Racha trekking tour€520


Racha is another Georgian premium hiking destination. While it's less touristic than Svaneti, its mountain scenery is just as good - steep mountains glacier and mountain lakes. Our tour will focus on region's highlights, such as Udziro lake or Notsara ridge, but we will visit also other, lesser-known, but no less impresive sites. Moreover, Racha region famous for its wines - so, on this tour, we will try to hike during the day and taste famous local brands on some evenings, an ideal combination as long as we don't drink too much ;)

Camp by the pictoresque Udziro lake

Admire panoramas of Greater Caucasus

Admire twisted mountains of Chkhauri valley

Visit Sairme pillars

Enjoy famous hospitality of Gallery Guesthouse in Oni

Taste local wines

Date No. of participants Duration Deposit
16. 07. - 20. 07. 2024 6 - 10 (AVAILABLE) 5 days not necessary
30. 07. - 03. 08. 2024 6 - 10 (AVAILABLE) 5 days not necessary
13. 08. - 17. 08. 2024 6 - 10 (AVAILABLE) 5 days not necessary
10. 09. - 14. 09. 2024 6 - 10 (AVAILABLE) 5 days not necessary
This tour can be organized also privately for any group of hikers outside of the dates listed above. In this case, the itinerary can be adjusted according to your wishes and group size limitation doesn't apply.

From Zugdidi to Mestia:
Marshrutkas to Mestia leave from Zugdidi every day, there is at least one in late morning and one in the afternoon. Morning marshrutka departs from the bus station situated by the bridge around 10 am (or even later if not full). Afternoon marshrutka waits for passengers of morning train from Tbilisi, which arrives around 14:30. Therefore, they wait in front of the Zugdidi train station. There might be some odd marshrutka in-between on you might get lucky and board marshrutka stopping at Zugdidi along its route to Mestia, but that cannot be guaranteed.
Either way, the price of the ride is 40 GEL and the trip takes almost 4 hours, mostly due to a rather large pause these buses tend to make around Khaishi.
If you get lucky or travel in a larger group, it could make more sense to secure your spot at shared taxi that depart from the station by the bridge (and in the afternoon from train station as well). The price tends to be 200 GEL per the whole car (50 GEL pp if the taxi is full), but varies depending on the situation. Trip is faster since any break is optional, takes 3 hours or so.

From Tbilisi to Mestia:
Few years ago, the best option used to be the overnight train to Zugdidi. However, it was cancelled in 2020 due to covid and there are no signs that it's going to be restored anytime soon. The only viable replacement used to be a long-distance night bus, which could also save you a lots of time, but won't be as comfortable as that cancelled sleeper train. Unfortunately, it seems that right now (summer 2023), they are not running them either, only bus leaving around noon, but it might be worth checking out Omnibus website to see if they were reinstated.
Currently, I would recommend the day train. It departs from Tbilisi at 8:20 and makes it to Zugdidi at 14:31, just in time to catch some of the last marshrutkas to Svaneti. The price of the ride starts at 16 GEL, which is less than 5 EUR. Tickets can be bought in advance at matarebeli.ge website (the official web is railway.ge, but that never worked for me). Just one important thing - tickets are released for the online sale only some 15 days in advance, but it's not explained anywhere. So don´t freak out if you can´t buy your ticket online because of the "no tickets available", "trains not found" or some similar error. Just try later :)
If you fail to secure the spot on the train, you may be forced to take a direct marshrutka - two minibuses depart at 7:00 from the area in front of Main Railway Station, come at least 30 minutes earlier to catch a spot. Another one departs at 8:00 from Samgori railway station and there should be something from Didube as well. The price is 40 GEL, so it´s quite cheap, but I can´t recommend it since this uncomfortable journey takes grueling 9-10 hours - basically, it's just slower, marginally cheaper and much less comfortable alternative for the day train.
If the are not travelling alone and don't mind spending some extra bucks, you might prefer a direct taxi. Those can be either arranged at bus stations or prebooked - looking at the prices of one of the most popular Georgian transport website, gotrip.ge, prices for the private transfer from Tbilisi to Mestia start at 650 GEL (230 EUR) for the group of 4.
The last option you could consider is flight - there are 4 flights a week from Natakhtari airport near Tbilisi, operated by VanillaSky company . You would see Caucasus from a completely different perspective and for 90 GEL it´s quite a bargain. On the downside, they occassionally get canceled because of the weather and during the summer, you should book at least month in advance since they get booked up pretty fast. For more info, pls check this excellent post about the flight (covers also flight from Kutaisi).

From Kutaisi to Mestia:
This depends on whether you want to get to Mestia from the city or from the Kutaisi airport.
In the first case, your best options is the direct minibus (the price is 40 GEL) departing from the station behind McDonalds. There is a fixed departure between 9:00 and 10:00 am, but if you want to secure your spot, better get there at 8:00-8:30 since it's popular among tourists and will depart much sooner if full.
According to locals, if this marshrutka gets full and leaves before 9:00 am, they will send another one. If it gets full later, they might not.
There may be also others during the day if there are enough tourists, but I wouldn´t rely on that. If you miss them and there is none other direct bus available, look for a marshrutka to Zugdidi (price 10 GEL) - it's the same way and you can find there transport to Mestia more easily (especially if you notify your driver in Kutaisi that you need to continue to Mestia).
If you are travelling directly from the airport, you also have some options. If you are travelling alone, you can arrange a transfer to Kutaisi at Georgian bus stand (5 GEL or so) and take marshrutka from there. Or, if you are willing to spend extra money and save time, find someone to share taxi with. It's actually pretty easy - do you see any people with hiking backpacks? If yes, there is a pretty high chance they are heading to Svaneti so this is a great chance to save some money and get to know some people.
If you are not alone and travel straight from the airport, you might want to book your taxi in advance. In this case, at gotrip.ge, prices of the transfer from the Kutaisi airport to Mestia start at 340 GEL, which is actually pretty solid. If you haggle with taxi drivers loitering around the airport and don't look to desperate, you might get a better price, but not by much.

From Batumi to Mestia:
Marshrutka is the only option, it departs from the main bus station. Since you will have switch the bus in Zugdidi (you may have to wait for several hours there), this ride takes a better part of the day. The first bus departs at 8:00 am, then there should be another one at 9:30 am.

This is a tour of a moderate difficulty. Overall, it's not particularly difficult, but especially during a trek to the Udziro lake, you will need to over come some considerable elevation change. Therefore, you need to be fit and used to hiking, you should be able to walk 6-7 hours a day - nothing a fit tourist wouldn't handle, but someone without training might struggle. If you are not sure if this trek is for you, please contact us and we will try to find out :)

During the tour, you will spend 3 nights at guesthouses and one night under the tent, camping by the Udziro lake.

Luggage: Luggage transport is arranged by car and, in case of Udziro lake trek, by horses.


Day 1 Transfer to Racha, Sairme pillares

The departure from Tbilisi. Originally, the ride to Racha would take a better part of the day, but this time was greatly shortened since the opening of a new Sachkhere-Oni road passing endless, uninhabited forests. We will stop for a lunch and then hike towards impressive Sairme pillars (2-3 hours in total). We will finish the day at the local winery, which will also provide us with a accommodation.

Day 2 Hike on the Notsara ridge
distance 13km, 600m and 600m

Today, we head to he Upper Racha, to the village of Chiora. From here, the car will drive us onto the Notsara ridge, where our today's hike starts. We will follow the dirt track at the top of the ridge, admiring the main range of Greater Caucasus to the north and mountains such as Shoda, Lagora or Dolomisistsveri to the south. After the hike, we will drive down to the valley, where we will spend a night at the guesthouse in Ghebi village.

Day 3 Trek from Glola to Udziro lake
distance 8.9km, 1520m and 220m

Transfer to Glola village, where the trek to the Udziro lake starts. Accompanied by packhorses, we will tackle one of Georgia's most beautiful hiking trails. First through primeval forests, then, once we climb above the treeline, we will admire striking mountains above. After climbing the mountain pass, we will descend to the Udziro lake and make a camp there.

Day 4 From Udziro lake to Shovi
distance 10.8km, 464m and 1816m

In the morning we can enjoy the Caucasus summits reflected in the lake in case of great weather. If we are lucky, this can be one of the most beautiful places to wake up in Georgia!

Then we start stiff descent from the lake. First, we will need to climb Geske pass (3000m), steep pass, even higher than the one we climbed on day 3. Then comes the descend into Chkhauri valley, where we can admire uniquely shaped twisted mountains. After a long, day-long hike, we will reach our cars, which will take us to the Oni city. Here, we will spend a night at the family guesthouse Gallery.

Day 5 Tamar cliffs, retun to Tbilisi
distance 9km, 810m and 810m

We will first visit river Kheori canyon and see how the river disappears in the cave. Then we will hike towards the ridge of Queen tamar rocks. Beautiful green alpine meadows full of flowers, cliffs overlooking the gorges of Racha which make a perfect spot for photoshooting and in case of clear weather summits of Caucasus and Shoda-Kedela ridge which are now a bit far away but still gives us better feeling of space and horizon and injects into us a great motivation to come back again.

  • Travel insurance. You will need to arrange a travel insurance. On my trekking trips, I use SafetyWing travel insurance
  • Snacks and alcoholic beverages
  • Boredom


If you consider joining one of our tours, you should understand how our booking process works - so what happens after you fill in that form to the right.

  1. First, you need to register for a tour. We don't collect deposits at this stage but expect clients to fill in the form only in case of serious interest, after they have everything sorted out and are positive that they will be able to participate.
  2. We will send an email asking you to confirm your email address, to establish contact and be sure that we received valid address. Once confirmed, we will put you on the list of participants. Then, after the tour meets minimal threshold of required participants, we will send you another e-mail, inform you that the tour is guaranteed to run and if deposit is necessary, ask for it.
  3. After all participants sent deposit payment, the tour is green-lighted and we start with necessary arrangements.
  4. If there are still not enough participants one month before the start of the tour, we inform you about the situation and offer to run the tour at the increased price. If all participants agree to it and make a deposit, the tour goes ahead - and, of course, if more people book during the last months before the tour, the price goes down correspondingly, but at some moment we need to decide if to run it or not. If participants don´t agree with the higher price, the tour is cancelled and, if there is interest, we can work with them on some individual programs.

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