Svaneti is divided into Upper (Zemo) and Lower (Kvemo) Svaneti. Green and beautiful Upper Svaneti offers the best walking and climbing, as well as the strongest traditions. The walking season lasts from about early June to mid-October, though some routes can be waterlogged early or late in that period.
The local municipality has improved access to some of Svaneti's less-visited areas by upgrading trail-marking along several routes: Mestia–Ushguli, Kala–Chvelpi–Lentekhi, Mestia–Becho–Etseri–Nakra–Chuberi, Khaishi–Tobavarchkhili–Lentekhi and Lentekhi–Latali. The improvements have made exploring these beautiful regions significantly more practicable, though in many places Georgian path building leaves much to be desired, with often-punishing descents and ascents on paths that in June and July can be as much mud as earth. The Tourism Information Centre in Mestia provides excellent hiking maps for free, though demand often outstrips supply, so it's a good idea to come prepared.
Trails in Western Svaneti
The valleys west of Becho, and the Svaneti Range above the south side of the Enguri valley, are full of off-the-beaten-track hiking possibilities. Even in these relatively remote communities you'll find a number of guesthouses that are good to be used as bases for local walks or as stops on longer treks.
Skiing in Svaneti
The 2017-opened Tetnuldi ski resort, on the slopes of Mt Tetnuldi about 20km east of Mestia boasts 25km of runs between 2260m and 3040m altitude and three French chairlifts, with a season lasting from mid-December to mid-May.
The much smaller and lower Hatsvali ski station, 8km south of Mestia, works from late December to about early April, with a 300m beginners’ slope, a 2600m blue run, a 1900m red run and one chairlift (lift passes and equipment rental both 25 GEL per day).
Svaneti is also good for ski touring – usually best towards the end of the season, and you should take a guide or ask local advice about conditions, as there are always potential hazards.