Small Group Tour in Central Asia 2020

Small Group Uzbekistan and Georgia Tour 202017 Days | Uzbekistan, Georgia

Central Asia and the Caucasus is a fascinating and diverse, yet relatively unexplored, region. Rather than limit yourself to exploring a single country, discover the contrasts and similarities between two countries on this 10-day small group tour of Uzbekistan and Georgia. Experience two different religions as you journey from Uzbekistan’s Islamic mosques and madrassahs to Georgia’s Orthodox Christian monasteries and churches, and two different types of scenery as you admire Uzbekistan’s deserts and Georgia’s mountain villages and canyons. At the same time, appreciate the two countries’ shared history as part of the Soviet Union, and the common pride of the local people in their rich cultures.
Tour map

Tour itinerary:

Day 1, Fr: Tashkent – arrival
 
Arrival in Tashkent. Meet your driver and transfer to the hotel. Check in at noon. Free day.
Day 2, Sa: Tashkent – Urgench – Khiva
 
After breakfast start guided sightseeing tour in the capital of Uzbekistan, the biggest city in Central Asia. You will start with exploring the Old City. Visit Khast-Imam Complex, where the world famous Quran, holy book that belonged to Caliph Uthman, has been preserved. The complex consists of Barak-Khan Madrasah, Tillya Sheykh Mosque, Saint Abu Bakr Kaffal Shashi Mausoleum and the Islamic Institute of Imam al-Bukhari. Continue to Chorsu Bazaar. Then take a ride on Tashkent Metro to the city center walk through Amir Timur Square, Independence Square and visit Applied Arts Museum.
Transfer to domestic airport, evening flight to Urgench departing at 20:25 (1093 km, 1 h 30 min). Arrival in Urgench at 21:55, transfer to the hotel in Khiva (30 km, 35 min).
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 3, Su: Khiva – Urgench – Bukhara
 
After breakfast sightseeing tour in Khiva. Visit Ichan-Qala Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In Ichan-Qala Fortress visit Kunya-Ark, Sayeed Alauddin Mausoleum, Arab-Mukhamadkhan Madrasah, Oq-Masjid Mosque, Madrasah of Hodjan Berdi-biya, Shirgazikhan Madrasah, Abdullakhan Madrasah, Juma Mosque, Allakulikhan Madrasah, Tosh-Khovli Palace, Pakhlavan Makhmud Mausoleum, Minaret of Islom-Khoja. At 19:00 transfer to domestic airport flight to Bukhara at 21:00 arriving in Bukhara at 22:00. Arrival in Bukhara, transfer to the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 4, Mo: Bukhara
 
After breakfast start walking sightseeing tour in Bukhara.
Visit Lyabi Hauz Ensemble, Magoki-Attori Mosque, Chor-Minor Madrasah, trade domes, Kalyan Minaret, Kalyan Mosque and Miri-Arab Madrasah, Ulugbek and Abdulazizkhan madrasahs, Ark Fortress, Bolo-Khauz Mosque, Ismail Samani and Chashma-Ayub mausoleums. In the evening enjoy a National Show at Nadir Divan-begi Madrasah and a delicious dinner at the National house.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 5, Tu: Bukhara – Samarkand
 
Breakfast. Start the second day with a visit to Sitorai Mokhi-Khosa – the summer residence of Bukhara’s last emir, unique site combining Oriental and Russian architecture. Continue to the Mausoleum of Bakhouddin Naqshbandi and Chor-Bakr Necropolis. In the afternoon take the high-speed train, Afrosiyob, 15:52-17:20 or overland transfer. Arrive in Samarkand, check in to the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 3-4 hours
Day 6, We: Samarkand
 
After breakfast, Samarkand sightseeing tour. Visit spectacular Registan Square, Gur Emir Mausoleum – the mausoleum of Amir Timur, remains of Bibi Khanum Mosque, Siab Bazaar, Ulugbek Observatory. Free time in the afternoon.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Day 7, Th: Samarkand – Tashkent
 
Breakfast. Continue sightseeing tour in Samarkand. You will visit Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis, Afrasiab Museum and the Tomb of Saint Daniel. Then drive to Konigil village to explore traditional way of making Samarkand paper from mulberry. Farewell lunch in Samarkand.
At 16:30 transfer to the railway station to take the high-speed Afrosiyob train departing at 17:30 (300 km, 2 h 10 m) and arriving in Tashkent at 19:40. Pick-up and transfer to the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 4-5 hours
Day 8, Fr: Tashkent – Tbilisi
 
Transfer to the Tashkent international airport at 05:30. Take flight to Tbilisi at 08:00. Arrival at 10:40. Transfer to the hotel. Check-in at noon. Free day in Tbilisi.
At 19:00, meet your guide and other group members in the hotel lobby for welcome dinner at traditional Georgian restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 9, Sa: Tbilisi – Telavi – Shumi – Tsinandali – Tbilisi
 
After breakfast, drive towards the Kakheti Region, the cradle of Georgian wine, in eastern Georgia. Take a scenic route through Gombori Pass to reach Telavi, the region’s administrative and historic centre. Visit Batonis Tsikhe, which Kakhetian Kings lived between the 17th and 18th centuries. This castle encloses two churches, the ruins of a royal bathhouse, and the Persian style Palace of King Erekle II. Continue to Shumi Winery, which is scenically located in Tsinandali, the historical centre of Georgian winemaking. Here, have a delicious lunch and wine tasting experience. After lunch, take a guided tour of the winery and learn about its history. The last stop for the day will be Tsinandali Palace, the former residence of Georgian dukes. Prince Chavchavadze, a 19th century public figure and poet, turned the Estate into what it is today, with a beautiful English-style garden, a museum, and a wine cellar. Explore the palace and take the opportunity to taste several local wines. Return to Tbilisi by 19:00-20:00. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of the sightseeing tour: 9-10 hours
Driving distance: 220 km
Day 10, Su: Tbilisi – Jvari – Gori – Uplistsikhe – Kutaisi
 
Breakfast. Meet your guide at the hotel. Depart Tbilisi for western Georgia. The first stop will be at Jvari Church, which is built on a hilltop and is a true architectural masterpiece of the early Medieval Period. Enjoy the views of the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari Rivers, before continuing to Stalin’s home town of Gori to visit the Stalin Museum. This museum includes more than 60,000 artifacts, the tiny house where Stalin was born, and an impressive bulletproof train Stalin used to travel to Yalta and Potsdam. Then, explore the cave town of Uplistsikhe, which dates back to the Hellenistic Period. Uplistsikhe is notable for its unique combination of various styles of rock-cut architecture, including bothpagan and Christian architecture. Finally, drive to Kutaisi, the central city of western Georgia, over the Rikoti Pass and through Georgia’s longest tunnel (1,722m). Arrive in Kutaisi by 19:00. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of the sightseeing tour: 8-9 hours
Driving distance: 290 km
Day 11, Mo: Kutaisi – Gelati – Okatse Canyon – Kutaisi
 
After breakfast, visit Bagrati Cathedral, one of the best examples of late-medieval architecture. The cathedral towers over Kutaisi and is visible from almost any point in the city. Next, visit Gelati Monastery and Academy, which was built by King David the Builder (considered the most powerful king in Georgia’s history). Gelati was a major centre of spiritual and scientific life in the Middle Ages and welcomed large numbers of pilgrims. It is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. In the afternoon, take a 2-3 hour walk at Okatse Canyon, passing through the historical Dadiani Forest and following a 780m hanging trail that offers breathtaking views of the canyon and the forest. Return to Kutaisi after the walk. Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of the sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Driving distance: 130 km
Day 12, Tu: Kutaisi – Prometheus Cave – Dadiani Palace – Mestia
 
After breakfast, visit the Prometheus Cave and see its numerous stalactites and stalagmites. Then head to Zugdidi to visit the Dadiani Palace, before continuing through the Inguri Gorge to the mysterious Svaneti region. Svaneti is the home of a unique ethnic group – the heroic and courageous Svans – who are distinguished from other Georgians by their culture, traditions, and customs. The region is also famous for its original architecture and is called “the Country of a Thousand Towers”. These towers historically played both economic and defensive functions. Mestia still has dozens of medieval stone houses with the watchtowers and inhabited towers that were used to protect valleys and churches between the 10th and 14th centuries. Visit an original Svan house (“machubi”) and tower (“koshki”). Have dinner and stay overnight at a hotel in Mestia.
Duration of the sightseeing: 8-9 hours
Driving distance: 280 km
Day 13, We: Mestia – Ushguli – Mestia
 
After breakfast, take a scenic drive by 4x4 vehicle to Ushguli village, one of Europe’s highest continually-inhabited settlements (2,200m). In recognition of its outstanding cultural value to humanity, the Ushguli architectural complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll along Ushguli’s old, narrow, streets and visit the Lamaria Church complex with its impressive 12th century wall frescoes. Locals believe that Queen Tamara was buried under this church. Enjoy a picturesque view of Mount Shkhara before returning to Mestia. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 6-7 hours
Driving distance: 110 km
Day 14, Th: Mestia – Batumi
 
Breakfast. Visit the Mestia Ethnographic Museum, which was established in 1936 and has one of the richest collections of artifacts in the region. At noon, depart for Batumi (150km away). On the way, stop at Petra Fortress, which has green gardens beautifully overlooking the Black Sea. Arrive in Batumi, which is located in a natural Black Sea bay. Batumi is not only one of Georgia’s most important seaports, but also one of the country’s tourism capitals. Free evening to explore the city. Options include strolling along the Black Sea coast or watching the fascinating sight of ships departing from the harbour (best seen from Batumi Quay). Overnight at the hotel.
Duration of the sightseeing tour: 7-8 hours
Driving distance: 270 km
Day 15, Fr: Batumi – Tbilisi
 
After breakfast, check-out of the hotel and take a morning walking tour around the old city. Here, most of the houses were built in the 19th century, and you can feel history come alive in the rows of small shops where craftsmen are making copper ware and in the small cafés that produce a magnificent aroma of freshly brewed coffee. The old city is known for its variety of small and intricate architectural details: buildings are decorated with chimeras, mermaids, atlantes, and other mythical creatures. The tour will also visit Batumi’s Europe Square, Piazza Square, Alphabet tower, and Ali and Nino statue. Ride Georgia’s longest cableway (about 6 minutes) to the best panoramic viewpoint in the city. In the afternoon, take an optional tour to Batumi Botanical Garden, which is located on the Green Cape and offers amazing views of the Black Sea. Established in 1880, it is the largest and oldest botanical garden in the South Caucasus and hosts an incredible collection of more than 2,000 species of trees. If you don’t want to visit the Botanical Garden, we suggest visiting the Batumi Dolphinarium, Batumi Archeological Museum, or Borjgalo Ethnographic Museum. Return to Tbilisi on the evening train (departing at 17:55 and arriving at 22:50). Meet your driver and transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 2-3 hours (not including optional tour of Botanical Garden)
Driving distance: 30 km (not including the distance covered by train)
Day 16, Sa: Tbilisi
 
Breakfast, followed by a sightseeing tour of Tbilisi. Start at Metekhi Church and the monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. Visit Narikala Fortress to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Next, walk past Tbilisi’s only mosque, down to the sulphur bath house district. Enjoy a stroll through the Sharden area, which is full of narrow streets with cozy cafés, wine bars, and souvenir shops, and breathe in the history of Old Tbilisi. Also visit Sioni Cathedral, Anchiskhati Basilica, and the famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre’s clock tower, before crossing the Bridge of Peace to Rike Park. After a couple of hours at your leisure, join the group to proceed to one of the local restaurants for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant (departing from the hotel by bus at 19:00). Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Duration of sightseeing tour: 5-6 hours
Driving distance: 40 km
Day 17, Su: Tbilisi – departure
 
Breakfast. Check-out of the hotel by noon. Free time until your transfer to Tbilisi International Airport. Departure. End of the tour.
Driving distance: 30 km
  • All transfers;
  • 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;
  • Economy class tickets for flights Tashkent-Urgench, Urgench-Bukhara, Tashkent-Tbilisi;
  • Economy class tickets for trains Bukhara-Samarkand (subject to availability and maybe substituted to transfer by bus/auto), Samarkand-Tashkent (on rare occasions when the high-speed train is unavailable, we will replace this with the most-comfortable class of regular train), Batumi-Tbilisi;
  • Folklore show program at Nadir Divan-begi Madrasah and dinner at National house in Bukhara, farewell lunch in Samarkand, two dinners in Tbilisi and Mestia;
  • Two wine tastings (at Shumi and Tsinandali on day 9);
  • Bottled water during the tour.
  • Full board (lunches and dinners);
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Consular fees for visas;
  • Camera fees, charged separately by museums;
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Personal travel insurance.

Accommodation:

Tashkent - 2 nights
Ichan Qala, Sharq, Bek or similar
Khiva - 1 night
Malika Kheivak, Orient Star or similar
Bukhara - 2 nights
Amulet, Minzifa, As-Salom, K.Komil, Fatima, Bibikhanum, Basilic, Kavsar
Samarkand - 2 nights
Sultan, Platan or similar
Tbilisi - 4 nights
River Side, New Tiflis
Kutaisi - 2 nights
King David, Argo Boutique or similar
Mestia - 2 nights
Villa Mestia or similar guesthouse
Batumi - 1 night
Intourist, Piazza Boutique or similar

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