Caucasus region is located at the crossroad of Europe and Asia and stands out for its language diversity and culture. On this tour you will travel in the Great and Lesser Caucasus mountains, from the Caspian till the Black Sea, in the Christian and Muslim countries. Three countries: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan and three entirely different languages, religions and cultures. You will admire three amazing capitals: Tbilisi, Yerevan and Baku, their authenticity and elegant match of antiquity and modernism.
Arrive in Yerevan, meet in the airport and transfer to a hotel.
We have Yerevan city tour and then head to Garni – a pagan temple and a summer residence for Armenian royalty. On the way back visit Geghard (4th century). Overnight in Yerevan for 3 nights.
Overnight in Yerevan for 2 nights.
Sightseeing tour to Khor Virap monastery (4-17th centuries) situated in the Ararat Valley against the biblical Ararat Mountain. Continue to Noravank Monastery – a great religious and cultural centre (12th century). On the way visit Areni wine factory to taste local wine.
Visit Echmiadzin monastery. Drive to the North, to the town of Gyumri that was heavily damaged in 1988 by earthquake.
Overnight in Gyumri.
In the morning we drive to the Armenian-Georgian border on Bavra and continue our way to Varzia. The magnificent cave town – Vardzia (12th century) is one of the highlights of the trip. It stretches over half a kilometer along the river Mtkvari and has 19 tiers. There used to be about 3000 caves. It’s got a church hewn out in rock with amazing 12th century frescos. The complex also includes dwellings quarters, small hall-type churches, refectories, wine cellars, pharmacy, etc.
Overnight in Bakuriani.
In the morning we drive to Imereti province (West Georgia), which is very different from Kartli province (East Georgia) with its cool springs, green fields and beautiful gardens. Visit the pretty town of Kutaisi, the second largest in the country (antique town more than 3000 years old) and its historical places: Gelati Cathedral (12th century) which is the UNESCO World heritage site– one of the earliest academies in Europe, and the splendid Bagrati Cathedral (11th century).
Overnight in Kutaisi.
Today we visit the ancient capital and religious center of Georgia – Mtskheta and see its historical places: Jvari Monastery (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 drive up the famous Georgian Military Highway, en route visiting the Ananuri complex (17th century). The drive is very scenic as it heads up into the Great Caucasus Mountains.
Overnight in Gudauri Ski Resort (2200m).
A stunning drive from Gudauri along the Tergi River will bring us to Stepantsminda – the main town in the region. From Stepantsminda a 2 hour walk up through beautiful valleys and woodland leads us to Gergeti Trinity Church located at 2175 m. 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 return to Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi for 2 nights.
Today we explore the historical part of Tbilisi with its narrow streets, colorful houses, carved balconies and magnificent atmosphere. This enchanting place illustrates a great mix of Orient and Occident. Our first destination is the Metekhi church (13th century). We can enjoy breathtaking views of the Old Town from this place. We continue walking to the Synagogue and then visit two important Georgian churches - Sioni Cathedral (6th-7th. centuries) with its beautiful bell towers, mural paintings and the oldest church of Tbilisi - Anchiskhati (6th century). Afterwards we drive up to get a panoramic view of the whole city and walk down to the Narikala Fortress (4th century). The smell of sulfur gets stronger and we approach Sulfur Baths, which delighted Dumas, Pushkin, Lermontov etc. In the afternoon we discover the stunning treasury of the Georgian historical museum, before taking a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue – the main street in Tbilisi.
In the morning we drive to Kakheti – wine growing region of Georgia.
First we drive to visit fortified town of Sighnaghi (18th century). The town preserved its original image and now offers visitors stunning views of the surrounding Caucasus Mountains. Here we’ll visit Sighnaghi Ethnographical museum with painting of famous Georgian painter – Pirosmani. Visit Bodbe monastery (4th century), that holds the tomb of St. Nino, the Cappadocian maiden who converted Georgian people to Christianity as early as 337 AD. Afterwards wine tasting in the Schuchmann’s Winery. Continue to Tsinandali and visit local duke’s estate from the 19th century. We’ll walk in the beautiful garden and visit his house-museum. Continue to Kvareli.
Overnight in Kvareli.
Today we visit Alaverdi cathedral (11th century) and Gremi fortress (16th century). Then we continue our way to Nekresi cloister complex, from where you get a wonderful view of Alazani valley. Afterwards we head to a local village to have homemade lunch at a local family and...Yes... more homemade wine.
Continue to drive to Georgian-Azerbaijan border Lagodekhi. Arrival in Sheki.
Overnight in Sheki.
In the morning drive to Baku. On our way we visit Diri Baba shrine in Maraza and seven tombs in Shamakha.
Overnight in Baku for 2 nights.
Drive to Gobustan, 65 km. Visit Gobustan rock paintings museum in the open air – UNESCO Heritage site and archeological museum. Baku city tour.
Transfer to the airport. Departure.
Ladies require scarves in the Georgian orthodox churches, sometimes skirts too, but they can find some in the entrances.
Short trousers are forbidden in the church.
You can bring along: sun cream, hat, rain - and wind coats, etc.
For some program points comfortable shoes are needed.
Visa requirements for Azerbaijan:
All the countries except Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Georgia require a visa for Azerbaijan.
Visa requirements for Armenia:
Nationals of the following countries can travel to Armenia without a visa: EU members, Great Britain, Switzerland, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Georgia, China, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, USA...