Baku to Black Sea Tour

Baku, Shamakhi, Sheki, Sighnaghi, Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Kutaisi, Batumi

Baku to Black Sea Tour welcomes you to the colorful natural diversity and storybook wonder of Azerbaijan and Georgia. Go from tourist to traveler as you weave your way through Tbilisi, Kutaisi, small towns such as Sheki and Sighnaghi and the beauty of Martvili Canyon, Batumi Botanical Gardens and Gobustan National Park in this in-depth exploration of the Caucasus.
Sandwiched between the Caspian Sea and Georgia, Azerbaijan draws increasing crowds of tourists each year with its historical forts, medieval caravanserais, exotic volcanoes and burning mountains. Georgia offers Black Sea coastline, canyons, caves and monasteries mystifying and diverse. Both countries promise classic hospitality, delectable cuisine and the backdrop for an unforgettable holiday.

Arrive in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital. You will be met by our driver at Heydar Aliyev International Airport for drop-off at the hotel, where check-in begins at noon. Have a rest, followed by a private walking tour of Old Baku (Icheri Sheher) to see several historical monuments:

  • Maiden Tower (date unconfirmed), an ancient fortress believed to have once been a fire temple, it is now a city symbol which affords a great view of Baku from the top.
  • Palace of the Shirvanshahs (15th century), a UNESCO ensemble and Azerbaijan’s finest example of medieval architecture, it includes a mosque, bathhouse and entrance gates.
  • Multani Caravanserai (15th century), built as a haven for Indian merchants and fire worshipers hailing from the city of Multan in present-day Pakistan.
  • Juma Mosque (12th century, rebuilt 1899), defined by intricate stone carvings and an adjacent 14th-century minaret, it was constructed on the site of a Zoroastrian temple.
  • Market Square (17th century), a plaza filled with winding streets and shops selling carpets, souvenirs and antiques.
Overnight at the hotel in Baku.
Meals provided: none

Depart your hotel in Baku and drive to Gobustan National Park (60km, 1hr), located on the west bank of the Caspian Sea.

  • Start your excursion at Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape, an open-air gallery dating back to 10000 BC. Discover 6000 petroglyphs ranging from depictions of ritual dances and warriors to animals and the cosmos.
  • Explore the Petroglyph Museum for a brief introduction to the park’s cultural and ecological history.
  • Drive to the Mud Volcanoes (10km, 15min), an unusual natural phenomena where underground gases bubble up from the earth in a mixture of mud and methane.
  • View Yanar Dag (Burning Mountain), a natural gas fire which has been burning for thousands of years due to the large reservoir of gas under the Absheron Peninsula.
  • Tour Ateshgah Fire Temple (dates vary), a historic center of Zoroastrian worship and philosophical teaching.
Return to the capital. Overnight at the hotel in Baku.
Meals provided: breakfast

Your guide and driver will meet you at your Baku hotel for a drive to Shamakhi (120km, 1hr 30min).
On the way, stop at Diri Baba Mausoleum (15th century) in the village of Maraza. Explore the two-story monument, carved into a rocky cliff as a unique display of Shirvan-Absheron architecture.
Continue driving to ancient Shamakhi, former seat of the Shirvanshah Empire, to visit:

  • Juma Mosque (8th century), the oldest mosque in Azerbaijan whose ancient Islamic architecture and interior stone columns are unparalleled in the country.

Continue driving to Sheki (170km, 2hrs 30min) to tour to its finest sites:

  • Sheki Khans’ Palace (18th century), a UNESCO World Heritage Site built without glue or nails. Famous for its stained glass and miniature paintings, it is the country’s most treasured relic from the 1700s.
  • Sheki Caravanserai (18th century), which once housed foreign merchants and their camels. You can stop for a rest too as you enjoy tea and local sweet halva, or pakhlava.
  • Gelersen-Gerersen Fortress (Come-and-See Fortress, 15th century), a once impenetrable citadel whose history is closely linked with the city.
Overnight at the hotel in Sheki.
Meals provided: breakfast
Depart Sheki and head towards the border with Georgia (110km, 1hr 45min).
Cross the border and continue driving to Sighnaghi (50km, 45min), a small Silk Road town in east Kakheti surrounded by 23 towers and defensive walls. Walk the narrow cobblestone streets of this outpost known locally as The City of Love.
In Sighnaghi, explore Bodbe Monastery Complex (9th century), one of Georgia’s most significant religious sites. Also called St. George’s Monastery, it is the purported burial site of St. Nino, who is credited with converting Georgia to Christianity in the 4th century.
Drive to Tbilisi (110km, 1hr 40min). Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Meals provided: breakfast

In the morning, your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel for a private city tour to the following:

  • Holy Trinity Cathedral (Sameba Church), one of the largest houses of worship in the world.
  • Drive to Tbilisi’s modern quarter, passing the Parliament Building on Rustaveli Avenue before reaching Freedom Square.
  • Metekhi Church (13th century), guarded by a statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali.
  • Bridge of Peace, which leads to the popular Rike Park.
  • Cable car ride to Narikala Fortress (4th century), Georgia’s oldest citadel and the best spot for a panoramic view of the city. Nearby stands the 20-meter-high statue of Kartlis Deda, Mother of Georgia.
  • Old Tbilisi, the city’s largest district, including the famous Jumah Mosque.
  • Bridge of Lovers, found near the cooling waters of the 22-meter-high Legvtakhevi Waterfall.
  • Historic Abanotubani District, including the Tbilisi Sulfur Baths.
  • Jan Shardeni Street (Jean Chardin), an area filled with cozy coffee shops, wine tasting bars and souvenir stores.
  • Sioni Cathedral (7th century), with a jaw-dropping interior of gold and turquoise frescoes.
  • Leaning Clock Tower of Tbilisi, next to the famous Reza Gabriadze Puppet Theater.
  • Anchiskhati Basilica Church (6th century), the oldest house of worship in Tbilisi.
Transfer to the hotel or continue exploring Old Tbilisi on your own. Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Meals provided: breakfast

In the morning, your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel to drive to the small town of Mtskheta (25km, 30min) where you will explore two UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • Jvari Orthodox Monastery (6th century), a unique remnant of the early Georgian church built at the top of a hill. The church amazes its visitors with simple yet beautiful facades.
  • Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century), where one of the holiest items of the orthodox Christian world - the seamless robe, or chiton, worn by Jesus Christ at crucifixion - is believed to be buried. Admire its stunning architecture and frescoes as you learn the legends connected with the church.
Continue your tour to Uplistsikhe Cave Town (1st millennium BC) to explore this ancient cave fortress built entirely from rock. Trace the civilizations that inhabited the town across millennia as you climb through homes, churches and even a secret tunnel.
Transfer to Kutaisi (160km, 2hrs 30min). Tour Gelati Monastery (12th century), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the center of Georgia’s spiritual and scientific life in the Middle Ages. It now includes the tombs of Georgian kings, three churches and a bell tower.
Excursion to Motsameta Monastery (10th century), a small but amazing monastery which attracts crowds of religious pilgrims and travelers. Overnight at the hotel in Kutaisi.
Meals provided: breakfast

In the morning, begin your tour of Kutaisi Region:

  • Visit Colchis Fountain (2011), located in Kutaisi’s David Agmashenebeli Square. It includes dozens of statues and waterworks that recall the ancient kingdom of Colchis, believed to have been located near Kutaisi.
  • Drive over Rioni River to Bagrati Cathedral (11th century), whose medieval architecture and detailed inner paintings are sure to impress.
Drive to Martvili Canyon (50km, 55min). Take a boat ride through its beautiful rock crevices, which tower up to 40 meters. Walk through the canyon to discover waterfalls, bridges and observation areas.
Drive to nearby Martvili Monastery (7th century). Also known as Chkondidi Monastery, its distinctive windows and colorful murals speak of its rich history, while the site provides a magnificent view of the town.
Head for Prometheus Cave (40km, 50min) in Tskaltubo. Also called Kumistavi Cave, it’s the largest cave in Georgia with six caverns open for exploration. Walk through a 1400-meter-long tunnel, enjoying the stalactite formations accentuated by colored lights and music. Drive back to Kutaisi. Overnight at the hotel in Kutaisi.
Meals provided: breakfast
Note: Martvili Canyon and Prometheus Cave are closed to visitors on Mondays.
In the morning, depart Kutaisi for Batumi (150km, 2hrs 30min).
Stop at Petra Fortress (6th century), built by Justinian I and offering a great view of the Black Sea.
On the way, visit Batumi Botanical Garden, one of the largest botanical gardens in the Caucasus from which you’ll have an amazing view of the Black Sea as you discover rare vegetation from all over the world.
Arrive in Batumi and check in to the hotel, followed by free time. Overnight at the hotel in Batumi.
Meals provided: breakfast

In the morning, begin your Batumi city tour, which will take you to the following sights:

  • Driving tour of the House of Justice, Batumi Mall, Dolphinarium, Rustaveli University, Museum of Art, Batumi Port and Orta Mosque.
  • Gonio Fortress, the oldest fortress in Georgia (1st century AD) which spans 4.5 hectares and two millennia of buried history.
  • Europe Square with its famous Medea Statue and nearby Italian Piazza Square.
  • Batumi Boulevard, including a dancing fountain and the famous Ali and Nino Monument.
  • Seaside Miracle Park, a delightful promenade featuring the Panoramic Wheel, Chacha Tower, Alphabetic Tower, Batumi Lighthouse and Nurigeli Lake.
  • Church of St. Nicolas (1871), one of Batumi’s key historical monuments built by the Greek community.
  • Holy Mother Virgins Nativity Cathedral (1897), a gothic-style church with large stained-glass windows.
Take the Batumi - Tbilisi train, departing from Batumi late afternoon (390km). You’ll be met at the station for transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Meals provided: breakfast
Breakfast at the hotel, followed by a free morning. Check out from the hotel by noon. Transfer to Tbilisi International Airport. End of Baku to Black Sea Tour.
  • Round-trip airport and train station transfers;
  • Private local guide (days 1-7 and 9);
  • Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
  • Transportation throughout the tour;
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room at hotel (9 nights, with breakfast);
  • Bottled mineral water (1 liter per person per day);
  • One-way first class train ticket from Batumi to Tbilisi.
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Meals (lunches and dinners);
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • All other charges and services not mentioned under Inclusions;
  • Tips are not included but are appreciated.

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