Day 1: Tbilisi
Welcome to historic Tbilisi. Upon arrival at the airport, transfer to the hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 2: Tbilisi
Hear the legend of King Vakhtang I & his discovery of “the land of hot springs.” See the statue of his royal majesty outside the famous, cross-cupola Metekhi Church. Explore the Abanotubani district, home of the ancient sulfuric bath houses. The use of these relaxing, public baths date back to the first century, & are still enjoyed today by locals & tourists. Visit the 7th-century Sioni Cathedral, & Tbilisi’s newer Georgian Orthodox church, the Holy Trinity Cathedral, built at the end of the 20th century. Take a walk down Rustaveli Avenue, home to some of the city’s most prominent buildings, & enjoy a traditional Georgian meal for lunch at a local cafe. Before the day’s end, admire the extensive collection of Georgian, Oriental, & Russian art at the Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts.
Day 3: Tbilisi – Sighnaghi – Tsinandali – Telavi
Experience the charm of Georgia’s Kakheti region. With its fruitful valleys & long-time history of viticulture, the area is famed mostly for its wines. Yet as a true emblem of their nature, the significance of wine to the Georgian people is far greater than production alone. Explore the 9th-century Bodbe Monastery complex, a modern-day nunnery that houses the remains of one of Georgia’s most significant religious figures, Saint Nino. Discover the beauty of the Gombori Mountains, situated along the distant horizon of Sighnaghi. Visit the Georgian Hand Knitted Carpet Factory & Museum, & taste some of Georgia’s finest wines at a nearby winery. Next, head to Tsinandali for a tour of the historic home of Alexander Chavchavadze, the 19th-century Georgian poet. Enjoy a dinner hosted by a local family & an overnight stay in Telavi.
Day 4: Telavi – Tbilisi
Travel across the lush plains of the Alazani River Valley, & visit the Alaverdi Cathedral. From its medieval-style fortress walls to its enchanting wine cellar, this 11th-century gem boasts a unique reflection of Georgia’s historical & cultural past. See the royal castle & the ancient secret tunnel at one of the country’s most famous architectural monuments, the Gremi complex. At midday, enjoy traditional Georgian cuisine at a local restaurant. Other highlights include the Nekresi monastery complex, established by one of the Thirteen Assyrian Fathers. Tonight, journey back to the capital for an overnight stay.
Day 5: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Ananuri – Gudauri
Discover the charm of Mtskheta, a fairytale-like city whose streets are filled with history from centuries past. Visit the beautiful Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, which features a combination of architectural styles & figures from different eras since its origination in the 4th century A.D. Explore the 6th-century Jvari Monastery complex, known for its tetraconch architecture & breathtaking location. Next, head for the historic Ananuri complex which previously served as a chair of the royal Dukes of Aragvi. Enjoy dinner & an overnight stay amidst the majestic, snow-capped mountains at the Gudauri ski resort.
Day 6: Gudauri – Mount Kazbek – Gudauri
Journey along the Georgian Military Highway to Mount Kazbek. This ancient route, named by Russian Tsar Alexander I, features incredible views of the Caucasus Mountains. Upon arrival, admire the grandeur of this dormant volcano from its base (visibility is weather permitting). Afterward, travel by foot up to the famous Gergeti Trinity Church, situated high up on the slope of Mount Kazbek. Learn about the ancient legends depicted within this 14th-century cross-cupola church, & discover the beauty of Georgia’s third tallest mountain from an elevation of 2,170 meters. Enjoy another overnight stay at Gudauri this evening.
Day 7: Gudauri – Gori – Uplistsikhe – Tbilisi
Visit the hometown of the Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin. See the house where he was born, & explore the Joseph Stalin Museum, which features a copy of his death mask. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before heading to Uplistsikhe, an intriguing town whose terrain & buildings consist of rocks. Walk through the ancient caves, one of the town’s most popular attractions, with an impressive collection of 700 different cavern formations. Afterward, travel back to Tbilisi for dinner & an overnight stay.
Day 8: Tbilisi – USA
Transfer to the airport, & board return flight home.