14-day Tour of Georgia
Group: 2-10 persons
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Georgia is a country of diversity. Kartlians, Megrelians, Svans, Adjarians, Khevsurians, Tushetians, the Kists, are just a few of the many nations that call the country home. Each group is unique in its language, lifestyle, religion, cuisine and dance, and each adds to the complex and enchanting cultural heritage of Georgia. That said, the country is also diverse in its landscapes and destinations. From mountain gorges that only recently acquired electricity, to the cosmopolitan city of Tbilisi where contemporary architecture is interwoven with historic city quarters, you will find every sort of urban and natural environment imaginable. To show you all of the diverse and fascinating aspects of Georgia, we’ve prepared an extensive and exciting trip across the country.
On this tour you’ll have the chance to enjoy all of Georgia’s riches—from the vineyards of Kakheti to the ancestral towers of Svaneti, from Adjaria’s subtropical gardens to Tusheti’s alpine meadows, from sweet seaside fruit to the hearty highland khinkali. Every day we will investigate new landscapes, taste new dishes and meet new people. By the end of this journey, you’ll be able to confidently claim that you’ve experienced and enjoyed Georgia and its culture.
This trip will last two weeks. We’ll start and finish in Tbilisi, and also stop in the city during the middle of the trip. The rest of the time will be spent in unhurried travel around the country. Expect the maximum level of comfort, lots of gastronomic discoveries and meetings with amazing people everywhere we go.
Day 1. Arrival to Tbilisi
We will meet at the Tbilisi airport and then head to our hotel. Here we will check-in, meet the other group members, make practical arrangements and grab dinner—we’ll begin our submersion into the local culture by way of Georgian cuisine. After dinner, we’ll take a walk through the Old Town.
Day 2. Trip to Kakheti
In the morning we’ll be off to Georgia’s main winemaking region, Kakheti. First, we’ll visit one of the country’s oldest and most revered monasteries, Alaverdi, established in the early 6th century. The monastery still has ancient wine cellars, and in recent years the monks resumed manufacturing traditional wines in large earthenware vessels called kvevri. After a tour and wine tasting, we’ll visit a local potter who produces these traditional flagons. For lunch, we’ll visit the family winery of Timur Dakishvili, where we’ll taste wines made from the indigenous kisi and saperavi grape varieties. This will be followed by a short walk around the vineyards and a trip to Ikalto Monastery, renown for its academy and winemaking classes that date back to the Middle Ages. We’ll dine and spend the night at the Schuchmann boutique hotel, where you can end the day with a wine spa treatment.
Day 3. Crossing the Pankisi Gorge to Tusheti
We’ll leave early in the morning and go to the headstream of the River Alazan. We’ll make a short stop at Gremi Fortress, the medieval capital of the Kakheti kingdom, which offers picturesque views of the Alazani Valley. By lunch, we’ll be at the Pankisi Gorge, populated by the Kists, who are Chechens that moved here from the northern side of the Caucasus Ridge in the 16th-19th centuries. We’ll taste the traditional Chechen dish zhizhig-galnash, and walk around the village. After lunch we’ll continue our journey to Omalo, the center of Tusheti. Here we will watch the sunset, sitting at the footsteps of medieval towers from which you can see breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys. Dinner will be a village feast, complete with songs and highland khinkali. We’ll spend the night at a guesthouse.
Day 4. Tusheti
Tusheti is one of Georgia’s most remote regions, which was recently added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its pristine landscapes and tower complexes. After breakfast, we’ll drive to the village of Dartlo—the road will be difficult, but beautiful. After arriving in Dartlo, we’ll hike to an old fortress that offers startling panoramic views of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, and there we might get the chance to converse with some local villagers, and learn about their culture. In the evening, we’ll return to Omalo for another traditional feast with new dishes.
Day 5. Return from the Highlands
Today we will journey back to the capital, Tbilisi. By lunch, we’ll be at Kakheti, where you can expect an abundant Kakhetian feast of simple and hearty highland cuisine. In the evening, we’ll visit Tbilisi’s famous sulphur baths to wash off the grime of the road, and take a walk around the city.
Day 6. Trip to Kartli
In the morning, we’ll visit Georgia’s ancient capital, Mtskheta, to see the great Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, stroll around the city streets and hike to Jvari Monastery that offers an amazing view of the confluence of the Aragvi and Kura rivers. Afterwards we’ll visit Chateau Mukhrani, Georgia’s oldest winery, established during the 19th century, which to this day continues to produce some of the country’s best wines. We’ll then return to Tbilisi where we will rest and enjoy the evening, strolling through the city’s winding streets.
Day 7. Journey to Svaneti
In the morning we’ll go to the airport for a 40-minute flight to Mestia, the administrative center of Upper Svaneti. We’ll rest a bit after our arrival, and then take a short tour of the city. Lunch will be had at Zuruldi, Georgia’s highest-altitude restaurant with marvelous views of Ushba Peak. We’ll follow lunch with a pleasant walk through alpine meadows, enjoying the views of the valley and villages that cling to wooded mountain slopes. After returning to Mestia in the evening, we’ll take a stroll around the ancient streets of the historic Lanchvali district. Dinner will be accompanied by a gorgeous view of night-time Mestia and its illuminated medieval towers.
Day 8. Exploring Ushguli
Today we’ll go to Svaneti’s most remote village, Ushguli. Its ancestral medieval towers rise up against a backdrop of the Shkara mountain group, the top of which demarcates the border between Georgia and Russia. One of the village’s four districts, Chazhashi, is a unique architectural monument, included by UNESCO in its list of World Heritage Sites. We’ll walk around the village and have lunch with a family of highlanders. In the evening, we’ll head back to Mestia.
Day 9. Crossing Samegrelo to Kutaisi
We’ll take the land route to get out of Svaneti, and the road will take us through Samegrelo, a lovely and distinctive region of Georgia. Megrelians speak a dialect of Georgian that many linguists consider a separate language. We’ll stop at Zugdidi for lunch, and taste some delicious Megrelian cuisine. In the afternoon, we’ll make a detour to the Martvili Canyons for a boat ride, and by nightfall we’ll reach Kutaisi, the inviting capital of Imereti and all of western Georgia.
Day 10. Out and About in Kutaisi
We’ll start the day by walking around the city center, and visit the market to buy a few local delicacies. Afterwards, we’ll visit the medieval Gelata Monastery, another monument from the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, and from there we’ll go to the winery of Ramaz Nikoladze, the head of the Kvevri Wine Association. We’ll walk around the vineyards and taste the best wines made from Imereti grapes using traditional methods. After lunch and some rest, we’ll go on a short hike around Okatse Canyon with its footpaths suspended in the air. In the evening, we’ll head back to Kutaisi for a stroll through the city, and dinner.
Day 11. To Adjara and the Sea
Today we journey to Adjara, Georgia’s subtropical region on the Black Sea coast. We’ll make a stop at Ureki for some rest and a quick dip in the sea. Ureki’s beaches are famous for their salutary magnetic sands. Afterwards, we’ll drive to Batumi, where we’ll check into a hotel and enjoy some rest. In the afternoon we can organize a short trip to the Mtirala Reserve for those who are interested. We’ll spend the night in downtown Batumi.
Day 12. Highland Adjara
Riding off-road vehicles, we’ll adventure across all of Adjara’s highlands as picturesque landscapes fly past our windows. We’ll stop at a beautiful medieval arched bridge, and have a lunch of Adjarian khachapuri and borano omelet in one of the villages. In the afternoon, we’ll reach the small town of Akhaltsikhe with its medieval Rabat Fortress. In the evening, we’ll be in Vardzia, the site of an early Christian cave monastery. We’ll walk around and spend the night at the Vardzia Resort Hotel.
Day 13. Return to Tbilisi
On the way back from Vardzia to Tbilisi we’ll stop for a few hours in the highland resort of Borjomi. We’ll walk around the grand city center, taste the local mineral water, and go for a short hike up to hot springs where we can swim and enjoy the scenery. Before heading out we will enjoy an open air lunch, and then drive back to Tbilisi for a farewell dinner.
Day 14. Time to go home!
This is our last day in the Georgian capital. We’ll go souvenir shopping at the Dry Bridge flea market, and then head to the airport.
This tour does not require any specific level of physical fitness. If all group members are in agreement, we are always ready to change the itinerary to meet the group’s desires and needs. If you would like to travel at your own pace, please request an individual tour and we’ll be happy to arrange one for you.