22 days
Duration
Europe
Destination
Level 3 - Moderate
Activity

Armenia Azerbaijan Georgia escorted small group to Caucasus

This 22-day small group tour to Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia gives travellers an opportunity to explore Tbilisi, Baku, and Yerevan. The tour encompasses important monuments, historical and religious sites, diverse landscapes, and ancient architecture. We travel through the spectacular Caucasus Mountains and the lowlands of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. This tour is fully escorted and led by local English-speaking guides. Over the course of the tour, we have the opportunity to meet locals and observe their lifestyles in both the cities and remote sections of the Caucasus.

Armenia Azerbaijan Georgia tour Itinerary

Our escorted small group tour to Caucasus begins in Yerevan. While here, we enjoy a full-day sightseeing tour of Yerevan including visits to the Memorial Complex to the Genocide Victims, Museum of the Medieval Armenian Culture (Matenadaran), and a brandy factory for a tour and tastings. In the evening, we enjoy free time to explore the city on our own and discover a local restaurant for dinner.

Next, we enjoy a full-day excursion to Khor Virap. This romantically located Armenian monastery has views across a vast plain to Turkey and the twin peaks of Mount Ararat. Here, in the atmosphere of historical legend, we see Noah’s Ark in the snows of Ararat. According to the book of Genesis, it was here that humankind was reborn. Theatrical ceremonies and festivals take place in a Noah’s-Ark-shaped stage against the majestic Mount Ararat. We may also enter the hole where Gregory the Illuminator was jailed for 13 years for dissemination of Christianity in Armenia. Later on, we  visit the 13th-century monastery complex of Noravank set in a marvellous canyon. Afterwards, we travel across the region to Georgia, before finishing our educational tour in Azerbaijan.

Highlights of the tour of  Armenia, Azerbaijan,  & Georgia

The tour explores the various UNESCO World Heritage sites of Armenia. During the journey, we sample the national cuisines and music at farewell dinners in each country. We also trace the “Wine Route” of Kakheti, a rich wine-growing region with magnificent vineyards and quaint villages, and discover the ancient Colchis Kingdom in Kutaisi, destination for the legendary Jason and the Argonauts. We also experience diverse cultures and landscapes between Georgia's Black Sea coast of Azerbaijan's Caspian coast.

The Armenia Azerbaijan Georgia escorted small groups to Caucasus  is designed for the curious senior, mature couple or solo traveller. During our tour of Armenia Azerbaijan Georgia we are accompanied by some of the best local guides, who will provide excellent insights into the local culture and history of each of the three distinct Nation states visited.

For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

This tour appears in our brochure as "Caucasian Odyssey"

Tour Notes
  • Itineraries may change if flight schedules, site availability, and other inclusions have to be amended prior to departure.
  • Group size limited to 15.

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

1
Explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Armenia.
2
Sample the national cuisines and music at a special farewell dinner held in each country
3
Trace the "Wine Route" of Kakheti, a rich wine-growing region with magnificent vineyards and quaint villages.
4
Discover the ancient Colchis Kingdom in Kutasi, destination for the legendary Jason and the Argonauts.
5
Experience diverse cultures and the landscapes between the Black Sea coast of Georgia and the Caspian coast of Azerbaijan.

Overview: On arrival, we make our own way to our hotel in Yerevan, where we enjoy a program orientation and welcome dinner. (D)

Accommodation: 4 nights at Ani Plaza Hotel or similar.

Overview: Today we enjoy a full-day sightseeing tour of Yerevan, including visits to the Memorial Complex to the Genocide Victims, Museum of the Medieval Armenian Culture – Matenadaran, and a brandy factory to taste some brandy. The evening is free to continue exploring the city at our own pace. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: Ani Plaza Hotel or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we leave on a full-day excursion south to Khor Virap, one of the romantically-sited monasteries in Armenia with views across vast plain to Turkey and the twin peaks of Mount Ararat. Here, you will find a Noah's Ark in the snows of Ararat. Humankind was reborn here, with Noah, the world's first tourist. The theatrical ceremonies and festivals performing in a Noah's-Ark-shaped stage in the immediate vicinity of the monastery and against the majestic Mount Ararat will take us back to Noah's ages. We may also enter the hole where Gregory the Illuminator was jailed for 13 years for dissemination of Christianity in Armenia (optional). We also visit the 13th century monastery complex of Noravank set in a marvellous canyon. Lunch will be at a local restaurant. (B,L)

Accommodation: Ani Plaza Hotel or similar.

Overview: After breakfast, we enjoy a brief lecture about Armenia. We head south for a tour of Echmiadzin - the holy seat of the Supreme Patriarch-Catholicos of all Armenians. The Cathedral was built in 303 on the site of a pagan temple after the adoption of Christianity as a state religion in 301. We then visit St. Hripsime Church of Echmiadzin (7th century) before driving through the picturesque Avan Canyon, skirting formidable cliffs and passing exotic-looking gorges until a green plateau of the Azat River comes into view. In this natural setting, you will see the pagan Garni architectural complex of the 1st century and feel the spirit of ancient ages. Lunch will be at a photographer's house. We will also visit the UNESCO Heritage listed monastery of Geghard (13th century) which contains a number of churches and tombs, most of them cut into the rock, representing the very peak of Armenian medieval architecture. (BLD)

Accommodation: Ani Plaza Hotel or similar.

Overview: After breakfast, we depart Yerevan today and travel north-east to Lake Sevan - the emerald of Armenia, with a visit to the 9th century Sevan Monastery. If the weather is nice, we can enjoy some time to relax on the sunny and sandy beach of the lake and perhaps even go for a quick swim. We continue our journey with a stop to visit Noradus field of "Khach Kars” - Kross Stoness. We then continue to Hagharstin Monastery of 13-14th century before transferring to our hotel in Dilijan.  Lunch today will be at Lake Sevan and dinner will be at the hotel. (BLD)

Accommodation: Dilijan Resort Hotel or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we drive north to visit the 10-13th centuries Haghpat and Sanahin historical and architectural monuments standing amidst forest-clad hills close to the town of Alaverdi. The monuments are preserved by UNESCO and included in the World Heritage List. We then drive on to Georgian border where we will be met and assisted with the crossing. Here we change vehicles and meet our guide for the drive to Tbilisi.  In the evening we begin our orientation tour of Tbilisi including visits to Metekhi church (12-13th century) - cross cupola church, part of the Royal residential complex; Sulphur bathhouses - 19th century buildings; Sioni Cathedral - the main church of Tbilisi dated to 7th-19th century. We stay 2 nights at: (B,L,D)

Accommodation: 3 nights at the Hotel Kopala Rikhe or similar.

Overview: After breakfast, we visitthe Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia, formerly known as the State Museum of History of Georgia, one of the main history museums in Tbilisi which displays the country’s principal archaeological findings, there we'll also visit the Soviet Occupation Exhibition hall. After lunch we will be guests in a batik studio "La Maison Bleu" where we will meet textile artists and see how they work. Today we also visit the museum of Local Arts and Crafts. There will be some free time this afternoon and evening to explore on your own. (B,L)

Accommodation: Hotel Kopala Rikhe or similar.

Overview: Today, we drive across the Kartli province, the heart of Georgia. Here we visit the sacred Mtskheta, the ancient capital of eastern Georgia. Georgia's conversion to Christianity occurred in Mtskheta in 337 AD and it is considered to be one of Georgia's most important religious centres. We can visit several of its most important historic monuments including the beautiful Jvari church (6th-7th century), perched on a cliff overlooking the city; Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century). In Gori birth place of Josef Stalin visit Uplistsikhe cave town dating back to 1st millennium BC (1-1.5hrs walking tour).  In late afternoon we arrive in Akhaltsikhe, where we spend 2 nights.

Accommodation: 2 nights at Gino Rabath or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we explore Samtskhe-Javakheti province and its important architectural monuments. We start by visiting Varzia cave town, transformed into a well-fortified monastery, which had a significant role in the political, cultural, educational and spiritual life of the country. En route there will be a short stop at Khertvisi Fortress (10th century). We then return to Akhaltsikhe to explore the historical centre and Museum of Akhaltsikhe in Rabati (B,L,D)

Accommodation: 2 nights at the Hotel Gino Rabati or Lomsia in Akhaltsikhe.

Overview: After breakfast we drive through the picturesque Borjomi Valley and Rikoti Pass to Kutaisi – the capital of ancient Colchis. We'll have a walk in Borjomi Park and taste the local mineral water. Around noon we will arrive in Kutaisi, one of the biggest cities in Georgia. Nearby we visit the Sataplia grottoes located in one of Georgia's finest nature reserves. On our return, there will be time to enjoy a walking tour in the old town of Kutaisi. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: Lalie's Guesthouse or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we visit Bagrati Cathedral (UNESCO site, currently some restoration and constructions are taking place to preserve the site) and Gelati Academy Complex (UNESCO site) before driving to Zugdidi.  We then continue our drive to the Enguri Canyon where the Svan ethnic group evolved, cut off from the outside world by the high and inaccessible mountains, their culture preserved almost intact with the ritual of worshipping spirits, the fertility cults, the wolf and the bull, and the poetic muse, Dali, the golden-haired goddess of hunting. Access to the Svaneti area is hard and conditions are basic, the road to Mestia is rough and long (220km / 4.5hrs drive from Kutaisi to Mestia). The climate in Svaneti is quite stern with cold winters, cool and long springs and cool summers. Mestia and Ushguli are surrounded by snow peaks, glaciers and alpine pastures which make the local climate very special. We are scheduled to arrive in Mestia late afternoon. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: Hotel Banguriani or similar.

Overview: After breakfast, we take a 2 hour drive west to the picturesque village of Ushguli, boasting more than 20 ancient Svan Towers it has been listed as a UNESCO site since 1996. We enjoy a walk in Ushguli and its surroundings. En route we will visit several remote villages and churches. In Ushguli we will be guests of a local family and learn and taste Sulguni, the local cheese. In afternoon we drive back to Mestia. There will be free time this afternoon to continue exploring Mestia at our own pace. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: Hotel Banguriani or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we explore Mestia on a walking tour and visit the Ethnographical and Historical Museum, which was established in 1936 and initially housed a small collection but in 1948 it benefited from an expedition to Svaneti, headed by the famous Georgian art historian Giorgi Chubinashvili that collected illuminated manuscripts, icons and other antiquities from the Svanetian population and from Svaneti churches. The material collected by the expedition forms the core of the museum’s collection.  There will be free time this afternoon to further explore Mestia town on your own. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: Hotel Banguriani or similar.

Overview: After breakfast, we depart to the town of Batumi, situated on the shore of the Black Sea. En-route we visit Dadiani Palace - palace of the lord of Samegrelo region, along with its beautiful park and museum. In the evening we enjoy a short walking tour of Batumi, the 2nd largest city of Georgia with its seaside Boulevard park and the nearby Old Town recently renovated to bring back tourism in the post-Soviet era. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: 3 star hotel in Mestia or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we drive south to visit Gonio Fortress, a well preserved Roman fortification just 4km from the border with Turkey. The site is believed to hold the tomb of the Apostle Mathew – one of Christ’s disciples – but has yet to be fully excavated. Later we drive back to Batumi to visit the Botanical Garden, where we take a walk. The gardens overlook the Black Sea and cover an area of 111 hectares, divided into sections displaying flora from different parts of the world. For our lunch we enjoy a traditional cheese-filled bread  called "Khachapuri". There will be free time in the afternoon to continue walking along the boulevard or relax back at the hotel. (B,L)

Accommodation: Hotel Aisi or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we depart Batumi and drive to Tbilisi (approx. 7hrs drive). On the way we stop at the monastic complex of Ubisa, comprising a 9th century St. George’s Monastery founded by St. Gregory of Khandzta, a 4-floor tower (AD 1141), fragments of a 12th century defensive wall and several other buildings and structures. A short drive away in the village Shrosha, we will be hosted by a pottery maker's family before we continue our travels to the capital Tblisi. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: Hotel Kopala or similar.

Overview: Today we drive to Kakheti along the "Wine Route,” through the beautiful landscape of vineyards and wine-producing villages. Enjoy a walk in Signagi Royal town surrounded by the defensive walls with 23 towers. Each of these towers was named after nearby a nearby village and respective families and served as a refuge in case of danger. The town was mainly inhabited by merchants and artisans. It had many gates through which numerous Silk Road travellers from Asia and Europe passed. We also visit the Signagi Historical and Ethnographical Museum. For lunch we visit a local wine cellar and then continue our journey to Telavi. After our arrival we have the opportunity to observe bread baking and traditional sweet "Churchkhela” preparation. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: Lalie's Guesthouse  or similar.

Overview: A short drive from Telavi will take us to Gremi and its impressive citadel complex consisting of a 16th century domed church, tower and king's chamber. We then drive to Lagodekhi border and cross into Azerbaijan. We continue our journey to the town of Sheki. The jewel of Sheki is the exquisite Khan's Palace set in the midst of dilapidated fortress walls and adorned with detailed mosaics and Shebaka windows made from fragments of coloured glass and hand-shaped wooden cross-pieces. We will have the opportunity to visit a Shebaka workshop as well as the local bazaar where we will wander among street peddlers and artists selling everything from local handicrafts and souvenirs to halva, a sweet confection flavoured with cinnamon, fennel or saffron. Dinner tonight will be at a local family home. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: Sheki Palace Hotel or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we drive to Shemaka through small villages nestled among steep mountains and lush valleys dotted with vineyards. We will stop in Shemakha, a city that served for many centuries as the capital and commercial centre of western Azerbaijan before being replaced by Baku in 19th century. Here we visit the famed Yeddi Gumbaz (Seven Tombs), of which only three remain completely intact, the royal tombs of the last Shirvan Khans to rule before the region became part of the Russian Empire. In town, we will stop at Juma Meschid or Grand Mosque whose 10th century foundations are part of the first mosque built in the Caucasus. Passing through stark, arid landscapes dotted with mud volcanoes, we will arrive in Maraza where just off the main road lies Pir Diri Baba Mausoleum built precariously into the side of a cliff. We arrive in Baku late afternoon. (BLD)

Accommodation: 3 nights at the Central Park Hotel or similar.

Overview: We begin our day with a tour of Icheri Shey Har, the old town, with its maze of narrow, cobblestone streets lined with small mosques nestled between terrace cafes and grand turn-of-the-century architecture. A highlight of our afternoon's explorations will surely be Shirvan Shah's Palace, a royal palace built in the 15th century and the finest surviving example of Shirvan architecture. In the evening we enjoy a boat and walking tour along Baku sea-side boulevard (around 2 hours, weather/sea conditions permitting). Baku Bay is a natural harbour for the capital of Azerbaijan and the main port of Baku. It is located in the wide curve on the southern side of the Absheron Peninsula, sheltered by the Baku archipelago. Boat excursions provide us with a great opportunity to have a splendid panoramic view of Baku from the sea and to see the city's nice beaches and the bay itself dotted with oil derricks. Our guide will explain the history about the Caspian Sea. (B,L)

Accommodation: Central Park Hotel or similar.

Overview: After breakfast we explore the Absheron Peninsula. It was once the centre of a booming oil industry. However, this former agricultural jewel - north of the capital - is now a desolate landscape of semi-arid vegetation, grim industry and forgotten oil fields. We will visit both Ateshga, the sacred Zoroastrian fire temple built on the site of a natural gas vent and Yanar Dag or Flaming Mountain, one of few remaining natural gas flares in the area. Here we have a traditional tea in a Gala village. We then carry on further down the Caspian coast to Gobustan where over 6,000 Stone and Iron Age petroglyphs have been discovered in the hill caves above town depicting scenes of hunting and dancing rituals, a varied repertoire of animal figures along with thousands of artefacts and tools.  In the evening we enjoy our final group dinner and stay our farewells. (B,L,D)

Accommodation: Central Park Hotel or similar.

Overview: After breakfast, we say our farewells and the tour draws to a close. (B)

What's included in our Tour
  • 19 nights of hotel accommodation and 2 nights of guesthouse accommodation with shared facilities.
  • Services of Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
  • Transport in comfortable and modern coaches.
  • All lectures, excursions, entrance fees, and local guides.
  • 21 breakfasts, 20 lunches, and 17 dinners.
What's not included in our Tour
  • International airfares and departure taxes.
  • Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Visa services and fees (if applicable).
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Armenia Azerbaijan Georgia escorted Small groups to Caucasus

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