Georgia is a slice of sumptuous beauty, sandwiched between Turkey and Russia, on the coast of the Black Sea. We bike and hike the abundant geographical diversity of this country steeped in history as we venture from the heart of wine country, past monasteries that have stood for centuries, to the alpine meadows of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. We start our adventure in Tiblisi, Georgia's capital city for nearly 1500 years, and, from the picturesque city of Signaghi, we hop on the bikes and pedal through the heart of Georgian wine country towards the forests of Lagodekhi National Park. Our route takes us along the ancient Silk Road, visiting villages on the old east-west trade route. Once we have reached the foothills of Tusheti National Park, the climbing begins in earnest as we cycle on dirt roads into the Caucasus Mountains and over the 2,850-m high Abano Pass, where we are gifted with magnificent views of snow-capped peaks. Following the course of the Chagma River will bring us to the fortified village of Omalo. One more day of climbing and descending through the ancient cities of Dartlo and Girevi before we set aside the bikes and begin our two-day hike across the wilderness. Accompanied by horses to carry our gear, we'll meet shepherds and their flocks as we reach our goal, Atsunta Pass (3,431 m). From there, we continue downhill to our campsite in the Khevsureti mountain region. We return to our bikes for two more day of riding and cycle to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shatili before our last climb over Datvis Jvari Pass and a transfer to Tbilisi for a farewell dinner. All in all, an amazing adventure through the Caucasus mountains!
Day 1 Arrive in Tbilisi
Upon arrival in Tbilsi, we transfer to our hotel and meet up in the evening for a welcome dinner and trip briefing.
Day 2 Tbilisi
After breakfast, your morning is free to relax and recover from any jet lag, maybe with a traditional sulphur bath and massage. We then meet in the afternoon after lunch for a tour of the town. Tbilisi is one of the most ancient cities of the Caucasus, and walking through the well-preserved old town is a distinctive pleasure. We tour the city on foot and visit Metheki Church and Sioni Cathedral, then stroll along the charming Rustaveli Avenue. On a clear day, it is possible to see the mighty peak of Mt. Kazbek jutting from the Greater Caucasus in the north. We take an evening drive to the beautiful ancient town of Mth-skheta for a traditional Georgian welcome dinner on the banks of the Mtkvari River.
Day 3 Tbilisi - Singnaghi - Lagodekhi
We leave Tbilisi after breakfast for a 90-minute transfer to the town of Signaghi. Nestled on the Kiziki Gorge, this is one of the most beautiful towns in Georgia. Overlooking the Alazani Valley, Signaghi is a rare and beautiful example of a historic city which has maintained its style through the years: open balconies, unique fortresses, towers, and churches plus a friendly population. From Signaghi, we have classic views of the Caucasus Mountains and the wine region of Kakheti, where the Alazani River flows into the Mingechauri Reservoir near the Azeri border. We have lunch at Pheasants Tears winery and after some delicious fare, we saddle up for our first fantastic bike ride to Lagodekhi National Park.
Day 4 Lagodekhi - Laliskuri
Today is a long day of cycling, but our route takes us through the beautiful landscapes of the Kakheti wine region. After a short transfer, we cycle on quiet back roads, and part of the route takes us on paths through surrounding vineyards. We visit the 16th century Gremi Monastery as we follow the old Silk Road and pass through the towns and villages that once were the main trading centres in Georgia. We push on enjoying the refreshing landscapes and reach our overnight destination of Laliskuri, where we have a grand dinner accompanied by some local vino.
Day 5 Laliskuri - Abano Pass
After an early morning breakfast, a short transfer takes us to the start of our ride toward Tusheti National Park. Now is when the real mountain biking starts as our entire route uses dirt roads that take us up through the high ranges of the Caucasus Mountains. Today's ride is a testing one as we ride predominantly uphill for about 7- 8 hours to reach our campsite at the top of the Abano Pass (2,850 m).
Day 6 Abano Pass - Omalo
After breakfast. we have the prize of fantastic downhill biking for the first half of the day. We ride a dirt road following the Chagma River before an 8-km steep uphill ride from Kumelaurta to the village of Omalo, the capital of the Tusheti mountain region (2,100 m). Our guesthouse is located below the Keselo Towers, an ancient defense which offered protection to the inhabitants of old Omalo from the invading Mongols and later the Daghestani tribes. We have the option to hike in the evening up to the Keselo towers.
Day 7 Omalo - Girevi
Another fantastic biking day is ahead of us, full of unique villages, beautiful scenery, testing ascents, and thrilling downhill biking. From the village of Dartlo, we follow the Pirikiti Alazani River until we reach our campsite in the village of Girevi. This where we say goodbye to our bikes for the next two days as we start our hike to the village of Mutso.
Day 8 Girevi - Kvakhidi - Atsunta Pass
Early in the morning, we leave the campsite, load our gear onto pack horses, and start our two-day hike that takes us up and over the 3,431-m Atsunta Pass. After Girevi, we hike through the ruined village of Chontio, the last village we see as beyond here we only encounter far-flung shepherd’s homes in the remote high Caucasus. We have a long eight-hour day of hiking, but the journey is full of enjoyable moments and fantastic scenery. For those who need a few minutes off their feet, we have a couple of willing horses to carry you for a few kilometres.
Day 9 Atsunta Pass - Spring Camp
After a breakfast of champions, we pack up and leave the campsite early. We cross the Atsunta Pass, and, if the weather allows, we will be able to see the beautiful Mount Kazbegi in the distance. From here, we continue downhill to the Khevsureti Mountain region. Hiking from our campsite to the top of the pass will take about 3 hours, and from the pass it is another 3-4 hours of mostly downhill, but not very steep, walking.
Day 10 Spring Camp - Mutso - Shatili
This morning's hike will be short, around an hour, down through a birch forest to the Khonischala area, where we meet our bikes to start riding through the Khevsureti mountain region. We head to the village of Mutso and walk to the medieval fortified dwellings arranged on vertical terraces above the Mutso-Ardoti Gorge. From there, we ride to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shatili. The village is a complex of medieval-to-early modern fortresses and fortified dwellings that functioned both as residences and a fortress guarding the northeastern outskirts of the country. Some 60 towers cluster together to create a single chain of fortifications. We overnight at a guesthouse in Shatili.
Day 11 Shatili - Tbilisi
Today is our last mountain biking day. After breakfast, we start our ride towards the Datvis Jvari Pass (3,047 m). From the pass, we have a fantastic descent through alpine meadows. Around 5 pm, we get in our minibus and transfer to our Tbilisi hotel where we enjoy a farewell dinner on the Hotel Kopala terrace.
Day 12 Onward travel
Transfer to the airport to catch your flight home.
Inclusions in tour are as follows:
Followings are not included in tour: