Georgia - Peaks and Valleys of the Caucasus


Georgia - Peaks and Valleys of the Caucasus

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 11 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers

Itinerary

Day 1 - Tbilisi

Arrive in Tbilisi and transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. We will stay in a central location near the old town where you can explore the delightful streets of Old Tbilisi. Overnight Hotel Shardeni or similar.

Day 2 - Tbilisi – Tusheti – Omalo – Approximately 7 hours driving today

We depart around 8am to start the journey to Tusheti crossing the Greater Caucasus over the Abano Pass (2930m). Visit the village of Omalo and we overnight in the village of Dartlo situated beautifully at 1900m in amongst the high Caucasus Mountains. Overnight at a family run guesthouse with private bathroom facilities (BLD)

Day 3 – Dartlo – Parsma - Dartlo – Walking distance approximately 10km

We take a tour around Dartlo and then we enjoy a half day walk to the village of Parsma with a picnic lunch. Parsma is noted for its fine medieval towers. Here we should have the opportunity to meet some of the local people. Return to Omalo and stay overnight again at the family run guesthouse (BLD)

Day 4 – Omalo – Telavi – Approximately 5 hours driving today. Walking distance approximately 6km

This morning enjoy a 1.5 hour walk to the village of Shenako. We will also visit the village of Diklo if time permits. We then drive to Telavi where we visit a winery and Alaverdi Cathedral (11th Century). Overnight at Hotel Shateau Kvareli or similar (BL)

Day 5 – Telavi – David Gareji – Signagi - Tbilisi – Approximately 5 hours driving today. 2 hours walking

Drive to Signagi, with its huge defensive wall built in 17th - 18th centuries. Continue to David Gareji Monastery, situated in the Gareji semi-desert, 75km southeast from Tbilisi. The monasteries were founded in the 6th century. Visit Lavra and Peristsvaleba monasteries. Walk up to Udabno Monastery to explore some of the fine frescos of the 8-13th centuries and cave architecture. Continue to Tbilisi. Overnight Hotel Shardeni or similar (BL)

 Day 6 – Tbilisi

A guided walking tour around old Tbilisi, taking in the fascinating history of this long overlooked region. We spend the day discovering sites such as the National Museum, home to many of the treasures that inspired the legend of the Golden Fleece, as well as the Narikala citadel, Metekhi Temple and the Sioni Cathedral, among other sites. Tonight enjoy Georgian food at a local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Shardeni or similar. (BLD)

Day 7 – Tbilisi – Mtskheta - Kutaisi – Approximately 4 hours driving today

Drive to Mtskhehta, Georgia’s ancient capital where we visit the UNESCO listed Jvari Monastery and the striking Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Continuing west we stop at Ubisi church with its rich religious frescoes, before arriving at the city of Kutaisi. Here we explore the sites of the town including Bagrati Cathedral and the Gelati Monastery. Stay tonight in a local guesthouse where we can expect to be treated to typical Georgian hospitality. (BLD) 

Day 8 – Kutaisi – Zugdidi – Mestia – Approximately 4.5 hours driving today

This morning we drive to Zugdidi passing through the Colkhida lowlands and some typical local villages. We visit Dadiani palace and its museum housing some fine natural exhibits of Georgian culture. From Zugdidi we start climbing through the Enguri river valley and the Enguri reservoir up to Mestia situated at 1400 metres above sea level. Mestia is the provincial centre of Svaneti. On arrival we will visit the iconic Svanetian defensive towers. Overnight at a family run guest house with private bathrooms (BLD)

Day 9 – Ushguli – Approximately 3.5 hours driving today

A morning drive to Ushguli village, the highest permanently inhabited village in Europe at 2400 metres. On the way we visit Nakipari church. On arrival in Ushguli we explore on foot, visiting the stunning medieval towers as well as Lamaria Church. Those who wish can take an easy hike along the valley leading to the foot of Mount Shkhara (5201m). We return to Mestia in the afternoon. Please note that the road today is of a very poor quality and as such it is necessary to drive very slowly to avoid damage to the vehicle. Overnight in Mestia at a family run guesthouse with private bathroom. (BLD)

Day 10 – Mestia – Batumi – Approximately 6 hours driving today

This morning we descend from the High Caucasus to Zugdidi where we then journey along the Black Sea coast via Poti, the legendary land of Colchis from the Greek myth of the Golden Fleece. We arrive in Batumi where there should be some time for you to spend at leisure. Overnight at Hotel Chao or similar (BLD)

Day 11 – Departure

Pick up from the hotel in the early morning and transfer to the Batumi airport. End of the trip. (B)