Georgia - Wild Tusheti


Georgia - Wild Tusheti

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 9 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers

Itinerary

Day 1: Tbilisi

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

Day 2: Tbilisi

A guided walking tour around old Tbilisi, taking in the fascinating history of this long-overlooked region. You 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. Later this afternoon you will have the opportunity to explore the atmospheric streets at leisure. Tonight, enjoy traditional Georgian food at a local restaurant. Overnight Hotel Kalasi or similar. (BLD)

Day 3: Tbilisi – David Gareji – Signagi – Kakheti – Telavi (Drive: 4 hours in total)

An early start today at 8am. Drive to Signagi, with its defensive wall of megalithic proportions, built in 17th - 18th centuries. Continue to the impressive partially rock-hewn David Gareji Monastery, situated in the Gareji semi-desert, 75km southeast from Tbilisi. The monasteries were founded in the 6th century. You will visit Lavra and Peristsvaleba monasteries and then walk up to Udabno Monastery to explore some of the fine frescos of the 8-13th centuries and cave architecture. Visit Kakheti, Georgia’s famous wine district which lies due east from Tbilisi in a land dotted with grandiose old churches and vineyard after vineyard. After enjoying a lunch with delicious home-made food, you also visit a winery and taste some of Georgia’s best wine. Continue to Telavi. Overnight Old Telavi or similar. (BLD)

Day 4: Telavi – Alaverdi – Omalo (Tusheti) (Drive: approximately 5 hours in total)

Your departure will be early at around 8am and the journey heads into the spectacular Greater Caucasus range. Before the climb into the mountains, visit the magnificent Alaverdi Cathedral (11th Century), noted for its glorious high dome. You then continue into the foothills: quickly the journey becomes incredibly scenic and you will stop at various points to stretch your legs and soak up the views and also to enjoy a picnic lunch. The journey into Tusheti is a true adventure passing first through lush forests, then gorges and canyons carved by raging torrents. There are also numerous waterfalls to admire and in Spring endless carpets of a myriad of wildflower species. After crossing the spectacular and vertiginous Abano Pass (2927m), you continue down into Tusheti. Approaching Omalo, the sheer beauty of this wild region is immediately apparent. On arrival in Upper Omalo check in to the guesthouse and then take some time to explore the imposing medieval watchtowers that stand sentinel over the valley. Later enjoy an evening meal of traditional Georgian fare, prepared by your local hosts. Overnight guesthouse. (BLD) 

Day 5: Shenako and Diklo (Walk: approximately 4 hours; Drive: 1 hour)

Today you start to explore this incredibly beautiful and wild region. Your walk from Omalo takes you through the delightful village of Shenako and on to Diklo. In these remote villages you can truly appreciate the traditional architecture and the stupendous views of the High Caucasus. From Diklo, continue for a short distance to the old fortress which is about as close as you can get to the border with Russia. Later you return to the guesthouse for dinner. (BLD)

Day 6: Omalo – Dartlo – Parsma – Omalo (Walk: approximately 1½ hours in total)

This morning journey into a different valley to the village of Dartlo, situated at 1900 metres. Admire the interesting architecture of the local houses and the watchtower. There is a cafe next to a picturesque stream where you can take some tea and coffee amidst the splendour of the surroundings. Continue by car to the next village of Chesho and start a beautifully scenic walk to the village of Parsma through the valley. The walk follows a stunning river and also affords views of many medieval watchtowers that were built to warn of invaders from the Northern Caucasus. At Parsma enjoy a picnic lunch before returning by car to Dartlo. Back in Dartlo, it is possible to visit an abandoned village, clinging tenaciously to the mountainside above Dartlo with an eerie watchtower precariously teetering over the abyss. The views from here are tremendous. Return to Omalo by car. Overnight guesthouse. (BLD)

Day 7: Omalo

Today you have the option to simply enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Upper Omalo; perhaps take your camera up to the watchtowers and immerse yourself in the ever-changing light and cloud formations. For those that wish to be more active, it will be possible to do a walk and this can be discussed with the guide. Overnight guesthouse. (BLD)

Day 8: Tusheti National Park – Tbilisi (Drive: 7-8 hours)

Depart early at around 8am for the journey back to Tbilisi once again traversing the majestic Abano Pass. Depending on the road conditions, expect to arrive back in the Alazani Valley by approximately 1pm. Lunch will be taken in a local restaurant overlooking the valley before continuing through fine scenery and over the Gorombi Pass back to Tbilisi. Tonight, enjoy local Georgian food at a local restaurant in Tbilisi. Overnight Kalasi Hotel, or similar. (BL)

Day 9 – Departure 

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight, or perhaps choose to spend some extra time in delightful Tbilisi. (B)