Georgia and Armenia - Caucasus Discovery (15 Days)

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Run by: Undiscovered Destinations

Reference number: GMM

From: £1999.00

Itinerary

Day 1 - Tbilisi

Arrive in Tbilisi and transfer to the hotel.  Overnight Hotel Shardeni or similar.

Day 2 - Tbilisi – Armenia border - Haghpat

We begin our day by travelling from Tbilisi to the borderwith Armenia. After completing border formalities we drive to Haghpat monastery(10th century UNESCO Heritage site) which used to be a spiritual, cultural andeducational centre of the region. We also visit Sanahin monastery a furthermasterpiece and UNESCO side dating to the same century. Overnight Qefo Hotel orsimilar (BLD)

Day 3 – Haghpat – Dilijan – Sevan -Yerevan

We begin our day driving through wonderful scenery toDilijan known as the little Switzerland of Armenia.  En route to Dilijan we can visit a villagehome to the minority Molokan (milk drinkers) people who were exiled to Armeniafrom Russia in the 19th Century. Visit Haghartsin monastery beautifully nestledin the heart of the forest. We then travel on to the picturesque Lake Sevan andthe Sevanavank monastery which is a 9th century monastery founded on thepeninsula that used to be an island. Overnight Royal Plaza Hotel (BLD)

Day 4 - Yerevan, Geghard and Garni

This morning we drive to Kotayk province to explore theGeghard Monastery and Garni Pagan temple. We drive back to Yerevan where wewill have a short city tour visiting the most interesting places in Yerevan(The Cascade, Opera House, Victory Park, and Abovyan Street). Overnight HotelRoyal Plaza or similar. (BL)

Day 5 – Khor Virap Monastery and Wine Tasting

After breakfast we will visit the Khor Virap Monastery whichgives an excellent view to Mt Ararat. This monastery has always been a place ofpilgrimage for Armenians. We will then drive to Areni Village for some winetasting and explore the Noravank monastery with its surrounding rockymountains. Overnight Hotel Royal Plaza or similar. (BL)

Day 6 – Harichavank – Gyumri – Bavra – Vardzia

Visit Saghmosavank with its 13th Century monastery perchedon the edge of the precipitous gorge of the Kasakh River. We may also get theopportunity to meet some of the minority Yazidis who inhabit this area.Continue to Harichavank a 7th century Armenian monastery. Harichavank is knownas one of the most famous monastic centres in Armenia and it was especiallyrenowned for its school and scriptorium. Continue to Gyumri with its excellent19th century Tsarist architecture which suffered greatly in the 1988earthquake. We will make a short stop before crossing the border into Georgiaat Bavra and on to Vardzia where we will overnight. Overnight Valodia Cottagesort similar (BLD)

Day 7 – Vardzia – Akhaltsikhe – Kutaisi

This morning we explore the fascinating cave town of Vardziadating back to the 12th century. We then visit the recently restored RabatiCastle dating from the 13th century before continuing to Kutaisi. Overnight ata family run guesthouse with private bathroom. (BLD)

Day 8 – Kutaisi – Zugdidi – Mestia

This morning we drive to Zugdidi passing through theColkhida lowlands and some typical local villages. We visit Dadiani palace andits museum housing some fine natural exhibits of Georgian culture. From Zugdidiwe start climbing through the Enguri river valley and the Enguri reservoir upto Mestia situated at 1400 metres above sea level. Mestia is the provincialcentre of Svaneti. On arrival we will visit the iconic Svanetian towers.Overnight at a family run guest house with private bathrooms (BLD) 

Day 9 – Ushguli

A morning drive to Ushguli village. On the way we visitNakipari church. On arrival in Ushguli we explore on foot, visiting thestunning medieval towers as well as Lamaria Church. Those who wish can take aneasy hike along the valley leading to the foot of Mount Shkhara (5201m). Wereturn to Mestia in the afternoon. Overnight in Mestia at a family runguesthouse with private bathroom. (BLD)

Day 10 – Mestia, Svaneti - Kutaisi

A morning drive to Zugdidi passing Colkhida lowlands withsome picturesque villages. From Zugdidi we journey to Kutaisi along the Enguririver valley. Continue the journey to Kutaisi. We visit the Gelati monastery foundedin the 12th century by Georgian King David the Builder (1073 – 1125). Uniquemurals of saints and Georgian monarchs can be found inside the main Cathedral.Overnight in Kutaisi at a family run guesthouse private bathroom (BLD)

Day 11 – Kutaisi – Gelati – Gori – Uplistsikhe - Kazbegi

This morning we drive to Gori a town almost entirely knownas the birthplace of J. Stalin. Visit the museum where you can explore Stalin’spersonal train carriage and also see the small house where he spent his earlyyears. Then we drive to Uplistsikhe, a cave town dated to 7th Century BC. It isthen time to turn on to the Georgian Military Highway and snake our way up intothe Caucasus Mountains. We continue to climb through dramatic scenery until ourdestination for the evening which is Gudauri. Overnight Hotel Alpina or similar(BLD)

Day 12 - Kazbegi – Mtskheta – Tbilisi

This morning we cross the Jvari Pass at 2395 metres abovesea level and into Kazbegi situated at 1700 metres above sea level andsurrounded by 5000 metre peaks. You will have the opportunity to take the walkup to the Sameba Church with its stunning setting below Mt Kazbek. For thosethat do not want to walk it is possible to hire jeeps for an extra charge to goby up via a track. Later we drive to Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia.Mtskheta is packed full of historical monuments and is listed as a UNESCO WorldHeritage Site. We explore the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and the 6thcentury Jvari Monastery before taking the short trip back to Tbilisi. OvernightHotel Shardeni or similar (BL) 

Day 13- Tbilisi

A guided walking tour around old Tbilisi, taking in thefascinating history of this long overlooked region. We spend the daydiscovering sites such as the National Museum, home to many of the treasuresthat inspired the legend of the Golden Fleece, as well as the Narikala citadel,Metekhi Temple and the Sioni Cathedral, among other sites. Tonight enjoyGeorgian food at a local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Shardeni or similar. (BLD)

Day 14 – Kakheti

Visit Kakheti, Georgia’s famous wine district which lies dueeast from Tbilisi in a land dotted with fine old churches and vineyard aftervineyard. First we visit Signaghi, a beautiful hill-town providing panoramicviews of Alazani Valley and the Eastern Caucasus Mountains. Then continue to alocal farmer’s house to taste home-made wines. Lunch with delicious home-madefood. A fitting way to end your time in Georgia. Return to Tbilisi. OvernightHotel Shardeni or similar. (BL)

Day 15 – Depart Tbilisi

Pick up from the hotel and transfer to the airport. (B)

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

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