Visit a mountain that is (literally) on fire and explore the colourful streets of two of Eurasia's fastest-growing cities.

Visit two countries that have taken a big leap into the 21st century, where historical old towns and monasteries sit comfortably alongside towering skyscrapers. Visit one of Europe's largest open-air rock museums, warm your hands against a mountain that is forever on fire, walk through the gardens of a local Kakheti family and talk about provincial life over a hearty lunch. Uncover the centuries-old recipe for producing Georgian wine and learn how to make your own yoghurt.


Start
Baku, Azerbaijan
Finish
Tbilisi, Georgia
Countries
Azerbaijan, Georgia
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
KFSB
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Azerbaijan's cosmopolitan capital of Baku is often referred to as the 'new Dubai'. Enjoy a guided walking tour around the city's World Heritage-listed Old Town

  • The Caucasus Mountains will take your breath away, thanks to its mud volcanoes, ancient mosques, lush forests and tall peaks

  • Enjoy lunch with a local family where you'll sample delicious homemade food, wine and Georgian grape water 'Chacha'

  • Walk up to Udabno Monastery and explore the painted caves and dramatic views looking across to Azerbaijan

  • Explore the capital of Georgia, the ever-beautiful Tbilisi.

Is this trip right for you?

  • There are some long travel days on this adventure. While tiring, this is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers and enjoy the passing scenery.

  • 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.

  • This trip has a strong historical focus. Anyone with an interest in the Caucasus region and history will really enjoy it.

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 Azerbaijan! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm this evening. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Get to know Baku with a tour of the city, taking in a visit to the Old City, including time at Shemakha gate, Shirvanshakhs` Palace, Maiden Tower, Old Market Square and the Carpet Museum. Don't forget your camera as you'll also see panoramic views of Baku's skyline. Afterwards head out on a tour of the Absheron Peninsula, visiting the Ateshgah fire temple, Mardakan medieval fortress and Yanardagh fire mountain (which is literally on fire). Return to Baku in the evening. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Baku - Maiden's Tower
  • Baku - Shirvan Shah Palace
  • Baku - Carpet Museum
  • Baku - Caravanserai
  • Baku - Absheron Peninsula Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive to Qobustan and visit the open-air rock paintings museum, a UNESCO heritage site with its own archaeological museum. Enjoy a free afternoon to wander Qobustan National Park before returning to Baku. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Qobustan - Petroglyphs
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Have breakfast at the hotel before leaving Baku. Drive to the Caucasus Mountains in the northwest of Azerbaijan, a dry landscape that gives way to a densely forested mountain area. Take part in a yoghurt-making masterclass at a private house in Shamakhi. Afterwards head to Lahic, where you'll visit a local copper workshop and get to know some of the locals over tea. Tonight, enjoy dinner with your group and stay overnight at a guesthouse in Lahic (private facilities).
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shamakhi - Yoghurt making
  • Lahic - Copper workshop visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note that in case of foggy or wet weather driving conditions in the mountains can be treacherous. If the drive to Lahic is deemed unsafe by your tour leader due to the weather then we will replace the overnight stay there with the town of Qebele (Gabala).
After breakfast, head to Nidj village and meet the native Udin people, the direct descendants of ancient Caucasian Albanians. Later arrive in Sheki and visit Sheki Khans Palace, known for its magnificent frescoes and stained glass. Spend the night at a hotel in Sheki.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sheki - Khan's Palace
  • Nidj - Udin village visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning visit nearby Kis village and its old pointy spired Christian church. Return to Sheki and visit local craft workshops, where famous 'Shebeke', intricate handmade vitrages, are produced. The afternoon is free to roam the village. Stay overnight at a hotel in Sheki.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kis - Church
  • Kis - Village Visit
  • Sheki - Shebeke workshop visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Lagodekhi at the Azerbaijan-Georgia border. Visit a traditional bazaar and change leader and transportation. From Lagodekhi, travel to the Kakheti region, famous for its wine making and welcoming hospitality. From here, both the snowy Caucasus mountains and bountiful green valleys are visible. Visit a local family and learn about the provincial way of life. Explore the gardens and vineyards and then enjoy lunch, with delicious homemade food, wine and Georgian grapewater 'Chacha'. Later, visit a 300-year-old Georgian wine cellar and taste Georgian wine produced using Qvevri, large earthenware pots. This method of wine making is protected on UNESCO's heritage list and Georgian farmers have used this method for centuries. Continue to the beautiful 18th-century town of Sighnaghi, known for its quaint stone walls, small houses with terracotta roofs and decorated balconies. Admire the picturesque views of Alazani Valley and Great Caucasus mountains. Stay overnight at a hotel in Sighnaghi.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sighnaghi - Georgian Wine Tasting & Home Cooked Lunch
  • Sheki - Bazaar
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
In the morning drive to the David Gareja caves, a rock-hewn monastery carved into the stark semi-desert landscape in the sixth century. After seeing the Lavra Monastery, walk for about 50 minutes up a steep hill to the Udabno Monastery. This monastery features wonderful painted caves and dramatic views across to Azerbaijan.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • David Gareja - Monastery Complex & Hike
  • David Gareja - Udabno Monastery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Good physical condition is required to walk up to Udabno monastery as the walking time is around 2.5 hours (round trip). We recommend long trousers as there can be snakes in the area on occasion as well as sturdy shoes appropriate for trekking.

The exact line of the Georgia–Azerbaijan border up here has not yet been finally demarcated, and you may find Azerbaijan border guards patrolling here; they are not normally any hindrance to visiting the caves unless there is a flare-up of border tensions. In the case of border tensions we will not visit this site. Later drive to Tbilisi and enjoy an afternoon of free time. Stay overnight at a hotel in Tbilisi.
Today, explore the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi. Wander the old districts of the city, which are structured like terraces, and walk through the narrow streets to appreciate the colourful houses, patterned balconies and revamped modern architecture. Start the tour from the 13th-century Metekhi church, with its magnificent views over old Tbilisi. A stroll along winding little streets takes us to the main sights of the city. Afterwards enjoy the panoramic views of the whole town and climb the battlements at the ancient Narikala fortress. Later explore the historical domed sulphur bath area and learn how this precinct is connected to the name of the city. Take the afternoon to continue exploring, perhaps visit the Museum of History and see the treasury as an optional extra, or why not try a spa for yourself. Spend the night at a hotel in Tbilisi.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tbilisi - Old Town Walking Tour
  • Tbilisi - Narikala Fortress
Optional Activities
  • Tbilisi - National History Museum - USD5
  • Tbilisi - Sioni Cathedral - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip finishes today after breakfast.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Private Bus

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights), Guesthouse (1 night)

Included activities

  • Baku - Maiden's Tower
  • Baku - Shirvan Shah Palace
  • Baku - Carpet Museum
  • Baku - Caravanserai
  • Baku - Absheron Peninsula Tour
  • Qobustan - Petroglyphs
  • Shamakhi - Yoghurt making
  • Lahic - Copper workshop visit
  • Sheki - Khan's Palace
  • Nidj - Udin village visit
  • Kis - Church
  • Kis - Village Visit
  • Sheki - Shebeke workshop visit
  • Sighnaghi - Georgian Wine Tasting & Home Cooked Lunch
  • Sheki - Bazaar
  • David Gareja - Monastery Complex & Hike
  • David Gareja - Udabno Monastery
  • Tbilisi - Old Town Walking Tour
  • Tbilisi - Narikala Fortress

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, excluding nights in the guesthouse.
2. Your leader will change at the border on this trip.

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.

Reviews

Our Highlights of Azerbaijan & Georgia trips score an average of 4.67 out of 5 based on 6 reviews in the last year.

Highlights of Azerbaijan & Georgia , July 2017

Margaret Norman

Highlights of Azerbaijan & Georgia , July 2017

Helen Dixon