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Highlights of Georgia & Armenia

from $2,749.00

A fascinating cultural journey through the heart of the Caucasus

  • Reviews 10 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
  • Group Size Small Group
    6 - 16
All about the Highlights of Georgia & Armenia.

The monasteries, churches and cathedrals of Georgia and Armenia are amongst the oldest in the world. Many are built in stunning locations, surrounded by gardens and forests, perched on top of dramatic gorges or silhouetted before snowcapped mountains. The range of scenery is immense, from Mount Ararat towering majestically over the skyline of Yerevan, to the lush valleys of ancient vineyards across the lowlands of Georgia. Here, wine has been produced for almost 10,000 years and there is the opportunity to visit one of its most famous wine cellars.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 3 dinners
* 11 nights hotels and 2 nights guesthouses (shared facilities in guesthouse)

Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
* Airport Transfers (at designated times)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • Azerbaijan extension

Highlights

  • Visit UNESCO churches and fortresses in Georgia
  • See Mount Ararat towering over Yerevan
  • Explore spectacular monasteries in Armenia including Khor Virap
  • Walk among the pre-Christian cave houses in Uplistsikhe
  • Experience cafe culture in Tbilisi
  • Have the option to add-on an Azerbaijan extension

Key information

  • 11 nights hotels and 2 nights guesthouses (shared facilities in guest house)
  • Group normally 6 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Travel by private minibus
  1. Day 1 Start Yerevan

    Start Yerevan*Regineh Hotel or similar*

  2. Day 2 Full day exploring Yerevan and the surrounding area.

    A short drive through the city takes us to the churches of Hripsime and Gayane followed by Echmiadzin. This was the capital of Armenia from 180 to 340 AD (when Christianity was first adopted by the Armenian people). The main cathedral sits amongst hedges and lawns, where bearded clergy in dark robes sit in theological debate. In the gardens, there are many fine khachkars (carved cross stones) and bell towers. After lunch, we visit the impressive 7th-century ruins of Zvartnots Cathedral and then the Genocide Memorial and museum, dedicated to the massacre of 1.5 million victims in 1915. The visit will help us understand how the huge Armenian diaspora community has developed across the world.*Regineh Hotel or similar*

  3. Day 3 Morning visit to Geghard Monastery and pagan temple at Garni; afternoon free.

    In the morning we drive for an hour to Geghard Monastery (a UNESCO site) where on the hillside you can still see caves that housed monastic cells. A short drive takes us to the village of Garni where we explore the only pagan temple left in Armenia, and outside we’re likely to meet friendly locals selling homemade honey and sweets. After lunch, we return to the city with free time to sample the thriving café culture of Yerevan.*Regineh Hotel or similar*

  4. Day 4 Khor Virap Monastery; wine tasting at Areni village; visit Noravank monastery; to Goris.

    Today is a long but fascinating day. First, we visit the Matenadaran (Armenia’s ancient manuscripts library) which is an imposing building at the top of Yerevan’s grandest avenue. Leaving the capital we drive to the monastery of Khor Virap, one of the holiest sites in the country, with stunning views of Mount Ararat. Our second stop is in Areni village where the finest Armenian wine is produced. Here we visit a vineyard and have a tasting. The next stop is Noravank, where, after lunch we visit the monastery (a masterpiece of the 13th century architect Momik) dramatically located in the canyon.Afterwards we journey for approx. 3hrs to the small town of Goris where we stay the night.*Diana Hotel or similar*

  5. Day 5 Visit to Tatev Monastery. Silk Road and Lake Sevan via Selim Caravanserai and Noraduz.

    The day starts with taking one of the world’s longest cable cars to visit the Tatev Monastery, perched on the edge of the Vorotan Canyon.On our return, it’s a two-hour drive on part of the ancient Silk Road, where we stop for a lunch break then drive on for another hour up to the well-preserved 14th century Selim caravanserai. From here we continue to the top of the pass where the landscape changes, before descending to the blue water of Lake Sevan. We make a stop at Noraduz to see the ’forest’ of khachkars (cross-stones which incorporate both Pagan and Christian symbols) before continuing to our hotel on the shores of the lake, the largest in the Caucasus and known as Armenia’s ’seaside’. The lake is volcanic and lies at an altitude of 1950m reflecting the sky like a mirror and changing colour throughout the day.*Bohemian Resort Hotel or similar*

  6. Day 6 To Sevanavank and Haghartsin Monasteries; to Haghpat.

    After breakfast, we visit Sevanavank, a famous monastery with commanding views of Lake Sevan.Our group then heads north to Lori, the lush alpine region of northern Armenia. After a short stop in Dilijan, a small town known for its arts and crafts, we visit the 12th-century Haghartsin Monastery, nestled in a forested valley. This beautiful site, whose name means ‘Dance of the Eagles’, was built by two brothers, princes of the Bagratuni kingdom. On the way to Haghpat, our final stop of the day, we pass through Molokan villages. Molokans (milk drinkers) are a sect of Russian Old Believers who broke away from the Russian Orthodox Church in the 16th century.*Qefo Hotel or similar*

  7. Day 7 Visit mediaeval churches at Haghpat and Sanahin before crossing into Georgia; to Tbilisi.

    Our final morning in Armenia includes visits to the impressive UNESCO sites of Haghpat and Sanahin. After lunch in Alaverdi we will continue on to cross the border. Here we say goodbye to our Armenian leader and driver and walk approximately 10 minutes across the border into Georgia, where we will be met by our new guide, and travel onto the capital Tbilisi. Our hotel is a short walk to the wonderfully restored historical centre with its relaxing pavement cafes and bars.*Tbilisi Inn or similar*

  8. Day 8 Walking tour of Tbilisi; free afternoon.

    Much of Tbilisi can be visited on foot and in the morning we will explore the old town. Here we see the ancient sulphur baths, Sioni Cathedral – the main church of Tbilisi and the beautifully decorated synagogue, built at the beginning of the 20th century. We will also visit Rustaveli Avenue, the main artery of the city and the Treasury of the State Museum, with its fantastic collection of pre-Christian gold artefacts and jewellery.The rest of the afternoon will be free, with time to explore the art galleries, handicraft and painting markets and the enormous new Holy Trinity Cathedral, all within a reasonable distance from our hotel. Or you may choose to just relax with a coffee in one of the many cafes that line the streets of the old town.*Tbilisi Inn or similar*

  9. Day 9 To Kazbegi village for views of Mt. Kazbek; alpine walk to Gergeti Trinity Church; onto Gudauri.

    After breakfast, we will take a long drive up the Georgian Military Highway, through the great Caucasus Mountains via Ananuri Church. Our goal for the day is the town of Stepantsminda (formerly Kazbegi) where, after lunch, we walk up through the village of Gergeti to the landmark Holy Trinity church. The walk will take us about 2-3 hours in total. For those who don’t want to walk, local jeeps can usually be rented for a reasonable cost. Hopefully we will have clear views of Mount Kazbek, the third highest of the Georgian Caucasus Mountains, soaring to 5047m. We will drive back to the ski resort of Gudauri, where we have dinner and spend the night in a cosy alpine hut style hotel.*Hotel Alpine Hut or similar*

  10. Day 10 To Uplistsikhe pre-Christian cave town; onto Gori, birthplace of Stalin; finish Kutaisi

    Today is our longest day. We drive three hours to Uplistsikhe which was once an enormous cave town dating from the pre-Christian era. In times of siege, dead bodies were temporarily buried in jars until they could be peacefully re-buried and a large underground tunnel to the river for water collection still exists. Ancient temples and theatres can still be identified and we walk up sandstone steps for a winding view across the river and plains.We take a short drive to the town of Gori, the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. Visiting Stalin Square where a huge statue of him used to stand we take a guided tour of the fascinating museum of his life and the role he played in the Soviet Union. Stalin’s bulletproof train carriage, which he used to travel to the Potsdam Conference in 1945, lies in the grounds of the museum. It is worth a visit for its simple but elegant interior. The small wooden house where he was born is also here in a temple-like structure – there are still people in Georgia who greatly admire Stalin. We then continue to Kutaisi where we spend the night.*Kutaisi guesthouse*

  11. Day 11 Explore Kutaisi's UNESCO sites; walk in Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park; to Bakuriani.

    After breakfast we visit the ruins of the 11th century Bagrati Cathedral poised prominently above the river, and travel to the Gelati Academy and Monastery, founded by King David the Builder in the 12th century. It is no surprise to find he chose yet another superb location for this monastery, whose monks were members of the royal court. Both sites, Bagrati and Gelati, have been on the UNESCO World Heritage in Danger list since 2010. From here we drive to the lovely Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park and take a guided walk. We then continue to the small ski village of Bakuriani where we will spend the night in an alpine hut-style hotel.*Hotel Apolon or similar*

  12. Day 12 Visit Mtskheta; drive back to Tbilisi; free evening in the Georgian capital.

    Today we travel back to Tbilisi, stopping at Mtskheta, the former capital of Georgia where we will see the 11th-century Sveti-Tskhoveli Cathedral, the largest functioning cathedral in Georgia. However, the main reason people visit Mtskheta is to see Jvari church, perched on a hill overlooking the valley and built in the 6th century on the spot where St. Nino set up her cross in the 4th century which converted the town from paganism to Christianity. Continuing on to Tbilisi we will have some free time to enjoy this historic capital.*Tbilisi Inn or similar*

  13. Day 13 Visit Signagi and the wine region of Kakheti. Lunch and wine tasting; return to Tbilisi.

    After breakfast we leave Tbilisi, driving east to the wine region of Kakheti, where we visit the recently renovated royal town of Signagi. Lunch will be taken at a local winery where we will enjoy traditional cuisine and have the opportunity to taste the wines. From here we continue to the citadel of Gremi on the banks of the Intsoba river and onto the 11th century Alaverdi Cathedral – the main spiritual centre of this region – surrounded by impressive defensive walls dating mainly from the beginning of the 18th century. We make our way back to Tbilisi for our final night in Georgia.*Tbilisi Inn or similar*

  14. Day 14 Finish Tbilisi

    Our tour ends after breakfast.

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Where you stay

Hotels and Guesthouses

You will spend 11 nights in hotels and 2 nights in guesthouses. The hotels in Yerevan and Tbilisi are modern city centre properties, within walking distance of all the main sights. Each offers buffet breakfast and Wi-Fi. The hotel in Tbilisi has a small indoor swimming pool and a terrace bar offering panoramic views of the Georgian capital. At Lake Sevan the hotel is resort style with a large pool and beautiful views out across the lake. Two of the nights in the countryside are in more basic accommodation with facilities shared across two or three bedrooms, but both are a family run and offer a very warm welcome.

Single supplement prices starting from USD$651.

 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 7 lunches and 3 dinners are included.

Georgian specialities include Khachapuri (cheese pies), Khinkali (meat dumplings) and Lobio (bean stew with herbs and spices). There are many sauces made from walnuts to accompany cheese or meat dishes. Churchekhela – walnuts in solid grape juice is a typical local sweet.

Armenian specialities feature a variety of local cheeses, flat Lavash bread, sweet Lavash made from fruits, Khoravats (barbecues), Dolma (stuffed vine leaves), Kartofel (raisin and apricot pilaf rice dish) and Kyufta (veal meatballs cooked with cognac).

Local beer, wine, vodka and cognac are readily available in both countries as is fruit vodka, which is locally distilled and tastes more like grappa. Still and sparkling water is easy to find, as are other soft drinks. There is a huge variety of food in both countries.

Vegetarians can easily be catered for, as there are lots of fruit and vegetables, cheese and other dairy products, various local breads and dumplings. Vegans or those with wheat or dairy intolerance will find there is far less variety but can be accommodated. Walnuts are ubiquitous in salads and sauces, so those with nut allergies should be aware. Please advise our office at the time of booking if this affects you.

This trip is graded leisurely/moderate. The trip does involve some long days and drives. This is due to the state of the roads and an attempt to make the most of the time we have there. You don’t need to be fit, although there is some day walks scheduled on uneven paths, and some walks in the city are quite long.

The accommodation style can vary from night to night and as this area is generally still in the early stages of tourism a flexible attitude is required when it comes to services such as plumbing, service in restaurants, shops and guesthouses, as well as the order of the itinerary.

Inquire with our office or with the local embassy for Visa entry requirements into Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Inquire with our office on recommended vaccinations for travel to Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 07/10/2019
4/5

Two wonderful countries

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    At my request our guide kindly added a brief visit to an artists home and gallery in the village of Garni. We had a tour of the gallery, met the artists, discussed their work and methods and had a quick tour of their old family home. One of the artists was a tapestry weaver, her work was amazing in design and colour and now back home, has inspired me to dig out my weaving loom. It was very interesting side excursion and made a nice change from churches and monasteries. Maybe something that could be added to future tours.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Both our leaders were exceptional, Sahakanush (Armenia) and Nino (Georgia). Quite different in their approaches but both very knowledgeable and were happy to inform us of all parts of their cultures, giving us an insight into their respective countries and talking on topics such as history, education, economics, and all sorts of social aspects and taboos. Sahakanush even introduced us to different types of Armenian music with CD's for the long bus journeys. Both had lovely terms of address, Sahakanush ‘my dears’ and Nino ‘ladies & gentlemen’, they were always polite, friendly and helpful.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long bus journeys, maps, books and music helped while away the time; churches and monasteries do tend to blur into one after a while. Maybe there are a few too many! Long, full-on days mean little downtime at the end of the day. Take advantage of the included lunches, several hotels outside of the cities had no nearby facilities eg; cafes, bars, restaurants. By having a large lunch, we found that a hotel soup would suffice in the evening. Be warned that Armenia doesn’t have a no-smoking policy, and as well as bars, restaurants, smoking is also allowed in some hotel bedrooms. In Georgia there is ban due to be imposed in a couple of years, but many businesses already adhere to their own no-smoking policies and don’t allow it inside. Hotel Diana in Goris had a lovely café at the back of it’s carpark, amazing kebobs, borsch & pilaf. Dilijan - Tea with the ‘Molokan Family’ was a lovely experience, but the arts and crafts of Dilijan (apart from 1 woodcarver) seemed nothing more than tourist ‘tat’. In Yerevan take a walk around the Kond area of the city, lovely (pre-soviet) tumbledown houses and winding streets. Visit the cascade at dusk as it all lights up, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes here and a real bustling atmosphere as the whole city seems to come out for an evening promenade. Tbilisi is a lovely city, we didn’t go on the museum tour, preferring to explore more of the city, be sure to visit the Flea market, the Dezerter market and the Kaleidoscope House and if you feel brave take a bath in one of the many bath houses. Enjoy the wine tasting excursion and family hospitality. Beware of tiled floors in the showers, some are very slippery when wet.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Having a large coach (16 people to 50+ seats) enabled us to spread out and move around and change seats as required, which made the long journeys more comfortable. Surprisingly, all our hotels & guesthouses were of a very good standard, some quite luxurious and others more basic but clean and functional. The bad weather made the cable car trip very disappointing as you couldn’t really see much, however this wet misty cloud added great atmosphere to the view and exploration of the Tatev Monastery. We would have liked more time in Kutaisi, half an hour to explore the city centre was not enough and disappointedly we drove from there to a motorway service station where we stopped for an hour for lunch!

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
4/5

Highlights of Georgia and Armenia 2019

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was very impressed with Tibilisi. Clean city with lots of open spaces and a mix of modern and old architecture. Especially like the cafe culture. The food throughout trip was excellent and very reasonably priced. Really impressive scenery in the Causcasus mountains
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Armenia is developing it's tourism industry and I suspect that is why our tour leader wasn't a tour guide by profession. Taguhi was by profession an English lecturer at the University in Yerevan and you could tell. She had done lots of research and sometimes delivered her commentary like a lecture with far too much detail. Having said that, she was competent and kept on schedule, organising meals as we went along. It was actually nice to have a leader who wasn't a trained guide, just a local who is passionate about her country, it's history and culture. Taguhi is intelligent and she will quickly learn how to refine her skills as a guide. I had no problems. Just a little less detailed information please. In Georgia, our guide was Ia Mikiashvili. . Ia was in her early twenties and not long out of University where she studied tourism . Ia said she was little nervous at first as this was her first English group but she proved to be an excellent tour leader in every sense. She is a very friendly person with good English and she got on well with everyone. Ia has a good knowledge of the itinerary and can advise on places to visits, restaurants etc. She made herself contactable at all times and she has good organisation and problem solving skills . I think she will do very well in the tourist industry. Very well done Ia.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are interested in Georgian and Armenian churches and monasteries you will love this trip but be prepared for some long days travelling. Make sure you check in on line. Either print your boarding pass or download to your phone
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    1. Coach transport in both countries was very good. Both coaches were clean tidy and comfortable with good microphone systems. WiFi and USB charging on the Georgian coach was very well received by everyone. 2. We had free water in Armenia but none in Georgia as we were told it was Exodus policy. Confused? 3. Hotels were very good throughout. I was expecting some standard and budget accommodation but all hotels were good, clean and with full amenities. 4. The food included as part of the tour was very good in both countries. It's a good idea to have group meals provided especially early on as it brings the group together. 5. The itinerary in Georgia was fine but in Armenia there is a need to introduce some variation so guests can experience other aspects of the history and culture other than churches and monasteries. Perhaps needs to be more balanced.. for example we spend what seemed a long time looking at ancient manuscripts and books, which wasn't so interesting and not a lot of time in the genocide museum which was. We seemed to be rushed sometimes trying to cover everything in the itinerary. On the last day we asked if we could miss out the last part of the itinerary other wise we would have been back for our final meal around 9.30pm. Perhaps need to revise the itinerary and introduce some more free time en-route. 6. Our hotel in Tibilsi was very nice but not good for those who are a little infirm and have difficulty difficulty walking uphill. There is also disturbance from a disco across the street which goes on until 5 am. 7. In Armenia we were asked by the tour leader for copies of our passports. Taguhi didn't know why her company wanted this just that she had been asked to get copies. Privacy and security are big issues in the West and so without any explanation I don't think anyone provided their passports.

Reviewed On 20/09/2019
4/5

Armenia Georgia and Azerbaijan

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I found the whole trip inspirational I didn’t know what to expect and felt that I know much more now Glad I added on the extension to Azerbaijan as it was totally unexpected with wonderful buildings and not Just the old town
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Guides were superb. Rafik in Armenia was excellent with unsurpassed knowledge. We all loved his humor and sense of fun Nino in Georgia was very knowledgeable and gave us a really good insight to the country Aida in Azerbaijan was also excellent with knowledge and even if she didn’t eat with us came to the restaurants to help us select Can honestly say three of the best guides ever
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A really good trip and super I sight into the three countries. Do add on Azerbaijan as well worth the visit
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Most of the hotels were very good except for the two in the mountains. Very much ski hotels and a bit faded and needing refurbishment It would be good to remind the guides that when traveling on the coaches the clients should be reminded to swap around the coach. We did have two people for the whole trip who hogged the two front seats every time and country and nothing was said. It can be awkward for the others on the coach to bring it up I did find this unusual as have always been used to swapping around on other trips

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
4/5

Two very beautiful countries

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking up to the Trinity Church, only 2 members of the group did it but it was well worth the effort. Spectacular scenery and even in the heat the walk wasn't too strenuous, if you can and enjoy walking give it a try.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Sofia in Georgia was brilliant, speaks excellent English and is incredibly knowledgeable of her country.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    When looking at trips I read a review from someone else warning younger travellers to think twice about this trip as on theirs the average age was quite high. I'm 33 and although I was the youngest member of my particular group I still had a fantastic time with great people, please don't let that other review put you off booking!

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Armenia nd Georgia are excellent destinations

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I'm not a religious person, but I actually very much enjoyed visiting the numerous churches and monasteries.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    The leaders in both countries were excellent. It was Nona in Armenia and Sophia in Georgia. Both ladies were intelligent and friendly, and everything flowed smoothly which made the trip a nice experience.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some long days in the bus and be prepared to see many churches and monasteries along the way. The scenery is nice, and I never grew tired of looking at it.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'd skip the Azerbaijan extension at the end of the trip as it's VERY overpriced for such a short amount of time. The destination itself is fine, but the advertising is a bit misleading. It's not a 4 day extension as we were in Baku for under 48 hours. We only arrived at 9:30am on Day 2. Most of us had flights around 4am on Day 4.

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May 9, 2020
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