This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Mestia. To help you make friends with Mestia before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Mestia is a sleepy Georgian village surrounded by the majestic Caucasus Mountains and is a popular base for hikers, trekkers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. It is the regional capital of the Upper Svaneti area, which is famous for its indigenous Svan culture and is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Before going to the mountains, it is worth asking for hiking maps in the tourist information center as there are plenty of hiking paths in the area, but some of the routes are poorly signposted.
Getting to Mestia is straightforward, if time consuming; there is a daily night train connection from Tbilisi to Zugdidi, a relaxed town located a scenic, three-hour minibus ride away from Mestia. Zugdidi can also be reached by minibus from Batumi, Kutaisi, or Tbilisi.
There is a great range of accommodation, from Mestia hostels and guesthouses to upscale hotels. Most of the youth hostels in Mestia are located around the central square, whereas guesthouses and B&Bs can be found on any street of the village. Advance bookings are necessary for groups, but solo travelers or couples can always find a bed somewhere.
Apart from enjoying the mountain scenery by foot or on horseback, there is not much to do in Mestia, as there is only one museum and nightlife is completely lacking. There are some cafés, restaurants, and kiosks to serve the hungry, but the most delicious meals are probably the examples of the Svan cuisine offered in guesthouses. To become more familiar with the Svan culture, the Svaneti Historical-Ethnographic Museum is worth a visit.
Written by local enthusiast for Mestia hostelsLotta Kauppi