Dare Dream Discover

Svaneti, Georgia

Svaneti, Georgia

wonderful vista in svaneti

Svaneti, in the north of Georgia, close to the border with Russia, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. With snow capped mountains, forests, lakes, glaciers and swathes of colourful wild flowers, it is also like stepping back in time

Ushguli village in svaneti

THE JOURNEY TO SVANETI

From Tbilisi, it was a 4-hour train journey to Zugdidi. This turned into a 5-hour journey when a car ran into the back of our train and we had to wait for the police to arrive.
an accident on the way to Svaneti
Minibuses wait for the train, to take you the remaining 3 hours to Mestia, the gateway to Svaneti and our base for the next 4 days. The scenery on the journey was stunning as the 3rd largest dam in the world, waterfalls and majestic mountains were all en-route.
the 3rd largest dam in the world on the way to Svaneti
dam near Svaneti
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me and friends at small waterfall near Svaneti

view on the way to Svaneti
In Mestia, we stayed in a family run guesthouse. The balcony outside my room offered panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and forests. It was so dramatic and beautiful and the view altered constantly with the changes in light.
view in Svaneti, Georgia
I had a walk around the village as the sun was setting, it was very beautiful.
church in Mestia, Svaneti

HIKE TO THE KORULDI LAKES

Koruldi lakes are at an altitude of 8,989 feet. The hike here was one of the best ones I’ve had.  My Georgian friend, Sophie, said she loved my expressions. It was a mixture of awe and happiness. From the top of the mountain there were 360° views, to snow capped mountains and villages nestling in the valleys below.
view into Mestia, Svaneti
me in Svaneti
me and my friend Sophie in Svaneti
me hiking in Svaneti
the 3 amigos in Svaneti
We walked through fields of wild flowers in vibrant pinks, yellows and blues. The altitude could be felt and my breathing was a bit more laboured than usual but I took lots of deep breaths and there were plenty of rests to admire the magnificent views and take photographs.
my favourite view in Svaneti
wild flowers in Svaneti
beautiful flowers on Svaneti hike
me at ushba mountain Svaneti
It was the perfect weather — azure blue skies dotted with fluffy white clouds. These clouds and the majestic mountains reflected in the waters of the lake. I smiled the whole day.
I am known for my smile https://www.daredreamdiscover.com/a-lynn-grin-thing-success/ check out my page and add your own.
me at Koruldi lakes in Svaneti
playing with snowballs in Svaneti
reflections on Koruldi lake Svaneti
me and Sophie at Koruldi lakes Svaneti
me on a glacier at Koruldi lakes, Svaneti
Sophie had hiked all the way with a bottle of wine but it was a perfect way to sit and appreciate the view. This is why I travel.
drinking wine at Koruldi lakes, Svaneti

A STORY OF TWO SVANETI MOUNTAINS

The legend of these two mountains reads like a Georgian ‘Romeo and Juliet’. The first mountain in the pictures is Tetnuldi and is the girl in the story.
Tetnuldi mountain in, Svaneti
The second mountain pictured is Ushba and is the boy in the story. It is also my friend Sophie’s favourite mountain.
me and Sophie at Ushba mountain Svaneti
Ushba mountain in Svaneti
Svaneti was famous in Georgia for its blood feuds and this is the story of two feuding families. Like the Montague and Capulets a boy and a girl from these families at war met and fell in love. Determined to be together, they married in secret. Unfortunately, their families found out and they were sentenced to death. They realised they could never live together so they asked God to turn them into beautiful mountains so they could see each other for ever.
view of Tetuldi mountain in Svaneti
I fell in love with both these mountains.  Looking at them was never tiring. Every time you looked at them, they were different. Changes in light completely transformed them. I miss the mountains.
peaks of Ushba mountain in Svaneti

USHGULI

Ushguli is the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe at 2,200 metres. It actually comprises of four small villages, sitting at the foot of Mt Shkhara, Georgia’s highest mountain, 5,203 metres high.
the village of Ushguli in Svaneti
 One of the villages was totally devastated by a massive avalanche in 1987 and most the residents packed up and left. Now they are starting to return and houses are starting to be restored. A lot of this is due to the arrival of tourism as both locals and visitors discover the incredible beauty of the area. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site.
one of the villages of Ushguli in Svaneti
abandoned house in Ushguli, Svaneti
me and Sophie in Ushguli, Svaneti
a loval woman in Ushguli, Svaneti
A visit to Ushguli is like a trip back to a time of ancient traditions, blood feuds and the kidnapping of brides. Conditions were harsh. Everywhere, there are the stone towers which protected from potential invaders and avalanches.
village 2 in Ushguli, Svaneti
Sophie on top of a tower in Ushguli, Svaneti
village no 3 Ushguli, Svaneti
me relaxing by the river Ushguli in Svaneti
view to the glacier in Ushguli, Svaneti
inside a church in Ushguli, Svaneti
a horse in Ushguli, Svaneti
view of Ushguli in Svaneti, Georgia
beautiful Ushguli in Svaneti, Georgia
On the way back our tavel delays continued with a flat tyre.
a flat tyre on way home from Ushguli, Svaneti

THE TOWER OF LOVE IN SVANETI

This is the Tower of Love. Legend has it that a woman fell deeply in love with a man. However, as he was already married with children she rejected him. The man was then killed in a hunting accident and was turned into a trout. Every day the woman would sit by the river, her tears falling into the waters. Everyday she also fed the trout which made the river their home. Her father built the tower for her as a symbol of love.
Me inside the tower of love Svaneti
the tower of love Svaneti
me at the window of the tower of love Svaneti

THE CHALAADI GLACIER SVANETI

Chalaadi Glacier, one of the most beautiful hikes in Georgia, is at 1850 metres high and the source of the river Mestia. It is fed by mountain streams. It is in a beautiful setting and is unusual in that it extends down to the forest.
The Chalaadi glacier Svaneti
Walking towards the glacier is very beautiful. A bridge over the river brings you into the coniferous forest. Huge fire trees rise up into the sky, the sun shimmering through the branches and tantalising glimpses of the mountains behind. Wild flowers provide splashes of colour amongst the greenery.
bridge at the start of the hike to the Chalaadi glacier in Svaneti
sun shining through the trees in Svaneti
beautiful wild flowers in Svaneti
wild flowers on the hike to Chalaadi glacier Svaneti
beatiful trees in Svaneti
wild flowers in Svaneti
Afterwards, the next part of the hike is by the side of a raging river fed by the glacial waters. A scramble over the deposited rocks finally brings you to the glacier. The glacial cave is stunning, the trapped turquoise blue water shining through the ice. The water was truly glacial and a few seconds was all I could bear before it became very painful. It was another beautiful hike full of contrasts.
See my post on another beautiful hike and perfect day in Georgia https://www.daredreamdiscover.com/destinations/georgia/a-perfect-day-in-georgia/
river at Chalaadi glacier Svaneti
me at Chalaadi glacier Svaneti
me at Chalaadi glacier Svaneti

standing in the ice cold waters of Chalaadi glacier Svaneti

me in front of Chalaadi glacier Svaneti

me and Sophie at Chalaadi glacier Svaneti

MESTIA

Mestia is a good base from which to explore Svaneti. It has accommodation options to suit all budgets and a wealth of wonderful restaurants, some with traditional music. It is also the starting point for many of the walks. Cars and minibuses also offer day trips to Ushguli.
Ushguli in Svaneti, Georgia
It is also home to the Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography. A good way of finding out more about the traditions of Georgia and contains local crafts and many icons.
Cinema pub Dede is owned by the sister of the director of the film of the same name. This film was showing whilst I was there. I went to one of the screenings, very interesting especially as I had just visited Ushguli.
Mestia main street in Svaneti, Georgia
Mestia at night Svaneti, Georgia

river running through Mestia in Svaneti

church on the hill in Mestia Svaneti

cheers from Svaneti

a friendly local in Mestia, Svaneti

dinner in Mestia Svaneti

beautiful scenery in Mestia Svaneti

Where to Stay

The guesthouse with the amazing views is guesthouse Kala

http://www.booking.com/Share-2oQkoh

LOCAL SPECIALITIES

As well as the famous Georgian dishes such as Khachapuri and Khinkali, the Svaneti area has it’s own specialties:
  • Kubdari – bread filled with meat and spices.
  • Tashmijabi – mashed potato mixed with cheese.
  • Svaneti – famous for the protection of salt and I was given some as a gift from the guesthouse.

Of course all these have to be washed down with a glass of Georgian wine. Georgia makes some of the best wines I have ever tasted.

me eating kubdari in Svaneti

tashmijabi a local speciality of Svaneti

me trying the local specialities of Svaneti

barbecue Svaneti style

Svaneti is like a trip back in time to ancient traditions, stone villages and a slower pace of life. It is aso a chance to immerse yourself in nature, peace and tranquility.

me and Sophie in Ushguli, Svaneti

beautiful mountain vista in Svaneti

on the throne in Ushguli, Svaneti

me next to one of Svaneti's towers

Ushguli nestled in the mountains Svaneti

Horse drinking in Koruldi lake Svaneti

horses at the top of the mountain Svaneti

beautiful Ushba mountain Svaneti

For more information on trips to Georgia have a look at the Visit Georgia website:

https://visitgeorgia.ge/

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