Day 1: Arrival. Transfer to a hotel
Day 2: Tbilisi – Mtskheta sightseeing day. Tbilisi walking tour (duration:2hr.30min.-3hr.30min.) consists of visiting the historic part of the city - Old Tbilisi - with all its tourist attractions. Tbilisi walking tour will allow you to learn more about Tbilisi, also you will have the opportunity to enjoy the contrasts of its old and modern architecture, to feel its hospitality and simply get closer to the history of one of the oldest capitals in the world – a 1500-year-old city. In Mtskheta you can visit a 6th. century Holy Cross Monastery – a World Heritage Sight which is located on the opposite side of Mtskheta, on the top of a high cliffy mountain that gives you the possibility to enjoy one of the most spectacular views all over Georgia. You can also visit the historical part of Mtskheta -the ancient capital of Georgia - and a 11th century Svetitskhoveli (“The Living Pillar”) Cathedral – a World Heritage Sight which is considered to be the holiest and the most remarkable place in Georgia. According to a legend the robe of Jesus Christ was buried under the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Traditionally Georgian kings were coronated here. Stay at the hotel. B/L/D
Day 3: Driving from Tbilisi to the east to a historical and cultural region Kakheti - The largest and easternmost part of Georgia with open landscape and frank people. The first destination is David Gareji – a monastic complex of up to 20 cave monasteries located to the south-east in a desert - the driest part of Georgia bordering with Azerbaijan. Established in the 6th century by Davit Garejeli (St.David of Gareja),one of the 13 Syrian monks who arrived in eastern Georgia to preach christianity. The main monastery Davitis Lavra and the whole complex had always been a centre of culture and education with the unique style of iconography and murals in Udabno and Bertubani monasteries which especially flourished in the 12th-13th centuries until the Mongol invasion. It is still one of the most popular tourist destinations with the tomb of St.David and his first disciple Lucian. A footpath that starts just at the entrance of Davitis Lavra (it takes about 2h.30min) leads you to Udabno (“desert”), an abandoned monastery located on the top of the ridge and facing Azerbaijan, an outstanding sight because of its murals (though damaged, including the portrait of king Demetre). The next stop is Sighnaghi – a town insignificant in size but outstanding for its mountaintop location and beauty at the very first appearance . Its name coming from a Turkish word meaning “shelter” and established in the late 18th century, surrounded by a 4 km-long and 28 towered defensive wall, Sighnaghi can be regarded as an tourist attraction number one in Kakheti region. A short stroll through narrow cobbled streets with two-storey brick houses with wooden balconies will make you able to enjoy its beauty, grace and certainly, the view over the Alazani Valley where the majority of the country’s vineyards are located B/L/D
Day 4: Driving for the east via Dedoplistskaro to Artsivis Kheoba (“Eagle Gorge”) to have the opportunity of observing numerous species of birds and predator ones. Overnight in a cottage. B/L/D
Day 5: Driving for the west to visit 16th century Gremi Castle (a royal palace); visiting one of the local vineries where you will be introduced with the history and traditions of making Georgian wine and “Chacha” (pomace brandy). You will also be able to taste various kinds of local wines with possibility of having delicious Georgian food. Visiting 16th century castle of Gremi (a royal town of the region in 16th – 17th).Visiting 11th century Alaverdi monastery (one of the highest churches in Georgia). Driving back to Tbilisi. B/L/D
Day 6: Departing for the north by Georgian Military Road following the river Aragvi to Stepantsminda (to the watershed of the Great Caucasus-the 2379 m high Pass of Cross - the highest point of the trip). On the way you will pass beautiful sights of Jinvali reservoir. Next stop is 17th century Ananuri fortress with possibility of purchasing traditional souvenirs. The last stop (after an hour and a half footpath from Stepantsminda) is Gergetis Sameba (“Trinity’) - a 15th century church and monastery located at the height of up to 2000m and overlooking Stepantsminda on the slopes of Mt.Mkinvartsveri . This day also includes possibility of bird observing,rafting and certainly tasting some of delicious local food. Staying at the hotel/guest house. B/L/D
Day 7: In the morning driving for the south-east to villlage Juta to take an about 3-hour hiking tour towards Chiuxebi (dolomite cliffs) including a possibility to climb up one of the 3300m mountains. Driving back to Stepantsminda and visiting (driving/walking) the most remarkable tourist attraction of the region – a 15th century Gergetis Sameba (Gergeti Trinity Churh).
Day 8: Departing Stepantsminda back along the Military Road to Gori – the home town of Stalin (Ioseb Jughashvili) – to visit his museum. Visiting antic cave town of Uplistsikhe and then via Borjomi Gorge driving to Akhaltsikhe. Overnight in Akhaltsikhe. B/L/D.
Day 9: in Akhaltsikhe you will have the possibility to visit Rabati - the largest fortification in Georgia from 11th century to 1828, its local museum and the oldest synagogue in Georgia that will let you learn more about historical significance of Akhaltsikhe and the whole region. Departing Akhaltsikhe for the south-east to visit Vardzia - the largest 13th -century cave complex in Georgia. Among the three most famous caves of Georgia Vardzia is the most outstanding because of its dimensions and greatness, and there must be mentioned the 12th -century fresco/portrait of Queen Tamar that makes Vardzia that exceptionally valuable heritage. On the way to Vardzia you will also visit 10th-17th century Khertvisi castle and 8th-16th century Vanis Kvabebi (Vani caves). Overnight in Vardzia. B/L/D
Day 10: Departing Vardzia for the east to Tbilisi via Javakheti volcanic plateau (bird observing possibility). Overnight at the hotel/guest house. B/L/D
Day 11: Free time before departure.