Georgia tour 3, Request
Cities: Tbilisi – Mtskheta - Tbilisi - Bodbe - Sighnaghi - Gurjaani - Telavi and surroundings – Ananuri - Gudauri - Kazbegi – Gudauri – Abastumani – Vardzia – Abastumani - Khashuri - Kutaisi and surroundings - Tbilisi
Duration: 12 Days/11 Nights
Day 1. Arrival / D
Arrival in Tbilisi International Airport. Customs formalities. Meet
guide and driver and drive to the hotel (0.25min drive). Check-in.
Highlights: Welcome Dinner! Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day2. Tbilisi-Mtskheta-Tbilisi / B, D
Highlights: Treasury, master class in Georgian cloisonne arts; carpets’ shop, traditional bakery, UNESCO Heritage site- Mtskheta; Half day sightseeing tour of the city including: Metekhi church (12th-13th cc) - cross cupola church, part of the Royal residential complex; Sulfur baths - favourite place of Tbilisi citizens and foreign guests; View of Narikala Fortress - the 4th c main citadel of the city, which overlooks the oldest part of Tbilisi. During centuries Narikala was considered the best strategic point and every ruler local or invader was adding some new construction to previous fortification; Bakery in old part of the town; Carpets’ shop visit; Treasury in the Museum of Fine Arts: Ancient icons, cloisonne enamel works, chased icons, jewellery; Sameba Cathedral - the biggest Orthodox Cathedral in the Caucasus (if time permits). During Tbilisi City tour visit Pokany gallery to enjoy the works of unique cloisonne arts and to be given a master class in its preparation, to participate in the process of cloisonne enamelling which is one of the most beautiful and expressive techniques available to jewelers. Learn classical techniques from a nationally recognized jeweler. Drive ancient capital of Georgia-Mtskheta located not far from Tbilisi. Visit Jvari (6th c) & Svetitskhoveli visit (12th) with unique frescoes of 9-19th cc. Drive back to Tbilisi. Dinner and overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 3. Tbilisi-Bodbe-Sighnaghi-Gurjaani-Telavi / B, L, D /190 km
Highlights: Wine Province visit; ‘Georgian Corner’ & Georgian Supra experience; functioning nunnery visit; Royal Fortified Town After breakfast departure to Eastern Georgian province-Kakheti. This province is known as a birthplace of wine and cradle of viniculture.
First stop at Bodbe Nunnery (XIX c.)-burial site of St. Nino who brought Christianity to Georgia in IV c. Continue road to royal Sighnaghi-a small town located on a hilltop providing beautiful views of Alazani river valley and the Caucasus Mountain Range. Sighnaghi is surrounded by XVIII c. fortified wall - the longest one of existing fortifications in Georgia.
After walk in Sighnaghi drive to locals’ house in Gurjaani to experience ‘Georgian Corner’, to have a traditional Georgian lunch featuring ‘tamada’-leader of the table, participate in baking Georgian bread ‘lavashi’ and preparing national sweets ‘churchkhela’. Homemade wine tasting at family’s more than 100 years old winery. Dinner and overnight in 3* hotel in Telavi-the biggest town and a capital of the region.
Day 4. Telavi and surroundings / B, D / 245 km
Highlights: XIX c. Tsinandali residence with famous wine collection, the house and park; XII c. Alaverdi Cathedral.
Breakfast at Telavi hotel. Today the day begins with visit to the residence of one of the most beloved and notable Georgian families- princes Chavchavadze. XIX c. residence of legendary figure Alexander Chavchavadze consists of summer home, garden and winery featuring several vintages of white vine.
After the excursion and wine tasting visit Alaverdi Cathedral- XII c. Chuch loated not far from Telavi.
Dinner and overnight in Telavi.
Day 5. Telavi -Ananuri-Gudauri / B / D / 230 km
Highlights: spectacular views of Georgian Military Highway, XVI c. Ananuri Architectural complex, meat-dumplings ‘khinkali’ tasting, resort Gudauri.
After breakfast drive to Khevi province via Georgian Military Highway – a picturesque road with great nature variety mentioned by Strabo in I c. AD. An ancient capital of Georgia- Mtskheta –UNESCO site is located along this road. En route visit Ananuri Architectural complex-former residence of Dukes of Argveti region. Complex featuring churches and towers dating back to the XVI-XVII cc. is beautifully overlooking Jinvali reservoir. Lunch at the local restaurant where the guests
can try ‘Khinkali’-boiled meat dumplings, as this region is well-known for its ‘Khinkali masters’.
In the afternoon arrive to Gudauri, popular Georgian ski resort.
Dinner and overnight in 3* hotel in Gudauri.
Day 6. Gudauri-Kazbegi-Gudauri/ B, PL, D / 100 km
Highlights: 2379 m ‘Cross pass’-highest point of Georgian Military Highway; views of Mt. Kazbek and Gergeti Trinity Church;
Early in the morning drive to Kazbegi passing through the highest point of Georgian Military Highway-Cross Pass at 2379 m. above sea level. En-route make a stop at the mineral water spring flowing down from a hilltop. Arrive Kazbegi – a small town with the views of Mt. Kazbek (or Mkinvari) 5033 m. - the seventh highest peak in the Caucasus Mountains. Mt. Kazbek is associated with myth of Prometheus, according to the legend he was chained on the mountain in punishment for having stolen fire from the gods and having given it to mortals. If time permits - trek (about 1 hr) to XIV c. Gergeti Holy Trinity Church located at an elevation of 2170 m under Mt. Kazbegi. Picnic lunch near the site with the best views of the peak and lowlands. After Picnic lunch drive back to Gudauri. Dinner& overnight in Gudauri.
Day 7. Gudauri - Abastumani/ B, PL, D / 290 km
Highlights: Abastumani - climatic spa; after 22:00pm - tour of Georgian National Astrophysical Observatory. Breakfast at the hotel.
We drive from Gudauri to Adigeni region in order to visit Abastumani – popular climatic spa. Resort has become extremely popular for its climate and thermal waters after Grand Duke George Alexandrovich, member of the Russian imperial family, had retired there due to his ill-health in XIX c. Abastumani's three hyperthermic springs (39-48.5 °C) are little mineralized, rich in sulfate-sodium chloride waters and they are used in treatment of different diseases.
In the evening (after 22:00) a visit to Georgian National Astrophysical Observatory located nearby.
Observatory was founded here in 1932 and is one of the best observatories among the same altitude (1650 to 1700 m. above sea level) with its observational conditions.
Dinner and overnight in Abastumani in 3* hotel
Day 8. Abastumani –Vardzia - Abastumani/ B / PL / D / 150 km
Highlights: Fortress, 12th C. Cave town.
After breakfast departure to cave-town Vardzia.Stop for visiting Khertvisi fortress beautifully located on the confluence of Mtkvari and Paravani rivers. It is known that the first fortress was built here in II c. BC and was destroyed by Alexander the Great. The present complex is dating back to X- XIV cc.
Arrive Vardzia which was carved out of the rock in XII c. during the reign of Queen Tamar - ‘golden age’ in the history of Georgia. The complex considered to be a protection against foreign invasions and consisted of over six thousand apartments. The complex has been damaged heavily during earthquake in XIII c. Nowadays more than three hundred of caves are still visible and parts of irrigation system bring drinkable water. The complex also has to be mentioned as it houses one f the three existing frescoes of Queen Tamar dating back to XII c. Drive back to Abastumani.
Dinner and overnight in Abastumani.
Day 9. Abastumani-Khashuri-Kutaisi/ B, D / 230 km
Highlights: local small markets on Rikoti pass; legendary city Aia (Kutaisi) – a residence of King Aeetes;
After breakfast at the hotel drive to Imereti region via Rikoti pass, dividing Georgia into its western and eastern parts. En route stop at the clay market near the Shrosha village where local goods are sold. Arrive Kutaisi-an ancient city, the capital of the Kingdom of Colchis. According to the legend Kutaisi or Aia was the final destination of the Jason and Argonauts in their journey to Colchis and the residence of King Aeetes. Today Kutaisi is the second biggest city in Georgia and administrative center of Imereti province. Dinner and overnight in Kutaisi.
Day 10. Kutaisi and surroundings / 260 km
Highlights: UNESCO World Heritage - Bagrati Cathedral; frescoes of Gelati Complex (XII c.)
The exploration of the city starts by visiting Bagrati Cathedral (XI c.)-UNESCO World heritage site located on Ukimerion Hill. The next stop will be at XII c. Gelati Academy built by King David the Builder. For the long time academy has been one of the main cultural and intellectual centers in Georgia. Monument was recognized by UNESCO as a world Heritage and was included in the World Monuments Watch List.
Dinner and overnight in the guesthouse or hotel in Kutaisi
Day 11. Kutaisi-Tbilisi / B, D
Highlights: picturesque Ubisa monastic complex; stop at basket makers
Breakfast at the hotel. Departure via Rikoti Pass. En route visit Ubisa- medieval monastic complex located on a picturesque place. Complex consists of 9th-century St. George’s Monastery a 4-floor tower (AD 1141). There are also remains of 12th-century defensive wall and several other buildings and structures.
Stop at honey-makers and basket-makers on Rikoti pass.
Farewell Dinner and overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 12. Departure/ B
Breakfast at the hotel. Check-out. Transfer to the airport.
3 x overnights in 3* hotel
2 x overnight in 3* hotel
2 x overnight in 3* hotel
2 x overnight in 3* hotel
2 x overnight in family type hotel
- 2 x airport transfers in Tbilisi
- Transportation as per program by comfortable vehicle: minibus (10-12 pax) or bus (from 13 pax)
- Meals without alcohol beverages:
- 1 x lunch at local’s house on day 3
- 2 x dinners welcome and farewell in traditional restaurants on days 1 and 11
- 1 x dinner in Tbilisi restaurant on day 2
- 8 x dinners in local restaurants or hotels outside Tbilisi
- 3 x PL on days 6,7,8
- Guide Service: 11 x days guide service
- 1 x 0,5 l mineral non-gas water per person per day
- Wine tasting on day 3
- Travel insurance
- Alcohol beverages not mentioned in the itinerary
- Services not described above
- Car rent to drive to Sameba Trinity church in Kazbegi
At additional rate to be advised:
Entrance fees to sites and museums: from EUR 2-5 per person per museum
Local guides in the museums: EUR 5 per museum
Nabadi Theatre Show: EUR 35-30 per ticket
Sarajishvili Cognac Factory visit (excursion and tasting): EUR 19 per person
Classical music concert: EUR 24 per person
Sulphur Baths: from EUR 10 per person
Master- class in cloisonne enamelling: from EUR 10 per person
Nabadi Theatre Show: Folk Theatre Nabadi performs shows based on history of Georgia, its traditions, culture, myths and locals’ characters. During 90 minutes performance Georgian traditional sweets and wines are served.
Sarajishvili Cognac Factory visit
David Sarajishvili was the first person to set up a cognac production in Georgia and the Caucasus. Factory was founded in 1884 and the first cognac was produced in 1887. Sarajishvili factory products were awarded by a lot of international awards since 1889 and in 1913 the Sarajishvili Company was honored with the status of The Official Supplier to the Emperor’s Court. Nowadays the factory is active and maintains the culture developed by its founder.
40 minutes classical music concert at the house-museum of famous Georgian painter Elene Akhvlediani:
Visit house-studio of Elene Akhvlediani-one of the founders of new Georgian Art. The artist studied in Europe (Italy and France) and her exhibitions turned attention of French art critics and artists; Pablo Picasso and Paul Signac were among her friends. Experience the visit of an art saloon where various works of art including artist’s paintings and Georgian craft samples collected by Elene Akhvlediani are kept. Experience Elene’s ‘culture corner’ to the accompaniment of classical music.
Visit to Sulphur Baths
Natural thermal springs pouring out of the Tabor Mountain has been a symbol of Tbilisi and essential part of its citizen’s lives since foundation of the city. Try Georgian atmosphere in the XVI-XIX cc bathes featuring ‘mekise’ doing traditional therapeutic massage.