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Georgia and Armenia: In the Mountains of Myths

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 15 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 15 people
Destination(s): Armenia   Georgia  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey   Church Tours  
Season: June - September
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1699 Pound Sterling (GBP)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1699 Pound Sterling (GBP)

Tour Dates:
- 11 June
- 3 September
- 9 June next year
- 1 September.

Sandwiched between Europe and Asia, borrowing influences from both but retaining distinct cultural identities, Georgia and Armenia are incredibly exciting countries which offer real opportunities to get ‘off the beaten track’ and have a genuine adventure. Our small group tours and tailor made holidays to Georgia and Armenia have been carefully designed to include both key highlights and undiscovered gems, and give a fantastic insight into local culture and traditions.

Incorporating home stays we experience the best of the renowned local hospitality, explore the spectacular religious heritage of the region, spend time walking in the Caucasus Mountains and journey to the remote province of Svaneti, an enchanting land where traditions have changed little over the centuries. Georgia and Armenia are too often ignored by travelers, but have a wealth of attractions that rival far bigger countries, and demand the attention of every serious traveler.

Venture into some of Europe’s most remote and intriguing villages in the mystical region of Svaneti, a fiercely traditional land with incredible architecture, hidden away in the high mountains of the Caucasus. Stay in local homes to experience the best of Georgian and Armenian hospitality, explore stunning religious monuments and ancient cave cities and spend time in the fascinating cities of Tbilisi and Yerevan.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Tbilisi. Arrive in Tbilisi and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight Hotel Varazi or similar.

Day 2: Tbilisi. A guided walking tour around Tbilisi, taking in the fascinating history of this long overlooked region. We spend the day discovering sites such as the National Museum, home to many of the treasures that inspired the legend of the golden fleece, as well as the Narikala citadel, Metekhi Temple and the Sioni Cathedral, among other sites. Overnight Hotel Varazi or similar. Includes: (B), (L).

Day 3: Mtskheta - Kazbegi. We leave Tbilisi and drive to Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia. Mtskheta is packed full of historical monuments and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We explore the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and the 6th century Jvari Monastery before heading north along the Georgian Military Highway. We stop at the fortress of Ananauri before driving through dramatic scenery to Kazbegi. Overnight Hotel Stepantsminda or similar. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 4: Kazbegi. Surrounded by gigantic mountains Kazbegi is a picturesque settlement overlooked by the biggest of all - Mount Kazbek (5047 m) - one of the six 5000 meters peaks of the Caucasus. We walk up to the Church of the Holy Trinity, beautifully situated on the hill above the hill and providing splendid views of Mt. Kazbek. Those who wish to continue can hike further for views of the Gergeti Glacier. Alternatively, there is the option of taking a 4wd vehicle through Sno Valley to visit the village of Juta and the Chaukhi Mountains. Overnight Hotel Stepantsminda or similar. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 5: Gori – Kutaisi. Drive to Gori, best known for being the birthplace of Stalin. Those who wish to can visit the Stalin Museum – a unique testament to one of Georgia’s most famous sons. We then continue to Kutaisi, in the west, where we visit the Bagrati Cathedral and the Gelati Monastery. Overnight in a local house. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 6: Mestia, Svaneti. Drive to Zugdidi to start our journey into the mythical land of Svaneti. Passing villages we visit the 11th century Latali church, before reaching Mestia, the ‘capital’ of Svaneti. We stay tonight in a local home to experience the traditional hospitality that Georgia is so renowned for. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 7: Mestia. Mestia is a small provincial settlement surrounded by huge Caucasian Mountains, the most impressive of which are Ushba (4710 m) and Tetnuldi (4975 m) some of the most severe and beautiful summits of the Caucasus. We spend time exploring Mestia and its surrounding area, visiting the watchtowers which are so unique to Svaneti, a traditional Svanetian house and Mestia Museum. Overnight in local house. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 8: Ushguli. Morning drive to Ushguli village, the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe at 2400 metres. On the way we visit Nakipari church. On arrival in Ushguli we explore on foot, visiting the stunning medieval towers as well as Lamaria Church. Those who wish can take an easy hike along the valley leading to the foot of Mount Shkhara (5201 m). Overnight in local house. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 9: Bakuriani. We leave Svaneti behind and drive south to Bakuriani, in the Lesser Caucasus. En route we visit the 9th century Ubsi church. Overnight: Hotel Eurika or similar. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 10: Vardzia – Gyumri. Drive along the Kura Valley to the cave town Vardzia, dating back to the 12th century. On the way we also stop at Khertvisi fortress, built in the Middle Ages. We explore the caves before heading to the border with Armenia. We spend the night in the town of Gyumri, with its excellent 19th century Tsarist architecture. Overnight: Hotel Araks or similar. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 11: Sanahin – Haghpat - Dilijan. We take a tour around Gyumri this morning to see some of its architectural highlights before heading to the superb monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat, both World Heritage Sites. We then head to Dilijan where we take a short tour of the old town before heading to our accommodation. We stay tonight in a local home. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 12: Lake Sevan – Garni – Geghard. We drive to the vast Lake Sevan visiting the monastery of Sevanavank, situated on the lake shore. We then head to the 1st century Roman style temple at Garni, before heading to the cave monastery at Geghard, supposedly once home to the spear that pierced Christ on the cross. Our final stop is the capital, Yerevan, a very pleasant city with a cosmopolitan feel to it and some spectacular architecture. Overnight Hotel Hrazda or similar. Includes: (B), (L).

Day 13: Yerevan - Echmiadzin. Explore Yerevan on a tour of some of the city’s highlights. We visit the Matenadaran Museum, housing a unique collection of ancient manuscripts, and the Genocide Museum to learn about Armenia’s tragic recent history. We then head to nearby Echmiadzin, the spiritual home of Armenia which gives an insight into the first country in the world to adopt Christianity. En route back to Yerevan we stop at the ruins of the ancient temple of Zvartnots. Overnight: Hotel Hrazda or similar. Includes: (B).

Day 14: Khor Virap - Noravank. A short drive takes us to the monastery of Khor Virap, a once famous pilgrimage site with great views of Mt Ararat. We then head to the small village of Areni to taste some local wines, before heading to Noravank Monastery, one of the most splendid monuments of medieval Armenia and built in a stunning location. We return to Yerevan for our final evening. Overnight Hotel Hrazda or similar. Includes: (B), (L).

Day 15: Yerevan. Tour ends. Includes: (B).

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

- Single supplement: £220. Please note that it may not be possible to provide single rooms in home stay accommodation
- Return flights from London to Tbilisi and back from Yerevan start at £350.