If you know a bit about Georgia, you’ll most likely know that Georgians are proud of their mountainous landscape and its untouched beauty. Nature and hiking lovers will enjoy their time here. The breathtaking landscape, medieval defense towers, cuisine, and exotic atmosphere will leave you speechless. Georgia is not all about the capital, Black Sea Resorts, or wine tasting tours in Kakheti, so to make your holidays somewhat adventurous and interesting, we decided to show you the gorgeous regions to travel once here.
This historical-ethnographic region in the eastern part of the country covers the small river valleys of Shatili, Aragvi, Arkhoti, and Migmakhevi. The biggest villages of the region are Shatili and Barisakho. Shatili is home to a unique collection of medieval and early modern fortified dwellings made of stone and fortresses. Unfortunately, the village is almost abandoned today, with only dozens of families still leaving in the highlands. It serves as a hub for hikers who love to explore even more remote areas of the region. The highlights of your trip should include castle towers, tombs, and ritual places. Just like any other mountainous region of Georgia, Khevsureti has its own traditions and customs, from which some are still observed. It’s also famous for its medieval folk music, ballads, and colorful woolen knitted clothing.
Another important village to explore is Mutso, situated on a rocky mountain. Today, the village is even more deserted than Shatili, however, it’s home to around 30 medieval fortified dwellings designed on vertical platforms above the Mutso-Ardoti Gorge – a breathtaking view to enjoy. Additionally, you can explore combat towers and ruins of various old buildings.
Due to the heavy snowfalls, the road to mountainous regions is usually closed. Therefore, we would advise traveling to Khevsureti in summer. Once in Khevsureti, make sure to try the initial Khinkali, as the meal first originated here, Pshavi, and Tusheti, and pair with locally brewed beer.
Unlike Khevsureti, Svaneti has become a popular tourist destination. It’s one of the most remote areas of the country, offering breathtaking views of the Caucasus Mountains. The region is also home to the country’s four highest peaks and one of the highest settlements in Europe, which is enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area lays at Svaneti is one of the most remote and thrilling regions of Georgia.
Your itinerary should include Mestia and Ushguli along with its surrounding villages and communities. Also don’t forget to visit Svaneti History and Ethnography Museum in Mestia, it showcases some of the most rare treasures of the country. If you want to learn more about the first Georgian alpinist who found fame in the former Soviet Union, pay a visit to Mikheil Khergiani House-Museum. In terms of culinary, Svanetian cuisine is also very different from the rest
If you have lots of time to travel all across Georgia, make sure you leave Tusheti to the last. It’s the most magical place of them all. Unlike Svaneti, Tusheti is also a less visited region of the country due to the remoteness and not well-developed infrastructure to get to it. The road to Tusheti goes through Abano Pass, raising up to 2,926 meters above the sea level, making it the highest point on the Georgian road map. Like other mountainous regions, the road here is blocked during winter months due to the snowfall and is accessible once the snow melts.
Tusheti National Park consists of 10 villages, where Omalo is the center of the region and a base for tourists who like to hike around. The must-visit places are Shenako, Dartlo, Girevi, and Bochorna to name a few. The cuisine is quite different here as well. The prominent meal, of course, is Khinkali, however don’t forget to try khavitsi (a cottage cheese fried in butter-like Erbo), kotori (Tushetian version of Khachapuri), goat cheese guda, and kalti (sun-dried cottage cheese).
Adapted from www.georgiastartshere.com