Road Trip Georgia: in 4×4 Lada Niva from Kutaisi through Svaneti

Road Trip Georgia: in 4×4 Lada Niva from Kutaisi through Svaneti

Georgia. Svaneti is characterized by glaciated mountains, colorful wildflower meadows, romantic mountain villages and bumpy gravel roads. A paradise for 4×4 vehicles and their drivers. We drove a Lada Niva with a roof tent on the Svaneti Loop through the wild mountain region in northern Georgia. Read on to find out what to expect on this road trip through Svaneti. You'll also get many more tips for worthwhile hikes and campsites for the night.

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In this article you will find a lot of practical information for a road trip through Svaneti in Georgia:

The Classic - Lada Niva with Roof Tent as Rental Car
Die Route “Svaneti Loop” – von Kutaissi durch Swanetien
Places of Interest on our Road Trip in Svaneti
Tips for Campsites for the Night
Shopping, Food, Money and Refueling
Condition of the Roads on the Svaneti Loop
Conclusion - is the Svaneti Loop worth it?

Lada Niva mit Dachzelt beim Roadtrip Georgien in den Bergen von Swanetien
Shortly after the Zagari Pass the landscape is especially beautiful.

The Classic - Lada Niva with Roof Tent as Rental Car

The best way to explore Svaneti is on a road trip with your own 4×4 vehicle. Then you can choose your route and travel pace according to your wishes. If you travel with a camper or a roof tent, you can spend the night where it is most beautiful. What could be better for such a tour than a Lada Niva with roof tent? The small, handy Lada Niva is a classic from Russia. It has been produced in the Russian city of Togliatti since 1976 and its simple technology makes it almost indestructible. It is also an extremely popular vehicle in Georgia, you can see it on every corner.

Another classic from Russia is the UAZ Buchanka. Some also call it "toast bread". Not without reason. It doesn't take much imagination to see the resemblance. But you don't see the UAZ in Georgia quite as often as the Lada Niva.

Where does one find such a car?

Wondering where you can rent one of those ready-to-go Lada's? Have a look at Overlando.Here you can choose between Lada Niva, UAZ Buchanka or Toyota Land Cruiser. Tbilisi and Kutaisi are offered as pick-up locations.

Lada Niva mit Dachzelt beim Roadtrip Georgien
Beautiful places to sleep with a view are not difficult to find in Georgia.

Die Route “Svaneti Loop” – von Kutaissi durch Swanetien

Svaneti is located in the north of Georgia, near the Russian border. The wild mountainous landscape of the Great Caucasus attracts many nature and hiking lovers every year. Besides, Svaneti is famous for its charming mountain villages with their special architecture and fortified towers. In particular, the village of Ushguli, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is often depicted in pictures as well as in travel brochures. 

But the romantic places and colorful mountain meadows in summer look different in winter: up to six months a year Ushguli is cut off from the rest of the world. Heavy snowfalls, avalanches, heavy rains and landslides are not rare events here. Since the 1980s, many inhabitants have migrated from the villages. Today, about 23,600 people live in Svanetia.

The Svaneti Loop is a particularly scenic, but also challenging route. It leads through the mountainous region from Mestia via Ushguli to Sasaschi. If you include the journey to and from Kutaisi, the route covers about 445 kilometers.

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The individual sections of our Lada Niva road trip in Svaneti:

  • Kutaisi - Mestia: 221 to 251 kilometers (about 5-6 hours), depending on the route chosen.
  • Mestia - Ushguli: 46,5 kilometers (about 2-3 hours)
  • Ushguli - Zagari Pass - Sasaschi: 46 kilometers (about 3 hours)
  • Sasaschi - Lentechi: 28 kilometers (about 45 minutes)
  • Lentechi - Kutaisi: 90 kilometers (about 2 hours)
Lada Niva mit Dachzelt beim Roadtrip Georgien in den Bergen von Swanetien
Lada Niva in starting position.

Places of Interest on our Road Trip in Svaneti

The first three destinations on our road trip are not in Svaneti. But they are worthwhile stops on the way from Kutaisi to Mestia. It would be too bad to miss them.

Zqaltubo - Thermal Spa with Lost Places

Zqaltubo (Tskaltubo) is a thermal resort about 15 kilometers northwest of Kutaisi. Once Zqaltubo was one of the most important health resorts of the Soviet Union. Numerous sanatoriums offered cures for rheumatism and other joint diseases using the slightly radioactive water. In order to maintain the socialist work force, the Soviet spa policy promoted the development of the spa. Thus, numerous spa hotels were built in the style of neo-classicism and later in the style of classical Soviet modernism. However, the sanatoriums were not only for physical recreation. Cultural education and ideological training were also of great importance.

However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the beginning of the war, fewer and fewer guests came. The spa hotels remained empty and fell into disrepair. Some of the sanatoriums became the new homes for internally displaced persons (IDPs) instead.

Today, Zqaltubo is a place that many blogs describe as a great Lost Place. And yes, it is true that there are many Lost Places. But the town is making efforts to become an attractive resort again. For example, investors have already been found for the Iveria and Meshakhtiori sanatoriums. The two sanatoriums are fenced in and can only be seen over the fence. On the other hand, we were able to take a closer look at bathhouse 8 in the spa park. We visited the other sanatoriums from the Soviet era only from the outside. Their architecture is beautiful and I would have loved to go inside. But I didn't want to intrude too much on the privacy of the people who have made their homes here in the abandoned hotels.

Today, the Tsqaltubo SPA Resort is the only Soviet-era spa hotel still operating as such. Bathhouse 6 in the central spa park also still offers medical treatments.

Prometheus Cave

Prometheus Cave is only about a 10-minute drive north of Zqaltubo. If you are in the area, you should not miss a visit to the impressive stalactite cave. You can visit the 1.8 km long cave during a one hour guided tour. For a small extra price, you can even leave the cave at the end of the tour in a boat on the underground river Kumi.

Prometheus-Höhle Georgien
The further we go into the cave, the more spectacular the limestone formations become.

Martvili Canyon

Martvili Canyon is also a worthwhile destination on the road trip to Svaneti. You can explore the canyon on a 700 meter long hiking trail and look down on the water from two bridges and several viewing platforms. The highlight of Martvili Canyon, however, is the boat ride. Equipped with a life jacket and a paddle, the boat goes about 300 meters along the Abasha River. Here, the canyon walls seem a bit steeper and the river with its overgrown banks a bit more enchanted.

Check out my separate article about Martvili Canyon to find out more about it.

Martvili Canyon Georgien
The steep walls of Martvili Canyon are densely overgrown.

Mestia Village Walk

Mestia is the main village in Svaneti region and has about 9300 inhabitants. The village is located at an altitude of about 1500 meters. It is the starting point of various day hikes or the popular multi-day trekking tour to Ushguli. Mestia is the tourist center of Svaneti and easily accessible. Between 2009 and 2012 the village was extensively modernized. In the process, many old houses, which were still built in the original Svanetian style, were demolished. In their place now stand chalets, reminiscent of the Swiss mountains.

Many criticize that Mestia has lost its Swanetian character due to the renovation measures and new buildings. In some parts, especially in the city center, this may be true. But there are still side streets in Mestia where everything is as it used to be. The town is particularly atmospheric when the numerous fortified towers are beautifully illuminated in the evening.

What is there to see in the city? Near the entrance to the town is the Ethnographic Museum. In the center of town you can climb the Kergiani fortified tower and walk through the winding streets of Lagami.

Tip: Mestia is the last place where you can get cash and gas for your car on the Svaneti Loop. It is best to buy some provisions, because in Ushguli there are only the most necessary things.

Mestia Georgien
From the church opposite the Ethnographic Museum you have a great view over Mestia.

Hike to the Chalaati Glacier near Mestia

On this hike you can get very close to the ice masses of the Chalaati Glacier. The tongue of the mighty glacier reaches down to 1890 meters at this point and can be easily hiked during a half-day excursion. The starting point is the suspension bridge 9 kilometers north of Mestia. The trail first leads through an enchanting coniferous forest. Then it goes past the raging river, where the meltwater of the Chalaati flows off. Later, the path winds through sparse birch forest and over a boulder field. Surefootedness is required at the end. Just before the ice tongue there are many larger boulders where you can sit comfortably and have a picnic.

Length: 4.3 kilometers
Duration: approx. 2 hours plus breaks and photo stops
Height difference: 240 meters

Brücke zum Chalaati Gletscher bei Mestia
The rickety bridge is the starting point of the hike to the Chalaati Glacier.
Chalaati Gletscher bei Mestia
The last 15 minutes it goes over a scree field to the ice tongue.

You are planning a road trip?

Travel Guide Book – Georgia – Caucasus*

This book by OunTravela invites you to explore the wildest corners of Georgia. Along 24 routes you will discover picturesque landscapes, rugged mountains, monasteries, fortresses, and centuries-old fortified towers. In addition to detailed descriptions of the 4x4 routes, you will find a wealth of additional information about the country and its people as well as tips for your planning. The latter range from suggestions for overnight campsites to rental companies of expedition-ready 4x4 vehicles and worthwhile photo spots. You can also purchase a map and GPS tracks for navigation.

Tower of Love - Caucasian Defense Towers and the Blood Revenge

It's usually the tragic stories that stick. This is also the case here: The Tower of Love was the setting for a tragic Romeo and Juliet story.The two lovers were not allowed to marry, whereupon he committed suicide. The left girl retreated to the tower and mourned her beloved. She is said to have stayed there for the rest of her life.

You can visit the tower and also climb inside. The ladders are steep and narrow, but it is a great opportunity to see such a classic Caucasian fortified tower from the inside.

The medieval Caucasian defense towers are very common in Svaneti, especially in Mestia and Ushguli and the surrounding mountain villages. Sometimes each family unit or even each family has its own defense tower, which was visited as a defensive structure in case of conflicts, feuds or threatening blood revenge. The blood revenge works according to the principle: "what you do to me, I will do to you". So murder for murder or also murder for injury of the honor. Often the only rescue was the defense tower, where the endangered person locked himself up and let his family take care of him.  

Tower of Love Wehrturm Swanetien
What a location for a love story!
But to live here for a long time...? I don't know.

Church of Kala "Lagurka" - Steeply up to the Place of Pilgrimage

The Kala Church of Saints Cyricus and Julitta is the most important Christian sanctuary in the Svanetian region. The medieval church is also known by the name Lagurka.

But if you want to visit the important sanctuary near the village of Khe, you first have to work for it: it's a steep climb of about 110 meters up to 1875 meters. After about 30 minutes you will reach the small church and get a bit closer to heaven. And from up here you also have a heavenly view of the surrounding mountains.

The small hall church was built at the end of the 10th or beginning of the 12th century and is an important example of Georgian medieval monumental art. Inside it is decorated with frescoes by Tevdore from 1111 and 1112. Besides, there are many other church objects from different periods, such as manuscripts, crosses and icons.

Church of Kala "Lagurka"
Heavenly view from the Pilgrimage Site "Lagurka".

Ushguli Village Walk with Fortified Towers and Museums

Ushguli is probably the most famous mountain village in Svanetia. The village is characterized by fortified towers, traditional Svanetian architecture, narrow bumpy streets and the white peak of the Shchara glacier (5201 m). You feel as if you are immersed in a time long gone. And because of that, the place is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

Facts about Ushguli:
Elevation: about 2150 m
Distance from Mestia: 44 kilometers
Population: about 200  

The tranquil mountain village is inhabited only by about 70 to 80 families all year round. Anyone who does not leave Ushguli in the fall is snowed in there for the winter. The road to Mestia does not open again until next spring. In summer, the number of inhabitants doubles. In addition, there are n many tourists, because Ushguli is a popular destination for nature lovers and hikers. There are numerous inns where you can stay overnight, eat, and organize mountain guides and horseback rides.

Panorama view of Ushguli in Svaneti, Georgia
View over Ushguli. In the background, the Shchara glacier hides in the clouds.

How to get to Ushguli?

We drove from Mestia to Ushguli as self-drivers with our rented Lada Niva. However, many visitors hire a driver in Mestia and are dropped off and picked up. This is a practical solution for those who do not have a four-wheel drive vehicle or for whom the mountain road is too narrow.

Another option is to hike from Mestia to Ushguli. The five-day tour is the most popular multi-day hike in Georgia. You can return from Ushguli with a driver, which you can easily arrange at a local inn.

What else is there to see in Ushguli besides breathtaking nature and mountain panoramas?

The many fortified towers and the beautiful Swanetian architecture can best be explored during a short walk through the village. Let yourself drift and you will discover many exciting details. Don't miss the Ethnographic Museum and the Museum of Maria on the way. From here, I recommend you visit the Lamaria Church on the outskirts of town (don't forget your headscarf). It dates from the 10th century and is decorated inside with medieval frescoes. Back on the main road, the tower of Tamar overlooks all the surrounding buildings. It stands on a small hill. You can climb up a ladder and take a look inside.

House in Ushguli in Svaneti, Georgia
Can you spot the hammer and sickle in the wood carving?
House in Ushguli in Svaneti, Georgia
Typically Swanetian: fortified towers and the large window fronts.
Ushguli in Svaneti, Georgia
Especially in the Chazashi part of the village, time seems to have stood still.
View through the window to the tower of Tamar.

With Traildogs to the Shchara Glacier

A really nice hike starting in Ushguli is the tour to the Shchara glacier. With 5.201 meters the Shchara is the highest mountain in Georgia and the third highest in the whole Caucasus. You can already see the glacier from the village of Ushguli in the distance. It is the perfect background for a photo of the historical village with its fortified towers (the light is best in the late afternoon).

To get to the glacier, follow the Enguri River uphill through the river valley. On the way there (about 9 kilometers) you will have the glacier in view the whole time. Super beautiful, especially when the valley is covered with colorful wildflowers in summer. But what makes a good hike even better is good company: Trail dogs! Even before I traveled to Georgia, I heard about the dogs that accompany hikers on the trails. I wished soooo much that some dogs would find us, too. And suddenly they were there! They accompanied us the whole hike. With that they not only earned themselves a good half of our food but also a name. And since they kept us company in the camp after the hike, Mr. Spock and Dali also had dinner and breakfast.

Traildogs Georgia
A little cooling for our faithful companions: on the left in the puddle Mr. Spock and on the right the dog Dali.

Tip: Take some extra food with you (for the dogs) and pack some cash (for a snack at Alpine Camp if the dogs have devoured all your food).

Here are the facts about the hike:

Start: bridge over the Enguri River just past the monastery.
Length: about 18,4 kilometers
Height difference: about 500 meters
Difficulty: Easy hike over a gravel road. Behind the alpine camp the path becomes narrower and is quite overgrown in places. Only shortly before the glacier a scree slope has to be crossed. Surefootedness is required here. The Pakvlashi stream crosses the path and is either to be crossed or can be bypassed laterally. Later you can return to the gravel path via two small improvised bridges.
Refreshments: At the end of the gravel road the Alpin Camp invites you for a refreshment.

Tip: Horses can be rented in town to take you to the Alpin Camp.

Mountains Ushguli Georgia - Hike to Schchara Glacier
To the Shchara glacier you follow the Enguri river through the river valley always uphill.

Colorful Mountain Meadows - Hike to Gvinari Pass south of Ushguli

Most people who visit Ushguli hike to the Shchara Glacier. But what actually lies in the opposite direction, south of Ushguli? Here we found the most beautiful wildflower meadow we have seen in Georgia. So many different plants and insects really amazed us. The trail starts south of the village of Murkmeli and goes continuously uphill. It is also the trail to the Gvinari Pass at 2972 meters. We didn't make it all the way to the pass because we made so many photo stops due to the many beautiful plants and we started too late anyway.

The round trip from Murkmeli to the pass and back is about 9 kilometers long with an elevation gain of about 920 meters. On the way you can make a stop at the castle ruins of Ushguli. Since the paths are often narrow and / or somewhat overgrown, a GPS is useful.

Mountains Ushguli Georgia
If you carry your tent up here, you can camp super on the flat area. There is even fresh spring water.
Mountains Ushguli Georgia
Down in the valley is the village of Murkmeli.
Where there are many flowers, there are many insects.

Drive from Ushguli over Zagari Pass to Sasaschi

The road from Mestia to Ushguli was already breathtakingly beautiful. But the road up to the 2623 meter high Zagari Pass puts everything in the shade again. Definitely the most beautiful section of our road trip in Swanetia. The unpaved road leads further and further uphill and you feel like in the cinema: mountain panoramas, glaciers, lush meadows. We had to stop again and again on the way to enjoy the view.

After the pass, we descend in several switchbacks and we are quickly back in forested terrain. We follow the river valley of the Zcheniszchali. After the mountain idyll and the absolute seclusion at the pass we now landed on a long construction site. Here the road is being expanded and we had to share the narrow path with excavators, dump trucks and other construction site vehicles. But in return we were rewarded again and again with shorter paved road sections. At some point, the route is then paved throughout and we come through several small villages.

Lada Niva mit Dachzelt beim Roadtrip Georgien in den Bergen von Swanetien

Surprise in the Front Garden - Statue of Stalin near Sasaschi

Georgia is full of surprises. During our road trip in Georgia we saw so many remarkable things, we couldn't stop so fast and so often. Among them were many small details, especially beautiful architecture, lost places, old village entrance signs, monuments and statues. So it was here, on the Svaneti Loop just behind the village of Sasaschi. We didn't believe our eyes when suddenly an oversized statue of Stalin focused on us. It stands fenced in on a private property. The somewhat dilapidated looking building behind it looks tiny compared to the statue.

Incredulous, I grab my camera and look for the best perspective in front of the fence. An UAZ comes by and honks at me. The driver waves at me and gives me a thumbs up. Thumbs up for Stalin? This seems more than strange to me, but it is actually not unusual in Georgia. After all, Stalin was born in Georgia. And many Georgians are proud that one of their countrymen took over the leadership of the Soviet Union.

Stalin Statue Swanetien

Tip: Not far from Tbilisi is the city of Gori, where Stalin was born. The Stalin Museum was opened here in 1957 in his honor. Don't expect a detailed rehash of the atrocities the dictator committed during his reign here. It's more like a big cult palace, even souvenirs like coffee mugs, fridge magnets, baseball caps or backgammon games with Stalin's portrait are available here. was opened here in 1957 in his honor. Don't expect a detailed rehash of the atrocities the dictator committed during his reign here. It's more like a big cult palace, even souvenirs like coffee mugs, fridge magnets, baseball caps or backgammon games with Stalin's portrait are available here.

Lentechi - Refueling please!

After the remote mountain villages in Upper Svaneti, Lentechi seemed almost like a big city to us. Here we treated ourselves to the luxury of a spacious hotel room with a hot shower at Hotel Svaneti. We also refueled our Lada for the first time after Mestia.

Lentechi is located in Lower Svaneti and has about 947 inhabitants. Most of them (felt) gathered on Saturday evening on the central square directly in front of our hotel window. Here they were chatting, playing and dancing. However, we did not mingle with the crowds because of the rather high covid numbers in Georgia.  

What is there to see here in Lentechi? First of all, the promenade on the median strip of the main street is something special. To the left and right of the road there are many beautiful metal gates to admire. A statue of a shepherd boy reaching for the stars decorates the central square. At the end of the village, on the central island of the traffic circle, there is a typical stele from the Soviet period. There is also a small local museum a castle and a number of Georgian Orthodox church buildings from the 9th to 11th centuries.

Lentechi Museum

Goodbye, Svaneti!

From Lentechi our road trip continues along a conveniently passable national road through the valley of the Zcheniszqali. The big city of Kutaisi is about 90 kilometers away. However, we continue in the direction of Tbilisi. The capital is about 350 kilometers away. On the route there are several places worth seeing, so we divide the trip into several days. First we visit Kazchi Pillar with the tiny monastery on the rocky peak, then Chiatura with the legendary cable cars and finally the Stalin Museum in Gori.

Mountains Ushguli Georgia

Tips for Campsites for the Night

In Georgia "wild camping" is allowed. So you don't have to stay at a campsite during your Georgia road trip, but you are allowed to look for your own campsite.

Please note:

  • Keep your distance from houses.
  • Do not camp on private land or agricultural land.
  • Respect nature, wildlife and grazing animals.
  • Do not drive cross-country to get to a campsite. Instead, use existing tracks.
  • Do not leave trash or food scraps behind.
  • Bury your "organic trash" after your morning toilet.

How we found our pitches? We searched the free app Maps.Me for dashed lines that disappeared into nowhere. Most of the time, that's where we found our pitches. Sometimes there were also hints of possible campsites on the map. We also used the app iOverlando. Well, you don't need much space for camping with the small Lada Niva anyway.

Lada Niva mit Dachzelt beim Roadtrip Georgien in den Bergen von Swanetien, Ushguli

Possible sites at Martvili Canyon:

Before the ford on the half-dried riverbed of the Abasha (if the water level of the river allows it and no big rain events are expected in the higher mountains). GPS: 42°28'41.6″N 42°22'46.4″E

Lada Niva mit Dachzelt beim Roadtrip Georgien

Possible pitches at the Svaneti Loop in Mestia:

  • At the old Soviet lodge overlooking the town. GPS: 43°03'10.8″N 42°45'32.3″E
  • At the river Mestiachala in the direction of Chalaadi glacier. Here you even have a fresh water source nearby.
Lada Niva mit Dachzelt beim Roadtrip Georgien in den Bergen von Swanetien, Mestia

Possible pitches at Svaneti Loop in Ushguli:

  • Campsite behind the monastery. GPS: 42°55'18.2″N 43°01'26.6″E
  • On the bank of the Enguri River behind the campsite
  • On the bank of the Enguri River in the direction of the Shchara Glacier.
Lada Niva mit Dachzelt beim Roadtrip Georgien in den Bergen von Swanetien, Ushguli

Shopping, Food, Money and Refueling

I always like to do my grocery shopping in the places I visit. That way, the locals also get something out of my stay. However, the supply in Mestia and Ushguli is very limited. If you don't want to do without certain products, it's best to buy them in advance in a larger supermarket in Kutaisi.

You can buy fruits, vegetables and bread in Mestia opposite the central square Seti Square in the main street Zugdidi Jvari Mestia Lasdili.

If you walk down the main street a bit further into the town, you will come to some restaurants overlooking the Mestiachala River. Here it is nice to sit.

In Ushguli some inns have small stores where you can buy pasta, chips, cookies and bread. The offer is very limited. However, you can order food in most of the inns. We liked to eat at the Café Koshki and buy some cakes for the hikes.

In Mestia you should withdraw enough cash and fill up your carfor the Svaneti Loop. Especially if your car has such a small tank like the Lada Niva (42 liters). In Ushguli there is neither an ATM nor a gas station. The next gas station is in Lentechi (as of 07/2021).

Condition of the Roads on the Svaneti Loop

The road between Mestia and Ushguli is snow-covered and impassable for up to six months of the year. If you want to drive the Svaneti Loop at the beginning of the season, ask the locals if the road is already open again. But even if you go in the middle or at the end of the season, you should ask in advance if the route is passable. Due to its location, the Svaneti Loop is particularly vulnerable to landslides or slope failures, especially during the rainy months from October to May.

Don't miss it! I put together a little video from our road trip in Georgia. Among other things, it shows the roads in Kura Valley and Swaneti. It is soooo fun to watch. Have a look right now.

Lada Niva mit Dachzelt beim Roadtrip Georgien in den Bergen von Swanetien
The first section between Mestia and Ushguli is asphalted.

Roads Svaneti Georgia
Undercutting of the road, like here on the way to Mestia, is not uncommon.

Kutaisi - Mestia:

Route via Zqaltubo and Martvili Canyon (221 km): Scenic, mostly paved road. Often the road leads through villages and is difficult to overlook. After about 115 kilometers you reach the larger road, which is curvy and leads steadily uphill, but can be driven quickly. Tip: plan an extra day and visit the former spa town of Zqaltubo, the Prometheus Cave and the Martvili Canyon on the way.

Route via Sugdidi (251 km): You will drive on the well-maintained roads E60 and E97. The route is longer, but easier to drive.

Mestia – Ushguli (46,5 km): The drive to Ushguli takes about two hours. At first, it goes quite quickly on an asphalt road. The last kilometers are unpaved. The route runs parallel to the Enguri River. On the left side the mountains rise steeply and on the right side the road descends steeply. Some sections are so narrow that no two cars can pass each other. However, we always had an alternate spot nearby and did not have to back up. However, the route can quickly become a challenge in rain and fog. Therefore, it is best to plan a reserve day so that you can wait for better weather in Mestia.

Ushguli – Zagari Pass – Lentechi (46 km): Dirt road over Zagari Pass with descent in switchbacks. In the Zseskho river valley, road works were carried out over a long stretch in the summer of 2021 and some sections were already paved.

Sasaschi – Lentechi – Kutaisi (118 km): Here you drive on a paved road. The closer you get to Kutaisi, the better it gets. Tip: if you didn't make a stop in Zqaltubo on the way there, you have the opportunity to do so now.

Roads Svaneti Loop Georgia
Here the gravel road is being upgraded.
Lada Niva mit Dachzelt beim Roadtrip Georgien in den Bergen von Swanetien
Shortly after the Zagari Pass a glacier reaches the road.

Conclusion - is the Svaneti Loop worth it?

A clear YES! We liked it so much in Svaneti that we even changed our travel plans and extended our road trip in Svaneti. Besides, the weather there was much better than in the Kazbek region, where we actually wanted to go. We postponed the latter to our next trip to Georgia. It was clear to us that we would come back and do another road trip in Georgia. And definitely again with one of the cool Lada Niva from Overlando.

Anyone who likes nature, hiking, remoteness and bumpy roads will love the Svaneti Loop. However, a four-wheel drive vehicle is a must have here. But that's what makes the route so appealing. The Lada Niva mastered all routes without any problems. Of course it is important to catch a time window with good weather. Therefore, it would be optimal if your schedule is somewhat flexible. Because when it rains, driving on the tracks is no fun and, depending on the intensity, can be a bit risky.

And how was the Lada Niva with Roof Tent?

The little Lada Niva handled all the tracks great. With all our luggage, everything was a bit cramped at the beginning. But we quickly got used to it and distributed our things optimally in the car. The roof tent was spacious and easy to put up and take down. Perfect were the windows in the roof tent. From these we could see the mountains right after waking up or the dogs that slept next to our Lada Niva. Overlando also equipped the Lada Niva with a kitchen box including a gas stove as well as camping chairs and a small table. What more does one need?

With such a view, you stay in the tent longer.

Book Recommendations for Georgia

Do you want to know where the journey is going? Then I can recommend this travel guides* to you.

You can order the travel guides at Amazon by clicking on the pictures. If you buy a product via an affiliate link, I get a small commission and you help me to keep filling Fernweh-Motive with interesting articles. The product will not be more expensive for you and you do me a huge favor.

Have you ever been on a road trip in Svaneti or any other region in Georgia? How did you like it? Do you have any questions about my article? If yes, then write me a comment!

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Recommendations for further Reading

Do you love road trips as much as I do? Then you might also be interested in my articles about a Road Trip in Albania or about the einen weitern Road Trip around the Baltic Sea.

Roadtrip Albanien - 15 Highlights & Tipps und Route
Road Trip Albania - 15 Highlights & Tips and Route

Roadtrip Ostsee – 21 Highlights, Tipps und Route für Russland & Baltikum
Roadtrip Baltic Sea - 21 Highlights, Tips and Route for Russia & Baltic States


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