9-Day Georgia: Nature and Culture of Georgia
DESCRIPTION: Our 9 day private tours is a combination of mysterious canyons, mountains, waterfalls, caves with stalactites and stalagmites all created by nature and human made historic cave towns, churches and fortresses. This tour is not only for nature lovers, but also for those who are interested in old traditions and history of this ancient nation.
Places to visit: Tbilisi, Ikalto, Alaverdi, Tsinandali, Telavi, Gremi, Nekresi, Kvareli, Sighnaghi, Bodbe, Ananuri, Kazbegi, Gori, Uplistsikhe, Akhaltsikhe, Vardzia, Kutaisi, Okatse canyon, Kinchkha Waterfall, Martvili Canyon, Salkhino, Prometheus cave
Included0.5 ml water per person each dayAccommodation in double/twin room with breakfastBread and Churchkhela masterclass in Khareba wineryChacha and wine tasting in Khareba wineryComplimentary glass of wine in TsinandaliEnglish speaking guideEntrance feesPick up and drop off from/at the hotelTransportation by a comfortable vehicleWine tasting in Salkhino
Not Included0.5 ml water per person4x4 drive to UshguliAccommodation in double/twin roomAccommodation in double/twin rooms with breakfast;Bread and Churchkhela masterclass in Khareba winery;Cable car ticketCable car to TatevChacha and wine tasting in Khareba winery;I class train ticket from Batumi to TbilisiLunch in Shumi winery and dinner in Kutaisilunch in Shumi winery and dinner in Kutaisi;Lunch, dinnerMasterclasses in NapareuliTipsTransportation by comfortable vehicleTravel InsuranceWine tasting at Areni wineryWine tasting in AmbrolauriWine tasting in Ambrolauri;Wine tasting in Khareba wineryWine tasting in Salkhino;Wine tasting in the Khareba winery
DAY 1: TBILISI
Start the sightseeing tour of Tbilisi with Holy Trinity Cathedral. The highest church in Georgia whose golden dome can be seen from almost every point of Tbilisi. Continue to the old part of the city and visit the main gems of this historical part of the country:
- Metekhi church - overlooking Mtkvari River from Metekhi cliff. Metekhi dates back to the 13th century, but even before that, there was a smaller church here, built approximately in the 5-6th century.
- Narikala fortress - constructed for defense purposes in the 4th century. Reach the fortress by ropeway. Enjoy stunning views of Tbilisi and walk down to the Meidan Square. Visit Abanotubani – famous for its historic Sulfur Baths.
- Walk through Legvtakhevi canyon to see the beautiful waterfall located in the center of Old Tbilisi.
- Sioni cathedral dates back to the VI century - one of the most important monuments of Georgia, where a symbol of Georgian Christianity, the real cross of St. Nino, is preserved.
From here on, we will continue to walk until the Freedom Square. On the way, we will see the Bridge of Peace, Anchiskhati Basilica and the famous clock tower of Rezo Gabriadze theatre.
DAY 2: TBILISI – ANANURI – KAZBEGI – GUDAURI
In the morning, depart to Kazbegi. On the way, visit Jvari monastery – one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in Georgia. It was built in the VI century on a hill overlooking the stunning confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers.
Next, visit Ananuri fortress. The beautiful complex includes two churches with richly decorated facades, several towers and defense walls. All these buildings, with a view of Zhinvali reservoir, creates the most picturesque panorama.
Continue driving along the Georgian Military highway to Kazbegi. Make short stops at Gudauri Viewpoint, also called the Friendship Monument and Jvari overpass travertine natural monument.
Reach Stepantsminda and hike or drive to Gergeti Holy Trinity Church. Enjoy stunning views of Mount Kazbek (5033 m).
Drive to Gudauri for overnight.
DAY 3: GUDAURI – GORI – UPLISTSIKHE – AKHALTSIKHE
In the morning, drive to Gori – the city known as Stalin's birthplace. Photo stop at Gori Fortress and visit Stalin’s house-museum. You will see the house where Stalin was born and spent his childhood, pavilion for defense, Stalin’s personal armor-plated train carriage and a museum.
Final sight for today is Uplistsikhe cave town, situated 15 km away from the town Gori, on the left bank of the river Mtkvari. It dates back to the I-II millennium B.C. In the Hellenistic and the late Antique periods, Uplistsikhe had a very important role in politics, religion and culture - it was an important trade center on the road from Asia to Europe. Complex includes the Theatre - a temple from the 1st or 2nd centuries AD, pre-Christian Temple of Makvliani, the big hall known as the Hall of Queen Tamar, Uplistsuli Church, the triple-church basilica on the top of the hill and a long tunnel going down to the Mtkvari River.
Drive to Akhaltsikhe for overnight.
DAY 4: AKHALTSIKHE – VARDZIA – KUTAISI
After breakfast, explore Akhaltsikhe - the biggest town in Samtskhe-Javakheti region. The city was very famous for its tolerance and religious diversity. Even today, here, along with a synagogue and a mosque, you can find Georgian, Armenian and Catholic churches.
Explore Rabati Castle. History of the Castle begins from the IX century, but it was completely renovated in 2012. Nowadays, it attracts tourists by its architecture, labyrinths, churches and a mosque.
Continue to Vardzia - one of the three cave towns of Georgia. On the way, have a photo stop at Khertvisi Fortress, X to XIV century fortress above the meeting point of the Paravani and Mtkvari rivers.
Town of Vardzia stretches for five hundred meters along the cliff, offering a fascinating view. The story of the town is connected with King George III and his daughter Tamar, later known as King Tamar, back to the XII-XIII centuries. Nowadays, from 3000 caves only 400 are left. Besides living rooms, the complex includes tunnels, many churches and wine cellars. Here, we can see the portrait of King George and King Tamar.
Take a route to the west of Georgia. Pass the Likhi Ridge and arrive in Kutaisi for overnight.
DAY 5: KUTAISI – OKATSE CANYON – KINCHKHA WATERFALL – MARTVILI CANYON – SALKHINO – KUTAISI
In the morning, drive to Okatse Canyon Natural Monument located in village Gordi, Imereti region. Walk on a pedestrian route passing through Dadiani historical forest, continue with a 780m long hanging trail and finish with a panoramic view. Route will take around 2-3 hours in total.
Continue to the 88m high Kinchkha Waterfall located in 7km from the canyon. Walk above the canyon on a constructed metal walkway and enjoy the stunning landscape of several waterfalls.
Drive to Martvili canyon. Walk around the Dadiani historical trail. Enjoy the scenery of the canyon from constructed bridges with three platform views. Visitors can also enjoy a 300-meter boat tour through the canyon.
Continue driving to Salkhino. The wine cellar of the XVIII century is located next to the Summer Residence of Dadiani - a ruling dynasty of Samegrelo region. To reach the cellar, we will pass through a stunning hall of giant trees. Have a tasting of a wine, made of a local grape variety-Ojaleshi, along with a delicious lunch where you will taste the most appetizing food of the region made exclusively with local products.
Drive back to Kutaisi for overnight.
DAY 6: KUTAISI CITY TOUR – PROMETHEUS CAVE – TBILISI
In the morning, have a sightseeing tour of Kutaisi. This antique city counts almost 3500 years of existence. The earliest records of it are preserved in the ancient Greek epoch that tells the Myth about the Argonauts. Visit the main sights of the city:
- Gelati Monastery – one of the UNESCO world heritage sites in the region. Symbol of “Golden Age” of Georgia that represents the economic growth and political strength in the XI-XIII centuries. Built by the order of King David the Builder.
- Motsameta monastery - the small 11th century clifftop monastery hidden in the beautiful nature.
- Bagrati Cathedral - built in 1003, as a symbol of united Georgia by Bagrat III - the first king of the united Kingdom of Georgia.
Continue to Prometheus Cave near Kutaisi and explore stunning stalactites and stalagmites created by nature. From 22 halls, only six are open for tourists - Argonauts Hall, Kolkheti Hall, Medea Hall, Love Hall, Prometheus Hall and Iberia Hall. This natural monument, with a length of 1,8 km, is located 40 meters below sea level. You can also have a boating tour on an underground flow of river Kumi.
Drive to Tbilisi. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 7: TBILISI – IKALTO – ALAVERDI – TSINANDALI – TELAVI
In the morning, drive to the Kakheti region – famous for its ancient winemaking traditions.
Visit Ikalto Monastery - one of the two famous medieval Georgian Neoplatonist academies that dates back to the VI century. The brilliant Georgian poet, Shota Rustaveli, used to study here.
Continue to Alaverdi Monastery. The earliest church of Alaverdi dates back to the 6th century. The present-day Cathedral is part of the 11th century Georgian Orthodox monastery. The complex also includes dwelling houses, the refectory, unique wine cellars, baths and other ancient structures.
Drive to Tsinandali. Visit the XIX century house-museum of famous public figure and poet Alexander Chavchavadze. Walk around the beautiful English Garden surrounding the house. Here you can find a wine cellar where the unique collection of Georgian and European wines are preserved. You will be served with one glass of Tsinandali white wine as a complimentary.
Drive to Telavi, the largest town in Kakheti. Explore Batonis Tsikhe, a museum dedicated to King Erekle II, where you can find the bedrooms, the king’s throne and his sword. See the Giant Plane Tree – unique attraction of Telavi. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 8: TELAVI – GREMI – NEKRESI – KHAREBA WINERY – SIGHNAGHI – BODBE – TBILISI
In the morning, drive to Gremi fortress built in the XV-XVI centuries. Nowadays, the fortress includes a church, 15th century tower-palace and a small museum containing artefacts from the past.
Continue to Nekresi monastery complex located up on a hill overlooking the stunning Alazani Valley. Monastery has several churches built in the different centuries, a bishop’s palace, a wine cellar and a 16th century tower.
Drive to Kvareli. Visit Khareba winery, a rare wine cellar/tunnel carved inside the Caucasus Mountains. Enjoy the wine tour and tasting.
Continue to the famous city of love, Sighnaghi. Located on a lofty hilltop overlooking the Alazani Valley. Most of the defensive wall of the city, with 23 towers, still stands.
Finally, visit Bodbe monastery - built in the IX century and remodeled in the XVII.
Drive to Tbilisi. Overnight at the hotel.
DAY 9: DEPARTURE FROM TBILISI
Check out from the hotel. Transfer to the airport. Departure from Tbilisi.