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Georgia Explorer

TOUR IN

ASIA

  • 28 Jul
  • -
  • 11 Aug 2024
  • |
  • 15 days

$3244

per person

Availability: 12 places

    The once ancient kingdom of Colchis, Georgia has long been linked with the Greek legends attributed to Jason and his band of Argonauts. Sandwiched between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, this mythical land today provides us with one of the last hidden gems left in Europe.

    This journey takes you from its charming capital, Tbilisi and through forested valleys and snow-capped mountains, where ancient cave towns and clustered rural villages, rich in heritage that can trace its origins back to late antiquity.   You will visit some of Georgia’s most famous and important religious sites including Mtskheta and Gelati, as well as the stunning cave town of Vardzia.

    You’ll also pay a visit to Gori, birthplace of Joseph Stalin, and journey into the World Heritage landscapes of Upper Svaneti to trek amongst the villages and mountains of one of the last untouched regions of Eastern Europe.
     

    Day 1

    DAY 1: Tour starts in Tbilisi

    Rooms will be available in Tbilisi from this afternoon. Those arriving on the group flights will arrive in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
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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 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. You will 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 David Gareja cave complex (6th century) located in a stark, semi-desert landscape. Here we will see Lavra Monastery and dramatic views across to Azerbaijan. On the way to Telavi we will visit a unique 300-year-old wine cellar. The wine is produced and stored here, and we’ll learn more about the wine-making process and sample several Kakhetian wines. We’ll also find out more about the process of making, and sample, Gebjalia, Ghomi and the local sour yoghurt – Matsoni
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    Day 4

    DAY 4: Telavi - Kazbegi

    This morning we will visit the market in town before driving to the Khevi region via the picturesque Gombori Pass. We will drive to 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. 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. Approx 4 hours driving
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    Day 5

    DAY 5: Kazbegi – Mtskheta – Gori

    This morning, there will be a chance to take a walk for about 2 hours up through beautiful valleys and forests to the Gergeti Trinity church (14th century) located on top of the mountain (2170m) and one of the country’s most iconic images. Weather permitting, we may also be able to catch a glimpse of one the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi (5047m). Descending from the high mountains we will then visit Uplistsikhe Cave Town (1st millennium BC) – one of the main points along the Great Silk Road before heading to West Georgia – the famous land of the Golden Fleece, where Jason and the Argonauts sailed. We will continue on to the town of Gori in the heart of the Kartli region, the birthplace of the most famous Georgian of all times – Josef Stalin. Approx 3.5 hours driving
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    Day 6

    DAY 6: Gori - Kutaisi

    We will visit the surreal Stalin Museum, his house and private carriage. We will then drive to Kutaisi – the second largest city in Georgia – where we will visit Prometheus Grotto with its giant chambers of stalactites and stalagmites. Once we’ve have checked into our hotel, there should be chance to go for a walk and stretch our legs.
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    Day 7

    DAY 7: Kutaisi – Ushguli

    We'll have an early start today to visit the Gelati Monastery, home to an impressive collection of frescoes. There is a long drive ahead of us, but it’s worth it as we’ll have magnificent views as we cross the Zagaro Pass. By late afternoon we’ll reach Ushguli, the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe (2200m) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As we spend the next few days exploring the remote beauty of Svaneti, we will get the opportunity to stay in family-run accommodation where we can experience the wonders of traditional Georgian hospitality and cuisine, which will surely be one of the major highlights of your trip. Approx 5 hours driving
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    Day 8

    DAY 8: Ushguli – Mestia

    We’ll take a beautiful morning walk which follows the banks of the Enguri River in the direction Mt. Shkhara and its glacier (320m ascent, 5 hours). Afterwards we return to Ushguli, stopping off to visit the Lamaria church with its 12th century stone defence tower, before driving on to Mestia.
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    Day 9

    DAY 9: Mestia – Lakhiri – Mestia

    This morning we’ll drive towards the village of Lakhiri village, where we’ll start our day’s walk. We’ll enjoy great views of the Caucasus and especially the two-summit peak of Mt Ushba (4690m) (520m ascent, 650m decent, walking time: 4-5 hours). On our return to Mestia, in the late afternoon, we will have a few hours to explore the town at our own pace before dinner.
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    Day 10

    DAY 10: Mestia

    This morning we will drive to the Koruldi Lakes, offering stunning views of the surrounding glaciers and mountain peaks. We will then visit the Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography. After lunch, we will take the Zuruldi Cable car to a café where we can relax and enjoy views of the Svaneti.
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    Day 11

    DAY 11: Mestia – Batumi

    In the morning we’ll drive through Zugdidi and visit Dadiani Palace Museum before having lunch and continuing towards the Black Sea coast. Before reaching Batumi there will be an optional stop off at the Botanical Gardens, which are over one hundred years old. For those who would prefer to go for a swim, we will continue our journey onto Batumi. This evening we’ll enjoy a stroll through the old town and along the boulevard beside the sea front. Approx 6 hours driving
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    Day 12

    DAY 12: Batumi – Vardzia

    Today we make the journey to Vardzia, travelling up the coast and then towards to Sairme before joining the Zekari pass to Akhaltsikhe. This is one of the most spectacular roads in Georgia and makes our long journey (approx 7.5h hours) today worth it. Akhaltsikhe is crowned by a fully restored fortress, the Rabat, one of the only Ottoman complexes in the country. In the afternoon we’ll drive on to the cave city of Vardzia, a magnificent 12th century cave town carved out of the hillside in the Golden Age of Georgia, and is one of Georgia’s highlights.

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    Day 13

    DAY 13: Vardzia

    This morning we will visit Vardzia cave complex, which stretches over half a kilometre. Vardzia 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. This afternoon we will make a brief stop to admire another cave town, Vanis Qvabebi, before returning to our guesthouse for some free time to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
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    Day 14

    DAY 14: Vardzia - Tbilisi

    As we head towards Tbilisi, we’ll be able to admire the beautiful landscape surrounding Lake Paravani, where we will be able to see the sky and the hills reflecting in the water. Our last visit before reaching Tbilisi will be to visit the Poka Nunnery. On arrival into Tbilisi we visit the stunning treasures of the National Museum. For our last night we’ll head out for dinner in a local restaurant. Approx 3.5 hours driving
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    Day 15

    DAY 15: Tour ends in Tbilisi

    The tour will end this morning at the hotel.
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