Length: 26 km
Season: June – October
Price indication: 230 GEL
A pleasant hike that takes you through several authentic medieval villages, so you get to see a lot of Svan towers and manors. Good views of Mts Ushba, Tetnuldi, Svaneti Range and Banguriani, plenty of green meadows and lovely azalia bushes. A good cloudy weather option.
Day 1. The trail starts in central Mestia at 1450 m above sea level. You need to go over Kakhyri Range (highest point 1900 m) to arrive in Mulakhi community which comprises several villages on both sides of the Mulkhura river. It doesn’t really matter which of the paths and bridges you take and which of the villages you pass to arrive at your final destination for today (Zhabeshi), but we recommend passing through Lakhiri, a little higher than the route suggested by the local tourist authorities (see map). This village has a magnificent architectural adornment: some 18 medieval Svan towers forming an impressive ensemble that reminds of a huge castle. After you pass Lakhiri, you will need to cross the bridge over the Mulkhura and go either to Chvabiani village for the overnight or a little more eastwards to arrive in Zhabeshi, the most remote part of Mulakhi. Distance for the day: 14 km. Elevation change: 500 m. Overnight in Zhabeshi.
Day 2. The trail from Zhabeshi to Tsaneri glacier is not marked, but it is used by the border police, so it starts as a wide and obvious dirt road on the left bank of the Mulkhura. Follow the dirt road until you come to a large wooden bridge, cross the bridge and turn right. The path will become narrower, but the elevation change is still insignificant. You will probably need to cross small streams a few times. The trail will take you straight to the tongue of Tsaneri glacier, and you will find a great place for a picnic overlooking the glacier. You can try going a little further on, but the best view of the glacier is at the tongue. Take the same route back to Zhabeshi where the driver will meet you at the drop-off point. Distance for the day: 12 km. Elevation change insignificant.
BLUE: trail from Zhabeshi to Tsaneri glacier.
Photographs in order of the trail