Day 1 - Arrival in Tbilisi
Arrive in Tbilisi and transfer to hotel accommodation located near the Old Town. Depending upon flight schedules there may be time to explore independently. Overnight Hotel Kalasi or similar. No meals included.
Day 2 - Tbilisi
Today we take a guided walking tour around Old Tbilisi. Highlights include the National Museum, home to treasures that inspired the legend of the Golden Fleece, the Narikala citadel, Metekhi Temple and the Sioni Cathedral. In the afternoon there’s free time to explore Tbilisi’s atmospheric streets independently. Dinner tonight is traditional Georgian cuisine at a local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Kalasi or similar. (BLD)
Day 3 - Tbilisi – David Gareji – Signagi – Kakheti – Telavi
(Approximate driving time: four-hours)
There’s an early start today for the drive to Signagi where we explore its immense defensive walls dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Afterwards we continue to the impressive 6th century David Gareji Monastery complex, partly hewn from the living rock, situated in the Gareji semi-desert 75km southeast from Tbilisi. Highlights include Lavra and Peristsvaleba monasteries, and the walk up to Udabno Monastery known for fine 8th to 13th century frescoes and unique cave architecture. Afterwards we drive to Kakheti, Georgia’s famous wine region, which lies due east from Tbilisi in a landscape characterised by grandiose old churches and vineyard after vineyard. After lunch of delicious home-made specialities, we visit a winery and taste some of Georgia’s best wine. Continue to Telavi. Overnight Old Telavi or similar. (BLD)
Walking guidance – walking shoes/boots are recommended to make your way up on some of the steeper slopes up to the Udabno. (It depends on fitness as to how long it will take to reach Udabno caves, but it is approximately a 40-minute walk up, roughly a similar space of time to see caves and descending back to the vehicle will take around 45 minutes.)
Day 4 - Telavi – Alaverdi – Omalo (Tusheti)
(Approximate driving time: five-hours)
This morning we drive into the spectacular Greater Caucasus range. Before climbing into the mountains, we visit the magnificent 11th century Alaverdi Cathedral, noted for its glorious high dome. Continuing into the foothills, the route to Tusheti quickly becomes incredibly scenic, passing first through lush forests, via waterfalls, then through gorges and canyons carved by raging torrents. We’ll stop at various points to stretch our legs, soak up the views and enjoy a picnic lunch. In Spring the landscape is covered by endless carpets of myriad wildflower species. After crossing the spectacular and vertiginous 2,927m Abano Pass we continue down into Tusheti. Approaching Omalo, the sheer beauty of this wild region is overwhelming. On arrival in Upper Omalo we check-in to our guesthouse and then take time to explore the imposing medieval watchtowers standing sentinel over the valley. Later, we enjoy an evening meal of traditional Georgian fare prepared by our hosts. Overnight guesthouse. (BLD)
Please Note – the guesthouse in Omalo is simple but comfortable but phone reception is patchy and at the time of inspection there is no WiFi.
Day 5 - Omalo - Shenako and Diklo - Omalo
(Approximate trekking time: four-hours. Approximate driving time: one-hour)
Today we further explore this incredibly beautiful and wild region. Our walk from Omalo encompasses the remote villages of Shenako and Diklo. Here we appreciate the traditional architecture and the astonishing views of the High Caucasus. From Diklo we continue for a short distance to the old fortress, about as close as we can approach the Russian border. Later we return to Omalo. Overnight guesthouse. (BLD)
Please Note – for those that do not wish to walk to Diklo then you can be driven there via Shenako with the driver.
Day 6 - Omalo – Dartlo – Parsma – Omalo
(Approximate trekking time: one-and-a-half-hours)
This morning we trek to a different valley and the village of Dartlo, situated at 1,900 metres, again characterised by unique architecture of the local houses and watchtowers. Next to a stream there’s a small café where it’s possible to drink tea and coffee amid the mountains’ natural splendour. We continue by car to the next village of Chesho and take a short but scenic walk through the valley to the neighbouring village of Parsma. The walk follows a clear mountain river and affords memorable views of many medieval watchtowers built to warn of invaders from the Northern Caucasus. At Parsma we have a picnic lunch before returning by car to Dartlo. Back in Dartlo, it’s possible to visit another now abandoned village, clinging tenaciously to the mountainside, where a forgotten watchtower teeters precariously over an abyss. The views are tremendous. Return to Omalo by car. Overnight guesthouse. (BLD)
Walking guidance (Parsma) – the walk to the village of Parsma is an easy grade, following a dirt road through the valley. The return journey distance on foot is around 5km and of course there will be plenty of time for stops to admire the wonderful scenery. The last 5-10 minutes involves a moderate ascent into the village of Parsma.
Walking guidance (Dartlo) – the optional walk from Dartlo to the abandoned village is a constant steep incline and takes around 40 minutes up and around 25 minutes down. Only those with good fitness and good footwear should attempt it. It is also not suitable for those with vertigo issues. Those that do not wish to do this walk can relax in Dartlo.
Day 7 - Omalo
Today is free to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Upper Omalo, perhaps taking a camera to the watchtowers and observing the ever-changing light and cloud formations. For those wishing to be more active, it’s possible arrange a trek which can be discussed locally with the guide. Overnight guesthouse. (BLD)
Day 8 - Tusheti National Park – Tbilisi
(Approximate driving time: seven to eight-hours)
This morning we drive back to Tbilisi, once again traversing Abano Pass. Depending upon the road conditions, we expect to arrive back in the Alazani Valley by 1.00pm. Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant overlooking the valley, before continuing through fine scenery and over the Gorombi Pass back to Tbilisi. Tonight, we enjoy Georgian food at a restaurant in Tbilisi. Overnight Kalasi Hotel, or similar. (BL)
Day 9- Tbilisi
Today is a final day at leisure for you to enjoy wonderful Tbilisi at leisure and reflect on the epic trip into Tusheti. Overnight Kalasi Hotel or similar. (B)
Note – Please let us know if you would like to an extra day guided sightseeing and we can provide options and prices on request.
Day 10 - Departure from Georgia
On due time, transfer to the airport for your onward journey. (B)
- Arrival and departure transfers
- All accommodation
- Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- International flights
- Any airport taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Tips (Discretionary)