UNESCO Sites in Georgia Tour

8
Days
Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Gori, Kutaisi, Ushguli, Mestia, Zugdidi, Telavi, Tsinandali, Sighnaghi

The UNESCO Sites in Georgia Tour will transport you to ancient worlds of wonder as you tour UNESCO cathedrals in Mtskheta, Gelati Monastery in Kutaisi, Ushguli Village in Upper Svaneti Region and Old Tbilisi’s cryptic streets. Guided tours of ancient relics are interspersed with Soviet history in Gori, Uplistsikhe Cave Town exploration, leisurely exploration of Telavi and Sighnaghi, and more.
With Georgia’s extensive, well-preserved history, unique culture and enclaves of endangered people groups, it should come as no surprise that the country boasts of numerous UNESCO World Heritage and Intangible Sites. Visiting these monuments of cultural pride, which include churches, monasteries, ethnographic museums and even entire villages, is an excellent way to appreciate the country and honor the people who call it home.

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. After a rest, your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel for a private city tour to the following:

  • Holy Trinity Cathedral, 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 up 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, also known as the 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.
Tour duration: approximately 6 hours
Meals provided: none

In the morning, your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel to continue your tour.
Drive to the small town of Mtskheta (25km, 30min) to explore three 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.
  • Samtavro Monastery (11th century), former center of the Georgian Orthodox Church and burial site of Queen Nana and King Mirian. The complex attracts many religious pilgrims and includes several churches, bell towers, frescoes and an active convent.
Drive back to Tbilisi and admire the classical architecture of Kashveti Church of St. George (early 20th century) before continuing to the Georgian National Opera Theater (19th century), one of the oldest opera halls in Eastern Europe.
Tour either the Open-Air Museum of Ethnography, which provides models of traditional homes from each region of Georgia and interesting hands-on exhibits, or the Georgian National Museum, a historical gallery covering Georgian and Caucasian history from the BC era through Soviet occupation (closed Mondays).
Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Meals provided: breakfast
In the morning, drive to Gori (90km, 1hr 30min), 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. Learn about the Soviet leader at the Stalin Museum, which includes the house in which he was born, while enjoying a panoramic view of Gori.
Continue your tour to Uplistsikhe Cave Town (60km, 1hr) to explore a cave fortress built entirely from rock and inhabited from the 1st millennium BC. Trace the various civilizations that inhabited the town as you climb through homes, churches and even a secret tunnel.
Your next stop is Ateni Sioni Church (17km, 30min), a remote 7th century Georgian Orthodox chapel famous for its frescoes.
Transfer to Kutaisi (170km, 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, start your private Kutaisi city tour to the following:

  • Colchis Fountain (2011), in Kutaisi’s David Agmashenebeli Square, with more than 30 statues and waterworks that recall the ancient kingdom of Colchis, believed to have been located near Kutaisi.
  • Green Bazaar, a lively market with sellers and patrons as colorful as the produce itself. This is a great place to stalk up on fresh local snacks.
  • Kutaisi State Historical Museum, easily one of the country’s finest museums that houses a small but unique collection of Georgian artifacts.
  • Drive over Rioni River to Bagrati Cathedral (11th century), whose medieval architecture and detailed inner paintings are sure to impress.
Drive to Martvili Canyon (48km, 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 (20km, 30min). Overnight at the hotel in Kutaisi.
Meals provided: breakfast
Note: Martvili Canyon and Prometheus Cave are closed to visitors on Mondays.

Depart Kutaisi in the morning and drive to Ushguli Village (170km, 4hrs 30min). Explore the mysterious and ethnically unique Upper Svaneti Region as you drive a scenic mountain road.
Take an off-road to Zagari Pass (2620 meters), passing through the wild nature of the High Caucasus in a region nicknamed the “Land of a Thousand Towers”. Enjoy spectacular views and a picnic lunch along the way.
Arrive to Ushguli (2200 meters), one of the most remote settlements in Georgia. Ushguli highlights include:

  • Exploration of the village and Ushguli Architectural Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with medieval stone houses, turrets, churches, castles and watchtowers from the 10th-14th centuries.
  • Visit to Lamaria Church (12th century) to admire its wall frescoes and learn its fascinating history.
  • Tour of the Ushguli Ethnographic Museum to experience life as a rustic medieval villager.
Continue driving to Mestia (50km, 2hrs), where you’ll enjoy a delicious local dinner and overnight at a guesthouse.
Meals provided: breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner

Wake up early to watch the sun rise above Mount Ushba and Mount Laila. After breakfast, take a guided tour of the following:

  • Nesguni Church (9th century), an unassuming chapel with intricate wood carvings.
  • St. Nicholas Church, a newly built chapel flanked by a postcard-worthy background.
  • Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography, where you can see an original Svan house (machubi), tower (koshki), and a collection of regional artifacts.
Depart Mestia and drive to Zugdidi (140km, 3hrs). On the way, view Enguri Dam, the world’s second-largest concrete dam which runs along the border of Georgia and Abkhazia.
Arrive in Zugdidi and visit Dadiani Palace (19th century), which once belonged to the prominent Dadiani family, who were known for their close ties to Napoleon Bonaparte. The palace now doubles as a historical museum (closed Mondays).
Drop-off at the train station. Depart Zugdidi at 18:15 and arrive in Tbilisi at 23:50 (340 km).
Pick-up from the train station and transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Meals provided: breakfast
In the morning, drive from Tbilisi to Georgia’s wine country, Kakheti Region, via the Gombori Pass (95km, 1hr 30min).
On the way, visit Akhali Shuamta Monastery Complex (5th and 16th centuries), site of two monasteries reflecting distinct architectural styles.
Continue driving to Telavi through picturesque rivers and valleys. Take a short walking tour through Telavi’s charming streets to see the 900-year-old Giant Plane Tree and a monument of the 18th-century King Irakli II.
Drive to Tsinandali to tour the Tsinandali Estate, a historical complex which includes 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 the 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 winemaking methods in centuries-old qvevri vessels.
Continue to Sighnaghi, a small Silk Road town in east Kakheti surrounded by 23 towers and defensive walls and known locally as The City of Love.
In Sighnaghi, explore Bodbe Monastery Complex (9th century). Also known as St. George’s Monastery, it’s one of Georgia’s most significant religious sites, for St. Nino, credited with converting Georgia to Christianity in the 4th century, is believed to be buried here.
Return to Tbilisi (110km, 1hr 40min). Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Meals provided: breakfast, lunch with wine tasting
Free morning to pack or to continue exploring Old Tbilisi on your own. Check out of the hotel by noon and transfer to Tbilisi International Airport. End of UNESCO Sights in Georgia Tour.
Meals provided: breakfast
  • Private guide on days 1-7;
  • Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary, including cable car ride;
  • Transportation throughout the tour;
  • Train ticket from Zugdidi to Tbilisi;
  • Accommodation based on double/twin room at hotel (6 nights, with breakfast) and guesthouse (1 night, with breakfast);
  • Bottled mineral water (0.5 liter per person per day);
  • Meals – boxed lunch and dinner on day 5; lunch and wine tasting on day 7.
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Lunches and dinners not specified in the itinerary;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • All other charges and services not mentioned under Inclusions;
  • Tips are not included but are appreciated.

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