З Pearls of the Caucasus Eat, Drink & Explore

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Georgia

The Caucasus: Astonishing Journey Through 2000 years

Imagine the place of outstanding natural beauty, where stunning mountains, pristine lakes, green valleys and alpine meadows are locked between the seas. Fancy historical and architectural wonders of the world’s oldest Christian nations neighboring luxurious medieval Muslim palaces and lovely Eastern bazaars. Mix it all up with the first vineyards in human history and winemaking traditions backing three different, but equally opulent local cuisines. Top it with a unique and rich heritage of ancient cultures and Kingdoms, and you will perceive a journey to the astonishing Caucasus: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia.

Itinerary

Baku → Shamakhi → Lahich → Sheki → Akhasheni → Gremi → Telavi → Tbilisi → Mtskheta → Stepantsminda → Gori → Borjomi → Rabati → Vardzia → Borjomi → Avan Dzoraget → Lake Sevan → Yerevan → Garni → Geghard → Etchmiadzin → Yerevan → Khor Virap → Goris → Tatev

Day 1: Arrival at Baku, Azerbaijan

Arrival at Baku. Meet & greet at the airport, private transfer to your hotel and check-in (after 14:00). Rest of the day at leisure to explore the capital of Azerbaijan, enigmatic and fascinating travel destination. Lush, flaunting, futuristic and intriguing Baku is a perfect place to start your Caucasian discoveries. In the evening, meet your fellow travellers for a welcome dinner at one of the best restaurants in Baku. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2: Baku

Breakfast. Baku guided sightseeing tour (about 6 hours). Visit all the attractions of the old town such as Martyrs’ Lane, walk through the Alley of the Martyrs, explore Icheri Sheher, the old part of the city. Visit stunning and opulent Shirvanshah's Palace (XXIII-XV centuries), a pearl of medieval architecture. The former Shirvani rules’ residence is lavishly decorated with amazing stone carving and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour continues with Caravanserai, Maiden Tower, and main market square, a cozy souvenir bazaar. Explore Nizami Street and Fountain Square. The evening is free at leisure. Overnight at the hotel in Baku.

Day 3: Baku – Shamakhi – Lahich – Sheki

After breakfast, we depart towards Sheki. We will explore Shamakhi, an amazing place with extraordinary nature, architecture, ancient culture, rich history and interesting customs. The city of Shamakhi is the ancient capital of the Shirvanshah dynasty (9th-15th centuries). The first stop on the way to Shamakhi will be at the Diri Baba mausoleum, this is a two-story building of the 15th century in the village of Maraza. The peculiarity of the design is that it is built into the rock and it seems as if it is floating in the air. The site is considered sacred. Legend has it that a saint named Diri Baba (Living Grandfather) was buried here and his body remained imperishable for over 300 years.

Day 3: Baku – Shamakhi – Lahich – Sheki

Azerbaijan has several wine zones, one of which is the Shirvan Valley and the Greater Caucasus Zone. Here are wineries where you can try Matras, Merlot, Muscat, Saperavi, Sauvignon blanc and other varieties of local wines. We will visit one of the most beautiful wineries in the region - Meisari, and taste some of the best local wines. Then take a scenic drive through Girdimanchay River Canyon to Lahich, an ancient village famous for its medieval water supply and sewage systems, traditional jewellery, copperware, carpets, pottery, daggers, and iron tools. Continue to the town of Sheki to arrive in the evening. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 4: Sheki, Azerbaijan - Akhasheni, Georgia

After breakfast at the hotel, we will have some time to visit the colourful Sheki Bazaar. Dive into thousands of smells and aromas, learn to bargain and communicate with the locals! Continue to the Palace of Sheki Khans, which is surrounded by medieval fortress walls, and then visit handicrafts workshops. After exploring Sheki, head towards the border with Georgia (115 km, ~2 h). Crossing the border, we enter Eastern Georgia famous for its winemaking traditions. Our first stop in Georgia will be in ‘Khareba’ tonnel winery. Join the local bread baking masterclass and enjoy a full lunch. After lunch take a guided tour around the winery and enjoy tasting a few different local wines. Then drive to Akhasheni Wine Resort 4* for overnight (for both 3* and 4* packages).

Day 5: Gremi - Telavi - Tbilisi

After breakfast at the hotel, take a ride to Gremi, architectural complex built in the 16th century. It used to be the royal residence and the capital of Kakheti Kingdom. Gloomy and monumental l, the Gremi castle is one of the most visited historical monuments in Georgia. Stop in the city of Telavi with a lovely fortress to have a short walk in the old Telavi and visit local bazaar with fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses and dry fruits. Take a delightful Georgian cuisine cooking class and after an hour of cooking enjoy your hand-made Khachapuri and Khinkali. Then we take a ride to Sighnaghi - an old castle town with magnificent views over Alazani Valley. Walk the city walls and enjoy the views. In the evening, arrive at Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.

Day 6: Tbilisi

Breakfast. Take off for a guided sightseeing tour of Tbilisi, the city with a history dating back to at least the 5th century AD. Start at Metekhi Сhurch and the monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. Take a cable car to visit Narikala Fortress to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Stroll down to the district of sulfur bathhouses and pass by the only mosque in Tbilisi. Walk through the Sharden area, full of narrow streets with cosy cafés, wine tasting bars, and souvenir shops, and breathe in the history of Old Tbilisi. Visit Sioni Cathedral, Anchiskhati Basilica, and the famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre’s clock tower, before crossing the Bridge of Peace to Rike Park. In the evening join your fellow travellers for a Georgian cuisine dinner in one of the best local restaurants.The dinner will be accompanied by polyphonic singing and national dances. Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.

Day 7: Mtskheta - Stepantsminda

After breakfast, we check out and head to the North of Georgia. The first stop will be at Jvari Monastery, a true architectural masterpiece of the Early Middle Ages, which is picturesquely perched above the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari Rivers. Continue to Mtskheta, one of the oldest towns in Georgia and the country’s cultural and religious centre. Proceed to the Ananuri Complex, a former residence of Argveti Dukes, with its churches and towers dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries and beautifully overlooking Jinvali Reservoir. Drive towards the Cross Pass to make a short stop at the Soviet-era “People’s Friendship” mountain viewpoint, which overlooks a deep gorge of the Caucasus Mountains. In the evening, we reach Stepantsminda for an overnight stop at the hotel.

Day 8: Stepantsminda

After breakfast, switch to a four-wheel-drive vehicle to reach Gergeti Holy Trinity Church (located at an altitude of 2,170 m) and enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Kazbegi. After lunch, take a ride to the border with Russia through a scenic Darial Gorge. The evening is free at leisure to enjoy the greatest mountain views and a glass of wine at a cosy terrace of “Rooms Hotel” overlooking the top of Kazbek mountain. Overnight at the hotel in Stepantsminda.

Day 9: Gori - Borjomi

After breakfast, drive to Stalin’s hometown of Gori. Visit the Stalin Museum, which includes more than 60,000 artefacts, the tiny house where Stalin was born, and an impressive bulletproof train that Stalin used to travel to Yalta and Potsdam. Drive to Borjomi. Overnight at the hotel in Borjomi.

Day 10: Borjomi - Rabati - Vardzia

After breakfast, take a ride to Rabati fortress in the town of Akhatsikhe. Its name comes from Arabic meaning “fortified place”. The old stone Rabati fortress is standing on the small hill on the very shores of the Potskhovi River. After lunch at a restaurant near the fortress, take a drive to Vardzia, a significant cave monastery. En route, short photo-stop at Khertvisi fortress (10-11th century). Vardzia is not just a set of random rooms cut in rocks. It is a multi-storied complex with streets, tunnels, and stairs leading to monasteries, temples, fortresses, baths, libraries dwelling houses and so forth. Take a guided tour and then drive back to Borjomi. The evening is free at leisure.

Day 11: Borjomi - Avan Dzoraget, Armenia

After breakfast, we drive toward Armenia, making panoramic stops at all the picturesque locations - and there will so many of them! Passing Tbilisi, we head to the south to reach exclusive Tufenkian's Heritage Avan Dzoraget Hotel. It's unique exterior design made from basalt stone reminds medieval chalet while the interior is decorated with famous Tufenkian carpets, hand made furniture and big letters of beautiful Armenian Alphabet in the lobby. The large courtyard is facing Debet river represents an ideal place for open air events and wedding parties. Key point of attraction in the courtyard is the sculpture of Taurus whose legs and sides are adorned with images from Armenian folktales.

Day 12: Lake Sevan -Yerevan, Armenia

Passing impressive Haghartsin monastery we reach Lake Sevan – “The Jewel of Armenia” and one of the largest high-mountain freshwater lakes in the world. The coastline of Lake Sevan is rich with thick woods, white bare steep rocks, mountain steppes, and Alpine Meadows. We will spend some quality time at the Lake enjoying lunch and a lake boat cruise, before we reach Yerevan in the evening. Check-in at the hotel and rest.

Day 13: Yerevan

One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities of the world, pink city Yerevan which was founded in 782 BC. It is an incredibly beautiful city built of rose tuff, which calls visitors with its humble yet splendid landscapes. Breakfast with an Ararat mountain view, how does that appeal? Take off for a guided city tour visiting the Cascade Monument, the main symbol of the cities 2780th anniversary with the equivalent number of stairs. The mega-scale staircase is 500 meters high and 50 meters wide. A panoramic view from the monument opens up breathtaking city view with Opera House, Mount Ararat, Swan Lake, Republic Square, and Abovyan Avenue, which you will also walk by during the tour. In the evening enjoy tasting the famous Armenian cognacs at Armenian Brandy Factory. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 14: Yerevan - Garni - Geghard - Etchmiadzin -Yerevan

Depart Yerevan and drive to Garni, one of the major villages in Armenia famous for its fortress. The fortress is the only pagan sacred place from the 1st century that survived the aggressive introduction of Christianity in the 4th century. Next stop is at the Geghard monastery “a spear” in Armenian), the UNESCO World Heritage Site Medieval buildings are set into a stunning landscape of Azat Valley with its towering cliffs. The Geghard complex is an exceptionally complete medieval monastery in such a remote area of great natural beauty. And what is the most remarkable, there has been no changes here since the entire monastery was completed many centuries ago. Continue to the Holy See of Armenia, Etchmiadzin. Visit Etchmiadzin Cathedral which is believed to be the oldest cathedral in the world, and Zvartnots, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Echmiatsin is also the residence of the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Catholicos of All Armenians. We return to Yerevan in the evening. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 15: Yerevan - Khor Virap - Goris

After breakfast, head to Khor Virap Monastery. Here you will find the best views of Mount Ararat, the main symbol of Armenia and a sacred mountain for Armenians. Continue to Areni, a city known for producing famous Armenian wine from pomegranate and apricot. Here we will taste various fruits and berry wines and oghi, Armenian traditional spirit. Reach Goris for overnight at the hotel.

Day 16: Tatev - Noravank - Yerevan

In the morning, drive to Tatev Monastery (built in 9-13th centuries). Reach the jewel of medieval Armenian architecture by cableway called "Wings of Tatev". It is the longest reversible aerial tramway built in only one section and holds the record for Longest non-stop double track cable car. Enjoy the stunning views before returning to Yerevan. On the way back to the city, we shall visit the famous Noravank Monastery (12th century), beautifully set on the edge of a deep winding gorge of the Arpa River. Drop off at your hotel in Yerevan. In the evening we have a farewell dinner in one of the best restaurants in the city.

Day 17: Departure from Yerevan, Armenia

Breakfast, hotel check-out. Transfer to the airport.

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Azerbaijan

Citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, USA and all European countries have to apply for e-visa (US$ 20 online payment, issued in 24h)

Georgia

No visa to Georgia needed for the citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK, USA and all European countries.

Armenia

No visa to Armenia needed for the citizens of Australia, New Zealand, UK, USA and all European countries. Citizens of Canada must pay a visa fee at the border (US$ 6).

Baku - Baku Marriott Hotel Boulevard

Featuring a spa and wellness center, Baku Marriott Hotel Boulevard is located a 5-minute walk from the Caspian Sea coast. Beautiful spacious rooms with great views of the sea.

Sheki - Sheki Palace Hotel

Offering a restaurant and a fitness center, Sheki Palace Hotel is located in Sheki, 50 m from Kahn Palace. The property features a sun terrace. All rooms are decorated in classic style. Guests can visit Shebeke and Terrace restaurants and taste Azerbaijan cuisine.

Signahi - Akhasheni Wine Resort & Spa

Boasting free bikes and a restaurant, Akhasheni Wine Resort & Spa is set in Gurjaani. This 4-star resort offers a 24-hour front desk. Guests can chill out in the outdoor swimming pool with an outstanding mountain view.

Tbilisi - Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace

Located in the heart of Old Tbilisi city, 1.4 mi from Freedom Square, iconic Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace features accommodations with a restaurant, free private parking, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool and a bar. Each elegant room at Sheraton Grand Tbilisi Metechi Palace feature city or mountain views. Certain rooms come with a balcony.

Ambassadori Tbilisi

With beautiful terraces, magnificent views, comfortable rooms and service with high class standards, great bars and restaurants the hotel delivers unforgettable experience for the guests.

Stepantsminda - Rooms Hotel Kazbegi

Located at the base of Kazbek Mountain in Stepantsminda Village, 4.3 mi from the 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church. The Rooms Kazbegi’s stylish restaurant, decorated with wooden furnishings, serves international cuisine. Guests can read a book and have a drink in the lobby bar, while meals can be enjoyed on the terrace with the mountain view.

Borjomi - Crowne Plaza Borjomi

Crowne Plaza Borjomi Spa & Wellness Center is located in the heart of Borjomi, a picturesque Georgian spa and resort town. It is set just a few minutes' walk from the entrance to the famous Park of Borjomi. The hotel features contemporary interior design rooms with a hint of nostalgia for the elegant, trusted and much loved old times. You will find a terrace café, two restaurants, a wine bar where guests can choose between different dining options.

Yerevan - Grand Hotel Yerevan

Just 200 m from the National Art Gallery and 500 m from the Opera Theater, this 5-star hotel in Yerevan offers a stylish spa with hot tub and access to a seasonal outdoor pool on the rooftop, a newly opened Armenian restaurant with panoramic views of Charles Aznavour Square. The Nairi Restaurant serves traditional Armenian cuisine. Guests can also relax in the 24-hour Dolce Vita bar and tea room, located in the beautiful conservatory. You can enjoy live music in the property's winter garden every evening.

Tufenkian's Heritage Hotel

Avan Dzoraget Hotel's exterior design made from basalt stone reminds medieval chalet while the interior is decorated with famous Tufenkian carpets , hand made furniture and big letters of beautiful Armenian Alphabet in the lobby. The large courtyard is facing Debet river represents an ideal place for open air events and wedding parties. Key point of attraction in the courtyard is the sculpture of Taurus whose legs and sides are adorned with images from Armenian folktales.

Goris - Lara Hotel

Each room at Lara Hotel is classically decorated with wooden furnishings and has a fridge. Bathrooms come with a shower and slippers. Lara’s café serves Armenian dishes, as well as a daily breakfast. Guests of Lara Hotel can visit caves around Goris, and the 9th-century Tatev Monastery is 30 minutes’ drive away.

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Highlights

Adore historical monuments older than Istanbul and Rome

Immerse yourself into the stunning scenery of the Caucasus Mountains

Taste unique & opulent Caucasian cuisine & take a cooking master class

Discover Vardzia, a spectacular cave monastery & Uplistsikhe, a medieval cave town

Learn about World's oldest winemaking culture, tour the wineries, enjoy wine and cognac tastings.

Caucasian folk show & polyphonic singing: unbelievable cultural experience

Ride "Wings of Tatev" - the longest reversible aerial tramway built in only one section

Relax in hand-picked 4* hotels, including award-winning "Rooms Hotel"

Choose your favorite of 3 different and unique cultures, crafts and traditions

You may combine this tour with

September - October 2023

Tbilisoba Wine Fest & Highlights of the Caucasus

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Georgia

9-17 days

from US$ 5075

May - October 2023

Secrets of Armenia

Armenia

6 days

from US$ 1749

May - October 2023

A Gorgeous Country

Georgia

10 days

from US$ 3975

May - September 2023

Highlights of Georgia

Georgia

5 days

from US$ 1840

Our reviews
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Zain Ali

USA

GREATEST TRIP EVER We had the most incredible experience. World of Discoveries made our trip to Qatar for the World Cup so easy and enjoyable. Mike helped us with any questions we had before the trip and anything we needed during the trip. The rest of the staff was so helpful and nice during the trip that it removed any worry we had during the trip so all we had to do was sit back and enjoy the wonders of the trip. I would highly recommend them for use in any trip. By far, this was the best trip I have ever been on and they played a HUGE role in making that the case. GREATEST EXPERIENCE EVER!!!

Juan Torres & Family

Mexico

World Cup experience (A+) It is great when companies do exactly what you paid for. Host Anna, was amazing at answering all questions and posting in the WhatsApp groups the timings and what to expect in each of the stages of the trip. Seats could have been a little better but we were told that it was a Fifa decision.

Bruce McDougall

Australia

I recently toured Qatar during the World Cup with Varya and Mike’s team at World of Discoveries. The experience over three weeks was first class. Varya and her team nailed the detail for every aspect of the trip from planning and booking through to the actual travel, tours, sightseeing, transport, accommodation and ticketing to games. They were always accessible to deal with any issues that arose and went the extra mile to ensure the travelling group was happy, organised and safe. And they throw a mean party. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend World of Discoveries for trips of a lifetime.

Jose Leonardo Ramos Mateos

Great experience in Qatar World Cup!!! Great service and support during our trip to Dubai and Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup!!! Helena for the first contact and reservations coordination was just perfect! Michael, Varya, Irena, Anastasia and all the support staff made a great Job and made us feel safe, happy and satisfied with the service and the tours we got. The full tour included welcome party, Desert dinner and show, tour in Dubai and a perfect logistics for travel between Dubai and Qatar. We had no problem with the FIFA hospitality tickets… Simply a perfect and unforgetable trip!!! We will for sure hire World of Discoveries services again soon!!

Karen Stowell

Australia

Varya and her team made everything run smoothly. We had World Cup tickets already purchased but could not marry with accommodation. Varya came up with an itinerary included flights, transfers and hotels, supported by 24 hour help, which was tested on several occasions. We have no hesitation in recommending WofDi, and foresee using their services again. Thank you so much for so much

Ian C

Australia

World of Discoveries make you feel like you are their only customer (in a good way) that they can personalise and achieve outcomes for the biggest events in the World. Since my awesome experience at the 2018 Men's World Cup in Russia to the recent Women's World Cup 2023 held in Australia and New Zealand, Varya and her team ensure that her customers are satisfied beyond expectations. If you are looking for a real experience and a trusted partner to deliver, you should not hesitate to contact World of Discoveries.