Georgia is a unique country in many respects. Here, everyone can find something of their own. After all, Georgia can offer a lot of kinds of activities for any tourist: the picturesque coasts the Black Sea, a huge number of different balnearies, more than ten thousand monuments of archeology, history, architecture and art, many of which are absolutely unique. Georgians call their country Sakartvelo. And the country is as beautiful as its name.
Day 1. Arrival
Arrival at the Tbilisi International Airport. Transfer to the hotel. Time at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 2. Tbilisi –Gori – Uplistsikhe – Kutaisi
After breakfast we will drive to Gori. The city was founded by one of the greatest kings of Georgia, David the Builder (1089–1125). The original fortress, constructed on a hilltop, was named Gori (meaning hill in English), and was mentioned in the Georgian chronicles as early as the VII century. Some historians believe that the fortress was built by Byzantine Caesar Heraclius to store ammunition battles against the Persians. Just after the XI century the area became an active center for trade. According to some historians, this was due to David the Builder founding the town. Because of its geographical location, enemies frequently targeted the fortress, as conquering it enabled control of the whole Shida Kartli region
On the way we will visit Samtavisi, an 11th century Georgian Orthodox cathedral. The first monastery on this place was founded by the Assyrian missionary Isidore in 572 and later rebuilt in the 10th century.
Joseph Stalin Museum – The main corpus of the complex is a large palazzo in Stalinist Gothic style, built in 1951 ostensibly as a local history museum, but clearly intended to become a memorial to Stalin, who died in 1953. The exhibition is chronologically divided into several rooms, which keeps a lot of exhibits that are actually or allegedly owned by Stalin, including furniture, personal items and gifts. There are also exhibits on display in the form of documents, photographs, drawings and newspaper articles.
Uplistsikhe – “King of the castles” – is an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia, some 10 kilometers east of the town of Gori, Shida Kartli. Built on a high rocky left bank of the Mtkvari River, it contains various structures dating from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran, as well as the co-existence of pagan and Christian architectureUplistsikhe is identified by archaeologists as one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. Strategically located in the heartland of ancient kingdom of Kartli (or Iberia as it was known to the Classical authors), it emerged as a major political and religious center of the country.
Drive to Kutaisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 3. Kutaisi – Sataplia – Zugdidi – Mestia
After breakfast visit Kutaisi – antique Kutaia. In certain historical periods it was the second capital of Georgia after Tbilisi according to largeness.
According to the legend about Golden Fleece, Kutaisi is that very land where the epic legend of the Argonauts was acted out. In the 6th century BC, the tribes of western Georgia formed a state, the Kingdom of Colchis, lying along the east coast of the Black Sea. The legend tells of the courageous Hellenes who led by Jason, crossed the Straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorous and reached the shores of the Kingdom of Colchis where the powerful King Aeetes reigned, and where the golden fleece was kept. Ancient Colchis held the secret of how to obtain gold; the discovery of this secret and the acquisition of the golden fleece was the Argonauts’ quest.
Bagrati Church – (11th c). It is an old architectural monument of Kutaisi. Nowadays only ruins are left from the church. A distinct landmark in the scenery of central Kutaisi, the cathedral rests upon the top of Uk’imerioni Hill. It was built in the early years of the 11th century, during the reign of King Bagrat III due to which it was called “Bagrati” Cathedral, i.e., Bagrat’s cathedral. An inscription on the north wall reveals that the floor was laid in “chronicon 223“, i.e., 1003 . One of the UNESCO heritage sites.
Gelati Complex comprises the churches of the Virgin (the main church), of St Nicolas, of St. George, as well as the academy which was the centre of cultural and spiritual life. The Gelaty monastery complex was founded by King David the Builder in the 12th c. It is noted by the finest examples of Georgian mural painting. Among them is the only surviving portrait of King David the Builder whose grave can be found at the gateway of the monastery. The giant 12th century mosaic of the Virgin with Child is completely unique.
Sataplia Cave is a rather small one, famous for fine speleothems and the dinosaur footprints nearby. The tour enters the through-cave on one hillside, crosses the hill underground and then goes back on the surface past the dinosaur footprints. This cave is hard to reach and not very much visited by individual travelers.
Drive to Zugdidi. Visit Dadiani Palace there. The representatives of Dadiani Dynasty were acquainted with world history, culture latest technical achievements. They were tightly involved in the social events. The Palace keeps 41 000 museum objects. Most of them are unique and invaluable examples of Georgian and foreign art. En route we visit Enguri Dam with the height of 271 meters (the highest dam of this type in the world). The Dam makes a water-storage reservoir in the picturesque gorges of Samegrelo and Svaneti mountains. It’s time to get ready for the most exciting part of the trip – a journey to Svaneti, the region of the highest mountains and glaciers and the most abiding ancient traditions
Dinner and overnight at the guesthouse in Mestia.
Day 4.Mestia – Ushguli – Mestia
Drive to Ushguli by Jeeps. We will visit Laghami Saint George’s church (7th-12th c.c.) and Svan dwelling complex. Visit the following sightseeings: The church of St. George in Nakipari (1130 AD) and Ethnographic Museums in Ushguli. Ushguli is considered to be the highest populated place in Europe (2200 m above sea level). (NOTE: please note that in Svaneti region you may need approximately USD 6 for each sight, this is stated not by government, but by the local people who are taking care of each sightseeing place).
Dinner and overnight at the guesthouse in Mestia.
Day 5. Mestia – Batumi
Located in the heart of Svaneti, 1500 meters above sea level, Mestia is the center and cultural heart of the Svan people. Svans have their own traditions, unique architecture, cuisine, language which differs from official Georgian.Nowdays Mestia becomes the main tourists’ attraction, it is being renovated and infrastructure developed. Due to renovated airport this former towlet becomes easy reachable, tourist come here not only in warm season when one can climb up to the mountains enjoy amazing mountainous landscapes and extraordinary architecture but in winter as well – recently here was opened modern skiing resort.
Despite its small size, the townlet was always an important centre of Georgian culture for centuries and Mestia is really worth to visit place, which welcomes its visitors with heartily local people, tasty cuisine, unique Svan towers-houses and unbelievable beautiful landscapes. contains a number of medieval monuments – churches and forts – included in a list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Visit Latali and Lenjeri single-nave basilicas of the 8th-9th-14th c.c., built by stones without ornamentation, with the interior richly decorated with murals. Afterwards drive to Batumi the most beautiful city of Georgia. Have a free time in Batumi to take a walk across the beach in a famous Batumi boulevard.
Overnight in Batumi.
Day 6. Batumi
After breakfast Batumi sightseeing tour. Batumi is an administrative center of Adjara and is one of the biggest resorts in the Black sea region. It is located in the south-eastern part of Black sea, in a deep gulf. The name Batumi originated from Greek roots, earlier it had a Greek name “Batius Liman”, which means deep gulf. Scientists consider that at this particular place, ancient cultures – antique and Kolch merged together. The small city is filled with numerous trees of magnolias, during the flowering of which the whole city becomes covered in their aroma. The fields around the city are mostly tea and citrus plantations, spotted with ancient ruins.
The part which locals call “Old Batumi”, is approximately 150 years old, the building have an extraordinary beauty there – usually 2-3 storey are abound with chimaeras, unnamed mythical creatures, lions and other bas-reliefs.
At nowadays Batumi is quickly changing its face – here are rising new contemporary architectural buildings and ambitious sculptural projects are implemented. Batumi becomes modern and fashion summer place, which attracts foreigners, as well as Georgians. It’s a place to enjoy cultural events, noisy nightlife and Black Sea waves.
Batumi day tour includes visits to: Batumi Boulevard and Musical Fountains, Piazza, Statue of Medea, Batumi Sea Port, Alphabetic tower, Moving sculpture of Ali and Nino, Botanical Garden, Gonio-Apsaros Fortress .
Visite to Gonio Fortress (previously called Apsaros or Apsaruntos) – The oldest fortress in Georgia. It is located in the southwestern part of the country in the Gonio village. In the 2nd century it was a well-fortified Roman city within Colchis. The town was also known for its theatre and hippodrome. It later came under Byzantine influence. The name “Gonio” is first attested in the 14th century
The ruins of the ancient historical city-fortress Petra is located in the village of Tsikhisdziri, Kobuleti region. It dates back to VI c.AD. Historically this territory was the settlement place of one of the Kartvelian tribes – Lazes. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian built a city here because of the unique military-strategic and trade-economical location. The city was crossed by the essential road connecting Western Georgia, Byzantine provinces, Iran and Armenia. Navigation was also very well-developed. Petra fortress became so inaccessible by the Middle Ages that it was even called “Kajeti Fortress” (the fortress of the kajis). Petra is impressive and thought-provoking. Our ancestors watch us from these proud walls, the ancestors who constantly fought against the enemies and preserved motherland and dignity to the posterity.
Dinner. Free time.
Day 7. Batumi – Mtskheta – Tbilisi
After breakfast drive to Mtskheta. The oldest cities of the country of Georgia (in Kartli province of Eastern Georgia), located ~ 15 kilometers north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Due to its historical significance and numerous ancient monuments, the “Historical Monuments of Mtskheta” became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Mtskheta was the capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia during the 3rd BC – 5th century AD. However in the beginning of 6th century AD King Dachi I Ujarmeli, the successor of Vakhtang I Gorgasali, moved the capital from Mtskheta to the more easily defensible Tbilisi according to the will left by his father. However, Mtskheta continued to serve as the coronation and burial place for most kings of Georgia until the end of the kingdom in the 19th century.
As Mtskheta is the most religious city of Georgia it is the place where Christianity in Georgia takes its origin, here is located one of the most important churches in all of the Georgia – Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. At present town is being newly renovated and waits for visitors who want to feel the history of past.
Visit of the ancient temple – monastery Jvari (VI c.). On the top of the mountain where the temple is placed, opens a fantastic view on the place of junction of two rivers – Kura and Aragvi. There also opens a beautiful view on the ancient capital of Georgia – Mtskheta.
Visit of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (1010-1029), at the bottom of which is buried one of the major Christian relics Lords chiton, one of the most important sacred artifacts of the New Testament that after the crucifixion of Christ was brought to Mtskheta by Elioz – one of the witnesses of his death on the cross, and it is also the burial place of many of the Georgian kings. Here is also the part of life-giving pillar.
Visit of Samtavro monastery, where year round grow, flower and fruit blackberry bush, near of which in the IV century lived and preached St. Nino- enlightener, the first preacher of Christianity in Georgia. The official adoption of Christianity in Georgia in 324 is associated with the name of St. Nino, with the assistance and participation of the King St. Miriam and Queen St. Nana. It was St. Nino who persuaded the king Miriam and queen Nana to adopt Christianity in Georgia. Woderworking icon of Iberian Mother of God, woderworking icon of St. Nino, grave of St. Tsar Merian and Tsarina Nani, hallows of St. Abibos Nekresky, St. Shio Mhvimskoho are inside.
Drive to Tbilisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 7. Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. We will visit the Old Tbilisi. Established more than 1500 years ago it is known that the first settlers arrived much earlier. The course of its history has been hard and never smooth. Tbilisi is a multicultural city. It is the home for more than 100 different ethnic groups. The architecture in the city is a mixture of local (Georgian), with strong influences of Byzantine, European/Russian (neo-classical), and Middle Eastern architectural styles. Tbilisi has a great number of important landmarks and sightseeing locations: churches, museums, and parks.
Visiting one of the symbols of Tbilisi. Sameba (Holy Trinity Cathedral) is the main cathedral of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Sameba is one of the main sacred places for Georgians. It is one of the highest churches in Europe with the height of 101 meters. It is also a unique building, the catherdral is build on top of another temple (Lower Church). Sameba is surrounded by a garden with beautiful flowers. There is a small pond with swans and ducks in the garden. And in the evening, this place is so lighted up that the church resembles fire, rushed to the sky.
You will visit the oldest and the most important temple in Tbilisi. Metekhi Church is erected on the cliff, overlooking the Mtkvari River. There is a statue of King Vakhtang Gorgaslani, founder of Tbilisi, in front of the church. The church dates back to the 12th century and has a diverse history, connected with Mongol invasions and political repressions of the Soviet Empire. The colorful Darejani Palace is also situated on the cliff, like the nest of a swallow.
Ascending by cable car to the Narikala Fortress – the heart and soul of Tbilisi. The fortress was established in the 4th century. An old odd masonry of its walls, observation towers and winding narrow paths, all tells about the antiquity of the building. From the many towers you will have a great panorama over the city, the old part as well as the modern part. Just behind Narikala you will find the Botanical Garden with its waterfalls, millions of species of flowers and trees. This is a favorite place to have a family rest or a walk for lovers.
One of the main attractions of Tbilisi is the famous sulfur baths. Here you can use all kinds of “bath services”, taking a bath and swimming in the water of natural hot sulfur springs. Exactly here Tbilisi started. “Tbili” in Georgian means “hot”. In finding these sources King Gorgasali ordered to build the city here. In time immemorial the magic properties of healing attributed to these sources, but now everyone knows the benefits of sulfur baths. An interesting design of these baths made in the oriental style and they are often called “Turkish baths”.
Sioni Cathedral was named in honor of Jerusalem’s Mount Zion. The cathedral is one of the main cathedrals in Tbilisi. Before the construction of the cathedral Sameba the Church Council of Georgian Catholics was in this cathedral. Sioni was founded in the 6th century and was rebuilt many times. Sioni is a repository of Georgian Patriarchs remains. According to available historical data St. Evstani Mtsheteli, saint of Georgia, is buried here. The church kept a cross made of vine that belonged to St. Nino, which brought Christianity to Georgia.
The Peace Bridge is a pedestrian bridge across the river Mtkvari. The bridge is 156 meters long. It is made of a metal frame and is completely covered with glass. The bridge is beautiful at day time as well as at night time because it has a very special interactive display system. On the two parapets of the bridge you find 30.000 led lights operating with 240 sensors to transmit their message every hour. The universal messages are relayed in Morse code. “This message celebrates life and peace between people”. The Peace Bridge of Tbilisi is in the list of the great bridges in the world.
Anchiskhati Church – In the Old Town there is the ancient acting St. Mary Church constructed during the reign of Dacha Udzharmeli, the successor of Vakhtang Gorgasali, in the 4 th century. The beautiful rectangular building of the church was build under the influence of ancient Palestinian architecture. The doors of Anchiskhati church are decorated with traditional Georgian cross similar to the one made by St. Nino.
In the carriages of the funicular you will go up to the mountain Mtatsminda, where in any time of the day you can enjoy great views of Tbilisi. You will have a walk in the Bombora Park (the former name of the park was Stali’s) here you can see the whole city at a glance from the Ferris wheel, try a popular Georgian lemonade “Lagidze Waters” in a variety of flavours and sit in a lovely restaurant with a great view, which according to a legend was built for Stalin.
Visit the Pantheon, the burial place of famous writers, artists and heroes of Georgia.
Finally the tour takes you to Rustaveli Avenue, where attractions such as the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Parliament, Rustaveli Theatre, different art galleries and cafes will draw your attention and provide a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Drive to Tbilisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 9.Tbilisi -Ujarma-Shuamta -Ikalto -Alaverdi - Telavi
Today we will make Wine tasting Tour in Kakheti region. We drive to Telavi. Udjarma is a fortress-town located between Tbilisi and Telavi, 40 km away from the Georgian capital. The road there lies through beautiful Gomborinek mountain pass. For a long time it has been hidden from the eyes of tourists, until 2010 when a new road to Telavi passing by the fortress was built. Since then Ujarma has become one of the major attractions and a must-see spot in the bucket list of many tourists. The fortress is one of the most important Georgian architectural monuments of Early Middle Ages, due to its strategic location and value in the past. It was built in the 3rd century AD, as one of the Georgian kings’ and prince’s main residencies.
Near Telavi in the village of Shuamta you will see the fragments of Dzveli-Shuamta and Akhali Shuamta monasteries (old Shuamta and new Shauamta). These two monasteries absolutely differ from each other in architecture and were built at different times. Dzveli Shuamta monastery is more ancient. It is a complex of several ancient churches. The small church standing in the foreground is dated the 5th century, the other two – bigger and smaller domical churches – the 7th century. The bigger church is very similar to Mtskheta Dzhvari temple. The churches have the 12th-century paintings. Akhali Shuamta Monastery was built later in the 16 th century. This monastery is still active. The big temple, the bell tower, the fencing parts of the monastery complex.
Drive to Ikalto Religious Academy. Late in the 6th century Saint Zenon, one of the “Syrian Fathers”, founded the Ikalto Monastery 7-8 km west of the town Telavi. The Monastery was famous as one of the most significant cultural-scholastic centers of Kakheti as well as of the whole of Georgia because of the Spiritual Academy in which outstanding Georgian philosopher Arsen Ikaltoeli used to live and work. Archaeological excavations revealed numerous workshops, wine-cellars, a smithy, store-rooms and other household rooms grouped around the Academy building. The Academy of Ikalto trained its students in theology, rhetoric, astronomy, philosophy, geography, geometry, chanting, etc. Besides the theoretical courses, the students were skilled in pottery making, metal work, viticulture and wine making, pharmacology, etc.
Alaverdi Monastery was founded by the Assyrian monk Joseph (Yoseb, Amba) Alaverdeli, who came from Antioch and settled in Alaverdi – a small village and former pagan religious center dedicated to the Moon. At the beginning of the 11th century, Kakhetian King Kvirike the Great built a cathedral, today known as Alaverdi Cathedral, in the place of a small church of St. George. At a height of over 55 meters, Alaverdi Cathedral is the second tallest religious building in Georgia, after the recently consecrated Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi.
Telavi is the main city and administrative center of Georgia’s eastern province of Kakheti. It’s population of some 21 800 inhabitants (as of the year 2002). The city is located on foot-hills of Tsiv-Gombori Range at 500-800 meters above the sea level. The landscape of Telavi is scenic. The city is wrapped in picturesque landscapes from all sides. Telavi faces the Tsiv-Gombori Range to the south and south-west and borders on Alazani Valley to the north and east. The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, which runs to the north of the Alazani Valley, can be seen from most of Telavi. Excursion to the residence of the King Erekle the II .
Overnight in Telavi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 10. Telavi - Tsinandali -Bodbe - Signagi - David Garedji -Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. We will visit Tsinandali. A manor in the village of Tsinandali that you see the on the pictures is an ancestral estate, a palace of princely family of Chavchavadze. There are many amazing, beautiful and tragic events in the history of Georgia are connected with him. The manor in Tsinandali is the reflection of his aspirations. He not only applied European architectural techniques in the construction and inner planning, he laid out an English garden around his palace. Moreover, there were not only trees, but also gardeners who came from the Great Britain. He did not stop on this. Chavchavadze invited the best winemakers from Europe, with whom he built the first wine factory that produces wines according to European technologies. Thus appeared popular in present “Tsinandali” wine.
Drive to Signagi. Viste the Bodbe, visit the monastery of St. Nino: In the surroundings of the town of Signakhi is Bodbe monastery, where St, Nino, the Enlightener of Georgia is buried. From ancient annals it is known that the monastery was founded just after the death of St. Nino, in the first half of the IV century. Her Tomb was so revered that even the Mongol-Tatars ravaged almost the entire country and have caused considerable harm to the monastery, did not dare to desecrate .
Sighnaghi is located in the heart of the Alazani valley, called not otherwise than – the cradle of Georgian wine. Here you can enjoy the great taste of wine made from the best grapes. Its unique picturesque landscapes, snow-capped Caucasus mountains, picturesque Alazani valley, clean clear air gives the city especial charm and pleases the eye creating a wonderful mood. Signakhi has always been a source of inspiration. In the town center is a unique museum where you can see paintings by the famous Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani. It is impossible not to notice the Wedding Palace among the decorative cobblestone streets with lacy balconies. It looks common, but here you can get married at any time of the day or night, any day of the month. And you do not need to apply and wait for the appointed day. This is exactly what attracts lovers. That is why Georgians call Sighnaghi “City of love”.
Drive to David Garedji monastery complex. David Garedji is a rock-hewn Georgian Orthodox monastery complex located in the region of Kakheti, surrounded by impressive landscapes of desert colors. The complex was founded in the 6th century by St. David Garejeli, one of the thirteen Assyrian monks who arrived in the country at the same time. The complex includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face. Despite the harsh environment, the monastery remained an important centre of religious and cultural activity for many centuries; at certain periods the monasteries owned extensive agricultural lands and many villages. The convent was particularly patronized by the Georgian royal and noble families.
Dinner and overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 11. Departure
Breakfast at the hotel. Purchase of souvenirs. Transfer to the airport.
The price per person $ US Dollars
Price Includes: Transfers, Transport throughout all round. Accommodation in Tbilisi (4 nights), Kutaisi (1). Batumi (2), Mestia (2) Telavi (1) Breakfast (10) , Insurance, Services of the guide.
Not included: Air Tickets. Meals and Drinks not mentioned in the program.