick the most suitable flight to meet your requirements and also to book. You may need to pay more than the prices below if you have checked in baggage and to meet any airline requirements. Outdooraholics cannot take responsibility for any problems or cancellations with your flight.
22nd September 2019
Wizz Air 5:15pm London Luton to Kutaisi 12:55am (just after midnight)
29th September 2019
Wizz Air 2:20pm Kutaisi to London Luton 4:45pm
Flights with Wizz Air as at 11th September are £161.
The hikes are led by experienced and trained guides. Outdoor activities involve a risk of personal injury. Please come with hiking footwear and suitable hiking clothes such as warm clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers in case of rain:
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