fbpx
Skip to content

We are open 9am - 5pm GMT/BST Mon - Fri

Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer 32

Transcaucasian Trail: Tusheti Explorer

Overview

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.

Our Co-Founder Peter Duncan visited Georgia and hiked in Tusheti in 2019. You can read his blog post here.

Click to view map

Itinerary

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 (2826 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.

Day 2: Shenako – Diklo | 10 km

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, 450 m elevation gain)
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Day 3: Diklo – Chigo – Dartlo | 16 km

This day is more strenuous, as you have to hike up and down a lot. The highest point is 2450 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, 1000 m elevation gain)
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Day 4: Dartlo – Chesho – Parsma – Girevi | 14 km

Today the route follows a timber road connecting 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, before continuing 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, 350 m elevation gain)
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Day 5: Girevi – Nakaicho Pass (2900 m) – Verkhovani | 13 km

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 blueberries 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, 1000 m elevation gain)
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Day 6: Verkhovani – Mirgvela | 14 km

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, 500 m elevation gain)
  • Overnight in a guesthouse

Day 7: Mirgvela – Omalo | 14 km

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, 400 m 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.

What to Expect

Accommodation

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.

Click to view photos of the default guesthouses

Meals

Breakfast is always included, as well as 7 dinners.

Difficulty & terrain

This holiday is appropriate for experienced walkers and requires a very good level of fitness (read more about difficulty grades). 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 early June until mid-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. The climate in the region is continental, cold and temperate. Tusheti has alpine weather with long, cold and snowy winters. In June and September snowfall is also possible. And even in summer, it can become cold, especially during the night.

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.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

The regions where our Georgia trips take place are completely safe, as they are located far from the conflict regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airport for this tour is Tbilisi.

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

Inclusions

Included

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

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • 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

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared
  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums
  • Extra nights in Tbilisi in 3* or 4* hotels
  • Tbilisi guided walking tour
  • Extra nights in Telavi on the way from/to Tbilisi and wine tasting tours

Gallery

Reviews

Submit your review

Rating

     

Hannah M

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.

Page 1 of 2: