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Discovering Georgia - Times Expert Traveller

TOUR IN

ASIA

  • 30 Apr
  • -
  • 08 May 2022
  • |
  • 9 days

$2485

per person

Availability: 18 places

    Lying at the crossroads of trade and tradition for centuries, Georgia is one of Europe’s undiscovered gems. A place of myth and legend, this is a land of tradition and faith, where you can find some of the oldest churches in Christendom and some of the most spectacular scenery on the continent.

    The journey, designed exclusively for Times Expert Traveller, begins on the banks of the Mtkvari River, in Georgia’s charming capital, Tbilisi.  From here we journey through forested valleys and snow-capped mountains, explore ancient cave towns and clustered rural villages which are rich in heritage and can trace their origins back to late antiquity.

    Sampling rich native wines and Georgia’s mouth-watering cuisine as we go, we’ll discover bustling markets, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a stunning array of religious architecture and outstanding scenery that form the backdrop to one of Europe’s best kept secrets.   

    Day 1

    DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN TBILISI

    Those on the suggested group flight will be met at the airport in the early hours of DAY 2 and transferred to the joining hotel for immediate check-in. For those arriving earlier, rooms will be available from mid-afternoon.
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    Day 2

    DAY 2: TBILISI

    The pre-departure meeting will take place this morning at the hotel, after which we will have a city tour including all of Old Tbilisi. From the Metekhi Church (13th century) overlooking the river Mtkvari to the Narikala Fortress (4th century), one of the oldest fortifications in the city, we’ll also pay a visit to the Sulphur Baths, the synagogue, the Anchiskhati Church (6th century) and Sioni Cathedral (6/7th century). In this cathedral the cross of St. Nino – the woman who brought Christianity to Georgia – is preserved. All these sights are in close proximity and it’s a pleasant walk. Afterwards we visit the stunning treasures of the National Museum and have the rest of the day to soak up the café culture of Tbilisi, relax and shop.
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    Day 3

    DAY 3: TBILISI – DAVIT GAREJA – TELAVI

    In the morning we travel to Davit Gareja cave complex (6th century) located in a stark, semi-desert landscape. Here we will see Lavra Monastery and dramatic views across to Azerbaijan. For lunch we will enjoy a picnic before continuing on to Telavi. We will stop along the way to visit a unique wine cellar, where the wine is produced and stored, and we’ll learn more about the wine-making process and sample several Kakhetian wines. We will then end the day with a visit to a local family and enjoy a delicious home-cooked dinner, where we can see how Georgian bread is baked and sample the famous Georgian cheese and the local sour yoghurt – Matsoni.
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    Day 4

    DAY 4: TELAVI – STEPANTSMINDA

    Before leaving Telavi we will visit the local market before heading on to a local qvevri maker (traditional earthenware vessels used in wine-making). After this we will drive to Khevi region via the picturesque Gombori Pass. We will stop at Ananuri to visit two fortified churches beautifully situated on the Jinvali water reservoir. As we follow the Georgian Military Highway we will enjoy wonderful views of the Great Caucasus Mountains as we make our way to the beautiful setting of Stepantsminda in the heart of Kazbegi National Park.
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    Day 5

    DAY 5: STEPANTSMINDA

    Today we set out on foot for a three-hour walk up through beautiful valleys and woodland to Gergeti Trinity Church (14th century) located at 2170m. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus on Mt Kazbegi (5047m). After lunch in Kazbegi we then drive through the dramatic Dariali Gorge, where we have the opportunity to walk to Gveleti waterfalls and visit a local master who will tell us more about Georgian Teka (felt) making. End the day with a cooking demonstration in one of the local houses.
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    Day 6

    DAY 6: STEPANTSMINDA – MTSKHETA – AKHALTSIKHE

    This morning we set off for the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia, Mtskheta, where we will visit Jvari Monastery (6th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century), both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Near to Mtskheta we will visit a well-respected winery for a wine-tasting experience different to that we had in Kakheti, before continuing on to the town of Akhaltsikhe.
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    Day 7

    DAY 7: AKHALTSIKHE – VARDZIA

    This morning we will visit the beautiful citadel of Rabat, after which we will continue on to Vardzia, stopping along the way to visit the Khertvisi Fortress (10th century). Vardzia is a magnificent 12th century cave town carved out of the hillside in the Golden Age of Georgia, and is one of Georgia’s highlights. The cave complex, which stretches over half a kilometre, once consisted of almost 3000 caves and was one of the best examples of Georgia’s renaissance. The complex also includes dwellings quarters, refectories, wine cellars, and small hall-type churches, one of which is even hewn out in rock with some stunning 12th century frescoes to admire. We will overnight nearby.
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    Day 8

    DAY 8: VARDZIA – GORI - TBILISI

    As we head back towards Tbilisi, we will stop at Gori, located in the Kartli region, the birthplace of the most famous Georgian of all times – Josef Stalin. We will take some time to visit the surreal Stalin Museum, his house and private carriage. Back in Tbilisi this afternoon we’ll have some free time to explore the city at leisure before our final dinner this evening.
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    Day 9

    DAY 9: TOUR ENDS IN TBILISI

    The tour will end this morning at the hotel.
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