Surrounded by 3,000-5,000 meter peaks, Svaneti is the highest inhabited area in Europe. Four of the 10 highest peaks of the Caucasus are located in the region. The highest mountain in Georgia, Mount Shkhara at 5,201 meters (17,059 feet), is located in Svaneti. Other prominent peaks include Tetnuldi (4,974m./16,319ft.), Shota Rustaveli (4,960m./16,273ft.), Mt. Ushba (4,710m./15,453ft.), and Ailama (4,525m./14,842ft.).
Situated on the southern slopes of the central Greater Caucasus, the province extends over the upper valleys of the Rioni, Enguri and Tskhenistskali. Geographically and historically, the province has been divided into two parts – Zemo Svaneti (i.e., Upper Svaneti; the present day MestiaRaioni) and Kvemo Svaneti (i.e., Lower Svaneti; the present day Lentekhi raioni) – centering on the valleys of the upper reaches of the two rivers Enguri and Cxenis-c’q’ali, respectively. They are distributed between the present-day regions of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti and Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti respectively. Historical Svaneti also included the Kodori Gorge in the adjoining rebel province of Abkhazia, and part of the adjacent river valleys of Kuban and Baksan of Russia.