If we describe Mestia, then this is a year-round vacation. The holiday season there does not stop, whenever you arrive, you will always be on time. The city is interesting for its traditions, culture and cuisine. Head to Mestia for relaxation, beautiful scenery and delicious food. Since this is a high-altitude center, most often tourists build a route from Mestia to Ushguli or to a ski resort nearby, or start mountain hiking right from here.
How to get to Mestia?
There are several options for getting to Mestia:
Use the services of a travel company or a separate carrier in order to get to Mestia and return back.
Get there by minibus. The route from Tbilisi with a transfer will take approximately 12-18 hours. The journey from Batumi will take about 8-10 hours.
Fly by plane from Kutaisi or Tbilisi. It is necessary to clarify whether a local company flies, the schedule is subject to change.
Take advantage of car rental – daily car rental, depending on the class of the car and the number of rental days. All prices for cars can be viewed on the website. You can get our cars in Tbilisi, Batumi and Kutaisi.
Rent a car for a trip to Mestia
As you can already understand, car rental is the most convenient way to get to the location and move around the city. If you have not yet booked a car for your trip, go to the car park and choose the right car.
Have you made up your mind? Now select the rental dates, the necessary characteristics and book a car. This can be done immediately on the site by filling out the order form, or by calling (+995) 514-577-555, (+995) 514-896-896 (WhatsApp, Viber) or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the near future the manager will contact you to confirm the reservation, now you have a car for travel.
You can also order a car to the airport immediately, and upon arrival, transport will already waiting for you. To do this, you need to book a car rental in advance.
Choosing a car for a trip to Mestia
For traveling in the mountains, the best choice is a SUV with increased ground clearance. But do not rush to limit your choice to just one class. We will list all the benefits below
Do we can rent a comfortable sedan for a trip to Mestia?
You will agree that the idea is so-so and most of the locals will tell you that you have not made the right choice.
But, there are undoubted advantages of this choice:
The road to Mestia is 5-6 hours from Batumi or 8 hours from Tbilisi, the road goes along the highway, then along the mountain asphalt road.
The mountain road is of excellent quality; it's just winding and narrow – only 1 car in each direction.
There is quite enough sedan here, except that at the entrance to Mestia there will be a small piece of road with a dirt road and it’s bad if it’s off-season with rains and blurry roads.
Otherwise, there is a big difference to spend 6-8 hours in a sedan or SUV, especially on the mountain slopes.
You will need an SUV in Mestia to travel to Ushguli, but before you decide to do this, ask the car rental company if they provide the opportunity to use their cars in Ushguli. Often, you will get a negative response.
local transfer from Mestia to Ushguli will be inexpensive and much easier than pulling an SUV and being in complete discomfort for 6 hours.
What does included in the car rental price?
When you pay for the rental of a car, this amount includes not only the operation of the vehicle, but also a number of other services.
Car rental includes:
vehicle insurance (CDW or MTPL);
tires (depending on the season, summer or winter);
parking in the city where you received the car;
taxes and fees;
technical support 24/7;
a replacement car if yours breaks down or some other unforeseen incident happens.
Rent a SUV for a trip to Mestia
What benefits does it provide:
You can safely go even out of season
If you meet a blurry road, this is not a problem for you.
If you have permission, then you will get to Ushguli by your own
You can see a few more roads and scenic spots without resorting to the services of local carriers.
Useful information for visiting Mestia
Mestia is high mountains, it is always cool here, it is far from civilization
Take warm clothes even in summer.
Food, fuel and hotels are always more expensive here – everything is delivered here.
The airport is very small with a short runway, bad weather is frequent, because it’s not a fact that you will fly by plane on the first day.
There are no Hilton and other chain hotels here, be prepared for a guesthouse and simple hospitality of local people.
Rivers, although they seem shallow, are fraught with many dangers, do not try to measure them with a car, they will quickly swallow the car.
Do not visit dangerous and forbidden places, at first glance they are harmless, but every year even the most experienced climbers disappear there – mountains are always dangerous.
The mountain air is very clean, the amount of oxygen is less here, headaches and dizziness can be observed.
Refueling a car in Mestia
There are 2 gas stations there, do not pay attention to the price tag, it will always be higher than in flat Georgia. Feel free to refuel, there will be no other alternatives, and fuel consumption in the mountains is growing due to passes.
Local people in Svaneti
Mestia, Ushguli – this is the whole region of Svaneti, and it is inhabited by Svans. In Georgia, you can hear negative reviews about the Svans, as well as the Mingrelians. Georgians endow these people with some mystical properties and say that it is better not to deal with these people.
Do not give in to these words. In Svaneti, kind and sympathetic people, as in other things, and everywhere in Georgia.
From the practice of visiting these areas, several stories can be told that will characterize the Svans:
Our tourist on the road to Mestia broke a wheel, stopped on a narrow mountain road, began to take out a jack and put it under the car. A car passed by with locals, they stopped, approached and offered help. Without waiting for an answer, they changed the wheel and told where the nearest tire service was. Nobody wants to take money.
Tourists got stuck in the mountains, the locals quickly got their bearings, organized the Ministry of Emergency Situations and came to rescue the tourists, later they took them home, warmed, fed them, and in the morning, they repaired the car and sent them back to Batumi.
These are Svans.
What to buy in Svaneti?
You can buy a lot of souvenirs, there are enough of them here. But we recommend that you definitely buy some Svan salt, which you will add to salads. It is very fragrant with spices. Pack it well, or the whole plane will know that you have a gift from Svaneti.
What to see in Mestia?
Despite the fact that Mestia is rather a crossing point along the route, there is also something to see here:
Museum of History and Ethnography, which is one of the ten best museums in Europe
Church of St. Nicholas, located on a hill, offering stunning views of the settlement
Svan towers are the unsolved mystery of our planet
Museum of Mikhail Khergiani, athlete and mountaineering legend.
How to get from Mestia to Ushguli?
There are several options for visiting Ushguli:
If you arrived by car, go there. If the car was rented, check if the company is allowed to drive on this road. The road without asphalt, here is only 15-20 km, but you will overcome them for 4-5 hours. Need a car with high ground clearance. Do not be surprised if after such a trip the car will have problems with the chassis.
Hiking route – special hiking trips are organized for several days with a mountain overnight in tents. If such leisure is for you – do not give up such entertainment.
Local transfer – in Mestia there are many local cars that are ready to take you to Ushguli. It will be faster than on your car, cars with very high ground clearance, and drivers know every hole in the road. So the road will be much faster, although with a shake. The cost is very democratic, especially if you go 4+ people.
Take a car in Batumi and leave in Mestia
We can provide such a service, but it will be paid. If you want to save money so as not to pay for the entire rental period, this is not the best option. It is much cheaper to pay 2-3 extra days than to pay the "one way" fare to leave the car in Mestia.
If you need such a service, we will provide it to you.
The best season to visit Svaneti
Svaneti is a resort 365 days a year, but there are some peculiarities here too. In summer, people come here to escape the heat to enjoy the meadows, mountain landscapes and cold mountain streams, breathe fresh air and just take a walk in the mountains.
In colder periods, people go to Mestia to go skiing, an excellent ski resort has been built here.
The color of Svaneti is available all year round, you should not pay attention to the season if your task is to get to know this region better.
Main travel routes to Svaneti
Maps can show you two main roads to travel to Svaneti:
Via Zugdidi – this is the road that everyone travels on, it is long, but has a good asphalt surface and is open all year round
In the Kutaisi region – the road is little known even to the locals. We do not recommend and prohibit its use, since it is not realistic to get to Ushguli along it. We specifically explored this road, got stuck twice and almost froze in the mountains
Investing in Svaneti
If you are considering investment options in Georgia, Svaneti is a great region as tourism is here all year round.
What is invested in in Svaneti:
Construction of hotels and complexes
Travel companies – organization of trips to the mountains and mountainous places
Entertainment – ATVs, bungee, special equipment and equipment for the entertainment of tourists
If you decide to invest, follow all the rules, sign contracts and invest wisely, do not trust words, you need to draw up everything.
Georgia is a country with rich history and culture, picturesque nature and hospitable people. The best way to get acquainted with it is to go on a off-road vehicle tour. This will allow you to see the most interesting places of the country, which are inaccessible by public transportation.