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.



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.





Turkey’s Black Sea Cities

Turkey’s Black Sea Cities: Sinop, Trabzon, and Rize.



The Caucasian Challenge minimal assistance rally sets off from Istanbul, and we spend another night in Turkey before we reach Georgia. We’re massive fans of Turkey’s Black Sea Coast, and its glorious scenery: white beaches, green forests, and rolling hills. We always spend a night camping, and partying, near Turkey’s most Northern point: Sinop. The next day, on your way to the border, we often stop in the cities of Trabzon and Rize, both fun places to see. Here’s our guide to Turkey’s Black Sea cities.



The Moments that Made the Caucasian Challenge Special

We recount some of the moments that made the Caucasian Challenge 2016 special.


caucasian challenge special

Our road destroyed by landslide. Not the best moment, but certainly memorable…




There are fewer than five months till the this year’s Caucasian Challenge, and we’re getting excited by looking at back at the Caucasian Challenge 2016. We’ve recounted our highlights of each leg of the journey, from leaving Istanbul to the finishing party in Yerevan, and heard Tony’s charming story about his experiences on the minimal assistance rally. We mentioned beautiful scenery, fascinating history and the wonderfully weird, but it seemed like we’d forgotten to mention some of the smaller moments. So, here are some extra highlights that made the Caucasian Challenge special:


Guest Post: Tony’s Caucasian Challenge Story

A guest post from Tony Thorndike, Caucasian Challenge participant (and winner)!


Tony Thorndike Caucasian Challenge


Tony Thorndike is a veteran of Travel Scientists rallies, a lifetime traveler who thinks nothing of driving from the UK to Bishkek, and back! He and his son-in-law Rob won the Caucasian Challenge in 2016, earning a reputation as a charming pair who loved to laugh and whose mastery of maps and dislike of “faff” meant they were first to arrive every evening! So, there is nobody better to recount their memories of this eventful trip than Tony. Here’s his story:


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