Tusheti: a paradise for lovers of trekking

Tusheti: a paradise for lovers of trekking


Tusheti is one of the remotest regions of Georgia. It is also one of the most spectacular areas. It is a protected area located in the heart of the mountains of the Great Caucasus, five hours from civilization by a mind-blowing highway that can only be travelled in a SUV from June to October, when the snow has melted (it is considered one of the most dangerous roads in Europe and its risk is compared to its beauty).

The road passes through thrilling landscapes, intact forests, precipices taking your breath away and the mountain pass of Abano, at 9500 feet tall. Its isolation has protected Tusheti from changes, and the ancestral traditions of its inhabitants are preserved almost untouched.

Tusheti: information to travel to Tusheti

Tusheti occupies a 9 square meters area and it varies from 5413 and 14740 feet tall. It limits to the north with Dagestan and Chechnya. Little by little, it has become one of the favorite destinations for mountain lovers. However, it is not yet overcrowded and it offers routes for all tastes and physical conditions. Tusheti is known for his local breed horse.

It is small but fast and it is extremely tough. There are several places where equestrian excursions are organized during the day or several days at affordable prices. There are also some travel agencies in Tbilisi that organize SUV tours to the area.

It is divided into five areas composed of various peoples: Pirikiti, Gometsri, Tsovali, Chanchakhovani, and Chagmi. The most important settlement is Omalo, divided into the lower part and the upper part, where only a few hundred people live, but it offers an appropriate range of accommodation in B & B, mountain hotels and houses.

Another of the most visited places is Dartlo. There is a good network of shelters in local families throughout the Tusheti territory. So if you do not have tents, you will not have to worry about it.

Typically, it is a pretty safe area and its people tend to be very hospitable. What it could be a really scared moment for you are coming across a shepherd dog, because they are very territorial.

Getting lost, too. Some trails are badly marked and the maps are not too precise. Therefore, the first thing you have to do is go through the Visitor Service Office and you should clear up all doubts. In Tusheti there are no shops or supermarkets, so if you plan to make several days routes on your own, do not forget to bring supplies.

How to get to Tusheti?

You can only get Tusheti by SUV from the beginning of June until October when the snow has already melted. It takes about five hours to travel the 56 miles of vertigo that separates Alvani from Omalo. There are SUVs every day leaving from the main intersection of Alvani heading towards Omalo for a price of 200-250 GEL (if you go alone, join a group and so you can share the expenses).

Make sure that the driver knows every inch of the road. To get to Alvani there are daily minibusses from Ortachala to Tbilisi station and also from Telavi. Unless you are an experienced driver, you should not drive to Tusheti. It is one of the most dangerous roads in Europe.


The distant Tusheti was always an area of ​​refuge for people who did not want to be found, like the exiles for revenge of blood between families or fugitives from justice. In the fourth century, some pagan tribes from northern Kartli who resisted converting to Christianity also hid in these valleys.

The first historical evidence of its people dates from the time of the mythical King Parnavaz (3rd century B.C.) and the oldest written reference belongs to the Greek geographer Ptolemy a century later. The area remained uncorrupted to the doctrine of the cross until in the eighth century the royal power began to preach the new doctrine by these summits.

Its inhabitants were always the first line of defense of northern Georgia. From the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, Tushetians became famous for their military heroic deeds against the Chechen and Dagestani Muslims. A local legend tells how in 1695, after having won the Battle of Bakhtrioni against the Persians, the king wanted to reward the Tushetians for their bravery.

A ranger called Zezva Gaprindauli asked him to thank them for giving them as much land as his horse could cover at a gallop in the Aloni valley. Tradition has it that the animal ran like the wind from the castle of Bakhtrioni to Tahtibogiri and then died exhausted. Tushetians still remember the equine with a mixture of gratitude and pride.

What see in Tusheti?


The most important settlement is Omalo, divided into the lower part and the upper part, where only a few hundred people live, but it offers an appropriate range of accommodation in B & B, mountain hotels and houses.


Shenako, which has a small Orthodox church, is an hour and a half walking down east. But what you can not miss is visiting the village of Dartlo. It is four hours within walking (9 miles) and its towers and fortress houses make you think that the time stopped here in the Middle Ages. It is located in the heart of the community of Pirikiti and there is some other accommodation if you want to stay overnight. Camping is free throughout Tusheti.


Another of the most visited places is Dartlo. There is a good network of shelters in local families throughout the Tusheti territory. So if you do not have tents, you will not have to worry about it.

Rutas de trekking por Tusheti

Here we have some routes that we did on our own, although they will give you more alternatives and they clear all your doubts about the Visitor Service Office:

  • Omalo-Dartlo: it is an uncomplicated route of about 9 miles. It goes through a dirt roadway while a Jeep occasionally passes through there. If you feel up to it and you have time, you can go back to Omalo, or you can stay to sleep in a Dartlo B & B. You can explore the abandoned town which is right on top in Dartlo. You can have a picnic by the river or lie down to take it easy just in front of you.
  • Dartlo-Parsma: you can continue the adventure from Dartlo. The road goes up to Parsma, passing through the village of Chesho. It’s a much wilder Tusheti. Chechnya is on the other side of the mountains. There is a dirt road and you will have to cross some other stream. You should get maps of the area at the point of visitor attention. If you get up early you can get from Parsma to Alisgori on the same day, crossing the mountain (9842 feet) from north to south. But you should not do it unless you know how to orientate yourself well and you are a mountaineer with some experience. The trails are very badly signposted and it is sometimes confusing. We almost got lost and nightfall was coming quickly.




It is the biggest Tusheti festival and the best time to visit the area. It is celebrated one hundred days after Easter and it lasts two weeks. During that time the locals go to their sanctuaries and they organize family meals. The sale of typical Tusheti carpets is very typical here.

People show a lot of affection and it is likely that if they see you, they invite you to the table with them. As in other mountain areas of the Greater Caucasus, the typical thing here is to drink beer. The final crowning glory of Atnigenoba is its famous horse race through the mountains.

Practical information

Address: lower part of the village of Omalo.

Opening Hours: from June to October from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Phone: +995 5 77 10 18 92/ +995 5 77 90 72 72.

E-mail:gio.bakuridze@gmail.com / info@apa.gov.ge

They offer information on accommodation, transport, and mountaineering routes. It has a small museum opened in 2009. They rent mountain equipment (tents, binoculars), bicycles, and they will help you to reserve accommodation, transport or hire horses…

Phone: + 995 599 075 195 (From April to October)/ +33 617 12 15 61 (rest of the year).

E-mail: caucasustrekkingcompany@gmail.com / info@caucasus-trek.com

They are specialized in horse riding and hiking through Tusheti and Khevsureti. The business belongs to Audrey, a French woman who lives half the year in Tusheti, and Gia, a local who knows every inch of this land. They speak French and English. You have to book in advance. For more information: www.caucasus-trek.com

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