Mestia is well-equipped to handle the many hundreds of tourists that visit Svaneti each year, with a good range of guesthouses and restaurants. A meal of Kubdari (Svanetian meat pie) and Mtsvadi BBQ sprinkled with Svanetian spiced salt at Laila on the main square is just the thing after the long and nail-biting marshrutka ride up.

Hiking is the thing to do in Svaneti. Mountain trails range from easy day hikes to challenging multi-day treks, the most popular being to Koruldi Lakes, Chaladi Glacier and for the daring, Mount Ushba.

As beautiful as the landscape is, the local culture here is equally entrancing. This is the ancestral home of the Svans, known for being fierce fighters who lived in fortified tower houses. These stone towers, known as Koshki in Georgian, can be seen all across the northern regions and over the border in Chechnya – but Svaneti’s towers are acclaimed for being both numerous and well-preserved. 

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