Scheduled Caucasus Tour 2018-2019

Caucasus Essentials13 Days | Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia

Tour map

This 13-day Caucasus tour covers Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, taking you deep into the history and culture of these fascinating countries. You will feel at home among welcoming people and beautiful scenery, from the medieval architectural monuments nestled in mountain landscapes to the delicious cuisine, filled with fresh bread, roasted meats, rich cheese, and fine wines. Head from the shores of the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan to the charming churches of Georgia to the rocky mountains of Armenia, with stops at historical and cultural sights and guided tours to introduce you to everything you need to know. This is the best private tour for those who are interested in the Caucasus, or even just in exploring something new.

 

Tour itinerary:

Day 1: Baku
 
Arrival in Baku early in the morning or on the previous day. You will be met by our driver and transferred to the hotel for overnight.
At noon, 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 2: 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.
Return to Baku. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Baku – Lahij – Kish – Sheki
 
In the morning, depart Baku and drive to Sheki. On the way, visit Diri Baba Mausoleum in Maraza. Continue to Shamakha and see the historical Juma Mosque, Yeddi Gumbez Mausoleum, and the Shirvan Shah's family grave yard. 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 driving to Sheki. On the way, visit the first Albanian church in Caucasus in the village Kish, dating back to the 1st century AD. Arrival in Sheki for overnight.
Day 4: Sheki – Georgian border – Kvareli – Gremi – Telavi
 
Check out from hotel and start sightseeing tour in Sheki. Visit Sheki medieval fortress, Sheki Khans Palace, local History Museum, handicrafts workshop, mosque-madrassah, and local bazaar. Depart Sheki and head towards border with Georgia (115 km, ~2 h.). Cross the border, meet your Georgian guide and start exploring the eastern part of Georgia, famous for its viticulture and winemaking traditions.
We will pass through the beautiful landscapes of vineyards and wine-producing villages. First 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. Continue to Gremi architectural complex, 16th century royal residence and the capital of Kakheti Kingdom. Then reach Telavi, administrative center of Kakheti region. Have a short drive around the town. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5: Telavi – Tsinandali – Bodbe – Sighnaghi – Tbilisi
 
After breakfast, continue exploring Kakheti by visiting 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 Bodbe Convent and Sighnaghi Royal Town, one of the crossroads of the Great Silk Road surrounded by defensive walls with 23 towers. In the afternoon, head to Tbilisi for overnight.
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. Visit 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 Cathedral, Anchiskhati 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 and enjoy folklore show. 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 built on a hilltop. You will enjoy the views of the confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Visit 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 – Armenian border – Haghpat – Lake Sevan – Sevanavank – Yerevan
 
At 09:00, our driver will meet you at your hotel in Tbilisi and transfer to “Sadakhlo-Bagratashen” Georgian-Armenian border point. Cross the border, meet your Armenian guide and driver and start the journey to the land of ancient traditions and oldest temples.
Drive to Lori region and visit Haghpat Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This stunning example of Armenian traditional architecture erected in 10-13th centuries stands on a hillside beautifully overlooking the Debed River. 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 the horizon. Reach the capital of Armenia for overnight at the hotel.
Day 9: 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 10: 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 11: 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 (9-13 cent.). 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 hotel.
Day 12: Goris – Noravank – Yerevan
 
After breakfast at 09:00 check out from the hotel. On the way to Yerevan visit the famous Noravank Complex, situated on the ledge of a deep winding gorge of a tributary of the Arpa River near the village of Amaghu, Yeghegnadzor District. Noravank stands amidst the bizarre-shaped precipitous red cliffs. Built in place of an ancient cloister, it grew under 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 hotel. Free time. Overnight at hotel.
Day 13: Yerevan – departure
 
Check-out from hotel till noon. Free time till transfer to Yerevan International Airport. End of the tour.

Accommodation:

Comfort Option

Economy Option

Baku - 3 nights

Park Inn, Intourist

Sapphire, Shah Palace, Central Park

Sheki - 1 night

Sheki Saray, Sheki Palace

Issam

Telavi - 1 night

Chateau Mere, Schuchmann Chateau

Old Telavi, Rcheuli Marani, Alazani Valley

Tbilisi - 3 nights

Tiflis Palace,  Riverside, Ambasadori

Kopala, Tiflis, KMM

Yerevan - 4 nights

Grand Hotel Yerevan, DoubleTree by Hilton Yerevan, Opera Suite

Hrazdan, Silachi, Cascade

Goris - 1 night

Mirhav

Mirhav

 

  • 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 (lunch and dinner);
  • 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.

More similar tours toCaucasus Essentials

Azerbaijan - Georgia Tour #3

From Baku to Sheki, Kakheti to Tbilisi, explore some of the most picturesque sites in Azerbaijan and Georgia. Between the modern glass skyscrapers to ancient churches, you’ll be sure to ...

Details
Caucasus Temples

Take a fascinating journey to two countries of the Caucasus, Georgia and Armenia. Explore their rich architecture: churches, monasteries and cathedrals, covering millennia of ...

Details
South Caucasus in One Week

Explore the amazing South Caucasus just in one week! Gain a wide range of experiences ranging from the cradle of Georgian wine, eternal fire of Azerbaijan & the first Christian country of ...

Details
Caucasus In-Depth

Go beyond the ordinary with the Caucasus In-Depth Tour and explore the unexpected sights of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Go up and down Azerbaijan, then head to the traditional mountain ...

Details