AUD 4377 / pp

DATES & RATES

З Pearls of the Caucasus Eat, Drink & Explore

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Georgia

ON SALE

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

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. On the way, make a stop at Diri Baba Mausoleum in the village of Maraza. Continue to Shamakhi and visit the historical Juma Mosque. 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: 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 - Tbilisi

After breakfast, take a drive to Tbilisi. The evening is free at leisure.

Day 12: Tbilisi

The day is free at leisure to explore the Tbilisi on your own or with your fellow travellers.

Day 13: Tbilisi, Georgia - Yerevan, Armenia

Head from Tbilisi to the border with Armenia. Drive through Dilijan, the most famous tourist spot where you will visit Haghartsin monastery and stop for a lunch. After lunch continue along 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. Stop at Sevanavank to visit the remnants of the monastery that include two temples standing among numerous carved cross-stones. Reach Yerevan in the evening. Check-in at the hotel and rest.

Day 14: 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. Continue to the Armenian Genocide memorial complex on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd. In the evening enjoy tasting the famous Armenian cognacs at Armenian Brandy Factory. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 15: 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 16: 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 17: 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 18: 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).

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What's included

Accommodation

Centrally located hand-picked hotels 3* or 4* (twin sharing)

On day 4 only 4* hotel is available

On day 16 only 3* hotel is available

Our 4* package means best of the best 4-star hotels including award-winning "Rooms Hotel" in Stepantsminda

Meals

Breakfasts daily at the hotels (except the day of arrival)

Dinners on days 1, 6, 17

Lunches on days 4, 5, 13, 16

Wine tasting in Khareba Winery on day 4

Cooking class in Telavi on day 5

Cognac tasting at Armenian Brandy Factory on day 14

Guided tours

Baku city tour

Tbilisi city tour

Yerevan city tour

All sightseeing as per program with English-speaking guides and all entrance fees included

Transportation

Transfers from/to the airport by a comfort class private car

Group transportation by comfortable comfort class coach

"Wings of Tatev" cable car return tickets

Support

Group tour is fully escorted by an English-speaking tour leader

24/7 phone/WhatsApp support line

English-speaking guides

Meet & greet at the airport

Entrance tickets

All attractions visited during sightseeing tours as per program

Borjomi cable car return tickets (to use during your leisure time)

"Wings of Tatev" cable car

Georgian polyphonic singing and traditional dance show

Not Included

E-visa to Azerbaijan US$ 20

International flights

Meals not mentioned

Optional tours and activities

Personal expenses

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

Book

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Our reviews

Santiago Angulo

Colombia

We joined the Colombian Team tour during the Russia World Cup. The package was extremely well planned, we got to enjoy 5 cities, museums & attractions, and specially we were able to follow our team during the classifying phase. The World of Discoveries coordinator, Phillip, was excellent, he answered all our inquiries, helped us resolving any issues with the tour and with any other parties, and he was committed to help us have a great time. I will recommend World of Discoveries to anyone looking to visit remote countries, not just from the tourist point of view, but from the authentic local culture!!!

Michael Morcos

Australia

The team at World of Discoveries were awesome. Didn’t put a foot wrong at all, the tours great, the people even better. Alex who followed us around everywhere was fantastic and the organisation by Varya was exceptional. Everything was made easy and extremely helpful 24/7, I don’t think they slept the whole time. Thank you, my dad and myself loved it

Douglas Schroeder

Australia

Everything worked like clockwork, when someone was suppose to be there they were. Yuri and Cathrine were excellent guides in Moscow and St. Petersburg and we learned a lot from both. We chose the 4 star hotels, and were very satisfied. Would highly recommend this trip to anyone interested.

Peter Gay & Andrew Carroll-Keays

Australia

Travelled on the TransMongolian Railway in Feb/Mar. Not too cold. Just take usual ski gear. Great scenery. Organisation was absolutely excellent. Every transfer and every guide were on time. The hotels were all very good. The Russian Sim (provided by the company) was great for keeping in contact with each other and the support line.

Alison Danesh

Iran / USA

We just returned from the World Cup in Russia where we followed Team Iran. This involved travel to three different stadiums many miles apart. Thank goodness we booked through World of Discoveries (Discovery Russia branch)! They arranged our lodging and transport. They even set us up with local English speaking guides to take us to see the interesting and historical sights of this beautiful land. We had a blast. We met new friends, ate great food, drank great vodka and cheered our team on. It was a trip of a lifetime.

Coco Bermudez

Australia

I was extremely satisfied with my trip. Everyone at the agency have been courteous and helpful from the very beginning, trying to organize our 17 day World Cup experience. The guides and drivers are very professional and friendly, and the accommodations were simply superb. I highly recommend World of Discoveries as I know they will turn your trip into an unforgettable experience.