12 Days Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia
12 Days, 3 Countries. Join us on a brand new tour of the Caucasus region. History, culture and architecture galore!
Expat Explore is releasing a brand new tour, and this time we're discovering a part of the world we’ve never travelled to before: the Caucasus region. Located on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, lies Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia - a region with amazing untapped travel opportunities and experiences.
Nestled between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea lies the crossroads of Europe and Asia in the Caucasus region. Stroll through picturesque old towns, historic capitals, forests and into Orthodox monasteries in the most lush valleys. Have lunch with a Molokan family, explore the largest lake in Armenia and taste Georgian wine in the Kakheti province. Even learn about the healing powers of the Sulfur Baths and take an off-road drive to the hidden Trinity church of Gergeti. On this tour we go to the heart of every destination to experience the rich and captivating history, culture and lifestyle of the South Caucasus countries.
Start in: Baku
Baku, from 14:00 hrs
Ages: 10 - 75+
End in: Yerevan
Yerevan, 10:00 hrs
Places: 3 Countries
Duration: 12 Days
DAY 1: Arrival in Baku
Start in Baku, the largest city on the Caspian Sea and capital of Azerbaijan. Today you have time to settle in and explore at leisure. Think of the city as a combination of Paris and Dubai, a place that offers both history and contemporary culture, and an intriguing blend of east meets west. The heart of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by a fortified wall and pleasant pedestrianised boulevards that offer fantastic shopping opportunities. Attractions include the local Carpet Museum and the National Museum of History and Azerbaijan.
DAY 2: Baku - Gobustan National Park
After breakfast, dive straight into exploring the history of Azerbaijan! Head south from Baku to Gobustan National Park. This archaeological reserve is home to mud volcanoes and over 600,000 ancient rock engravings and paintings. After exploring this national historical landmark of Azerbaijan, we make our way back to Baku city and embark on a sightseeing tour. Travel to Upland Park and capture a bird’s eye view of the city and Baku Bay below. Then, it’s onto the iconic Icheri Sheher, the Old (or Inner) City of Baku. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and includes the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower. Wind down after a day of exploring by walking along the flower-lined central boulevards of the city. Finally, make a stop at the updated Fountains Square, an area famous for it’s dozens of fountains and numerous shopping boutiques.
DAY 3: Shamakhi – Sheki
First sight of the day is Shamakhi, an ancient city of Azerbaijan, to see where the first dynasty of the state of Shirvan was founded. Visit Yeddi Gumbez, the mausoleum known as the Seven Domes, where the remains of the last of the Shamakhi Dynasty lies. Next, we make a stop in Maraza village for a visit to Diri-Bab, a magnificent two-storied mausoleum-mosque. Our final stop for the day is Kish, one of the oldest villages in Azerbaijan. We visit the Mother of Alban church and ancient cemetery that dates back all the way to the 6th Century. Once we reach our final destination, Sheki, you will have the evening to explore at your leisure.
DAY 4: Sheki – Lagodekhi – Signagi
This morning we explore Sheki, the oldest city in Azerbaijan. Due to its position on the Silk Road it became an important market centre This afternoon, we cross the border into Georgia. Our first stop is Khareba winery for a local wine tasting experience. Georgia has a wine history that dates back more than 8,000 years! Continue to Gremi, the once glorious capital of the kingdom of Kakheti to see the church and castles erected in the 16th Century. Soak in the views of the Alazan valley before heading to Signagi, Georgia’s city of love. This royal town is surrounded by a wall of 23 towers and 6 gates that used to connect it with Europe and Asia. Take time this afternoon to stroll the cobbled streets, see the rustic buildings and shop from local vendors.
DAY 5: Signagi – Tbilisi
Venture to the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi! While exploring the city a memorable stop is the 13th Century Metekhi Church. Other sights to explore include the Sulfur Baths and the 4th Century Narikala Fortress. Wander through Sioni cathedral, and follow the history in the Tbilisi National Museum. End the day of exploration with a relaxing stroll along Rustaveli Avenue.
DAY 6: Kazbegi – Tbilisi
This morning we drive along one of the most intriguing roads in the Caucasus! The Georgian Military Highway is the historic route that connects Georgia to Russia. On your way, you will pass the most incredible scenery. From remote villages, to castles and other sights that are steeped in history. Stop and take in the significant Ananuri fortress complex, built in the late Feudal times, and the remarkably scenic location on the foreland by the Aragvi River. Next, we make our way to the Ananuri Fortress. This 13th Century church complex was once the castle and seat of the eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi. The last part of the day is a scenic adventure. We drive uphill in four-wheel drive vehicles, through narrow gorges and unspoiled mountains, until we find the prize of Georgia's isolated Gergeti Trinity church.
DAY 7: Mtskheta – Gori – Tbilisi
Mtskheta is our first stop of the day. Inhabited since before 1,000 BC, Mtskheta was once the capital of the early Kingdom of Iberia (Eastern Georgia today). Drive up to Jvari monastery, a Georgian Orthodox monastery built on a hill. Shortly after the adoption of Christianity, an enormous wooden cross was erected on this site. In the second half of the 6th Century, a small church was built beside the Holy Cross. The church complex has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Next up, is a visit to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. This religious centre dates back to the 6th Century and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Learn more about Georgian architecture and the tombs of Tbilisi's founder located inside. Continue to Inner Kartli province, to the town of Gori. This Georgian town is famous for being the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. See and explore the Joseph Stalin Museum and the house he was born in.
DAY 8: Sadakhlo - Akhtala - Odzun - Qefo
Armenia is on the cards after breakfast today! First stop after we cross the border is the Akhtala Monastery, known for its 13th Century artistic frescoes. After exploring, we continue to our lunch stop of the day - Odzun, a historic village located on the Debed river bank. Enjoy an included traditional lunch served by a local family in their home. Also take the chance learn more about the family's bee hives and how they make honey.
DAY 9: Haghpat - Dilijan - Molokan - Jukhtak Vank - Dilijan
Start the day by exploring the UNESCO World Heritage site of Haghpat. This medieval monastery complex overlooks the Debed river gorge, and provides incredible views of the surrounding hills. Travel to Dilijan resort town and pass through the primary residence of the Molokan people. Molokans are the largest minority in Armenia, exiled from Russia in the 19th Century. Dine with locals in a traditional Molokan home. After lunch, depart on an enjoyable hike through the forest and picturesque mountains. The route takes us towards the Jukhtak monastery, built in a forest grove in Dilijan National Park. The Jukhtak monastery derives its name from the word ‘jukht’ which means ‘twin’. The church complex consists of two churches, khachkars (Armenian cross-stones) and a cemetery.
DAY 10: Dilijan - Sevan Lake - Geghard - Garni - Yerevan
Journey through the Dilijan National Park to make it to the spa town of Dilijan. Dilijan is surrounded by forests and located in the Argstev gorge. With marvellous views, it’s no wonder its known as the Armenian Switzerland! Take a walk down Sharambeyan Street and admire the many craftsmen, bakeries, cafes and souvenir shops. Next, it’s a short drive to Lake Sevan. This is the highest freshwater lake in the Caucasus. Visit the Sevanavank Monastery, from where you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Sevan and surrounds. Drive to the UNESCO-protected Geghard Monastery. This ancient chapel was originally founded as a small cave chapel as early as the 4th Century! Continue to the Garni Pagan Temple, located in the State Khosrov Reserve. This is the only temple that remained after the adoption of Christianity. Take the opportunity to listen to the Duduk - an Armenian instrument made of apricot wood. Its sound is said to have human-voice quality. Dine with a traditional Armenian family and taste the local cuisine.
DAY 11: Yerevan city tour - Echmiatsin - Yerevan
Head to Echmiadzin, the religious centre of Armenia. Explore the Monastery and one of the oldest cathedrals in the world - Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. Next stop is Yerevan. Here, a city tour will reveal all the main places of interest. See the sights of Yerevan Cascade, a giant stairway made of limestone and the Matenadaran museum. See the likes of Abovyan Street, the Republic Square and Cafesjian centre of Arts. The last stop is the Yerevanian food market, also the best place to sample some fresh Armenian fruits and sweets. For the last night on tour, sit down for a traditional Armenian meal accompanied by traditional Armenian music and dancing.
DAY 12: End of tour
After breakfast, your 12 day Caucasus adventure comes to an end. It’s time to say goodbye to your fellow travelers and remember to share your contact details, so that the memories live on through shared photos.
11 nights' accommodation in twin rooms with private en-suite facilities. Single travellers have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure a private room.
11 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days)
35 Experiences (including guided walking tours, orientation walks, driving tours of cities plus other exciting experiences)
Services of a local guide throughout the tour
Private air-conditioned transport
All entrance fees as part of the included experiences
Optional tours are payable in cash currency to your tour leader whilst on tour.
To be confirmed