Hike Racha and Borjomi National Park offering eye-popping beauty, wilderness and a slower pace. Famed for therapeutic air and thermal spring waters, Tsar and noble families historically flocked to these natural health paradises for restorative endulgence amongst their alpine and sub-tropical forests. Along your journey, enjoy the best historical and cultural sites, the hospitality of local families, and the inspiring creativity of local craftsman. Borjomi, being one of the largest national parks in Europe, is an eden of biodiversity spoiling you with abundant wildflower meadows and luscious green forests. Those lucky enough will be able to see the highest peak in Europe, Mount Elbrus, from climatic hiking viewpoint of the epic Nikoloz Romanov Trail.
£950 per person
May – October
Day 1: Tbilisi
Meet with your Georgian guide at the airport and transfer to the city centre for Tbilisi sightseeing. Enjoy Old Tbilisi walking tour, seeing the highlights of the Old Town with beautiful Orthodox Christian Churches, Mosque, Synagogue, famous and refreshing Sulphur Baths, narrow cobbled streets with hanging wooden carved multi-coloured balconies, 19th century houses following the architectural styles of 19th century Europe, Narikala Fortress, the glass Bridge of Peace, Freedom Square and Rustaveli Avenue. Dinner and overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 2: Tbilisi - Shaori Lake - Nikortsminda - Ambrolauri
After breakfast, transfer to the train station for 3 hour train journey through central Georgia, to be collected at the border of the Racha region. We head by vehicle to Shaori Lake, visiting the soviet mining town of Tkibuli and the magnificent Nikortsminda Cathedral en route. We check-in at our glamping accommodation in Ambrolauri, before enjoying local wine tasting at dinner at the local Chateau Dio winery. (B, L, D)
Day 3: Gona - Ghebi
After breakfast, we depart to the village of Ghebi. On the way we will stop in Oni to obtain border permits. We will arrive in the village of Ghebi just before midday, to check in at the guesthouse, before a one our transfer to Gona to start hiking in the direction of Mt. Kartisho, enjoying a picnic lunch on the way. Hiking can vary between 2-5 hours, as preferred. Dinner and overnight in Ghebi guest house. (B, PL, D)
Day 4: Shovi - Oni
Breakfast at the guesthouse before you departure to Shovi, famed for its clean and therapeutic air. We start our 14km hike towards Buba Glacier and back, typically taking 6-7 hours, with a picnic lunch along the trail. We depart to Oni, to enjoy overnight and dinner at a local guesthouse. (B, PL, D)
Day 5: Sairme Pillars - Oni
Breakfast at the guesthouse before visiting the local museum, full of eclectic art and collections. We then transfer one hour to enjoy comfortable hike to Sairme Pillars, which will take about 2.5 hours (5km) to accomplish. We enjoy a picnic lunch at the trail view point. Returning to Oni, we visit Barakoni Church, and a local carpentry and art workshop. Overnight and dinner at the guesthouse. (B, PL, D)
Day 6: Oni - Borjomi
A visit to the historical Oni Synagogue after breakfast, before departing to Borjomi, the biggest national park in Georgia and one of the largest in Europe. Take a pit stop half way to visit Georgia’s Qveri master to learn of his inherited and sought after ceramic skills. Check in mid afternoon to your guesthouse, and enjoy free time exploring Borjomi town and the thermal spring waters. (B, PL, D)
Day 7: Borjomi National Park
After breakfast, a short drive to Likani to hike up through the river valley, abundant in rare species, joining the joining the Nikoloz Romanov Trail towards our overnight shelter or tent – hiking time 5-6 hours. (B, PL, PD).
Day 8: Borjomi National Park
After breakfast, we follow the trail up to the top of Mount Lion, Lomismta, 2198 m above sea level). In good weather it is possible to see the highest peak of the Greater Caucasus and Europe, Mount Elbrus, and even the Black Sea! We continue along the crest to St. Giorgi church, to enjoy the beautiful views and carpets of wildflowers and rhododendrons. We walk down joining the Footprints Trail via Demote Fortress, towards Mariamtsminda church and Kvabishkevi village (hiking time 8-9 hours). Overnight in Borjomi (B, PL, D).
Day 9: Bakuriani or Uplistsikhe - Tblisi
Choose to spend the morning taking the ‘toy train’ with locals through the forested hills towards Bakuriani resort, or head to Uplistsikhe Cave Town to discover more of Georgia’s ancient history. Enjoy lunch at a family winery en route to Tbilisi. Overnight and free time in Tbilisi (B, L).
Accommodation in double/twin room (optional single supplement)
Professional English speaking guide
Non-English speaking mountain guide on hiking days