Dates: 15 - 23 June 2013
Price: € 990
- Discover world heritage treasures of UNESCO in remote mountains of Georgia
- Ride through picturesque shepherd villages and enjoy the stunning vistas on Caucasus Mountains
- Enjoy the hospitality of Georgian people and savour their world-class wines and delicious cuisine
- Wash off your mountain biking tour fatigue in sulphur baths of Tbilisi and admire its elegant but rumbled old town
Remote and untouched Svaneti
Svaneti in Caucasus Mountains of Georgia is the remotest place in Europe both geographically and culturally. It was only 5 years ago when mountain robbers held the area under their control and it was definitely not recommended as a tourism destination. The circumstances have changed and tourists are returning to rediscover this stunningly beautiful and culturally rich area. Make sure you’ll get here before the hordes of tourists, as the Georgian government has plans laid out for developing the area into a western-style ski resort.
Serene Mountains and UNESCO world heritage
The mountain scenery in Georgia is as beautiful as in Alps with one notable exception – there’s hardly any business or real estate development there. The vistas are breathtaking and there are no railways, power lines or tourist busses to hinder your views. Traditional stone house villages with defensive stone towers, impressive and distinctive examples of Svaneti, dot the lonely scenery of the mountains. Some of them date back to 1st century BC. The churches here preserve some of the oldest and holiest treasures of Georgian Orthodox church as it was the only part of Georgia not invaded by Mongols. For this rich historical heritage the villages around Ushguli have been placed on the UNESCO world heritage list. Wondering around here offers pure pleasure.
People travelling to this part of Georgia receive a warning – the hospitality here can sometimes be overwhelming! It is very difficult to refuse joining the Svans in their parties. Every meal is a feast washed down with lots of wine and Chacha--Georgian equivalent to grappa. All tourists are welcome to join. There are numerous reasons for ad-hoc parties or celebrations, which you will definitely encounter on our bike tour. Georgians need little excuse for having a party: repairing a tractor, landslide on the road, rainy weather and a visiting tourist is definitely a clincher…
Gourmet in the Caucasus Mountains
It’s amazing how so delicious food can be prepared in such limited conditions! There definitely is everything necessary for cooking– fresh ingredients, the fireplace and the chef. During this cycling tour in Georgia you’ll have hands-on opportunity to prepare home-made Georgian mountain delicacies. The “westernised” Georgian wine has made its way to the western markets however, real and traditional Georgian wine can not be found in your home country. How does it taste? Well – “different” is perhaps the right word to describe it. You will have plenty of opportunity for appraisal as home-made wine and cha-cha are always “on the house” at home stays.
Svaneti is remote. There are no luxury hotels in the area (yet) and we will be staying in homestays. The accommodation is basic but clean. Do not expect en-suite bathrooms! Each homestay has a bit different facilities and is unique in its own way. Typically the homestays have shared showers or bathrooms (read: a tin can with holes on the ceiling), dry toilets (sometimes western-style toilets). But the ambience more than compensates the simple conditions. You will have private panoramas of the mountains and you can enjoy real home-made gourmet prepared especially for you. In Tbilisi we will stay in tourist-class hotels which have all the modern facilities-- en-suite bathrooms, air-conditioners, restaurant, etc.
If you are healthy and practice an active life-style, you are welcome to this bike tour in Georgia! Previous experience in mountain biking is not required, although it is advisable. We will be typically riding 30-60 km a day, depending on the terrain. This means 6-8 hours riding per day including lunch-, drinking and power-bar stops and heaps of sightseeing pauses to take photos. A support vehicle will be following us most of the tour. There will be some steep up-hills which we will take with the aid of our support car. Of course, there are no restrictions for you to do it on bike! You won’t have to carry your luggage (except for the day-pack) and major spare parts with you. In case anything happens, there is always a place for you in the car. We typically split the group into a couple of smaller groups depending on the riding skills of the cyclists.