Start in Tbilisi and end in Yerevan, the trip Highlights Of The Caucasus – Independent is a guided explorer tour that takes 12 days. You will be traveling through Ananuri, Yerevan, Uplistsikhe and 11 other destinations in Armenia and Georgia. Highlights Of The Caucasus – Independent is a private trip which includes accommodation in hotels, meals and others. Please see the package includes section for further details.
Prepare to be amazed, arriving in Georgia and Armenia is like stepping through the looking glass into a completely unexpected travel destination; beautiful, welcoming and with a wild and intriguing history – add great food and wine, incredible UNESCO heritage sites and stunning scenery and you have the perfect mix for an incredible journey of discovery.
Explore Georgia’s charming capital, Tbilisi, its historic and colourful Old Town clings precariously to the cliffs above the Mtkvari River. Visit Narikala Fortress, Metekhi Cathedral and Sioni Church in the old town, these historic sites and diverse architecture reflect Tbilisi’s location at the crossroads of east and west.
Stroll along Rustaveli Avenue to the excellent Georgian National Museum, which presents the fascinating history of this beguiling capital. Time too of course, to enjoy the famous cuisine and hospitality for which Georgians are world renowned.
Venture out of Tbilisi to visit the UNESCO site of Mtskheta, the centre of the Georgian Orthodox Church and one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. Christianity was proclaimed the state religion here in the 4th century, today the Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral are UNESCO World Heritage Listed sites.
Leaving Tbilisi you make you way to the province of Kakheti, it was here that winemaking was invented around 8,000 years ago, and today the traditional Georgian wine production methods are recognised by UNESCO.
Take the opportunity to visit a traditional wine maker to learn about the traditions of Georgian winemaking, sample some of the local varieties and enjoy the renowned Georgian hospitality amongst the local vineyards.
Perhaps visit the chateau and estate of Alexander Chavchavadze at Tsinandali and the beautiful hill top town of Sighnaghi. A small but thriving carpet and wine centre, Sighnaghi captures the spirit of the Georgian nation.
Continuing your exploration of Kakheti, the rich history of the region is discovered in the old town of Gremi and Alaverdi Monastery before returning to Tbilisi.
Leaving Tbilisi you travel the Georgian Military Highway, deep into the Caucasus Mountains, and make your way to the stunning 14th century Gergeti Trinity Church situated at 2170 metres. Weather permitting you will have a chance to see Mt Kazbegi.
Ottomans, Persians and Mongols vied for control of this strategic region over many centuries and the defenders were driven underground for protection. The rock-hewn cave town of Uplistsikhe, whose name translates to ‘Fortress of the Lord’, was an important centre during the time of prosperous Silk Road trade and reemerged after a tumultuous period of change to become the residence of the kings of Kartli and around 20,000 inhabitants.
Continue to the nearby town of Gori, the birthplace of the infamous dictator Joseph Stalin, then south through the spa town of Borjomi to Akhaltsikhe. Here you can wander the Rabat Fortress (Old Town) with its rare examples of darbazebi (traditional Georgian houses), castle, mosque and synagogue.
A highlight of your journey through Georgia is the medieval monastery complex of Vardzia, carved out of the mountainside and once housing up to 50,000 inhabitants. It is one of the most significant cultural sites of the Caucasus. Cross the border into Armenia and continue to Yerevan stopping en route to take in the sites of the cultural capital of Armenia – Gyumri.
As the first state to adopt Christianity in 303, Armenia has some of the most ancient and beautifully sited churches and monasteries in the Caucasus; many are fortified and in strategic locations serving as both religious and military installations. Many have UNESCO recognition for significant historical and cultural value and help tell the story of this unique land.
Yerevan is a city of contradiction – where old and new stands side by side in a harmonious fusion. Today you can explore the sights of Yerevan before venturing outside the city to visit the fascinating Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery, revered throughout Armenia as one of the country’s greatest spiritual and cultural centres.
Today, you can visit the unmissable UNESCO heritage sites of Echmiadzin, seat of the Armenian Church, and the archaeological site of Zvartnots.
From the tree lined boulevards and cafes of Yerevan you travel south enjoying magnificent views of Mt. Ararat at Khor Virap, then through the Areni wine region, Noravank Monastery and onto the gravity-defying monastery at Tatev, en route to Goris. Reached by the world’s longest cableway, the 5.7 kilometre journey carries you across a deep valley offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Today, you make your way to the village of Hermon. Pause to visit the fascinating Old Khndzoresk village, where time has stood still for centuries, cut off from the rest of the world. Then continue into the mountains to the mysterious stones of Karahunj, Armenia’s own Stonehenge, and through the Vayots Dzor region, visiting the village of Jermuk, where you will see its beautiful waterfall.
Ancient stone formations and petroglyphs, Silk Road caravanserai and the Khachkhar field of Noratus are but a few of the fascinating relics you discover of the long and rich history still present in Armenia as you travel along the Selim Pass back to Yerevan.
Your trip comes to an end today as you depart your hotel in the morning.
- 11 hotel (twin share) Optional single supplement available on this journey – prices available on request.
- 11 breakfasts
- All arrival transfers are included once you have commenced your journey (excludes airport).
- A Local Guide will accompany you throughout the journey to keep your adventure on track. 24/7 support is available in the office and on the ground.
- Including what is listed in the itinerary. It will be up to you to decide what sights you would like to visit along the way and you will pay your own entrance fees as required.
- Any international flights to Tbilisi and from Yerevan are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
- Travel insurance is not included in this Highlights of the Caucasus – Independent tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy.