As winter recedes and the alpine meadows of Georgia come alive with wildflowers, join us for an eight-day, fully supported, guided cycling and hiking journey through the region’s most magnificent landscapes. We will spend two days on two wheels, weaving our way along dirt tracks and quiet backroads through the beautiful and abundant Kakheti Valley, home to the oldest wine region in the world. From there we transfer to the awe-inspiring Tusheti National Park, high above the valley and deep in the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains, for four days hiking amid glorious peaks carpeted with wildflowers. Travelling largely under our own steam, we will enjoy unrivalled Georgian hospitality in private homes and with local friends, bathe in thermal suphur baths, admire the 5,047 Mt. Kazbek, taste wine at our guide’s own vineyard, stay in simple mountain lodges in remote UNESCO villages, visit monasteries and churches and eat and drink like kings. Above all, we will have the opportunity to move at our own pace through a land of staggering cultural and natural beauty.
The trip brochure provides detailed information about the journey, including a breakdown of daily activities. However, in order to help you decide if this adventure is for you, take a look at the general information below.
GUIDES & SUPPORT
Your host will be a member of The Slow Cyclist team in the UK, who will be accompanied by our fantastic English speaking local guide Eka and her team on the ground. Eka is Tushetian and, along with her Danish husband Olaf, owns a winery in Kakheti. There are very few people who know both Tusheti and Kakheti better then her. She is a highly accomplished rider and mountaineer whose enthusiasm and passion for Georgia is infectious. In 2000, at the age of 15, she won the historic Tushetoba Horse Race, the first woman in Tushetian history to do so. Eka spent a number of years in the U.S., graduating from Trinity Episcopal School in Virginia before studying International Business at the University of Tbilisi.
During this trip our bags will be taken ahead each day and on the cycling days a driver will often – but not always – be nearby to offer a lift if any of the group need one. During the hiking days we will be supported by horses and, if you get tired, you will be able to ride for part of the journey.
FITNESS, ALTITUDE & HEIGHTS
You should have a good general fitness to undertake this journey. Although the cycling element is relatively flat, the distances are not inconsiderable. The Tusheti region - where we will be hiking - is obviously mountainous and we will endure long days on foot, with ascents of more than 1,000 metres a day at altitudes of more than 2,500 metres. You should be happy that you’ll be able to hike for up to 8 hours a day in such conditions before you join us in Georgia.
Lastly, this trip is not particularly suitable for those who suffer from vertigo. The drive from Kakheti to Tusheti climbs up to the 3,000 metre Albano Pass and it is not for the faint-hearted, with severe drops and no road barriers (our driver is experienced, and has been driving in the area for many years!) Equally, while our hikes are not technical, some of the trails we will take are not suitable for those who do not like heights.
Support vehicle, support horses, Slow Cyclist host, English-speaking expert local guides, accommodation and all meals from morning coffee on the 10 June until breakfast on 18 June, all activities and entrance fees, water and snacks throughout, soft drinks, wine and beer at meal times, bicycle & helmet hire.
Airport transfers, flights, visas (if required), personal travel insurance, local airport taxes (if applicable), tips for local staff & personal costs.
FOOD & DRINK
The Georgian table and its selection of dishes provides a fascinating insight into a unique culture. They use plenty of garlic, walnuts, cumin and coriander to flavour their food. Although meat is central to their cuisine, a meal is normally served with many dishes (a “supra” being a Georgian feast), including vegetables and cheese plates and everyone helps themselves to what they what. There is no doubt that, regardless of your dietary preferences, there will be plenty to tantalize your taste buds. If you have an allergy or food preference, please let us know at the time of booking.
CLIMATE & WEATHER
The best time to visit Georgia is from June to September when it is warm and sunny. The mountain regions get a lot of snowfall over the winter months, but by June the snow will have melted and the road opened. Average temperatures in the mountains are around 16 degrees. Evenings are cool. In lowlands and the wine region average temperatures are around 22 degrees. Rain is not uncommon any time of the year.