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Hiking in the Caucasus
Georgia - Trip code WGEO Walking and Trekking
Days 8
Deposit From £116
Price from £1159
Flights inclusive
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Why book this trip?

Trek in a fascinating, off-beat region, virtually untouched by tourism. Lying among the craggy snow-capped peaks and deep gorges of Georgia's Greater Caucasus Mountains, Svaneti is a region with its own unique history and culture. Stay with the proud Svantian people in remote villages with their distinctive \i koshki\i0 - medieval defensive stone towers. Hike through thick forests to the base of Mount Ushgali, the Shkhara Glacier and beautiful waterfalls.

    • Included meals

      Breakfast: 7

      Lunch: 4

      Dinner: 6

    • Trip staff

      Explore Tour Leader

      Driver(s)

      Local Guide(s)

    • Transport

      Bus

      4WD

    • i

      Accommodation

      4 nights simple guesthouse

      3 nights simple hotel

    • i

      Walking grade:

      Moderate

    • i

      Group Size:

      10 - 16

    Itinerary

    Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

    Day 1 - Trip starts in Kutaisi, Georgia's second largest city

    The trip starts today in Kutaisi. The capital of western Georgia that has a friendly rivalry with the actual capital Tbilisi, Kutaisi sits on the banks of the Rioni River. On a clear day the Caucasus Mountains can be seen in the far distance to the north. The city has today been revitalised after post-war Russian decline and the Georgian government moved its parliament here in 2012.

    Note that customers arriving on Wizz Air flights from London Luton will be arriving in the early hours of the following day (Day 2) with rooms ready at the hotel on arrival.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Guesthouse

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: None

    Day 2 - Visit Gelati Monastery; drive to Svaneti region

    After breakfast this morning we visit the 12th century Gelati Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was one of the main cultural and intellectual centres in Georgia in medieval times. We also call in at a local farmers' market before driving directly to Becho in the region of Svaneti, close to the Russian border. The drive will take us around six hours and the mountain scenery becomes ever more dramatic as we head north. Situated on the southern slopes of the central Caucasus Mountains and surrounded by 3,000 to 5,000 metre peaks, Svaneti is the highest inhabited area in the Caucasus. Its valleys are dotted with beautiful medieval villages where you will see many stone towers, or Koshki, as they are locally known, which were originally built in medieval times to house the villagers and protect them from invaders. It is an area of stunning natural beauty with glaciers, rivers and coniferous forests. The local people, known as Svans, are a distinct ethnic sub-group with their own language and traditions.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Guesthouse

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner

    Day 3 - Hike to waterfalls at the base of Mount Ushba

    Today's trek takes us from the village of Shkhra through thick forests on a rocky trail to the base of Mount Ushba where we reach a glacier and the beautiful Ushba waterfall. You can choose to rest at the first falls or hike all the way to the top of the falls. At 4,710 metres, Ushba is commonly known as the 'Matterhorn of the Caucasus' because of its distinct spire-shaped summit. We plan to have a picnic lunch during our hike and enjoy the views before making our way back through the forest and driving deeper into Svaneti to Mestia, our base for the next two nights. Mestia is a large village sited at an elevation of 1500 metres with a population of over 2,600.

    Today's 11 kilometre walk is expected to take approximately 6 hours with a total ascent and descent of 980 metres if ascending to the top of the falls, 450 metres to the first waterfall.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 4 - Drive to Mulakhi; walk back to Mestia

    This morning we take four-wheel drive vehicles for the short distance to the start of our walk today, the small village of Mulakhi. The trail takes in superb views of snow-covered glaciers and takes us all the way back to the Mestia valley with its medieval watchtowers. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch with views along the trail.

    This afternoon, there's the option to take a ride on the Hatsvali cable car. Hatsvali is a small ski resort close to Mestia and the cable car takes us up to a ridge in the Zuruldi range for spectacular high mountain views.

    Today's 14 kilometre walk is expected to take approximately 5 hours with a total ascent of 520 metres and descent of 650 metres.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 5 - Four wheel drive to Ushguli and Mount Guro ascent

    This morning we drive to Ushguli, our base for the final two walks of the trip. Our hike today starts with a steep climb out of the village then pass through a small birch forest before heading up beyond the tree line. The view opens up to show us Mount Shkhara, Mount Tetnuldi and Mount Laila. The last 50 metres of the climb to the summit of Mount Guro (3070m) are very steep but we take our time. The views from the top are simply stunning and we spend time enjoying them before making our way back down to the village. Our accommodation tonight is at a simple guesthouse where we share the facilities with the local family who run it and also live there.

    Today's 10 kilometre walk is expected to take approximately 5 hours with a total ascent and descent of 800 metres.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Guesthouse

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 6 - Trek from the foot of Mount Shkhara to the Shkhara Glacier

    Mount Shkhara is Georgia's highest mountain, standing at 5201m, it's the eastern anchor of an imposing 12 kilometre long ridge known as the Bezingi Wall. Our walk to the base of the mountain follows a surprisingly flat trail and for the most part we are rewarded with spectacular views of the peak. As we reach the final approach to the mountain we follow the glacier water and the terrain becomes rockier. Finally we reach the tongue of the glacier, with incredible views up to the craggy, snow-covered sides of Mount Shkhara. We return on the same route and drive back to Mestia via Ushguli.

    Today's 18 kilometre walk is expected to take approximately 6 hours with a total ascent and descent of 320 metres.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Hotel

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Day 7 - Drive Kutaisi via Dadiani Palace and Prometheus Grotto

    Leaving the mountains behind us today we make our way back to Kutaisi via the town of Zugdidi where we visit Dadiani Palace - now a museum it was once a magnificent palace and the seat of one of the oldest great Georgian families. We then continue to the Prometheus grottoes - one of Georgia's natural wonders where you will see magnificent stalactites and stalagmites, petrified waterfalls, cave pearls, underground rivers.

    Accommodation:

    Grade: Simple Guesthouse

    Single room available

    Meals Provided: Breakfast & Dinner

    Day 8 - Visit Bagrati Cathedral before trip ends in Kutaisi

    There's time this morning to pay an early visit to the 11th century Bagrati Cathedral and before the trip ends in Kutaisi.

    Meals Provided: Breakfast

    Trip information

    Country information

    Georgia

    Climate

    Georgia has a temperate climate with warm dry periods from June to September. Early and late in the season, temperatures can drop to sub-zero at higher altitude.

    Time difference to GMT

    +4

    Plugs

    2 Pin Round

    Religion

    Christian

    Language

    Georgian

    Budgeting and packing

    Clothing

    Take light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. Pack a good quality waterproof jacket and trousers, fleece jacket, comfortable walking trousers, shorts, t-shirts and a sunhat. Please be aware that temperatures can change dramatically at altitude and at night.

    Footwear

    We recommend you bring lightweight walking boots with ankle support, make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or sandals for relaxing and general wear. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.

    Luggage

    20kg

    Luggage: On tour

    One main piece of baggage and daypack.

    Equipment

    You will need a water bottle (preferably 2 litres), torch, insect repellent, sunglasses and high factor sun cream. Trekking poles are recommended.

    Tipping

    Explore leader
    At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
    Local crew
    Although entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. Accordingly, you should allow US$ 20.

    In order to make things easier for you, the Leader may organise a group's tips kitty and if this is the case, they will account for it throughout the tour.

    Georgia

    Food and drink

    The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


    Lunch price
    £5
    Dinner price
    £7
    Beer price
    £1.00 - 3.00
    Water price
    £0.3
    Foreign Exchange
    Local currency
    Lari.
    Recommended Currency For Exchange
    We recommend you take your money in undamaged mixed denomination US$ notes issued post 1993.
    Where To Exchange
    Most major towns - your Tour Leader will advise you on arrival.
    ATM Availability
    Only in major towns.
    Credit Card Acceptance
    Very limited.
    Travellers Cheques
    Travellers cheques are difficult to change
    Transport, Accommodation & Meals

    Transport Information

    Bus, 4WD

    Accommodation notes

    This trips stays in simple, family-run guesthouses and hotels. In Kutaisi and Mestia all rooms have attached bathrooms while in Becho and Ushguli you will be accommodated in twin or single rooms with shared bathroom facilities.

    Essential Information

    FCO Advice

    We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

    For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
     

    Under 18 immigration guidance

    Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

    Price Guarantee

    Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

    Visa and Passport Information

    Georgia: Visas are not required for EU nationals, UK, Canadian or US citizens. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate.

    You should confirm all visa related issues with the relevant embassy prior to departure.


    If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
     

    Booking conditions

    Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

    Transfers

    Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

    Booking a land only package with Explore

    Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

    You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


    Joining Tour Abroad

    Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

    Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Polar, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

    If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


    For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

    Insurance

    It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
    Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

    Flight information

    Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


    Flight Information

    You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

      

    Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

    We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

    On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

    Maximum altitude (m)

    3070

    Georgia

    Vaccinations

    Nothing compulsory but we recommend protection against malaria, typhoid, tetanus, infectious hepatitis and polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against malaria. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.

    Walking and Trekking information
    Walking grade
    Moderate
    Trek details
    Walks on 4 days for between 4 to 6 hours. Mountain trails are rough and rocky underfoot.
    Max walking altitude (m)
    3070
    Additional Information

    Dates, prices and booking

    All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change
    Sun 16 Jun 2019 - Sun 23 Jun 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WGEO_2019
    Price from £869
    Save was
    Single room option +£155
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time
    10:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 7 Jul 2019 - Sun 14 Jul 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WGEO_2019
    Price from £869
    Save was
    Single room option +£155
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time
    10:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 28 Jul 2019 - Sun 4 Aug 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WGEO_2019
    Price from £869
    Save was
    Single room option +£155
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time
    10:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 1 Sep 2019 - Sun 8 Sep 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WGEO_2019
    Price from £869
    Save was
    Single room option +£155
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time
    10:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 8 Sep 2019 - Sun 15 Sep 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WGEO_2019
    Price from £869
    Save was
    Single room option +£155
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time
    10:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 16 Jun 2019 - Sun 23 Jun 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WGEO_2019
    Price from £1159
    Save was
    Single room option +£155
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time
    10:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 7 Jul 2019 - Sun 14 Jul 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WGEO_2019
    Price from £1189
    Save was
    Single room option +£155
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time
    10:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 28 Jul 2019 - Sun 4 Aug 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WGEO_2019
    Price from £1220
    Save was
    Single room option +£155
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time
    10:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 1 Sep 2019 - Sun 8 Sep 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WGEO_2019
    Price from £1179
    Save was
    Single room option +£155
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time
    10:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
    Sun 8 Sep 2019 - Sun 15 Sep 2019 Guaranteed departure
    WGEO_2019
    Price from £1179
    Save was
    Single room option +£155
    All customers that travel on an Explore Group or Private Journey trip will be provided with a complimentary transfer, provided they arrive and depart into the designated airport or train station on the trip start and end dates. Please see free transfers for terms and conditions.

    These trip joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.
    For those not eligible for a free transfer the joining / ending time and location for your trip are detailed below:
    Joining Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time and place
    18:00 at Hotel Reception
    Ending Point
    Town
    Kutaisi
    Time
    10:00
    If you have booked a pre or post trip accommodation directly with the hotel, or through any other intermediaries, please ensure you regularly check this page in case of any changes.
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