Georgia is causing a stir with some of the best food, wine and scenery in the Caucasus region. On this eight-day trip you can enjoy the highlights of the country's bohemian capital Tbilisi before heading north-east to the glorious mountain landscapes of the Kazbegi region for hikes to remote monasteries and waterfalls.
The flight from the UK to Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, takes approximately five-and-a-half hours, with a stop in Istanbul. When you land you'll be met by our representative on the ground before taking a private transfer to your hotel just a short drive away in the bustling city centre. Take the rest of the evening to relax in the comfort of your hotel and look forward to a day of sightseeing with your local guide tomorrow.
This morning you will be met at your hotel by your expert guide for a private tour of this elegant and fascinating city. Tbilisi's dramatic setting deep in the Valley of the Mtkvari River promises an interesting architectural landscape, plus there's so much to see and enjoy with a vibrant arts scene and host of wonderful restaurants.
Best discovered on foot, your morning will include strolling and soaking up the atmosphere with visits to the Metechi church and the old parts of the city, including the sulfur bathhouses and Sioni Cathedral. Your afternoon can be tailored to your interests; discuss with your guide what you want to focus on, whether it be the fantastic National Museum or one of the numerous art galleries on Rustavelli Avenue.
It's time to leave the bustling capital today in favour of the Georgian countryside. Your local guide and driver will meet you in the morning to privately transfer you up into the Highlands, first stopping in Mtskheta, the spiritual treasure of the country 45 minutes north of the capital.
This pretty sixth century Jvari monastery sits on top of a hill with sweeping views of the valley all around. Next stop is Lago's winery where you will learn about (and taste!) wine produced using qvevri (clay vessels buried underground). Enjoy a delicious lunch paired with his local organic tipples before driving north-east up the old Russian military highway towards Kazbegi, stopping at the Ananuri church complex to admire views of the deep blue lake below. The road continues to twist and wind up and up through a small ski resort before reaching the heavens that is the little town of Kazbegi, your base for the next four nights.
Wake in the morning to fresh mountain air and a hearty Georgian breakfast before meeting up with your guide to start exploring the valley town of Kazbegi.
While you wander, make sure you turn your heads to the beautiful surrounding mountains, in particular to catch a glimpse of the silhouette of the Gergeti Holy Trinity Church that sits on top of Mount Kazbeg overlooking the town. If you want to get a little more active, we suggest walking from your hotel down to the little town and up the other side to hike up to Gergeti church. The hike should take around three hours and you'll be rewarded with spectacular views; it's the perfect place to enjoy a picnic lunch so ensure your guide has a bottle of local red to enjoy. In the afternoon, drive towards the Russian border and enjoying the stunning views of the dramatic Dariali Gorge on one side of the valley. Once you're done exploring, head back to your hotel to enjoy relax, take a swim and perhaps book in for a massage before dinner.
Over these two days you will be driven around the gorgeous surrounding valleys and mountains of the the Kazbegi area to do some walking accompanied by your local guide, taking a fresh picnic lunch each day.
On one day, start with a drive along the wonderful, wide Sno Valley to arrive at the remote village of Juta, the highest in the region at over 7,200ft above sea level, where you can enjoy fantastic views (weather permitting) of Mount Chaukhebi - a mountain renowned for challenging even the most experienced climbers. On your second day exploring the area, you will hike along the Tergi River through the Truso Gorge, spotting ancient watchtowers and grazing cattle and sheep en route. Both days you will finish hiking in good time to be driven back to your hotel to enjoy this beautiful peaceful spot in the heavens.
It's your last morning in the mountains so enjoy a relaxed start before winding your way back down the mountain road.
You'll stop in at the wonderful Chateau Mukhrani winery for lunch and a wine tasting tour before heading back to Tbilisi for your last night in the capital. The chateau has been beautifully restored to its former glory and is a perfect spot for lunch and there are stables should you wish to go riding afterwards. Wine has been produced here since the 19th century when a royal family representative returned from France with the chateau winemaking concept; today the chateau stores some 60,000 barrels of wine.
After a fun, wine-filled day, you'll make the journey back to Tbilisi to check into your city centre hotel. Enjoy your last night in this beautiful town - we can recommend any number of restaurants and bars for you to choose from.
The morning is free for you to relax and enjoy, or head out into the city for some last minute shopping before returning to the airport in time for your flight home in the afternoon to arrive back into the UK at night.