Day 1: Arrival to Baku (D)
On arrival at Baku’s international airport, you’ll be met by our representative for your transfer to the hotel. After check in there’ll be free time.
• Welcome Dinner
Overnight in Baku.
Day 2: Baku Old City Tour and Gobustan rocks (B/L)
Today after breakfast our guide will be waiting to collect you for your included excursion to Gobustan National Park. Situated in East Azerbaijan, this archaeological reserve borders the southern slopes of the Major Caucasus ridge to the north, the Harami and Mishov Mountains to the south, Pirsaat River to the west and the Caspian Sea and Absheron peninsula to the east.
Gobustan is a culturally significant landscape of myriad rock carvings. Over 6000 petroglyphs have been discovered here together; that’s not all - there are also many ancient caves and archaeological sites within the reserve. Incredibly, some have been dated to as early as the 18th century BC.
• Lunch break
Today, we begin our discovery of the city of Baku, enjoying a sightseeing tour of Baku’s most absorbing sights. We’ll visit to the city’s main monumental, historical and architectural attractions before climbing to the city’s highest point at Upland Park for an impressive panorama of the Azeri capital and its bay. From there we’ll descend to the old city, known locally as Icheri sheher. This was all there was of Baku until the mid-19th century when, as a result of the oil boom, a growth spurt caused the city to spill beyond its defensive walls.
This tiny area measures just 22 square hectares and yet it contains so many significant sights, including the Shirvanshakhs Palace, the Maiden Tower and the Karavansaray, once the place of merchants’ rest. Today, just 1300 families call Icheri sheher, this city within a city, home. It’s a delightful place to take an evening stroll through the maze of streets to the gathering place of Fountains Square. There are also plenty of opportunities for shopping, should you wish. Overnight in Baku.
Day 3: Absheron Peninsula and Modern Baku (B/L)
Today’s excursion is a guided tour to Ateshgah. The temple of fire worshippers, Ateshgah is located on the Apsheron peninsula on the outskirts of Surakhani village just thirty kilometres from the center of Baku. It was revered in different times by Zoroastrians, Hindus and Sikhs. The current temple building dates from the 17th century, but far more ancient artefacts have been excavated here. This pentagonal complex has an open courtyard with an altar in the centre which was a place of pilgrimage for worshippers.
Together, they offer a fascinating insight into the development of human activity in this area, with scenes of mountain goat hunts, ceremonial dances and even maritime imagery as this place used to be by the sea. On our way back to Baku, you’ll stop at Yanar Dag.
This intriguing natural phenomenon is called the Burning Rock, so named because it is fuelled by seepage of natural gas. Flames up to three metres high regularly shoot from the sandstone hillside. Many believe that Yanar Dag is the reason Azerbaijan acquired its nickname, the Land of Fire.
• Lunch break
This open-air museum has been recently restored and by the decree of the President of Azerbaijan, Ateshgah was declared a State historical-architectural reserve. Our final stop today will be an excursion to the fortress of Ramana. Ramana Castle is estimated to date back several centuries. The height of the fortress’ main tower is an imposing fifteen metres and is built of stone. It is assumed that it was built to protect a palace and was used during the reign of Shirvanshahs.
Having returned to Baku, we will visit some of the sights associated with modern Baku: the waterfront area of Baku Boulevard behind which rise the famous Flame Towers skyscrapers, the carpet museum, Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre (from outside), Shopping Mall 28th May and Park Boulevard, a mall situated on the main promenade.
Azerbaijan located in area with 9 climatic zones. And that is why here we have a lot different kind of vegetables and fruits all year. Visit Baku green bazar. Overnight in Baku.
Day 4: Baku - Shamakhi – Gabala – Sheki (B/D)
Azerbaijan has a long history, as demonstrated by places such as Shamakhi. It was once the capital of the Shirvan Empire and the base of the Shirvan Dynasty. These days Shamakhi is famous for its winemaking. Visiting this city, you’ll have an opportunity to acquaint yourself with the Yeddi Gumbez mausoleum, whose imposing domes rise mysteriously above an almost silent valley. From here there are stunning views back to Shamakhi. Not far away, you’ll encounter the tombs of Diri Baba.
Equally atmospheric, the structures are built into the rock giving the appearance of an eagle’s nest. As we approach, only the front is visible; the other sides are disguised by the cliffs from which they were hewn, giving the impression that the tomb is suspended off the ground. The monument has two storeys: while the lower floor was probably for servants, the upper, reached by stairs, would have been the salon. Whether it is a sacred site or a place of burial is up for interpretation.
Start explore Gabala. The country’s most beautiful district is known as a tourism paradise. If it hadn’t been for the Gabala radar station, which affects the local beauty and nature, the place would be ideal from both environmental and health standpoints…The distance to Baku is 225 km. Gabala is located in the Haftaran-Alazan valley and surrounded by the Greater Caucasus. It sits on the right bank of the Damiraparan river 900 meters above sea level. Touching Lahij mountains on one side, Gabala is situated in the country’s north-west at the foot of the Shahdagh mountain.
In Gabala at the area of 16 hectares is located the largest amusement park under the open sky in Azerbaijan – Gabaland. Visitors are provided with family, kids and extreme kinds of attractions, ice arena, carting, sports fields, XD theatre, convenient parking, great food in restaurants and cafes.
Continuing towards Sheki, we stop at Kish. This village is the site of a centuries-old Albanian church which was incorporated into the Armenian Apostolic Church back in 1836. Near the church you’ll find an ancient cemetery where, visible through a glass cupola, you’ll see numerous human remains. These bodies are impressively tall, appearing to be 2.5 metres or more. The Albanians who once resided here were giants with white skin and golden hair, very unlike the inhabitants of the modern Caucasian nations.
• Dinner at the local restaurant
Overnight in Sheki.
Day 5: Sheki – Georgian border - Wine yard N1 – Khareba winery – Tbilisi (B/L)
An excursion to the oldest city in Azerbaijan is a real treat. In ancient times people sold silk here, making Sheki famous among merchants travelling the Great Silk Road. Present day Sheki is packed with sights including a good history museum. The jewel in Sheki’s crown, however, is Khan's Summer Palace with its wonderful facades built from brick, river stones and oak, decorated with floral motives. Inside, the palace impresses even more. Within its six rooms, there are beautiful frescoes painted by talented craftsman; some of them feature flowers, while others depict hunting or battle scenes.
In addition, two beautiful mirrored balconies, ornate decoration using rare colored Venetian glass and exquisite paintings featuring colorful depictions of birds and animals ensure this place does not disappoint the tourist. The first floor of this palace offers clues to Khan’s wealth and power as the murals on the walls of animals and hunting are usually thought of as symbols of nobility. In ancient times the palace was surrounded by beautiful gardens, though nowadays only two large trees survive.
Transfer to Azerbaijan Georgia land border where tourists will cross to Georgia Border formalities, transport and guide change.
Continue tour to Wine Yard N1, traditional local winery, where you will enjoy the soul of Georgian hospitality. The Wine Yard # 1 is a touristic attraction that includes a traditional wine cellar, house, and yard. The site is a social touristic destination, where it is possible to taste different verities of wines and chachas, included traditional Kakhetian cuisine.
• Lunch break in Wine Yeard N1
We continue our way to Khareba winery (or similar winery) to taste some of European style Georgian wines. We continue our Tour by visiting Gremi, a 16th century architectural complex and then we go on to Nekresi monastery. Then we will visit the unique 300-year-old wine cellar where you will learn about Georgian wine making traditions, which differ quite markedly from European methods (only excursion). Drive to Tbilisi. End of the tour. Free time. Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
Day 6: Tbilisi sightseeing tour (B/L)
The city offers a wide variety of sights, most of them very ancient. Starting at the church of Metekhi, we walk to the brick domes of sulfur baths and then on to spectacularly located Narikala’s fortress – one of the oldest fortresses in Georgia, overlooking the Mtkvari river gorge.
Visit Metekhi Church located in the ancient historical district of Metekhi, on the left bank of the Mtkvari River, in old Tbilisi. Metekhi Church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary is one of the oldest churches built in Tbilisi.
Sulfur baths - Chreli Abano located at the eastern bank of the Mtkvari River at the foot of Narikala fort across Metekhisubani, Abanotubani is an important historic part of the city — the place, where according to a legend the King of Iberia, Vakhtang Gorgasali’s falcon fell, leading to a discovery of the hot springs and, subsequently, to the founding of new capital.
• Lunch break
Narikala’s fortress - is nowadays the leading sighting among the most visited places in Tbilisi by tourists. Narikala Fortress draws your attention from all sides of Tbilisi, you can notice it from almost every part of Tbilisi. In Georgian sources, it is called “Mother Fortress”. Narikala offers you some of the best panoramas of the city. This is an ancient symbol of Tbilisi’s defensive brilliance. You will get there by cable car.
Walk on Meidan Square which was an active market place in Great Silk Road period.
Jean Chardin Street -the street was named after the famous French traveler and now it is the most popular place of the citizens and tourist where they can have a rest in bars and restaurants.
After that, we visit the synagogue, and the Sioni and Anchiskhati churches, which mark the end of the Old Town. After we visit the treasury of the National Museum of Georgia (Georgian Archaeology from 8th millennium B.C.), Visit the holy trinity cathedral, the third biggest church in the world. End of the tour. Free time. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 7: Tbilisi – Ananuri – Gudauri - Stepantsminda – Tbilisi (B/L)
You will drive north towards the Northern Caucasus along the well-known Georgian Military Road
The first stop will be at the Ananuri complex, a former residence of Argveti Dukes. The complex features churches and towers dating back to the 16-17th centuries, beautifully overlooking the Jinvali reservoir. The buildings included in the complex are: upper and lower fortress, fence, towers, Church of the mother of God, Church of the Deity, “Mkurnali” Church, bell tower, octagonal cell, and reservoirs;
Continue our drive to see the conjunction of two small mountain rivers famous for the fact that being different in color they still keep their own colors even after merging.
• Lunch break
Continue our incredible tour and now visit the Gudauri Friendship monument, also known as Gudauri Panorama- located 120 KM from Tbilisi, on the Georgian Military Highway connecting to Russia. The monument is very vivid and colorful, however, most of its beauty is thanks to the location. Georgia-Russia Friendship monument is a circular balcony hanging off of a 600-meter cliff with amazing views of the Caucasus Mountains.
Our last stop and the main attraction of the tour is Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) and its amazing Mount Kazbegi, where the Gergeti Trinity Church is built - located at an altitude of 2170 m.
From Kazbegi ride in 4 WD vehicles through beautiful valleys and woods reaching the Gergeti Trinity church. In good weather, you can see one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – the mountain Kazbegi at 5047m. Enjoy breathtaking views, take pictures breathe fresh air, and collect lots of emotions.
Drive back to Tbilisi.
Day 8: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Jvari - Uplistsikhe (Wine tasting)–Tbilisi (B/L)
After breakfast at the hotel, you will drive discover old capital of Georgia – Mtskheta city.
Archeological evidences trace human settlement in the area of Mtskheta from 2nd millennium BC to early 1st millennium AD. Numerous burials of the Bronze Age (beginning of the 1st millennium BC) prove that Mtskheta already was a significant settlement at that period. Mtskheta was the capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. We will visit Jvari Monastery, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century). Svetitskhoveli is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Jvari Monastery- VI century church and monastery, located in the east of Mtskheta, at the mouth of the river Mtkvari and Aragvi, on the rocky mountain peak. Jvari Monastery is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Here there is kept the Robe of Jesus Christ which had been brought from Jerusalem in I c. A true architectural masterpiece of the Early Middle Ages. Built on a hilltop, the views it affords of Mtskheta and the Aragvi and Mtkvari Rivers are breathtaking and great for selfies!
• Lunch break
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral - the main patriarchal cathedral of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Mother Cathedral of Georgia, the place of enthronement (enthronement) of the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarchs, the burial of many kings of Georgia, their family members and patriarchs from the great cathedrals. Monument of Georgian architecture of the XI century, one of the four great cathedrals (Oshki, Bagrati Temple, Alaverdi). Svetitskhoveli is the largest historical church building among the survived ones in Georgia. It has been the religious center of Christian Georgia for centuries.
Continue our tour by visiting Chateau Mukhrani, founded in 1878 by the Prince of Mukhrani, heir of the royal family of Georgia. We will visit Ivan Mukhranbatoni’s palace, a forest – park stable and look at the vineyards and visit the ultra-modern winery. Chateau Mukhrani is the first and the only true Georgian Royal Chateau, which unites four key components: vineyards, winery, castle and history.
Uplistsikhe cave town- in translation Fortress of the Lord is located on the left bank of Mtkvari River and is notable for unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures and the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture.
You will see how people used to live in stone cells, how their household looked like, and even go through the secret tunnel. Here we will visit Restored ancient winery, 4 kinds of wine tasting with snacks, you will know what a way Georgians use to make a wine with a traditional way
Back to Tbilisi.
Day 9: Kutaisi city tour– Sataplia Nature Reserve (B/D)
Today we drive to Kutaisi. Kutaisi is the second biggest city in Georgia which, according to the legend was the ultimate destination of the Jason and Argonauts searching for the Golden Fleece. Visit Bagrati Cathedral (XI c.), built by King David the Builder.
Now we will explore The Sataplia Nature Reserve - a place where you can see very interesting natural sights, walk in nature and enjoy with magnificent views. The guests can find footprints of ancient animals – Dinosaurs. This is the place where the footprints of Herbivorous and Raptor dinosaurs of different epochs are found. Sataplia dinosaurs are called “Satapliazaurus” and are different from European dinosaurs.
• Diner at the local restaurant
Overnight in Kutaisi
Day 10. Kutaisi – Prometheus cave - Martvili canyon -Kutaisi (B/L)
Today first stop is Prometheus cave - one of Georgia’s natural wonders providing visitors with breathtaking examples of stalactites, stalagmites, curtains, petrified waterfalls, cave pearls, underground rivers, and lakes. There are 22 halls found, where just 6 halls are open for tourists. It is possible to walk through the length of 1420 meters in the cave's territory visit the halls and enjoy boat tour by walking the river. Discover real masterpieces of nature - stalactites and stalagmites at Prometheus Cave, which are the most beautiful forms created by nature. While visiting the cave, hanging waterfalls are waiting for you
• Lunch break
Now visit Martvili canyon, amazing place where we can walk on the small trail in a natural canyon of the river Abasha, we can see unique Kolkheti forests flora with impressive waterfalls. The canyon trail is very small and we will walk about 40 minutes
700 m long stone-paved circular route starts from Martvili Canyon visitor centre and crosses the Dadiani historical trail. There are 2 bridges, 3 platform views and historical 30 steps stair constructed by large limestone boulders.
Visitors can enjoy a 300-meter boat tour on river Abasha and beautiful views of the mountain river canyon.
Overnight in Kutaisi
Day 11: Kutaisi- Borjomi – Rabati fortress -Akhaltsikhe(B/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, you will drive to Akhaltsikhe (approximately 3 hrs.) It was founded at least 800 years ago and was a regional administrative center for the Ottomans from the 16th century up to the Russian-Turkish War. On the way to Akhaltsikhe, visit Borjomi. Borjomi is famous for its mineral water industry (which is the number one export of Georgia). You will be able to taste mineral water in the Borjomi Park.
Afterward, a tour to the 13th century Rabat Fortress that is a mix of different religions and architecture. Rabati fortress is a medieval structure in Akhaltsikhe, Georgia, which dates back to the 13th century. The castle complex is comprised of a mosque, a minaret, a synagogue, a Christian church, a palace, a citadel, as well as landscaped gardens, vineyards on terraces, outdoor pools with fountains, a history museum, a hotel, a restaurant, souvenir and wine shops.
Check-in at the hotel in Akhaltsikhe
• In the evening dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 12: Vardzia cave town– Kertvisi fortress – Border -Yerevan (B/L)
After breakfast at the hotel, a tour to the 2nd century B.C. Khertvisi Fortress, once destroyed by Alexander the Great. Khertvisi fortress – Middle age castle is located on a tall rocky mountain. Khertvisi was an active fortress during feudal ages. Khertvisi was reconstructed several times, early middle age building layer is noticeable. The fortress consists of the citadel and a wall. Citadel stands on a narrow, rocky edge of the mountain, it is not approachable from the northeastern side. Water was supplied by a tunnel on a northwestern side. After we will explore Vardzia Cave town, very impressive historical-cultural monument, founded in 12th century, 13 floors and hundreds of rooms, halls and churches, huge complex made in rocks. There once were about 3,000 caves and 50,000 people lived there. You visit the church carved into the rock with amazing frescoes of the 12th century. The monastery has never been restored since then, but in the second half of XIX c every now and then several monks lived there. Some traces of revival of the monastery live are noticeable even nowadays.
• Lunch break
After lunch, you go to the border, where you change the transport and guide.
After meeting with the Armenian guide, you move forward to Yerevan - the hospitable capital of Armenia. Check-in. Rest. End of the tour. Free time. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 13: Yerevan city tour – Etchmiadzin (UNESCO) – Zvartnots (UNESCO) – Yerevan (B/L)
Start discovering Armenia by a visit to the State History Museum where you get familiar with a complete picture of the Armenian culture and history dating back to 1 million years ago up to nowadays. Then go sightseeing in one of the world's oldest cities – 2796-year-old Yerevan. Open-air lunch at one of the restaurants located just in the Hrazdan River gorge.
• Lunch break
Then you move forward to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin – the spiritual center of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the seat of the Supreme Patriarch and the Catholicos of all Armenians. Numerous kings and Catholicoses have been crowned and consecrated here. On the way back to Yerevan you stop at the ruins of outstanding Zvartnots Temple. End of the tour. Free time. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 14: Mergeryan carpet factory – Geghard Monastery (UNESCO) – Garni Temple – Yerevan (B/D)
Start discovering Armenia. In the morning we will go sightseeing in one of the world's oldest cities – 2796-year-old Yerevan. Then we will visit Megeryan Carpet factory. Over the years, they have developed the traditional Armenian technologies for obtaining natural dyes for carpet reproduction, creating and maintaining the “principle of antiquity” in the production of handmade carpets.
Then the coach takes you to Geghard Monastic Complex located on the mountainside of the almost closed amphitheater of harsh cliffs. It is famous for its rock-cut architecture. Thanks to its hard-to-reach area, the Holy Lance, which pierced the side of Christ, has been kept here for 500 years. St. Thaddeus Apostle brought it to Armenia in 33 AD. In honor of the Holy Lance, Ayrivank Monastery (meaning “Cave Monastery”) was renamed Geghard (the Armenian translation of “the Holy Lance”).
The next highlight is the only standing pagan temple in Armenia – Garni, devoted to Mihr, who, in accordance with the Armenian Mythology, was the God of the Sun. From here you will enjoy the impressive view of breathtaking high cliffs called “Symphony in the stone”.
Back to Yerevan
• Dinner at the local restaurant
. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 15: Yerevan – Lake Sevan –Haghpat (UNESCO) – Sadakhlo – Tbilisi (B/D)
It's time to driving to one of the highest fresh-water lakes in the world – the Sevan (1 900m). From the top of the Sevan Peninsula, you can admire the full view of the lake of volcano-tectonic origin and the adjacent mountain chains.
Driving through wooded mountains of Dilijan National Park and deep gorges of Northern regions you stop in mountainous Haghpat village. You just cannot leave Armenia without seeing a masterpiece of architecture – Haghpat Monastic Complex.
Say goodbye to Armenia and continue your route to travel within Georgia.
After meeting with the Georgian guide, you move forward to Tbilisi. Check-in. Rest.
• Farewell dinner at the local restaurant.
Overnight in Tbilisi
Day 16: Departure (B)
Check out from the hotel and transfer to the Airport.