Svaneti: "into the wild ..."
Svaneti is located in the northwest of Georgia on the main ridge of the Greater Caucasus and is an area from another time. Surrounded by mighty mountains, between 3000 and 5000 meters high, are small villages where time seems to have stopped. Especially in winter, many settlements are difficult or impossible to reach. Powerful mountains such as the Shchara (with 5193m the highest mountain in Georgia), the Ushba (4737m) or the Tednuldi (4858m) have ensured that the region near the Black Sea coast has always been independent. The result is a unique language, strange seeming customs and centuries old traditions. The Swans are a Georgian tribe. Swan is one of the 3 official Georgian languages, the Swans have always been considered wild and defensive. In order to protect Georgian works of art and treasures from enemy attacks, they were always brought to Svaneti. To this day, despite increasing tourism (especially in the summer months), the Swans have preserved their culture and old traditions. The main town Mestia is a mystical place that is incredibly impressive in every season.
Mestia, the main town of Svaneti, is a small, remote town and is difficult to reach, especially in the winter months. That is precisely why the wild and rough mountains around Mestia have largely retained their originality. And as soon as you see the incredible beauty of the area with your own eyes, you know that the hardships of the journey were worth it. The millennia-old place is about 5 hours drive from the nearest airport in Kutaisi. The good news: Kutaisi can now be reached by direct flight from many cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Russia. The low-cost airline Wizz Air connects many international airports directly with Kutaisi. For example, the flight from Vienna takes 3 hours and 15 minutes. After countless flights with the Hungarian airline, we cannot report anything bad from our personal experience. The prices are more than reasonable. A return flight with luggage and ski luggage costs between € 180 and € 280, depending on the departure airport. The seat spacing is reasonable, there is nothing to eat, but if you know what to expect, you can adjust well and will not be disappointed. Regardless, you have to get used to the idea anyway, as there are hardly any alternatives. Departures are usually Friday or Saturday, the return flights on the same days.