Walks Around Mestia
Many beautiful walks start from Mestia itself. Some routes are well signposted; others aren’t. Your accommodation or Mestia's Tourism Information Centre, which gives out hiking maps, can help you find a guide if you want one.
The most popular longer trek from Mestia is the scenic four-day, 50km hike east to Ushguli, with village guesthouses for accommodation. Each of the first three days takes you up over a ridge, with an ascent of between 400m and 800m, followed by a descent to your destination, as you head across the lower folds of the main Caucasus ridge. This is perhaps Georgia's most famous multi-day hike and the tiny villages can get surprisingly crowded in summer. There's always accommodation available, but do book ahead if you'd like to stay in the better options in each place. The stages:
Mestia–Zhabeshi (14km, about seven hours) Takes you east up the gorgeous Mulkhura valley to Zhabeshi, which has half a dozen guesthouses. As an alternative, you can also stay in the nearby village of Mulakhi (confusingly also known as Chvabiani), a couple of kilometres nearer to Mestia.
Zhabeshi–Adishi (10km, about seven hours) A tough 800m ascent from Zhabeshi is eventually followed by a hugely impressive 400m descent, with some extraordinary views. Seriously fit hikers can take the high route to Adishi, which is tougher but you'll almost certainly find yourself alone.
Adishi–Iprali (15km, about seven hours) The third day of this trek is its most impressive, and involves a gorgeous walk through the River Adishi valley to the Adishi glacier, a river crossing (locals charge 10 GEL per person to take you across by horse) and then a tough but stunning ascent to the Chkhunderi Pass (2655m) before a steep descent down into the next valley and then along the river to Iprali.
Iprali–Ushguli (10km, four to five hours) The easiest stage, on day four you'll descend from Iprali to the village of Lalkhori, from where you follow the rushing river through a steep valley before ascending to Ushguli. You're walking along a 4WD road for much of this day, and vehicle traffic can be surprisingly heavy.
If you'd like to shorten the route, skip the last day between Iprali and Ushguli, which is definitely the least spectacular of the four, and take a taxi or marshrutka on to Ushguli.