Caucasus - 13 Days Tour
With was our second time traveling this East Site, last year we were on 5 Stans tour, this year we decided to continue on with Caucasus. It was just as good. Our favorite part of it was Georgia. Beautiful nature, people, monasteries, 13 days flew by fast, and we didn't want it to end. Sightseeing was very relaxing, yet informative. We took tons of pictures on this trip. May is perfect for this tour. Thank you!
We were on Caucasus tour this year in June, and loved the destination. Being neighboring countries, we did feel contrast and it only made the tour interesting. Mountains were all around and it was magnificent. Food was so good, I gained 7 pounds by the time we returned home. Hotels were outstanding, with comfortable beds and good breakfast. 3 different guide who were with us in each country were professional and fun. Drivers were very careful and helping. Don't think twice, go with East Site to the Caucasus, next year we'll go to the 5 Stans.
Thank you for advising us to go to the Caucasus. It was well worth the time and money. We learned a lot and had a lot of fun. We visited a lot of religious places on this tour, which was mainly the reason we took the tour, and felt like the tour very not only informative, but also spiritual.
Day 1 – Arrive to Baku (Azerbaijan)
Welcome to Azerbaijan! Upon your arrival to Baku airport, you’ll be met and transferred to hotel to check in and rest. We’ll have a welcome dinner at 7PM with short introduction about Azerbaijan–one of the economically developed states of the Caucasus region, located at the shore of Caspian Sea. Main branches of industry of the republic are linked with the.oil drilling due to reach deposits of oil and gas in Azerbaijan. Today we’ll overnight in Baku hotel.
Day 2 – Baku – Gobustan – Baku (Azerbaijan)
After breakfast at the hotel today we’ll spend a day in Azerbaijan having an excursion to Gabustan where we’ll see more that 4000 rock-cravings which describe like style of ancient inhabitants of area near Caspian Sea. In the afternoon we’ll have lunch and continue our excursion with visit to Museum of Art and have a short (40 min long) cruise of Caspian Sea (if weather permits). In the evening we’ll have a dinner at one of the local restaurants followed with folk show program. We’ll overnight in Baku hotel today.
Day 3 – Baku – Absheron Peninsula – Baku (Azerbaijan)
After breakfast at the hotel today we’ll spend the morning sightseeing capital of Azerbaijan – city of Baku. Sightseeing will include: panoramic view of the city, visit Shirvan Shahs Palace, Maiden Tower architectural monument of 12th century, Caravanserai. After lunch break at one of the local restaurants we’ll visit Absheron peninsula – the Fire Worshippers Temple in Surakhany district, historical architectural monument of the 17th. Visit Merdakan Fortresses. Have acquaintance with the Oil Industry in Azerbaijan.Continue on with excursion to “Yanar Dag” – Firing Mountain. We’ll have dinner at the local restaurant at the end of the day and overnight at a hotel in Baku.
Day 4 – Baku – Shamakha – Maraza – Sheki (Azerbaijan)
After breakfast at the hotel today we’ll spend most of the day in transfer from Baku to Sheki. The transfer will take 4hours and we’ll cover almost 220 mi. In route we’ll visit mud volcanoes, Diri Baba mausoleum in Maraza, YeddiGumbez and Cuma masque in Shamakha. We’ll have lunch break at the restaurant in route. Upon arrival to Sheki, we’ll accommodate at the hotel, have some time to rest and then head for dinner. Today we’ll overnight at hotel in Sheki.
Day 5 – Sheki – Georgia border – Telavi (Azerbaijan/Georgia)
Today after breakfast at the hotel, we’ll have a half day excursion of Sheki and Shebeke visiting Khan’s palace and museum of history. After we’ll have lunch at the local restaurant we’ll be transferred to the border between Azerbaijan and Georgia called Lagodekhi. Once border formalities will be completed, we’ll continue sightseeing tour in Georgia, visiting Gremi complex – once the capital of Kakheti province. Visit local family to observe Georgian bread ‘Shoti’ baking in “Tone” and try local cheese with freshly baked bread. You’ll be offered a cup of simple coffee and we’ll move on to Telavi. Upon arrival we’ll have dinner at one of the local restaurants, accommodate at hotel for rest, overnight is in Telavi.
Day 6 – Telavi – Sighnaghi – Tbilisi (Georgia)
After breakfast at the hotel today we’ll have a full day sightseeing of Kakheti region well known for its wine producing. Visit Great Caucasus Mountains and valleys of Kakheti, observe traditions and culture of the country, taste wines and delicious food. We visit 11th century church of Alaverdi operating as a monastery. Later transfer to Tsinandali Garden and the Museum – estate of 19th century Georgian Duke. After excursion we try a glass of wine and continue to a farmer’s house to see a unique 300 year-old wine-cellar. We’ll get acquainted with the Georgian way of wine-making, quite different from the European and drink more Georgian wine straight from the clay jars. Transfer to the fortified town of love – Sighnaghi. Here we take a leisure walk and enjoy more wine-tasting at a winery established by an American painter. Afterwards we’ll continue making our way to Tbilisi. We’ll have lunch and dinner at local restaurants on the way. Today we’ll overnight at hotel in Tbilisi.
Day 7 – Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Gori – Gudauri (Georgia)
Today after breakfast we’ll have an excursion to the ancient capital and religious center of Georgia Mtskhetadated 3000 years back and see its’ historical places: Jvari church built in 6th century and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral built in 11th century– known as the place where the Robe of Christ is buried –a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later we’ll transfer to town of Gori – the heart of Kartliregion. We visit Stalin museum and Uplistsikhe Cave Town – dated to 1st millennium BC, it is the place where the Great Silk Road used to pass. Later drive along the Georgian Military Highway and enjoy a photo stop at Ananuri fort set on the background of Jinvali water reservoir. We’ll have lunch and dinner at local restaurants on the way. Today we’ll overnight at hotel in Gudaury.
Day 8 – Gudauri – Kazbegi – Tbilisi (Georgia)
Today after breakfast we’ll have a stunning drive from Gudauri along the Tergi River which will bring us to Kazbegi – the main town in the region. From Kazbegi a leisurely 2 hour walk up through beautiful valleys and woodland leads to Gergeti Trinity Church located at 7100 ft –round trip will take 3hr of walking. Weather permitting you may catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi – 16500ft high. On our way back we enjoy lunch at a local cafe. Walk a bit more back to our vehicle and transfer to Tbilisi. After accommodation and short rest at the hotel we’ll head for dinner at a local restaurant followed by a folk show. Overnight at hotel in Tbilisi.
Day 9 – Tbilisi – Georgia – Armenia “Sadakhlo” – Sevan – Dilijan (Georgia/Armenia)
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll have a walking sightseeing tour of Tbilisi – capital of Georgia, visiting different religious buildings – churches, synagogue, as well as famous 19th century houses with wooden multi-colored balconies, Old city, Georgian History Museum, Rustaveli Avenue – the main street in Tbilisi.After lunch drive to Georgia – Armenia border “Sadakhlo”. After border formalities we’ll start acquaintances with Armenia with the Haghpat dated to 976 AD, Monastic Complex which one of outstanding works of medieval Armenian architecture and is inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage List. The complex used to be an educational center of the middle ages where the majority of Armenian scholars and scientists obtained their education. We’ll continue on driving to Dilijan, where we’ll accommodate at the hotel, have dinner at local restaurant and overnight in Dilijan.
Day 10 – Sevan Dilijan – Noravank – Khor Virap – Yerevan (Armenia)
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll start sightseeing tour with Lake Sevan – the emerald of Armenia. It is the second largest alpine freshwater lake in the world and the biggest in Caucasus. Thismountain lake is located at 6200 ft above sea level. Sightseeing in Sevanalso includes peninsula with Sevan Monastery. Later we’ll drive toSelimcaravanserai– built in 1332 by Prince ChesarOrbelian, according to an inscription in Armenian and Arabic, it used to be an important trade point in the famous Silk Road.Visit Noravank monastery – religious and cultural centre of 12th century,Areni wine factory to taste local wine made from special sorts of grapes grows in Armenia andNoravank. We’ll have lunch in local cave café. Continue sightseeing withKhor-Virap monastery which is situated in the Ararat valley close the biblical Ararat Mountain, where Noah's arch cast its’ anchor. We’ll have dinner at a local restaurant followed by folk show program and overnight at hotel in Yerevan.
Day 11 – Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Yerevan (Armenia)
After breakfast today we’ll drive to a magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture –Geghard monastery partly carved out of a mountain. Continue on to Garni Temple – citadel and pagan temple of Garni. Have lunch at a local house in Garni where you will have opportunity to watch Armenian national bread “lavash” baking and barbeque making process in the underground stove called “tonir”. After lunch we’ll return to Yerevan. Second part of the day we’ll visit the depositary of ancient manuscripts –Matenadaran, which contains historical documents of Europe and Asia from many centuries.We’ll have dinner and overnight in Yerevan today.
Day 12 – Yerevan – Etchmiatsin – Zvartnots – Yerevan (Armenia)
After breakfast at the hotel, today we’ll drive to Echmiadzin. On the way visiting St Hripsime church.We’ll have lunch in a local community tasting homemade dishes. Then drive back to Yerevan with stop at the ruins of Zvartnots temple – of the 7th c. architecture.Second part of the day our main attraction will be Armenian History Museum and visit toTsitsernakaberd memorial and museum of victims of Genocide. We’ll have farewell dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
Day 13 – Departure (Armenia)
Today is the last day of the tour; we’ll have breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight home. End of tour.