Georgia is located in the South Caucasus, at the strategically important crossroads where Europe meets Asia. Georgia is an amazing cluster of cultures, religions, fascinating landscapes and ancient history; The country where everyone can find something to his liking – from snow peaks to subtropical shores, from deserts to lush forests, from cities to enchanting villages; Ethnic Georgians constitute a majority of the population;
The official language is Georgian, one of the oldest languages in the world. Tbilisi is the capital and by far the largest city.
Georgia contains immense cultural and historical heritage, being host to 150 museums and 12,000 historical landmarks, 3 of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. Georgian traditional cuisine is one of the richest in the entire world.
Georgia's Land of the Golden Fleece
The once ancient kingdom of Colchis, Georgia has long been linked with the Greek legends attributed to Jason and his band of Argonauts. Sandwiched between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, this mythical land today provides us with one of the last hidden gems left in Europe.
This journey through its western landscapes takes you from its charming capital, Tbilisi and through forested valleys and snow-capped mountains, where ancient cave towns and clustered rural villages testify to a rich heritage that can trace its origins back to late antiquity.
Enjoying an opportunity to partake of some of the region’s famous spicy cuisine, the journey visits some of Georgia’s most famous and important religious sites including Mtskheta and Gelati, as well as the stunning cave towns of Uplistsikhe and Vardzia. You’ll also pay a visit to Gori, birthplace of Joseph Stalin, and journey into the World Heritage landscapes of Upper Svaneti to trek amongst the villages and mountains of one of the last untouched regions of Eastern Europe.
- The clustered Svan villages with their defensive towers
- High forested valleys and glacial peaks
- The ancient cave city of Vardzia
- Taste the delicious, spicy cuisine of Western Georgia
Duration: 11 days
Average group size: 5
Day 1: Tbilisi:
- Arrive in Tbilisi and transfer to your hotel. Today enjoy a city tour of Tbilisi at the 13th century Metekhi Church, and visit the 4th century Narikala Fortress. Afterwards continue to the Synagogue, Siony Cathedral and Anchiskhati Church. After lunch visit the stunning treasury of the Georgian State Museum and Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi's main stree
Day 2:Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Gori - Kutaisi
- This morning drive to the area of Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia and the centre of Christianity in the country. It was here that St Nino converted the troyal family to Christianity in the 4th century, visit the hill top Jvari church dating from the 4th century and the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral from the 12th century. Drive on to the town of
- Gori in the heart of Kartli region. Gori is the birthplace of Stalin and there is a museum about his life to visit. Drive on to Uplistsikhe Cave Town (from the 6th century BC) - lying on the route of the Great Silk Road. After lunch continue to Western Georgia, arriving in to Kutaisi, the second largest city, in the early evening. (B,D)
Day 3: Kutaisi - Zigdidi - Becho
- In the morning head north towards Svaneti, make a stop in the city of Zugdidi, home to the Dadiani Palace, home to the 19th century Royal family of the region and set in the botanical gardens. There will also be time to look around the large market and have some lunch in a local restaurant before continuing on to Svaneti, the region of the highest mountains and glaciers and ancient traditions. Drive to Zugdidi and continue up to the village of Becho. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Becho - Ushba Glacier - Mestia
- Today explore the neighboring villages of Mazeri and Shikhra and then walk through the woods to the foot of M Ushba (4700m). This spectacular walk passes a waterfall on the way up to Ushba glacier. In late afternoon drive on to Mestia, the centre of Upper Svaneti. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Mestia - Ushguli – Mestia;
- A morning drive takes you up to the highest permanent village in Europe - Ushguli (2200m). Ushguli and generally the whole Upper Svaneti region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is famous for its abundance of watchtowers. Visit the 12th century complex of Lamaria and wander these twisting ancient alleys between houses. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Mestia
- Day 7: Mestia - Zugdidi - KutaisiA full day's trek in the mountains takes you between the tiny villages and through wooded valleys. (B,L,D)
- Today you will leave the mountains and transfer back to Kutaisi, on arrival in the area you can visit a beautiful grotto with grand chambers full of stalactites and stalagmites. You can enjoy some free time in Kutaisi to see the old city and the river as well as seeing the controversial renovations at the Bagrati Cathedral. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Kutaisi - Gelati – Akhaltsikhe
- This morning visit Gelati, a cathedral and Academy started by King David The Builder as the most important centre of learning in Georgia, he is buried here as well and the church has some of the best frescoes in Georgia. Next head towards Akhaltsikhe, a small town with the impressive fortress of Rabat, one of the few Ottoman buildings in the country. The fortress has been completely renovated and houses an interesting museum showing the archaeological finds from the area. (B)
Day 9: Akhaltsikhe - Vardzia
- Drive to the small fortress of Khertvisi set on a hill top by the road, this fortress has not been restored and you can scramble around the walls and turrets. Move on to the cave city of Vardzia, once an important area to Queen Tamar, a complex of around 500 caves where once there were
- Day 10: Vardzia - Tbilisi3000, the rock hewn church still exists along with the frescoes. Take the pathways to see the ancient dwelling places and tunnels. Your overnight will be at a nearby guesthouse, arriving here for lunch you may like to spend the afternoon resting by the river which flows through the property or perhaps take one of the bicycles or walk in the valley. (B,L,D)
- Your journey back to Tbilisi will take you across the high plateau in the south with views across to Turkey, pass Lake Parvani and many Armenian settlements before descending in to the forested valleys and
- Day 11: Tbilisiback to Tbilisi. There will be some free time this afternoon to wander the old city or perhaps visit a museum. (B)
- Transfer to the airport for your return flight. (B)
Price on request