Day 1: Departure
Day 2: Arrival in Tbilisi
Arrive in Tbilisi early in the morning. Meet your guide in the airport. Transfer to the hotel. Check-in and Time for rest.
After late breakfast start Tbilisi Sightseeing tour. Historic part of Tbilisi is located at the foot of Narikala Fortress. It charms visitors with its romantic, narrow streets, beautiful facades and picturesque sites next to each other, including Metekhi Church, Synagogue, Sioni Cathedral, Bridge of Peace, Anchiskhati Church and famous sulphur bathhouses. Take a cable car to Narikala fort. Modern part of Tbilisi is no less impressive, especially Rustaveli Avenue with its exquisite, 19th century architecture. Visit the treasury of the National Museum with Golden artifacts from the period of Golden Fleece. Later visit Sameba Cathedral – the biggest in the Caucasus. Back to the hotel. After some rest have a dinner in a restaurant with folk show. Overnight.
Day 3: Tbilisi – Telavi – Alaverdi – Gremi – Kvareli – Telavi
Drive to the heart of wine-growing region Kvareli. Georgia is considered to be the homeland of wine. The history of wine-making goes back to 6000 millenium B.C. and counts already 8000 vintages. The ancient Georgian method of making wines in underground clay jars is unique one and is listed in UNESCO World Heritage.
You will have a photo-stop in Telavi and drive on to Alaverdi Cathedral and to Gremi fortress. On arrival in Kvareli have a wine-tasting in Kindzmarauli winery. Back to Telavi. Dinner and overnight in Telavi.
Day 4: Telavi – Gombori – Tbilisi
Drive to Tbilisi. Upon arrival walk in new pedestrian street “New Tiflis” and to the Dry bridge market of hand-made souvenirs. After lunch take Funicular to Mt. Mtatsminda and enjoy beautiful view over the city from there. Check-in and free time in the afternoon.
Day 5: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Uplistsikhe – Kutaisi
Drive to the Old capital of Georgia – Mtskheta (UNESCO Word Heritage). Christianity in Georgia started from this town in 4th century. Visit Jvari Monastery at the top of a high cliff and enjoy a splendid panoramic view of how two rivers, Aragvi and Mtkvari join each other. Later, visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century), spiritual centre of the country. Continue to drive to Uplistsikhe Cave Town from 1st millennium. Uplistsikhe served, over the centuries, as a place for both, residential purposes and as a pagan rituals site. The functional aspects of the city are still clearly visible in its remains, including an ancient theatre, the hall of pagan rituals, wine-cellars, a bazaar etc. In the evening arrive in the second largest city in Georgia – Kutaisi. Dinner and night in a guesthouse in Kutaisi.
Day 6: Kutaisi – Mestia
In the morning visit farmer’s market in Kutaisi. Then proceed to Gelati Monastic Complex (UNESCO World Heritage). The complex of Gelati was founded as a centre of enlightment by the greatest Georgian king, David the Builder, at the beginning of the 12th century.
Drive to Svaneti region. Nestled high in the Caucasus Mountains and thus preserved by its long isolation, the Upper Svaneti province is an exceptional example of mountain scenery scattered with medieval type villages and protective tower-houses. Svans are devoted to century-old tradtions, which determine their everyday dealings both within and out of the family. Architectural monuments of Upper Svaneti are included in a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Dinner and 2 nights in a guesthouse in Mestia.
Day 7: Mestia – Ushguli – Mestia (B/D)
Off-road trip to the highest settlement in Europe – Ushguli (UNESCO World Heritage). The highest summit of Georgia – Mt. Shkhara (5068m) stretches to the north of this community offering amazing views and walking trails. Passing Typical Svanetian protective towers are found throughout the village. After a walk towards Shkhara glacier return to Mestia. Dinner and overnight in Mestia.
Day 8: Mestia – Batumi
Drive passed subtropical plantations of citrus trees and tee to the Black Sea coast to the town Batumi. Upon arrival Check in. Then have a short city tour and free time to take a stroll along beautiful Batumi Boulevard. Dinner in a restaurant. 1 night in a hotel in Batumi.
Day 9: Batumi
In the morning visit Botanical Gardens of Batumi with over 5000 different plants from all over the world. Then visit Gonio fortress and have free time for relaxing and/or swimming till dinner time.
Day 10: Batumi – Akhaltsikhe/Vardzia
Drive via Borjomi to Samtskhe-Javakheti Region. Follow the Mtkwari Gorge carved into the surrounding hills of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. On the way one can see an array of castles and fortresses, built in different centuries for protection against invaders. On arrival in Akhaltsikhe visit Rabat fortress. Dinner and overnight in a guesthouse in Akhaltsikhe or Vardzia.
Day 11: Akhaltsikhe/Vardzia – Bavra – Gyumri
In the morning drive to visit the cave town of Vardzia (12th century), which was built during the reign of Queen Tamar. In the afternoon cross Armenia-Georgia border Bavra. Change the guide and vehicle. Continue to drive to Gyumri. Lunch at a local restaurant. City tout in Gyumri. Overnight in hotel.
Day 12: Gyumri – Odzun – Sanahin – Haghpat – Dilijan
Breakfast at the hotel . Tour to Hagpat and Sanahin monasteries UNESCO highlight 10-13 cen which are standing over the Debed valley and Odzun basilica of 6th cent. beautifully surrounded by Lori mountains in Odzun village. Arrive to Dilijan. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 13: Dilijan – Sevan – Noraduz – Orbelyan’s caravaserrai – Goris
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to lake Sevan world’s second highest alpine freshwater Lake Sevan and visit Sevan monasteries 9 cen. Continue to Noraduz cemetery where hundred Armenian cross stones are laid. Continue to Southern provinces of Armenia and visit Orbelia’s (Selim) caravanserai of 14th cen standing on former Great Silk Road at about 2300 m. above sea level. Arrival to Goris in Syumik province. Check in at the hotel, dinner and overnight.
Day 14: Goris – Tatev – Noravank– KhorVirap – Yerevan
Breakfast at the hotel. Check out. Return back and visit the highlight of South – the majestic Tatev monastery of 9-15 cen. taking world’s longest aerial tramway to arrive to the monastery. Drive to Noravank monastery 9 – 14 cen. situated over the Ghnishik river canyon. Wine tasting in famous wine regions and return back to Yerevan. Check in at the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 15: Yerevan– City tour Echmiadzin – Zvartnots –History Museum – Vernissage
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Visit Khor Virap monastery 4-17 cen. en route taking the best view to Biblical Mt. Ararat. Continue to Echmiadzin which is the center of Armenian Apostolic church and visit to Echmiadzin cathedral (UNESCO). Visits also the ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral (UNESCO) and come back to Yerevan and visit State History museum. And If week end visit Vernissgae open air handcraft market. Dinner. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 16: Yerevan– Amberd – Kari lake – Sagmosavank – Yerevan (B/D)
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Armenian highest mountain on north – west form Yerevan. Aragats mountain is 4090 m. a.s.l and it’s the highest peak of Lesser Caucasus chain. Stop at the ruins of medieval Amberd fortress which stands at 2200 m. a.s.l and the Lake Kari 3190 m. a.s.l. Returnn back to Yerevan. Dinner and overnight in Yerevan.
Day 17: (Matenadaran museum) – Garni – Ghegard- Yerevan
Breakfast at the hotel. Bus city tour in Yerevan – the city older than Rome founded in 782 B.C. In 2018 Yerevan is celebrating its 2900 anniversary. Stop over Cascade monument for Panoramic view. Tour in History Museum, Tsitsernakaberd Memorial dedicated to Armenian Genocide victims. Drive to Garni pagan temple of 1st cen. – the only one survived in the Caucasus and continue to Ghegard cave monastery 12-13 cen. UNESCO main relic – Holy Spear. Descend to Azat river gorge near Garni to admire the natural monument of “Symphony of Stones” which is a formation of vertically laid basalt slobs. Return back to Yerevan Farewell dinner at the restaurant. Overnight in Yerevan.
*The hiking to the gorge takes 1 h, – 1,5 h. and it’s not very demanding. But a Russian “Niva”4×4 tour can be offered upon request. See supplement below.
*VERY RECOMMENDED OPTIONAL lunch in the beautiful garden of a local family tasting Armenian Khorovats (barbeque) and local home made alcohol. Check supplement below.
Day 18: Departure
Transfer to the airport. Departure.