Georgia and Armenia Tour

8
Days
Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Uplistsikhe, Gori, Telavi, Tsinandali, Sighnaghi, Bodbe, Lori, Gosh, Dilijan, Garni, Geghard, Yerevan

Our Georgia and Armenia Tour welcomes you to monasteries and cathedrals which shaped the course of nations, cavernous dwellings brimming with secrets and truly unique museums which unlock doors to the past. Revel in local dishes, wine tasting sessions and souvenir hunting amid intoxicating mountain landscapes on this well-paced weeklong expedition.
Georgia’s lively atmosphere and powerful religious heritage are made tangible in the relics of Jvari Monastery, Uplistsikhe Cave Town, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Shumi Winery and Tbilisi’s historical core. Neighboring Armenia, no less ancient, exudes a dignified elegance among its well-treasured monasteries, Garni Temple, Lake Sevan and invaluable collection of scripts in Yerevan’s Matenadaran.

Arrive in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital. You will be met by our driver for drop-off at the hotel, where check-in begins at noon. Have a rest after your flight. Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Meals provided: none

In the morning, take a private, guided tour of Tbilisi 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 for a drive to the small town of Mtskheta (25km, 30min), ancient capital of Iberia and a holy pilgrimage site for most Georgians. Explore its three UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • Jvari Orthodox Monastery (6th century), a unique remnant of the early Georgian church, it overlooks the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi Rivers and amazes visitors with simple yet beautiful facades.
  • Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century), where one of the holiest items of the orthodox Christian world - the robe worn by Jesus Christ at crucifixion – is believed to be buried. Admire the stunning architecture and frescoes as you learn various legends connected with the church.
  • Samtavro Monastery (11th century), former center of the Georgian Orthodox Church and burial site of Queen Nana and King Mirian. The complex includes churches, frescoes, bell towers and an active convent.
Walk the streets of Mtskheta to admire the homes and balconies or shop for Georgia’s national sweet, churchkhela.
Drive to Chardakhi Village for a special Georgian lunch and wine tasting at a family vineyard.
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.
Your next stop is Ateni Sioni Church (7th century), a remote Georgian Orthodox chapel famous for its frescoes.
Finish your tour in Gori, a town built by King David the Builder in 1089-1125 and placed on the map by Joseph Stalin, who was born here in 1920. Tour the Stalin Museum, including the house in which he was born, while enjoying a panoramic view of Gori.
Return to Tbilisi (100km, 1hr 30min). Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Meals provided: breakfast, lunch, wine tasting

In the morning, drive from Tbilisi to Georgia’s wine country, Kakheti Region, via Gombori Pass (95km, 1hr 30min).

  • On the way, visit Akhali Shuamta Monastery Complex (5th-16th centuries), site of two monasteries built at separate times in history and reflecting distinct architectural styles. The newer monastery now serves as an active nunnery.
  • Continue to Telavi, capital of Kakheti Region. Take a walking tour through Telavi’s charming streets to see the 900-year-old Giant Plane Tree and a monument of Irakli II, king of Kakheti in the 18th century.
  • Drive to Tsinandali to tour Tsinandali Estate, a historical complex with a garden and the House Museum of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, the 19th-century poet and stateman who developed the manor.
  • Enjoy lunch and wine tasting at Shumi Georgian Winery and Museum, an ancient winery that boasts of a unique collection of Georgian and European varieties. All wines are made according to traditional qvevri methods in centuries-old vessels.
  • Continue to Sighnaghi, a Silk Road town surrounded by 23 towers and defensive walls. Walk the cobblestone streets of this outpost known locally as The City of Love.
  • 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.
Return to Tbilisi (110km, 1hr 40min). Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Meals provided: breakfast, lunch, wine tasting

After breakfast, depart Tbilisi and drive to the Georgian-Armenian border crossing of Sadakhlo-Bagratashen (80km, 1hr 30min). Cross the border, where your Armenian guide and driver will be waiting for you.
Start your Armenia journey with a drive to Lori Region for a tour of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites:

  • Sanahin Monastery Complex (10th century), the former center of the Kyurikians Kingdom which includes St. Astvatsatsin, Amenaperkich and St. Gregory Churches. Explore a university, library, tombs, scriptorium and wooded grounds.
  • Haghpat Monastery (10th century), a scenic former science center holding a rich collection of manuscripts. Along with St. Neshan Cathedral, the complex includes churches, a dining hall, scriptorium, bell tower and tombstones.
  • Drive to Haghartsin Monastery (10th–13th centuries), hidden in a wooded corner of paradise and encompassing St. Gregory Church, St. Stepanos Church, St. Astvatsatsin Cathedral and a refectory.
  • Continue to Goshavank Monastery Complex (12th -13th centuries), formerly a major university and library located in the picturesque village of Gosh. Tour its churches and famous cross-stone khachkars.
Drive to Dilijan for drop-off at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Dilijan.
Meals provided: breakfast

In the morning, drive to Lake Sevan, known as the Blue Eye of Armenia and famous for its Ishkhan (Prince of Fish) Trout, which was formerly served to Armenian and foreign kings. Unwind amid its rocky coastline, charming churches and snow-capped mountains.

  • Continue to Sevanavank Monastery, also called Sevan Monastery (9th century). Climb hundreds of stairs on this island-turned-peninsula to enjoy the view of Lake Sevan and explore Arakelots (Church of the Apostles) and Astvatsatsin (Church of the Virgin).

Continue to Garni in Kotayk Province (75km, 1hr 20min), where you’ll tour the following:

  • Garni Temple (1st century AD), ancient Temple of the Sun dedicated to Mithra. This Hellenistic structure strongly mirrors architecture of the Greco-Roman Empire.
  • Garni Fortress (3rd-2nd centuries BC), a once-powerful fort and the summer residence of Armenian kings which overlooks the Azat River from a height of 300 meters.
Depart Garni and drive to Geghard (10km, 20min).
Explore Geghard Monastery (4th century), also known as Ayrivank Monastery. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is famous for its bas-reliefs and stunning scenery. Explore its tombs and tunnels and see the spear believed to have pierced Christ's body.
Arrive in Yerevan (40km, 1hr), the capital of Armenia, for overnight at the hotel.
Meals provided: breakfast

Your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel to begin your Yerevan city tour to the following:

  • Matenadaran, a.k.a the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, which holds nearly half of the world’s historic Armenian manuscripts. See original texts, early 5th-6th century writings and over 400,000 manuscripts in multiple languages.
  • Cascade Complex, whose 500 steps serve as a modern city symbol and house the Cafesjian Center for the Arts.
  • Holy Mother of God Katoghike Church (13th century), one of the city’s oldest churches which is famous for the historic engravings on its walls and for its mysterious disappearance from the public eye on two occasions.
  • Republic Square and Vernisaj Market, the largest souvenir bazaar in Yerevan which holds Armenian folk art, a large selection of unique jewelry and exclusive handmade masterpieces.
  • Saint Gregory The Illuminator Cathedral (2001), the world’s largest Armenian Apostolic cathedral. It sits atop a hill and consists of three churches, a bell tower and dozens of arches.
  • Tsitsernakaberd (1967), the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex on Tsitsernakaberd Hill which is dedicated to the victims of the massacres of the early 20th century.
  • Megerian Carpet Museum, where you can observe the production of rugs firsthand and see colorful carpets from each region of Armenia.
Transfer back to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Meals provided: breakfast
Free morning for packing or personal exploration of Yerevan. If you have free time, you can independently discover Yerevan Ararat Brandy Factory, an old cellar with 120 years of experience in brandy making. aste the world-famous brandy and learn how it is produced.
Check out of the hotel by noon and transfer to Zvartnots International Airport. End of Georgia and Armenia Tour.
Meals provided: breakfast
  • Round-trip airport transfers;
  • Private local guide (days 2-7);
  • Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
  • Transportation throughout the tour;
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room at hotel (7 nights, with breakfast);
  • Lunch and wine tasting on Days 3 and 4;
  • Bottled mineral water (1 liter per person per day).
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Lunches and dinners not listed under Inclusions;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • All other charges and services not mentioned under Inclusions;
  • Tips are not included but are appreciated.

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