Scheduled Caucasus Tour 2018-2019

Armenia, Georgia & Azerbaijan Tour13 Days | Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan

Tour map

From the modern capitals of Yerevan, Tbilisi and Baku to the history and myths around the most ancient sites of these countries, this 13-day tour is the best Caucasus tour for exploring the region, from Armenia through Georgia to Azerbaijan. Start with the many religious sites of Armenia, from Garni, the only pagan temple to survive the conversion to Christianity, and Etchmiadzin, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Georgia is a land of rich traditions and history, with cultural practices (like abundant banquets with eloquent toasts) and architectural monuments (like the important churches in Mtskheta and Jvari) retaining their importance throughout the country. Finish in Azerbaijan, where the ancient and modern live side-by-side, like how Icheri-Sheher is the older heart in the center of the modern towers of Baku. The Caucasus has long enchanted visitors with its unique beauty and life, and this Armenia, Georgia & Azerbaijan Tour is the best way to discover it all for yourself.

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Yerevan – arrival
 
Arrival in Yerevan. You will be met by our driver and transferred to the hotel. Check-in at noon.
Meet your guide and driver to start your Armenia, Georgia & Azerbaijan tour with sightseeing in Yerevan. One of the oldest cities of the world, Yerevan is famous as a pink city and calls visitors with its humble and at the same time splendid landscapes. Start city tour visiting the Cascade Monument, which was the main symbol of the cities 2780th anniversary with the equivalent number of stairs. The mega scale staircase is 500 meters high and 50 meters wide. A panoramic view from the monument opens up breathtaking city view with Opera House, Mount Ararat, Swan Lake, Republic Square, and Abovyan Avenue, which you will also walk by during the tour. If it is a weekend, visit Vernissage, the biggest souvenir market in Yerevan. Continue to the Armenian Genocide memorial complex on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd. An excellent round-up of the tour will be a visit to the Megeryan carpet factory where you can observe a process of creating famous Armenian rugs. You will see carpets from different regions of Armenia and find out about hidden meanings of elements used in their design. In the evening, enjoy dinner and traditional folklore show. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Etchmiadzin – Yerevan
 
Depart Yerevan and drive to Garni, one of the major villages in Armenia famous for its fortress. The fortress is the only pagan sacred place from the 1st century that survived aggressive introduction of Christianity in the 4th century. Next stop is at the monastery complex Geghard (“spear”). The beautiful landscape of Geghard is framed with towering cliffs. Decorative art cut into rocks reflects and explains Medieval Ages development throughout the region. The complex was introduced to the history in the 4th century as a sacred spring inside a cave. Continue to the Holy See of Armenia, Etchmiadzin. Visit Etchmiadzin Cathedral*, which is the residence of the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Catholicos of All Armenians. Return to Yerevan for hotel.
* The site is presently under renovation works.
Day 3: Yerevan – Khor Virap – Areni – Tatev – Goris
 
After breakfast at 09:00, head to Khor Virap Monastery (“deep pit”). According to the legend, St. Gregory the Illuminator, the patron saint of Armenia, was kept here in the basement for 13 years for the disseminating of Christianity until King Tiridates decided to adopt new religion. The monastery's location allows you to enjoy the best views of the Mt. Ararat. 
Continue to Areni, a city known for producing famous Armenian wine from pomegranate and apricot. Have a wine degustation in a local winery. 
Drive to Tatev Monastery (9-13th centuries). Approaching the jewel of medieval Armenian architecture on the longest aerial tramway in the world you will see the monastery, the powerful impregnable stronghold towering on a rock. The remote location of the monastery was strategically favorable as it played the role of religious and political center of the region. Standing on the edge of the rock, the monastery takes your breath away: somewhere down below the river flows in the valley and crowded velvet green hills stand in silence… 
Arrival in Goris at 18:00, accommodation at the hotel.
Day 4: Goris – Noravank – Yerevan
 
After breakfast at 09:00 check out from the hotel. On the way to Yerevan visiting famous Noravank Complex, situated on a ledge above a deep winding gorge of a tributary of the Arpa River near the village of Amaghu, Yeghegnadzor District. The Noravank ensemble stands amidst the bizarre-shaped precipitous red cliffs. Built in place of an ancient cloister, it grew in the reign of Princes Orbelian of Syunik. In the 13th-14th centuries it became a residence of Syunik's bishops. Consequently, a major religious and later cultural center of Armenia was closely connected with many educational institutes, primarily with Gladzor’s university and library.
Arrive in Yerevan, check-in to the hotel. Free time. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5: Yerevan – Sevanavank – Lake Sevan – Haghpat – Armenian border – Tbilisi
 
In the morning, drive to Lake Sevan, “The Jewel of Armenia” and one of the largest high-mountain freshwater lakes in the world. The coastline of Lake Sevan is rich with thick woods, white bare steep rocks, mountain steppes and Alpine meadows. Stop at Sevanavank to visit the remnants of the monastery that include two temples – Surb Arakelots and Surb Astvatsatsin standing among numerous khachkars - carved cross-stones. The buildings were constructed from black tuff which probably gave the monastery its name Sevanavank – “the Black Monastery”. The view from there is simply magnificent: the mountains surround lake from all sides and snow tops are seen almost on the entire perimeter and disappear behind horizon. Continue to Lori region and visit Haghpat Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This stunning example of Armenian traditional architecture was erected in 10-13th centuries. Standing on a hillside, Haghpat beautifully overlooks the Debed River. The location of the monastery was chosen to protect the peace and seclusion of its monks Continue to “Sadakhlo-Bagratashen” Georgian-Armenian border point. Cross the border, meet your Georgian driver to have last hour-long transfer for today. In the evening, welcome dinner at traditional Georgian restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6: Tbilisi
 
In the morning, start a sightseeing tour in Tbilisi. Start at Holy Trinity cathedral, one of the largest orthodox cathedrals in the world. Continue to Metekhi Church and the monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. Take cable car to Narikala Fortress to enjoy breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Walk down to the district of Sulphur bath houses passing by the only mosque in Tbilisi. Stroll through the Sharden area full of narrow streets with cozy cafés, wine tasting bars, souvenir shops, and breathe in the living past. Visit Sioni CathedralAnchiskhati Basilica, and the clock tower of famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre. Cross the Bridge of Peace leading to Rike Park and head to Open Air Museum of Ethnography, a miniature model of Georgia. In the evening, visit a local restaurant to taste dishes of traditional Georgian cuisine. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 7: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Gori – Uplistsikhe – Tbilisi
 
After breakfast, drive to Mtskheta, one of the oldest towns and the cultural and religious centre of Georgia. Mtskheta was the capital of the Eastern Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the third century BC. Visit Jvari Church, a true architectural masterpiece of the early Medieval Period, overlooking the confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers from a hilltop, and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral which may be translated as "The Life-giving pillar". Svetitskhoveli is the main cathedral of Mtskheta and a sacred place where the robe of Christ is being kept. Continue to Gori and visit the Stalin Museum. Explore the cave town Uplistsikhe, dating back to Hellenistic Period and notable for unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures and the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture. Drive back to Tbilisi for overnight.
Day 8: Tbilisi – Telavi – Tsinandali – Gremi – Kvareli – Sighnaghi
 
After breakfast depart towards the Kakheti region of Georgia, the cradle of Georgian wine. Beautiful road lies through Gombori Pass. Reach Telavi, administrative center of Kakheti region. Have a short drive around the town. Visit Tsinandali, residence of dukes of Georgia, with beautiful English garden, museum, and wine cellar which belonged to prince Chavchavadze, public figure and poet of 19th century. Continue to Gremi architectural complex, a 16th century royal residence and the capital of Kakheti Kingdom. We will pass through the beautiful landscapes of vineyards and wine-producing villages. Our next stop will be at unique Winery Khareba located in the tunnel carved out of the rock. Originally built for military purposes, today the tunnel is used to store Kakheti’s finest wines. Wine tour and wine tasting. Reach Sighnaghi for overnight.
Day 9: Sighnaghi – Bodbe – Azerbaijani border – Kish – Sheki
 
After breakfast, continue exploring Kakheti Bodbe Convent and Sighnaghi Royal Town, one of the crossroads of the Great Silk Road surrounded by defensive walls with 23 towers. Head to Lagodekhi border with Azerbaijan (45 km, 1 h). Cross the border, meet your Azeri guide and start exploring Azerbaijan – the land of fire. Drive to Sheki (115 km, ~2 h.). On the way, visit the first Albanian church in Caucasus in the village Kish dating back to the 1st century AD. Have a short sightseeing tour on arrival: visit Sheki medieval fortress, Sheki Khans Palace, handicrafts workshop, mosque-madrassah, and local bazaar. Overnight in Sheki at the hotel.
Day 10: Sheki – Lahij – Shamakha – Baku
 
In the morning, drive through the Girdimanchay River Canyon to visit Lahij, a 5th century place rich in its historic and architectural values. Lahij is an ancient village with charming eye-catching sidewalks inlaid with stones. It is famous for its medieval water supply and sewage systems, as well as traditional jewelry, copperware, carpets, pottery, daggers, and iron tools workshops. Continue to Shamakha and see the historical Juma MosqueYeddi Gumbez Mausoleum, and the Shirvan Shah's family grave yard. Arrival in Baku for overnight.
Day 11: Baku
 
Start sightseeing tour in Baku. Visit Martyrs’ Lane, called ‘Shehidler Khiyabany’ among locals. When you walk through Martyrs’ Lane, you will find a beautiful view overlooking Baku’s coastline. Continue touring new Baku and exploring architecture of the 19-20th centuries: Nizami Street, Fountain Square, Nizami Ganjavi monument, Rasul-Zade Street. Pay a visit to Azerbaijan History National Museum and move to the old part of the city – Icheri Sheher. Visit Maiden Tower, Shirvanshahs’ Palace, Caravanserai, and market square with numerous art studios and souvenir stalls. An excellent round-up to the city tour will be visit to the richest bank of Azeri carpets – National Carpets Museum. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 12: Baku – Absheron Peninsula – Gobustan – Baku
 
Today you will visit the area of the Greater Baku and Absheron Peninsula. Start with Gobustan National Park. Pay a visit to the Petroglyphs Museum and explore petroglyphs, dating back to 10,000 BC. Continue to the mud volcanoes in Gobustan Reserve. Gobustan is home to almost half of the world’s mud volcanoes. Later drive to Ateshgah – a temple of fire worshippers located in Surakhany village. Zoroastrians travelled thousands of kilometers from India to Ateshgah to worship fire coming out of the earth. Drive to Yanardag Mountain, where natural gas has been burning for several thousands of years. Overnight at Baku hotel.
Day 13: Baku – departure
 
Check-out from the hotel till noon. Free time till transfer to Baku International Airport. End of the tour.

Accommodation:

Comfort Option

Economy Option

Yerevan - 3 nights

Grand Hotel Yerevan, DoubleTree by Hilton Yerevan, Opera Suite

Hrazdan, Silachi, Cascade

Goris - 1 night

Mirhav 

Mirhav

Tbilisi - 3 nights

Tiflis Palace, Riverside, Ambasadori 

Kopala, Tiflis, KMM

Sighnaghi- 1 night

Kabadoni 

Solomoni 1805

Sheki - 1 night

Sheki Saray, Sheki Palace 

Issam

Baku - 3 nights

Park Inn, Intourist 

Sapphire, Shah Palace, Central Park

 

  • All transfers;
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • Sightseeing tour program in each city with local guides;
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Wine tasting in Kakheti region, Georgia.
  • Full board (lunches and dinners);
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Visa support letter and consular fees for visas to Georgia and Armenia;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Azerbaijan tourist e-visa.

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