14 day guided Georgia walking holiday and culture tour

14 day guided Georgia walking holiday and culture tour to the Greater Caucasus including Tbilisi and Kakheti. From 8 to 21 June 2021.

 
Activities
Walking
Duration
14 days
Price
£3,598 to 3,690
 
 
14 day guided Georgia walking holiday and culture tour

Georgia’s geographical position at the heart of the Greater Caucasus defines its history and culture, placing it at the crossroads of Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. Invaded over the centuries by the Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Mongols, Persians, Ottoman Turks, Russians, Armenians and even the British (in 1919), Georgians have survived with a very strong sense of identity, expressed through their heritage of defensive towers and splendid, very early churches – and above all, in their love of wine and feasting and their legendary hospitality to visitors.

On a two-week 14 day guided Georgia walking holiday and culture tour in June, coinciding with breathtaking displays of wildflowers in the mountain meadows, we explore the old caravanserai district of Tbilisi (an important stage on the Silk Route), visit many beautiful stone-carved churches and monasteries in remote settings, taste wines in vineyards close to the Azerbaijani border and walk in high mountain valleys peppered with ancient stone towers.

Price Includes

  • accommodation for 14 nights (including the night we arrive), on a twin shared basis
  • meals (with wine/beer at dinners and restaurant lunches) as listed in the daily notation
  • land transportation in a private vehicle with drivers (minibus and 4WDs) as described except during free periods
  • entrance and sightseeing fees except during free periods
  • services of English-speaking local guide plus Kudu Travel tour leader throughout
  • gratuities for hotel and restaurant staff

Price Excludes

  1. flights to and from Tbilisi airport
  2. trip cancellation, medical or other insurance
  3. immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements
  4. passport, visa and health documentation
  5. personal expenses (laundry, alcohol besides wine/beer with group lunches and dinners, free time activities, etc.)

What to expect

Itinerary for 14 day guided Georgia walking holiday and culture tour

Day 1
B, L, D included
After arriving at Tbilisi airport in the early morning, we have a short transfer to our boutique hotel, ideally set in the old city centre. Having rested in our hotel rooms, we explore the city, partly on foot and partly with private transport. We start in the Botanical gardens and the fortress of Narikala, then walk down through the restored caravanserai area, with its carpet shops, traditional baths, mosque, synagogue and the 13th century Metekhi church.

Day 2
B, L, D included
A leisurely start to a day as we continue exploring historic Tbilisi, including the fabulous prehistoric gold displays in the National Museum. Later, we visit the outdoor ethnographic museum and have lunch under a vine trellis. Dinner is an introduction to Georgian cuisine with its emphasis on fresh herbs, walnut and plum sauces, cheese pies and lamb, baked with garlic and vegetables in clay pots.

Day 3
B, L, D included
We set off by road, heading southeast into the steppe, a starkly beautiful area of dry hills, covered with flowering grasses in June and patrolled by short-toed eagles and Egyptian vultures. In the remotest part, we walk up to the Davit-Gareja monastery complex, founded in the mid 6th century, with churches built into the sandstone caves. Continuing east, our destination is the walled hilltop town of Signaghi, where we walk through cobbled lanes, lined with wooden balconied houses, to our small 3 star hotel. A wine tasting before dinner introduces us to the unique wine-making traditions of Georgia, entirely different to the rest of the world!

Day 4
B, L, D included
In nearby Tsinandali, we visit the manor house museum dedicated to the Georgian Romantic poet Alexander Chavchavadze, then stroll round the fascinating market in Telavi. In a local house, we try our hand at making traditional Georgian bread and enjoy a particularly good lunch before visiting the frescoed 11th century Cathedral of St. George at Alaverdi and the Persian-influenced citadel of Gremi.

Day 5
B, L, D included
Returning by road towards Tbilisi, we drive on to Mtskheta, the town at the heart of Georgia’s spiritual identity, where the Royal family converted to Christianity in AD 337, and visit both the enormous 11th century cathedral and the splendidly sited 6th century church of Jvari. Continuing west to Kutaisi in central Georgia, we have the option of visiting the Stalin Museum in Gori and then settle into our small Kutaisi hotel.

Day 6
B, L, D included
After an early morning walk around Kutaisi to see the market, we set off into the high Caucasus. The scenery gets ever more spectacular as we climb into Svaneti, the wildest and most remote region of Georgia, in whose stone towers the country’s greatest treasures and icons were always hidden in times of invasion. We stay for 3 nights in a new small 4 star hotel and there may be time for an early evening walk along paths lined with yellow rhododendrons.

Day 7 of guided Georgia walking holiday and culture tour
B, L, D included
This morning, weather permitting, we drive to high flower meadows, with panoramic views. We have a picnic overlooked by the 4,710 m twin peaks of Mt. Ushba, nicknamed the Matterhorn of the Caucasus. On returning to Mestia, we visit the excellent museum with icons and treasures from the local churches.

Day 8
B, L, D included
4WDs take us even higher into the mountains to Ushguli, reputedly the highest permanently inhabited settlement in Europe at an altitude of 2,200 m, filled with 11th century towers and a UNESCO World Heritage site. We walk along a wide valley with (cloud permitting) fine views of Georgia’s highest mountain, 5,068 m Shkhara and visit the frescoed mediaeval church of St George before a farm lunch.

Day 9
B, L, D included
We have an early start to drive (4.5 hours) back down through splendid mountain scenery to Kutaisi, staying tonight in the same comfortable small hotel in the centre. We visit the newly restored (partly Romanesque) Bagrat cathedral that dominates the town and have time to explore the architecturally interesting centre on foot.

Day 10
B, L, D included
A long drive today, with stops to buy wooden spoons and baskets. We follow the celebrated Georgian Military Highway, pausing to visit the fortified 17th century church at Ananauri with its interesting Persian and pagan influenced carvings. The drive becomes increasingly beautiful as we access the high mountains and cross a pass to Kazbegi where we stay for 3 nights at a memorable hotel with a pool, an outstanding restaurant and breath taking mountain views.

Day 11
B, L, D included
After a leisurely swim and a delicious breakfast, 4WDs take us up through the forest to picnic and visit the wonderfully sited 14th century Sameba (Trinity) church, with magnificent views of the 5,033 m Mt. Kazbegi. There is an optional walk down with delightful mountain flowers and views (2 hours) followed by some free time to shop for woolly socks and wild sheepskin hats from the stalls on the square.

Day 12
B, L, D included
We drive high up a side valley to commence our day’s walk from the village of Jutta. A path leads up into a wild and remote valley, filled with wildflowers (irises and fritillaries) and bounded at its head by the snow-covered peaks of Chaukhi mountain. Small herds of horses graze along the stream and lammergeiers and eagles often patrol overhead.

Day 13
B, L, D included
As we drive back over the mountains, we pause to walk on the grassy tracks of the famous Cross Pass. Heading back towards Tbilisi, we stop for a lunch of grilled trout and reach the city by mid afternoon to settle back into our boutique hotel in the historic centre.

Day 14
B, L included
The morning is free to pursue individual interests. The options include the collection of naïve paintings by Pirosmani in the National Gallery, the eccentric clock tower designed by a puppet master or the striking Peace Bridge built recently in steel and glass over the river Mtkvari. An afternoon transfer to the airport for flights home concludes our 14 day guided Georgia walking holiday and culture tour.

 

14 day guided Georgia walking holiday and culture tour: From £3,598 to £3,690 for 14 days

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£3,598 to 3,690 14 days
 
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