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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

Visit two countries that have taken a big leap into the 21st century, where historical old towns and monasteries sit comfortably alongside towering skyscrapers. Stop by one of Europe's largest open-air rock museums, walk through the gardens of a local Kakheti family and talk about provincial life over a hearty lunch. Uncover the centuries-old recipe for producing Georgian wine and learn how to make your own yogurt. Reconnect with nature on hikes through wooded forests and past the Chaladi glacier and learn the secrets of Georgian cheese making. This all-encompassing trip takes you from eccentric Baku, to the lush green slopes of Georgia's Mestia valley and ancient alleyways of Tbilisi

Countries Visited

Azerbaijan , Georgia

Cities Visited

Baku , Batumi , Kutaisi , Mtskheta , Sighnaghi , Tbilisi

  1. Day 1
    Baku
    Welcome to Azerbaijan! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Why not seek some traditional local fare with the group after the meeting and join your leader for a night walk around Baku.
  2. Day 2
    Qobustan/ Baku
    In the morning, drive to Qobustan, a national reserve and World Heritage site that functions as an open-air archaeological museum. Stop on the way to check out the bubbling mud volcanoes first and then continue to Qobustan. Here lie some well-preserved rock petroglyphs dating back as far as BC 12th century, as well as a Roman inscription notable as the easternmost of its kind. Return to Baku in the afternoon and explore Baku’s UNESCO World Cultural Site - the walled old Town and learn about its history and legends on a guided walking tour. Finish in the Old Market Square and enjoy exploring the old city of Baku. The evening is yours to spend. If you’re searching for somewhere to eat, ask your leader to point you in the direction of Nizami Street, where local restaurants line this busy boulevard. Perhaps order some lavangi – walnuts, dried fruit and onions stuffed inside chicken and roasted to create a tantalising fusion of flavours.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    Caucasus Mountains / Lahij
    This morning, leave Baku and drive through a dry landscape that gives way to a densely forested mountain area, stopping en route in Shamakhi to check out one of the oldest Mosques of Azerbaijan - Juma (Friday) Mosque, then continue to your destination today, the village of Lahij, a stunning traditional village of Tats people. Explore its cobbled streets, stone houses and visit a copper workshop and get to know some local folk over a cup of tea. Enjoy a yogurt master class later on and bunk down in a guesthouse in Lahij tonight.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  4. Day 4
    Sheki
    After breakfast, head to Nij village, a settlement of the Udi people who are the direct descendants of ancient Caucasian Albanians. Most the world’s surviving Udi people call Nij home, giving the community a unique culture.Take a stroll in the village with your leader and visit an unassuming site of a significant church. The Albanian Church (as it’s known colloquially) is a source of pride and heritage for the local Udi community. Continue to Sheki afterwards and enjoy a free evening.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  5. Day 5
    Sheki
    Visit the Palace of Shaki Khans first in the morning. The walls inside the palace are painted with scenes of hunting and war and feature impressive stained glass. Afterwards, check out a workshop where shebeke – stained glass windows made with no glue or nails – are produced by masters. Then get on a local public bus to Kish to visit the pointed spires of a church that is among the oldest in Christendom, believed to be around 1700 years old. Try Azerbaijan’s national dish – Piti for lunch – a stew made of lamb, sheep fat, chickpeas, onions, chestnuts, saffron and spices, and is guaranteed to be full of exciting flavors. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to discover Sheki. Why not explore the impressive traditional architecture on foot. It’s easy enough to stop for tea and some local halva (made with sugar, hazelnuts, coriander and rice flour grinned in a watermill) if you get tired.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  6. Day 6
    Telavi
    After breakfast at the hotel, take a walk with your leader through the Sheki market. It’s a good idea to stock up on snacks for the journey to come, so maybe grab some halva, nuts and dried fruit. Continue to Lagodekhi on the Azerbaijan-Georgia border. Travel through the beautiful green valleys of the Kakheti region to Gremi, a complex that includes a castle and church from the 16th century. Spend some time here and then hit the road again, stopping at a traditional Georgian wine producer where the ancient, UNESCO-listed qvevri method is still used and enjoy lunch here. Continue to Telavi to your accommodation for the evening – a locally-owned family hotel.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Gudauri
    In the morning, wander through the raucous local farmers market in Telavi, where butchers carve up fresh meat and vendors offload piles of spices, then visit Tsinandalia, a historic estate and winery once owned by noted Georgian poet Alexander Chavchavadze. In 1814, aristocrat Chavchavadze was the first to bottle wine produced using the qvevri method. Tour the complex, which consists of a memorial house, European-style landscaped garden, a traditional winery, wine cellar, hotel and cafe. Continue to UNESCO listed Alaverdi Cathedral that dates back to 6th century. Afterwards, a stunning drive into the mountains up the renowned Georgian Military Highway, which eventually leads to the Georgia–Russia border. Tonight, enjoy an included dinner and spend the night in lofty Gudauri.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  8. Day 8
    Gudauri / Stepantsminda
    Follow the Tergi River on a drive to Stepantsminda (formerly known as Kazbegi). Explore this mountain village then take a 2.5-hour hike through beautiful valleys and woodlands to the iconic Gergeti Trinity Church (2170 m). This 14th-century church sits at the base of the second-highest volcanic summit in the Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi (5047 m) – and weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of this frosty behemoth. The image of the pointed spires of the isolated church against the mountains is truly breathtaking, and a great place to practice your photography skills. Drive back to Gudauri for an included dinner.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  9. Day 9
    Tbilisi
    Make the drive to the capital of Tbilisi (approximately 3 hours), sure to be a slight shock to the system after the peace of the mountains. Get into the swing of things with an orientation walk with your leader. Spend the rest of the daytime as you wish, perhaps grabbing a khachapuri (bread stuffed with salty cheese) to snack on while you wander. In the evening, regroup and head out for dinner with your fellow travellers and leader. This is a good chance to munch down on khinkali, Georgia’s famous dumplings. Make sure to ask your leader about the polite way to eat them – it involves sucking out the juice and leaving the pinched bit of dough where the edges of the delicious parcel have joined on the plate.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  10. Day 10
    Tbilisi
    Today is a free day to explore Tbilisi until the evening group meeting at 6pm to meet your leader and new fellow travellers and to discuss the next stage of your itinerary.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  11. Day 11
    Tbilisi
    After breakfast take part in a sightseeing tour of Tbilisi. The locals like to call their capital the "Balcony of Europe", placing it on par with many of Europe's graceful old cities. All the sights in the Old Town are very close to each other and within a few minutes’ walk. You'll pass by Baratashvili bridge, Gabriadze Leaning Tower, the Peace Bridge and Sioni Cathedral on your guided walking tour. Afterwards, you may choose to visit Narikala Fortress and the Sulphur Baths in your free time and to further explore the capital. The evening is also free for you to enjoy. Perhaps indulge in Tbilisi's lively theater scene and witness some of the energetic and acrobatic dance that Georgia is known for.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  12. Day 12
    Kutaisi
    Today, head to the pretty city of Kutaisi on train, the third largest in the country (approximately 4.5 hours). Kutaisi is more than 3000 years old, connected to the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, along with his mythical (or is it?) Golden Fleece. On arrival, follow your leader on a city walking tour in this charming city, passing City Hall, Opera house and Mon plesier Arch, and visit Golden Marquee Palace and Mtsvane Bazari (market) known for its fresh vegetables, fruits, natural dairy products, meat, a variety of spices. In your free time, maybe visit another significant historical site, the Gelati Cathedral or explore the cobbled streets of the town as you make your way up to the ruins of Bagrati palace and citadel.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  13. Day 13
    Mestia
    After a restful night, journey to the remote Svaneti region (approximately 5-6 hours). Svaneti is the highest inhabited area in the Caucasus and is divided in two parts: Upper Svaneti and Lower Svaneti. Arrive into Mestia, the centre of Upper Svaneti. Mestia is surrounded by mountains, medieval-type villages and disctinctive tower-houses. The famous tower-houses were built to accommodate villagers at times of invasion and violence during the 9th -13th centuries. Around 175 towers still stand today, although many are uninhabited. The area is home to the Svans, a proud people with a long history of survival in this isolated part of Europe, who speak their own language. Spend the night in a local guesthouse.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  14. Day 14
    Mestia
    Drive to the village of Lakhiri (approximately 20 minutes) We start our walk today from the village in the direction of Mestia. After little uphill walking we descend to the beautiful valley full with blooming flowers and enjoy an amazing view of Chalati Glacier (2300m) and of Mestia Valley with its watchtowers. The paths can be steep and the ground uneven so you will need good fitness and appropriate footwear for this walk. Those not wishing to hike can stay in Mestia. In the evening we discover how Georgians make their beloved cheese. Cheese is found in many Georgian dishes and is a key ingredient in the famous khachapuri, a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread which you will no doubt eat plenty of during your time here!
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  15. Day 15
    Ushguli
    Today, visit the World Heritage-listed village of Ushguli, a town around 50 kilometres southeast of Mestia (approx 2 hours drive). The village is located at 2,200 metres above sea level, and is one of the highest inhabited villages in Europe. Ushguli is most famous for its abundance of watchtowers – this is where you'll see the famous view of the towers set to the highest mountain in Georgia, the snow capped Mt Shkhara (5,068 metres). Visit the 12th-century Lamaria Church and walk to Queen Tamar’s tower. Total walking time is 2-3 hours depending on fitness and trail conditions. Those not wishing to walk may stay and explore Ushguli - maybe visit an ethnographic museums or walk around the village and become familiar with the daily life of the local people. Spend the night in a family-owned guesthouse.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  16. Day 16
    Mestia
    Today's walk starts from the guesthouse. The route takes us along the river to the base of Mt Shkhara. You will cross some small streams along the way so pack your waterproof boots and fingers crossed for great weather! We will have a picnic lunch today. The walking trail ends at the Shkhara glacier, where the Enguri river originates below. In the afternoon, return to Mestia and stay overnight in the guesthouse. Approximate walking time is 5-6 hours. If you do not wish to walk, please discuss options with your leader in advance.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  17. Day 17
    Batumi
    From the mountains to the sea today with a long drive to Batumi (approximately 7-8 hours) on the Black Sea coast. While past its Soviet heyday where it was one of the premiere seaside resorts, it is still popular with holiday makers from all over the region for its waterfront parks and beaches. Stay in a hotel tonight.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  18. Day 18
    Batumi
    In the morning take part in a short tour around the city. The afternoon is yours to relax. Batumi has a relaxed atmosphere, great restaurants and nightlife. Stroll the boulevard, cool off in the musical fountains on the square or see the touching Ali & Nino statue lit up at night. There's also art and ethnographic museums or a cable car to panoramic views over the city.Highly recommended is the Batumi Botanical Gardens.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  19. Day 19
    Tbilisi
    Today we'll make use of the regular public bus or train connections (depending on availability) to get to Tbilisi from Batumi (approximately 6.5 hours).. Enjoy the rest of the day in the nation's capital, perhaps with group dinner and night out together.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  20. Day 20
    Tbilisi
    Your trip comes to an end today and your are free to depart at any time.
    Meals:   Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Qobustan - Petroglyphs
  • Baku - Old City Walking Tour
  • Lahij - Yoghurt Making Master Class
  • Lahij - Copper workshop visit
  • Nij - Udin village visit
  • Kish - Albanian Church
  • Kish - Village Visit
  • Sheki - Shebeke workshop visit
  • Sheki - Khan's Palace
  • Sheki - Bazaar Visit
  • Kakheti - Lunch with a Local Family
  • Kakheti- Gremi Complex
  • Kakheti - Tsinandali Estate Visit
  • Kakheti - Telavi Fresh Produce Market
  • Telavi - Alaverdi Cathedral
  • Stepantsminda - Gergeti Trinity Church Hike
  • Tbilisi - Orientation Walk
  • Tbilisi - City tour
  • Kutaisi - Leader-led city walking tour
  • Kutaisi - Golden Marquee Palace
  • Kutaisi - Farmers Market
  • Mestia - Cooking class
  • Mestia - Lakhiri Village Hike
  • Mestia - Georgian cheese making
  • Ushguli - Village hike
  • Ushguli - Lamaria Church
  • Ushguli - Queen Tamar`s Tower
  • Ushguli - Shkhara Glacier hike & picnic
  • Batumi - Leader-led city walking tour

Meals
19 Breakfast(s) Included
5 Lunch(es) Included
6 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Original

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Accommodations

Hotel (12 nights), Guesthouse (7 nights)

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Intrepid Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.7

Ratings based off 217 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 9 reviews with comments only

Intrepid is awesome. Our guide was superb. Everything went smoothly!

Our tour guide was wonderful. She was knowledgeable, fun, energetic, and made our week run very smoothly. The trip itself was fantastic! We saw a lot and the islands are absolutely beautiful. Great food, great new friends made on the tour, and would absolutely book with Intrepid again.

Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.

The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.

The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations

Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.

Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.

Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.

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