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Grand Tour of Georgia
- 21 days
- Culture / Heritage
- Faune and flora
- Adventure / Sports & Leisure
This includes a visit to the Georgian capital, an exploration of the axis from the Kartlie highlands to the Imerethian plain, southwestern Georgia, an incursion into the high mountains of the Greater Caucasus
The most important thing for the organization of such a stay is to think region by region, the practicality leading to base oneself at each step in a regional centre allowing to explore in an efficient way a certain number of sites. The proposed route makes it possible to work with these options as well as with modules, which can be taken as a whole or separately from each other.
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- David Garedja
- Cap Vert - Mtsvane Konskhi
- Stépantsminda Khazbégui
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Details of the stay: Grand Tour of Georgia - 21 days
Day 1 : First step in Tbilisi
Stroll along with the Tbilissiens on the lively artery of the city, Roustavéli Avenue. Explore adjacent neighbourhoods and take a detour to Mount Mtatsminda and its Georgian pantheon. Taste the Georgian culinary traditions, enjoy khinkalis and drink wine in some doukani (traditional tavern).
Day 2 : Tbilisi, an astonishing city
Visit the very eastern old town, where the time seems to have stopped. it is a veritable maze of streets where indigenous, Russian and Persian architectures blend strangely. Visit its churches, Georgian and Armenian, its mosque, synagogue, fortress and botanical garden, its ornés balconies. Don't miss the beautiful sulfure bains and Alexandre Dumas, where Azeri masseurs will take care of you.
Day 3 : Between Soviet remains and oriental accents
Cross the bridge and visit the left bank of the Koura; discover the popular imperial architectural district of Aghmachenebeli Avenue, with its beautiful 19th century facades; then the station bazaar, Bazroba, a real city in the city, where Eastern life resurfaced at the end of the Soviet era. Cross the river again to stroll through the prestigious Soviet districts of Vera and Vaké, the most popular in the Tbilisi region. Backing against the hill, Vaké gives way to the forest, where the ethnographic museum is located, in which the traditional habitats of the different regions of Georgia are reconstructed. Climb up to Turtle Lake, a place of relaxation for the inhabitants, which gives a taste of the mountains.
Day 4 : Mtskheta, former Georgian capital
Leave the metropolis to take a taste of Georgia's landscapes in Mtskheta: a small town 15 km from Tbilisi, the former Georgian capital, it is the country's true spiritual centre. In a spectacular narrowing of the valley, the Monastery of the Cross (Djvari), at the end of the Greater Caucasus range, overlooks the city. It is from here that Saint Nino converted the royal family to Christianity and planted the first cross in Georgia: a vine cross. Below, Svetitskhovéli Cathedral is the jewel of Georgian architecture, with its bas-reliefs, frescos and icons. This is the religious heart of the country. If you have time, you will go to the monastery of Chiomrvimé. In Mtskheta, don't forget to eat lobio, a spicy red bean soup that would be the best in the country.
Day 5 : Excursion to the end of the world
Take another step in the cave adventure: get lost in David Garedja's semi-desert monasteries. Asian centre landscape on the border of Azerbaijan, medieval cave frescoes in the middle of the steppe, astonishing architectural complexes, horse herders: you will feel at the end of the world. And you will be at the easternmost point of the Christian world. To go, you will pass through the Soviet Institution town, istrian in the middle of nowhere, and its impressive central Stalinist avenue.
Day 6 : On Traces of the past
Excursion to Bolnissi, with its superb church which contains the oldest registration of Georgia, then to Dmanissi, a magnificent complex with church and ruins of medieval city, where were found the remains of the oldest European (1,8 million years).
Day 7 : Following in Stalin's footsteps
On the way to Gori, stop at Igoéti, at the beautiful church of Samtavissi. In Gori, visit the fortress, the old Catholic church and the Stalin Museum. Also visit the church of La Croix-de-Saint-Georges, perched on a rocky peak overlooking the city. Then go to the troglodytic city of Ouplistsikhé, before going down the Trialeti chain of the Lesser Caucasus, in a narrow, colourful valley, to the small church of Atenis Sioni, a replica of the Djvari church of Mtskheta, in a magnificent natural circus.
Day 8 : Heading for Western Georgia
Head towards Western Georgia, on a historical route. In Kartlie, visit the beautiful churches of the Koura Valley, Ruissi and Ourbnissi on the road. In Sourami, at the foot of the Likhi mountain range that separates eastern and western Georgia, visit the famous fortress and church. In the valley that descends to the plain, visit the convent of Oubissi. You arrive in Imertia, the ancient Colchis, home of civilization, the heart of Western Georgia. A green and cheerful region, it contrasts with the harsh arid plateaus of Kartlie. Stay in the green hills of Old Koutaïssi, the second largest city in the country, which, despite the poor state of its industrial districts, is not lacking in charm with its old centre dotted with relics of history, its green hills, and its pleasant habitat with its low houses and their subtropical gardens.
Day 9 : Spiritual environment
From Koutaïssi, go to the picturesque monastery of Motsameta perched on the meanders of a river and then to the monastic complex of Gelati, the cultural capital of the reign of David the builder, ancient academy where the king is buried. The place is an incomparable peace. Back to Koutaïssi, stroll down the streets on the edge of the Rioni and visit the romantic ruins of the Cathedral Bagrati, one of the three ecclesiastical pillars of Georgia (with Svétitskhovéli and Alaverdi), partly destroyed during Turkish invasions.
Day 10 : Splendid mountain road
Excursion to the Ratcha mountain range in the Greater Caucasus. Known for its wines, sweet and romantic landscapes and mineral water, the region is home to the magnificent Nikortsminda church, which contains 11th century frescoes. Stop on the way on the beautiful Chaori Lake. Continue the superb mountain route to Oni, which contains a curious synagogue, then continue to the old high altitude station of Chovi, which, lost in the greenery, offers superb views of the peaks. We can spend the night there - or in Oni.
Day 11 : Cap on Koutaïssa
Day 12 : Discovery of the Georgian Riviera
From Koutaïssi, join Adjara, an autonomous republic with strong particularities (strong Muslim presence, a culture steeped in Turkish influences, long political isolation). Today it is the Georgian Riviera, with its beaches, palm trees, and an air of banana republic. Visit Batumi, the country's third largest city, but a real second capital, the only city ready to counterbalance Tbilisi in Georgia. Its mosque, its port, its Russian architecture, its hills of orange trees, palm trees, tea trees and giant trees give it a surrealist aspect. It is a lively and pleasant city, to be fully appreciated, especially in summer. It is the city in the region that has both the most sunshine and the most precipitation during the year.
Day 13 : On the shores of the Black Sea
Take an excursion to Sarpi, a town on the border with Turkey, in a creek, between the Black Sea and lush hills. Its beach is perhaps the most beautiful in Georgia, and you can see the first Turkish mosque there. On the way, visit the Roman fortress of Gonio. Back in Batoumi, visit the incredible flora of the Cape Verde Botanical Garden, three kilometres north of the city. In Batumi, eat a khatchapouri adjare, a cheese and egg fritter in the shape of a palm. And taste the local coffee and baklaoua (oriental cake), which are famous.
Day 14 : Mountainous landscapes
To reach Samtskhé-Djavakhétie from Batoumi, the shortest road crosses Upper Adjaria and the Goderdzi Pass. This mountain road is beautiful and is rapidly evolving from subtropical vegetation to arid highland landscape; but it is in poor condition. If you think you don't have the equipment, or if the weather is not bright, take a longer trip back to Koutaïssi, then to Sourami. Akhaltsikhe, a former Ottoman Pachalik, is surrounded by beautiful arid mountains. Its old town, Rabati, is rich in mixed history. Orthodox, Armenian, Catholic, Mosque, Mosque, Synagogue churches and its dilapidated state nevertheless suggest a sumptuous past. At the crossroads of cultures, with a large Armenian population, it is worth a visit. Charles Aznavour's family originated from it. Visit the beautiful monastery of Sapara in the surrounding area.
Day 15 : Visit of the splendid heritage of the region
From Akhaltsikhe, visit a high valley at the headwaters of the Koura, the ancient cave city of Queen Thamar, Vardzia, a 12th century pearl. Much larger than Ouplistsikhé (it had 50,000 inhabitants in the 12th century), it contains a cathedral painted in the rock. On the way down, stop at the Khervtissi fortress, perched on the river. Go down into the valley again to climb to the monastery of Sapara, which dominates the arid landscape of the region with its magnificent churches.
Day 16 : Thermal spa
Get off from Akhaltsikhé on Bordjomi; the landscape becomes greener, steppe hills give way to the black forest. Bordjomi was one of the most prestigious spas in the Russian empire and produced the famous Georgian mineral water. Its spa is to be visited. From Bordjomi, go to the green park forests or climb to the Alpine alpine station to admire the landscape from the top. In the evening, return to Tbilisi.
Day 17 : Tbilisi in depth
You can rest by exploring the city's urban life further. Take a look at the maze of streets in Sololaki and Mtatsminda. go to the Flea Market flea market, or explore the modern Sabourtalo district, its universities and institutes. An evening at the theatre, opera or, if the occasion arises, a spectacle of folk dance is strongly recommended.
Day 18 : Kakhetia
From Tbilisi, reach Kakkhetia in the east, the foothills of the Greater Caucasus and home to many traditions of which Georgia is proud (wine, songs). On the road, churches and fortresses are to be seen. Visit the charming little town of Sighnaghi. Take the Telavi road and, on the way, visit the curious two-barrel church, unique in the region, from Kvelatsminda to Gourdjaani. In Telavi, with its charming little alleys facing the Greater Caucasus, visit the palace of the last king of Georgia, Irakli II.
Day 19 : On the road to monasteries
From Telavi, visit the monasteries of Chouamta. Then visit the immense cathedral of Alaverdi, at the borders of the Kakhétie, the mountains of Touchétie, where the shepherds climb in summer. On the road, the Religious Academy of Ikalto. Do not forget to dive in the heart of the wine kakhétien and visit one of the many cellars... There are other churches and monasteries to visit in a small area, Grémi or Nékréssi. Go to Tbilisi in the evening.
Day 20 : Crossing the Great Caucasus
Take the Georgian Military Road; Stop at the fortified ecclesiastical complex of Ananouri; cross the cross from the Cross to Stepantsminda (Khazbégui) on the Térek. Walk at the foot of the Mont mountain to the chapel of the Holy Trinity. In the evening, eat local khinkalis, which are the best in the country. Finding accommodation in Stepantsminda is easy.
Day 21 : Return to Tbilisi
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