Join a trip to Azerbaijan and Georgia during which you will see the most amazing environments that the vast area between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea has to offer. We travel through the most varied natural and cultural landscapes and get to experience everything from alpine environments at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains to lush valleys and subtropical coastal landscapes by the Black Sea. We visit the countries’ main sights and experience Caucasian hospitality and enjoy good food and good wine.
Day 1: Travel to Azerbaijan
Fly to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. On arrival transfer to the hotel.
Day 2: Shirvanshaher Palace and Virgin Tower
We start the day by visiting the Old Town of Baku. The old city provides evidence of Zoroastrian, Arabic, Persian, Ottoman and Russian influences that together have left a unique cultural heritage. We visit the Virgin Tower and the Palace of the Shirvanshas, one of Azerbaijan’s architectural masterpieces. The area with its historical sights is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We visit the Baku Carpet Museum and are captivated by the beauty of the Azerbaijani carpets. In 2010, the Azerbaijani rugs were actually included on the UNESCO World Heritage List as outstanding cultural objects! Overnight in Baku. (Breakfast and lunch)
Day 3: Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape
We leave Baku to head to the Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape with its unique archeological sites. The cultural landscape with its exciting rock art is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and in the area there are more than 6,000 rock carvings depicting people, animals, war scenes and ritual dances. The pictures provide a fascinating insight into how life took shape in the prehistoric Caucasus 5,000 – 40,000 years ago. We also take the opportunity to visit a volcanically active area with so-called clay volcanoes. After lunch we head to Baku’s fire temple “Ateshgah which was early a sacred place in Zoroastrianism, a pre-Islamic religion within which fire has an important religious significance. We then continue to the “burning mountain” Yanar Day where large flames flare up along one of the mountain sides, eternal fires that are constantly getting new fuel through the natural gas that is leaking out of the earth’s interior. Overnight in Baku. (Breakfast and lunch)
Day 4: Baku – Sheki
After breakfast we leave Baku behind and travel towards Sheki (Shaki) which was once an important trading post along the famous Silk Road between China and Europe. During the journey to northern Azerbaijan and the next stop on the slopes of the mighty Caucasus Mountains, we are offered fantastic views of the wonderful natural landscape. Arriving in Sheki, we visit the pride of the place – a summer residence from the end of the 18th century that belonged to the Shakikhanate, at that time an important power factor in the Caucasus. The palace is known for its exquisite frescoes, mosaics and stained glass windows. Overnight in Sheki. (Breakfast and lunch).
Day 5: Sheki – Lagodekhi -Gremi – Telavi
After breakfast we first visit a bazaar in Sheki and then continue towards the border with Georgia. After passing the small Georgian border town of Lagodekhi, we have lunch on a Georgian farm and are offered homemade dishes and good wine. We are now in one of Georgia’s most famous wine districts and can visit the farm’s vineyard and orchard. After gaining an insight into Georgian country life, we move on to the fortified church Gremi from the 16th century from where you get a fantastic view of the Alazani Valley. Overnight stay in Telavi. (Breakfast and lunch).
Day 6: Telavi – Sighnaghi -Tbilisi
In the morning we visit the local farmers market and then a wine producer. Here we get an insight into how traditional winemaking in Georgia is done. Of course we also get to taste! We continue to the fortified city of Sighnaghi with a fantastic view of the surrounding Caucasus Mountains. After stopping at the famous Bodbek Monastery, we go to the Georgian capital Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi. (Breakfast and lunch).
Day 7: Tbilisi
After breakfast, a city walk awaits in Tbilisi’s old town with its narrow alleys and beautiful buildings. During the walk we see, among other things, Metekhi Church dating from the 400s. Tbilisi is a charming mix of old and new and here you will also find exciting modern architecture and entertainment districts with bars and cafes. We go to Nariqalafortet which is located on a hill above the city from where you get a wonderful view of the surroundings. The rest of the day to own walks. Overnight in Tbilisi. (Breakfast and lunch).
Day 8: Tbilisi – Mtskheta-Gelati-Kutaisi
After breakfast we head to Mtskheta which was once the capital of Georgia. Today, Mtskheta has been transformed into a charming small town, but has still managed to maintain its status as the country’s most important religious center. Among the many churches in the area, we visit the Jvari Monastery and the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, both of which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the village of Chardakhi we visit a traditional Georgian winemaker famous for his fine wines. We then head to Gori, the city where Stalin was born, to visit the Stalin Museum there. The museum contains, among other things, Stalin’s private railway carriage and the small cottage where Stalin is said to have been born. Overnight in Kutaisi. (Breakfast and lunch).
Day 9: Kutaisi – Mestia
After breakfast we go to Zugdidi to visit the Dadiani Palace which houses an excellent historical museum. We continue to Svaneti, a fabulously beautiful mountain region with snow-capped mountains and wonderful nature. During the trip, we stop at the hydropower plant on the river Enguri where much of Georgia’s electricity is produced. Arriving in the beautiful mountain town of Mestia, we visit the city’s small ethnographic museum. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Day 10: Ushguli
During the day we visit the village of Ushguli which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Ushguli is Europe’s highest village inhabited all year round. During the year, however, the village is completely closed off from the outside world as the roads there become snowy. Ushguli’s isolated location among the mountains has contributed to ancient architecture and ancient customs and practices being preserved more intact here than elsewhere in the entire mountain region. Here, near the foot of Mt Shkhara (5202 m above sea level), you can almost get the feeling that time has stood still! Overnight in Mestia. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Day 11: Mestia – Batumi
After breakfast we head to the coastal town of Batumi on the Black Sea. During the day we travel from the high snow-capped mountains in the Greater Caucasus to the subtropical coastal landscape where you will find palm trees, citrus groves and tea plantations. We arrive in Batumi in the late afternoon. Overnight in Batumi. (Breakfast and lunch).
Day 12: Batumi
Batumi is a beautiful coastal city and Georgia’s most important port. During the city tour, we walk along Batumi Boulevard next to the Black Sea, visit Batumi Cathedral, Europe Square and Piazza Square, which must be one of Georgia’s most beautiful squares. The rest of the day is free to explore this beautiful little coastal gem on your own. Overnight in Batumi. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Day 13: Return from Batumi
Transfer to Batumi airport and flight home. (Breakfast)