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Grand tour in Caucasus: Georgia & Armenia new!!! (Unique experiences and unique meetings)

17 days/ 16 nights

We favor local sustainable development, the exchange and sharing of real values and the unique experience that our country offers !!!

Its an openhearted invitation to the world full of hidden gems, secret sights and authentic experiences!!

For you this program  is a genuine and rich experience. You get to know the local traditions, get involved in cultural and culinary activities and have the opportunity to meet the local people, local communities.

Open Detailed Descriptions
Day 1:

Arrival in Tbilisi. Meeting with the guide. Transfer to the hotel.

Day 2:

Tbilisi – Mtskheta - Tbilisi

Breakfast at the hotel. Tbilisi (literally "Warm Spring") is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari River, founded in the 5th century by Vakhtang Gorgasali. Tbilisi is a significant industrial, social and cultural centre of Georgia. Located strategically at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and lying along the historic Silk Road routes, Tbilisi has often been a point of contention between various rival powers and empires. The history of the city can be seen by its architecture.

Tbilisi sightseeing tour includes: Old town: Metechi church and the statue of king Vakhtang Gorgasali (founder of Tbilisi -5th century); Abanotubani, the ancient district of Tbilisi, known for its sulfuric baths; after Tbilisi Mosque and Synagogue, Narikala fortress; Sharden street, Sioni Cathedral, The Holy Trinity Cathedral, known as Sameba, which is the main Georgian Orthodox Cathedral listed among the largest Orthodox churches in the world; Shota Rustaveli Avenue, Agmashenebeli avenue.

  • Interesting workshop of making of the traditional Georgian enamel. This art representation has a centuries-old history and reached particular prominence in the Middle Ages.

Drive to Mtskheta, one of the oldest cities of Georgia, the capital of the early Georgian kingdom of Iberia during the 3rd century BC - 5th century AD and site of early Christianity. Visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century) and Jvari Monastery (6th century).

Dinner at the local restaurant.

O/n in Tbilisi. (B/-/D)

Day 3:

Kakhetia wine region - Sighnaghi ,, City of Love’’ - kvareli – Tsinandali –Telavi - Tbilisi

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to eastern part of Georgia Kakheti region, known almost exclusively for its vineyards and wineries. Visit Signagi, ancient city, also known as the City of Love, with stone-paved streets and the balconies in old - Georgian style. It is one of the beautiful towns of Kakheti region. At the elevation of about 790 m above sea level, the town overlooks the Alazani valley and faces the Greater Caucasus Mountains. The town is walled with the remnants of 18th century fortifications. The roots of Georgian viticulture have been traced back by archeology to at least 8000 BC. Up to 525 indigenous grape varieties are cultivated here and more then 25 are used in wine industry. The ancient Georgian tradition of Qvevri winemaking (clay vessel used for fermentation of wine) is listed as part of UNESCO Intangible Heritage.

Driver to Kvareli, visit “Khareba” winery located in the bank of Alazani Valley and carved in the rock of the Caucasus mountain range. This is a large and unique winery of the region offering tour inside of 7.7 km long tunnel Gvirabi. Tasting of different type of wines and chacha.

Lunch with local dishes.

  • Particpation of in the culinary course of ,,Shurchkhela’’, a famous Georgian sweet, which is a string of nuts dipped in grape juice and also baking Georgian bread.

Continue to Tsinandali. Visit the museum-house of aristocratic poet Alexander Chavchavadze. The complex embraces the memorial house, a landscape garden, a historical winery, wine cellar.

Drive back to Tbilisi.

O/n in Tbilisi. (B/L/-)

Day 4:

Tbilisi – Ananuri - Kazbeghi

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Ananuri (17th century), the castle complex overlooking beautiful Jinvali reservoir - located between the mountain peaks reflection of turquoise water creates impression of magic under the blue sky.

Drive along historical Georgian Military Road to Kazbegi by crossing the “Jvari Pass” (2379 m. above the sea level).

Hire locally 4X4 vehicles to get to Gergeti Holy Trinity Church, the remarkable monument of Georgian architecture, near the village of Gergeti, situated at an elevation of 2170 meters under Mount Kazbegi (elevation 5033).  

  • Visit the local family. Master class of cooking one of the national Georgian dishes ,,khinkali’. Dinner.

O/n in Kazbegi. (B/-/D)

Day 5:

Kazbegi – Uplistsikhe - Kutaisi

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Uplistsikhe (literally, “the lord's fortress”) is an ancient rock-hewn in eastern Georgia. It contains various structures dating from the Early Iron Ages to the Late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran as well as the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture.

Drive to Kutaisi, second larg city of Georgian. On the way visit Kumistavi Cave, also known as Prometheus Cave, one of Georgia’s natural wonders. The total length of the cave is about 11 km, of which 1060 m are open to visitors.

Dinner at the local community Mushroom Art House - "Nikvi's Communa" which has a mission to increase participation in economic and social life of women’s of the village of Kursebi providing job in mushroom farms, cooking and dining. Master class of local dish with Nikvi mushroom.

O/n in Kutaisi. (B/-/D)

Day 6:

Kutaisi – Borjomi

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Bagrati Cathedral, built in early 11th century, during the reign of King Bagrat III. The cathedral got its name after king Bagrat.

After visit Gelati monastery, one of the biggest religious, educational, scientific and philosophy centers of Georgia during the 12-13th centuries. The founding of Gelati is tied to the cultural renaissance of Georgia. In 1994, the Bagrati Cathedral, together with the Gelaty Monastery, was included in the UNESCO World heritage Site list.

Drive to Borjomi, the resort town in south-central Georgia. The town is famous for its mineral water industry (which is presently the number one export of Georgia). Walking in Borjomi Park till natural pond. Mineral water tasting.

Dinner at the hotel or local restaurant in Borjomi.

O/n in Borjomi. (B/-/D)

Day 7:

Borjomi - Vardzia - Akhaltiskhe

Breakfast at the hotel. Visit Vardzia (XII century), a cave town, one of the most important and impressive historic monuments in Georgia. Vardzia is located at the altitude of 1300 meters above sea level.

Lunch during the excursion at the local family.

Visit Akhaltsikhe fortress Rabati (XII century) that combined ortodox church, mosque, catholic church, Armenian church and Synagogue.

  • After visit nunnery, meeting with Sisters. Observation of different workshop: felt production, woodcarving, local ,,Tenili” cheese production and “Kada” bread baking.

O/n in Akhaltsikhe. (B/L/-)

Day 8:

Akhaltsikhe - Bavra – Gyumri

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Bavra border. Crossing the border formalities. Meeting with Armenian guide. Changing the bus. Trip to Armenia.

Drive to Gyumri, the second largest city in Armenia.

Optional: After or before the dinner possibility to meet Mr. Gagik Martirosyan, who offers Blacksmith Master Class in his studio in the restaurant. You will learn metalworking techniques from one of Armenia’s masters.

Dinner at the local restaurant.

O/n in Gyumri. (B/-/D)

Day 9:

Gyumri city tour- Yerevan

Breakfast at the hotel. City tour around Gyumri (Leninakan), distinguished by its unique folk traditions. It is one of the most hospitable cities of Armenia. Gyumri is the center of Armenian Catholics. Pope Francis during his stay in Armenia had celebrated a mass for the inhabitants of the city.

Drive along Gorki street, one of the longest streets in Gyumri, connecting the Railway station to the downtown. In this area you can find out the soviet period architectural heritage, the French school, jewelry and antique shops, typical neighborhoods etc. Arriving in the heart of the city center, Vardanants Square. Walk in historical district of Kumayri, important art center. Here are many cultural buildings with unique architectural style of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, made of Armenian red and black tuff with elegant iron-made adornments, wooden doors that creates cozy atmosphere of a typical Armenian city of those times.

Visit the Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Martyrs. Visit the Museum of National Architecture and Urban Life of Gyumri that presents crafts, public and cultural life of Alexandrapol from 50s of the 19th century to 20s of the 20th century. Apartments of crafters and reach people are staged and presented in the museum. The museum building was built in 1872 and is located in the center of Gyumri.

Visit local market. Continue the tour, visit the gallery of Eranuhi and Mariam Aslamazyan sisters called ,,Armenian Frida Kahlo’’ because of the aesthetics of her paintings. The building of gallery its art representation itself. It was Qeshishovs merchants famous family residence, constructed in the 80's of the 19th century with nice courtyard and wooden balcony. After walk in Gay street and you will impressed by 75-year-old Soviet-era decor and equipment barbershop.

Optional: Drive to Hatsik village to participate in master class of decoration of ceramic figures like dolls, plates etc. Meeting with Ms Gohar Petrosyan, the ceramic artist and very interesting person. You will take some ceramic sculpture and start to make the decorations according to own imagination. Meanwhile the art piece will dry you will have opportunity to have a discussion with Gohar around the hospital table with tea/coffee and local homemade dry fruits. You will take you art work with you as a souvenir.

Drive to Yerevan.

Dinner at the local restaurant.

O/n in Yerevan. (B/-/D)

Day 10:

Yerevan City tour

Breakfast at the hotel. City tour- Yerevan sightseeing including City center, Republic square, State University, City panorama, Mother Armenia Monument, Parliament, President’s Palace, Opera, Sports & Concert Complex.

Visit to the Genocide Memorial, dedicated to the Victims of 1915 and the Genocide Museum.

Visit to Matenadaran (depository for ancient manuscripts, the collection of which is one of the biggest in the world). This outstanding collection includes manuscripts dating from 7th century and is widely appreciated by history and art amateurs and professionals.

Visit to Cascade complex, which is considered the modern art center of Yerevan, with art pieces displayed throughout the whole area: the boulevard and up the stairs, from top of which you can enjoy the panoramic view on the city and Mountain Ararat. Cascade is home to Cafesjan modern art museum. This place becomes even more charming in the evenings, when it is full of people, both locals and tourists from all over the world, enjoying the magic and the warmth of the capital. You will enjoy spending tim e in one of the cozy open-air cafes surrounded by beautiful sculptures, redolent flowers shining brightly with magic colors. It is also a popular place for open air concerts at summer season.

Lunch at the local restaurant.

Visit Armenian Hand-made Carpet Factory. Excursion in the factory, watching handmade waiving process, introducing coloring technics with natural materials. Continue to the small museum of ancient carpets. Visit to Armenian central market.

Optional: Very interesting one hour tour around Armenian brandy factory offers tourists familiarization with the history of the plant, process of brandy preparation, showrooms and halls of storages. Visitors will also have degustation of 2 types of brandy in degustation hall. Brandy shop at the factory territory will be available for purchasing of these famous Armenian brandy directly from the factory.

O/n in Yerevan. (B/L/-)

Day 11:

Garni - Geghard

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to the only remaining pagan temple in Armenia devoted to the God of Sun – Myrth, in Garni, built in 77 AD by King Trdat (Arshakid Dynasty). Photo stop at Charentc Arc. The temple is Greco-Roman style with characteristic pillars. It stands proudly on a rocky ridge with a deep canyon presenting a beautiful view. The temple was a summer residence for Arshakid dynasty. Visit to the ruins of Royal Palace and Royal bath-house nearby. Canyon of Garni - magnificent and outstanding scene which creates the image of falling crags. It obtained the name "Symphony of Stones" due to its view. The fantastic landscape of Garni canyon shakes the human imagination.

  • Family hosted lunch in village house with watching of “Lavash” (Armenian traditional flat bread baked in stone-make oven) making process, tasting authentic Armenian food, get acquainted with local village life.

Drive to the unique caved monastery St. Geghard (12th -13th cc.), the name of which means “holy spear” in the honor of the long-preserved spear, the same spear that pierced the body of crucified Christ. It is now exhibited in the museum of Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Geghard Monastery is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list (2000).

Optional: Concert of liturgical songs in the monastery Geghard where amazing acoustics allows everyone to enjoy crystal-clear sounds.

Drive back to Yerevan.

O/n in Yerevan. (B/L/-)

Day 12:

Etchmiadzin - Zvartnots - Ara village

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Etchmiadzin City, which is used to be the ancient capital of Armenia. Since 4th century, it is the largest religious center, the residency of Catholicos of all Armenians. Etchmiadzin cathedral is one of the ancient churches in the Christian world, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List (2000). It is the center of Armenian Apostolic Church, founded in 301 A.D by St. Gregory the Illuminator. The museum of the Cathedral, located behind the Altar, has collection of religious artifacts about Holy Mass, subjects made of gold, silver, precious stones, decorations, colossal silver boiler for making the myrrh and legendary Holy spear.

  • Cooking master class at the local Family. You will be involved into making Armenian spaghetti ,,Arishta’’ and Armenian dessert ,, Gata’’. In Gata there will be opportunity to try a luck by placing a coin into cake, and later who gets the coin in his piece of gata, will have lucky and successful year (30 minutes). Lunch with variety of local dishes.

A trip to one of the architectural wonders of Armenia - Zvartnots temple (641-661 BC), that got its name from the word "Zwart", meaning "joyful and beautiful". The remaining ruins give an idea of the rare beauty of this temple. The temple is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (2000).

Optional: Drive to Ara village, visit to Nairian local bio cosmetic farm producing natural cosmetics using locally sourced ingredients from Armenian highlands. The excursion starts with walking through the garden rich with medical herbs and flowers, so called experimental garden, where different types of plants are grown, then observation of essential oil distillation process. Tour ends with a visit to the laboratory and production facility, meeting with local researchers who explain the process of cosmetic formulation, soap preparation from extracts of plants, cut and maturity, and show packaging process.

O/n in Yerevan. (B/L/-)

Day 13:

Khor Virap - Noravank - Areni Winery - Yeghegis

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Ararat valley. Visit to Khor Virap Church – the place of imprisonment of St. Gregory the Illuminator, who stayed here in the small dungeon for 13 years without any food, accused by the Armenian King of preaching Christianity. Khor Virap Church was built on the dungeon and now people have a chance to go down into the dark pit themselves. It is one of the holy places for the Christian world. It is also the best point to enjoy the most spectacular view of the gorgeous biblical mountain Ararat shining with its two white peaks. The hills adjoining Khor Virap were the site of the early Armenian capital - ancient Artashat built by King Artashes I, founder of the Artashesid dynasty, around 180 B.C. It is one of the few ancient towns, built by the special design of the famous Carthaginian general Hannibal. After the defeat in a war against Rome, he found shelter in Armenia.

Driving trough Areni village, one of the centers of wine production in Armenia. Recent archeological findings makes place worldwide famous. In September 2010, archaeologists discovered a 6,100-year-old 5 winery and wine cellar. Within the underground wine cellar, a wine press for stomping grapes, fermentation and storage containers, drinking cups, grape vines, skins, and seeds were found. This is the earliest winery and wine cellar found to date. The findings indicated large scale wine production, quite possibly the earliest retail winery. Short tour in the cave.

  • Continue to ,,Momik Wine Cube’’, family owned winery that has been growing and producing wine from the endemic Areni grape for more than 40-years. The family traditions of winemaking has been transferred from father to son and has become a part of their family culture. Meeting with Mr. Nver Ghazaryan who will present family traditions. Tourist will walk around the vineyards, enjoy wine tasting, degustation of 3 type of wines: Rosé, White and Red. Lunch with home made food will follow.

Extra service: There is an opportunity to participate in masterclass of ,,Khachkar’’ making, organized by wife of Mr Nver who is sculptor. Extra service: The master class of winemaking with old traditions can be arranged in September-October. The guest will participate in harvest followed by processing grapes in a traditional way.

Drive through the spectacular canyon between the red rocks toward Noravank Monastery (13th c.), that the visitors can not resist stepping out of the vehicle and walk all the way to the Monastery with their cameras to enjoy and record the unique bizarre-shaped precipitous red cliffs.

Optional: Take the 4x4 jeeps to drive Arpa (Gnishik) protected Landscape with the unique opportunity to observe the bezoar goats (Listed in the Red Data Book).

Departure to Yeghegis. Check in at the hotel. Dinner at the hotel. O/n in Yeghegis. (B/L/D)

Day 14:

Yeghegis – Jewish cemetery – Yeghegnadzor – Zorats Karer - Goris

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive the old settlement of Jewish community that came to Armenia from Persia in XIII - XIV cc. Tour around to the cemetery located nearby with 62 tombstones in Jewish and Aramaic languages, dated from the 50th of XIII century to the beginning of XIV century.

  • Drive to Yeghegnadzor visit the Collage art studio of Mr. Artyom. He will present his art techniques through a master class. Under Artyom’s guidance, visitors will glue pieces of fabric, plastic, feathers, dried flowers, nut shells and other collected and recycled objects onto a piece of cardboard according to their own imagination and taste. Once the glue has dried, the guests will start painting and varnishing their collages (40 minutes -1 hour).

Optional: Drive to the small family winery “Old Bridge”. It was established in 1998. The owner of winery Mr Armen Khalatyan will present the wine history in Armenia. His vineyards are located in five different geographical locations on the banks of the river Arpa, 1200-1300 m above sea level. This boutique winery is specialized in producing wine using Armenian grapes such as Areni, Voskehat, Kakheti varietals. Wine tasting (40 minutes -1 hour).

  • Cooking master class at local family Khalatyans. Miss Lilit Khalatyan will show the Armenian national dish ,,Tolma’’ making process. This is one of the most popular dish. It is made from three types of meat: pork, beef and lamb and grape leaves as well as cabbage leaves. Traditionally it is served with matsun and pounded garlic. There is also vegetarian dolma called "pasuts dolma", made from beans and cooked legumes. We will try to do Tolma with grape leaves and also in onion. This family is keeping the old receipt coming from the generation (40 minutes). Lunch with local food and tasting the Tolma.

Drive to Sisian, visit to Zorats Karer, which is proved to be one of the oldest, 7500 years old observatories in the world. Currently it stands as precisely arranges stones in the field with the holes that were used for astrological observations. The petroglyphs found nearby Karahunj proves that the early inhabitants in Armenia were well aware of astrology. Karahunj has been named by tourists “the Armenian Stonehendge”.

Departure to the south of Armenia, to the city of Goris noted for its unique architecture, surrounded by high rocks that likes the petrified forest.

Check in at the hotel.

O/n in Goris. (B/L/)

Day 15:

Goris - Shinuhayr - Zorats Karer -Selim Pass – Qavar - Sevan/ Tsakhadzor

Breakfast at the hotel. Continuation to the south part of Armenia. Ride on the longest ropeway ,,Tatever’’ in the world (5,7 km), recorded in Guinnes record book, over the canyons to the Monastery of Tatev. It is one of the unique and beautiful monasteries in Armenia. It is located on the steep of deep gorge surrounded with very strong settings. It was built during the 9-13th centuries as an Armenian intellectual center where philosophers, musicians, painters, calligraphers and monks lived. Tatev used to be a religious and political center of Syunik princedom.

  • Drive to Shinuhayr village, meeting with the representative of ,,Goris Women’s Development “Resource Centre” NGO which has a mission to increase women’s participation in economic and social life and create sustainable income opportunities. Visit '’Wool to Carpet'’ handicraft studio where there is an opportunity to watch a very unique traditional rural life experience such as wool washing, thread spinning by the traditional methods used by local women, carpet making process, stocking hand made waving process. Lunch in the garden of the studio with tasting the local food made by women of local community

Optional: Workshop in the garden of '’Wool to Carpet'’ handicraft Willow-Weaving with Mr Artur Petrosyan. Tourists will be involved in very interesting master class of learning to weave a willow basket, or wine-bottle holder, while exploring the his tory of willow weaving in Armenia. Guests will take own made masterpiece as a souvenir (30-40 minutes).

Drive to Sevan Lake, one of the greatest high mountainous freshwater lakes of Eurasia, via Selim pass. On a way visit Selim Pass Karavansaray, which was used for having a rest by Silk road caravans.

  • Visit local family cheese cellar in the village of Qavar. Presentation of preparation methods, participation in the cheese making process, tasting of unique and eco-friendly cheeses aged in Armenian brandy.

Arrival in Sevan/Tskhadzor.

Check in at the hotel.

O/n in Sevan/Tsakhadzor. (B/L/)

Day 16:

Sevan/ Tsakhadzor – Fioletovo - Dilijan (Haghartsin) - Yerevan

Breakfast at the hotel. Visit Sevanavank monastery, which stands in its greatness on the peninsula overlooking the lake for centuries.

  • On the route visit to the village of Moloques (Molokans), Fioletovo, set up by Russian religious community. Meet with a family to discover their unique lifestyle. Tasting specialties with a cup of tea made in "Samovar" (self-boiling, metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water) (40 minutes -1 hour).

Drive to mountainous resort Dilijan, or so called “Armenian Switzerland”, which is well-known for its forests as well as for its mysterious flora and fauna. During the drive you can enjoy the unbelievable change of the surrounding environment and land shaft from the mountainous lake to the green and rich forest mountains. Small walking city tour in Dilijan, visit to handicrafts’ street, where one can watch the preparation of different national souvenirs from wood, stone and ceramics.

Culinary master class at the restaurant ,,Tava’’ with Miss Varda Avetisyan. Very famous lady in Dilijan, who managed to open 4 restaurants in Dilijan with intention to keep and share the Authentic cuisine traditions of Armenia. You will have the opportunity to participate in culinary class of making the special dish of Armenian cuisine - "Ghapama". It is made from pumpkin staffed with layers of rice, chopped pumpkin, nuts and dried fruits. Indispensable during Armenian weddings, Ghapama used to represent young life full of abundance. Lunch with local specialties and tasting of Ghapama.

Visit to Haghartsin Monastery complex, located in the secluded place of the forest. Haghartsin dates back to 11-13th century and represent a magnificent piece of history, culture and architecture. The place is so unique and the scenery with the nature surrounding it is so breathtaking that most of visitors are in awe. Appearing unexpectedly, out of the dense forests, in front of the visitors, the Monastery creates a magical impression of a lost world. Complex includes Church St. Stepanos, St. Mary and St. Gregory’s Church, as well as famous refectory.

Drive to Yerevan.

O/n in Yerevan (B/L/)

Day 17:

Transfer to the airport. Departure