Caucasus Explorer - Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan

Caucasus Explorer - Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan 1180 , 11 Days

The Caucasus - the region where Europe meets Asia, where dramatic nature landscapes meet thousands-of-years-old churches and where hearty fusion cuisine meets the oldest winemaking tradition in the world. Despite its incredible diversity and astoundingly rich history the area still remains one of the least explored parts of the world and is a real gem for off-the-beaten-path destinations seekers. On this tour you will explore the highlights of three countries - Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, each of them having its own specific charm and at the same time contributing to the overall allure of the region.

Highlights:
♦ Yerevan - the colorful capital of Armenia;
Khor Virap Monastery - connected to Gregory the Illuminator who introduced Christianity to Armenia;
♦ Dilijan - one of the most beautiful armenian cities, often referred to as the Little Switzerland by the locals.
♦ Mtskheta - ancient capital of Georgia and important religious centre;
Gergeti Holy Trinity church - an Orthodox church, one of the symbols of Georgia.
♦ Baku - the cosmopolitan capital of Azerbaijan, dubbed the Dubai of the Caucasus.

View Route Map

Itinerary:

Day 1. Arrival
Arrival at the Zvartnots airport Yerevan - the main international airport of Armenia. Pick up at the airport and transfer to the hotel. -/-/-

Day 2. Yerevan - Echmiadzin - Yerevan
In the morning, after meeting the guide and the rest of the group, we start our city tour of the Armenian capital. After exploring the highlights of the city, we will head to our first stop of the day - the town of Etchmiadzin. It is known as Armenia's spiritual center and one of the centres of Christianity all over the world. The original cathedral dates back to the 4th century and is considered to be the oldest one in Armenia, and some suggest even in the world. We will also stop by the Zvarnots temple - the pearl of 7th-century architecture, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage and Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex. Overnight in Yerevan. B/-/-

Day 3. Yerevan - Khor Virap - Noravank - Yerevan 
We will start the tour with a visit to the Khor-Virap monastery, closely associated with the Christianization of Armenia. According to legend, Saint Gregory the Illuminator, the patron saint of Armenia, was imprisoned in a pit (khor virap in Armenian) on this site for 13 years by King Tiridates III. Saint Gregory played a key role in converting King Tiridates III to Christianity, marking the beginning of the Christian era in Armenia. From here, you will also get to enjoy a breathtaking view of the biblical Mt. Ararat. After lunch, we will continue to Noravank Monastery - another place of great historical and religious significance and a masterpiece of Armenian medieval architecture. There is an optional visit to the nearby Areni Cave, where some curious artefacts dating back from the Chalcolithic to the Bronze Age were found. We will also get to try some of the renowned Armenian wine in a winery nearby. B/-/-

Day 4. Yerevan - Geghard - Garni Temple - Lake Sevan - Dilijan
Our first stop for the day will be the Geghard monastery - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an outstanding example of medieval Armenian religious architecture. The intricate carvings on the walls and within the caves showcase the high level of craftsmanship and artistic achievement of the time. The name of the monastery, "Geghard" means "spear" in Armenian, and it refers to the spear that, according to medieval sources, wounded Jesus during the Crucifixion. The spear was allegedly brought to Armenia and kept in the monastery for many centuries, making Geghard a place of pilgrimage. (The spear is now stored in the museum in Etchmiadzin). Afterwards, we will continue to Garni Temple - the only surviving pagan temple in Armenia that survived the Christianization of the country in the early 4th century when most pagan structures were either destroyed or converted into Christian churches. After lunch, we will continue to Lake Sevan - one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world. Here we will spend some time enjoying the picturesque landscapes and exploring the nearby churches before continuing on to Dilijan, where we will have a short city tour before checking in at the hotel. Overnight in Dilijan B/-/-

Day 5. Dilijan - Fioletovo village - Tbilisi (Georgia)
Today we are crossing the border to continue our journey in Georgia. On our way to the border, we will stop at the village of Fioletovo (some 20 km from Dilijan). The village was founded in 1842 by Russian Molokans - a Christian group with unique beliefs and practices, often considered a Russian sectarian or religious dissenting movement. Here we will have the chance to get to know more about the lifestyle of their community - Molokans, for example, do not accept icons, church hierarchy, or clergy, do not worship the cross, don’t eat pork, don’t drink alcohol and do not smoke, considering it a sin. In the afternoon, after crossing the border, we will head to the capital city of Tbilisi. Our city tour of Tbilisi includes some of the highlights of the city, like Narikala Fortress, the Anchiskhati Basilica - the oldest surviving church in Tbilisi, the Bridge of Peace, and others. Overnight in Tbilisi. B/-/-

Day 6. Tbilisi - Ananuri - Gudauri - Gergeti - Stepantsminda - Tbilisi
Today we have a long day exploring the Kazbegi region, located in the far northern part of the country. Our first stop will be Ananuri- a castle and church complex that dates back to the 17th century but includes elements from earlier periods. We will then continue north to the town of Stepantsminda. From here, we take the 4x4 vehicles that will take us to Gergeti Holy Trinity church - a stunning medieval Georgian Orthodox which has become one of the symbols of Georgia and a highlight of any visit to the country. The church’s picturesque location offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, including the iconic Mount Kazbek. Another curious site in the region is the Panorama Gudauri, also known as the Russia–Georgia Friendship Monument. The monument is a large round structure with a central spire and a circular, mosaic-covered wall. The exterior features Soviet-style artwork and mosaics depicting scenes of Georgian and Russian history, culture, and friendship. In the evening, we will return to our hotel in Tbilisi. B/-/-
*Please keep in mind the trip to the Gergeti Holy Trinity Church might be cancelled due to bad weather conditions.

Day 7. Tbilisi - Uplistsikhe - Gori - Mtskheta - Tbilisi
We start our day with a visit to Uplistsikhe - an ancient rock-cut settlement that dates back to the Early Iron Age. Uplistsikhe features several religious structures, including a basilica, a pagan temple, and an altar. The coexistence of both pagan and Christian structures suggests the site's adaptation to different cultural and religious influences over time. We will then continue to the city of Gori - most famously known as the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until his death in 1953. The Stalin Museum in Gori is dedicated to his life and legacy. The museum includes the house where Stalin was born and various exhibits related to his rule. After lunch, we will explore the old Georgian capital - Mtskheta, where we will take a walk along the narrow streets and have the chance to buy some local souvenirs. Some of the most important cathedral in the region include Svetitskhoveli - where it is believed that the seamless robe of Jesus Christ is buried, and Jvari Monastery, which we will visit before going back to Tbilisi. B/-/-

Day 8. Tbilisi - Baku by train
Тoday you have free day to continue exploring Tbilisi on your own. In the evening, we will take the night train to Baku. We travel in sleeping compartments which are shared by 4 people (2nd class compartment). It is possible to get a compartment shared by 2 people (1st class compartment) against an additional payment. B/-/-

Day 9. Baku city tour
We will arrive in Baku in the morning and head to hotel to have breakfast and leave our bags. After that we will start our Baku city tour.  Some of the sites we will visit include the Maiden’s Tower, Juma Mosque, which represents the longstanding presence of Islam in the region and contributes to the architectural diversity of the Old City, the Palace of Shirvanshah and others. One of the most curios places we will visit is the Carpet Museum, which houses an extensive collection of Azerbaijani carpets, textiles, and applied arts. The collection showcases the rich tradition of carpet weaving in Azerbaijan, highlighting various styles, patterns, and techniques. Overnight in Baku. B/-/-

Day 10. Bibi - Heybat Mosque - Gobustan - Mud Volcanos-Yanar Dag (Absheron) - Ateshgah temple - Baku
Our first stop for today is the historical Bibi-Heybat Mosque, known for its distinct blue dome and minarets. Afterwards, we will continue to Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape - a UNESCO World Heritage Site located approximately 60 km southwest of Baku. The area is known for its unique geological formations and ancient rock engravings that date back to between 5,000 and 40,000 years ago. We will then explore some of the mud volcanoes in the region. Azerbaijan is home to over half of the world's mud volcanoes, with estimates ranging from 350 to 400 individual mud volcanoes. This unique geological phenomenon is believed to be a result of the subterranean release of gases, primarily methane, mixed with water and mud. The pressure from these gases causes the mud to be forced to the surface, creating a mud eruption. Nowadays volcanic clay and mud are used in the treatment of diseases related to the nervous system, skin and rheumatism. After lunch, we will continue our tour with a visit to the ancient Zoroastrian Temple Ateshgah. Fire holds great significance in Zoroastrianism and is considered a symbol of purity and a manifestation of the divine light of Ahura Mazda. Although, there are almost no practising Zoroastrians in Azerbaijan today, the religion has left a deep mark on the county’s history, traditions and culture. Afterwards, we will to “The Burning Mountain” - Yanar Dag. The flame at Yanar Dag has been burning for centuries, making it an enduring and natural phenomenon. It is one of the few continuously burning fires on the planet. The naturally occurring fire here results from the ignition of natural gas seeping through the porous sandstone layers of the Absheron Peninsula. B/-/-

Day 11. Departure
Transfer to Baku international airport and departure. B/-/-


Price Includes:
accommodation in standard 3*** hotels (rooms with en-suite facilities)
transportation as per program (including second class train tickets from Tbilisi to Baku and 4x4 vehicle to Gergeti Holy Trinity church)
airport transfers on day 1 and day 11 (airport transfers outside the standard itinerary can be arranged against an additional fee)
local English-speaking guides
tour leader from Penguin Travel (at min 8 people)
meals according to the itinerary (B-breakfast,L-lunch,D -dinner)
wine degustation on day 3

Not Included:
international and domestic flight tickets
travel insurance
visa fees if applicable
entrance fees (around 50 EUR per person)
meal and drinks not mentioned
tips and personal expenses

Additional Services:
if the train between Georgia and Azerbaijan is not running,we need to use a flight between the two countries (the cost is about 140-180 EUR per person/23kg checked-in luggage and it needs to be paid additionally). We will inform you in advance if we will use the train or flight on your specific departure.


Gallery


Caucasus Explorer - Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan (Rated 4.72 / 5 Based on 128 Reviews.)
Price
1180 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
240 EUR
Status
Fully booked
Maximum single rooms, available for this date: 6 * Please keep in mind there is a limited availability for single rooms and you might be accommodated in a room with another traveller from the same gender.
Price
1180 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
240 EUR
Status
Оn request
Price
1180 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
240 EUR
Status
Fully booked
Maximum single rooms, available for this date: 6 * Please keep in mind there is a limited availability for single rooms and you might be accommodated in a room with another traveller from the same gender.
Price
1180 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
240 EUR
Status
Fully booked
Maximum single rooms, available for this date: 6 * Please keep in mind there is a limited availability for single rooms and you might be accommodated in a room with another traveller from the same gender.
Price
1180 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
240 EUR
Status
Guaranteed departure
Maximum single rooms, available for this date: 6 * Please keep in mind there is a limited availability for single rooms and you might be accommodated in a room with another traveler from the same gender.
Price
1220 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
260 EUR
Status
Guaranteed departure
Maximum single rooms, available for this date: 6 * Please keep in mind there is a limited availability for single rooms and you might be accommodated in a room with another traveller from the same gender.
Price
1220 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
260 EUR
Status
Guaranteed departure
Maximum single rooms, available for this date: 6 * Please keep in mind there is a limited availability for single rooms and you might be accommodated in a room with another traveller from the same gender.
Price
1220 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
260 EUR
Status
Guaranteed departure
Maximum single rooms, available for this date: 6 * Please keep in mind there is a limited availability for single rooms and you might be accommodated in a room with another traveller from the same gender.
Price
1220 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
260 EUR
Status
Guaranteed departure
Maximum single rooms, available for this date: 6 * Please keep in mind there is a limited availability for single rooms and you might be accommodated in a room with another traveller from the same gender.
Price
1220 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
260 EUR
Status
Guaranteed departure
Maximum single rooms, available for this date: 6 * Please keep in mind there is a limited availability for single rooms and you might be accommodated in a room with another traveller from the same gender.
Price
1220 EUR
Duration
11 Days
Single Supplement
260 EUR
Status
Guaranteed departure
Maximum single rooms, available for this date: 6 * Please keep in mind there is a limited availability for single rooms and you might be accommodated in a room with another traveller from the same gender.

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

Group Size
4-16
Reservation System Code
CAUCEXPL
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Great caucus Explorer trip
Caucus Explorer( Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan ) was a great trip . Even though our Van is fully...
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8 day Caucasus trip
5/5 for the Caucasus trip in apr/may 2024. Everything was well planned and executed.
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