A trip into the Caucasus along Georgia’s northern border is a must for anyone who wants to experience the best of the country.
Spectacular alpine scenery, wonderful walks and picturesque old villages with strange, tall defensive towers are all part of a trip to the Caucasus. Here traditions are more alive than elsewhere and the hospitality is almost compulsive in its intensity.
Georgia’s very identity hinges on this mighty range that rises in Abkhazia, forms the border with Russia and runs the length of the country into Azerbaijan and Dagestan. The Caucasus includes the highest mountain in Europe, Mt Elbrus (5642m), on the Russian side of the border, and remains almost untouched by commercial development in a way the Alps can only dream about.
The most accessible destination is Kazbegi, reached by the dramatic Georgian Military Hwy from Tbilisi, but other areas are more than worth the effort of getting there – including enigmatic Svaneti, a refuge for many things considered essentially Georgian, and beautiful, untouched Tusheti. It’s notably cooler in the mountain villages, which can be a blessed relief in August, and in the hills you should be equipped for bad weather any time. The best walking season in most areas is from June to September. Indeed some areas such as Khevsureti and Tusheti are only accessible for a few summer months.