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Classical Georgia
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Classical Georgia

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 10 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 12 people
Destination(s): Georgia  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey   Food & Wine  
Season: May - October
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 990 Euro (EUR)
Maximum Per Person Price: 990 Euro (EUR)

Tour Highlights:
- Georgian Military Highway and Ananuri Fortress
- Gergeti Sameba Church
- Bagrati Cathedral
- Ubisi Temple
- Family marani (wine cellar)
- Village of Nakidara with St. George's shrine
- Ushguli, the highest settlement in Europe
- Svan folk singing
- Gori, birthplace of Stalin
- David Gareja cave monastery
- Tsinandali wine factory.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Old Tbilisi

Morning free to relax after your flight early in the morning. Meet other group participants and tour leader in the early afternoon, brief pre-tour orientation meeting. We begin our tour of Tbilisi, the vibrant capital of Georgia with a visit to Art Museum offering an exclusive collection - the icon of Zarzma Monastery, the Chalice of Bedia, Anchistkhati and Khakhuli Triptychs and much more. Providing an excellent introduction to the history of the city, the museum is an ideal place to start your exploration of Tbilisi, new and old. Walk in lively Kala, the medieval city center, small yards encircled by galleries, steep street stairs and houses with patterned balconies create picturesque images of Old Tbilisi. Kala also hosts some of Tbilisi’s trendiest restaurants featuring local and international cuisine. Optional visit to Nabadi folk theatre where a show of music, dance and song about Georgian legends and culture awaits us.
Overnight: Hotel in Tbilisi
Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 2: Old Tbilisi continued

Breakfast at hotel. Proceed to the tour of old Tbilisi. Best explored on foot our tour includes some of the most colourful sites of this ancient city - Metekhi Temple, Narikala Fortress with a marvelous panoramic view of the city, Sulfur Baths dating back to the time of Arab Khalifs, the Synagogue and Sioni Cathedral. Fine masonry with carved woodworks, arts and crafts workshops offer us an insight into the fascinating cultural diversity of Tbilisi. Continue to open air ethnographic museum of Tbilisi featuring 70 houses with traditional household furniture and utensils from various regions of Georgia. Optional sulphur bath with massage in the evening.
Overnight: Hotel in Tbilisi
Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 3: Caucasus Mountains

Travel the famous Georgian Miltary Highway and visit Ananuri Fortress. Arrive at Kazbegi, a lovely town nestled at the base of Caucasus Mountains. Enjoy the wildly beautiful views of Mount Kazbek (5,047m), one of the six 5,000 m peaks of the Caucasus range where Prometheus was said to be chained. Gergeti Sameba (Trinity), a remote but enchanting church dramatically sited at the foot of Kazbek, is a site not to be missed. In order to reach the church we will take a winding road uphill through flower-filled meadows enjoying fantastic vistas of the area (walking about 2-3 hours round trip). We spend the night at a cosy alpine hut style hotel in nearby Gudauri ski resort and enjoy genuine Georgian hospitality.
Overnight: Hotel in Gudauri
Meal plan: Breakfast, dinner

Day 4: Fortress of God

Travel to Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. Visit the remarkable Stalin Museum re-creating surreal and revealing scenes from the life of the tyrant. A large statue of the "Leader of the People" used to dominated the square of Gori until last year. Stalin's bulletproof train carriage, which he used to travel to the Potsdam Conference in 1945 lies in the grounds of the museum. Visit Uplistsikhe or Fortress of God, an ancient cave town dating back to I millennium BC. Explore its caves, temples, labyrinth passages and colonnaded streets, all carved out of stone. Wander among the impressive ruins of the amphitheatre, one of the oldest in the world. Afternoon proceed to Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia founded 3000 years ago, Jvari Church built to house the robe of Jesus Christ and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, major pilgrimage site listed as UNESCO World Heritage site. Arrival Tbilisi.
Overnight: Hotel in Tbilisi
Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 5. Wine and Art

Breakfast and departure from Tbilisi. The first stop of our visit is David Gareja cave monastery. Take a light hike up the mountain, the slopes of which lead you to another world. In the footsteps of ten centuries of pilgrims, explore Lavra and Udabno churches for fine frescos and rare examples of cave architecture. Continue deep into the heart of Alazani, a fertile valley boasting three hundred years of wine making. We reach romantic Signagi, UNESCO World Heritage site, cobbled streets and terra cotta tile-roofed homes with colorful carved balconies and breathtaking views of the Alazani Valley give it a very charming character. Time for walking and exploration followed by a visit to a family of winemakers to taste some of the finest red and white wines of the region including Rkatsiteli, a full-bodied dry white wine, Saperavi a deep, rich red wine. We learn first-hand about the local traditions of wine making and sample wines from kvevri, a clay jar kept in the ground. In the evening we make our way back to Tbilisi.
Overnight: Hotel in Tbilisi
Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 6: Highlights of Kutaisi, Kingdom of Colchis

Breakfast at hotel and embark on a journey revealing many secrets of the turbulent history of Georgia. Arrival Kutaisi, capital of ancient Colchis, Western Georgian Kingdom. Time to explore the town and visit 11th c. Bagrati Cathedral, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue to explore Gelati Monastery Complex and Academy founded by King David the Builder and Ubisa Temple with striking examples of Georgian monumental painting. A unique option this afternoon is a visit to Sataplia Caves famous for fine speleothems and dinosaur footprints. Now renovated and open to the public, this 300 m long cave abounds in stalactites and stalagmites. We enter the cave on one hillside, cross the hill underground and then go back on the surface past dinosaur footprints. Back to Kutaisi, free time, optional visit to wine house Marani, where we learn about the history of Imereti wines and taste some of the finest wines.
Overnight: Hotel in Kutaisi
Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 7: On to Svaneti

After breakfast we leave Kutaisi and drive to Zugdidi to start our 4WD trip to Zemo (Upper) Svaneti boasting several 4000-5000 meter peaks such as Shkhara (5,048m) and Ushba (4,700m). Surrounded by gigantic, white capped peaks of the Caucasus, Svaneti is one of the most remarkable historic regions of Georgia. Among these mountains live the Svans, independent and amazingly friendly people essentially cut off from the rest of the country. Arrive Mestia and start your exploration with a visit to the Ethnography Center with Svan lodging complex, icons from the middle ages and artifacts belonging to the royal family of Dadeshkeliani. Continue to Khergiani Museum with replica of unique temples of Lagami and Gekhtaga, proceed to the village of Nakidara with St. George’s shrine. Back to Mestia.
Overnight: Hotel in Mestia
Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 8: Ushguli, the Highest Settlement in Europe

Depart to traditional Ushguli community located 2,200 metres above sea level with its unique architecture and cult monuments amidst stern landscapes. We will find ourselves among Svan towers and fortresses, roaring waterfalls and dramatic peaks of the Great Caucasus Range. Step out of time and encounter the traditional lifestyle of these proud “people of the mountains”. St. Barbare and St. Kvirike shrines, traditional villages of Ipari and Kala are some of the highlights of the day full of impressions. Evening back to Mestia.
Overnight: Hotel in Mestia
Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 9: Back to Tbilisi

After an early breakfast and farewell to our hosts we make our long way to Tbilisi. Arrive Tbilisi in the evening, rest and overnight.
Overnight: Hotel in Tbilisi
Meal plan: Breakfast

Day 10: Farewell to Tbilisi

A free day in Georgia’s colorful capital allows time for personal exploration and perhaps the opportunity to sample the legendary nightlife!
Overnight: Hotel in Tbilisi
Meal plan: Breakfast

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

- 15 May 2012 - 25 May 2012: €990
- 12 Jun 2012 - 22 Jun 2012: €990
- 24 Jul 2012 - 3 Aug 2012: €990
- 7 Aug 2012 - 17 Aug 2012: €990
- 18 Sep 2012 - 28 Sep 2012: €990
- 9 Oct 2012 - 19 Oct 2012: €990.

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Europe   Georgia   Local Culture   Cultural Journey   Food & Wine