Baku to the Bosphorus

Baku to the Bosphorus

30 Views
30 Days
From

$10715

$10420

Baku to the Bosphorus

30 Days Starting in Baku and ending in Istanbul

Visiting: Baku, Sheki , Telavi, Tbilisi , Gudauri , Kutaisi , Mestia (Svaneti) , Borjomi , Gyumri , Yerevan , Goris , Tsaghkadzor , Kastamonu, Safronbolu , Bursa, Istanbul

Tour operator:

Sundowners Overland

Tour code:

BBBI

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 15

Physical rating:

Medium

Age range:

12-90

Tour operated in:
English
From:
$10715
$10420 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $295
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Tour Overview

Journey from the shores of the Caspian Sea to Constantinople; explore the mountains, monasteries and unique cultures and cuisine of the Caucasus. You will follow the routes of trade and conquest in the footsteps of Mongol, Persian and Ottoman armies to the borders of Byzantium. Discover ancient underground cities and Silk Road caravanserai and the contemporary tea fields and silk manufacture on this Silk Road to Istanbul.    

Itinerary

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Day 1: Baku
Location: Baku

Spared destruction by the Mongols, Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku has a walled city where narrow streets lead to Shirvanshah’s Palace and the Maiden Tower, while the Caravanserai is a reminder that Silk Road caravans once stopped here.
In the evening of Day 1 join your Tour Leader and fellow travellers at 5:00pm for your Welcome Meeting as detailed on your Joining Instructions.

Day 2: Baku
Location: Baku

We begin the day exploring Baku, including the medieval walled city 'Icheri Sheher'.  We then travel to the countryside where we find a Zoroastrian fire temple, formerly used by traders from Persia and India, while the Yanar Dag Fire Mountain is an interesting geological occurrence.

Day 3: Baku To Sheki
Location: Sheki

Today we travel through beautiful landscapes stopping first to visit Shemakha.  Weather permitting we will also stop by the 'village of masters' Lahij which is famous for its' authentic handicrafts, particularly copper.  

Day 4: Sheki And Kish
Location: Sheki

Sheki is one of the most ancient cities of Azerbaijan and is rightly called the architectural reserve of the country.  The Palace of Sheki Khans is a rare and stunning example of combining the national and palace architecture traditions.  We also visit the workshop of Kelagai, which is a traditional large, square silk head scarf and its production is included in the list of intangible cultural heritage UNESCO. 

Day 5: To Kakheti
Location: Telavi

Welcome to Georgia!  Today we travel across the border and into the Kakheti wine region, and the towns of Gremi, Nekresi and Telavi, enjoying the excellent food, wine and stunning mountain views.

Day 6: To Tbilisi
Location: Tbilisi

Tbilisi, the charming capital is situated on the Mtkvari River and is a delightful city to explore on foot. With 5th century origins in the Old Town we visit Metekhi Church and Sioni Cathedral then stroll along Rustaveli Avenue to Freedom Square.

Day 7: To Gudauri
Location: Gudauri

Today we farewell our welcoming hosts and continue our journey to the UNESCO site of Mtskheta, the centre of the Georgian Orthodox Church and one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. Christianity was proclaimed the state religion here in the 4th century, today the Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral are UNESCO World Heritage Listed sites. From here we join the Georgian Military Highway and continue onto the mountain resort of Gudauri.

Day 8: Gudauri And Stepantsminda
Location: Gudauri

A stunning drive from Gudauri along the Tergi River will bring us to Kazbegi – the main town in the region. We set out on a challenging and rewarding 1.5 hour walk to Gergeti Trinity Church (2170m) high in the Caucasus Mountains. Alternatively, transport will be arranged locally. Weather permitting you will have a chance to see Mt Kazbegi.

Day 9: Kutaisi Via Gori
Location: Kutaisi

We continue through Gori, Stalin’s birthplace, to see where it all began visiting the dictators house and museum – though you will not find any reference to his purges which cost millions their lives. Then on to Kutaisi.

Day 10: Mestia (Svaneti)
Location: Mestia (Svaneti)

Climbing deep into the Caucasus Mountains to Svaneti we see unique ‘watchtower’ constructions which provided protection from would-be conquerors so successfully that the Svan tribes became isolated in their mountain fortresses. Enjoy a cable car ride up Mt Zuruldi (weather permitting) where exceptional views of the Caucasus Mountains can be enjoyed. Continuing to Zugdidi where we join a tour of the Dadiani Palace, a testimony to the regions rich royal past, before continuing to Mestia.

Day 11: Mestia
Location: Mestia (Svaneti)

Travel deep into the Svan heartland to Ushguli which at 2200 metres is the highest permanent village in Europe. Today upper Svaneti is a UNESCO Heritage Site, where the locals retain their old unwritten language and are known to practice blood-feuds from time to time. Svan offers some of the best views in Europe across the surrounding peaks and glaciers of the High Caucasus, and if the weather conditions are right, we’ll have the opportunity to see them.

Day 12: Return To Kutaisi
Location: Kutaisi

It is Kutaisi where Georgia’s most revered King, David the Builder, is buried within the UNESCO listed Gelati Monastery. Here we marvel at the wonderful mosaics and wall paintings of this well-preserved complex.

Day 13: Borjomi Via Akhaltsikhe
Location: Borjomi

We leave Kutaisi for Akhaltsikhe where we wander the Rabat Fortress (Old Town) with its rare examples of darbazebi (traditional Georgian houses), castle, mosque and synagogue. Later we visit Prometheus grotto, one of Georgia’s natural wonders rich in petrified waterfalls, stalactites, stalagmites, underground rivers and lakes.  

Day 14: Into Armenia And Gyumri
Location: Gyumri

This morning we visit the remarkable remains of Vardzia, a monastery complex carved into the rocks and cliffs dating back to the 12th - 13th centuries.
Continuing to the Armenian Border at Bavra we farewell our Georgian guide and after completing border formalities we set foot in Armenia bound for the capital of the Shirak Province, Gyumri.

Day 15: To Yerevan
Location: Yerevan

Armenia was the world’s first state to adopt Christianity as its official religion. Winding our way to Armenia’s capital we make a stop at the archaeological remains of Zvartnots.

Day 16: Yerevan
Location: Yerevan

Beyond the city we visit the last surviving Pagan Temple in Garni of indeterminate origin, and farther on the UNSECO World Heritage Listed monastery of Geghard, which is carved, literally, out of the surrounding mountain.

Day 17: Yerevan
Location: Yerevan

Whilst in Yerevan we explore the delightful city with beautiful tree-line streets, cafes and museums on our city tour including a visit to the State History Museum.

Day 18: Yerevan To Goris
Location: Goris

Leaving Yerevan we stop to admire some of the region’s surrounding treasures including Noravank Monastery. We will also take in the stunning Tatev Monastery as well as the breathtaking view over biblical Mt Ararat (weather permitting), the reputed resting place of Noah’s Ark.

Day 19: Goris To Tsaghkadzor
Location: Tsaghkadzor

Travelling northwards from Goris to Tsaghkadzor we visit the breathtaking Khndzoresk Village. Situated on the steep slopes of Khir Dzor is the thousand-year-old Khndzoresk cave village, today around four hundred natural and man-made dwellings remain etched in the hillsides. Sixty-three metres above the ground Khndoresk Swinging Bridge runs over a deep canyon connecting the old and new villages.
Continuing our journey, we take some time to uncover the mysterious Karahunge Observatory, known as the Armenian Stonehenge (predating its English counterpart by 3,000 years), Selim Caravanserai and onto Gegharkunik region to see Noratus Medieval Khachkar Field, a fascinating medieval cemetery. The scenery and mountain setting provides the perfect canvas and backdrop to such a unique and impressive array of history, carved in stone.

Day 20: Tsaghkadzor To Tbilisi
Location: Tbilisi

Today we wind our way through valleys and gorges to seek out the hidden monasteries amongst untouched nature, serenity and impressive architecture - Haghpat and Haghartsin before returning to Tbilisi. En route we pause at the serene Lake Sevan, the world’s second largest, high altitude lake at 1900 metres above sea level. From here we can climb up to Sevanavank Monastery to marvel at the stunning panoramic views across the azure waters.

Day 21: Tbilisi To Batumi And To Camlihemsin
Location: Tbilisi

An early start and busy day ahead as we transfer first by train to the Black Sea coast and the main seaside resort town of Batumi. We then cross the border into Turkey and travel deep into the mountains of Rize Province, and to the tea fields of Camlihemsin - our base for the next two nights. We will learn about the history and traditions of the region over dinner this evening.

Day 22: Camilhemsin
Location: Tbilisi

Located on the fast flowing Firtina River, Camlihemsin was part of an important trading region over the centuries of the Silk Road trade. We will enjoy a guided walk to the tea plantations by our local hosts and learn about how tea came to be grown in the region, the processes and comerce of the modern tea trade - and how Turkey became the biggest consumer of tea in the world. We enjoy lunch with a local family.

Day 23: To Trabzon And On To Ordu

We descend to the Black Sea and follow the coast road through Rize to Trabzon; founded by Byzantine Greeks in the 8thC we vist the Hagia Sophia Byzantine church, and in the nearby mountains the 4th C Byzantine Sumela Monastery -hewn into the rock face.  

Day 24: To Samsun And On To Kastamonu
Location: Kastamonu

Leaving Ordu we follow the coast to Samsun then inland to the charming provincial town of Kastamonu; renowned for its food, in particular its speciality - halva .  

Day 25: Kastamonu To Safranbolu
Location: Safronbolu

We travel to the old Silk Road town of Safranbolu - its name taken from its most famous produce, saffron. Explore the old town, sample the local Turkish delight - and a visit to the historic Turkish bathhouse for a traditional 'hamam'

Day 26: Safranbolu To Amasra: Safranbolu
Location: Safronbolu

We explore the ancient picturesque port of Amasra, a thriving centre of trade for the ancient Greeks, Genoese and Ottoman empires. Enjoy a swim and a traditional fish lunch before bidding farewell to the Black Sea and reurning to Safranbolu.

Day 27: Safranbolu To Bursa
Location: Bursa

To Bursa; ancient Silk Road trade centre - it remains a centre of silk production; first capital of the Ottoman Empire and home of the legendary 'Iskender kebab'! We explore the historic centre: the Grand Mosque, Bazaar, Koza Han Caravanserai and enjoy the lively nightlife of this university town.

Day 28: Bursa To Istanbul
Location: Istanbul

We board a local ferry for the final leg of our journey to Istanbul - crossing the Sea of Marmara to the Bosphorous and the gateway for east to west - Istanbul. This afternoon we take in the classic sights: Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and the Grand Bazaar 

Day 29: Istanbul
Location: Istanbul

Our sightseeing today will take in the Spice Market, Rustem Pasha Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace and the Navy Museum. 

Day 30: Istanbul
Location: Istanbul

Your journey from Baku to the Bosphorous concludes today, continue your travels or perhaps extend for some additional nights in Istanbul for further adventures.

Check out our Q&As

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    Like-minded, well travelled clients who you are sure to forge lasting friendships with as you unlock the wonders of the world together.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 1964

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    You will

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Comprehensive tour documentation and visa guidelines

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please see full booking conditions for details.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Contact us to see if an alternative start point applies to your chosen journey.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes, we ensure that all accommodation is of a suitable standard for our journeys.

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    Please see full booking conditions for details

Dates & Availability

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Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

Apr 09, 2024 - May 08, 2024
$10715 $10420 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $295 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

Jun 18, 2024 - Jul 17, 2024
$10752 $10457 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $296 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

Jul 16, 2024 - Aug 14, 2024
$10752 $10457 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $296 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

Sep 10, 2024 - Oct 09, 2024
$10828 $10530 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $298 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

Oct 08, 2024 - Nov 06, 2024
$10828 $10530 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $298 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

Apr 08, 2025 - May 07, 2025
$11144 $10838 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $306 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

May 13, 2025 - Jun 11, 2025
$11163 $10856 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $307 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

Jun 17, 2025 - Jul 16, 2025
$11182 $10875 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $308 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

Jul 15, 2025 - Aug 13, 2025
$11182 $10875 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $308 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

Sep 09, 2025 - Oct 08, 2025
$11264 $10954 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $310 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Wednesday

Oct 07, 2025 - Nov 05, 2025
$11264 $10954 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $310 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Sundowners Overland requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of sundowners overland charges.

    Up to 75 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 74 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 35 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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