Georgia and Armenia Adventure
Head deep in the Caucasus on an 11-day extravaganza around the sights of Georgia and Armenia. Discover the religious significance of Yerevan and the ancient stone-carved monasteries dotted around the countryside, visit the historic and cultural hub of Tbilisi, head to the highlands in Gudauri, dabble in Georgia’s acclaimed wine scene in Telavi and get a masterclass in traditional cuisine. With home-cooked meals, local guided walks and free time aplenty, you’d be hard pressed to find a pair of countries so rich with things to see, yet so far from the usual tourist map. Time to put it on yours.
Ages: 15 - 99
Accommodation: Hotel (8 nights), Guesthouse (2 nights)
Barheev! Welcome to Armenia. This evening, there will be an important welcome meeting, usually at 6 pm, where you’ll meet your group leader and fellow travellers. After the meeting, why not ask your leader where you can find some traditional Armenian food, like khoravat (Armenian barbecue) or basturma (cured beef).
Today, head with your group leader on a city tour of Yerevan. Armenia’s vibrant capital has a great mix of ancient culture and tradition with the contemporary feel. Begin at Republic Square, and then head to the Cafesjian Center – an open-air museum of modern art. Here you’ll also get a great view of downtown after climbing the stairs to Victory Park. Continue on to Freedom Square – a lively city hub with its ornate Opera House sitting at the centre. You’ll have lunch at a traditional museum-café built by Lusik Aguleci – a lover of Armenian antiques and all things local and handmade. Enjoy a traditional meal here and take a look around to see exhibits of national costumes, carpets and rugs and other traditional Armenian wares. Afterwards, return to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon.
After breakfast, make tracks for the south of Armenia. You’ll first head to the Khor-Virap monastery, which is of great religious importance in Armenia, having been adopted to Christianity in AD301, and is near the site of where Noah cast the anchor for his Ark. In clear weather, you may be lucky to take a great shot of the snow-capped Ararat Mountain. Continue on to the seventh century Zvartnots Ruins, which is listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Stop for lunch at a local home owned by Mrs Zara – a former TV host, who will share her secrets of traditional Armenian cooking, preparing the traditional tolma (similar to dolmades). On your way driving back to Yerevan for a free evening, check out a handmade rug factory – the designs are beautifully intricate.
This morning, head to the Geghard Monastery, a magnificent and unique structure partially carved out of rock. Interestingly, Armenia was the first to adopt Christianity as a state religion, and these medieval churches and monasteries have stood the test of time to show the country’s deep religious history. If you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy a live choir performance of Armenian spiritual songs inside the monastery. Today, you will also visit the Hellenistic Garni Temple and the medieval Sevanavank Monastery, set on the banks of the pristine Lake Sevan. In the afternoon, head north to Dilijan, considered the ‘little Switzerland’ of Armenia because of its lush green fields and crisp air. Enjoy a chilled-out evening in your guesthouse.
Take a short city tour with your group leader around Dilijan, passing the artisan workshops in Sharambeyan Street. Continue to Fioletovo village not far away and be treated with some ‘perozhki’ (traditional savoury buns) while listening to your host talk about their daily life and the unique cultures and traditions of this region. Drive on to the humble stone structure of the Haghpat Monastery, which was used as an educational centre for Armenian scientists and scholars in the Middle Ages. Afterwards, you’ll head to the Armenia–Georgia border on your way to Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi.
Stock up on brekky and embark on a sightseeing tour of Tbilisi. Tbilisi is a city of colour, of old and new, and your tour this morning will give you a glance of its history from the early centuries AD to now, through its sights and diverse architecture. You’ll also pass by the renowned 19th century houses of multicoloured balconies, synonymous with the Tbilisian skyline. Take a panoramic cable car ride from Rike Park up to the Narikala Fortress, then wander down to the sulfur baths, which are set on the thermal springs that give the Georgian capital its name. After your guided tour, have a free afternoon to relax, perhaps with a spa treatment!
This morning, visit the ancient capital and religious centre of Mtskheta and its historical sites, including the sixth century Jvari Monastery 11th-century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Continue on to the town of Gori in the heart of Kartli region. Visit the ancient Uplistsikhe Cave Town – a rock-hewn dwelling where the Great Silk Road used to pass. You’ll spend the night at the ski resort town of Gudauri.
Embark on a stunning drive from Gudauri along the Tergi River to Stepantsminda. Here you’ll take a leisurely two-hour walk through the beautiful valleys and woodlands to the Gergeti Trinity Church, located at 2170 metres above sea level. Depending on the weather, you may even catch a glimpse of one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus – Mt Kazbegi. Head back down to Gudauri, and enjoy lunch with a local family, watching how cheese is made. Enjoy a night to relax and catch up with your travel friends with an included dinner.
Travel on to the Kakheti region, renowned for its wine-making and welcoming hospitality. Your drive today is quite scenic, so soak up all of the Georgian countryside and its myriad of greens, reds and browns. Arrive in the regional centre of Telavi, where you’ll take a visit to the historic Tsinandali – an old estate and vineyard-turned-museum welcoming guests to walk in the gardens and see the quaint house. Tonight, you’ll stay nearby in a guesthouse, with a group dinner provided.
This morning check out the local farmers market in Telavi before driving to the hilltop fortified town of Sighnaghi, which has been preserved to its original image and now offers visitors stunning views of the surrounding Caucasus Mountains. Visit the fourth century Bodbe Monastery, before making your way back to Tbilisi for some free time this afternoon. As you didn’t have much time previously, perhaps you’d like to book yourself in for a visit to the sulfur baths in town and learn what all the fuss is about with this ancient ritual. Otherwise, take a wander down the Mtkvari River, past the modern Pike Concert Hall and Public Service Hall. Tonight, why not get your travel crew together for a celebratory dinner – your group leader will know of some good spots to head to.
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time.
- Kakheti- Bodbe Monastery
20 Tigran Mets Avenue
Phone: +374 10540708
Fax: +374 10545000
10 Mefsalmune David King street Metekhi Turn
Phone: +995 32 2 74 71 85
A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
This trip starts in Armenia, and finishes in Georgia, you will need to consider this when booking airfares. Road transfers between Yerevan and Tbilisi are available for booking and take approximately 4 hours.
Please note there is a chance of potential changes to the itinerary due to weather at higher altitudes, which often affect roads and bridges, making travel difficult or impossible (particularly in remote areas).
Day 8 of this trip can involve a lot of walking. Please ensure you bring sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothes. You'll need a good level of fitness for this hike. The distances may not be long, but the altitude makes it much harder than your average uphill hike. The going will be slow as your body adjusts. Alternative 4WD transport can be organised on this day if you don't want to hike
Altitudes experienced during this trip are up to 2200m above sea level.
All Intrepid 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. Intrepid endeavours 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 Intrepid 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.
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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery 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 or relax and take it easy. While your 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 Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.
Many countries including Australia, New Zealand, UK and the USA are no longer required to obtain a visa for visits to Armenia up to 180 days in duration.
Nationalities requiring a visa to enter Armenia are listed in the drop down menu on the following link and subsequent application for E-Visas are available. https://evisa.mfa.am/check-eligibility
Please use the address of your finishing point hotel for the Contact Information in Armenia. You will need to upload a scanned passport sized photo and a passport copy to complete your application.
In the case that the website is down, it may be possible to obtain a visa on arrival at the land border. Please check http://www.mfa.am/en/visa/ for the list of nationalities that are allowed to apply visa on arrival.
Most nationalities do not currently require a visa for Georgia, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, USA & all EU member states for stays of up to 30 days. The full list of countries and terms can be found on the official Ministry of Foreign Affairs website - https://www.geoconsul.gov.ge/en/visaInformation
Why we love it
Check out the amazing religious monuments of Armenia – the first country in the world that adopted Christianity as a state religion.
Learn the art of tolma – spiced meat wrapped in vine leaves – at a special lunch masterclass in Armenian cuisine.
Walk through the old city of the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, on a guided tour. You’ll see modern structures and an urban café scene mashed with medieval architecture and cobbled lanes.
Enjoy a glass or two of the locally produced wine and learn about the unique Qvevri tradition of using clay pots used to create delicious, unﬁltered and organic drop.
Take a hike in the striking Caucasus mountains to perhaps one of the best positioned Churches in Europe – Gergeti Trinity Church. If the altitude does not leave you gasping, the views will!
Is this trip right for you
This trip starts in Yerevan, Armenia and finishes is in Tbilisi, Georgia. Please consider the itinerary when arriving and booking an onward journey, with airfares or other travel arrangements.
This trip can involve a reasonable amount of walking. Please ensure you bring sturdy walking shoes and comfortable clothes. To make the most of the trip, it's best if you have at least a moderate level of fitness. If you would prefer to sit out the hike in the Caucasus mountains, you can rent a 4WD taxi at your own expense.
The diversity of the seasons here makes for incredible scenery, but the weather in this region can be unpredictable. It’s best to wear layers at all times of the year in case conditions change during the day. At night the temperature can really drop, so bring your warm clothes. Weather in the Caucasus does vary and there may occasionally be itinerary changes due to road closures.
Some of the roads in Armenia and Georgia, particularly when visiting villages, can be a little rough. This may mean that some of the journeys could take a little longer than expected.
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, Intrepid Travel 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 before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. 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 three litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip:
Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
During your trip.
While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.
Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
Food and dietary requirements
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. 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. There's no obligation to do this though.
Vegetarians might find the menu selection less varied than they would see at home. Vegetarianism is not as common in this region and choices may be limited to soups, salads, bread, cheese, fruit, yoghurt, eggs etc. Vegans will find this region very challenging and may need to supplement meals with their own supplies from supermarkets and markets. Wherever possible we will cater for dietary needs for included meals, but there may be times when those with special requirements may need to provide their own.
When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).
We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.
The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.
The Armenian national currency is the dram. Paper notes are issued in denominations of 500, 1.000, 5.000, 10.000, 20.000 and 50000 Dram. Coins replace all banknotes less than 500 dram (10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500).
Georgian Lari is the official currency of Georgia. 100 tetri = 1 lari. Coins are issued in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 & 50 tetri, as well as 1 & 2 lari.
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, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.
Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller suitcases or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps or handles.
If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks.
A lockable bag or small padlock will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.
You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.
Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip.
- Clothing: a mixture of lightweight and dry fast clothing and warm layers are recommended essential for travelling in this region. Long shirts, pants, scarves are useful for covering shoulders & knees when visiting religious sites.
- Shoes: sturdy and comfortable shoes for walking long distances are essential.
- Personal travel documents inc. your passport (visa), travel insurance, fight tickets and trip notes. Photo copies of your passport and visa, passport size photos and travel insurance will be handy. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
- small first aid kit including items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent, and essential medicine depending on your doctors advice.
- Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card and money belt
- Sun protection like hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses.
- Refillable water bottle (1.5 litre capacity suggested): 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 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
- Cell phone, camera with spare batteries, charger, and adapter plug
- Hand wash, travel wipes, toiletries and small towel
- Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)
- Torch or flash light esp. for stay at local guesthouses or home stays
- Sleeping bag. Useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec - Feb when temperatures are low.
- Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather.
- Ear plugs to guard against street noise and snorers.
- A good book, a journal and music player for overnight train rides and longer drives.
Other things to consider:
- Check weather in destinations you are travelling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing
- Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash
A couple of rules
Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.
Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.
The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.
By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.
If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.
GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP
While we always endeavour 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.
Intrepid's Local Operator: Georgia: +995 598 25 27 23 Armenia: :+374 43543313
Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.
Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
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 itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.
A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
Hotel (8 nights),Guesthouse (2 nights)
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11 Days from$2,050