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Discover extraordinary Georgia
Nestled between Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Georgia remains a relatively little-known gem at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Its unspoilt scenery is stunning and, now transport links have improved, this country is fast becoming a must-see. Our superb nine-day itinerary takes in the very best of Georgia, including the cosmopolitan capital, Tbilisi, and the UNESCO-listed sites of Mtskheta and Kazbegi National Park.
You will enjoy breathtaking mountain walks, discover ancient churches and impressive mountaintop fortresses - all in the company of the experienced guides of our specialist travel partner Wild Frontiers.
In Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, you'll wander the cobbled streets and sample its café culture, you'll then travel into the countryside to visit the 6th century Davit Gareja cave complex, and visit a local family who will cook a traditional lunch for you. Crossing the picturesque Gombori Pass, you'll follow the Georgian Military Highway to Stepantsminda, in the heart of Kazbegi National Park, and take a three-hour walk through woods and valleys to the spectacular Gergeti Trinity Church at 2,170m in the Caucasus mountains. You'll also see the UNESCO- listed Jvari Monastery, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, the beautiful citadel of Rabat and Khertvisi Fortress, plus the 12th-century 'cave town' of Vardzia, carved into the hillside for over half a kilometre.
With exclusive experiences such as wine tastings and a cooking class already included, this is the chance to visit Georgia before the rest of the world discovers its charms.
"Georgia has the best food I've ever eaten, the best scenery I've laid eyes on, and wine that gives Italy a run for its money. "
Louise Callaghan, Middle East Correspondent The Sunday Times
Times Subscriber Excluisve Discount
Times subscribers save £200 per couple* (discount is included in the price listed) when booking before September 30, 2019. Times subscribers click here to redeem your discount code.
Reasons to book
World heritage Mtskheta
- Wild Frontiers tour leader with local guides and drivers
- All accommodation in guesthouses and three- and four-star hotels
- All meals, transport and entrance fees
- Wine tastings, home-cooked dinner and Georgian cooking demonstration
- A carbon-offsetting contribution to Carbon Clear (if booking international flights through Wild Frontiers)
Non- Times subscribers: £1,675* pp
Times subscribers: £1,575* pp
*See below for more details
Day1Meet in TbilisiTbilisi, Georgia
Those on the suggested group flight will be met at the airport in the early hours of Day 2 and transferred to the joining hotel for immediate check-in. For those arriving earlier, rooms will be available from mid-afternoon.
Day2Discover TbilisiTbilisi, Georgia
The pre-departure meeting will take place this morning at your hotel, after which we will have a city tour including all of Old Tbilisi. From the Metekhi Church (13th century) overlooking the river Mtkvari to the Narikala Fortress (4th century), one of the oldest fortifications in the city, we'll also pay a visit to the Sulphur Baths, the synagogue, the Anchiskhati Church (6th century) and Sioni Cathedral (6/7th century).
In this cathedral the cross of St. Nino - the woman who introduced Christianity to Georgia - is preserved. All these sights are in close proximity and it's a pleasant walk. Afterwards we visit the stunning treasures of the National Museum and have the rest of the day to soak up the café culture of Tbilisi, relax and shop.
Day3Tbilisi - Davit Gareja - TelaviT'elavi, Georgia
In the morning we travel to David Gareja cave complex (6th century) located in a stark, semi-desert landscape. After seeing Lavra Monastery we walk up to Udabno Monastery to enjoy its wonderful painted caves and dramatic views across to Azerbaijan.
We will continue on to Telavi, stopping along the way to visit a unique wine cellar where wine is produced and stored, and we'll learn more about the wine-making process and sample several Kakhetian wines.
We will visit a local family this evening and enjoy a delicious home-cooked dinner, where we can see how Georgian bread is baked and sample the famous Georgian cheese and the local sour yoghurt - Matsoni.
Day4Telavi - StepantsmindaStepantsminda, Georgia
Before leaving Telavi we will visit the local market before heading on to a local qvevri maker (traditional earthenware vessels used in wine-making). After this we will drive to Khevi region via the picturesque Gombori Pass.
We will stop at Ananuri to visit two fortified churches beautifully situated on the Jinvali water reservoir. As we follow the Georgian Military Highway we will enjoy wonderful views of the Great Caucasus Mountains as we make our way to the beautiful setting of Stepantsminda in the heart of Kazbegi National Park.
Today we set out on foot for a three-hour walk up through beautiful valleys and woodland to Gergeti Trinity Church (14th century) located at 2170m. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus on Mt Kazbegi (5047m). After lunch in Kazbegi we then drive through the dramatic Dariali Gorge, where we have the opportunity to walk to Gveleti waterfalls and visit a local master who will tell us more about Georgian Teka (felt) making. End the day with a cooking demonstration in one of the local houses.
Day6Stepantsminda - Mtskheta - AkhaltsikheAkhaltsikhe, Georgia
This morning we set off for the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia, Mtskheta, where we will visit Jvari Monastery (6th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century), both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Near to Mtskheta we will visit a well-respected winery for a wine-tasting experience different to that which we had in Kakheti, before continuing on to the town of Akhaltsikhe.
Day7Akhaltsikhe - VardziaVardzia, Georgia
Vardzia is a magnificent 12th century cave town carved out of the hillside in the Golden Age of Georgia, and is one of Georgia's highlights.
The cave complex, which stretches over half a kilometre, once consisted of almost 3000 caves and was one of the best examples of Georgia's renaissance. The complex also includes dwellings quarters, refectories, wine cellars, and small hall-type churches, one of which is even hewn out in rock with some stunning 12th century frescoes to admire.
We will stay overnight nearby.
Day8Vardzia - Gori - TbilisiGori, Georgia
As we head back towards Tbilisi, we will stop at Gori, located in the Kartli region, the birthplace of the most famous Georgian of all times, Josef Stalin. We will take some time to visit the surreal Stalin Museum, his house and private carriage. Back in Tbilisi this afternoon we'll have some free time to explore the city at leisure before our final dinner this evening.
Day9Tour ends in TbilisiTbilisi, Georgia
Your tour will end this morning at the hotel in Tbilisi