Come in, Genatsvale, you will be our guest! - you will hear this welcome frequently during your journey through this country of high mountains, deep valleys and untamed rivers. A land with an ancient past and the most hospitable people! Legend has it that God gave Georgians the land that he prepared for himself upon the creation of the world, such is its harsh beauty. Georgia has many climate zones, so be prepared to experience all seasons in a day. More than two thirds of the territory is mountainous. Wooded cliffs and emerald alpine fields girdle mountain peaks rising in many cases to over 5 kilometers high. As we move from west to east, the subtropical climate of the Black Sea coastline is replaced by Continental then Mediterranean climates.
Georgia is a land of great antiquity, where the earliest human remains in Europe are found and where winemaking began 8000 years ago. The Preservation of this heritage has always been associated with the sense of national identity of the Georgian people.
Genatsvale a Georgian Journey will reveal the many stories of Georgia, told by the people themselves, winemakers, artisans, farmers and communities. Georgians will appreciate your attention to their traditions and they will repay you with their phenomenal hospitality. Let’s start our journey!
Highlights: Small group tour. Interaction and connections with local people and local communities. Hands-on experiences in authentic Georgian cookery, wine making, craft making. Incredible variety of landscapes from high forbidding mountains to subtropical coastlines. Wildlife encounters. Gentle outdoor adventures. Unique experiences far from tourist hotspots together with iconic attractions and the region’s most famous landmarks.
Day 1. Arrival day. (- / - / D)
Day 2. Tbilisi - Mtskheta. (B / L /-)
Day 3. Tbilisi - Ateni valley - Borjomi - Akhaltikhe. (B / L / -)
Day 4. Akhaltikhe - Sapara monastery - Vardzia. (B / - / D)
Day 5. Ubisa - Village Obcha - Kutaisi. (B / L / -)
Day 6. Martvili – Zugdidi - Anaklia. (B / - / D)
Day 7. Anaklia - Mestia. (B / - / D)
Day 8. Ushguli. (B / - / D)
Day 9. Mestia - Hatsvali mountain - Batumi. (B / L/ -)
Day 10. Batumi - village 1st May - village Vaio. (B / - / D)
Day 11. Batumi Botanical garden - Kolheti National Park - Tbilisi. (B / - / -)
Day 12. Tbilisi - Ananuri – Gergeti - Kazbegi. (B / L / -)
Day 13. Airport transfer. (B / - / -)
Duration: 13 days / 12 nights;
Length: 2 800 kilometers
Overnight stay: Tbilisi, Akhaltsikhe, Kutaisi, Anaklia, Mestia, Batumi.
Day 1. Arrival day
Arrival in Tbilisi airport, check in to the hotel. (- / - / D)
Day 2. Tbilisi - Mtskheta
Walking tour of old Tbilisi and Mzkheta: Our tour starts from Sameba cathedral and Metekhi Church before continuing to the Abanotubani district famous with Sulphur baths. We will take the cable car to visit Narikala Fortress, explore Shardeni Street with its many souvenir and gift shops. No tour of Tbilsi would be complete without visiting Sioni Cathedral and Anchiskhati basilica. From Freedom square we stroll along Rustaveli Avenue, the main street in Tbilisi. To complete our tour a Georgian Polyphony concert will be arranged in Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (minimum group size: 4 persons). Return to Tbilisi hotel. (B / L /-)
Day 3. Tbilisi - Ateni valley - Borjomi - Akhaltikhe
This morning we depart Tibilisi and drive south to the Samtskhe-Javakheti region. On the way we will stop in the Ateni valley for Wine tasting at the Wine Artisans winery. Our next stop is in the charming mountain resort and spa town of Borjomi, to Borjomi park and taste Borjomi mineral water. It is also possible to swim in the Sulphur hot springs. Invigorated by the mineral waters we will take a short hike in Borjomi-Kharagauli National park. Continue to Akhaltsikhe, check in to hotel in Akhaltsikhe. (B / L / -)
Day 4. Akhaltikhe - Sapara monastery - Vardzia
Our first excursion today is to Rabati Castle, a dominating fortress which once resisted Tamerlane and his Mongol army. From Rabati we continue to Sapara monastery, famed for its incredibly well preserved 14th century-frescoes. Our next activity is a cheese making masterclass, but first we will need to collect some very special wine to compliment the cheese. Giorgi Natenadze is gaining world renown for finding and rehabilitating ancient grape varieties from wild vines. Using these varieties and organic growing techniques, the Natenadze winery produces high quality Meskhetian wines. We will visit the grape terraces and winery to learn about the history of Meskhetian wine, before taking part in a tasting, to choose a bottle (or two) for our next activity. Continue to Vardzia cave town, built in 12th Century under the direction of legendary Queen Tamar who according to oral tradition was lost in caves here as a child. Vardzia comprises hundreds of rooms carved into the rock, stretching for nearly one kilometer and reaching the height of 13 floors. Close to the stone city is the Upper Vardzia Nunnery. The nuns here produce distinctive works of art, souvenirs which sold throughout Georgia. The Nunnery itself is very attractive, set in a steep gorge. We can visit the Nuns, share diner with them and then take part in a special workshop to try our hand at woodcarving and Icon painting. Return to hotel in Akhaltsikhe. (B / - / D)
Day 5. Ubisa - Village Obcha - Kutaisi
Check out and depart to Kutaisi. Stop in Ubisa church for pottery workshop in the village, continue to Baia’s Vineyard for lunch and to taste Imeretian wines. Arrive in Kutaisi, Kutaisi visit Bagrati Temple, Motsameta monastery and Gelati Complex, founded by King David the Builder - the greatest monarch in the history of Georgia. Here, a famous academy existed in the XII century. Check in to Kutaisi hotel. (B / L / -)
Day 6. Martvili – Zugdidi - Anaklia
Drive to village Martvili: visiting Martvili Monastery. At nearby Martvili Canyon we have a short river rafting trip into Martvili Canyon (this is not a white water river, so our boat ride is scenic rather than challenging)). From Martvili we drive to Zugdidi, to visit Dadiani Palace, one time home of the Samegrelo Royal Family. Napoleon Bonaparte’s great nephew Achile Murat also lived here which explains the collection of Napoleonic memorabilia including one of his death masks. For this evening’s meal we will also take part in the cooking with instruction from a local family who will share our meal. Overnight at Black Sea coast in Anaklia hotel. (B / - / D)
Day 7. Anaklia - Mestia
After breakfast we depart to Mestia via the Enguri Dam, the largest in the Caucasus. Mestia is in the Svaneti region, home of the Svan people. The area of Svaneti is has wild mountainous landscape, patriarchal villages and many ancient traditions which re-date Christianity. Mestia is the capital of the region. The Regional Museum of History and Ethnography of Svaneti is a real storehouse of historical artifacts and ancient manuscripts. The Svan also have a distinctive culinary culture as we will discover during tonight’s dinner which features original Svaneti cuisine. Overnight at Mestia hotel. (B / - / D)
Day 8. Ushguli
Drive to Ushguli village located 2200 meters above sea level. The village is one of the highest permanently inhabited settlements in Europe. The altitude and isolation of Ushguli has ensured that the village has been remarkably well preserved over the centuries. One of the most iconic sites in Georgia, the village is famous for dozens of watch-towers and the beautiful views of Mt. Shkhara. Other historic relics can be seen in a private ethnographic museum, which is located in one of the 16th century houses. The museum is always open to visitors. Ushguli’s church also dates back to the early Middle Ages - the church of Virgin Mary, or Lamaria, in the Georgian tongue. In the evening we return to Mestia. (B / - / D)
Day 9. Mestia - Hatsvali mountain - Batumi
Breakfast at the hotel. After visiting the Margiani House Museum, we take the ski-lift to Hatsvali Mountain resort: The views from the ski-lift and from Hatsvali are spectacular. A local legend is told about the two mountains most prominent from Khatsvali, named Ushba and Tetnuldi. The story goes that Ushba and Tetnuldi were once human, a boy and a girl who became lovers, sadly a curse prevented them from marrying, so they became frozen with grief, turning into the two mountains, separated by a deep gorge. From one of the highest points of our journey, we now depart for Batumi and the Black Sea. As we descend the climate changes rapidly from Alpine Svaneti to subtropical Adjara. Check in to the hotel in Batumi. (B / L/ -)
Day 10. Batumi - village 1st May - village Vaio
Our walking tour in Batumi’s Seaside Park and the old town provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy the charm of this increasingly popular resort town and do a little souvenir shopping. The port city of Batumi is the capital of the Ajara autonomous district, an attractive town of historic buildings, parks and botanical gardens. After free time in the city, we drive to mountainous Ajara, for wine tasting at Shervashidze winery and a cookery masterclass to prepare our dinner in Vaio village. Overnight at Batumi hotel. (B / - / D)
Day 11. Batumi Botanical garden - Kolheti National Park - Tbilisi
Check out from our hotel and visit to Batumi Botanical garden. One of the largest botanical gardens is located on the slopes of Green Cape Mountain. The garden has 9 sections covering: subtropics of South Caucasus, the Mediterranean, Himalayan forest, thickets of Australia and New Zealand, vegetation of East Asia, as well as of North and South America and Mexico. There are more than 5000 species and varieties of plants occupying 113 hectares. The Botanical Garden offers a lovely view of the coastline. Drive to Paliastomi Lake, a former soviet seaplane base for a private boat tour of the Kolheti National Park guided by park rangers. The park is a large wetland preserve home to many red list endangered bird species and an important migratory flyway for northern Russian bird species. Arrival to Tbilisi, check in to a hotel in Tbilisi. (B / - / -)
Day 12. Tbilisi - Ananuri – Gergeti - Kazbegi
This morning. We drive towards the Caucasus Mountains. On the way we will stop on the banks of the Zhinvali reservoir. A vast expanse of water set among forest-covered mountains at the confluence of two rivers, the Black and White Aragvi. Visit Ananuri castle standing eight kilometers from the dam. From Zhinvali we continue to the alpine ski resort at Gudauri via Cross pass, on the old military road, before arriving in Stephantsminda. From here we will drive up to Gergeti Trinity Church, for an open air folklore show with beautiful views of Gergeti church and the permanently snow-capped Kazbegi mountain peak. At the end of our performance we will retire to the home of a local family to have lunch with them. Return to Tbilisi. (B / L / -)
Day 13. Airport transfer
Check out and transfer to Tbilisi airport for departure. (B / - / -)
Rates of per person in shared double room:
4 participants: 1770 USD
8 participants: 1410 USD
12 participants: 1250 USD
Supplement for single room: 470 USD
Includes: accommodation for 12 nights, transportation with minibus, professional guide, several meals, entrance fees and activities according itinerary.
maximum group size is 14 persons.