Tusheti National Park Hike — Georgia
The Caucasus is a unique world unto itself. It is home to mountain clans of ancient peoples who have lived for millennia amongst its soaring peaks and verdant alpine meadows. The Caucasus is a Eurasian mosaic of cultures where a deep and genuine tradition of hospitality still resides.
Since the peaceful Rose Revolution of 2003, the Republic of Georgia has returned to the World map as a safe and fascinating new country to explore. It is a wonderful nation steeped in traditions and whose good-humored people extend a warm invitation to visit their land. At a “Supra”, a Georgian traditional dinner, it is said that your soul and body will be toasted, fed, watered and made to sing and dance!
This hiking tour in Tusheti National Park is supported by pack horses which carry your gear. Our journey starts in the capital of Tblisi, founded more than 1500 years ago. We then drive to the dramatic scenery of the Kakheti and Tusheti valleys. These Caucasian “Shangri-Las” are hidden behind silent mountains tops and stone towers which have only recently been visited by foreign travelers. Largely untouched by the 21st century, Tusheti features ancient villages and peoples set amongst a stunningly beautiful alpine scenery. It is the perfect place for hiking and horse riding.
We end the trip in the lowlands beneath the Tusheti heights – the province of Khakheti, known to be one of the first wine making areas in the World. Naturally we will taste from local wineries and toast our wonderfully unique Caucasian wilderness experience. Experience the poetry of Giorgia’s warm people and superb landscapes! Luggage is moved by jeep and by horse.
Tusheti National Park Hike — Georgia itinerary
Aug 24: Independent arrival Tbilisi – the Georgian capital. Overnight Tbilisi. (Dinner and hotel included).
Aug 25: The Georgian capital is beautifully located astride the Mtkvari River and it is an easy city to explore. Meet your guides and the rest of the group at 13:00 at the hotel. We will have lunch together and then have a two hour drive to the town of Telavi in the Kakheti wine growing region. Check into the Rcheuli Marani hotel Reconvene for a winery visit and tasting at one of Georgia’s most innovative yet traditional producers, followed by dinner overlooking the vineyards. Overnight Telavi. (Lunch, Dinner and Hotel included).
*Note: Many flights into Tblisi arrive at 3 and 4 am in the morning. Therefore it is possible to arrive on the morning of pick up day, sleep late, and then meet for the pick up at 13:00. Of course, you may want to arrive the day before. Either way, we include the night in Tblisi as you will definitely want a hotel room to retire to should you have the red eye flight.
Aug 26: You have an unforgettable four hour 4X4 drive up one of the most incredible roads in the world to access Tusheti National Park. Pic nic lunch and then a relatively easy two hour warm up walk to “Upper” Omalo, whose defensive towers are like a beacon from the land of Oz. Overnight in a charming guest house with a fabulous view. A delicious dinner is accompanied by local wine and Chacha, the amazingly smooth Georgian brandy… Drive time is 4 hours. Hiking time is 2.5 hours plus an hour exploring Omalo towers. Overnight Omalo (B,L,D included)
Aug 27: Today you will have a wonderfully full day of hiking. Initial descent down to “Lower” Omalo then descend to and cross the river by bridge. Arrive at Shenako village for a break and visit the charming local church which has a wonderful story. Pic – Nic on a hill side overlooking Shenako then follow your guide through an incredible array of wild flowers and alpine grasses. The bio-diversity is truly amazing. We arrive at Diklo village around 5 pm. It is the closest populated area near the Dagestan border and from there you can see Dagestany families building hay hives. Our guest house features a large covered balcony where we enjoy dinner overlooking the village. Hiking time six hours. Main bags moved by 4X4. Overnight Diklo. (B,L,D included)
Aug 28: Today is challenging as we hike over Sanare pass, which is 1911 meters above sea level. To help us along we are accompanied by a pack horse which carries our day packs and the pic-nic. Lunch is had on the banks of a small waterfall beneath Chigo village. As we approach Dartlo the valley opens up and in the distance we can see the craggy and snowy peaks of the Atsunta range which soar to over 4,000 meters. You arrive in Dartlo and relax by the stream that tumbles down the east flank of the village. Dartlo is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s typical slate roofed stone houses are jumbled amongst 12thcentury defensive towers. The village overlooks a broad and verdant river valley.Overnight at a local guest house.. Hiking time six hours. Day packs carried by horse. Main bags moved by 4X4. Overnight Dartlo (B,L,D.).
Aug 29: After a typically hardy breakfast you set off climbing up past Dartlo’s Kvavlo tower before traversing north – east. You are now high above the river valley and rewarded with fabulous views. Pass through the remote village of Dano and Chesho on your way to Parsma village. Upon arrival relax in the village or carry on for an optional hike up the valley to you can choose to relax and while enjoying the views or you can hike to the next village of Girevi and back. Or perhaps have a refreshing/bracing swim in the river, or learn how to make the delicious Khinkali dumplings with our hostess at the guest house. Hiking time 4.5 hours. Day packs carried by horse. Main bags moved by 4X4. Overnight Parsma (B,L,D.).
Aug 30: After breakfast you start towards Nakaicho pass for a challenging but rewarding 1000 meter climb up from the river valley floor. This is a magnificent hike with gorgeous views onto snow peaked mountains. From the 2903 metre high pass we have breathtaking views, followed by a 2 hour descent to our next quaint guesthouse in the village Jvarboseli. The owners are a wonderful family, full of hospitality and good cheer. We celebrate our epic climb over the pass, and a wonderful 5 day journey by foot through Tushetia. Hiking time is approximately 5.5 hours. Day packs carried by horse. Main bags moved by 4X4 (B,L,D.) Overnight Jvarboseli.
Aug 31: Today we transfer back to Tblisi. This entails another epic 4X4 journey to take us out of the mountains and into the fertile plains and the village of Laliskuri where we will have lunch provided by a Tusheti family in their home. The food is fabulous, and the produce is from their garden and orchard. After lunch we have a two hour transfer to Tblisi. Along the way we will stop briefly at the beautiful Alavari Cathedral. Started in the 6th century, the present day Cathedral is part of an 11th century Georgian Orthodox monastery. It is surrounded by defensive walls and turrets and features beautiful honey coloured stonework. Inside, one thousand year old frescoes adorn the naïve and cupola. We arrive in Tblisi at about 4pm. You will have time to freshen up before exploring historic Tblisi on your own. We provide a map and an easy to follow itinerary that takes in the most charming and historic parts of old Tblisi. Reconvene for our farewell dinner which is a short walk from the hotel. (B,L,D.)Overnght Tblisi. (Note, some of you may have early flights ie 04:00 am the next morning, others may have later departures.).
Sept 1: Breakfast and airport transfer is included.
Modern hotels in Telavi and Tbilisi with en suite WC and shower and AC. When we are in the national park we will be staying in clean, comfortable but rustic guest houses. Toilet and shower facilities (hot water) are of course available, but they are not en-suite. Don’t let the lack of an ensuite WC prevent you from participating in this fabulous travel experience.
Activity rating: 5 out of 5 = Challenging: Difficult terrain, sustained climbs and descents, at least 5 hours of activity daily, and up to 7 hours of walking. You need to be a fit, experienced hiker who enjoys being challenged. Distances: up to 25 kms per day. Note: this is the only tour that we rate a 5/5 for activity level. If you have done our Dolomites hike and were able to do that without any problems then you will be able to do this one as well; you will just be going to bed earlier, and more tired!
Note on Itinerary: Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
Trip Cost Includes: 8 nights accommodation; 8 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners, wine and Georgian brandy included; pick-up from Tblisi airport and transfer back to Tblisi airport; all road transfers by van and then 4X4 vehicle; expert local guide; expert 4X4 driver; pack horse to carry your day-pack on certain days; transfer of main bags from one guest lodge to the other; and winery visit. A Customwalks guide will also accompany the tour.
Not included: air travel to Georgia; travel insurance; any extra beverages not included; and items of a personal nature.
Weather: the days should be warm to hot, but the air stays cool as we're in the mountains. Evenings are cool in the mountains but can be warm to hot in Tbilisi and the Kakheti wine-growing region. We will be traveling in alpine areas so you must be prepared for mountain weather.
Booking: e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a booking contract (or use the 'Contact Us' link at the top of this page), or click on the 'Book Now' button to the right.
Insurance: We highly recommend the purchase of Trip Insurance. We recommend “Travel Guard” to our North American clients, just click on the logo below. Australian, New Zealander, and British travelers, please consult your insurance brokers.
Getting There: Tblisi international airport is relatively well served by flights from Europe and from Istanbul.
Air: Check for flights with Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines.
Getting Away at the End of the Trip: the trip ends after breakfast on Saturday morning. We can arrange a transfer to Tblisi airport for your flight out.
If you book a trip with us you will receive detailed information about how to get to and from the trip, and of course you can e-mail us with any questions.
It is a tremendously interesting part of the world to visit. The mountains are beautiful, the walking was on good trails with spectacular views. I found the wild flowers enchanting,so many different types and the blueberries, wild strawberries and raspberries were simply delicious. The people were lovely,warm and friendly, and our guide, well I feel like we have made a life long friend.
We were lucky enough to do this trip in 2014, it was a wonderful experience. The walking is challenging, but so worth it- the views are spectacular. The owners of the guest houses in the Tusheti National Park are very welcoming, the accommodation is comfortable and the food plentiful. It was an adventure and one which we thoroughly enjoyed.
It is a tremendously interesting part of the world to visit. The mountains are beautiful, the walking was on good trails with spectacular views. I found the wild flowers enchanting,so many different types and the blueberries, wild strawberries and
raspberries were simply delicious.
The people were lovely,warm and friendly, and our guide, well I feel like we have made a life long friend.
by E Hope from Christchurch New Zealand