Explore ancient cities, glaciers, forests and meadows as you travel through Georgia

This all-encompassing trip takes you from the medieval towns of Kutaisi to lush green slopes of Mestia valley. Reconnect with nature on hikes through wooded forests and past the mountainous Chaladi glacier, wander the ramparts of the Narikala Fortress, learn the secrets of Georgian cheese making and refresh your taste buds with the fragrant Georgian wine.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Tbilisi, Georgia
Finish
Tbilisi, Georgia
Country
Georgia
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
KFSG
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • This is the perfect trip for history buffs, taking in ancient historical sites from across Georgia

  • Journey to the Svaneti region, a remote and alluring land of snow-capped mountains, where you'll discover medieval tower-houses and a fascinating local dialect

  • Get active on hikes to Georgia's Shkhara glacier

  • Learn the art of preparing delicious kubdari during a cooking demonstration

Is this trip right for you?

  • You will reach a significant altitude on this trip (2,200 metres) at the highest point so a good level of fitness is required for hiking. That said, alternative activities can often be arranged for those who would prefer not to hike.

  • This trip uses a mix of public and private transportation. While the latter is convenient, taking public transport in Georgia is a great way to experience daily life as the locals do.

  • Photography of sensitive sites such as military bases and power installations is prohibited. You maybe charged a photo fee at some tourist site. Be aware of cultural sensitivities when photographing churches and other religious sites.

  • As we don't want you to miss anything, the itinerary is densely packed, so you'll be busy. There will, however, be plenty of free time and opportunity for independent exploration.

  • On some days, there is a lot of walking between sights and around towns and cities. While it can be tiring to be on your feet, this is the best way to see a destination. Make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes with good support.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

Welcome to Georgia!

Your tour leader will leave you a note at reception detailing on what time you will be meeting with the rest of your group.

Tonight is free for an optional dinner - there are plenty of restaurants and cafes within a short walking distance of our hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
After breakfast take part in a sightseeing tour of Tbilisi. The locals like to call their capital the "Balcony of Europe", placing it on par with many of Europe's graceful old cities.

All the sights in the Old Town are very close to each other and within a few minutes’ walk. We start our visit to Old Tbilisi from Metekhi Church, and then walk to the Synagogue, Sioni Cathedral and Anchiskhati Basilica. From here, visit Narikala Fortress and the Sulphur Baths. Afterwards, you'll have free time to further explore the capital.

The evening is also free for you to enjoy. Perhaps indulge in Tbilisi's lively theater scene and witness some of the energetic and acrobatic dance that Georgia is known for.

Total walking time today is approximately 4-5 hours.
No transportation is included on this day.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tbilisi - City tour
Optional Activities
  • Tbilisi - Museum of Georgia - USD5
  • Tbilisi - Museum of Fine Arts - USD2
  • Tbilisi - Sulphur Baths Entry - USD35
  • Tbilisi - Aerial Cable Car - USD1
  • Wine Tour – Kakheti Region (8-9 hours) - USD155
  • Tbilisi - Funicular - USD2
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, drive 25 kilometres (approximately 30 minutes) to Georgia's ancient capital and religious centre – the town of Mtskheta, which is over 3000 years old.

Visit Mtskheta's top historical sights: Jvari church (6th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century), where the Robe of Christ is said to be buried. Both Jvari and Svetitskhoveli are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Afterwards, continue to the pretty town of Kutaisi, the second largest city in the country (the drive will take approximately 3 hours). Kutaisi is more than 3000 years old, connected to the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, along with his mythical (or is it?) Golden Fleece. Here we visit another significant historical site, the Gelati Cathedral. There may also be time to explore the cobbled streets of the town as you make your way up to the ruins of Bagrati palace and citadel. Spend the night at a local guesthouse in Kutaisi with private facilities.

Total driving time today is approximately 4.5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mtskheka - Jvari Church
  • Mtskheka - Svetitskoveli Cathedral
Optional Activities
  • Kutaisi - Bagrati Cathedral & Gelati Monastery - Free
  • Iago’s Winery Tastings - USD5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
After a restful night, visit a local farmers market and a natural grotto filled with stalagmites and stalactites. After lunch get ready for the next part of the tour: a journey to the remote Svaneti region. Svaneti is the highest inhabited area in the Caucasus and is divided in two parts: Upper Svaneti and Lower Svaneti.

Arrive into Mestia, the centre of Upper Svaneti. Mestia is surrounded by mountains, medieval-type villages and disctinctive tower-houses. The famous tower-houses were built to accommodate villagers at times of invasion and violence during the 9th -13th centuries. Around 175 towers still stand today, although many are uninhabited.

The area is home to the Svans, a proud people with a long history of survival in this isolated part of Europe, who speak their own language. Spend the night in a local guesthouse (with shared facilities).

Total driving time today is approximately 5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kutaisi - Farmers Market
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Drive to the village Lakhiri (approximately 20 minute drive) and start our walk (approx walking time 4-5 hours) in the direction of Mestia. After little uphill walking we descend to the beautiful valley full with blooming flowers and enjoy an amazing view of Chalati Glacier (2300m) and of Mestia Valley with its watchtowers. The paths can be steep and the ground uneven so you will need good fitness and appropriate footwear for this walk. Those not wishing to hike can stay in the village or in Mestia.

Today we also witness the making of Georgian cheese. Cheese is found in many Georgian dishes and is a key ingredient in the famous khachapuri, a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread which you will no doubt eat plenty of during your time here! Participate in the preparation of another traditional meal called kubdari, a filled bread dish filled with pork and beef that originates from this region.

Total walking time today is 4-5 hours.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mestia - Cooking class
  • Mestia - Lakhiri Village Hike
  • Mestia - Georgian cheese making
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note that the lunch included for the next 3 days will be lunch boxes prepared by our guesthouse, mainly will be simple sandwich with cheese, egg, tomato and cucumber, fruit and mineral water.
Today, visit the World Heritage-listed village of Ushguli, a town around 50 kilometres southeast of Mestia. The village is located at 2,200 metres above sea level, and is one of the highest inhabited villages in Europe. Ushguli is most famous for its abundance of watchtowers – this is where you'll see the famous view of the towers set to the highest mountain in Georgia, the snow capped Mt Shkhara (5,068 metres).

Visit the 12th-century Lamaria Church and walk to Queen Tamar’s tower. Total walking time is 2-3 hours depending on fitness and trail conditions. Those not wishing to walk may stay and explore Ushguli, where there are a few small ethnographic museums in the watchtowers. In the evening you can walk around the village and become familiar with the daily life of the local people. Spend the night in a family-owned guesthouse (with shared facilities.)

Total driving time today will be approximately 3 hours.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ushguli - Village hike
  • Ushguli - Lamaria Church
  • Ushguli - Queen Tamar`s Tower
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today's walk starts from the guesthouse. The route takes us along the river to the base of Mt Shkhara. Fingers crossed for great weather! We will have a picnic lunch today. The walking trail ends at the Shkhara glacier, where the Enguri river originates below. In the afternoon, return to Mestia and stay overnight in the guesthouse.

Approximate walking time is 5-6 hours. If you do not wish to walk, please discuss options with your leader in advance.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ushguli - Shkhara Glacier hike & picnic
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Drive to the Black Sea coast and the city of Batumi, with its waterfront parks and beaches. You’ll have a chance to walk around the town of Batumi and see its tastefully restored Old Town. Stay overnight at a hotel in Batumi.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning take part in a short city tour. Afterwards drive to a Makhuntseti waterfall for a short walk. Return to Batumi for an afternoon of free time.
Batumi has such a relaxed atmosphere and great restaurants and nightlife
The town in more recent years has been renovated, new architecture has sprouted up, including a small forest of eye-catching tower buildings. Batumi quickly gained the reputation of one of the Black Sea's top resort magnets, with a great party scene in summer.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Batumi - Makhuntseti Waterfall
  • Batumi - City Tour
Optional Activities
  • Batumi - Qemal Turmanidze Ethnographic Museum - USD10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning we will depart from Batumi and transfer back to Tbilisi (5-6 hours). On our way, we'll stop at local winery for a wine tasting.
Arriving at Tbilisi, enjoy your last bit of free time before the trip finishes and join your leader for an final dinner for some amazing Georgian cuisine if you would like to.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Sadly, your trip come to an end today after breakfast at the hotel. If you'd like to stay on in Tbilisi to further explore the city, we are happy to organise extra accommodation (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners

Transport

Private Bus, Public Bus

Accommodation

Hotel (5), Guesthouse (5)

Included activities

  • Tbilisi - City tour
  • Mtskheka - Jvari Church
  • Mtskheka - Svetitskoveli Cathedral
  • Kutaisi - Farmers Market
  • Mestia - Cooking class
  • Mestia - Lakhiri Village Hike
  • Mestia - Georgian cheese making
  • Ushguli - Village hike
  • Ushguli - Lamaria Church
  • Ushguli - Queen Tamar`s Tower
  • Ushguli - Shkhara Glacier hike & picnic
  • Batumi - Makhuntseti Waterfall
  • Batumi - City Tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Please note there is a chance of potential changes to the itinerary due to heavy rain, flooding and snow at higher altitudes, which often affect roads and bridges, making travel difficult or impossible (particularly in remote areas). Landslides are also common.
2. High altitudes will be experienced during this trip of up to 2200m above sea level.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.