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Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer 32

Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

Tour details

Price
from $1,305
Rating
Average rating:   5,  2 reviews
Country
Georgia
Activity type
Self Guided Walking
Duration
8 days & 7 nights
Difficulty
Moderate
Accomodation
Various
Availability
June - September

Itinerary

Day 1: Shenako
Day 2: Shenako
Day 3: Dartlo
Day 4: Girevi
Day 5: Verkhovani
Day 6: Dochu
Day 7: Omalo
Day 8: Tbilisi

 

Overview for Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

The Transcaucasian Trail, being developed since 2015, is becoming a world-class, long-distance hiking trail more than 3,000 km in length, following the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains and connecting roughly two dozen national parks and protected areas in the region.

Bordering Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the region known variously as the Caucasus, the South Caucasus, or Transcaucasia is one of the most biologically, culturally and linguistically diverse regions in the world – yet one that few have had the chance to explore. Now, united by a shared vision of a long-distance trail network across the region, a growing community of local and international hikers, cartographers and conservationists is putting this hidden gem on the map to help ensure that the landscapes and heritage of the region can be enjoyed by future generations.

Tusheti is a remote region of northeast Georgia, nestled in the Greater Caucasus and only accessible through a few high passes. The walks are first-class and the views are always spectacular in Tusheti, where the landscape is dominated by snow-capped mountains, wide valleys dotted with ancient villages and medieval defensive towers.

Most of the inhabitants of Tusheti live in the lower valleys of Kakheti in the winter and then return to the mountains when the shepherds move the herds in early summer. They keep the unique elements of Tushetian culture alive through festivals, feasts, horse races, and religious rituals held throughout the summer.

Itinerary for Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

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Day 1: Tbilisi – Shenako

A transfer will pick you early in the morning from your hotel in Tbilisi (not included in the package, an extra night in Tbilisi bookable as an option), and much of the day is spent driving. The picturesque route from Tbilisi to Tusheti passes through Kakheti, the wine-producing region of eastern Georgia, and up and over the stunning Abano Pass (2,826 m). In the evening you arrive in the beautiful village of Shenako where you can visit the Church of the Trinity, a small traditional church from the XIX century.

  • Transfer time: around 8 hours. The road over Abano Pass is unpaved, and therefore quite bumpy.
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Note: It is possible to split the transfer and have one extra night in Telavi on the way to Shenako. The Kakheti region, of which Telavi is the capital, is the main winemaking region in Georgia. There are numerous wineries and wine tasting tours are possible on request. Accommodation in Erekle hotelRcheuli Marani or Château Mere.

Day 2: Shenako – Diklo

From Shenako you start walking to the ancient village of Diklo. From Diklo walk to Pichekhi Castles, an ancient fortress on the border with Dagestan, which has amazing views of the valleys of Tusheti. According to the legend, once Diklo was invaded by an army of 10,000 soldiers, and 16 local warriors from Diklo managed to defend the Pichekhi castle for 18 days. When the old village of Diklo finally surrendered, the inhabitants moved to a new territory which is Diklo now.

  • Walking for the day: 3-4 hours (10 km, 450m elevation gain)
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Day 3: Diklo – Chigo – Dartlo

This day is more strenuous, as you have to hike up and down a lot. The highest point is 2,450 meters above sea level. Pass through the remote village of Chigo. From one side Chigo is surrounded by rocky hills and from the other by the impressive Alazani river gorge. Finally, you arrive at the beautiful village of Dartlo. Here you will find stunning examples of the local vernacular architecture – fortress-houses which are usually attached to fortified towers.

  • Walking for the day: 6-7 hours (16 km, 1,000m elevation gain)
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Day 4: Dartlo – Chesho – Parsma – Girevi

Today the route follows a timber road which connects all villages of the Pirikita Alazani gorge. In Chesho there is a guesthouse/store where you can relax, have a refreshment or buy a snack. Then continue to Parsma. The road does not go through the village itself, to see the village, you must climb up on a little hill where the village is located. After Parsma, continue to Girevi, which is the last settled village of Tusheti in the Pirikita gorge. It offers beautiful views of the Alazani valley.

  • Walking for the day: 4-5 hours (14 km, 350m elevation gain)
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Day 5: Girevi – Nakaicho Pass – Verkhovani

We recommend starting this day early as you need to go over a 2,900 m-high pass. Go back towards Parsma and cross the big bridge over the Alazani river. From there start hiking up on the hill following the trail. The pass offers amazing views on both sides. You will also see a lot of wild blueberry and raspberry bushes along the way. After the pass, you start descending into the Gometsari gorge. After a while, you reach the village of Dadikurta and then the beautiful village of Verkhovani, located on the side of the hill. Verkhovani hosts the tallest fortified tower in Tusheti (17m).

  • Walking for the day: 6-7 hours (13 km, 1,000m elevation gain)
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Day 6: Verkhovani – Mirgvela

Gometsari gorge is calm and peaceful. From Verkhovani descend down to the river. Cross the bridge and follow the dirt road. You will pass by Begela, Dochu and Bochorma villages and finally arrive in Mirgvela, where you will stay for overnight. Your guesthouse is a medium-size wooden cottage located on the intersection of the roads Omalo – Bochorna and Omalo – Dartlo.

  • Walking for the day: 4.5 hours (14 km, 500m elevation gain)
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Day 7: Mirgvela–Omalo

Your route today will take you to Omalo, the capital of Tusheti region the biggest settlement in the area. Visit the beautiful Keselo castle in upper Omalo, which is a fortress from the XVIII century.

  • Walking for the day: 4-5 hours (14 km, 400m elevation gain)
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Day 8: Omalo – Tbilisi

Transfer to Tbilisi and end of our services (an extra night in Tbilisi can be optionally booked). It is possible to stop over at Alaverdi Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Alaverdi is the tallest church in Georgia and one of the finest examples of Georgian medieval architecture, dominating the surrounding landscape of fields and vineyards.

  • Transfer time: about 8 hours

Note: It is possible to split the transfer and have one extra night in Telavi on the way to Tbilisi. The Kakheti region, of which Telavi is the capital, is the main winemaking region in Georgia. There are numerous wineries and wine tasting tours are possible on request. Accommodation in Erekle hotelRcheuli Marani or Château Mere.

Hotels for Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

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The overnights are in family-run guesthouses and lodges in the high mountains. Although most guesthouses have private rooms (double or twin), they offer only basic amenities and facilities are often shared. However, they are clean and offer genuine contact with the local culture and unique opportunities to experience the way of living in Tusheti. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality.

Meals

Breakfast is always included, as well as 6 packed lunches and 7 dinners.

Travel for Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

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Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Tbilisi.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Transfers to/from Airports

Airport transfers to Tbilisi are not included, Tbilisi downtown is easily reachable from the airport using public transport (train, bus) or taxi.

Check transfer options

Baggage Transfers

All luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 20 kg per person).

Country and Visa Info

UK citizens and most West European citizens do not need to obtain a visa to enter Georgia. Detailed information regarding visa requirements can be found here. If a visa is required, travellers can apply for e-Visa here.

The region where our trips take place is completely safe, as it is located far from the conflict regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Up-to-date travel advice on Georgia is available here. Detailed travel information will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Travel Insurance

A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have a valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with World Nomads Logo to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.

Buy travel insurance online

Trip Info for Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

This holiday is appropriate for experienced walkers and requires a very good level of fitness (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available from June until September. Earliest departure date is 8 June; latest departure date is 17 September. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking.

Weather

The climate in the region is continental, cold and temperate. Tusheti has alpine weather with long, cold and snowy winters. In June and September snow fall is also possible. And even in summer it can become cold, especially during the night.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside the accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included for Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

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  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps (electronic copy + one printed copy per party)
  • Accommodation for 7 nights in Tusheti in guesthouses (private rooms available but cannot be always guaranteed; shared facilities)
  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 dinners
  • 2 lunches on the way to/from Tusheti
  • 6 picnic lunches on walking days
  • Car transfer Tbilisi-Tusheti on Day 1
  • Car transfer Tusheti-Tbilisi on Day 8
  • Baggage transfers on all walking days
  • 24/7 assistance by phone by our local office/representative

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Single room supplement is not available for the guesthouses.
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers, there is a solo traveller supplement as costs are not shared.

Please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the price of the holiday and the different options, extras and supplements for your desired dates.

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Overnights in Tbilisi
  • Meals in Tbilisi
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the program

Extensions

  • Extra nights in Tbilisi in 3* or 4* hotels
  • Extra nights in Telavi on the way from/to Tbilisi and wine tasting tours

Gallery for Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

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Reviews for Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

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Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer
Average rating:  
 2 reviews
by Hannah M on Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

We had a fantastic time in Tusheti, Georgia is the best place I've ever had the privilege of travelling to. The whole holiday was fantastic, the walks took us through the most incredible scenery from valley through to mountain top, all excellent routes.  The people of Georgia are very welcoming and hospitable, Emily gave us a brilliant walking tour of Tbilisi, very informative and interesting, and Sulkhan, who was supposed to just move our bags, became our guide and our friend, he made our holiday.  We particularly enjoyed the walk on day 4 as well as staying in the lodge in Mirgvela as this was particularly beautiful.

by David D on Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

The guest houses were all very friendly and welcoming with good food (in massive quantities!) and I enjoyed staying in them.  Perhaps the only slight disappointment was the hotel in Tblisi which was noisy and not particularly friendly (especially the staff in the breakfast room!) Overall, I really liked the trip and would like to thank you again for making my time in Tusheti so enjoyable.


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