Springtime in the Caucasus

Ananuri - © Alan Heywood
Bakuriani train - © Alan Heywood
Gelati Monastery, Georgia - © Ramona Cazacu
Gergeti Church, Kazbegi - © Alan Heywood
Kazbegi - © Alan Heywood
Kutaisi - © Alan Heywood
Tbilisi - © Alan Heywood
Uplistsikhe Cave Town - © Alan Heywood
On the road to Ushguli - © Alan Heywood
Vardzia Cave Dwellings, Georgia - © Ramona Cazacu

Holiday Highlights

  • Remote mountain scenery in a country new to tourists
  • Ushguli, the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe
  • Gergeti, Mtskheta and Gelati churches
  • Uplistsikhe and Vardzia Cave “Towns”
  • Historic Tbilisi
  • Narrow gauge electric train from Borjomi to Bakuriani
  • Many meals from locally sourced organic produce
  • 12 Days from £2,265pp
Tailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Tuesday 9 May to Saturday 20 May 2017

Stunning snow-clad mountains, meadows teeming with wild flowers and a rich and interesting history are brought to you in our tour to Georgia, a fascinating and friendly country at the extremities of Eastern Europe.

Bookings closed

ITINERARY

Day 1 – London to Tbilisi

Mid-morning flight from Gatwick to Tbilisi, arriving late evening. Transfer to our centrally located hotel.

Day 2 – Tbilisi

Morning guided walk in the old city followed by cable car to the Narikala Fortress for panoramic views of Tbilisi. Visit the treasury of the Georgian History Museum and stroll along Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi’s main street.

Day 3 – Through the High Caucasus to Kazbegi

Drive up the Georgia Military Highway visiting Ananuri en route. Here we find two churches and a fortress overlooking a huge reservoir. We continue over the Cross Pass to Kazbegi where we lunch with a village family before taking 4WD vehicles up to Gergeti Church. A day of stunning mountain scenery concluding with dinner and overnight in Kazbegi.

Day 4 – Return to Tbilisi

Visit the ancient capital of Mtskheta and its Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Jvari Monastery. Take the funicular railway to Mtstsminda for good views of Tbilisi.

Day 5 – Gori, Uplistsikhe and Bakuriani

We take the train from Tbilisi’s main station to Gori, Stalin’s birthplace, for a visit to his museum and the Uplistsikhe cave dwellings. Drive to Borjomi from where we take a charter train on the narrow gauge electric railway through the forest to Bakuriani (approx 2 hours). Overnight and dinner in Bakuriani.

Day 6 – Akhaltsikhe and Vardzia

A day of wonderful mountain and forest scenery including a visit to the fortress at Akhaltsikhe and the amazing cave dwellings at Vardzia. Lunch at a guest house near Vardzia and evening meal on our return to Bakuriani.

Day 7 – Kutaisi

Drive to Khashuri to catch the train to Kutaisi. Then visit the UNESCO Gelati Church. Dinner and overnight at a family run guest house with en suite facilities.

Day 8 – The Mountain Province of Upper Svaneti

Drive to Zugdidi for lunch and a visit to Dadiani Palace followed by the long climb through the mountains to Mestia. Overnight and dinner at a small family guest house.

Day 9 – 4WD to Ushguli

44 kilometres of rough mountain road require 4WD vehicles as we continue our journey to Ushguli, at 7,910ft Europe’s highest permanently inhabited village. Lunch with village family before returning to Mestia for dinner and overnight.

Day 10 – The Black Sea Coast

Drive down to the coast at the port and resort of Batumi. Lunch en route in Zugdidi. Free time to relax on arrival.

Day 11 – Train to Tbilisi

Morning main line train from Batumi to Tbilisi, arriving at lunchtime. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 12 – Tbilisi to London

Early morning flight to London Gatwick, arriving at lunchtime.

Tbilisi and the two cave dwellings need to be explored on foot (including climbing and descending steps) and, whilst they don’t form an essential part of this itinerary, their omission would obviously remove some of the value and enjoyment.

A blog of the research trip for this holiday can be found here.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Tiflis Palace Hotel, Tbilisi

Rooms Hotel, Kazbegi

Crystal Hotel, Bakuriani

Natela Guesthouse, Kutaisi

Kala Family Hotel, Mestia

World Palace Hotel, Batumi

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airline
  • Rail travel as specified
  • Other travel by private coach (4WD vehicle where appropriate)
  • Hotel accommodation in Tbilisi, Kazbegi, Bakuriani and Batumi
  • Other accommodation in good quality guesthouses with en-suite facilities
  • All breakfasts, five lunches and six evening meals
  • Entrance fees to churches and museums where applicable and to the cave dwellings
  • Airport and other transfers
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour plus local professional Georgian guide

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,265
Single room supplement: £345
Deposit for this holiday: £200
   
Rates of exchange used are as at 1st August 2016

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