Cycling Georgia: Svaneti, the heartland of Caucasus
Our cycling trip to Svaneti will lead through the most important part of this highland region of Georgia. Ahead of us is an unforgettable bicycle adventure with views of the high Caucasian peaks and Svan defensive towers and routes leading through beautiful gorges, slopes and passes to hidden mountain villages and towns.
We will spend the nights in the remote villages inhabited by Svans. We will try their food and see how they live. While cooking, they will tell stories of the olden days, and even perhaps sing to us. We will visit the greatest treasures of Georgian and Christian traditions, including the Cathedral of Sveti-Tskhoveli, the Gelati Monastery, as well as a town carved in rock that dates back to the second century BC.
During the trip, we will be accompanied by an assistance car to carry our luggage and help cyclists in case we need assistance. This will make it possible to take full advantage of the freedom offered by traveling lightly by bike to admire the beauty of nature and experience the hospitality of Georgian people. Join us now!
Meeting at the airport in the early hours of the morning. Arrival to Georgia around noon. After a late breakfast, we will go to Svaneti. On the way, we will stop in Zugdidi, where, with the desire and nice weather, we can take a walk in the botanical garden. Then we will pass to the dam at Enguri river, one of the largest arched dams in the world on the Georgian water border with the separatist Abkhazia. We will reach the village of Khaishi, where we will prepare bicycles for the trip and where a traditional Georgian supra awaits us.
We set off on a tour under the shadows of the Greater Caucasus mountains. On the first day of the Becho ravine we will reach the picturesque village of Mazeri located at the foot of the magical Ushba (4700m above sea level), which has been attracting mountaineers from all over the world for decades. The next day, we will go to Mestia, the capital of Upper Svaneti. Approaching the city, the landscape will be complemented by characteristic medieval defense towers. In the afternoon, for those willing, we can take the steep path to the top of Jvari Cross (2200m above sea level) or walk around Mestia and the surrounding area.
Continuation of the route, culminating in the UNESCO's highest located village - Ushguli (2200m above sea level), which is the heart of the Svaneti region. On the way, visiting early Christian churches with preserved colorful frescos and icons, among them Lagurka (dedicated to Saint Kyrikos and Julitta) - a small Orthodox church growing on a steep rock.
A stay in the picturesque Ushguli, where time has stopped and the Middle Ages. The perfect climate to get lost in the maze of stone towers and fortifications. An additional attraction of the day will be a pleasant, fatigue-free ride to the glacier at the foot of the highest Georgian mountain - Shkhara (5068m above sea level) and majestic Jangi-tau (5058m above sea level).
We start the day with a 7-kilometer uphill ride to the highest point of our trip - Zagar Pass (2623m above sea level). The difficult climb up to the pass will definitely compensate for the 63-kilometer downhill ride to Lower Svaneti and its capital Lentekhi. The next day, moving along the Rioni river, which the Argonauts sailed in search of the "Golden Fleece", we will pass, among others next to the village of Khvanchkara - famous for the notorious semi-sweet red wine of the same name, not only known throughout Georgia. We will finish in the town of Ambroulauri.
Drive through the mountain region of Racha. We will go to Gelati. On the way, we will visit the Nikortsminda Monastery. Rest on the beach of Shaori lake. After recovering, we will continue the tour. We will go to the mining town of Tkibuli, built by German prisoners after the Second World War.
Visiting the monastery complex of Gelati (UNESCO) and the smaller, but equally picturesque, monastery of Motsameta. Access by bike to Kutaisi. Visiting the historical center and Bagrati Cathedral. The opportunity to buy local products on a typical Georgian market that captivates with the richness of colors and fragrances. In the evening a concert of Georgian music, farewell to part of the group.
Return home (option without the Black Sea).
••• VARIANT WITH BLACK SEA - CONTINUATION WITHOUT A BIKE •••
Morning departure from Gelati to Kvariati. On the way, we will stop at Ureki. We will bath in the Black Sea and rest on black, magnetic sands. In the afternoon we will drive to our destination. Rest on the most beautiful Georgian beaches and in eucalyptus groves.
Rest in subtropical Adjara. In the village of Kvariati we will live in a place located on the hillside with a view of the sea, about 5 minutes from the beach. Those who want will be able to go hiking in the surrounding hills overgrown with subtropical vegetation. In the evening, we can visit the restored, atmospheric Batumi, one of the most famous resorts on the Black Sea. The atmosphere of the place will help to capture the evening walk along the 5-kilometer-long, bustling, seaside boulevard. For those willing it is possible to take a bicycle trip to the Botanical Garden in Batumi and the national parks of Mtirala or Machakhela.
Transfer to the airport and departure home. Return in the afternoon.
CYCLING GEORGIA 2014 CYCLING GEORGIA 2013
• return flight ticket with all fees
• transporting a bike and personal belongings to a weight of 23 kg
• care of an English-speaking guide
• transport in Georgia (minibus, assurance car)
• 9x accommodation in guest houses in Svan families plus 4x overnight stay on the Black Sea
• half board (breakfasts and dinners in Svaneti), breakfast on the Black Sea (rest of the meals on their own)
• admission tickets
• a compulsory travel insurance policy
• information packages, maps and GPS information
• insurance for accident insurance and KL + luggage insurance up to 200 Euro
• a mandatory fee for the State Tourist Guarantee Fund (TFG) for each person
The place of departure is WARSAW or BERLIN. In case you wish to travel from another destination or book flights on your own, please contact us for price quotation for this trip.
In guest houses in double or triple rooms (bathroom shared by all rooms). Basic conditions, as the tourist infrastructure is still developing in remote villages of Svaneti.
Breakfast and dinner (supra type) included. While cycling, it is possible to buy local products (khachapuri, shashlik, beer, fruit, etc.)
For the transport of luggage we will have at our disposal our own car with a driver, which is why we take a small hand-held package on the bikes. The car can also be used for any injury or incapacitation of one or two participants. Daily distances are 50-80km. The entire route we travel on a bike covers about 400km. Daily elevations are from 400 to 1000m above sea level. The highest pass is about 2700m above sea level, which will be covered during the passage from Upper to Lower Svaneti.
Part of the road is covered with newly laid asphalt or concrete, the remaining part is a stone road of different quality. We recommend a mountain bike, although the route can also be traveled by trekking bike.
We travel in small groups. The minimum number of people on the trip is 7, maximum 14.
• The itinerary may change depending on the date of departure, weather and other factors.
• The tour operator is Active Travel Agency Barents.pl