Svaneti is one of the most remote mountainous regions of Georgia. It is located in the north-west of the country, bordering with Russia. The villages are grouped together into Communities and follow the Enguri river in a wide valley between the Great Caucasus Range (highest summit in Svaneti – Shkhara, 5200 m) and the Svaneti Range (highest summit – Laila, 4008 m). The region’s capital is Mestia. All the settlements are historic and have been there for hundreds and even thousands of years with their architecture, way of life and the landscape, of course.
Locals speak Georgian, Svan, a good deal of Russian (especially people over 35) and occasionally some English.
The currency is GEL (Georgian lari), 99% of the businesses only accept cash (GEL).
The best season for summer travel in Svaneti is between June and mid-October. May is still cool and often rainy, the mountains above 2300 m are still covered with snow, so not all routes are doable (though culture-heritage sights are all accessible). The best time to come in summer is July, August and September. Temperatures during these months go up as high as +30 Centigrade in the day, but nights are always cool, +15 degrees or so. October is also beautiful, with the colours of the fall, however, it is much cooler, especially at night.
Skiers are welcome after December (normally we have a lot of snowfalls in the second half of the month) and all the way through March.
Svaneti is a secluded world, unexplored by mainstream tourists. It’s a heaven for hikers and trekkers, photographers, nature-lovers and ethnographers. The landscape is majestic and the nature bears the spirit of untouched wild purity. But there’s more to Svaneti than just that. Svaneti is a unique ethnographic museum under open sky, with well-preserved medieval architecture, way of life, agriculture and traditions. Whole villages are included in the UNESCO list of World Culture Heritage, and Svaneti’s Museum of History and Ethnography is in the Top-10 in Europe.
In winter 2 brand new ski resorts, Hatsvali and Tetnuldi, offer a variety of pistes for all levels and types of skiers. Beginners will find it an ideal place to learn, and lovers of risk and adventure will enjoy free-ride and back-country with local guides.
Prepare for adventure – Svaneti’s wild beauty, spirit of freedom and ancient culture will find a place in your heart.