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Comprehensive tour of all three countries of the South Caucasus, our best-seller holiday package, is a well-balanced itinerary and a great deal to get you packing. While covering major tourist highlights this tour program will still bring you the sense of exclusive “travel like local” experience. The 14-day tour of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia will commence in Baku, capital city of Azerbaijan and one of the most dynamically developing megapolis’s in the area, with its picturesque views over the Caspian sea shore, ancient Oriental architecture and contemporary developments. Tours’ route continues to the North of the country towards its border with Georgia with trips to Absheron peninsula and its burning mountain (literally!), ancient stony village further up the trip, and Sheki town famous for its middle ages royal residence. Georgia will welcome our travelers at the Eastern countryside, region of Kakheti, known as a heart of Georgian winemaking. Followed by the tour of Tbilisi, the journey will also take you to the magnificent Kazbegi mountain with the Gergeti trinity church proudly overlooking the gorge below. Last 5 days of the Caucasus tour will be dedicated to magical Armenia – home to ancient monasteries, charming landscapes and spellbinding legends!
Our representative will meet you in the airport and arrange for hotel transfer.
Spend the first day in the region by exploring Baku, Azerbaijan capital city. Your guide will first take you to the “Shehidler Hiyabani” (memory alley) with a picturesque view opening from the site. Keep on wandering the new part of Baku and learn about XIX- XX centuries architecture: Nizami Ganjavi monument, Rasul-Zade Street, Nizami and Fountain square. Continue the tour by entering “Icheri Sheher” (inner town in old Baku) – famous Maiden Tower, Sheikh Shirvan Palace, “Caravanserai”, market. This day will finish with welcome dinner in local restaurant. Transfer to the hotel after dinner.
This day of the Caucasus tour will be dedicated to the travel to Greater Baku area and Absheron peninsula. Depart your Hotel and drive to Gobustan National Park, where you will see the petroglyphs from 10 thousand BC. You will continue the tour by visiting one of the most exciting sites in the area – mud volcanoes in Gobustan. It is believed that almost half of world’s mud volcanoes are in Gobustan. Next stop is an ancient temple of fire worshippers called Ateshgah. Known fact that centuries ago zoroastrians from India passed thousands of kilometers coming to Ateshgah to worship fire literally coming from underground. Azerbaijan is labeled as a “Land of fire” for a reason. “Yanardag” (burning mountain), your next destination, is a place where burning natural gas amazes visitors and wandering strangers for thousands of years. Transfer back to Baku.
Depart Baku towards Sheki region of Azerbaijan. Make en route stops at the Sheikh Diri Baba mausoleum and then keep on traveling to Shamakha, visit historical “Juma” (Friday) Mosque, “Yeddi Gumbez” (seven domes) mausoleum, as well as Sheikh Shirvan family graveyard. Breathtaking views offers you the road to Lagich passing Girdimanchay rivers’ canyon. The mountain village itself is a settlement established in the 5th century AD, and allows travelers to dive deep into the regions history and medieval atmosphere with narrow stone walkways. Arrive in the town called Kish, visit the Church of Saint Elishe, also known as 12th century Caucasian Albanian Church (currently inactive). Later in the evening arrival to Sheki, check-in to hotel.
In the morning before driving towards border with Georgia, you will have a brief tour of Sheki. The town is rich on historical, cultural and architectural heritage, with medieval fortress, Palace of Khans, Museum of history, mosque and madrassah, and local handicraft bazar being part of it.
Border with Georgia is about 2-hour drive away from Sheki. You will be met by local guide and vehicle on the other side to continue your exciting Caucasus journey with yet another fascinating country – Georgia.
Your Georgia tour will start with the region of Kakheti famous for its ancient winemaking traditions. Numerous vineyards as well as both big and small wine producing facilities are biggest landmarks of the region. Major highlight of the day is a wine tour and wine tasting at unique wine cellar “Gvirabi” (tunnel) by winemaking company “Khareba”, set inside the tunnel excavated in the XX century deep into the Caucasus mountain range. Next stop before driving to capital city Tbilisi will be the town called Sighnaghi, labeled recently as a “city of love”, mostly for the fact that one can register there their marriage 24/7. Previously a royal residence, Sighnaghi still surrounded by ancient city walls and currently one of the most popular travel destinations in Georgia. Drive to Tbilisi, check-in to hotel.
Georgian capital city for many centuries of its existence was a place where people of all faiths, cultural and national backgrounds used to live together, making Tbilisi a contemporary metropolis filled with history and atmosphere of the rich and great past. Your South Caucasus travel will continue this day with the tour of old Tbilisi: at the Metekhi church and King Vakhtang monument you will listen to the Tbilisi founding legend, continue by cable car to ancient Narikala fortress, walk down to the “Legvtakhevi” (fig) gorge and Tbilisi waterfall, passing by the church and mosque. Tbilisi flea market experience will be followed by stroll through the renovated pedestrian alley and part of the “New Tiflis” major renovation project of Georgian capital. And to make this day special – traditional Georgian welcome dinner will be attended. Transfer to hotel.
Tour to Georgia would not be complete without a journey to Kazbegi, a small town close to the border with Russia. The tour itinerary for this day will start with the Jvari monastery, architectural gem of the Caucasus, located on top of the hill overlooking major Georgian highlights – its old capital town Mtskheta; famous two rivers merging point where Mtkvari river meets river Aragvi; and transport highway entering Tbilisi. Another site worth making a stop on the way is Ananuri fortress – established in XVI century as a residence for local Dukes of Aragvi the complex is still a place that impresses all those passing by with its nobility and greatness. Other attractions en route include exciting view of two small mountain rivers making one, and flowing side by side without mixing their colors for quite a distance; also a picturesque mountain landscape viewpoint followed by the “Cross” pass. Arrive in Kazbegi, change a vehicle for 4-wheel-drive cars to get to Gergeti Holy Trinity church, nestled on top of one of the highest hills at 2170 meters above sea level. Drive to mountain resort Gudauri for overnight. Transfer to hotel.
After breakfast in the hotel start driving back towards Tbilisi with the stops in Uplistsikhe and Mtskheta on the way. From Gudauri in about 2-hour drive the group will arrive to the cave town Uplistsikhe – the magnificent remains of an ancient pagan settlement where all the houses used to be carved inside the rocks. Continue your Caucasus tours’ Georgian part by visiting a local family’s private wine cellar for house wine tasting and homemade lunch. After lunch arrive to Mtskheta, old capital town of ancient Georgia and one of the most important historical cities of the country. Visit the old town and its principal sight – Svetitskhoveli monastery. The name of the monastery means “living pillar” and it is widely believed that the place is a burial site of Jesus Christ’s mantle. Being one of the principal churches in Georgia, the monastery is also one of the most revered places in Caucasus. Transfer to Tbilisi.
Check-out from your Tbilisi hotel in the morning and depart towards the border between Georgia and Armenia (about 1.5-hour drive). On the other side, you will be met by local guide and driver to start touring the last destination country of the Caucasus tour – Armenia.
The first Armenian site to visit is Haghpat monastery, the X century architectural monument and UNESCO World Heritage list member, in the region of Lori. The next attraction of the tour is what is called a Jewel of Armenia – lake Sevan, the largest freshwater alpine lake in Caucasus and Eurasian region. Total surface area of the lake is 1900 square miles which comprises a sixth part of Armenia. Arrive to Sevanavank (Sevan monastery), ancient monastic complex which beautifully set in one of the coasts of lake Sevan and features two major churches – Surp Arakelots (Holy Apostles) and Surp Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God), founded in the year of 847 by Princess Mariam. Another distinguishing feature of the site is a magnificent view that surrounds the place – snowy mountains everywhere your eyes could see.
Arrive in Yerevan, check-in to hotel.
Sightseeing tour of Armenian capital is yet another exciting day of your travel to Caucasus. You will see how different it is from two previous capitals, especially with its colors – Yerevan has a distinguished color in its basic architecture (spoiler: it’s pink!). This city tour will start with probably the most adventurous part – Cascade Monument. Interesting fact about this place is that it has 2780 stairs to walk up, exactly the number of years Yerevan has celebrated recently. Walking up these stairs does have its reward – a fascinating view over the city, with gorgeous Ararat mountain, central square of Republic, major city avenue and beautiful Opera theatre building – all in a magic full view. And, as usual, the city tour of Armenian capital will complete with the national cuisine dinner and traditional folklore show. Transfer to hotel.
Continue your South Caucasus tour with a following program:
In the morning leave Yerevan for the Armenian village called Garni with its principal highlight – ancient pagan fortress of the I century BC. Drive to Geghard, IV century medieval monastery partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, and yet another UNESCO World heritage list site. Continue to the see of Vagharshapat and visit the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, known as “mother-church” of the Armenian Apostolic Church and residence of the Catholicos of All Armenians. Drive back to Yerevan, transfer to hotel.
The 2-day trip to Tatev in Armenia will start with the visit to Khor Virap (deep dungeon) monastery placed in the Ararat plain and used to be the residence for Armenian Catholicos. This monastery’s fame and a religious pilgrimage status came with the fact that St. Gregory the Illuminator, the Baptist of Armenia, spent 14 years here as a prisoner for disseminating Christianity. Next stop of the day tour in Armenia will be small town Areni, famous for its traditional wine made of pomegranates and apricots. Wine tour and tasting here is definitely a highlight.
Final stop for the day is IX century’s Tatev monastery itself. To get to the monastery you will be taking the longest non-stop cableway in the world (5.7 km). Views that opening to travelers are simply indescribable – you will have to see it with your own eyes. Transfer to the town of Goris for overnight.
After a lazy morning and delicious breakfast served in the hotel in Goris depart back to Yerevan. Make en route stop at the Noravank (new monastery) complex. The location of the site within the narrow gorge of Amaghu river is making you feel being in times when the monastery was founded – in 1205. Not mentioning the architectural style of the Complex itself – highly artistic monument reminiscent of the tower-like burial structures of the first years of Christianity in Armenia.
Transfer to hotel in Yerevan.
Check-out from your hotel before 12 pm. Airport transfer.
|City / Town (number of nights)||Option A – Comfort||Option B – Budget|
|BAKU (3 nights)||Park Inn Hotel, Baku Intourist Hotel||Central Park Hotel, Azcot Hotel|
|SHEKI (1 night)||Sheki Saray Hotel, Sheki Palace Hotel||Issam Hotel|
|TBILISI (3 nights)||Ambassadori Hotel, Tiflis Palace Hotel||Grand Hotel Mimino, Kopala Hotel|
|GUDAURI (1 night)||Marco Polo Hotel||GoodAura Hotel|
|YEREVAN (4 nights)||Double Tree Hotel, Opera Suite Hotel||Cascade Hotel, Silachi Hotel|
|GORIS (1 night)||Mirhav Mina Hotel, Mthnadzor Hotel||Christy Hotel|
* Please note that the above accommodation options are our first choice, and subject of availability for your exact dates of travel