We weren’t planning a lot of things in Georgia. From several car break downs to driving the most dangerous road and the most car killing road. But visiting Svaneti was actually one of those things we planned for a second visit to the country.

I, Milene, really want to go hiking here with my little brother (Morrits, that’s a deal!) so I didn’t want to visit. But as we had some spare time here we decided to explore the area so we would know where to go the next time we will be here. So, we headed to Mestia.

Mestia the capital of Svaneti

Mestia is where all the tourists and hikes get together. It’s a hotspot for tourists and so every house is made into a guesthouse and many new hotels are being built. Which means, we did some grocery shopping and left. We stayed close by at a wonderful spot right on the middle of nature. The only living things we saw were crickets, birds and cows.

We continued our road to probably the most touristy place of Svaneti; Ushguli.

Upper Svaneti

Though very touristy it is a cute place to visit. Yes, all the houses are made guest houses or cafes, but there are still the famous Svan towers to be seen and with the highest mountain of Georgia as a back drop it can’t be skipped when visiting the area. We didn’t need any guesthouse as our van is our home but we did have some local food. This is where we tasted the famous Kubdar.

Kubdari or Kubed is a Georgian filled bread dish which is particularly a national dish of the Svans. The bread is leavened and allowed to rise. The filling contains chunks of meat, which can be lamb, kid or pork, Georgian spices and onions.

We hiked to the glacier nearby. The hike is easy but nice. The glacier not so much. It’s a bit ugly and seems dirty. Anyway, it was a wonderful hike, took about 5 hours going there and back. The view on the mountains was amazing! And all the flowers and little water streams we had to cross were wonderful. Only at the end we came across a lot of other people. Many actually go by car to a campsite and walk from there to the glacier. We did the whole way which was a lot more fun.

Back in Ushguli we relaxed a bit, met a very beautiful Svan lady and made friends with dogs, what else?!

Mazeri & Mount Ushba

The next day we left again to explore some other mountenous parts of the area and we ended in Mazeri. From here we had a wonderful view on the most famous mountain of Svaneti: Ushba. And wow what a view!

We hiked to a waterfall which many call the highest of Georgia. Well, no one knows how high it actually is. Which we don’t really understand cause it’s not that difficult to find out. But, we continue living with the mystery of this waterfall and the believe that this is the highest one.

The best part of this hike was actually not the waterfall itself – which is great! – but the hike to it. We absolutely love to hike through the forest. Often our hikes take us to beautiful places but most of the hikes are out in the open, not in the forest. There is a lot of deforestation going on in Georgia which really is a pity. So hiking here was amazing. Though we weren’t alone.

Many many other hikers followed us, or we followed them… Well, we went a bit further up the mountain to see the waterfall from up close. There where most people don’t go and it was great. Such a breathtaking view, on the waterfall but also on the valley behind us.

We weren’t done with Svaneti at all. But as I wrote in the beginning of this post, that’s for next time. So, this would be our last hike in the area and our last night. It’s time to get back and maybe cross another border?

Love, Milene & Yuri