Mestia is a city in Upper Svaneti, Georgia. It's the regional capital.
A new airport in Mestia - Queen Tamar Airport - has recently opened, and flights between Mestia and Tbilisi are now available 5 times a week for 75 lari each way. Reserve tickets at least a week in advance.
In the summertime a plane flown by the Georgian military will give you a ride between Kutaisi and Mestia. The plane only operates on "perfect" days. This is a very fun experience! The cost is free to the locals, or ~$15 USD for foreigners. It will take off from a grassy field in Mestia, and land in Kutasi in less than an hour! This will reduce travel time to the capital by about 6-8 hours! The plane flies on Saturdays and leaves Kutasi at 9. The pilot's name is Leri - 877-199-689 (Info from 2010).
From Tbilisi to Zugdidi by night train, then take a marshrutka (minibus) from Zugdidi train station to Mestia. Ticket price 15 Gel. Duration 3-4 hours.
Tbilisi - Mestia marshrutkas (mini buses) go every day from "Vagzali" bus station. Number of seats 16, ticket price 30 Gel per person. Departure time : 5:00 am. Duration 10-11 hours (depends on the weather conditions).
Only one (maximum 2) marshrutka goes to Zuigidi at 6 a.m.
A new highway from Zugdidi to Mestia has been opened and the trip has become safe and comfortable by public or private transport. (Drive off-road cars with high attention if you are not an experienced driver).
Svaneti Historical-Ethnographic Museum, which has one of the oldest New Testament manuscripts in Georgian on display.
House and Museum of the world-famous alpinist Mikhail Hergiani.
Hiking, supported by the Mountain Tourist Centre of Svaneti, Pereulok Stalina No. 7, 200 m from the main square in Mestia.
Mestia is also the embarkation point for a trip to Ushguli, the highest altitude inhabited point in Europe. There is another small Ethnographic Museum there, containing 12th century religious artwork.
Beautiful works of Folk art can be bought at the Mountain Tourist Centre.
Mestia has only very few options for eating out. On the main street there are two restaurants that both serve very nice food. The nicer looking of the two, near the center, is slightly more expensive, but still very cheap. Meat-filled dumpling - 0.60 per one. Beef stew - 5 Lari, salad - 5 Lari. Tea - 2 Lari.
There is a small market for fruit and vegetables and a number of shops.
Lots of interesting mineral water. And of course, as anywhere in Georgia, marvellous Georgian wine and Raki!
- Hostel Seti , Seti squ. 7. €10 for a dorm bed. Located right in the center, next to the tourist information center and a restaurant. It's newly built. Have air conditioning in the hall and heater in the room. The room is large.
- Nest Hostel Mestia, Kakhiani st. 16, ☎ +995 595 41 44 43 +995 555 52 55 77 ([email protected]), . Centrally located with balcony overlooking river mountains and 'Svan' towers holding the sky over Mestia. Friendly, English speaking and very helpful staff. €9-11.
- Hotel "Mestia", Zurab Devdariani, 577721211, 590721211.
- Muradi Chartolani's Guesthouse, Ushba St. 2, ☎ +995 55 56 19 74 ([email protected]). Guesthouse with TV, garden. $10-20.
- Nino Ratiani's Guesthouse, 1 Queen Tamari Street Akhalsheni, ☎ +995 99 18 35 55 +995 90 52 78 18 ([email protected]), . Guesthouse with private and single rooms, internet, hot water and wonderful Georgian meals. Six bedrooms total. Putting up a tent may be possible for 5GEL per person. Warm and friendly owners that speak English. Additional services and airport pick ups, meal requests, cooking lessons, etc. can be arranged. $20-25 per person (including three meals).
- Nino Tstulukiani's Guesthouse, Guladi Japarise Street no 8, ☎ +595 58 98 39 ([email protected], [email protected]). Nice family run guesthouse with spacious rooms, shared sitting room and bathroom with hot water. The owner is an excellent cook. Currently (summer 2011) the family is building a hotel, located next to the guesthouse. GEL 30 per person (includes dinner and breakfast).
Several people rent rooms in their houses as well:
- House of Elguji Jorjoliani
- House of Ketevan Gabliani (Tel. +599-56-93-58)
- House of Malkhaza Argviliani (Tel. +599-25-90-80)
- House of Irma Khergiani (Tel. +598-97-72-38)
- Shalva Kvitsiani's Ushba Homestay, (Village Becho), ☎ 599 73 95 21, . Guesthouse with with private rooms, hot water and meals in picturesque village Becho. Convenient for a trek or climbing expedition to Ushba.
- Gia Gaparidze's Family hotel, Guladi Japaridze street,15, ☎ 599 606332, . two floor Jafaridze family owned hotel with three comfortable ftriple and three double rooms.There is two shared bathrooms,kitchen,Open balcony with fresh air and wonderful view,big Garden possible to use for tent,pick up service from every site of Georgia.price 45 Gel(full board)per person.this friendly family is full off tourizm information.
- Mestia Camping & Hostel, Agmashenebeli 19, ☎ +99532599912573. Hostel with only one available camping site in Mestia. Very good location, just on the way to Mestia glacier (Chaladi)and outstanding views. The owners are fluent in English,French and Russian. All facilities are provided like a hot shower, toilets , internet etc. Hostel and camping owners can organize trekking, guiding, 4x4 wheel cars and horse ridding. Email: [email protected] , [email protected]
As of August 2011, massive construction works are in progress at Mestia. Therefore the place might not look so scenic.