Rating in Georgia
$ 2371

Georgia Explorer

Culture
Culture
min $ 2371
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Tbilisi, Telavi, Mtskheta, Gori
Guide language: English
Price: min $ 2371
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  • Overview & dates
  • Itinerary
  • What's included

Overview & dates

INTRO

Discover Georgia's charms on this comprehensive tour of the country exploring its stunning landscapes, its spectacularly set churches, sprawling medieval fortresses as well as its UNESCO heritage sites, and its wonderful cuisine and hospitality. Trace the paths of invading armies from Persians to Ottomans, and the more recent imprints of Soviet occupation. Learn how to write your name in Georgian, make traditional bread and sweets and cook some traditional Georgian recipes.


GROUP DATES

  • 25 Sep 2018 to 06 Oct 2018 - £ 1,875 - GD
  • 22 May 2019 to 02 Jun 2019 - £ 1,875 - AV
  • 09 Oct 2019 to 20 Oct 2019 - £ 1,875 - AV

If these dates do not suit you but you are interested in this tour, please contact us for alternative dates.

AV - Available
GD - Guaranteed
LM - Limited places left
OR - On request (contact us for status)
CL - Closed for bookings


All tours in Georgia


HIGHLIGHTS

Leisurely wander through the picturesque narrow streets of Tblisi’s old town

Explore the beautiful wine-country of Kakheti

Stunning views over Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park.

Appreciate the intricate Georgian architecture of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral

Inspect the sturdy 14th century Khertvisi Fortress

Marvel at the centuries-old artwork within the Gelati Monastery

Listen to traditional Georgian polyphonic singing

Admire the synthesis of medieval and modern architectural styles at Bagrati Cathedral

Head just south of the Russian border for panoramic views of Mount Kazbek

The Soviet era Stalin Museum

Amble on a mountaintop around the iconic Gergeti Trinity Church


PLACES VISITED

Tbilisi - Sighnaghi - Tsinandali - Telavi - Kakheti region - Gremi - Kvareli - Mtskheta - Uplistsikhe - Borjomi - Vardzia - Akhaltsikhe - Kutaisi - Tskaltubo - Martvili - Gori - Kazbegi Tbilisi
Sighnaghi
Tsinandali
Telavi
Kakheti region
Gremi
Kvareli
Mtskheta
Uplistsikhe
Borjomi
Vardzia
Akhaltsikhe
Kutaisi
Tskaltubo
Martvili
Gori
Kazbegi

Itinerary

ITINERARY

Short | Detailed | PDF


Choose departure date25 Sep 2018 -- 06 Oct 201822 May 2019 -- 02 Jun 201909 Oct 2019 -- 20 Oct 2019

Day 1 : Arrive in Tbilisi

Arrive at Tbilisi airport where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free. Overnight in Tbilisi.

Arrive at Tbilisi airport where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free. Overnight in Tbilisi.

Meal plan : n/a


Tbilisi, formerly known as 'Tiflis', is Georgia's capital and the largest city of Georgia. It lays on the banks of the Mtkvari River and has a population of roughly 1.5 million people. Founded in the 5th century by the monarch of Georgia's ancient precursor, the Kingdom of Iberia, the city was invaded by different invaders over the centuries. The increase of Armenian population was noticed in the 19th century. Tbilisi has many narrow streets and a mixture of religious and secular architecture. There are many churches, synagogues, mosques and 19th-century houses with multi-coloured wooden balconies. 

Day 2 : Tbilisi

Tour of the old city and some other major sights. Overnight in Tblisi.

After breakfast take a tour of the old city including Narikala Fortress and the Mother of Georgia statue.  Later take a stroll along the famous Rustaveli Avenue, and visit the National Museum and the Dry Bridge flea market. Take in the views from the funicular before going for dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight in Tbilisi. 

Meal plan : Breakfast & dinner


Tbilisi’s old town stands in the shadow of Mother Georgia’s silvery statue, perched on a hill overlooking a mosaic of multi-coloured houses constructed in the 19th century. Nestled together on narrow streets, the homes feature wooden balconies that allow residents to revel in the fresh air. Established in the 4th century and fortified over hundreds of years, the ruins of Narikala Fortress also tower over Georgia’s capital, offering visitors spectacular panoramic views.  

Day 3 : Kakheti Region

Visit Sighnaghi, Tsinandali estate for wine-tasting, and bread and sweet-making before driving to Telavi for dinner and overnight.

In the morning we begin exploring the Kakheti region, enjoying superb views of the Great Caucasus Mountains and valleys. We visit Sighnaghi and the Tsinandali estate. Visit a 300 year old wine cellar and learn how Georgian wine-making differs from that of other parts. Stop off to try your hand at making traditional bread and traditional Georgian sweets before driving to Telavi for dinner and overnight.

Meal plan : Breakfast & dinner


Sighnaghi was once the cultural centre of Eastern Georgia and, following extensive renovation, the town has reclaimed its heritage as a hub of workmanship and trade - the town is famous for  its wine and carpet-making culture.  Known as a 'town museum', its unique architecture has been preserved or recreated. Enjoy walking through Sighnaghi's narrow streets in the shade of balconies richly decorated with lace-y carved ornamentation. Sighnaghi was instrumental in defending King Erekle II from the Lekis in the 18th century due to its geographic location and its city wall, whose 23 towers span nearly 5 kilometres. A short climb up the restored portion of the wall provides a sweeping panorama of the Alazani Valley and the Caucasus Mountains.

Georgia’s easternmost region, Kakheti, justifiably boasts of history, nature and wine.  Ancient monasteries, cathedrals and fortresses are folded into a beautiful and diverse landscape featuring the formidable snow-capped Caucasian mountains, expansive fertile valleys and rugged stretches of sparse vegetation.  Kakheti is synonymous with wine throughout Georgia.  Archaeologists have dated grape remains from 8,000 years ago, crowning Kakheti and its unique Qvevri tradition as the world’s oldest wine culture – though many different techniques are employed today. Warm-hearted locals enjoy educating visitors at wine cellars and wineries.  
 


Day 4 : Telavi - Gremi - Kvareli - Tbilisi

Visit Telavi market, Gremi and a winery before having lunch. Return to Tbilisi. Overnight in Tblisi.

In the morning visit Telavi market and then continue to Gremi to visit the site. Afterwards drive to Kvareli and visit a winery before having a traditional Georgian lunch. Later drive back to Tbilisi. Overnight in Tblisi.

Meal plan : Breakfast & dinner


Telavi is a historical city in Kakheti, an eastern region of Georgia and is considered to be one of Georgia’s most ancient cities. With fascinating museums, well-preserved religious buildings and a castle, Telavi offers visitors a unique insight into Georgian history and culture.

Gremi was once a trading town with a population that reached 100,000, until it was destroyed by invading Persian forces in the mid-17th century. The architectural complex used to be a citadel and consists of a tower, the king's chambers, defensive walls and the Church of Archangels that was built out of square bricks. The Church is now one of the only remains of the 16th-century town. It is a fine example of Georgian architecture and its faded frescoes offer a glimpse into the religious devotion of the period. King Levan, who built this complex, is buried here.

Located in Kakheti province’s northeast is the town of Kvareli.  Nestled near the foothills of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, this town is known as the heart of the Kakheti wine-producing region and as the birthplace of the influential Georgian author Ilia Chavchavadze, who sought to revitalize the Georgian language and to spread literacy.  Wine houses abound in Kvaleri, but the repurposed defensive Kvaleri tunnel provides a unique experience.  The 8 kilometre stretch inside of a mountain naturally chills the 25,000 stored bottles of wine at 7 degrees Celsius.  

Day 5 : Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Uplistsikhe - Borjomi

After breakfast drive to Mtskheta and visit Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Later, travel to Uplistsikhe before continuing on to Borjomi for dinner and overnight.

After breakfast drive to Mtskheta and visit Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Later we drive to Uplistsikhe for a visit and then continue to Borjomi for dinner and overnight.

Meal plan : Breakfast & dinner


Mtskheta is one of Georgia’s oldest cities, located roughly 20 km north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Within the city (which is itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, one of Georgia’s largest places of worship. The site, surrounded by a defensive wall, has housed churches since the 4th century, but the standing building was constructed in the early 11th century and artfully restored in the 1970s. According to Biblical canon, Christ’s robe was carried to Mtskheka after his crucifixion and buried beneath the cathedral. Inside, a painting illustrates the buried garment and the miracle of a pillar rising into the air during the church’s construction.  

Uplistsikhe (meaning 'Fortress of the Ruler') is a rock-hewn town that dates back to 1000 BC and covers an area of approximately 8 hectares. The town is divided over three levels that are connected by a series of narrow tunnels. Uplistsikhe used to be a main point on the Silk Road, but was abandoned in the 17th century.

The cross-shaped Jvari Monastery precipitously tops a mountain, peering over the city of Mtskheta and the three-pronged intersection of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers below.  This UNESCO World Heritage site was built on the site where St. Nino erected a cross outside of a Pagan temple, symbolising Iberia’s shift to Christianity in the 4th century. The Small Church of Jvari was built to the north of the cross, 60 years before the Jvari Monastery was completed, and can still be identified as ruins. Relief sculptures survive on the sacred pilgrimage site’s exterior, and a giant wooden cross still adorns the small monastery today.   
 


Day 6 : Borjomi - Vardzia - Khertvisi - Borjomi

Travel along the beautiful route to Vardzia. Later visit Khertvisi Fortress and Akhaltsikhe, before returning to Borjomi for overnight.

In the morning we travel along the beautiful route to Vardzia. On our way back we visit the 10th century Khertvisi Fortress, and the Rabat complex in Akhaltsikhe, before returning to Borjomi for overnight.

Meal plan : Breakfast & dinner


Founded in 1829, Borjomi is a resort town that was popularised when the Russian royal family built a summer residence here in 1895. Today, Likani Palace belongs to the Georgian president, and the town remains famous as the source of Georgia’s number one export - naturally carbonated mineral water. This water is exported to over 40 countries and is said to have medicinal and restorative properties. Borjomi is known for its picturesque location and setting within the protected Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, one of the largest national parks in Europe. The town of Borjomi is also home to the most extensive ecologically-themed amusement park in the Caucasus.

With most construction taking place during the second half of the 12th century, Vardzia is a complex of cave dwellings set over 13 levels that centre around a main church and throne room. The Church of the Dormition, which dates back to the 1180s, is decorated with religious and royal murals. The site at Vardzia, however, was destroyed beyond repair by an earthquake in 1283.

The precursor to Khertvisi Fortress was purportedly destroyed by Alexander the Great; the current fortress, one of the largest in Georgia, was constructed  in the 14th century,  more than a millennium later. With 1.5-metre-thick and 20-metre-tall walls, it stretches over half a kilometre and has 19 tiers. The fortress stands guard to the current village of Khertvisi at the joining of the Mtkvari and Paravani rivers.  

Day 7 : Borjomi - Kutaisi - Tskaltubo

Kutaisi tour including Bagrati Cathedral, poliphonic singers performance (if possible), a local market and Gelati Monastery. Transfer to Tskaltubo for overnight.

After breakfast explore Kutaisi including Bagrati Cathedral. If we can, we will hear some local polyphonic singers performing. Continue visit at a local agricultural market and then on to Gelati Monastery. Before dinner we will have a short lesson on Georgian language and script. Transfer to Tskaltubo for overnight.

Meal plan : Breakfast & dinner


Kutaisi is Georgia’s second largest city and has a history that dates back to 2000 BC, when it served as the capital city of the Kingdom of Colchis. Ottoman forces conquered the city in the early 16th century, but it was reclaimed by the Georgian king in 1770. The city possesses two UNESCO World Heritage sites and sits on the banks of the Rioni river.

The Gelati Monastery, founded by beloved Georgian ruler David IV (also referred to as ‘’David the Builder’’), consists of the main Church of the Virgin, the Church of St. George, the Church of St. Nicholas and a bell tower.  The Academy building recalls the monastery’s history as a cultural centre of ancient Georgia, which attracted great scientific and philosophical minds.  Murals and mosaics, some of which date back to the 12th century, cover the spacious interior of the buildings, arching over windows, pressing backwards into alcoves and reaching the highest stretches of the vaulted ceiling.  Despite damage from invasion and feuds, visitors can still admire the detailed enamel and metal work from a bygone era.  

Perched on a mountain that overlooks Kutaisi is the 11th century Bagrati Cathedral. Also known as The Cathedral of the Dormition, this building was completed during the reign of King Bagrat III, a man who is considered the first king of a unified Georgia. The cathedral lay in ruins for over 300 years after invading Ottomans destroyed it. Finally restored in 2012, Bagrati Cathedral now showcases medieval and modern Georgian architectural styles.

The roots of the word polyphonic translate as ''many sounds.''  Polyphonic singers are able to simultaneously produce a fundamental tone with an audible overtone.  Polyphonic singing in Georgia is a popular and treasured secular tradition, though the musical style varies by region.  Over time, polyphonic singing became ingrained into everyday life; polyphonic songs were sung by workers in the fields and by citizens hoping to cure illnesses, and the technique eventually carried over to hymns.  

Day 8 : Tskaltubo - Martvili - Okatse - Tskaltubo

Visit Martvili to explore the canyon, by boat if weather is good. Visit grotto in Okatse. Overnight in Tskaltubo.

Explore West Georgia (Imereti and Samegrelo provinces) today. Travel to Martvili to see the canyon named after the local royal family, Dadiani. Weather permitting take a boat tour along the canyon. Later transfer to Okatse and take a walk along a special bridge-way and explore a grotto. Overnight in Tskaltubo.

Meal plan : Breakfast, lunch & dinner


Tskaltubo is a spa resort famous for its radon-carbonate mineral springs, whose natural temperature of 33–35 degrees Celsius (91–95 degrees Fahrenheit) enables the water to be used without preliminary heating. Tskaltubo was especially popular in the Soviet era, attracting around 125,000 visitors a year. 

Day 9 : Tskaltubo - Gori - Kazbegi

Visit Stalin museum in Gori, Continue to Ananuri Fort and along the Georgian Military Highway to Kazbegi. Cooking demo and dinner. Overnight in Kazbegi.

After breakfast drive East to stop at the Stalin Museum in Gori. After lunch continue along the Georgian Military Highway, stopping to visit Ananuri Fort and enjoying breathtaking views of the Great Caucasus Mountains up to Kazbegi. For dinner we visit a local family and learn how to prepare some traditional Georgian dishes and enjoy dinner there. Overnight in Kazbegi.

Meal plan : Breakfast & dinner


The city of Gori is famously known as the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. The city is home to the Stalin Museum, which was originally built in 1951 as a local history museum. It later became a memorial museum to Stalin, following his death in 1953. Visitors to the museum can delve into the dictator's past, seeing the house where he spent the first few years of his life, his personal armored train carriage and many items that once belonged to Stalin - including hand written texts, office furniture and a bronze cast of his death mask.

Kazbegi, officially known as ''Stepantsminda", is a small town located just 10 kilometres south of the Russian border. The town is 1,750 metres above sea level and has breathtaking mountain views that include Mount Kazbek (or 'Glacier Mountain'), Georgia’s third highest peak, standing at 5,047 metres high. Kazbek is associated with the myth of Prometheus, who is said to have been chained to the mountain as punishment for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mortals. 

Day 10 : Kazbegi - Gergeti - Kazbegi

Walk to Gelati church (vehicle available). Later visit the remote village of Juta. Return to Kazbegi for overnight.

In the morning walk to Gergeti Church for superb views over the settlement (a vehicle is available for those who prefer not to walk). In the afternoon, drive to the remote village of Juta, which is cut off from the rest of the country by snow for six months of the year. Visit a local lady to taste Matsoni yogurt and honey. In the late afternoon we return to Kazbegi for overnight.

Meal plan : Breakfast & dinner


The isolated Gergeti Trinity Church, constructed in the 14th century, is elevated 2,170m over the Chkheri riverbank, facing Mt. Kazbek. The church holds important religious relics which were brought from Mtskheta during the 18th-century Persian invasion. Even when religious services were outlawed during the Soviet era, tourists were still drawn to the church to admire the small town of Kazbegi. 

Day 11 : Kazbegi - Tbilisi

Visit a felt textile producer, sample Georgian confiture, and return to Tblisi. Free afternoon and overnight in Tblisi.

In the morning visit a local master producing Teka (traditional Georgian felt textiles) and taste some Georgian confiture. Later transfer to Tbilisi and have some free time to explore on your own, go souvenir-shopping, or even take a steam-bath. Overnight in Tblisi.

Meal plan : Breakfast & dinner


Day 12 : Tbilisi - Departure

After breakfast transfer to the airport for onward travel.

After breakfast transfer to the airport for onward travel.

Meal plan : Breakfast


What's included

INCLUDED Accommodation as mentioned Transportation by AC vehicle Non AC 4WD vehicle to Juta Meals as mentioned Entrance fees  Small bottle of water per day Guide and driver
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Travel The Unknown
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