trip
NEW Trip – Kyrgyzstan & the Tian Shan MountainsJoin 19 August 2024 Departure

16 Days$4190USD

Activities
  • 14 days adventure touring
Accommodation
  • 15 nights hotel
Meals
  • 14 Dinners
  • 9 Lunches
  • 15 Breakfasts
2
Adventure touring

Traveller Rating

 

 
 

Trip highlights


  • Unearth the fascinating capital cities of Baku, Tbilisi & Yerevan
  • Explore the iconic, dramatically sited Gergeti Trinity Church, Georgia
  • See the ancient rock carvings, mud volcanoes and gas-stones at Gobustan Reserve
  • Visit Khor Virap monastery and its breathtaking Mount Ararat backdrop
  • Discover Sheki, Azerbaijan’s Silk Road gem
  • Enjoy time in the famous wine growing region of Kakheti
  • Take in Lake Sevan, Geghard Cave Monastery and the holy city of Echmiadzin
  • Wonder at the UNESCO listed Mtskheta, an outstanding example of medieval religious architecture
  • Discover the ancient cave town of Uplistsikhe
  • Experience the beautiful Caucasus Mountains around Kazbegi

This remarkable journey includes diverse landscapes, magnificent architecture and rich cultural heritage. We begin in the fascinating city of Baku, the capitol of Azerbaijan, and famous for its walled old city. From here we visit Sheki Khans Palace, Sheki Khans Summer Palace and Caravanserai. As we learn about this enthralling country, we enjoy time in the famous wine growing region of Kakheti. Making our way to Georgia, we enjoy the country's capital, Tbilisi and discover the cultural, natural and gastronomic splendours that this wonderful country has to offer. We take time to marvel at the UNESCO listed Mtskheta, an outstanding example of medieval religious architecture; and explore the beautiful Caucasus Mountains around Kazbegi. We make our way to the ancient rock-hewn town of Uplistsikhe, which played an important role in Georgian history. We will explore one of the most amazing sites of Georgia: Vardzia, a cave complex (12th century) that once was a concealed city. Continuing on to Gyumri, a city of rich traditions and culture, we' walk in the historic downtown admiring the city's old architecture from 19th century. From here we visit the ruins of medieval Amberd castle and surrounds, and tour the holy city Echmiadzin, the religious capital of Armenia, and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not to be missed, we'll take in beautiful Lake Sevan and the 13th century rock-carved monastery of Geghard. At the 1st century Garni pagan temple we'll walk down the scenic Garni gorge to see the unique rock formations called 'Symphony of Stones'. Our travels conclude in Yerevan, the capitol of Armenia, with it's grand Soviet-era architecture.

Trip Code: AGA

Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, sits on the coast of the Caspian Sea. At its heart is a well preserved, UNESCO-listed medieval walled old city, containing the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, a vast royal complex, and the iconic stone Maiden Tower. Surrounding the old city are elegantly illuminated stone mansions and pedestrianised boulevards and squares filled with exclusive boutiques. Wooded parks and the Caspian-front promenade make it feel a million miles away from the surrounding desert. The more recent oil boom has flooded the city with breathtaking contemporary landmarks such as the Zaha Hadid–designed Heydar Aliyev Centre, and the Flame Towers, 3 pointed glass skyscrapers. Baku is rapidly changing, and now is the perfect time to visit whilst it remains relatively under most tourist radars. Overnight: Midtown Hotel or similar

Meals:  Nil

Today we take our time to see the sights of Baku, including the UNESCO-listed, medieval Old City, a treasure trove of Azerbaijani history. We'll explore the ancient city walls, bathhouses and mosques, Maiden Tower and caravanserais which make up the impressive, Palace of the Shirvanshahs. Other highlights include viewing the panoramic cityscape at Highland Park. and a visit to the Absheron Peninsula. When Marco Polo visited the then-Persian city of Baku in the 13th Century, he mentioned numerous mysterious flames throughout the region, most notably in the Absheron Peninsula. These fires are considered to have played a crucial part in the creation of Zoroastrianism and gave rise to the moniker, Land of Fire. We’ll visit the Ateshgah of Baku, often referred to as the “Fire Temple”, Gala archaeological and ethnographical museum complex and Yanar Dag, where a 10m long wall of fire burns continuously. Overnight: Midtown Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Just a short, hour long drive south from Baku brings us to the remarkable Gobustan National Park which is rich in archaeological monuments. The expansive site features over 6,000 petroglyphs, covering some 40,000 years pf rock art. The engravings depict scenes of the daily lives of the local inhabitants of the time, animals, battle-scenes, ritual ceremonies, bullfights, naval ships, camel caravans, images of the sun and stars. The site also contains once inhabited caves, settlements and burials, illustrating the intensive human habitation of the area during the wet period that followed the last Ice Age, from the Upper Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. Home to nearly a third of the world’s mud volcanoes, Gobustan is also famous for the bizarre mud volcanoes which bubble and erupt, sometimes in flames across the landscape. Many locals believe the mud has a special healing quality and it is common practice to apply the mud to the skin. We will also visit the striking Bibi Heibat Mosque and the Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum. Applied arts, particularly carpet weaving, hold a special place in the cultural history of the people of Azerbaijan. Due to their aesthetics, fleecy and pileless carpets, adorned with various patterns and symbols are used to decorate the walls and floors of marquees, huts, homes, nomads' tents, and other buildings, turning them into a symbol for the nation. Overnight: Midtown Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we drive west to the beautiful town of Sheki, one of the oldest towns in Azerbaijan. Medieval Sheki was once a stop-over on the fabled Silk Road, connecting travellers and cultures from east to west. Nestled on the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus, Sheki's main attraction is its blend of small town charm, fresh mountain air and attractive historic architecture. The Sheki Khans Summer Palace is said to be one of the most beautiful buildings in the Caucasus. We'll spend the afternoon and evening wandering the charming streets and sites of Sheki. Overnight: Macara Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning, we will cross the Balakan/Lagodekhi border into Georgia. Kvareli is located within the renowned wine-making region of Kakheti in eastern Georgia. We will explore the surrounding countryside with forests and views of the Caucasus Mountains, and taste the local wine which makes this the premier wine region of Georgia. We will visit the Winery Khareba which stores its wines in a 7.7km underground tunnel, that is carved into the Caucasus rock massif with ideal storage temperatures ranging from 12-16C. We will also enjoy a tasting of different varieties of Georgian wine. Overnight: Chateau Kvareli or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will visit Nekresi Monastery with its lovely views over the Alazani Valley, Gremi Church with its medieval ruins of a once great capital that was destroyed in the 16th century, and the 11th century Alaverdi Monastery. Wine lovers will enjoy learning about the ancient Georgian wine-making process using clay pots (qvevri) which gives the wine an amber tint, and also tasting these unique wines. The Qvevri wine-making tradition has been included on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list. Time and opening times permitting, we may visit the 19th century palace and gardens of the influential Alexander Chavchavadze. Overnight: Chateau Kvareli or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we will have a transfer to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. We set off on a walking tour of Old Tbilisi, which is a blend of Asian and European influences. Located in the gorge of Mtkvari River it’s shaped out in accordance with the terrain and forms a very beautiful city with Mt. Mtatsminda embracing the entire town, Narikala Fortress overlooking the oldest quarter of Tbilisi; and Metekhi Church overlooking Mtkvari River from a rocky plateau. In this classic tour of Tbilisi you’ll see the highlights of the Old Town with its beautiful Orthodox Christian churches, mosques & synagogues; the famous and refreshing sulphur baths; narrow cobbled streets with hanging wooden carved multi-coloured balconies and houses following the architectural styles of 19th century Europe; and the wonderful city views from Narikala Fortress and the statue of Mother Georgia. Overnight: Clocks Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,D

We will drive to visit the ancient 3000 year old capital and religious centre of Georgia, Mtskheta to see its historical sites. Jvari church (6th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century) where the Robe of Christ is buried are both UNESCO World Heritage sites. We will also explore the Great Caucasus Mountains and visit Ananuri Fort (17th century), which is located along the Georgian Military Highway connecting Georgia to Russia and on top of the Jinvali water reservoir. In the late afternoon, we will arrive in Kazbegi and marvel at one of the highest and most picturesque peaks of the Great Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi (5054m). We will walk up to Gergeti Church (14th century) and enjoy the marvellous views of the huge mountains surrounding us. Walking: Approx. 2.5hrs; Ascend/Descend 400m. Accommodation: Hotel Porta Caucasia Kazbegi or Intourist Hotel or similar.

Meals:  B,D

Today we drive by 4WD to the remote village of Juta, to visit a local family and taste traditional Georgian yoghurt “Matsoni” and honey. We will take a short walk towards breathtaking Mt. Chaukhebi (reach the top of the village) and enjoy herbal tea at a local cafe. The gorge runs through all the way to the moraine. For keen walkers, there is the option of a beautiful short walk from Juta (approx. 3 hours return) to the foot of Mt Chaukhebi (3842m) - a multi-pinnacled peak popular with climbers. Afterwards we will walk back to Juta village, and return to Kazbegi for overnight. Walking time: Approx. 3.5 – 4hrs; Ascend/Descend 500m; Grade: easy to moderate. Accommodation: Hotel Porta Caucasia Kazbegi or Intourist Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we will visit the Uplistsikhe Cave Town (1st millennium BC), which is where the Great Silk Road used to pass. This is an old and interesting complex with dwelling quarters, wine-cellars, bakeries and a three-nave basilica church hewn out in rock. Afterwards we will visit the town of Gori - Stalin’s birth place; and the famous mineral water town of Borjomi. Its warm climate, mineral water springs, parks and forests made Borjomi a favourite summer resort for the aristocracy, and gave it its popular name of "the pearl of Caucasus". Overnight: Crowne Plaza Borjomi or similar

Meals:  B,D

Today we will drive to Akhaltsikhe and visit the 9th century Rabati Castle fortress. We will also explore the fascinating cave city of Vardzia (12th century). The underground fortress and monastery of Vardzia was originally constructed to protect against outside invaders and consisted of many levels, rooms, chambers, chapels, dwellings, wine cellars and tunnels. Afterwards we cross the Bavra border into Armenia and drive to Gyumri for overnight. Overnight: Araks Hotel/Alexandropol Hotel in Gyumri, or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will be making several sightseeing stops on our way to the capital of Yerevan, including exploring the city of Gyumri; the natural surroundings of Mt. Aragats, the highest mountain in Armenia (4090m); and the medieval ruins of Amberd Castle. Overnight: Ani Plaza Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,D

Today we will have a tour of the capital. Our tour will start from the Victory Park, at Mother Armenia monument, from where you will behold a panoramic view of the city. We will then visit other sights of the capital, including the Republic Square, the Opera house, the Cascade where you will see the statue of the world-famous sculptor Fernando Botero “The Black Cat”. We will visit the Genocide Memorial Complex with the museum. Visit Matenadaran museum, which hosts the biggest collection of medieval Armenian manuscripts. In the afternoon we will tour the UNESCO World Heritage listed sites of Echmiadzin and Zvartnots Cathedral. *Please note that our trip itinerary will depend on current opening times (and days) of the museums/historic sites and therefore the order of sights visited may vary accordingly. Return to Yerevan for dinner & overnight. Overnight: Ani Plaza Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,D

Today is a full day exploring more of the stunning natural and cultural sights of Armenia. We will drive to the Ararat Valley which is located at the foot of Mount Ararat. Here we will visit the Khor Virap monastery; this complex embodies the adoption of Christianity in Armenia in 301 AD. Other highlights include visiting the Noravank Monastery nestled within a red rock canyon, and the Areni 1 Cave which is purportedly where Armenian wine was first produced. We will also drive to Lake Sevan, which is the “blue eye of Armenia” or the “Pearl of Armenia”. This fresh–water lake of volcanic origin at an altitude of 1900m has magnificent panoramic views from the Sevanavank Monastery. The crystal–clear transparent water changes colour several times during the day; it is turquoise in direct sunlight, then turns a greenish shade, and finally becomes gray by the evening. Return to Yerevan. Overnight: Ani Plaza Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we will visit Geghard Cave Monastery and Garni Temple. We soak up the medieval Armenian architecture of Geghard; some chambers of the monastery were carved out of solid rock. The monastic complex received its name after the Holy Lance which was kept here in the middle ages. The cave enclosures of this cultural and architectural wonder are notable for amazing acoustics. Then we drive to Garni village where we'll enjoy a short walk (approx. 3km; 1.5 – 2hrs) down to the Garni gorge where we will admire volcanic basalt formations. We will visit the 1st Century A.D. Garni Temple, a unique example of Armenia's pagan past. At one time this was the summer residence of the Armenian kings located in a picturesque place overlooking a deep canyon. Apart from the ruins of the royal complex, you will also see a bathhouse with an interesting mosaic. Return to Yerevan for dinner and overnight. Overnight: Ani Plaza Hotel or similar

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, trip concludes with transfers to the airport for onward travel. Should you wish to extend your stay in Yerevan, please discuss post tour arrangements with your World Expeditions consulltant.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 15 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 14 dinners
  • accommodation in hotels/guesthouse on a twin share basis
  • local sightseeing & entrance fees to monuments
  • all internal transport by private vehicle
  • English speaking local tour guides
  • airport transfers (day 1 and 16 only)
  • assistance on arranging visas

  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Bottled water, aerated and alcoholic drinks
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc.
  • Tips
  • International flights
  • Airport and departure taxes
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance

Accommodation


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Priceper person from

$4190USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia Explorer - Single SupplementUSD$810
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia Explorer trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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