Scheduled Caucasus Tour 2020

Caucasus Essentials13 Days | Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia

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 map

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, known as ‘Shehidler Khiyabany’ among locals. When you walk through the Alley of the Martyrs, you will find a beautiful view overlooking Baku's coastline. Move to Icheri Sheher, the old part of the city. Visit Shirvanshah's Palace, Caravanserai, Maiden Tower, and the main market square, which has numerous art studios and souvenir stalls. Continue touring new Baku by exploring Nizami Street and Fountain Square. An excellent round-up to the city tour will be visit to the iconic Heydar Aliev center.
In the evening enjoy welcome dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Driving distance: 10 km
Day 2: Baku – Absheron Peninsula – Gobustan – Baku
 
Today you will visit the area of the Greater Baku and Absheron peninsula.
The first stop is at Yanardag Mountain, also known as Burning Hill, where natural gas has been ablaze for hundreds of years. Continue to the Ateshgah Fire Temple, located in the village of Surakhany. Zoroastrians from India travel thousands of kilometers to Ateshgah to worship the fire coming out of the earth. After lunch, drive to Gobustan National Park to visit the Petroglyph Museum and explore rock carvings dating back to 10,000 BC. The Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Weather permitting, drive to the mud volcanoes in Gobustan Reserve (change of vehicle). Gobustan is home to almost half of the world’s mud volcanoes. Return to Baku in the evening. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 8-9 hours
Driving distance: 220 km
Day 3: Baku – Shamakhi – Lahij – Sheki
 
In the morning, depart Baku and drive to Sheki. On the way, stop at Diri Baba Mausoleum in the village of Maraza. Continue to Shamakhi to visit the historical Juma Mosque, which was restored in 2013. Weather permitting, a scenic drive through Girdimanchay River Canyon to visit Lahij will follow. Lahich, an ancient village with charming cobbled sidewalks, is famous for its medieval water supply and sewage systems, as well as its traditional jewelry, copperware, carpets, pottery, daggers, and iron tools workshops. This quaint, 5th-century corner of the Caucasus Mountains is rich in historical and architectural value. Continue driving to Sheki for an evening arrival. Overnight at the hotel.
Driving distance: 340 km
Duration of sightseeing tour: 10-11 hours
Day 4: Sheki – Georgian border – Kvareli – Telavi
 
Check out from the hotel and start new day visiting the colorful Sheki Bazaar. You can find virtually everything you may want to eat: local fruits and berries, spices, freshly baked bread, honey, cheeses, and Sheki sweets. Continue to Sheki Khans Palace surrounded by medieval fortress walls. Visit handicrafts workshop and Caravanserai. Depart Sheki and head towards border with Georgia (115 km, ~2 h.).
At the border, you will say goodbye to your guide, go through border formalities, and cross the neutral territory on foot (500 m). After exiting Georgian border control point you will 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 wine cellar “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 your hotel for overnight.
Driving distance: 180 km
Duration of sightseeing tour: 9-10 hours
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.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 9-10 hours
Driving distance: 190 km
Day 6: Tbilisi
 
In the morning, have a sightseeing tour of Tbilisi. Start at Metekhi church and 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 and pass 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. We will also see Sioni Cathedral, Anchiskhati Basilica, the clock tower of famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre, and the Bridge of Peace, which leads to the Rike Park. After a couple of hours at your leisure, visit local restaurant to taste traditional Georgian cuisine. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Driving distance: 10 km
Day 7: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Ananuri – Kazbegi
 
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, 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, the main cathedral of Mtskheta and a sacred place where the robe of Christ is being kept. Continue to Ananuri Complex, a former residence of Argveti Dukes. The complex features churches and towers dating back to the 16-17th centuries, beautifully overlooking the Jinvali reservoir. Continue driving on Georgian Military Highway passing through the highest point of it at 2379 m above sea level. En-route, make a stop at the mineral water spring flowing down from a hilltop. Arrive at Kazbegi, a small town with the views of Mt. Kazbek (or Mkinvari) 5033 m, the seventh highest peak in the Caucasus Mountains. Visit Gergeti Holy Trinity Church located at an altitude of 2170 and enjoy breathtaking views to Mt Kazbegi. Overnight at the hotel in Kazbegi.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 7-8 hours
Driving distance: 180 km
Day 8: Kazbegi – Gori – Uplistsikhe – Tbilisi
 
Breakfast. Drive to Stalin’s hometown of Gori. Visit the Stalin Museum, which includes more than 60,000 artifacts, the tiny house where Stalin was born, and an impressive bulletproof train that Stalin used to travel to Yalta and Potsdam. Explore the cave town of Uplistsikhe, which dates back to the Hellenistic Period and is notable for its unique combination of various styles of rock-cut architecture, including both pagan and Christian. Reach Tbilisi. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 8-9 hours
Driving distance: 300 km
Day 9: Tbilisi – Armenian border – Haghpat – Lake Sevan – Sevanavank – Yerevan
 
Breakfast. Meet your driver at the hotel after breakfast to transfer to the Georgian-Armenian border point, Sadakhlo-Bagratashen. Cross the border and meet your Armenian guide and driver to start the journey to the land of ancient traditions and the ancient churches. Drive to the Lori region and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Haghpat Monastery. This stunning example of traditional Armenian architecture was erected between the 10th and 13th centuries. Standing on a hillside, Haghpat beautifully overlooks the Debed River Canyon. The monastery's location was chosen to protect the peace and seclusion of the monks. Drive through Dilijan to Lake Sevan, one of the largest high-mountain freshwater lakes in the world. The lake’s coastline is rich with dense woods, white cliff faces, mountain steppes, and Alpine meadows. Visit Sevanavank Monastery, which is situated at the lake and is surrounded by mountains. Reach Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, in the evening. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 9-10 hours
Driving distance: 370 km
Day 10: Yerevan – Etchmiadzin – Yerevan
 
In the morning, drive out of the city to Etchmiadzin, the Holy See of Armenia and the residence of the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church – the Catholicos of All Armenians. Return to explore Yerevan, the oldest capital city in the South Caucasus. Yerevan is known as the Pink City and attracts visitors with its humble yet splendid landscapes. Our first stop in Yerevan will be at the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex on Tsitsernakaberd Hill. Next, visit the Cascade Monument, which was the main symbol of the city's 2,780th anniversary and has the equivalent number of stairs – this enormous staircase is 500 meters high and 50 meters wide. From the top of the monument, enjoy a breathtaking city view that includes the Opera House, Opera House, Mount Ararat, Swan Lake, Republic Square, and Abovyan Avenue, all of which we’ll see as we walk the streets of Yerevan.
In the evening, visit traditional Armenian restaurant for a farewall dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Driving distance: 50 km
Day 11: Yerevan – Khor Virap – Areni cave – Noravank – Yerevan
 
At 08:00, we will head to Khor Virap Monastery. According to the legend, St. Gregory the Illuminator, the Baptist of Armenia, had been kept in the basement here for 13 years for disseminating of Christianity until King Tradt decided to adopt the new religion. The monastery’s location allows you to enjoy the best views of Mount Ararat. Drive to Noravank Complex situated on a ledge of a deep winding gorge. Noravank stands amidst the bizarrely shaped, precipitous red cliffs. Continue to Areni Cave complex, where in 2010, the earliest shoe in the world was found. Depart back to Yerevan. On the way, stop in Areni, a town known for producing alcoholic drinks from pomegranate, apricots, and a variety of berries (degustation). Arrive in Yerevan at around 18:00. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 7-8 hours
Driving distance: 240 km
Day 12: Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Yerevan
 
Depart Yerevan and drive to Garni, the only pagan temple in Armenia that survived the introduction of Christianity in the 4th century. Next stop is the monastery complex called Geghard (“spear”). The beautiful landscape of Geghard is framed by towering cliffs. Decorative art cut into the rocks reflect and explain Medieval development in this part of the world. The complex appeared in the 4th century around the sacred spring inside of the cave. Return to Yerevan.
You will have a free afternoon to explore more of Yerevan (Ararat Brandy Factory, Matenadaran manuscripts museum, History museum, or the souvenirs market “Vernisage”). Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Driving distance: 80 km
Day 13: Yerevan – departure
 
Check-out from the hotel till noon. Free time till transfer to Yerevan International Airport. End of the tour.
Driving distance: 10 km
  • All transfers (1-2 pax by sedan, 3-4 pax by Mercedes Vito or similar, 5-10 pax by Mercedes Sprinter passenger van, 11-20 by 30-seats bus);
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room sharing, breakfasts included;
  • Sightseeing tour program in each country with local English-speaking guides;
  • Entrance tickets to sights as per itinerary;
  • Dinners in Baku, Tbilisi, and Yerevan;
  • Wine tasting in Kakheti region, Georgia and Areni, Armenia;
  • Azerbaijan E-visa;
  • Bottled drinking water.
  • Full board (lunches and dinners);
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Tips are not included, but would be appreciated;
  • Personal travel insurance.

Accommodation:

Economy Option
Comfort Option
Baku - 2 nights
Central Park, Azcot or similarHoliday Inn, Intourist or similar
Sheki - 1 night
IssamSheki Saray, Sheki Palace or similar
Telavi - 1 night
Old Telavi, Alaznis Veli or similarChâteau Mere, Erekle II or similar
Tbilisi - 3 nights
Tiflis or similarRiver Side, Citrus or similar
Kazbegi - 1 night
Guesthouse Maili, guesthouse Gogi Alibegashvili or similarSno, Green Sheep or similar
Yerevan - 4 nights
Cascade, Silachi or similarDouble Tree by Hilton, Opera Suite or similar

More similar tours toCaucasus Essentials

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
Azerbaijan and Georgia Tour #1

Explore unique world of Caucasian hospitality with the eight-day Azerbaijan and Georgia Tour 1. Discover the most exciting destinations and sights of the Land of Fire and the Land of ...

Details
Capitals of Caucasus Tour

If you only have few days, but want to explore the hospitable Caucasus as much as possible, check out this 5 day tour to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. The Capitals of Caucasus Tour will ...

Details
Sacred Caucasus

Skim the cream of the Caucasus in an eight-day tour to hospitable Georgia and historical, yet modern Armenia. Traveling through the two oldest Christian countries in the world will open up ...

Details