Curious about how to get to Mestia in Georgia? You can spend many hours on the road to get to Mestia by bus, or you can take a flight to Mestia and be in the beautiful mountains in less than one hour!
Vanilla Sky offers flights to Mestia from Natakhtari (Tbilisi) and Kutaisi throughout the year. Service Air operates the flights to Mestia on LET-410 UVP aircraft for 19 passengers.
In addition to these routes, they also operate flights between Natakhtari and Ambrolauri, and between Natakhtari and Batumi (in the past, the flights to Batumi were from Tbilisi).
Currently, the flight schedule is available until the end of October 2023.
Flights between Natakhtari (Tbilisi) and Mestia
Natakhtari airfield is located in Natakhtari, approximately 30 km north of Tbilisi city center. Flights between Natakhtari and Mestia are operated up to 8 times a week and up to twice a day, depending on the season.
Ticket price for Natakhtari – Mestia (one way):
- adults: 90 GEL
- children (3–12 y. o.): 63 GEL
- infants (0–2 y. o.): free
Flight schedule Natakhtari – Mestia in 2023
How to get to Natakhtari airport
The price of the flight ticket from/to Natakhtari includes transportation between Natakhtari airfield and Tbilisi by van. The departure is from the Rose Revolution Sq. (from the Budget car rental office and the opposite side of the Bike monument), find the pick up point on the map below. The departure is 2 hours before flight departure.
If you don’t want to use the provided transport for any reason, you can use a taxi. You can use Bolt (formerly Taxify), and it will cost you around 25 GEL from the city center of Tbilisi. Uber does not operate in Georgia.
You can also hitchhike or catch a marshrutka heading north. Ask the driver to stop in Natakhtari and then walk from the main road to the airport for 1 km.
Where to stay in Tbilisi
You will find plenty of hostels, guesthouses, apartments, and hotels in Tbilisi. While the cheapest hostels start at 4 EUR/night, the most expensive place is probably a private house RARE with a garden and swimming pool.
Another option is to stay next to the airport in Natakhtari at Vanilla Sky hotel.
Flights between Kutaisi and Mestia
The flights are operated from the David the Builder Kutaisi International Airport. Flights between Kutaisi and Mestia are mostly operated twice a week. This is perfect for those arriving in Kutaisi with Wizzair or Ryanair.
Ticket price for Kutaisi – Mestia (one way):
- adults: 50 GEL
- children (3–12 y. o.): 35 GEL
- infants (0–2 y. o.): free
Flight schedule Kutaisi – Mestia in 2023
Where to stay in Kutaisi
Kutaisi is a great base for visiting the sites around, such as Sataplia Nature Reserve, Okatse Canyon, Martvili Canyon, or Kinchkha Waterfall. For easier transportation, I recommend staying close to the bus/marshrutka and train station (both next to McDonald’s).
Prices start at 2 EUR/night for a bed in a hostel dormitory, but you will also find guesthouses and 4* hotels.
Queen Tamar Airport in Mestia
Queen Tamar airport was built in 2010, and you can fly to Mestia from Natakhtari (Tbilisi) and Kutaisi.
How to get to/from the airport in Mestia
Queen Tamar Airport in Mestia is located 2 km east of the town center. You can easily walk, take a taxi or hitchhike, but there is not much traffic.
How to book the flight to Mestia with Vanilla Sky
You can book the flight to Mestia online, or at Vanilla Sky office in Tbilisi. If you want to cancel your booking made online, you can do it no later than 72 hours before the time of departure. It’s not possible to make any changes to your reservation. The baggage allowance is 15 kg per passenger.
For more info, read terms & conditions, or contact Vanilla Sky on Facebook, they reply quite quickly.
Also, don’t hesitate with the booking, flights to Mestia are sold out quickly!
Book the flight online
Booking your flight to Mestia online is the easiest way, and you can make a reservation for up to 4 people at once. The highlighted days in the calendar mean only days with flights, not days with available seats, so you have to try your desired dates. Also, you can’t see how many seats are available.
Payment is possible only with VISA or Mastercard cards, and there is a 3.5% fee for a transaction.
Visit Vanilla Sky office in Tbilisi
Another option is to visit the Vanilla Sky office in Tbilisi and make the reservation there. Find the Vanilla Sky contact below.
- Address: 13 Alexandre Kazbegi Avenue, Tbilisi
- Opening hours: Mon–Fri: 10:00–18:00, Sat: 10:00–13:00, Sun: closed
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Phone: +995 599 65 90 99
I recommend paying with a card in case the flight will be canceled. It will be easier to get the refund.
What to do when your flight to/from Mestia is canceled
Flights to/from Mestia are operated under Visual Flight Rules. This means if the weather conditions are bad, the flight will be canceled.
Don't expect they will let you know the status of the flight. They sent us an email one day before with the information that the departure will be postponed but didn't contact us on the day of the departure that the flight was canceled.
So it's smart to have a backup plan.
In case you made the booking online or at the office and paid with a card, you will get the refund back to your card within 30 days. You can get it earlier if you contact them by email. The same applies for cancellation from your side no later than 72 hours before flight departure.
If you did booking at the office and paid with cash, then I don't know, I can only wish you good luck. Will you get the refund at the airport? Will you get it at every airport? Or do you have to go back to their office in Tbilisi? Or will they be able to use bank transfer, so you will probably pay a fee for an incoming transaction in a foreign currency? Let me know in the comments if you know the answer.
Other domestic flights in Georgia operated by Vanilla Sky
Vanilla Sky provides other domestic flights in Georgia.
Tbilisi – Batumi
The route between Tbilisi and Batumi is operated on SAAB 340 aircraft for 32 passengers. Georgian Airways also provide flights from Tbilisi to Batumi.
These flights depart from Tbilisi International Airport, not from Natakhtari.
Natakhtari (Tbilisi) – Ambrolauri
Another destination available from Natakhtari is Ambrolauri, also on LET-410 UVP aircraft.
Vanilla Sky flight route map in Georgia
On this map, you will find all of the mentioned routes, airports and other places.
My review of flight to Mestia with Vanilla Sky
I have two experiences with Vanilla Sky. The first one was in the summer of 2015 when my friend and I flew successfully from Natakhtari to Mestia. The second one was in the summer of 2017 when our flight from Kutaisi to Mestia was canceled due to bad weather in Mestia.
The best part, of course, is the flight itself. You fly over the whole country, and the mountainous scenery of Caucasus is simply amazing! If you have the opportunity to take this flight, do it!
The worst part is the communication and customer service, but that might be better by now.
Successful flight from Natakhtari to Mestia
It was not possible to book the flight online at that time, so we had to make a reservation via email. The communication was slow and insufficient since we had to urge them to get available dates. The payment was possible in cash only at their office in Tbilisi, but it was no problem for us because we were spending two months there.
On the day of our flight, we were provided with transport from Tbilisi to Natakhtari airport and everything was on time. At the airport, there was a registration of passengers before the flight and a standard security check. I had a small knife in my bag, but it wasn't a big problem for them as they took it and gave it back to me at the airport in Mestia.
Canceled flight from Kutaisi to Mestia
My second flight to Mestia was supposed to be from Kutaisi, but the weather made it impossible. We received an email day before that the time of departure changed, but on the day of the flight, we didn't receive any info. So we had to go to the airport to find out the flight was canceled and figure out how to get to Mestia (we hitchhiked).
Then I sent an email asking for a refund and received the money back in less than 30 days, probably within one week. They state the 3.5% fee is non-refundable, but they refunded me the whole sum.
Mestia is a small town located in the Svaneti region in the Caucasus Mountains. It's famous for its stone defensive towers, beautiful nature and a trek to Ushguli.
Mestia has become a popular destination amongst travelers visiting Georgia, and it can be quite crowded during summer.
Accommodation in Mestia
Tourism in Mestia is drastically increasing, and so the availability of accommodation. New hotels and guesthouses emerge every year, so you will easily find the one that suits your needs. Hostels are also available.
I can recommend KORTE Guesthouse, which is located right next to Seti square. It's modern and clean, and it offers a big and well-equipped kitchen. In your free time, you can chill in the living room with other fellow travelers.
How to get to Mestia when the Vanilla Sky flight is canceled
All flights are sold out, your flight was canceled, or you just can’t or don’t want to fly?
To Mestia by rental car
To get the freedom of traveling in Georgia, rent a car with a Georgian car rental company CARS 4 RENT. I had a positive experience with them! Driving to Mestia is not difficult, and the road is normal. Just be careful with potholes and fallen rocks in some parts.
To Mestia by marshrutka or train
If you prefer public transportation, you can use marshrutkas (minibus) or a combination of train and marshrutka. In case you can’t find a direct marshrutka to Mestia, look for a connection to Zugdidi and in Zugdidi for another marshrutka. There are two direct trains from Tbilisi to Zugdidi and also from Zugdidi to Tbilisi. If you are in Kutaisi, you can get on the train in Mukhiani or Samtredia.
- Tbilisi – Mestia
- direct marshrutka Tbilisi – Mestia (there might be a swap of marshrutkas on the way)
- marshrutkas with up to two transfers in Kutaisi and/or Zugdidi
- train Tbilisi – Zugdidi, transfer to marshrutka Zugdidi – Mestia
- Kutaisi – Mestia
- direct marshrutka Kutaisi – Mestia (there might be a swap of marshrutkas on the way)
- marshrutkas with one transfer in Zugdidi
- train Mukhiani or Samtredia – Zugdidi, transfer to marshrutka
To Mestia by taxi
You might also find taxi drivers offering a shared ride, it’s more comfortable, and it doesn’t have to be too expensive when the car is fully occupied. We used a shared taxi between Mestia and Zugdidi and then took the night train from Zugdidi to Tbilisi.
To Mestia by hitchhiking
Another option is hitchhiking. It’s not difficult to get a ride in Georgia, but the road between Zugdidi and Mestia isn’t busy. Anyway, I was able to hitchhike from Mestia to Tbilisi and make a stop in Anaklia (a city on the Black Sea coast; a time-consuming detour while hitchhiking) in one day.
Helicopter flight to Mestia?
There is a chance you will find some info about a helicopter flight from Tbilisi to Mestia. The info is outdated, but if you want, I’m sure you will be able to arrange a private and expensive flight by a helicopter.
What to do in Mestia
Mestia is popular among trekkers, and the most popular is a trek from Mestia to Ushguli – one of the highest continuously inhabited settlements in Europe recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Other favorite hikes are to Koruldi Lakes (you can hike only to a viewpoint with a cross above Mestia) and to Chalaadi Glacier.
If you are a lover of skiing, you can definitely visit Mestia during winter. There are two ski resorts, Hatsvali in Mestia and Tetnuldi 20km east of Mestia.
Not into hiking and trekking? Make a one day trip to Ushguli with a private driver or visit some of the many restaurants and cafés.