Georgia and its neighbour Armenia share a common history, but are also very different, and this two week tour reveals the similarities and contrasts between these two fascinating countries. Travelling along the ancient Silk Road, wander through remote monasteries and medieval towns, admire spectacular mountain views in the lofty Caucasus, and learn about the turbulent past of Tbilisi and Yerevan.
Arrival in Tbilisi
Fly to Tbilisi, and on arrival transfer to your city centre hotel.
Tbilisi Full Day City Tour
Explore the charming city of Tbilisi on a full day tour. Built along the twisting valley of the Mtkvari River, the capital is replete with historic buildings, and the centre is best explored on foot. Starting at the 13th century Metekhi Church walk to the brick-domed sulphur baths and up to Narikala Fortress, one of the city’s oldest fortifications. You will visit the principal religious buildings, including Syoni Cathedral, the synagogue, and Anchiskati Basilica, and discover the treasures of the Georgian State Museum before strolling along the city’s main street, Rustaveli Avenue. In the afternoon, drive out of town to Mtskheta, the spiritual home of Georgia.
Tbilisi - Sighnaghi - Alaverdi - Gremi - Kvareli
A scenic drive from Tbilisi to the foothills of the Caucasus today, stopping first in Sighnaghi, an attractive walled town with an interesting ethnographic museum, followed by lunch and wine tasting in a local wine cellar. In the afternoon, explore the former royal citadel and unusual church at Gremi and visit the medieval monastery of Alaverdi before continuing to Kvareli, a charming town at the centre of Georgia’s ancient wine industry.
Kvareli - Davit Gareja – Tbilisi
Making your way back to the capital today, leave the lush mountains behind and enter the arid landscape surrounding Mt Gareja, close to the border with Azerbaijan. The monastery complex of Davit Gareja once housed a thriving community of monks who lived in cells hollowed out of the mountain itself, and several medieval frescoes can still be seen on the walls of the chapels and churches.
Tbilisi - Ananuri - Kazbegi - Gudauri
An exhilarating drive along the Georgian Military Highway awaits you today. Heading deep into the Caucasus, this road winds its way past the fortified lakeside church at Ananuri before reaching the town of Kazbegi, site of the famous Gergeti Trinity Church. The 2-3 hour walk to the beautifully situated church rewards the visitor with fantastic views of the snow-capped peaks. Drive back along the highway to Gudauri for an overnight stay
Gudauri - Uplistsikhe – Gori – Vardzia
This morning visit the rock-hewn town of Uplistsikhe, which has buildings dating back as early as the 6th century BC and featuring a unique mix of architectural styles and religious influences. From here it is a short drive to Gori, best known as the birthplace of Stalin. His house is now an interesting museum. Continue on to Vardzia for an overnight stay.
Vardzia (Day excursion)
Vardzia is one of Georgia’s most incredible monuments – a 12th century monastery occupying an isolated riverside position and accessed only by secret tunnels to prevent attack from the Mongols. The thirteen-storey complex was carved out of the slopes of Mt Erusheli and its chapels are ornately painted with well-preserved frescoes. You will have a full day to explore this fascinating site.
Vardzia - Bavra - Haghpat - Sanahin - Dilijan
A short drive from Vardzia takes you to to the Armenian border at Bavra, and after crossing the border continue to Dilijan with a stop at the UNESCO World Heritage monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin. These 10th century monasteries vied for supremacy with each other, and both are spectacularly located on a plateau overlooking the town of Alaverdi, where there will be a short stop to examine its 12th century bridge. Overnight in the historic spa town of Dilijan, home to many artists and occupying a wooded valley surrounded by the Lesser Caucasus.
Dilijan - Noraduz - Selim - Smbataberd - Goris
Leaving Dilijan this morning, follow the shores of Lake Sevan to the surreal field of khachkars at Noraduz. The field is scattered with over 800 of these carved headstones, mainly dating from the medieval period. Travelling further into the mountains along a section of the Silk Road, cross the Selim Pass, site of Armenia’s best-preserved caravanserai. The road descends to the ruined cliff top fortress of Smbataberd, where there is time to explore its massive ramparts before continuing to Goris for a two-night stay.
Khndzoresk - Tatev - Ughtasar - Karahunj Excursion
A full day excursion in the area around Goris today, visiting the ancient cave settlement of Khndzoresk, the Stonehenge-like necropolis at Karahunj, and the petroglyphs on Mount Ughtasar, some of which are 6000 years old. The highlight of the day is taking the world’s longest cable car to Tatev Monastery – perched on a high plateau and offering incredible views over the deep Orotan Gorge, the monastery housed an important medieval university and was one of southern Armenia’s key political and cultural centres.
Noravank - Areni - Khor Virap - Yerevan
Drive northwards from Goris this morning to the village of Areni, centre of Armenia’s vineyards, where you will be able to sample wines from a tradition dating back at least 6000 years. Nearby is the 13th century Noravank Monastery, notable for its unique church as well as its views of the sheer-sided brick-red cliffs of the Amaghu Gorge. As you drive towards Yerevan, stop at the foot of snow-capped Mt Ararat to visit the iconic monastery of Khor Virap where St Gregory the Illuminator, who brought Christianity to Armenia, was imprisoned for 13 years.
Yerevan Full Day City Tour
Yerevan was founded before Rome, and you will have a day to delve into its long and fascinating history. HIghlights of the city include the depository of ancient manuscripts at the Matendaran Institute, the Urartian fortress of Erebuni, and the memorial to the 1915 genocide, as well as the Blue Mosque – the only Muslim place of worship in this overwhelmingly Christian country. Round off the day with a glass of Winston Churchill’s favourite tipple from the Ararat brandy distillery.
Echmiadzin - Garni - Geghard Excursion
In 301 AD, Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion, and just 2 years later a church was built at Echmiadzin, close to Yerevan. This morning, visit the town’s 4th century cathedral and other beautiful early churches before continuing to the colonnaded pagan temple at Garni, dedicated to the Persian god Mihr. Returning to Yerevan, stop at Geghard, a fascinating monastery complex featuring a cathedral and several chapels cut into the towering cliffs of the Azat Gorge.
Today you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to the airport for your departure flight.
To book now, or for more information about this or other tours, call us on 0208 728 2478 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prices and Availability
Available to run daily.
Price per person £2375 based on two sharing
- Private English speaking guide
- Separate driver with vehicle
- All entrance fees
- Medium locally graded accommodation
- 10 nights accommodation Bed and Breakfast basis
- 3 nights accomodation Half Board basis
- International Flights
- Visas (both obtained on arrival)
- Travel Insurance
- Personal expenses (drinks, tips etc)
- Wander through the streets of picturesque Tbilisi
- Sample fine Georgian wine in the Kakheti region
- Travel to the stunning Davit Gareja monastery
- View the stunning Greater Caucasus mountains around Kazbegi
- Explore the rock hewn monastery of Vardzia
- Visit the Byzantine monasteries of Haghpat an Sanahin
- View the surrreal field of Kachkars at Noraduz
- Take the longest cable car in the world to stunning Tatev monastery
- Sample Ararat brandy, Winston Churchills favourite tipple
- Explore the pagan temple of Garni
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