You’ll get the chance to visit the most picturesque corners of Georgia, learn of their heritage, their historical monuments, their cuisine and wine, the contrast of the high mountain and plains, the opportunity to completely sever yourself from everyday routine and take part in a legitimate adventure – that’d be the short way to describe this tour we are offering you.
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 – Mtskheta – Ananuri –Gudauri - Kazbegi – Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit the city of Mtskheta which is included into the list of Heritage of UNESCO. Mtskheta is an ancient town of extraordinary importance to the Georgian nation. It was the capital of the eastern Georgian kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. Mtskheta was the site of Georgia’s adoption of Christianity in 334 and remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Mtskheta is of primary interest to any travelers interested in Georgian history or Orthodox Christianity.
Visit of Svetitskhoveli (The Life Giving Pillar) Cathedral, which is included into the list of Heritage of UNESCO. Svetitskhoveli is one of the most sacred places in Georgia and, along with Jvari Monastery, the clear highlight of a trip to Mtskheta. It was founded in 1010, built on the site of Georgia’s first church, and contains the graves of the ancient Georgian kings, including Sidonia, who was said to have been buried holding Christ’s robe.
Visit of Samtavro monastery. According to legend, St. Nino actually lived on this site and prayed within the smaller of its two extant churches. This small church dates from the 4th century. The larger church on this site was built in the 11th century and contains the graves of Mirian, the Georgian king who adopted Christianity, and his wife, Nana.
Visits of Jvari (The Cross) Monastery. The 6th century monastery is on the high mountain, there opens a beautiful view of the city and merge of two rivers Aragvi and the river Mtkvari. It is the culmination of a number of artistic and architectural aspiration in early Christian Georgian architecture. The view from above is amazing.
Our path will run north along the Georgian Military Highway, to the border with Russia. Throughout the route you will be surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery. Eight kilometers from the dam there stands Ananuri castle. The waters of Aragvi rise to the very walls of this magnificent monument of the XVII century. The fortress walls are fortified by two large and several small towers, which offer magnificent views. Inside the fortifications there are two outbuildings and the dome churches, the main church of which is decorated with rich carvings on the facade in the form of a cross and grapes.
Visit of Gudauri. The ski resort is located on the south-facing plateau of The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range in Georgia. The resort is situated in the Stepantsminda District, along the Georgian Military Highway near the Cross Pass, at an elevation of 2,200 meters, above sea level with skiable area enjoying maximum exposure to the sun. The resort offers high quality skiing opportunities. The slopes of Gudauri are completely above the tree line and are best for free-riders and are generally considered to be avalanche-safe. The ski season lasts from December to April. Heliskiing is also available throughout the season.
In the hollow of Kobi a highway connects to the river Terek, violent temper of which has repeatedly been described by classics and sung by poets. We will go along the shore and 20 minutes later arrive to Stephantsminda settlement, which was called Kazbegi in the years of 1921-2007.
One of the symbols of Georgia,Gergeti Trinity Church built in the XIV century, with its austere charm and wild beauty of this place have a striking effect on one’s imagination. Far below lies Stephantsminda, while on the opposite side of the gorge there is a steep rock wall of height of more than 4 kilometers. Gergeti Trinity Church is built against the background of the eternal glaciers of Kazbek – the very same mountains from Greek mythology, where the gods chained Prometheus for stealing fire for people. Its peak whitens at the altitude of 5034 meters, and snow never melts there. Georgian name of Kazbek is Mkinvartsveri, which means icy peak. The church is a popular waypoint for trekkers in the area, and can be reached by a steep 3 hour climb up the mountain, or around 30 minutes by jeep up a rough mountain trail.
Return to Tbilisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 3. Tbilissi –Nekresi - Kvareli - Gremi – Tsinandali - Telavi– Ikalto - Shuamta - Uljarma – Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Trip to one of the biggest regions of Georgia – Kakheti, which is a winemaking Cradle.
Nekresi Monastery complex is standing on a hill and facing a beautiful view of the Alazani Valley. Although it was founded by St. Abibo Nekreseli, one of the Thirteen Syrian monks who came to Georgia in the 6th century to strengthen Christian faith but already in the 4th century one of the first Christian churches was built here. Thus Nekresi Monastery ensemble includes several structures built in different times.
A trip to Winery Khareba who owns the biggest cellar in Georgia made in the Caucasian spine which extents from 8 km. Wine Tunnel owned by a winery Khareba is located close to the town of Kvareli. It features not only exotic manmade tunnel built in the rocks, but it also has a large territory offering interesting attractions related to Georgian heritage. Guests can book a wine tasting tour here and will be provided with best selection wines from winery Khareba.
Kvareli Lake is located right in the heart of Kakheti, east of the town of Kvareli, at the foothills of the southern slopes of Caucasian mountains. Surrounded by a forest of centuries-old trees, the lake feeding on the Bursa and Chagurgula rivers. 44 hectares out of total 300 hectares, on which the resort is spread, is occupied by the lake with average depth of 20 m. The complex includes an hotel and a recreation area with outdoor sport facilities. Kvareli lake has boulevard (700-800m), an amphitheater with 500 seats, a café and a 4 km long bicycle lane.
Gremi -visit of the lock Rattle which represents an architectural complex constructed in in 1565, and consists of church of Archangels Mikhail and Gabriel, a belltower, the three-storyed palace and a wine cellar (marani). The complex is surrounded with a wall, with towers and embrasures where the remains of the secret underpass conducting to the river still remaines.
Not long after that, we will find ourselves in house-museum Tsinandali. At this point begins the second, European life of the Georgian wine. Prominent figure of the XIX century, Prince Chavchavadze was first to produce bottled wine in his estate by European technology and export it abroad.
Batonis Tsikhe citadel is located in Telavi town. It served as the residence of Kakhetian Kings of the 17-18th centuries.The castle encloses two churches, the ruins of the 11th century royal baths, the pantheon and the Persian style Palace of King Erekle II. At present there is established house-museum of King Erekle II, the Ethnographic Museum and the Picture Gallery.
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.
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. According to the legend the monastery was constructed by Tina, the Kakhetin queen.
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.
Overnight in Tbilisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 4. 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.
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. 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.
Overnight in Tbilisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 5. Departure.
Breakfast at the hotel. Free time for visit of markets for purchasing of souvenirs. Transfer to airport.
The price per person $ US Dollars
Price Includes: Transfers, Transport throughout all round, Accommodation in Tbilisi (4 nights) , Breakfast (4), Insurance, Services of the guide.
Not included: Air Tickets. Meals and Drinks not mentioned in the program.