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Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti

Samegrelo - Zemo Svaneti is located on the Black Sea coast in West Georgia, with a humid, sub-tropical, and moderate climate.

Throughout the year Samegrelo offers fantastic locations for lovers of camping, hiking, canyoning, rafting, exotic nature, as well as cozy, European style towns.

The nature, folk crafts, traditions, cultures, and folklore will surely excite you!



The US site “The Top Tens” conducted a survey for nominating the “Best Ancient Civilizations," and according to the poll, Georgia was ranked third.

This ranking is not groundless, as the city of Poti, located in West Georgia, is a clear example for this! The city's past is still unknown and obscu...


Events and News

12 - March 2020

Tetnuldi Ski Resort

Lamproba is a mystical tradition in Svaneti, celebrated in the month of February. At dawn, the Svans come out with bundles of lit lanterns. The leader pleads to the Goddess of the harvest to bring a good year. In other versions, by lighting the lanterns, the Svans are warming the souls of the deceased. This night is worth seeing, with all of Svaneti illuminated by the fire of the lanterns being particularly enigmatic and mysterious!

16 - July 2020

Dadiani Palace Zugdidi

Zugdidi, a beautiful European town in Samegrelo, celebrates the Vlakernoba public feast on July, 15. On this day, Orthodox pilgrims from all around the world gather in Zugdidi in order to worship one of the great Christian relics, the Virgin Mary’s Holy Robe, currently preserved in the Historic-Architectural Museum in the Dadiani Palaces. Once a year, on this day, the pilgrims take the robe from the Museum and carry it in the central boulevard of the town in a litany procession.

In Zugdidi, a grandiose temple after Iveria’s Virgin Mary is being built, which will host the relic of the Virgin Mary’s Holy Robe, allowing everyone to worship it, similar to the Shroud of Turin.

29 - July 2020

Tetnuldi Ski Resort

If you happen to be in Kala, Mestia by the end of July, do not miss the public feast of Kvirikoba! On July 28, pilgrims gather in the X-XI century church of Lagurka, in order to worship the Shaliani, the Byzantine reliquary!

20 - August 2020

Dadiani Palace Zugdidi

The Anaklia EchoWaves music festival hosts modern electronic and club music. The festival is being held for the third year and is highly popular among young people. During the entire week, after having enjoyed Anaklia's scorching sun and amazing sea, Anaklia EchoWaves offers a real oasis for those who love the sea and music!

26 - September 2020
Megrelian Folklore International Festival in Khobi

Khobi Monastery

Every second summer, the Megrelian Folklore International Festival gathers Megrelian ethno music and dance lovers. This day brings together the folklore grand masters from Samegrelo and all other regions of Georgia. If you want to better understand Kolkhic spirit and character, you must attend this festival!

14 - October 2020
Khachapuri Festival

Rukhi Fortress

The Khachapuri / Gastronomy Festival is a one-day festive entertaining event to be held every year in the village of Rukhi close to Zugdidi. It is organized by Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Destination Management Organization (DMO), with the support of USAID Zrda Activity in Georgia, Georgian National Tourism Administration and Rukhi Trade Center, Gastronomic Association of Georgia and local government, the festival aims to support regional tourism through new product development. Not only does the festival promote the internal part of Georgia’s legendary traditional cuisine, but it also marks new destinations and attractions on the international touristic map. Additionally, it also raises quality standards within the tourism sector.

The Khachapuri / Gastronomy Festival comprises of workshops of nationally acclaimed chefs and local cook masters, providing free masterclasses to the visitors - this should especially be interesting to the local entrepreneurs, guesthouses and café-restaurant managers and cooks.



Hike to Tobavarchkhili lake
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Description of the trek:

This beautiful trek crosses Egrisi mountains which separate Svaneti from Samegrelo lowlands. You will not come close to the highest mountains of Caucasus, but this small drawback is fully compensated by a very diverse environment. High passes with great views, magical lakes, rocky gorges, waterfalls, shepherds huts, remote valleys - this trek has everything. 

Or almost everything. There are no medieval stone villages, so typical for many Georgian regions. So, if you are coming for your first visit and have time for only one trek, I wouldn´t pick this one. It´s more suitable for people who have already seen the "highlights".

Duration: 4-5 days

If you are a swift walker, you can hike this trail in 4 days. Still, you should have at least one day as a buffer. Egrisi mountains are quite rainy because of the proximity of the Black Sea and it would be a pity if you walked so far and saw nothing because of the mist. In such a case, it's better to spend more time at the lake to get the best possible views.  
Also, you can save almost a day of timeif you hire a truck to take you all the way to the Natipuru hut. It´s probably even better this way as the Natipuru road is tough and not that interesting. For a transport, you will have to ask around Mukhuri village, the standard price of one-way ride these days is about 350 GEL. 

Diffculty: Hard

The trail is almost 80 km long from start to the end, crosses four mountain passes and several potentially risky water bodies. Especially the second half of the trek is quite remote and in case of any problems, it won't be easy to get any help.

When to go:

The best time is from the second half of July till the mid of September because of the most pleasant weather and lowest rainfall.
I would like to stress that my description is relevant to this "ideal" period. Overall, lakes are usually accessible from late June (when they are still frozen) till late September. I really don't recommend to try to visit them earlier or later - I am not saying it's impossible (nothing is "impossible"), but high passes will be covered by snow and crossing them could be tough and possibly life-threatening. I know several people who went there in late June and all, even though they are active climbers, admitted that it was just too risky and probably not a good idea. Also, during the late spring, lakes get quite a lot of rainfall.


There are no villages or guesthouses where you could spend a night, you will have to pack everything necessary for a prolonged camping trip.

Alternative routes:

There are several alternative routes to the lakes. This post describes Mukhuri and Khaishi variants which are, in my opinion, the most scenic ones. The third, shorter route starts in Skuri.

How to get to Mukhuri:

The best place to start your trip is Zugdidi. Marshrutka to Mukhuri departs at 9 am. from the local bus station - it's the one by the bridge (42°30'31.9"N 41°52'09.0"E), not the one by the train station. The ride costs 3 GEL and takes more than two hours.
Another option is to take a taxi. Price for the ride to Mukhuri should be some 30-40 GEL (it's 40km) and the trip takes less than an hour.

How to Leave Khaishi:

Several marshrutkas heading either to Mestia or Zugdidi pass through Khaishi every day.

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Hike to Intsra Waterfall
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This little-known walk takes you through the valley of Intsra river to a pretty nice waterfall. It doesn’t belong to top sights of Georgia, but if you happen to be in Zugdidi with some extra time and desire to get away from crowds, it is an interesting option.

Duration: 3 hours

Difficulty: Moderate

The trail is short but towards the end, there are some narrow exposed sections above the river. Bring good shoes and be prepared for some scrambling. 

How to get to Chkvaleri:

Since there is no direct bus between Zugdidi and Chkvaleri, I would just take a taxi - the price should be up to 40-50 GEL. You could also take a minibus to Jvari (all buses going through Mestia are going through there) and take a taxi from there for some 20 GEL - could save you a few lari if you are traveling alone or as a couple. 
The last, cheapest option is to take a minibus to Jvari and walk to Chkvaleri from there, but I can´t recommend it. It doesn't look far on the map but the road is narrow, surprisingly busy and constantly goes up and down.

How to leave Chkvaleri:

Also very problematic - if you came by taxi, just ask the driver to wait for you. Otherwise, you will probably have to walk to the Jvari village and try to hitchhike. But, of course, it never hurts to have a number of some local taxi driver, as a backup.

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Tour: On the Dadiani Heels
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The Dadiani were feudal lords that ruled Samegrelo, on the most prominent regions in Georgia, from the 12th century to the 19th century. During parts of this period, they also held the territories of current Abkhazia, Imereti, Guria, and Svaneti. The Dadiani were one of the strongest dynasties in Georgia and during their reign, they built many palaces, castles and monasteries, which today represent the historical and cultural heritage of Samegrelo.

The current tour, includes 15 of the most important monuments from the Dadiani era still present in Samegrelo. All of these locations are easily accessible and ready for discovery!

15 historical locations are included in this tour:

Zugdidi Dadiani Palace (1)
Zugdidi Botanical Garden Glanted by the Dadiani (2)
Tsaishi Monastery – Ancestral Tomb of Dadiani (3)
Khobi Monastery - the Story of Tsotne Dadiani’s Heroism
Shkhepi Castle - Dadiani Fortress with Exceptional Technical Foresight (5)
Levan II Dadiani Church in Dzveli Senaki (6)
Dadiani Residence at Ancient Nokalakevi (7)
Martvili Monastery - the Most Important Christian Monument Renovated by the Dadiani (8)
Dadiani Items Preserved at the Martvili Museum (9)
Bath for the Dadiani family at Martvili Canyon (10)
Summer Residence of Dadiani in Salkhino (11)
Chakvinji Fortress – Birthplace of the Last Ruler of Samegrelo (12)
Tsalenjikha Monastery – Chapel of Levan II Dadiani (13)
Kortskheli Temple – the European Policy of the Dadiani (14)
Dadiani’s Family Hunting Residence (15)

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Tour: To Mountainous Samegrelo – Lakada
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Lakada is a pearl of Samegrelo. Here in the villages built at the foot of the Egrisi Range, you can discover magical nature, the unique life of locals, and true Megrelian character. The tour starts at Martvili Canyon and follows the north path to the foothills of Samegrelo. The total length of the road is 100 km. It consists of two sections connected to each other: Section I - From Martvili Canyons to Mukhuri Village and section II fromMukuri Village to Enguri Dam.

Tour includes following 10 locations:

Dadiani Summer Residence in Salkhino (1)

Tsachkhuri Monastery (2)

Ochkhomuri Waterfall (3)

Otsindale (4)

Mukhuri (5)

Shurubumu (6)

The Waterfalls of the River Khobistkskali (7)

Resort Skuri (8)

Intsra Valley (9)

Enguri Dam (10)

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Tour: Pilgrimage in Samegrelo
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The English version will be available soon...

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Hike to the Kvira Mountain
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This little-visited hiking route climbs onto the 2000 meters high Mt. Kvira, the first major mountain rising from the lowlands of Samegrelo. From the top, you can admire panoramic views of the plains to the south and "real mountains" to the north - however, the views during the climb are limited. To compensate for that, you will visit several landmarks of Samegrelo such as the Intsra waterfall, the water spring hidden in the karst cave or Kuakantsalia - "The Swinging Stone".

Duration: 2 days

The basic variant with departure from Chkvaleri and return to Skuri takes almost two days.

Difficulty: Moderate

The descent from Kvira mountain is unmarked and a bit problematic, but not enough to grant this trek a Hard difficulty.

How to get to Chkvaleri:

Since there is no direct bus between Zugdidi and Chkvaleri, I would just take a taxi - the price should be up to 40-50 GEL. You could also take a marshrutka to Jvari (all buses going through Mestia are going through there) and take a taxi from there for some 20 GEL - could save you a few lari if you are traveling alone or as a couple.
The last, cheapest option is to take a marshrutka to Jvari and walk to Chkvaleri from there, but I can´t recommend it. It doesn't look far on the map but the road is narrow, surprisingly busy and constantly goes up and down.

How to leave Skuri:

Well, it won´t be easy. From the last hiking pointer, you may have to hike another 5 km until you reach the main road. We hitchhiked, asked everybody we met about a taxi and eventually got a number of a driver willing to drive us to Zugdidi (he asked 40 GEL). To make it easier, while passing through Zugdidi (you will probably pass through here before your trek starts), hang around taxi drivers and ask a few of them for their phone numbers. You will really appreciate these numbers once the trek ends and you get stuck at a place such as Skuri.

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Top tips

How should I behave when meeting locals?

Most people in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti welcome visitors and are in many cases just as curious as you are. For many visitors and locals the best experiences comes from meeting and engaging each other in a way that provides value for both. This can be from just a smile, a conversation to engaging in shared activities. Even if a small village in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti may seem like another world from your home, the general rule of conduct is basically not to behave in a way you would not at home.

There are however some special considerations as most settlements in Georgia are working areas and designed for local use. In Zemo Svaneti sled dogs are not pets and should never be approached. You may find tools and equipment apparently lying around, but be sure it belongs to someone and has a purpose.