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Highlights of Georgia & Armenia

from $3,049.00

A fascinating cultural journey through the heart of the Caucasus

  • Reviews 18 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 25/06/2020
4/5

Highlights of Georgia and Armenia

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Views of Mount Ararat - and Mount Kazbek
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Both were very good and a fund of historical and theological knowledge - almost too much to absorb at times I'm afraid! But we had been warned there'd be a lot of churches - and they are a very important part of the history of these countries.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that the quite appalling roads in Armenia and almost as bad in Georgia will make the journeys by bus from place to place very uncomfortable. We hadn't realised that we would spend so much of each day having our bones shaken to this extent! Anyone with back problems take heed. Make sure you have good footwear - you'll be walking on a lot of very uneven surfaces and some very steep and slippery rocks if you take all the opportunities offered.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would be good if all the transport had seat belts, and drivers should not be allowed to use mobile phones while negotiating hairpin bends on mountain roads.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

HIGHLIGHTS OF GEORGIA & ARMENIA

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Armenia - The scenery was wonderful, and the little Churches perched on hilltops were magical.  Each day there was a lovely lunch in a beautiful setting, and the best of all was with a family in their garden near to Lake Sevan.Georgia - The drive up the Georgian Military highway was fantastic with magnificient scenery and interesting stops along the way.  What a shame we arrived too late in the day to walk up from Kazbegi to Holy Trinity Chruch and had to go by jeep.  The food in Georgia was also a highlight.  I did a wine-tasting too - the wines were memorably good.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Both Mery in Armenia and Eliza in Georgia were excellent guides, enthusiastic and keen to tell us about their country.  Both made that extra effort, such as buying us local delicacies to try, which added to our experience and made the holiday really memorable.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a swimming costume to Armenia; it is hot there and many of the hotels have swimming pools.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great travelling companions too.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
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 25/06/2020
4/5

armenia nd Georgia Holiday May 2015

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The cave dwellings at Uplistslikhe, an amazing lifestyle depicted, and the wine tunnels in the Kareba winery plus the serving of lunch beneath the trees there with a small waterfall tinkling in the background. Also the Tatev Monastery, reached by cable car over a deep valley.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Anna spoke very good English and was very knowledgeable of the history of places we visited. I must admit she did talk for almost an hour on the history of places to be visited on one day which was far too long for us all to remember and absorb what she was saying. I felt she was young and given time will become more au fait with tourists needs, perhaps a little more warmth in her approach to people.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to walk about 400 metres at the border crossing between Armenia and Georgia, in the heat. We were not informed of this beforehand and we found it quite a drag with our luggage.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I felt we visited too many monasteries and cathedrals to remember all the details of each. Would have preferred more contact with local families in their homes and more cultural experience - like folk dances and their music.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
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!

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