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The Grand Tour of Caucases

16 days
15 nights

Rates

Dates

Rates:

USD
EUR

PER PERSON:
$ 3,670.00 (double / twin occupancy)
$ 4,160.00 (single occupancy)

Dates:

Mar 28, 2020 - Apr 12, 2020 
Apr 19, 2020 - May 04, 2020 
May 03, 2020 - May 18, 2020 
May 17, 2020 - Jun 01, 2020 
May 31, 2020 - Jun 15, 2020 
Jun 05, 2020 - Jun 20, 2020 
Jul 26, 2020 - Aug 10, 2020 
Aug 09, 2020 - Aug 24, 2020 
Aug 23, 2020 - Sep 07, 2020 
Sep 06, 2020 - Sep 21, 2020 
Sep 20, 2020 - Oct 05, 2020 
Oct 04, 2020 - Oct 19, 2020 
Oct 18, 2020 - Nov 02, 2020 

Hotels:

Baku - Park Inn, Intourist or similar
Sheki -  Sheki Saray, Sheki Palace, Marxal or similar
Akhasheni - Akhasheni Wine Resort
Tbilisi - River Side, Ibis, Citrus, New Tiflis or similar
Gudauri - Marco Polo or similar
Yerevan - DoubleTree by Hilton or similar

Included:

  • All transfers;
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing in 4* hotels;
  • Sightseeing tour program in each country with local English-speaking guides;
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Meals: 15 breakfasts, 4 dinners;
  • Two wine tastings in Kakheti region, Georgia;
  • E-visa to Azerbaijan;
  • Tour leader to accompany the group from 6 travellers

Optional Services:

TSINANDALI - $60 per person
Visit the residence of dukes of Georgia, with beautiful English garden, museum, and wine cellar which belonged to prince Chavchavadze, public figure and poet of 19th century. We will be back at Akhasheni Wine Resort by noon. 

CULINARY GEORGIAN CUISINE MASTERCLASS - $70 per person
The masterclass includes 3-4 dishes and snacks and takes 4-5 hours. It should be booked in advance. 

Itinerary:

Explore Caucasus in the kilometers of vineyards and shady cellars, mountain peaks, ancient churches, monasteries and castles, hospitable people and endless poetic toasts. Take 16-day scheduled Caucasus tour that will introduce you to the three countries of the South Caucasus: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. You will enjoy a great number of archaeological, historical and architectural monuments, diverse nature, Caucasian cuisine that you cannot resist. You will keep memories of the Caucasus, the land between two seas, for a lifetime.

Day 1  : ARRIVAL IN BAKU

Arrival in Baku. Private transfer to your hotel will be arranged. Check-in at 14:00.
At 18:00, meet your guide and other group members in the hotel lobby. Enjoy welcome dinner at a national restaurant. 

Overnight in Baku.

Day 2  : BAKU - ABSHERON - GOBUSTAN - BAKU

Ateshgan Temple - Gobustan National Park - Petroglyphs Museum

Today you will visit the area of the Greater Baku and Absheron peninsula. 

The first stop is at Ateshgah, a temple for fire worshippers located in the village of Surakhany. Zoroastrians from India travel thousands of kilometers to Ateshgah to worship the fire coming out of the earth. After lunch, drive to Gobustan National Park. Pay a visit to the Petroglyphs Museum and explore petroglyphs dating back to 10,000 BC. Weather permitting, drive to mud volcanoes in Gobustan Reserve (change of vehicle). Gobustan is home to almost half of the world’s mud volcanoes. Return to Baku.

Overnight in Baku (B)

Day 3  : BAKU

City tour of Baku

At 09:00, start sightseeing tour in Baku. Visit Martyrs Lane, known as ‘Shehidler Khiyabany’ among locals. When you walk through the Alley of the Martyrs, you will find a beautiful view overlooking Baku’s coastline. Move to Icheri Sheher, the old part of the city. Visit Shirvanshah's Palace, Caravanserai, Maiden Tower, and the main market square, which has numerous art studios and souvenir stalls. Continue touring new Baku by exploring Nizami Street and Fountain Square. Free time in the afternoon (optional visit to Heydar Aliev Centre).

Overnight in Baku (B)

Day 4  : BAKU - SHAMAKHI - LAHICH - SHEKI

Diri Baba Mausoleum - Juma Mosque - Ancient Village of Lahich (weather permitting)

Breakfast. Depart towards Sheki. On the way, stop at Diri Baba Mausoleum in the village of Maraza. Continue to Shamakhi and visit the historical Juma Mosque

Weather permitting, a scenic drive through Girdimanchay River Canyon to visit Lahich will follow. Lahich, an ancient village with charming cobbled sidewalks, is famous for its medieval water supply and sewage systems, as well as its traditional jewelry, copperware, carpets, pottery, daggers, and iron tools workshops.

Continue driving to Sheki, the pleasant and easily walkable medieval town set in a lush mountainous area. Sheki is especially known for local style sweet baklava. Arrival in Sheki at about 19:00.

Overnight in Sheki (B)

Day 5  : SHEKI - GEORGIAN BORDER - KVARELI - AKHASHENI

Sheki Bazaar - Palace of Sheki Khans - Khareba Winery with tasting - Akhasheni Wine Resort

After breakfast, at 08:30, visit the colorful Sheki Bazaar. Here, you can find virtually everything you may want to eat: local fruits and berries, spices, freshly-baked bread, honey, cheeses, and Sheki sweets.

Continue to the Palace of Sheki Khans, which is surrounded by medieval fortress walls, and then visit handicrafts workshops and caravanserai.

Leave Sheki and head towards the border with Georgia (115 km, ~2 h). Cross the border and start exploring the Eastern part of Georgia, which is famous for its viticulture and winemaking traditions.

Our first stop in Georgia will be the Khareba Winery. On the way there, enjoy the picturesque landscapes of vineyards and wine-producing villages. Khareba's unique wine cellar is located in a tunnel carved out of the rock. Originally built for military purposes, today the tunnel is used to store Kakheti’s finest wines. Enjoy a wine tour and a tasting session.

By 17:30-18:30, we will arrive at our overnight point, Akhasheni Wine Resort. This Resort is surrounded by beautiful vineyards and offers stunning views of the Caucasus Mountains – the perfect place to take a break before continuing our journey in Georgia. We will stay here for two nights.

Overnight in Akhasheni Wine Resort (B)

Day 6  : AKHASHENI - TSINANDALI - AKHASHENI

Optional tours - visit local Georgian family

Breakfast. At 09:30, take an optional visit to Tsinandali, residence of dukes of Georgia, with beautiful English garden, museum, and wine cellar which belonged to prince Chavchavadze, public figure and poet of 19th century.

We will be back at Akhasheni Wine Resort by noon. The rest of the day is free to enjoy nature, vineyards, and outdoor swimming pool. The Resort also offers culinary masterclasses of Georgian traditional dishes and wine tasting room.

At 18:00, we will visit a local family to enjoy traditional fest and hear the best Georgian toasts.

Overnight in Akhasheni Wine Resort (B, D)

Options: Tsinandali
Day 7  : AKHASHENI - SIGHNAGHI - BODBE - TBILISI

Sighnaghi - Bodbe Convent

At 10:00, continue exploring Kakheti by visiting Sighnaghi Royal Town, which is surrounded by defensive walls with 23 towers and was an important trading center on the Great Silk Road.

Continue to Bodbe Convent - according to legend, this is the burial place of St. Nino, who converted Georgia to Christianity in the 4th century.

We will arrive in the capital of Georgia at about 16:00–17:00. After a couple of hours at your leisure, join the group to proceed to welcome dinner (departing from the hotel by bus at 19:00).

Overnight in Tbilisi (B, D).

Day 8  : TBILISI

Tbilisi sightseeing tour

After breakfast, we will embark on Tbilisi sightseeing tour. Start at Metekhi Church and the monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. Visit Narikala Fortress to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Walk down to the district of sulphur bath houses and pass by the only mosque in Tbilisi. Stroll through the Sharden area, full of narrow streets with cozy cafés, wine tasting bars, and souvenir shops, and breathe in the history of Old Tbilisi. Also visit Sioni CathedralAnchiskhati Basilica, and the famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre’s clock tower, before crossing the Bridge of Peace to Rike Park. Free afternoon.

Overnight in Tbilisi (B)

Day 9  : TBILISI - JVARI - ANANURI - KAZBEGI - GUDAURI

Jvari Monastery - Ananuri Complex - Gergeti Holy Trinity Church

Breakfast. Today you’ll explore the North of Georgia. The first stop will be at Jvari Monastery, a true architectural masterpiece of the Early Middle Ages, which is picturesquely perched above the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari Rivers.

Continue to the Ananuri Complex, a former residence of Argveti Dukes, which features churches and towers dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries and beautifully overlooks Jinvali Reservoir.

Next, drive over the Cross Pass and make a short stop at the Soviet-era “People’s Friendship” mountain view point, which overlooks a deep gorge of the Caucasus Mountains. In Kazbegi, switch to a four-wheel drive vehicle to reach Gergeti Holy Trinity Church (located at an altitude of 2,170 m) and enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Kazbegi. Reach Gudauri at about 19:00 for overnight at the hotel.

Overnight in Gudauri (B)

Day 10  : GUDAURI - GORI - UPLISTSIKHE - MTSKHETA - TBILISI

Stalin Museum - caves of Uplistsikhe - Svetitskhoveli

Breakfast. Drive to Stalin’s home town of Gori. Visit the Stalin Museum, which includes more than 60,000 artifacts, the tiny house where Stalin was born, and an impressive bulletproof train that Stalin used to travel to Yalta and Potsdam.

Explore the cave town of Uplistsikhe, which dates back to the Hellenistic Period and is notable for its unique combination of various styles of rock-cut architecture, including both pagan and Christian.

Continue to Mtskheta, one of the oldest towns in Georgia and the country’s cultural and religious center. Mtskheta was the capital of the Eastern Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC. Visit Svetitskhoveli, the main cathedral of Mtskheta and a sacred place where the robe of Christ is kept. Reach Tbilisi in the evening.

Overnight in Tbilisi (B)

Day 11  : TBILISI

Free day

Breakfast. Free day in Tbilisi (guide and transportation are not provided).

We suggest the following activities and places to visit in Tbilisi:

  • Georgian National Museum on Rustaveli Avenue – to visit the “Archaeological Treasury” exhibition;
  • National Gallery on Rustaveli Avenue – to see the works of the famous Georgian artists Niko Pirosmani, David Kakabadze, and Lado Gudiashvili;
  • Tbilisi flea market at Dry Bridge – where you can find antiquities (many of which are from the Soviet era), paintings by local artists, and handmade Georgian souvenirs;
  • David Agmashenebeli Avenue – a recently-renovated pedestrian street full of historical buildings that have beautiful facades in the art nouveau, pseudo gothic, and classicist styles with a mix of typical Georgian ornamentation and balconies. All along the street there are plenty of cozy art cafés, galleries, shops, and wine bars;
  • Dezertirebi Bazaar – which sells local, natural products including Georgian sweets (such as churchkhela); various types of dried fruits, nuts, and spices; and Georgian cheeses;
  • Funicular railway to Mtatsminda Mountain – which offers a beautiful view of Tbilisi;
  • Wander in Sololaki – a neighborhood full of art nouveau houses;
  • For nature lovers, we offer a day hike to Birtvisi Canyon and Fortress. Contact us to find out more.

In the evening, you can visit the famous Tbilisi sulphur bath houses to relax in the hot, naturally sulphur-enriched water after a long day of exploring (both public and private rooms are available, but private ones should be booked in advance).

For those who are interested in culture, we suggest visiting the State Opera House of Georgia to enjoy a ballet or opera performance. 

Overnight in Tbilisi (B)

Options: Culinary masterclass on traditional Georgian food.
Day 12  : TBILISI - ARMENIAN BORDER - HAGHPAT - LAKE SEVAN - YEREVAN

Haghpat Monastery - Lake Sevan - Sevanavank Monastery

Breakfast. Meet your driver at the hotel after breakfast to transfer to the Georgian-Armenian border point, Sadakhlo-Bagratashen. Cross the border and meet your Armenian guide and driver to start the journey to the land of ancient traditions and the ancient churches.

Drive to the Lori region and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Haghpat Monastery. This stunning example of traditional Armenian architecture was erected between the 10th and 13th centuries. Standing on a hillside, Haghpat beautifully overlooks the Debed River Canyon. The monastery’s location was chosen to protect the peace and seclusion of the monks.

Drive through Dilijan to Lake Sevan, one of the largest high-mountain freshwater lakes in the world. The lake’s coastline is rich with dense woods, white cliff faces, mountain steppes, and Alpine meadows. Visit Sevanavank Monastery, which is situated at the lake and is surrounded by mountains. Reach Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, in the evening. Overnight at DoubleTree by Hilton hotel.

Overnight in Yerevan (B)

Day 13  : YEREVAN - ETCHMIADZIN - YEREVAN

the Holy See of Armenia - Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex - city tour

Breakfast. In the morning, drive out of the city to Etchmiadzin, the Holy See of Armenia and the residence of the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church – the Catholicos of All Armenians.

Return to explore Yerevan, the oldest capital city in the South Caucasus. Yerevan is known as the Pink City and attracts visitors with its humble yet splendid landscapes. Our first stop in Yerevan will be at the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex on Tsitsernakaberd Hill.

Next, visit the Cascade Monument, which was the main symbol of the city’s 2,780th anniversary and has the equivalent number of stairs – this enormous staircase is 500 meters high and 50 meters wide. From the top of the monument, enjoy a breathtaking city view that includes the Opera HouseMount Ararat, Swan Lake, Republic Square, and Abovyan Avenue, all of which we’ll see as we walk the streets of Yerevan. The sightseeing tour will finish in the afternoon, after which you’ll have some free time.

Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours / Overnight in Yerevan (B)

 

Day 14  : YEREVAN - KHOR VIRAP - ARENI CAVE - NORAVANK - YEREVAN

At 08:00, we check out from the hotel and head to Khor Virap Monastery. According to the legend, St. Gregory the Illuminator, the Baptist of Armenia, had been kept in the basement here for 13 years for disseminating of Christianity until King Tradt decided to adopt the new religion. The monastery’s location allows you to enjoy the best views of Mount Ararat.

Drive to Noravank Complex situated on a ledge of a deep winding gorge. Noravank stands amidst the bizarrely shaped, precipitous red cliffs.

Continue to Areni Cave complex, where in 2010, the earliest shoe in the world was found. Depart back to Yerevan. Arrive in Yerevan at around 18:00.

Overnight in Yerevan (B)

Day 15  : YEREVAN - GARNI - GEGHARD - YEREVAN

Depart Yerevan and drive to Garni, the only pagan temple in Armenia that survived the introduction of Christianity in the 4th century.

Next stop is the monastery complex called Geghard (“spear”). The beautiful landscape of Geghard is framed by towering cliffs. Decorative art cut into the rocks reflect and explain Medieval development in this part of the world. The complex appeared in the 4th century around the sacred spring inside of the cave.

You will have a free afternoon to explore more of Yerevan. Here are our suggestions:

  • Ararat Brandy Factory
  • Matenadaran Manuscripts Museum
  • History Museum
  • Souvenirs market “Vernisage”

We meet in the evening for a farewell dinner at one of local traditional restaurants. 

Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours / Overnight in Yerevan (B, D)

Day 16  : DEPARTURE FROM YEREVAN

Check-out from the hotel till noon. Free time till transfer to Yerevan International Airport. End of the tour. (B)