Challenge level: 4 out of 5
|7 September - 16 September 2023||On Sale|
The Caucasus Mountains boast some of the highest peaks in the world and Svaneti is at the heart of the magic. We’ll trek deep into the remotest parts of Svaneti, where 5,000m summits surround us and ancient cultures survive.
Prepare to put your strength to the test as we tackle steep hills and reach an altitude of 2,800m! We’ll explore medieval villages and abandoned towers, flower-filled meadows and sparkling snow-capped peaks, pre-historic cave dwellings and the secluded Ushba Waterfalls, and discover the local traditions that have been preserved for hundreds of years.
Every step of the way, you’ll raise funds for the charity closest to your heart, immerse yourself in a life far from your own, and achieve a phenomenal feat that few people can even imagine
Want more time to prepare? Join our group for Trek the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia 2024.
We begin our adventure at the airport in London, where we catch our flight to the fascinating capital city of Georgia, Tbilisi.
Founded in the 5th century by King Vakhtang Gorgasali on the site of its warm mineral-water springs, it soon became one of the most important political, economic and cultural centres of the Middle East. Tucked neatly on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Tbilisi gives a home to people from an amazing array of cultures and backgrounds, including ethnic Georgians, Armenians, Russians, and Azerbaijanis, along with Ossetians, Abkhazians, Ukrainians, Greeks, Jews, Assyrians, Yazidis, and many more ethnic groups. As such, the city is a gem to explore, boasting architecture from different cultures throughout history. It makes the perfect place to start our charity challenge. Touching down later in the day, we'll transfer to our hotel in the city for a relaxing evening.
Today, after breakfast at the hotel, we have the awesome chance to explore the wonders of Tbilisi on an exclusive guided tour. Our amazing local guide fills us in on the city's history as we tour the Old Town, renowned for its wonderful mix of cultures and architecture. Even before visiting the sites, we get a taste of the city’s diversity, with its mosque, synagogue, and Armenian and Roman Catholic churches mingling with the ancient Georgian churches. As we wander the town, the wooden houses with open, carved balconies look down upon us from every angle, so quaint and colourful that we could be walking through a theatre scene.
Together with our guide, we visit the Metekhi Temple and the 12th Century sulphuric baths of the Abanotubani on the riverside. We also get to visit the mosque and Narikala, the magnificent main fortress of Tbilisi, which watches over the whole city from its hilltop home. As if that’s not enough for one morning, we’ll wander through the narrow streets of carpet and souvenir shops and head to the 11th Century Sioni Cathedral, the Peace Bridge, and the 6th Century Anchiskhati Church.
We tuck into a tasty lunch before visiting the National Museum, Freedom Square, and Rustaveli Avenue, the main street of Tbilisi. Now we’ve seen the city up close and personal, we finish our amazing day with a cable train ride to the Funicular for panoramic views of Tbilisi. The sites we’ve seen have all been enthralling, but the breathtaking vistas of this fairy-tale-like city could be the highlight of the whole day!
After drinking in the view, we head back to the hotel for a delicious Welcome Dinner and an exciting briefing from our challenge leader on the trek ahead.
Waking to breakfast at the hotel, we have another day of sightseeing ahead. First, we transfer to Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 2nd millennium BC. As the birthplace of Christianity in Georgia and the ancient capital of the Georgian Kingdom Iberia from 500BC-500AD, the town boasts many architectural monuments and rich religious and cultural history.
Our journey back in time continues with a tour of J. Stalin’s hometown Gori and its enormous fortress, before driving back to the I-II millennium B.C Cave Town of Uplistsikhe. True to its nick name, Uplistsikhe is literally carved in the rock. Our guide leads us through the sacred central hall for pagan rituals, the living rooms, the three-nave basilica, and a three-basilica church. Although the rooms are mostly void of decorations, their ribbed ceilings and tunnels are beautiful in themselves.
From here, we drive on to the beautiful city of Kutaisi, once the capital of the Kingdoms of Abkhazia and Imereti. Here as well there’s a wealth of sites to see and we spend a short time exploring the city, before heading to Mazari, Svaneti, with a stop to visit the magnificent Martvili Canyon.
Finally, we arrive at our hotel in Mazari and settle down for a group dinner, followed by a great night’s rest.
After breakfast, we start our trek to Ushba Waterfalls on a challenging climb through the stunning region of Svaneti. Hiking to an awesome 2,450m above sea level, we take some time to admire the clear blue crashing waters and surrounding plant life, before making our descent. We finish our trek in Mazeri, a vibrant green valley of Dolra river, 1600 metres above sea level, with wide flower-filled meadows and the snow-capped peaks of the Caucasus gazing down from all directions.
Quite literally the stuff of fairy tales, the valley was once home to the Princess Dadeshkeliani and a ten-storey tower, but the owners blew it up in 1921, leaving it in ruins that can still be found near the village. After our first epic day’s trek, we transfer to our hotel in Mestia for a well-deserved dinner.
Today begins with breakfast and an exciting visit to the historic Svanetian Towers, built as homes as well as for defence during the Georgian Golden Age. As we wander the sites, we can imagine the tough life people used to have here, poised to be invaded at any moment. Next, we take a cable car from the green valley up to the sparkling white peaks of the Hatsvali skiing area and Heshikili Huts.
Eager to see more of the area, we embark on an approximately 4-hour trek over the spectacular mountain pass (2,300m) with mesmerising panoramas over Svaneti. Although a shorter walk than yesterday’s, the hike pushes our strength and stamina, with uneven terrain underfoot and some steep climbs. With aching legs and memories packed full of beautiful views, we arrive at the village of Zhabeshi (1,680m) where we relax and enjoy a great night's rest in village houses typical of the region.
After fuelling up with breakfast at our accommodation, we’re in for another challenging day of trekking in the heart of the Caucasus Mountains. We hike high in the mountains, facing steep climbs through the forest and extraordinary views over the dramatic valleys and glaciers. Following a clear dirt and gravel trail for daring trekkers, we cross the mountain pass over 2,500 metres above sea-level and stop for a picnic lunch along the way. At last, we descend to the beautiful village of Adishi (2,070m) hidden at the foot of Mount Tetnuldi (4,858m).
After a day's gruelling climb, you're now free to relax before we reunite for a delicious group dinner and a night in local village houses.
Day 7 sees us trekking up to 2,800m on serpentine mountain trails and then down to Khalde Valley. Along the way, we pass the captivating ruins of medieval villages hidden in the mountains.
Hiking up to 7 hours today with a picnic lunch along the way, we're well and truly exhausted by the time we meet our transport and drive to our night's accommodation in village houses of Ushguli (2,350m). This beautiful medieval village is one of the highest permanently inhabited places in Europe, with extraordinary views of Mount Shkhara (5,200m) the highest summit of Georgia.
Although the village is nearly impossible to access for anyone other than hikers like ourselves, with only one road which is snow-covered for six months of the year, Ushuguli still gives a home to around 200 people. Surrounded by nothing but the mountains, a cluster of medieval stone tower houses, a Georgian golden-age chapel, and a school, it’s a privilege to spend a night in this secluded World Heritage Site village in Upper Svaneti. Once we’ve arrived at our village houses, you have time to relax and wander the wonderful town before we end the day with dinner.
We've made it to our final day of hiking! After breakfast, we trek through the cavernous valley. Even the tough trek on our already-tired legs isn’t enough to taint the serenity of the area. Here, we’re so far away from our everyday lives that we may as well be on another planet – or Heaven itself! Eventually, we reach the foot of the 5,200m Mount Shkhara.
But fear not: after all the challenging climbs we’ve faced on this adventure, we are spared the gruelling ascent to the summit of this intimidating mountain. Instead, we end our day back in Mestia, with a possible visit to Mestia Museum and its collection of ancient traditions and manuscripts. This evening, we toast our success over a fantastic Celebration Dinner.
After bidding goodbye to the paradise of Svaneti, we begin our journey home on a long drive to Tbilisi. We spend the night at a comfortable hotel in the city and catch our flight to the UK on Day 10. Arriving in London later in the day, we part ways and you make your own way home, still filled with an unforgettable sense of achievement.
Pay the registration fee (£299) and challenge costs (£1,750) + airport taxes/fuel surcharge (capped at £250).
Pay the balance
Pay your registration fee (£299) and airport taxes/fuel surcharge (capped at £250), and fundraise £3,500 or more for your chosen charity.
Minimum sponsorship target
Our charity trek in Georgia is not about living in the gym. Loads of people who sign up for our non-competitive charity challenges have low levels of fitness when they register. The point is to train, do your best, and reach your fitness goal while making a big difference for the charity that means the most to you.
That said, we strongly recommend you train for Trek the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. We'll face long days of trekking in the mountains, encounter steep climbs and tackle a lot of uneven terrains. Please invest in a pair of quality hiking boots with ankle support to wear during your training and on your trek in Georgia, as these are essential for walking on uneven terrain. We also recommend incorporating hills in your training walks. Our supportive challenge guides and community spirit will help you conquer the trek of a lifetime. You're also likely to improve your mental health and well-being.
Once you register for our trek in the Caucasus Mountains, we'll send you a realistic training plan. This builds up gradually over time so you'll be ready and raring to go by the time we depart for Georgia. You can also check out our top trekking tips here and our indoor training ideas for the days you don't feel like facing the weather!
Everyone who is 18 years old or over by the departure date is more than welcome to join this trekking challenge in Georgia. We'll have adults of all ages taking part to achieve something awesome for charity — one of the many things that make our charity challenges so special
Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own. Our challenges around the world are renowned for the amazing camaraderie and lifelong friendships made, as our groups take on these incredible feats together.
Once you've signed up, we'll send you a link to a private Facebook group for everyone registered for our trek in the Caucasus Mountains. Please use this space to swap questions, advice and updates with your fellow trekkers on your training and fundraising.
You may also want to reach out to the other participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can meet up to train and fundraise with.
The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your trekking challenge for charity and we will support you all the way. We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself.
Once you have registered, we will send you a Welcome Pack with everything you need to know about your challenge, including the itinerary, an example insurance policy, details about our challenge destination in Georgia and the weather we can expect on our trek, the structure of an average trekking day, a full kit list, and a realistic training plan to help you get fit for the challenge. The training programme builds up gradually as the trek gets closer.
We'll also send you regular updates in the lead-up to the adventure, with more important details and seasonal fundraising ideas. During the trek in Georgia, we'll have a UK doctor with expedition medicine training accompanying the group at all times, along with a team of outdoor remote first-aid trained challenge guides.
Your non-refundable registration fee of £299 per person is used to administer the challenge.
Your challenge costs of £1,750 (ie. 50% of the fundraising target if you choose the Sponsorship option) cover:
You will need a pair of quality walking boots with ankle support — these are essential for trekking on uneven terrain. Please also bring a 2-litre water bottle.
We'll supply you with a full kit list for your overseas trekking challenge well before we leave for Georgia.
In addition to paying your registration fee (£299) and either self-funding your challenge costs (£1,750) or fundraising the minimum sponsorship target (£3,500), you'll need to budget for your:
Yes of course! If you would like to extend your stay in Georgia, please let us know at least 17 weeks before our departure date and we can arrange this for you.
Our Dream Challenges are renowned for their camaraderie, but we find that the strongest bonds are formed in smaller groups. We'll travel in a group of around 20-30 people and you're likely to make friends for life!
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation. Please arrange your insurance as soon as you can after you sign up to ensure you have coverage for your booking as well as the challenge.
In your Welcome Pack, you will receive information about an insurance provider that specialises in our type of overseas challenges and also covers you for cancellation due to medically-diagnosed COVID-19.
You can, however, take out your own insurance, providing it covers you for a charity trek in Georgia. Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate coverage for your challenge.
Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate coverage for your charity trek.
Currently, UK citizens do not require a visa for Georgia, but we'll let you know if this changes before the challenge in 2023.
As we're not medically trained, we're afraid we can't offer you advice on this. We recommend you contact your GP or your local travel clinic, who will have the latest travel health advice.
We also recommend you visit the NHS Fit for Travel website here, to keep up to date with current travel health news and advice on staying healthy abroad.
NHS Fit for Travel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home