Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia – Explore The Caucasus
At the cultural crossroads where Europe meets Asia is the Caucasus region, an area of breathtaking natural beauty and a uniquely diverse culture. A seamless blend of East and West, there is a clear European influence combined with Gulf State flair and a touch of Soviet opulence.
Armenia gives you access to all of its ancient and complex history. Its culture is rich and resilient, which makes visitors keen to discover more. This nation is blessed with lush landscapes and its people offer the warmest hospitality. Visit the remarkably well preserved temples. See the monuments, fortresses and medieval monasteries.
Azerbaijan is one of the fastest changing countries in the world, as showcased in the futuristic architecture and urban developments that line the streets of Baku, the capital. Away the hustle and bustle of this modern metropolis, surrounded by green pillows of beautifully forested mountains are timeless rural villages, where ancient customs and traditions still pervade the everyday life of the warm and welcoming locals.
Georgia is home to spectacular mountain scenery, picturesque old villages and proud and high-spirited people. Its deeply complicated history has lead to a wonderful heritage of architecture and arts.
Weave between cosmopolitan capitals and slow-paced countryside on a tour of this ever-fascinating region.
Dates on request
Suggested Itinerary by Air
Fly to Baku and transfer to your hotel. Check in and relax at the hotel.
Baku City Tour
After breakfast, enjoy a tour of the Old City, with its fortress walls, historical buildings and narrow paved streets. Start in Upland Park, located on a hill in the western part of the city. This is the best place to see the city and Baku Bay. Visit the Palace of the Shirvanshakhs and the famous Maiden Tower. Just imagine that the bricks under your shoes for centuries keep memory of city’s history, its fame and glory, its sorrows and sufferings. During the walk you will definitely notice the mix of aromas– the oriental spices and kebabs from the numerous restaurants mixed with the salty and oily odor of the Caspian Sea. Baku is full of energy, beautiful, bright and vivid. It is ready to change but nevertheless follows the traditions of ancestors. Behind the walls the city life sparkles like a melting pot, while in the Old City everything is calm and dutiful as it was for centuries.
Gobustan Nature Reserve
After breakfast, enjoy the morning at leisure to relax at the hotel. Your guide will meet you at reception and you will travel to Gobustan. The reserve is well known for its perfectly preserved rock paintings – petroglyphs – a kind of artistic “archive” of human evolution on the Earth. Visit the interactive museum and learn about the nature and the flora of Gobustan. Only a few people know that Azerbaijan ranks the first place in the number of active mud volcanoes. These volcanoes are formations of a cone-shaped hill with a crater in the ground. Visit Ateshgah, the temple of fire worshippers, located on the Apsheron peninsula on the outskirts of Surakhani village. Later travel to Yanar Dag, a natural gas fire which blazes continuously on a hillside on the Absheron Peninsula.
Shemakh and Sheki
Azerbaijan has many secrets that are able to express the ancient beauty. Shamakhi was once the capital of the Shirvan Empire. Nowadays Shamakhi is famous for its winemaking. Visit the outstanding Yeddi Gumbez mausoleum. Its magnificent domes rise above the silent and lonesome landscapes and create mysterious atmosphere. Then in Shamakhi you can find the famous Diri Baba tomb. Continue on to Sheki.
Sheki and Kish
Sheki is the oldest city in Azerbaijan. It was famous among merchants from the Great Silk Road and in ancient times people sold silk here. Khan’s Summer Palace has wonderful facades decorated with floral motives and the interior design impresses even more. Visit the village of Kish, famous for its huge Christian architectural monument. This Albanian church dates back to 6th-7th centuries. Explore the village before returning to Sheki. Overnight in Sheki.
Travel to Georgia
After breakfast continue to the Azerbaijan-Georgia border at Lagodekhi. After passing through border control, you will meet with your Georgian guide and driver. Visit the the 16th century Gremi Monastery– the royal citadel and the Church of the Archangels – in Kakheti. Afterwards you will drive to Tsinandali and visit house museum of Prince Aleksandre Chavchavadze. Visit the beautiful garden and wine cellar, where you will taste 5 sorts of wine. It was the place where Chavchavadze frequently entertained foreign guests with music, wit, and fine vintages made at his estate winery (marani). Familiar with European ways, Chavchavadze built Georgia’s oldest and largest winery where he combined European and centuries-long Georgian winemaking traditions. The highly regarded dry white Tsinandali is still produced here. In the evening visit the Sighnaghi city. Later travel to Tbilisi and check in to your hotel.
After breakfast you will explore Tbilisi on a guided city tour. Visit the Old Tbilisi Sulfur Baths, Georgian Orthodox and Armenian Gregorian churches, Jewish synagogue and Turkish mosque. These are built side by side, reflecting the city’s acceptance and tolerance of different religions. Visit Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the Caucasus; Metekhi Church, which is erected on the cliff overlooking the Mtkvari River; Narikala fortress, established in the fourth century. Walk downtown and discover Shardeni Street with its fashionable cosy cafes and art galleries. The Anchiskhati church is the oldest church in Tbilisi keeping the miraculous icon of Jesus Christ. Finally, the tour takes you to Rustaveli Avenue, where attractions, such as the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Parliament, Rustaveli Theatre, different art galleries and cafes, will draw your attention and provide a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Mtskheta – Gori – Uplistsikhe-Kutaisi
Drive to Mtskheta – one of the oldest cities in Georgia and the former capital of the early Georgian kingdom of Iberia during the 3rd century BC – 5th century AD. Visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century) and Jvari Monastery (6th century) Later travel to Gori and visit Joseph Stalin State Museum. Drive to Uplistsikhe (literally, “the lord’s fortress”), an ancient rock-hewn building in eastern Georgia. It contains various structures dating from the Early Iron Ages to the Late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran as well as the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture. Afterwards you will transfer to Kutaisi, the second largest city of Georgia. Overnight in Kuatisi.
Prometheus and Batumi
This morning, head to the local market in Kutaisi. Later visit the Gelati Academy and Monastery, a monastic complex near Kutaisi, in the region of Imereti, founded by King David IV in XII century. During the 12-13th centuries Gelati was one of the biggest religious, educational, scientific and philosophy centres of Georgia. The founding of Gelati is tied to the cultural renaissance of Georgia. Later drive to Batumi, a seaside city on the Black Sea coast in southwest Georgia. Batumi’s seaside park is one of the city’s charms, stretching along the seashore to the north-west of Batumi. Overnight in Batumi.
This morning enjoy a walking tour of Batumi and see Alphabet Tower, Chacha Tower, Medea Square, and Fountain of Neptune. Afterwards you will head to Batumi Botanical Gardens – here plants endemic to completely different climates and landscapes co-exist side by side. The Garden contains thousands of plant species of astonishing beauty. In the afternoon you will travel to Makhuntsesi Bridge and see the waterfall before returning to Batumi.
Visit Prometheus Cave, one of Georgia’s natural wonders offers breathtaking examples of stalactites and stalagmites. Later drive to Borjomi, a resort town in south-central Georgia. The town is famous for its mineral water industry (which is presently the number one export of Georgia). Afterwards head to Borjomi Park and find out why the mineral water here is so popular. After the tasting you will drive to Bakuriani – a popular ski resort, located on the northern slope of the Trialeti Range, at an elevation of 1,700 meters above sea level. Overnight in Bakuriani.
Vardzia – Akhaltsikhe – Bakuriani
This morning you will drive to Vardzia. The cave town of Vardzia (12th century) is one of the most important and impressive historic monuments in Georgia. Vardzia is located at an altitude of 1300 meters above sea level. On the way back visit Khertvisi Fortress – one of the oldest fortresses in Georgia and was functional throughout the Georgian feudal period. In the afternoon you will head to Akhaltsikhe – (literally new castle) the city in southwestern Georgia. Here you will visit the Akhaltsikhe fortress – Rabati (12th century) before returning to Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Travel to Armenia
Today you will be picked up and transferred to the Sadakhlo border between Georgia and Armenia. Visit two unique monuments of Armenian architecture: the monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Literally ’’Sanahin’’ in Armenian means “this one is older than the other,” meaning that this monastery is older than Haghpat. These two monasteries are very close to each other and can be easily seen from one to the other. Both are located on an uneven plateau, separated by a deep crack formed by a small river that flows into the River Debed. Haghpat Monastery was one of the largest religious, cultural and educational centres in medieval Armenia. Dinner and overnight in Dilijan.
Dilijan National Park – Parz Lake – Goshavank Trekking – Goshi Lake
Explore the unique and beautiful flora of unusual Caucasus. You will spend the day in Dilijan National Park, which is one of the greatest reserves in the region of Caucasus. Drive to Parz and trek through the dense forests and green meadow to the monastery of Goshavank (3 hours medium level trekking – sports shoes recommended). Continue to Goshi lake. Return to Dilijan. Dinner at a local house. Overnight at the hotel.
Dilijan – Sevan – Selim – Noravank – Arni -Khor Virap – Yerevan
Following breakfast, drive to Lake Sevan, one of the largest lakes in the world. It stands out with its sweet and astonishingly blue water. Here we can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the beautiful lake. Later, visit the Sevanavank Monastery, situated on Sevan Peninsula and built in the Middle Ages, around 10th century. Then drive to Selim Caravanserai which is one of the remaining evidences of Great Silk Road. Continue the journey to Noravank – a monastery of XII century situated among amazing sheer rocks on the bench of a twisty gorge. This is the only monastery where we may find a unique sculpture of God. Later, visit the village of Areni which is considered to be an important center of wine production. Enjoy lunch at a local house where you are welcome to taste its excellent wine. Travel to Khor Virap Monastery (4-18th cc.). This monastery is very prominent because of its history. Gregory the Illuminator, who introduced Christianity to Armenia, was imprisoned there for 13 years. Here you can enjoy a spectacular view of the sacred Ararat Mountain – an immortal symbol of Armenia.
Yerevan City Tour
Start the tour in the capital of Armenia: Yerevan. For ages this city has been known as a “pink city” because of the colour of the stone it has been built with. Visit Republic Square, Mashtoc Avenue, the House of Opera and Ballet after Aram Khachatryan and Cascade Park. Later visit the Erebuni Museum and Genocide Memorial known as Tsitsernakaberd. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Ashtarak-Amberd – Ushi
Drive to Aragatsotn Region and visit the fortress of Amberd, a medieval fortress that has been very well preserved throughout the ages. Continue on to the village of Ushi. Here you will take part in the cooking master class. Learn how to make Armenian Pasta “Arishta” and Armenian Sweets “Gata” and enjoy them for lunch.
Enjoy breakfast before being transferred from the hotel to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
British passport holders will need to apply for a visa to enter Azerbaijan. You can apply online and, if you meet the requirements, the visa is valid for 30 days. Be sure to apply for a visa in good time before you travel.
British Citizens do not require a visa to visit Armenia, you will be able to visit for up to 90 days.
British Passport holders do not need a visa to enter Georgia, you can stay for up to a year.
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