Day 1: Tbilisi
Arrival in Tbilisi.
Explore history of the city from early centuries by walking through narrow streets with churches, synagogues, mosques, famous 19th century colored houses of unique architecture with modern cafes, fashionable art galleries, souvenirs shops. Visit Abanotubani – Sulphur Bath District. Drive to Metekhi church and enjoy panoramic view of the city. Cross the river Mtkvari walking through The Bridge of Peace. Visit Georgian historical museum. Drive to the largest Trinity Cathedral of the whole Caucasus.
Day 2: Mtskheta-Ananuri-Kazbegi
Old capital of Georgia – Mtskheta has significant cultural and religious value for georgians. It’s place where ancestors of georgians accepted christianity and where robe of Christ is buried. According to legend, Elias, who brought the robe in Georgia, was met by his sister, Sydonia. On seeing the sacred robe, Sidonia was so overcome with emotion that she clutched it to her breast and died. It was impossible to take the robe away, so it was buried with her. After the centuries, royal cathedral of Georgia, Svetitskhoveli was built on her grave. When st.Nino first came in Mtskheta, she saw the sacrifice ritual to Georgian pagan god – Armazi. She prayed to The Lord to help her and take down Armazi, so statue was destroyed by nature and visitors can still find this site to dive in mysterious history.
Then we drive up the famous Georgian Military Highway, ending route visiting the Ananuri fortress, which is a XVI century castle complex on the Aragvi River. The Fortress overlooks a large Jinvali Lake and its high, turreted stone walls protect two churches, a watch towel and a reservoir. The main church façade is beautifully carved with animal, floral and Celtic style patterns.
Next stop is Kazbegi, Hotel Accommodation.
Day 3: Kazbegi-Tbilisi
Kazbegi is famous for its amazing views and the Gergeti Trinity Church. The Church built in 14th century and it’s located on 1,800 meters above sea level. It seems an impossible experience to climb up to it, but in fact ascent goes quite easy taking only an hour walk up the serpentine road and a thorny forest. Those who prefer not to walk it’s possible to drive up in 10 minutes.
Dariali Gorge and visit Gveleti waterfall. Gveleti means “place of snakes” in Georgian. Then come back to Tbilisi.
Day 4: Vardzia-Rabati
Drive to west Georgia
First we’ll see Vardzia. Vardzia is the cave complex, which the jewel of medieval architecture. This unique cave city is carved into the steep wall of the mountain Erusheti at an altitude of 1300 meters. Vardzia is a place of legends. Its name derived from the story that Queen of All Georgia Tamar was lost in the countless labyrinths of caves in childhood and cried: “ak var, dzia” it means “I’m here, Uncle”, so she was found and rescued. During the reign of Tamar importance of this place was increased and reached surprising prosperity. Because of its strategical meaning, Vardzia is realization of Georgian vigilant nature. The location of this original complex in the middle of gorge, offers unforgettable views. Next stop is Rabati.
Rabati is the old stone fortress in the Akhaltsikhe town. Its name comes from Arabic meaning “fortified place”. This fortification was constructed in 13th century and witnessed a lot over the history. Meskheti region had very important strategic meaning as the defense line for Georgians and bridgehead for their enemies. So, Rabati was destroyed several times and therefore contains elements of different cultures and religions. There’re Church, mosque, synagogue, small park, Historical Museum in one place that gives an unique chance to rethink about Georgian culture and history and determine you views about the neighborhood of several Kingdoms in this region where west meets east. At night we will stay in Rabat.
Day 5: Kutaisi – Gelati – Bagrati – Sataplia
Next day we’ll visit Kutaisi. Old Capital of Georgia and legislative center of modern Georgia. Kutaisi was the capital of Colchis and this city is famous from story of Argonauts, who retrieved the Golden Fleece from Colchis. So, foundation of this city traces back to more than 3500 years. Near the city you can find the significant churches of Bagrati and Gelati –the last one is in the UNESCO world heritage site lists – underline the importance of the region and its cultural development. Gelati monastery had the great meaning in culture, religion and education of Georgia. King David the Builder, most celebrated king in Georgia, who established the academy where a great number of monuscripts and murals.
Next stop is Sataplia cave, it’s located close to Kutaisi, in the Tskaltubo region. Sataplia Cave is named after Sataplia Mountain, which gained its name from the local tradition of collecting honey from the bees that inhabit the mountain’s southern slope. Sataplia means ‘place of honey’. Sataplia Cave is 900 m long, 10 m high and 12 m wide and contains dramatically lit stalactites and stalagmites. At night we’ll stay in Tskaltubo.
Day 6: Martvili Canyon – Batumi
Next day we’ll drive up from Kutaisi to Batumi and on the way we’ll see Martvili Canyon. Martvili Canyon you’ll find breathtaking views and sites on this green canyon of waterfalls. There are walking routs in the canyon that includes 2 bridges, 3 platform views and historical 30 steps stair constructed by large limestone boulders and 300 meter boat tour on river Abasha and beautiful views of mountain river canyon. Then we’ll continue the road to Batumi. In the evening we’ll be in Batumi and we’ll accommodation in hotel.
Day 7: Batumi- Batumi Botanical Garden
After the cultural experience it’s unexpected to explore modern place of beautiful buildings. City of leisure, parties, clubs and gambling – Batumi is situated in a subtropical zone surrounded by forests and mountains. Batumi is the most famous Georgian resort and the second largest city of Georgia after Tbilisi. Here you can find a dolphinarium where dolphins perform incredible shows and amaze visitors of all age. There’s botanical garden which covers 108 hectare area at the place called Mtsvane Kontskhi on the Black sea shore and is of the largest botanical gardens in the former Soviet Union. Here you can find very rare species and enjoy the amazing artificial and cultivated nature.
Day 8: Gonio Fortress-Abastumani
Gonio Fortress or the Gonio-Apsaros Fortress – the oldest fortress of Georgia. 15 km from Batumi city. The fortress history amounts to several millenniums. The ancient archeological layers, dug in the fortress territory belong to the XV-XVII centuries BC. There exists a legend that the name of Apsaros originates from the ancient Greek myth about Argonauts. According to the legend this was the place where Apsyrtus, King Aiet’s son killed by Jason, was buried.
Then we drive up Abastumani. In the evening we’ll be in Abastumani and we’ll accommodation in hotel or we can visit Abastumani Observatory it’s the Georgian National Astrophysical Observatory.
Day 9: Borjomi – Bakuriani
Borjomi is a resort town, located in the northwestern part of Samtskhe javakheti region, on the eastern edge of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. The town is most famous for its mineral water named after the place, “Borjomi”, which is of the leading export products of Georgia. This water springs were used for medical purposes since first millennium. Also, Borjomi is home to the most extensive ecologically-themed amusement park in the Caucasus, where you can rise by cable car to the observation platform and enjoy views of the Borjomi Gorge to see how this town dives into the woods.
Situated in Borjomi Valley, Bakuriani is the famous and oldest ski resort, at an altitude of 1700 meters. The unique climate and the long light of sun makes it even more attractive and useful at the same time. In the surrounding areas of the village there is cultivated Bakuriani Botanical Garden, where you can find over 800 species covering 17 hectares. Because of its unique climate resort gets lots of visitors at any time of the year. From any place of Bakuriani you can have a beautiful panorama of nature.
We’ll stay in Borjomi this night.
Day 10: Come back to Tbilisi and depart.