Arrive in Tbilisi, meeting in the airport and transfer to a hotel.
Today we explore the historical part of Tbilisi with its narrow streets, colorful houses, carved balconies and magnificent atmosphere. This enchanting place illustrates a great mix of Orient and Occident. Our first destination is the Metekhi church (13th century). We can enjoy breathtaking views of the Old Town from this place. We continue walking to the Synagogue and then visit two important Georgian churches - Sioni Cathedral (6th-7th. centuries) with the beautiful bell towers, mural paintings and the oldest church of Tbilisi - Anchiskhati (6th century). Afterwards we drive up to get a panoramic view of the whole city and walk down to the Narikala Fortress (4th century). The smell of sulfur gets stronger and we approach Sulfur Baths, which delighted with Dumas, Pushkin, Lermontov etc. In the afternoon we discover the stunning treasury of the Georgian historical museum, before taking a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue – the main street in Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi.
We start from Tbilisi in the early morning and drive to David Gareja cave complex (6th century) located in a stark, semi-desert landscape. First we see Lavra Monastery and then walk up about 1 hour to Udabno monastery to enjoy its wonderful painted caves and dramatic views across to Azerbaijan. Then we start exploring Kakheti region well known for its wine producing. We enjoy superb views of Great Caucasus Mountains and valleys of Kakheti, acknowledge traditions and culture of the country and region, taste wines and delicious food. En route visit a local farmer to taste homemade Georgian wines straight from the clay jars kept under the ground and learns more about the Georgian way of wine-making.
Overnight in Kvareli for 2 nights.
In the morning we visit beautiful Alaverdi Cathedral (11th century) and then a local Duke`s estate – garden and the house-museum. Here in Tsinandali we have one more chance to taste some of Georgian wines, those that are produced in the factory established in the 19th century. Afterwards we visit fortified castle of Gremi (16th century). Then we head to a local village to have homemade lunch at a local family and...Yes... more homemade wine. Later one more chance to taste fantastic Georgian wines in the wine-factory near Kvareli. Drive back to Kvareli.
Drive to visit fortified town of Sighnaghi (18th century). The town preserved its original image and now offers visitors stunning views of the surrounding Caucasus Mountains. Visit Bodbe monastery (4th century).
From here we head back west to visit the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia – Mtskheta and its historic Jvari Monastery (6th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century) – both UNESCO World Heritage sites. Then we drive up the famous Georgian Military Highway, en route visiting the Ananuri complex (17th century). The drive is very scenic as it heads up into the Great Caucasus Mountains.
Overnight in Gudauri Ski Resort (2200m) for 2 nights.
A stunning drive from Gudauri along the Tergi River will bring us to Stepantsminda – the main town in the region. From there we walk up for 2 hrs through beautiful valleys and woodland leads us to Gergeti Trinity Church located at 2175 m. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt. Kazbegi (5047 m). Return to Gudauri ski resort.
In the morning we will visit the town of Gori and its historical places: Uplistsikhe Cave Town (1st millennium BC) and Stalin museum. Uplistsikhe is the place where the Great Silk Road used to pass. This is an old and interesting complex with dwelling quarters, wine-cellars, bakeries, a three-nave basilica church hewn out in rock and even an antic theatre. Then we drive towards South-Western part of Georgia. Arrive in Akhaltsikhe.Overnight in Akhaltsikhe for 2 nights.
In the morning we travel to Vardzia. On the way visit Khertvisi fortress (10th century). The magnificent cave town – Vardzia (12th century) is one of the highlights of the trip. It stretches over half a kilometer along the river Mtkvari and has 19 tiers. There used to be about 3000 caves. It’s got a church hewn out in rock with amazing 12th century frescos. The complex also includes dwellings quarters, small hall-type churches, refectories, wine cellars, pharmacy, etc.We return to Akhaltsikhe and visit multicultural complex of Rabat.
In the morning we drive to Imereti province (West Georgia), which is very different from Kartli province (East Georgia) with its cool springs, green fields and beautiful gardens. Visit the pretty town of Kutaisi, the second largest in the country (antique town more than 3000 years old) and its historical places: Gelati Cathedral (12th century) which is the UNESCO World heritage site– one of the earliest academies in Europe, and the splendid Bagrati Cathedral (11th century). Overnight in Kutaisi.
Today we travel to Svaneti that is an experience for life. Hardly anything has changed there for the last few centuries. Upper Svanetiis famous for its mediaeval watch-towers, snow-capped peaks, icy waterfalls, beautiful nature and the most abiding ancient traditions. Arrive in Mestia. Overnight in Mesta for 2 nights.
In the morning a three-hour drive will take us to the highest permanent village in Europe – Ushguli (2200m). Ushguli is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village is most famous for its abundance of watchtowers and this is where you get the view of the highest mountain in Georgia – Mt. Shkhara (5068m). We can take a leisure walk along the village narrow alleys and visit Lamaria Church (12th century). Drive back to Mestia.
Before leaving Upper Svaneti we visit marvelous Ethnography Museum of Mestia housing gilded icons and crosses, old manuscripts, unearthed items etc. Then we drive all the way down to the seaside and the town of Batumi. Upon arrival we have time at leisure to relax the beach and enjoy the boulevard. Overnight in Batumi for 2 nights.
In the morning visit Piazza Square, one of the most beautiful squares in whole Georgia, distinguished by its painting, as well as by its exquisite mosaics and stained glass windows. Piazza Square has already become the venue of numerous entertaining and cultural events. Afterwards we reach the Europa square with the beautiful statue of Medea. Visiting Botanical Garden of Batumi will be another experience of the trip. Found in 1912, this garden contains more than 5000 kind of plants from all over the world. Gonio Fortress (1st century AD) was once a large Roman-Byzantine military settlement and an important strategic point along the Black Sea coast. It was occupied intermittently by Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans. More importantly it is connected with the myth of the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece.
In the morning you drive to Tbilisi and enjoy free time in the capital of Georgia.