DESTINATION - CAUCASUS GOURMET MIX GROUP TOUR
Trip Notes: Caucasus gourmet MIX group tour
Something about our tours
Explore highlights and hidden treasures of Caucasus, fabulous European cities that are steeped in history, culture and exciting cuisine of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Relax, Cultural, Gaurmet
DAY TO DAY ITINERARY FOR CAUCASUS GAURMET MIX GROUP TOUR
Day 1. Arrive Baku, Azerbaijan
Arrive Baku International Airport. Meet and greet then transfer to hotel. Dinner at hotel.
Day 2. Baku
Morning tour of Iheold town, with its maze of narrow, cobblestone streets lined with small mosques nestled between terrace cafes and grand turn-of-the-century architecture. Visit a carpet museum and the famous Shirvan Shahs Palace. In the afternoon explore the Absheron peninsula. a desolate landscape of semi-arid vegetation, grim industry and forgotten oil fields. Visit both Ateshga, the sacred Zoroastrian fire temple and Yanar Dag or Flaming Mountain. In the evening enjoy short boat tour on the Caspian Sea then welcome drinks and dinner at a local restaurant.
(B, L, D)
Day 3. Sheki
Breakfast at hotel, then drive to Shemaka a n earlier capital western Azerbaijan Visit the famed Yeddi Gumbaz (Seven Tombs), the royal tombs of the last Shirvan Khans. Drive to Sheki through small villages nestled among steep mountains and lush valleys dotted with vineyards. In Sheki visit the exquisite Khan’s Palace set in the midst of dilapidated fortress. Later, visit a Shebaka workshop and the local bazaar. Lunch and dinner at a local restaurants.
(B, L, D)
Day 4. Tbilisi
Breakfast at hotel. Morning drive to Azerbaijan - Georgia border, changing transport and guide. Drive to Kakheti along the “Wine Route”, through the beautiful landscapes of vineyards and wine-producing villages. Lunch with wine tasting at vinery “Pheasant’s Tears”. In the afternoon explore Signagi Royal Town with breathtaking views of the Kizikhi area. Visit Bodbe nunnery complex before the drive toTbilisi. Dinner at a local restaurant.
(B, L, D)
Day 5. Tbilisi
Breakfast at hotel. Full day tour of Tbilisi, a modern city with well-known museums and theatres, art galleries, churches, Sulphur bathhouses and narrow streets. Walk through the old town and visit Janashia State museum of history, Metechi church (12th -13th cc), District of Sulphur bath houses, Sioni Cathedral (7th -19th cc), Anchiskhati basilica and bell tower (6th -18th cc) andHolly Trinity cathedral. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants.
(B, L, D)
Day 6. Gudauri
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Mtiuleti and Khevi regions by the historic “Georgian Military Highway”. Enjoy the breathtaking views of mountain passes littered by watchtowers and alpine fields covered by yellow Rhododendron. The highlight of the day is Mount Kazbek. En route to Kazbegi visit Ananuri Architectural Complex overlooking the Jinvali Dum. Lunch at a local guesthouse with home made “Khinkali ” – a traditional meal of the Caucasus Mountains. Dinner and overnight at the ski resort of Gudauri.
(B, L, D)
Day 7. Dilijan
Breakfast at hotel. Visit sacred Mtskheta, the ancient capital of eastern Georgia, an important religious centre. Visit the beautiful Jvari church (6th-7th cc), perched on a cliff overlooking the city and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Early lunch at a local restaurant in Mtskheta. Then drive to Sadakhlo on the Armenian border changing transport and guide. Visit the 10th-13th centuries Haghpat and Sanahin UNESCO listed historical and architectural monuments sclose to the town of Alaverdi. Dinner and overnight in the resort spa town of Dilijan, set in a national park.
(B, L, D)
Day 8. Yerevan
Breakfast at hotel. Then drive through the picturesque Avan Canyon, skirting formidable cliffs and passing exotic-looking gorges until a green plateau of the Azat River comes into view. Here, in the harmony of the relief and the virgin nature you will see the pagan Garni architectural complex of the 1st century and feel the spirit of ancient ages. Visit the UNESCO Heritage cave monastery of Geghard (13th century). Lunch en route and dinner at local restaurant. Overnight in Yerevan.
(B, L, D)
Day 9. Yerevan
Breakfast at hotel. Then drive south to Echmiadzin – the holy seat of the Supreme Patriarch-Catholicos of all Armenians. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon visit Khor Virap, one of the romantically sited monasteries in Armenia with views across vast plain to Turkey and the twin peaks of Mount Ararat. Return to Yerevan. Dinner at a local restaurant.
(B, L, D)
Day 10. Giumri
Breakfast at hotel. Morning tour of Yerevan. Enjoy the beautiful view which opens from the Statue of Mother Armenia . Visit the Memorial complex to the Genocide Victims & Museum of the Medieval Armenian Culture – Matenadaran. Around noon drive to Giumri. En route visit the monastery complex of Hovhannavank, perched on the edge of a precipitous gorge of the Kasakh River. Its silhouette dominates the adjacent village and raises sharp against the background of the mountains Aragats, Ara and Ararat. Overnight in Giumri, the second city of Armenia.
(B, L, D)
Day 11: Bakuriani
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Bavra border for Georgia and change of bus and driver. Continue sightseeing: explore the Samtskhe - Javakheti region, which is famous for important historical events, numerous fortresses, churches and old settlements. The road leads past arid and
stone-terraced landscapes and green valleys littered with centuries old fortresses. Visit Varzia Cave town, later transformed into a well defended monastery complex. Open air lunch at the complex. In the afternoon visit the Rabati Historical center and museum in Akhaltsikhe. Dinner and overnight at hotel In the mountain resort town of Bakuriani.
(B, L, D)
Day 12. Kutaisi
Breakfast at hotel. Explore Imereti province, with its cool springs, green fields, and delicate, manicured gardens. It is here that you find the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Colchis - Kutaisi,. famous for a special kind of ‘khachapuri’, the cheese-bread unique to Georgia.En route short stop in Borjomi, to taste local mineral water and lunch at alocal restaurant. In the afternoon visit the pottery village of Shrosha as a guest of a local craftmen. In the evening enjoy walking tour of Kutaisi. Dinner and Overnight in Kutaisi.
(B, L, D)
Day 13. Batumi
Breakfast at hotel. Morning visit to important religious sites of Kutaisi and its surroundings - Gelati monastery and architectural complex, Bagrati Cathedral - (11th c) coronation and burial place of Georgian kings,and Motsameta church. Around noon drive to Batumi, enjoying the views of the subtropical landscape,tea plantations and orange orchards. Lunch en route. Arrive Batumi and checki nto hotel. In the evening enjoy walking tour along the sea side boulevard and port. Dinner at a local restaurant.
(B, L, D)
Day 14. Batumi
Breakfast at hotel.Morning walking tour in Batumi Botanical Garden and visit History Museum. After lunch with traditional nave shaped “khashapuri”, free time to rest and relax. Farewell drinks and
dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Batumi.
(B, L, D)
Day 15: Departure
Breakfast at hotel. Visit Batumi agricultural market and the Gonio archeological site
and museum. Proceed to adjara wine house for lunch. En route visit medieval Tamar Bridge.After lunch drive to Batumi airport for departure.
This itinerary is correct at the time of issue and in good faith but is liable to change at any time or place for any reason.
(B- Breakfast, L- Lunch, D- Dinner)
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating
At times local life here will be familiar to that of back home, and at times very different. Services are available most of the time, English may not be the native language, and there may be some cultural differences.
These trips are a relaxing break. You don't have to worry about doing anything physically demanding unless you want to.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
Selections of optional activities are available and tour leader will brief you on it, these activities can be taken at your personal expense and shall be paid directly. Please do not hesitate to ask the tour leader for it.
The official currency of Georgia is Georgian Lari (GEL).
The official currency of Armenia is Armenian Dram (AMD).
The official currency of Azerbaijan is Azerbaijani Manats (AZN).
The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which are readily available in most towns.
Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful.
While traveller's cheques have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. The use of credit cards is also an option, mainly to major hotels/establishments.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many destinations. We recommend that all tips are given to the intended recipient by a group leader, from the Tip Kitty.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
HOT/ COLD WEATHER:
Heat and humidity during summer (Apr-Jun) in India can be particularly oppressive with temperatures reaching 45 degrees C/113 degrees F.
For instant weather updates please check this
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 5. Please note that anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
This trip is operated by our Local partners – Georgia.
Maximum of 22 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation however, we have single supplement options. We will try our level best to adjust you with any other solo traveler, but if not please be prepared to pay single supplement.
Travelers opting for single supplement will be provided Single room at all places.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will take you to restaurants to try during your trip. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company.
Please Note: The brochure prices for the tour include all the meals as per itinerary.
All meals as per itinerary
Private Bus, Domestic Flights.
All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Irregular Tours endeavors to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Irregular tours we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
Qafqaz hotel Azerbaijan
34 Tbilisi Ave, Bakı AZ1122, Azerbaijan
PH: +994 12 404 31 60
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Batumi, Coastside Central, 75 Gorgiladze (Former Era) Str.
Tel/Fax:+995 4 22 22 24 00, +995 599 555075, +995 597 555075
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
As we are covering 3 different countries and all of them have different visa regulations and policies, thus we advise you to consult your travel agent in advance.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavor to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 15kgs.
During the wildlife drives in open jeeps/canter (especially from October to mid March) it can be rather chilly so please pack warm clothing. It may also be a good idea to take a smart casual outfit for an evening out.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 liter plastic bottle takes 2 liters of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Irregular tours reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safekeeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Irregular tours itinerary, and Irregular tours makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you be covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also cover personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and your leader has seen the insurance company’s 24-hour emergency contact number.
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimize the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.
Evening boat cruise on Caspian Sea
Ateshga, the sacred Zoroastrian fire temple
Yanar Dag the Flaming Mountain
Drive to Kakheti along the “Wine Route” through beautiful vinyards
Travel the Georgian Military High-way over high mountain passes
Drive through the picturesque Avan Canyon in Armenia,Khor Virap a romantically sited monastery
Wine tastings and gourmet local foods with warm hopitality in all three countries
Drive along the Black Sea coast
4. All this is included
Arrival and departure transfers Accomodation for 14 nights in first class hotels
Full board basis throughout
Deluxe air-conditioned transportation English speaking licenced guides in each country
All entrance fees as per itinerary
Porterage at hotels and airport Accompanied by experienced tour manager at all times