Day 1: Arrive in Yerevan
Met on arrival and transfer.
Day 2-4: Yerevan
A walking tour of Yerevan exploring various layers of its history—medieval shrines hidden behind imposing Soviet-style facades, narrow streets of the old center with sunlight playing on its pink walls, Republic Square, Cascade, Opera House and the ambitious project of independent Armenia—North Avenue.
An excursion to Echmiadzin, (also spelled Etchmiadzin or Ejmiatsin) the former capital. In Echmiadzin we visit the 7th century Armenian Apostolic Hripsime Church, Ejmiatsin Cathedral, the mother church of the Armenian-Apostolic Church and Zvartnots Cathedral -the ruins of St Gregory's church- one of the earliest churches in Armenia and in its day reputedly one of the most beautiful in the world.
We visit is the Armenian Genocide Museum.
Excursions to Garni, Geghard, Saghmosavank, Hovanavank and Amberd.
Day 5-6: Khor Virap-Noravank-Carahunge-Goris
Visit the ancient monasteries and enjoy wine tasting. We start with a drive to Khor Virap Monastery, 4- 17th c.
Afterwards, we visit Areni Winery, to observe the production of wines, and be treated to a tasting.
Next, we explore the medieval Monastery of Noravank, a 13th century structure with beautiful stone crosses surrounded by rare flora.
Onward, a stop to see ancient Carahunge which is similar to Stone Henge in England.
In Goris we visit the magnificent Tatev Monastery and the cave village Khndzoresk.
Day 7: Lake Sevan
Drive to Lake Sevan via Selim Pass. We'll pass by Noradous, a history laden Middle Ages cemetery of khachkars (cross stones).
Day 8: Dilijan
Dilijan has a rich historical and cultural heritage. During excavations in the prehistoric cemeteries of Golovino and Papanino near Dilijan, bronze items of almost three thousand years old were found, including armors, daggers, pitchers, earrings.
We start with a tour of Old Dilijan’s old town and drive to Dilijan's most popular religious site - the Haghartsin Monastery.
We also visit Goshavank in the upper reaches of Agestev River in dense oak woods. One of the biggest and best known kchachkars in Armenia is here. Lunch with locals in a family home.
Day 9-10: Tbilisi
Drive to Tbilisi, stopping at Sanahin Monastery (UNESCO) and Haghpart Monastery en-route.
One of Europe's most fascinating capitals Tbilisi is an ancient and cosmopolitan city where about 1.2 million inhabitants live. It was founded in 5th century AD by the Georgian King of Kartli, Vakhtang Gorgasali. There is a synagogue, a mosque, a Georgian basilica, an Armenian church and a Zoroastrian Fire-Worshipper's temple all within a 15-minute walk.
Full day tour Tbilisi. We enjoy a walking the narrow streets of Old Tbilisi exploring the religious and secular architecture. Here we see churches, synagogues, mosques, as well as famous 19th century houses with wooden multi-colored balconies. We visit the sulfur baths that made an unforgettable impression on Pushkin, Lermontov and Dumas.
We visit the stunning treasury of the Georgian History Museum, before taking a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue – the main street in Tbilisi. We will also visit an open-air ethnographic museum with many models of Georgian houses from all the Georgian regions.
Folk show at national restaurant.
Day 11-12: Mtskheta-Gori- Borjomi - Akhalshike
We start with a drive to the beautiful small town Mtskheta, the ancient capital, and visit its historical UNESCO sites.
Continue to the town Gori and visit the Joseph Stalin Museum. Drive through the mineral water town Borjomi and taste carbonated water from the source.
On the 2nd day we visit the magnificent cave town – Vardzia (12th century), one of the highlights of the trip. It is a striking complex hewn in rock, regarded as the cultural and educational center of the time.
Day 13: Uplistskhe- Gudauri
We visit Uplistsikhe, "the lord's fortress," an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia near Gori. Built on a high rocky left bank of the Mtkvari River, it contains various structures dating from the 2nd ML BC to the Late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran as well as the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture.
Afterwards we drive to Gudauri up the famous Georgian Military Highway (leading to the Georgian-Russian border) and Zhinvali Lake. The drive is very scenic through high Caucasus Mountains. We vist the Ananuri architectural complex en-route.
Day 14: Stepantsminda (Kazbegi) - Tbilisi
A stunning drive returning to Tbilisi along Tergi River, stopping in Kazbergi town and driving through beautiful valleys and woodlands to Gergeti Trinity Church.
From Stepantsminda we get into 4WD to drive 30 minutes through beautiful valleys and woodland leading on a mountain trail to Gergeti Trinity Church located at 2170m above sea level on the bank of the river Chkheri under Mount Kazbegi.
Day 15: Davit Gareja-Sighnaghi
Visit Davit Gareja, Georgia's most remarkable ancient site. Comprising about 15 old monasteries spread over a large, remote area, its uniqueness is heightened by a lunar, semi-desert landscape that turns green and blooms with flowers in early summer. The complex includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face. The area is also home to protected animal species and evidence of some of the oldest human habitations in the region.
Continue to the fortified royal town Sighnaghi with its cobbled streets and multi-colored balconies.
Day 16-17: Sheiki
A walking tour around Sighaghi; lunch at a family-run guesthouse, then visiting a local farmer's wine-cellar. Cross the border into Azerbaijani town of Sheiki.
2nd day, a very full day touring Sheiki. Walking tour through old bazaar, Khan's Palace; visit the History Museum and the workshops of shebeke vitrages (stained glass).
Day 18: Baku
We travel the historic trade route from Sheki to Baku, a scenic if winding journey in the shadow of the mighty Caucasus. The land is incredibly varied: from lifeless deserts at one extreme to dense green forests at the other.
Day 19-20: Baku
Baku from Shelhidler Khiyabani and then a walking tour through the delightful winding alleys of the Old City-Icheri Sheher, whose old mosques, caravanserais and overhanging wooden balconies tell of a quieter era in Baku's history. We see the Maiden's Tower, a powerful, eight-storey fortress, and the Shirvanshah's Palace complex, parts of which date back to the 15th century and the old bazaar square.
Excursion to Absheron Peninsula to visit the remarkable Zoroastrian Ateshgah (Ateshgyak) Temple, often called the Temple of Fire or Fire Worshippers Temple. It was nominated for the list of World Heritage Sites, UNESCO, in 1998.
2nd day an excursion to visit the Gobustan Mud Volcanoes (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Day 21: Baku-Depart