If you have never been to Georgia but heard that it’s a country of beautiful landscapes and pretty towns, ancient monuments and culture, hospitable people and delicious cuisine, now you have a chance to travel around Georgia and discover for yourself this country of wonders. - Tbilisi - the modern capital with ancient past - UNESCO World Heritage sites - The Great Caucasus mountains - Travel along the Great Silk Road - Cave towns and monasteries - A day contrast of the Great Caucasus mountains and the subtropical Black Sea coast - Georgian wine with 8000 years of history
Day 1: Departure for Tbilisi
Day 2: Tbilisi
Arrive in Tbilisi and transfer to hotel. Tbilisi sightseeing tour – the Old and New Towns. The city offers a great variety of sights, most of them very ancient. All the places of interest in the Old Town are very close to each other, within a few minutes’ walk. We start our visit to Old Tbilisi from Metekhi Church, then walk up to the brick-domed Sulphur Baths. From the Baths we head up the hill to visit Narikala Fortress – one of the oldest fortifications in the city. Afterwards we continue to the Synagogue, Sioni Cathedral and Anchiskhati Church. This marks the end of the Old Town. After lunch we visit the stunning treasury of the Georgian National Museum, before taking a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue – the main street in Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 3: Tbilisi – David Gareja – Tsinandali –Telavi
We start from Tbilisi early in the morning and drive to David Gareja cave complex located in a stark, semi-desert landscape. After seeing Lavra Monastery we walk up for about 50 minutes to Udabno Monastery to enjoy its wonderful painted caves and dramatic views across to Azerbaijan. Later we drive to the local Duke Alexander Chavchavadze’s estate and visit the garden formed in the 19th century by Duke’s father. The park and the house used to be the gathering place of all poets and artists of the 19th century. Here we visit an old wine factory and taste manufactured Kakhetian wines. In the evening we arrive in Telavi. Overnight in Telavi.
Day 4: Land of Wine
In the morning visit Gremi Architectural complex (16th century) and then we head to Nekresi Monastery. For lunch we will take you to a farmer’s house to enjoy the hospitality of the local people and sample some delicious home-made food and wine. We continue our way to wine factory where you will be offered to taste European style Georgian wines. Afterwards we visit a unique 300 year-old wine-cellar, where you get acquainted with the Georgian way of wine-making, quite different from the European one and drink typical Georgian wine straight from the clay jars. Overnight in Telavi.
Day 5: Telavi – Mtskheta – Gudauri
We drive to visit the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia – Mtskheta (3000 years old) and see its historical places: Jvari church (6th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century) where the Robe of Christ is buried. Both Jvari and Svetitskhoveli are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Then we visit Antique ruins of the city and drive up the famous Georgian Military Highway, en route visit Ananuri architectural complex (17th century). The drive is very scenic as it heads up into the Great Caucasus mountains. Overnight in Gudauri ski resort (2200 m.).
Day 6: Gudauri – Kazbegi – Gudauri
A stunning drive from Gudauri along the Tergi River will bring us to Kazbegi – the main town in the region. From Kazbegi a leisurely 2 hours walk up through beautiful valleys and woodland leads us to Gergeti Trinity Church located at 2170m. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi (5047m). We walk back to the town and before returning to Gudauri we visit felt exhibition in a local village. Overnight in Gudauri ski resort (2200 m.).
Day 7: Gudauri – Gori – Bakuriani
In the morning drive to the town of Gori – the heart of Kartli region and visit its historical places: Stalin’s museum and Uplistsikhe Cave Town (1st millennium BC) – one of the main points along the Great Silk Road. From Gori we continue to Meskheti region. Travel through forested hills and Rocky Mountains to Bakuriani ski resort via Borjomi spa town – famous for its mineral water “Borjomi”. Overnight in Bakuriani.
Day 8: Bakuriani – Vardzia – Bakuriani
In the morning travel to Vardzia. The magnificent cave town – Vardzia (12th century) is one of the highlights of the trip. On the way to Vardzia we also visit Khertvisi fortress (10th century). Overnight in Bakuriani.
Day 9: Bakuriani – Kutaisi
In the morning we drive to Imereti province in West Georgia – the famous Land of the Golden Fleece, where Jason and Argonauts sailed. Visit the pretty town of Kutaisi, the second largest in the country (antique town more than 3000 years old). Here we visit the splendid Bagrati Cathedral (11th century, UNESCO World heritage site) and Natural grotto. Overnight in Kutaisi.
Day 10: Kutaisi – Mestia
In the morning visit Gelati Cathedral – (12th century) – one of the earliest academies in Europe (UNSESCO World Heritage Site) and then continue towards Svaneti – the most exciting part of your trip, the region of the highest mountains and glaciers and the most abiding ancient traditions. Arrive in Mestia – center of the Upper Svaneti. En-route we visit Lenjeri church painted inside and out. In Mestia we visit the traditional Svanetian house and watchtower. Overnight in Mestia.
Day 11: Mestia – Ushguli – Mestia
A three-hour drive will takes us to the highest permanent village in Europe – Ushguli (2200m). Ushguli and generally the whole Upper Svaneti region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village is most famous for its abundance of watchtowers and this is where you get the view of the highest mountain in Georgia – Mt. Shkhara (5068m). In Ushguli we visit Lamaria Church (12th century) and then walk up the hill to Queen Tamar’s Tower. In the evening we return to Mestia. Overnight in Mestia.
Day 12: Mestia – Batumi
From the Great Caucasus mountains we descend to the subtropical coastline of palm trees, citrus groves and tea plantations. En-route we visit Enguri hydroelectric station and then Dadiani (Georgian duke’s) Palace in Zugdidi. In the evening we arrive in Batumi. Overnight in Batumi.
Day 13: Batumi
In the morning we visit a private ethnographic collection and then the Botanical Gardens. We continue our way to Gonio fortress (1st century AD), connected with the myth of Jason and the Argonauts. Later we visit ethnographic museum and have free time. Overnight in Batumi.
Day 14: Tbilisi
In the morning depart for Tbilisi. In the evening before dinner is free time to visit the souvenir market. Overnight in Tbilisi.