15th of January! Gosh, it’s exactly mid-winter, but seems like winter season in Georgia has just started. Even being not a super-skier, I am fascinated about the white resorts here: in December I have checked Gudauri and Mestia, and I can say that if you’ll manage to visit at least one of them, you will not regret. There is also Bakuriani, but as far as I didn’t visit it recently, I can’t tell you something experience-based. All the following infos are NOT an advertisement, but just impressions.
So, if you need some advices, here you go!
1. To go there from Tbilisi, you can take a taxi or marshrutka from Didube metro in Tbilisi. Usually it’s around 10 lari ($5.5) / person. Taxi is more expensive.
2. If you rent the equipment and want the better price, better do it in hotels / rentals near Smart supermarket: the closer to ski lift, the expensive. Though, I’ve rent my ski there up for 15 lari / half a day, and it was enough for the first time. Full day ski lift pass: 30 lari, one way: 5 lari.
3. I’ve never stayed at Gudauri hotels yet, but I can say that there is a cool Alpine hut cafe and hotel near Kudebi mount. I’ve had a lunch there, was authentic and reasonable. If we speak about upper class hotels, Marco Polo is definitely the best.
4. On the way to Gudauri there is Pasanauri village. If you trust the locals, it is a birthplace of khinkali. Truth or not, but in all the restaurants in all the towns in Georgia you’ll see “pasanaurian” khinkali. So at least the way of preparation really comes from there.
5. You can also try paragliding in Gudauri! Here is the link: http://www.flygudauri.com/index_en.htm I gonna do it in February or March: the season is long, and I do want to fly and see those snowy peaks from above, if God didn’t give me skills or patience to ski that good 😀
OOOH, MY MESTIA HOW BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE IN WINTER SUMMER AUTUMN WHENEVER I COME TO YOU MY BELOVED DEAR STRONG BEAUTIFUL MESTIAAA!
Sorry, I am just too emotional about Svaneti 🙂 Here are my whereabouts:
1. Marshrutkas from Tbilisi depart from Central Station early in the morning, better to ask in advance. You can also go to Zugdidi and take a marshrutka from there: from Central Station, or bus station near a Svan tower. Be ready for a long trip: the way is not easy at all, but in the end you find yourself in extremely beautiful, remote and authentic place. Actually, you can also book a flight for 65 lari here, but be aware of the fact that it all depends on weather. I was lucky to fly to Mestia in the end of December. Look. LOOK!
I was seriously about to cry!
2. And then, later, my view from Hotel Tetnuldi also fascinated me that much, that I barely could sleep staring at the medieval light-lit Svan towers. The hotel itself is good, beautiful etc., but I’d say a bit cold for this season. It’s a thing to be improved. Food was good, and staff very friendly. Hotel lounge bar is such a nice place, I liked it a lot.
Me and colleagues of mine have also checked out another hotel called “Ushba” (it’s located at the central street of Mestia). Very friendly and helpful staff, warm rooms, a lot of food and also a nice view over Mestia guaranteed!
3. Ski resort Hatsvali itself is 8 km far from Mestia. You can reach it by marshrutka or taxi: all of them wait for you on Seti square in Mestia. Bargain! Bargain!
Ski rentals are located in Mestia, and near ski lift as well, Prices are like in Gudauri: from 20 lari, and higher. Ski pass prices are also the same.
Up on the mountain there is a restaurant, for now the highest in Georgia. The view is breathtaking!
4. If you are not just into skiing, you can check out Mestia Museum. Open every day except of Monday from 11 AM in wintertime, entrance costs 5 lari.
Here are my tips in short. By the way, you can also have a non-ski winter holidays in Georgia. Recently, just after New Year, I’ve been to a couple of interesting places, and this will be the topic of the next post.