Explore the Balkans and the Caucasus this Summer!

Combining the Great Balkan Ride and the Caucasian Challenge is this summer’s ultimate adventure.

 

 

Our new adventure, the Great Balkan Ride, is sure to be a lot of fun: it features historic Sarajevo, undiscovered Albania, and ends on the beach in Greece. The Caucasian Challenge, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is also set to be an extraordinary adventure: from magnificent Istanbul to eclectic Yerevan, plus exploring Georgia’s incredible variety and heading way off the beaten track in Armenia. If only there was a way to combine them, you might wonder? Well there is. Here’s how:

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The Crazy Alphabets of the Caucasus

The crazy alphabets of the Caucasus seem to always say the same thing: that you are very far from home.

 

crazy alphabets of the caucasus

 

On the Caucasian Challenge, we travel a very long way, and at no time is this more noticeable than when attempting to read signs! Both Georgia and Armenia speak unique languages, which each have their own alphabets. While it’d be useful to learn some local phrases, the chances of you being able to understand signs (like the one above, which says Zestafoni) are slim. But still, here is what you do need to know about the crazy alphabets of the Caucasus.

 

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The Story of ArArAt Brandy

ArArAt brandy is just one of many the tasty drinks you’ll try on the Caucasian Challenge.

 

ararat brandy

 

 

After a long day driving on the Caucasian Challenge, whether participants have been racing along Turkey’s Black Sea Coast; driving through Georgia’s stunning mountain regions; or searching for ruins in remote Armenia, we like to celebrate in traditional style. The locals of the entire region are famous for their hospitality, which means warm welcomes and offerings of delicious cuisine. And, of course, everywhere we go we try our host’s beloved alcohol. In Armenia this means drinking ArArAt brandy. Here’s its story.

 

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Mestia: Georgia’s Mountain Paradise

Our night in Mestia is always one of the highlights of the Caucasian Challenge.

 

 

Mestia Georgia

Photo by Q-lieb-inx

 

 

Visiting unique places like Mestia is what the Caucasian Challenge is all about. It exemplifies all that is great about Georgia: a stunning location below mountain peaks, mystery in the form of the unique Svan towers, and incredible hospitality. After the picturesque drive from Kutaisi, a warm welcome always awaits us. Here’s everything you need to know about Mestia.

 

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The Highest Village in Europe: Ushguli, Georgia

Introducing the highest village in Europe: Ushguli, in Georgia’s Svaneti region.

 
ushguli highest village in europe

 

 

Mountainous Svaneti in Northern Georgia is home to some of the most picturesque villages in the entire Caucasus region, and nowhere moreso than Ushguli. On the Caucasian Challenge, we spend the night in Mestia, the largest settlement in Upper Svaneti, before driving to Ushguli. The drive can be tough, crossing streams and with steep climbs up dirt tracks, but the scenery is gorgeous and the vistas upon reaching Ushguli are absolutely stunning. Here is everything you need to know about the highest village in Europe.

 

 

 

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