Expert-Led Group Tour

Armenia and Georgia Group Tour - The Caucasian Silk Route

13 days

from £3,495pp
  • Discover exceptional religious art and architecture from a diverse range of archaeological sites
  • Explore ancient cave cities, hill top monasteries and examine exquisite ancient frescoes
  • Enjoy the dramatic landscapes of the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains and stunning desert vistas
  • Sample the region's delicious food and innumerable wines, along with its renowned hospitality

Beginning in the shadow of Mount Ararat, travel from the world famous illuminated manuscripts in Yerevan to the staggering religious architecture of Sanahin and Haghpat. En route visit the pilgrimage site of Echmiadzin and the vast mountain lake of Sevan with its ever-changing colours and shades of blue.

Crossing over into Georgia, land of Jason and the Argonauts, discover dramatic, unspoilt scenery peppered with fascinating historical and religious sites. Spend time amidst the beautiful alpine scenery of Kazbegi where Tsminda Sameba Church sits in its hilltop location beneath the towering peaks of Mount Kazbek. From Tbilisi's Metekhi Citadel to the rock-cut monasteries of Gareja, explore Georgia's magnificent art and architecture. Georgia is fast gaining a reputation for excellent food and wine so there will be ample opportunity to sample this side of the country's rich character. 

WHY SHOULD I JOIN THIS GROUP TOUR?

For the addition of the expertise of Ian Colvin, as well as the opportunity to travel with like-minded individuals.   

"Ian Colvin was knowledgeable, kind, diligent and most helpful." C Craig, Armenia and Georgia Group Tour.

IS THIS GROUP TOUR SUITABLE FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Expert.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

WHAT IS THE ACCOMMODATION LIKE IN ARMENIA AND GEORGIA?

Luxury hotels in Armenia are not to the same standard as those of other more developed countries within Europe. The capital city of Yerevan offers a larger selection and therefore a slightly higher standard to accommodation outside of the main city, which is more basic. 

Georgia hotels range from cosy boutique options to modern design accommodation and to the more unique.

HOW FIT SHOULD I BE TO ENJOY THIS TOUR?

You do not need to be particularly fit to participate, there are no long walks involved but there will be a certain number of stone steps and uneven surfaces.

WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE IN ARMENIA AND GEORGIA?

There is a huge variety of food in both countries. 

Armenian specialities feature a variety of local cheeses, flat Lavash bread, sweet Lavash made from fruits, Khoravats (barbecues), Dolma (stuffed vine leaves), Kartofel (raisin and apricot pilaf rice dish) and Kyufta (veal meatballs cooked with cognac). 

Georgian local specialities include Khachapuri (cheese pies), Khinkali (meat dumplings) and Lobio (bean stew with herbs and spices). There are many sauces made from walnuts to accompany cheese or meat dishes. Churchekhela - walnuts in solid grape juice is a typical local sweet.

WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE LIKE in Georgia in may?

Not excessively hot, clear sunny days, but when travelling in the mountainous areas the weather can vary. The best time to travel to Armenia and Georgia is generally during the months of May, June and September, as it is neither too hot nor too cold.



Departing on:
  • 2nd May 2019

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
2nd May 2019 14th May 2019 £ 3,495 £ 450 £ 575 Ian Colvin Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 lunches, 12 Dinners
  • Accompanied by Ian Colvin throughout
  • All transfers and transportation throughout
  • Entrance Fees to sites mentioned
  • Gratuities for local guide, driver and porters
  • Local English speaking guide throughout
  • One nights accommodation in Borjomi
  • One night's accommodation in Kazbegi
  • One night's accommodation in Vardzia
  • Three nights accommodation in Tbilisi
  • Three nights accommodation in Yerevan
  • Two nights accommodation in Dzoraget

what is excluded

  • Drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • International Flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Visa's (when necessary)

TO ALLOW FLEXIBILITY, OUR GROUP TOURS DO NOT INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS AS STANDARD. WE CAN ARRANGE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS ON YOUR BEHALF AND THE ABOVE IS AN INDICATION OF COST, BASED ON RETURN FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM LONDON. ALL INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

Collapse all
Day 1

No meals included today other than food on the flight


You will be staying at Historic Yerevan Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Full Day's Sightseeing
Visit the Genocide Memorial and Museum. With breath-taking views over the capital city, it is a solemn reminder of a harsh and little-known period of the country's history. The names of many who lost their lives are inscribed on the memorial wall.

Continue to the National Library, the Matenadaran, with its illuminated Armenian manuscripts. Dating from the 6th century onwards, these are unique artefacts from the Golden Age of Armenian culture. The collection includes 17,000 manuscripts covering many areas of the arts and sciences.

As you travel around the city, you may also see Republic Square, the Opera House, the Cascade and Parliament Avenue.

Yerevan is the capital city of Armenia. Both the cultural and administrative centre of the country, it is a city overlooked by the commanding Mount Ararat just across the border in neighbouring Turkey. At the city's heart is the attractive and colourful Republic Square, home to some of the capital's most beautiful architecture, and invigorated by its famous illuminated dancing fountains.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


You will be staying at Historic Yerevan Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Full Day Sightseeing of Geghard, Garni and Khor Virap
An hour’s drive along a winding road through the green hills above Yerevan, is the superb Roman temple at Garni. Dating from the 2nd century BC it was once a pagan Temple of the Sun and also part of a palace complex for the Armenian Kings. It is spectacularly situated on a cliff top above a deep and craggy gorge.
Twenty minutes further on is the monastery of Geghard, a unique architectural construction partially carved out of the adjacent mountain and surrounded by cliffs. A World Heritage site, the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator. Geghard means ’the Holy Lance’ and the lance in question is said to be that used to pierce Jesus’s side as he hung on the cross and is now housed at Echmiadzin.

Also visit Khor Virap Monastery, which rests atop a small hill. Famous for being built on top of the pit in which St. Gregory spent 13 years imprisoned, this pilgrimage site has stunning views of Mount Ararat.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


You will be staying at Historic Yerevan Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 4

Drive from Yerevan to Dzoraget (Road Journey)


Depart Yerevan and travel overland to Dzoraget visiting a number of sites en route.

Echmiadzin, meaning 'the coming of the Only Begotten', is the seat of the Armenian Patriarch and a place of pilgrimage. Legend has it that Jesus Christ descended from heaven to indicate the perfect location for a church and this is now the seat of the Supreme Catolicos of the Armenians. Inside the main church you can see what are (allegedly) the Holy Lance and a piece of Noah's Ark.

Lake Sevan is well known for the many different colours that the water turns, depending on the weather, which can change rapidly. Rolling mist can often be seen racing down the hills that surround the lake. Two churches, part of Sevan Monastery (Sevanavank) on the edge of Lake Sevan, Arakelots (874 AD) and Astvatsatin, now sit on a peninsula rather than the island on which they were built, after over irrigation by the former Soviet authorities. Walk up to the churches and beyond to the summit for wonderful 360 degree-views of the lake and surrounding land.

Dilijan is known as 'The Switzerland of Armenia' - take a walk through this picturesque village with its wooden buildings.

Next, visit Haghartsin Monastery. Located 18 kilometres north of the town of Dilijan, in the Canyon of Haghartsin River and nestled in a picturesque woodland setting, the monastery here is one of the leading cultural centres of medieval Armenia.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


You will be staying at Tufenkian Avan Dzoraget Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 5

Visit Haghpat and Sanahin
Spend the day exploring the surrounding area in particular visiting Haghpat and Sanahin monasteries. Drive to the Lori Region to see Haghpat Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built on a high plateau amidst low structures, it stands out against the background of steeply forested slopes. The ensembles are complemented by small churches built near them. Among them are churches and chapels, four annexes, sepulchres, bell-towers, the building of the Academy, book depositories, refectories, galleries, bridges and other monumental structures.

Also visit Sanahin Monastery. The name Sanahin literally translates from Armenian as "this one is older than that one", presumably representing a claim to having an older monastery than the neighbouring Haghpat. The two villages and their monasteries are similar in many ways and lie in plain view of each other on a dissected plateau formation, separated by a deep "crack" formed by a small river flowing into the Debed river.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


You will be staying at Tufenkian Avan Dzoraget Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 6

Drive from Dzoraget to Vardzia (Road Journey)


Today depart Dzoraget and travel overland to the border with Georgia. Before leaving Armenia visit the cities of Gyumri, Vanadzor and Spitak. Gyumri is the second city of Armenia and has a distinct look, style and dialect. Upon arrival at the border, you will be met by your Georgian guide and change transportation to continue your trip to Georgia.

Note: Each traveller will need to clear immigration with Georgian officials. No visa is required for EU passport holders. Once across the border drive to Vardzia, a thirteen storey cave town built between 1186-9 by Georgia's famous Queen Tamar. It stands as a unique example of the Georgian renaissance in an area of many medieval sites. En route to Vardzia take a photo-stop at Khertvisi Fortress.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


You will be staying at Vardzia Resort Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 7

Drive from Vardzia to Borjomi (Road Journey)


Travel overland to Akhaltsikhe and visit the recently restored 13th century Rabati Castle. Continue onto Borjomi and visit the 13th Century Timotesubani church.


Romanov Palace
After settling into your hotel visit the Romanov Palace (exterior only). which was designed by Leopold Bilfeldt as a summer mansion for Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich of Russia.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


You will be staying at Hotel Borjomi Likani, bed and breakfast

Day 8

Drive from Borjomi to Kazbegi (Road Journey)


Today travel overland to Kazbegi via the town of Gori. Famous as the birthplace of J. Stalin, visit Stalin's Museum before proceeding to the 17th Century Aten Sioni church. Lunch will be taken at Nick Vacheishvili's Winery (former Minister of Culture).

After lunch, travel north on the Georgian Military Highway towards Kazbegi, driving over the Jvari (Cross) Pass (2,395 metres) and down into Kazbegi (1,700 metres).


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


You will be staying at Rooms Hotel Kazbegi, bed and breakfast

Day 9

Sameba Church and Sno Valley
Surrounded by vast mountains, Kazbegi is a picturesque settlement overlooked by the biggest peak of all - Mount Kazbek (5,047 metres) - one of the six 5,000 metre peaks of the Caucasus. Change transport on to the local 4x4 vehicles to drive up to the Sameba (Trinity) Church at Gergeti which dates back to the 14th century. This is the main attraction in the area and is well worth the effort. It takes approximately half an hour in a 4x4 each way. Views of the mountains can be seen from the church including the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains in the distance.

In the afternoon drive to Sno Valley to see the stone heads carved by a local artist. Continue onto Dariali Canyon on the Georgian-Russian border.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


You will be staying at Rooms Hotel Kazbegi, bed and breakfast

Day 10

Travel from Kazbegi to Tbilisi


Today depart for Tbilisi visiting various sites en route. Ananuri Fortress (16th - 17th centuries) was the one-time home of the tyrannical Aragvi dynasty and occupies a wonderful location overlooking the Aragvi Valley and Zhinvali Reservoir. Following the dramatic Aragvi River Valley continue on towards Mtskheta, the capital of the Georgian Kingdom of Iberia between 500 BC and 500 AD. The town lies in a lush valley at the confluence of two rivers, the Aragvi and the Mtkvari. Mtskheta was founded 2,000 BC. Georgians adopted Christianity in the 4th century and thereafter Georgians, Byzantines, Persians, Arabs and Mongols traded control of the territory until the Russian annexation in the 19th century. It is overlooked by the marvellously simple church of Jvari (6th century), a perfect example of early Georgian Christian architecture. Also visit Svetitsikhoveli Cathedral (11th century), Georgia's largest remaining cathedral and burial place of the Georgian Kings, notably members of the Bagrationi family. It has an extraordinary interior combining paintings, frescoes and a domed chapel used for the Christmas service. They are both UNESCO sites.


The largest city in Georgia by a considerable distance, Tbilisi can justifiably claim to be the heart of the country. Squeezed between mountain ranges, the city fills the Mtkvari river valley. Having been the capital of Georgia for more than 1,500 years, in some form or another, Tbilisi is rich in history. However, as a city that hints at a new-found wealth, Tbilisi is undoubtedly changing. New building projects have added a touch of glamour to this historic city and contrast with the narrow streets, unchanged religious buildings and caravanserais of the old town.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


You will be staying at City Avenue Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 11

Full Day Sightseeing of Tbilisi
Start your city tour of Tbilisi with visits to the Old Town - the original settlement of Tbilisi with its winding roads, alleys and pretty wooden balconies. Also visit Metekhi Church standing proudly above the river on a cliff-top, the Sulphur baths (Abanotubani) which, according to legend are responsible for giving the city its name and for the king Vakhtang Gorgasali's (5th century) decision to move the capital from Mtskheta. The impressive ruins of Narikala Fortress sit proudly above the Old Town and are a landmark of the city, as well as offering excellent views. Sioni Cathedral is the beating-heart of Georgian Orthodoxy and Anchiskhati Church is a more ancient style of Georgian church with a choir to match - if lucky we will witness a service at this church. The State Museum of Georgia houses an extraordinary collection of gold filigree work dating from the 6th century BC, among other items of repoussé work and jewellery.

End the day with visit to Sameba (Holy Trinity) Cathedral. In the evening, board the Funicular - the upper station of the railway, built in 1903 takes you to the Panoramic Park with spectacular views of the city.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


You will be staying at City Avenue Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 12

Visit to Gareji
Today visit David Gareji Monastery. Located in semi-desert surroundings, the monasteries were founded in the 6th Century. Visit Lavra and Peristsvaleba monasteries before walking up to Udabno Monastery to explore some of the fine frescoes dating from the 8-13th centuries.

Note: The path to Udabno is unlikely to be suitable for everyone as it is a steep climb on an uneven, rough path. You should wear sensible footwear and proceed carefully. As a guide, it will take about 40 minutes to walk up, about the same to see the caves and walking back to the car will take 45 minutes. Please be aware that this area is renowned for having a high population of snakes.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included


You will be staying at City Avenue Hotel, bed and breakfast

Day 13

Rustaveli Avenue
The morning is at leisure. You may wish to take a walk along Rustaveli Ave, a 1,500 metre-long street lined with elegant Renaissance and neoclassical buildings as well as the city's most important theatres and the Opera House.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Rooms Hotel Kazbegi

Rooms Hotel Kazbegi

Nestled amid the spectacular high Caucasus Mountains, Rooms Kazbegi is a former Soviet resort turned stunning design hotel offering a luxurious stay and distinctive hospitality....

View Accommodation

Hotel Borjomi Likani

Hotel Borjomi Likani

Surrounded by low alpine scenery, Hotel Borjomi Likani offers 151 comfortable rooms, all with views of the surrounding mountains....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Armenia

Joe Parkes, Travel Expert

"It was extremely helpful to work in conjunction with Joe and his much more up to date knowledge of India and arrive at an itinerary which we were happy with. We enjoyed the whole trip and probably what made it special for us was the fact that all the arrangements worked so well and we really didn’t have to worry about anything at all. Even when we decided to make a small change it was dealt with efficiently and promptly. We can't think of anything that would have made our trip more enjoyable."

"The service from start to finish has been excellent. Joe was very quick to respond to any queries and put together an excellent itinerary at short notice."

"A pleasure to deal with Joe. Efficient, helpful, knowledgeable and fun!"

Read More

Katie Benden, Travel Expert

"Katie was brilliant and very helpful. Helped to put together the itinerary I was dreaming of for my honeymoon and she was excellent with communication."

"Very happy with Katie Benden. Great service – always prompt reply to queries and always polite, attentive and informative. A wonderful holiday."

Read More

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour expert

Ian Colvin

Ian Colvin
Ian Colvin is a historian and researcher at the University of Cambridge who works on the South Caucasus, Byzantium and Sasanian Iran. Alongside work for the School Classics Project, he is Director of the Anglo-Georgian Archaeological Expedition to the important site of Nokalakevi in Samegrelo, West Georgia--a project he established in 2001 in collaboration with the Georgian National Museum. He speaks and reads Georgian and has been known to supervise for the Near East in the Age of Justinian and Muhammad course (History Faculty).
Enquire about this Expert Led tour:

Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 15

Tour Expert:

Ian Colvin

Departure Date (S):

  • 2nd May 2019

  • Moderate Activity - The tour may occasionally involve slightly longer walks, but nothing over 4 hours. The tour will involve visits to a variety of sites throughout the duration of the itinerary and be at a moderate pace.


Holiday Ideas in Armenia

You are unique, so we believe your holiday should be too.

We listen to what you want and create a personalised itinerary tailored around you.

Your holiday. Your experience. Your way.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Call our Travel Experts on +01285 880 980
Start Your Journey
 

Expertise

  • Established for over 25 years creating journeys across 100 destinations worldwide
  • Exclusive access to the best private guides

PRICING

  • We negotiate the best rates with hotels and expert guides
  • Be protected from fluctuations in exchange rates

RESPONSIBLE STEPPES

  • Each time you travel with us we donate £5 to a local charity in the UK and £10 to an international charity

Fully Protected

  • Your monies are financially protected
  • 24/7 Emergency UK contact whilst abroad
 

Featured in the Press

Financial Times
The Telegraph
Sunday Times logo
CNT
Wanderlust

Our Partners

African Parks
Galapagos Conservation Trsut
OF_Primary_Logo_Tan
Restless Development
Save The Rhino
Tusk Trust
World Land Trsut
Gorilla Doctors
 

© Steppes Travel, 51 Castle St, Cirencester, GL7 1QD, United Kingdom