The best of Georgia
Cultural tour with private driver | 10 days
A journey which peels away some of the many layers of ancient and modern Georgia. Tbilisi, whose mosque, synagogue and many churches blend together and contrast with the architecture of Freedom Square, Rustaveli Avenue and the modernity of the Peace Bridge. You’ll visit Svaneti, high in the Greater Caucasus, with its high stone towers and frescoed churches, travel through the spectacular Jvari and Gombori mountain passes and along the Enguri valley, visit fortresses, traditional houses, the Stalin museum at Gori and the extraordinary cave town of Uplistikhe as well as Gelati Monastery. In the ancient vineyards of Kakheti, learning about 8,000 year old wine making methods is as enjoyable as tasting the different wines that Georgia now produces.
Day 1:Fly London to Tbilisi
Day 2:Tbilisi – full day’s exploration
Day 3:Drive to Mtskheta, the ancient capital, crossing the Greater Caucasus to Kazbegi. Overnight Gudauri
Day 4:To Gori, birthplace of Stalin. Visit Uplistsikhe cave town and Kutaisi Monastery
Day 5:Drive to Svaneti along Enguri Valley to mountain settlement of Mestia.
Day 6:To medieval towered village of Ushguli (2,400m) and hike in the valley. Visit traditional Mestia house
Day 7:Full day’s drive from Mestia to Tbilisi
Day 8:To Kakheti wine region visiting St. Nino Monastery at Bodbe, Signaghi and Telavi. Overnight Kvareli
Day 9:Visit Gremi Church and Alaverdi Cathedral. Return to Tbilisi via forested Gombori Mountain Pass
Day 10:Fly back from Tbilisi to London
guide price £2,595 per person
Fiona’s travel tipsBEST TIME TO GO: May to mid-November. May, June, September and October are the best months as it is neither excessively hot nor cold and the days are mostly clear and sunny. The area around Tbilisi is hot and humid in high summer but the mountains are pleasant. Spring can be wet, so pack a waterproof to be on the safe side. In fact a raincoat and jacket are always handy as the weather in the mountains can vary a lot.
DID YOU KNOW: The legend of Jason and the Argonauts’ search for the Golden Fleece is thought to be based on an actual voyage made 3,500 years ago to the kingdom of Colchis in the Svaneti region where gold was panned from rivers using sheepskins.
READ: The Caucasus: An Introduction by Thomas de Waal; Georgia in the Mountains of Poetry by Peter Nasmyth; Tasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus by Carla Capalbo; Eastward to Tartary by Robert D Kaplan; Bread and Ashes by Tony Anderson.
“In Georgia we loved Svaneti and the hiking, and our Ushguli highlight was a 45 minute walk towards the Bezingi Wall and Shkhara, Georgia’s highest mountain. Mount Ararat follows you like a shadow virtually everywhere in Armenia. Our Armenian guide was really good. The fountains in Yerevan choreographed to music were a magical post-2018 Velvet Revolution antidote to the poignancy of the genocide memorial and museum earlier in the day. The day trips from Yerevan to the monasteries worked well and some delightful, imaginative cafes and restaurants provided memorable culinary highlights.”
Graham and Sue Bell, Georgia and Armenia, June 2019
“Georgia is an engaging mixture of stunning scenery, ancient beautiful orthodox churches, medieval castles, interesting wine and strong local cultures with a background of both the Soviet and Russian empires. While service is not always its strongest point, you found us a good driver and guide who were knowledgeable and easy company. For a civilised but out of the way trip, Georgia rates highly. Thank you for putting it together for us. Quite a fascinating destination and we are very pleased we chose to do it.”
Andrew and Judy Given, Georgia, June 2019
Helen Walter, Georgia and Armenia, June/July 2019
“We had an amazing time, the local reps were very good, but if there's one thing that we would change, it would be to have slightly more autonomy and a few more non-guided days without the constant fact delivery. I would highly recommend both Rooms Hotels – the nicest places we stayed. We will definitely come back to you in the future.”