Independent Travel Specialist
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Day 1: Departure
Day 2: Tbilisi city tour – Mtskheta – Tbilisi
Early in the morning arrive to Tbilisi and transfer to the hotel.
Tbilisi sightseeing program – visit the Old Town. 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 (13th century), then walk to the Synagogue, Sioni Cathedral (6th-7th centuries), Peace Bridge and Anchiskhati Church (6th century). Afterwards we drive up to Mother Georgia statue and walk down to Narikala Fortress (4th century) en route enjoying beautiful views of Old Town. Then we visit Sulphur Baths.
In the afternoon we drive to visit 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. Return to Tbilisi.
Overnight at a hotel in Tbilisi.
Day 3: Tbilisi – Sadakhlo border – Haghpat – Ashtarak – Yerevan
In the morning after breakfast drive to Georgia-Armenia, border (Sadakhlo/Bagratashen). Border formalities. Change guide and transportation. Start your acquaintance with Armenia with the monastic complex of Haghpat (976 AD) which is among the outstanding works of medieval Armenian architecture and is inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list. (8-9 cc). Continue to Yerevan via Ashtarak – one of the most ancient Armenian cities. Visit the smallest pan-Armenian church of Karmravour. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 4: Yerevan – Echmiatsin – Khor Virap – Noravank – Yerevan
After breakfast short tour to Echmiadzin, which is mere 20 km from Yerevan. Etchmiadzin Cathedral is known as the center of the Armenian Church and appears to be one of the world's first Christian State churches. Legend has it that it was here that Jesus Christ descended from heaven to show where he wanted a church built. Therefore, Echmiadzin means, “The only-begotten descended”. Sightseeing tour to Vayots Dzor region, which has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. On the way to Vayots Dzor you will visit Khor-Virap monastery 4- 17th as it’s an important Christian site and the closest point to biblical Mt. Ararat. If you are lucky you and the weather is fine you will have a similar photo now on your right. Continue tour to Noravank monastery - a great religious and cultural center of 12th c. Noravank (“New Monastery”) is 122 km away from Yerevan and is located in an inaccessible location throughout the stunning nature. Drive back to the capital city. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Day 5: Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Sevan – Sadakhlo – Tbilisi
After breakfast depart to Garni Temple. The citadel and pagan temple of Garni is a picturesque monument of the Hellenistic period and an impressive piece of ancient Armenian architecture. Northeast of Garni, higher up the gorge of the Azat river, there is a magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture - Geghard monastery inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list. Continue tour to the high-mountainous Lake Sevan – the emerald of Armenia. It is the second largest alpine freshwater lake in the world and the biggest in the Caucasus. Sightseeing in Sevan peninsula with Sevan Monastery. Departure to Armenian-Georgia Sadakhlo border. Change the guide and transportation. Drive to Tbilisi. Overnight at a hotel in Tbilisi.
Day 6: Tbilisi – Uplistsikhe – Gelati – Kutaisi
We will drive to visit the town of Gori – the heart of Kartli region and its historical places: Uplistsikhe Cave Town (1st millennium BC). Photo stop at Stalin museum. Then drive visit Uplistsikhe Cave Town (1st millennium BC), that’s the place where the Great Silk Road used to pass. This is an old and interesting complex with dwelling quarters, wine-cellars, bakeries, a three-nave basilica church hewn out in rock and even an antic theatre.
Visit Gelati monastery and academy – UNESCO site. Visit Motsameta church and Bagrati cathedral. Kutaisi city tour and visit local farmer’s market.
Dinner and overnight at a guesthouse in Kutaisi.
Day 7: Kutaisi – Mestia
Today we drive to Zugdidi. Continue to Svaneti, the region of the highest mountains and glaciers and the most abiding ancient traditions. En - route visit Enguri power station. Dinner and overnight at a guesthouse in a guesthouse in Mestia.
Day 8: Mestia – Ushguli – Mestia
Today we visit village Ushguli, it is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The village is located at 2200 m. and is highest continuously inhabited village in Europe. Here you will see how the nature, architecture and old traditions can merge into each other. We will visit Lamaria church (12th century) walk around in the village and get familiar with the daily life of the village. Afterwards we drive back to Mestia.
Day 9: Mestia – Tbilisi
Today a long drive awaits us. From Mestia we drive to Tbilisi.
Day 10: Tbilisi – Sighnaghi – Gurjaani – Tsinandali – 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. 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.
Continue to local farmer’s wine cellar and taste local red and white wine made in ancient Georgian technology. 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. Drive back to Tbilisi. Overnight at a hotel in Tbilisi.
Day 11: Departure
Transfer to the airport.
Includes: accommodation, transportation, meals as mentioned, entrance fees, Russian or English speaking guide, 4 WD cars to Ushguli, 1 bottle of water per person per day.
Not included: flights, insurance, beverages.
Georgia – Armenia