Discover the treasures of two of the Caucasus republics on this private tour, from the fashionable boulevards of Yerevan to the winding alleyways of Tbilisi’s Old Town. Travel past towering mountain ranges and through fertile valleys where the relics of early Christianity watch over the timeless landscape. Taste delicious Georgian wines and uncover a fascinating social history spanning over 2,000 years from early pagan worshippers to 20th century Soviet leaders.
Take an overnight flight to Tbilisi.
Arrive in Tbilisi and transfer to the hotel for immediate check in. Enjoy the morning at leisure before heading out for an afternoon walking tour. Pass through the old town towards Liberty Square and onwards past the pretty exteriors of the Georgian National Museum, Georgian Parliament and Kshueti Church before arriving at the Rustaveli Metro Station. Head underground for a short journey to Avlaberi Station before heading above ground for a walk through Rike Park to the Aerial Tramway. Take the cable car to the Narikala Fortress for a panoramic view of Tbilisi's Old Town before returning to the hotel. (B/L)
Explore the city at leisure. Perhaps tour the museums or visit the central market. (B)
This morning depart Tbilisi and drive to the Kakheti region, home to picturesque mountains, endless vineyards and delicious Georgian wines. Arrive in Telavi which sits surrounded by the mountains of the Great Caucasus and visit the farmer's market for a chance to sample local dishes. Continue to Tsinandali Estate and stroll through the English-style gardens before journeying to Sighnaghi, an 18-19th century fortified town known as the city of love. Before returning to Tbilisi visit the Bodbe Monastery which sits among soaring cypress trees. (B/L)
Today your Armenian guide and driver will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and drive you to the Georgia/Armenia border. After immigration formalities continue the drive to Lori Province and the Akhtala Monastery for a brief stop before journeying onwards to UNESCO World Heritage listed Haghpat which overlooks the Debed River. Time permitting a visit will also be made to the 10th Century Sanahin Monastery before ending the day at the Tufenkian Avan Dzoraget Hotel which sits in a picturesque location. (B/L)
After breakfast depart Dzoraget heading towards Dilijan. En route stop to visit the 7th Century Odzun Church which houses one of the finest basilicas in Armenia. Continue to Vanadzor and visit a stone carvers studio where traditional Armenian cross stones are still made. End the day in Dilijan and take a walk along the museum street of preserved and restored 19th century homes. This afternoon head out of Dilijan to visit Goshavank Monastery and end the afternoon back in Dilijan with a class in preparing Gata, a traditional Armenian dessert, which you may enjoy after dinner. (B/L/D)
This morning drive to Lake Sevan which is the largest body of water in the Caucasus. Visit the Sevanavank Monastery before continuing along the western shore and over the 2410 metre Selim Pass. En route stop to visit the 14th Century Selim Caravanserai, one of the best preserved in the world. Enjoy lunch in Yeghegnadzor before heading to the oldest wine growing region in the world, Areni, to enjoy a spot of wine tasting. Continue to Noravank Monastery and onwards to Yerevan via Khor Virap Monastery which sits against a backdrop of snow-covered Mount Ararat. (B/L)
Spend the day exploring Yerevan city with your guide. Stroll through Republic Square towards Freedom Square passing by the Opera Theatre and ascending The Cascade, a giant limestone stairway adorned with fountains and modernist sculptures. Continue to Victory Park and the Mother Armenia Statue for sweeping views of the city. Jump in a taxi and drive to the Barekamutiun Metro Station for a journey back to Republic Square for further touring in this area. Visit the Post Office before strolling though Shahumyan Park and the Children’s Park on a slow loop back towards the hotel for lunch. The rest of the day is free in Yerevan. (B/L)
Depart Yerevan on a visit to nearby Garni and Geghard. At Geghard explore the Cave Monastery which was built in the 13th Century before continuing to the restored Garni Temple which dates back to the 1st Century AD and is a fabulous example of ancient local architecture and once the summer residence of Armenian kings. Enjoy lunch in a private home and return to Yerevan to visit the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial Complex. Return to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. (B/L)
Depart Yerevan and drive to Etchmiadsin and visit the Cathedral here, regarded as the religious centre of Armenia. Continue to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the marvellous medieval cathedral Zvartnots and Saint Hripsime Church before continuing to Gyumri. Check into the hotel after lunch followed by a tour of the city. Visit the Town Square and Black Fortress, a Russian Imperial Fortress built in 1834, before ending the day at the Marmashen Monastery. (B/L)
Depart Gyumri and drive back into Georgia and your next destination, Vardzia. Explore the cave monastery which sees tunnels running for 500 metres and across 19 levels. Continue to Khertvisi Fortress, one of the oldest in Georgia and resplendent in its position at the confluence of two rivers. Journey on to Akhaltsikhe and check in to the hotel before spending the afternoon at Rabati Castle. The remainder of the day is at leisure. (B)
Today the journey takes you back to Kazbegi, a long journey taking most of the day. Options for touring this morning include the Stalin Museum or the cave city of Uplistsikhe. After lunch near Gori head up the Georgian Military Highway passing through the Caucasus Mountains towards the Russian border. Arrive in Kazbegi and check in to the hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure to relax after a long day on the road. (B/L)
Spend today exploring the local area. Tour Kazbegi town in the morning before visiting Gergeti Holy Trinity Church which can be accessed by vehicle or hike. Enjoy lunch today with a local family before driving towards the Russian border for soaring views of the Dariali Gorge for a hike to the Gveleti waterfall. Return to Kazbegi. (B/L)
Return to the Georgian Military Highway for the journey back to Tbilisi. En route visit Ananauri with its amazing complex of churches and towers before continuing to Mtskheta, the religious capital of Georgia and home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, namely the Cathedral of Svetitskhoveli, Samtarvo Monastery and Jvari Church. After lunch complete the journey to Tbilisi and enjoy the evening at leisure. (B)
The day is free to explore the city for a spot of last minute sightseeing or shopping before the transfer to the airport for the evening flight home to the UK. (B)