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.