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About your trip
Whether hiking in the Caucasus Mountains or whipping up a feast from a farmer’s market, this nine-day journey yields an immersive Georgian experience. You'll begin in the Old Quarter of Tbilisi and visit Unesco World Heritage sites at nearby Mtskheta. See the ancient wine-making – and drinking – traditions of the region before exploring Lagodekhi National Park. The spectacular Truso Gorge, a hike up to Gergeti Church and a ramble beyond remote Juta village showcase the best of the High Caucasus. Return to Tbilisi refreshed, where you can relax with a sulphur bath before returning home. All of our trips are flightless in destination, with 100% of all carbon emissions offset. It's just part of how we see the world while being good to it. PLEASE NOTE - THE 2024 VERSION OF THIS ITINERARY IS FOUND IN THE IMPORTANT INFORMATION SECTION BELOW
- Explore the Caucasus Mountains and trek to a remote church
- Visit Mtskheta, a Unesco World Heritage site
- Taste Georgian wine and learn to cook traditional dishes
- Hike the lush hilly forests of Lagodekhi National Park
- Enjoy a soothing sulphur bath in Tbilisi
- Experience warm Georgian hospitality
Touch down at Tbilisi International Airport (TBS) and make your way to your central hotel, where you’ll meet our Local Insider who will accompany the group throughout the trip. At 6pm, they will introduce you to your fellow travellers over an informal welcome drink. Get to know each other during dinner before turning in for an early night; tomorrow will be a jam-packed day.
Old Tbilisi's tangle of narrow streets and pretty houses huddle beneath a cliff, topped with the walls of a fourth-century fortress. After strolling the lanes, catch a cable car up to the fortress for panoramic views across the city before heading down to a cluster of medieval bathhouses. Adjourn for a well-deserved lunch of khachapuri, a scrumptious cheese-filled bread and the Georgian national dish. In the afternoon you’ll visit the Museum of Georgia, where you can look out for gold artifacts; many believe this is the mythical Land of the Golden Fleece – something to mull over with evening drinks in a local pub.
Tbilisi hosts a range of incredible markets, each a colourful cornucopia of fresh produce, spices and pickles, usually selling home-brewed wine and spirits too. It's at a local farmer’s market where you'll meet your host, chef Teona, to buy ingredients, before decamping to her home for a convivial masterclass in hearty Georgian cooking. Enjoy your creations for lunch. In the afternoon, you’ll head to nearby Mtskheta, a former fortified capital, to tour an atmospheric clutch of Unesco World Heritage monuments, including the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.
Georgia is referred to as the cradle of wine, as it’s where the first-known wine was fermented in 6,000BCE. Today you'll see these traditions in the Kakheti region, east of Tbilisi. Wine here is still made in qvevri, large clay egg-shaped vessels, usually buried in the ground, and you'll watch a master craftsman showcase the process. Following a pause at the 16th-century citadel of Gremi, join a local family for home-baked bread and churchkhela, a sausage-shaped sweet made from nuts and thickened grape juice. Like most Georgian feasts, lunch is conducted by a traditional tamada, or toastmaster.
Step outside your hotel and you're at the gates of Lagodekhi National Park, a small protected reserve in the Caucasian foothills that border Russia and Azerbaijan. You'll enjoy a five-hour hike in the tranquil forests, which are veined with rivers and twitching with birds – an ideal prelude to the higher Caucasus in the coming days. Returning to Tbilisi, you’ll stop by a local winery to sample some of the country's incredible array of distinctive wines, many of which are made in limited quantities by small-scale producers.
Belt up for the drive north into the Caucasus Mountains on the Georgian Military Highway. This ancient trading route between Georgia and Russia wriggles across the Jvari Pass before joining the Terek River valley, all the way to the town of Stepantsminda. En route you'll pause at Ananuri Castle and the Gudauri View Point before reaching the 2,438m (8,000ft) high pass and spectacular Caucasus landscapes beyond. Stepantsminda is hemmed in by rugged mountains, including the snow-clad Mount Kazbegi. You'll need to boot up for the superb three-hour hike to the medieval Gergeti Trinity Church, which sits on top of a grassy ridge.
It's another day of exhilarating scenery. Backtracking down the Terek valley, you'll follow the Terek River as it veers west into ever wilder country before arcing through the Truso Gorge to time-forgotten hamlets and their lonely chapels. Heading back towards Stepantsminda, take a detour to Juta, one of the highest villages in the region. A short optional walk up the valley brings you to meadows with awesome views of the Chaukhi Massif, a jagged mountain with more than a passing resemblance to the Dolomites in Italy. Head back to Stepantsminda for dinner and a well-deserved sleep.
Returning along the Military Highway, you'll have time to snap those photos you may have missed on the way in. Back in Tbilisi, enjoy some pampering time in the celebrated sulphur baths which, together with hot springs, anchor the legend of the city's foundation in the fifth century. If all that steam and soaking make you drowsy, a kisa massage with exfoliation is sure to revitalise the senses in time for a farewell dinner.
After a leisurely breakfast in the pretty hotel garden, it's time to say goodbye to your fellow travellers. At midday, head for the airport for the return trip home – or extend your stay in Georgia.
- Five nights boutique hotel accommodation
- Three nights mountainside hotel accommodation
- Private and local transport
- Eight breakfasts, four lunches, two dinners
- Local Insider
- Guided Tbilisi walking tour
- Museum of Georgia visit
- Guided farmer’s market tour and cooking lesson
- Guided Mtskheta tour
- Wine workshop
- Bread baking and churchkhela lunch with traditional toastmaster
- Guided Lagodekhi National Park and Gergeti Church hikes
- Ananuri fortress visit
- 4WD Truso Gorge tour
- Juta village visit
- Tbilisi sulphur baths visit with massage
What's Not Included
- Travel insurance
- Flights to and from the destination
Folk Boutique Hotel
In the heart of Old Tbilisi, this modern four-star property stands on the site of a celebrated 18th-century battle. The museum-like displays in the lobby of traditional 18th-century garments are echoed in the room decor and lend a quirky folk atmosphere.
In a rugged valley at the foot of Mount Kazbegi, the family-run Chemodann Kazbegi restful accommodation with panoramic views over the nearby mountains. The centre of Kazbegi can be reached within 10 minutes' walk of the property and the 14 rooms are clean and comfortable. Home-cooked breakfasts here are a thing to behold so don't miss out!
Royal Palace Hotel
The Royal Palace stands just where the Georgian plains give way to the lushly forested Caucasian foothills of Lagodekhi National Park. Resembling a country villa, the property has extensive gardens and a large pool offering a restful stay.
Your safety and wellbeing are our top priority, so we’ve put the following measures in place on all our TRIPS:
- Our average group size is 10 people (max 18), which gives you all the security of being in a group whilst avoiding a crowd.
- Where possible, we use small/ boutique accommodation – this means fewer guests and reduced exposure to other travellers.
- We require all accommodation providers to share protocols around the extra health and hygiene measures they are taking.
- Included activities are exclusive to our group wherever possible, to minimise contact with others.
- Covid-19 negative test results or vaccine certificates may be required. Please check the entry requirements for the destination you are travelling to. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- We recommend you confirm all guidance on official government sites and check that you are able to travel with your travel insurance issuer. Your travel insurance may be invalidated if you travel against government advice. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- You must be aged 25 years or over to join this trip.
- Please be sure to check whether or not you need a visa to enter the country you're travelling to. Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions for further information.
- If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or accessibility requirements, please notify our Customer Support team as soon as possible.
- We won't charge you extra if you travel alone – you'll be allocated a twin room with another traveller of the same gender.
- To upgrade to a private room, share a room with a friend, or book pre- and post-trip accommodation and/or airport transfers, please contact our Customer Support team.
- Please be aware that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers.
- Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. While unlikely, these changes can happen due to circumstances beyond our control. We will always do our best to ensure minimal impact on your experience.
- Please be aware images on this page are for illustrative purposes and may not reflect your itinerary exactly.
- PLEASE NOTE - THE 2024 VERSION OF THIS ITINERARY HAS A DIFFERENT HOTEL IN MT KAZBEGI, A KUBDARI MEAT MEAL ON DAY 2 AND BOTH THE GEORGIA STATE MUSEUM VISIT AND SULFUR BATHS/MASSAGE EXPERIENCE WILL BE OPTIONAL.
The world of travel is changing – and that's why we’re offering flexible booking conditions, to take the stress out of booking in times of uncertainty.
You can get a full refund should you need to postpone or cancel your trip up to 56 days prior to departure.
Read our Booking Guarantee to find out more about how our Support Team can help you.
For the full details and cancellation charges, see our Booking Terms & Conditions.
Terms & Conditions
Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions.