The Classic Georgia: food wine and culture
This will be the fourth time that we have offered this program, and we look forward to introducing you to the fascinating and surprising country of Georgia this September. Our groups are small and our aim is to take you away from the major tourist destinations to meet and experience the unique culture of this wonderful country located in the heart of The Caucasus.
Day 1/ Sep 25: Arrivals
Day 2/ Sep 26: Tbilisi
Day 3/ Sep 27: Day trip to Kartli
Day 4/ Sep 28: Onward to West Georgia
Day 5/ Sep 29: To the Mountains of Svaneti
Day 6/ Sep 30: Explore Svaneti (day trip to Ushguli)
Day 7/ Oct 1: Back to the Lowlands
Day 8/ Oct 2: Imereti to Kakheti province
Day 9/ Oct 3: Sighnaghi and the vicinity
Day 10/ Oct 4: Explore the vast territories of Alazani Valley
Day 11/ Oct 5: Return to Tbilisi
Day 12/ Oct 6: Departure
September 25: Arrival in Tbilisi, and transfer to our accommodation. Arrival times in the Georgian capital may appear slightly eccentric, with many flights arriving between 0200 and 0300. Your rooms will be available from the afternoon of September 25th, and you will be met and transferred to the hotel regardless of the arrival time.
September 26: There will be an optional walking tour at 10.00am for those who are up and ready that will explore the quirky center of Old Tbilisi; we will see the city from each side of the River and have an introduction to the remarkable stories of the early days of this strategically important town. Lunch will be at 1.00pm, and later in the afternoon we shall wander over to the iconic wine bar, Vino Underground for our first introduction to the glories of Georgian wine.
September 27: The morning will be free to rest and adjust to the time zone, or explore the surrounding areas on your own. In the afternoon we will head out to Tbilisi to explore the Old Capital of Mtskheta and SvetitskhoveliCathedral. This cathedral, founded in 1010, is one of the most sacred places in the country and is a fine introduction to the importance of the Georgian Orthodox church in the Georgian soul.
September 28: Today we will leave the capital behind and head west. First to the unremarkable town of Gori, made famous only because of its native son, Stalin. We shall visit the extraordinary, and rather chilling museum to his life before continuing over the Likhi mountains to Kutaisi and finally to Tskutalbo, our overnight stop. This resort was built in the 1970s as a resort exclusively for high-ranking Soviet Naval offices, and is makes a delightful and unique place to stay.
September 29: Today we climb the mountains. After a coffee stop in Zugdidi, we will drive up the Svaneti Valley to Mestia. This region is special, even by Georgian standards! The communities that populate this valley are distinct and historically fiercely independent. We will see some dramatic scenery, gorgeous mountains and villages that have been here since the dawn of time. Finally, we will reach Mestia, the regional capital and now a center for hiking, skiing and a variety of other mountain-based activities.
September 30: Ushguli is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; it is extremely remote and life here is redolent of the middle ages. It has a collection of dramatic medieval towers, and lying as it does at 2,300m, it is the highest populated community in Europe. We will have time to explore the village in some detail, and if the weather is clear, have a dramatic view of Georgia’s highest mountain, Shkhara which towers some 5,100m over the landscape.
October 1: Today we head back down the mountain to Kutaisi, Georgia’s second city, and an important provincial capital. It is blessed with a two UNESCO sites, and we will visit one, the Gelati Monastery, built in the early 1100s by King David. It is not only an architectural masterpiece, but also an important center of learning for centuries, and one of the first schools in the region.
October 2: Today is a “Driving Day”; we shall start the morning in the local market before driving east. We will stop for lunch at Iago’s Winery, a charming family wine producer in the Kartli region. Iago’s wine is remarkable, and his was the first winery in the country to receive a bio-certificate for his vineyard and production.Skirting Tbilisi, we will enjoy the three-hour drive toward the Azeri border, and our next stop, this time for three nights, at Sighnaghi,
October 3: There are many opportunities for sightseeing in this quirky town; we will spend time in the morning exploring the town itself before driving a few kilometers away to visit the 9th century monastery of Bodbe. It now functions as a nunnery, and is one of the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia.
Following a short rest, we will have our dinner, a traditional Georgian Supra, at Pheasants Tears. This restaurant and winery is one of the most vibrant in the country, and an exciting place to meet some of the finest Georgian wine, cuisine and be introduced to the unique polyphonic music.
October 4: We will spend today exploring the region of Kakheti; we will see the main town of Telavi, and later visit the unusual and quite remarkable winery of Alaverdi. Here, wine has been made by the monks continuously since the year 1010, and they have got it right! We will enjoy a tasting here before returning to our hotel in Sighnaghi for our final evening in the Georgian countryside. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.
October 5: We will drive back to Tbilisi today and have time in the afternoon for some independent sightseeing before our farewell dinner at Azarpesha, a unique cultural restaurant in the center of Tbilisi’s Old City.
October 6: Your departure from Georgia. Once again your flight may have an early departure time, but your room will be available to rest in prior to your airport transfer.
The Price: US$ 2,970 per person (single supplement: $650)
The price includes the following:
4 nights in Tbilisi
3 nights in Sighnaghi
1 night in Tskaltubo
2 nights in Mestia
1 night at the Hotel in Kutaisi
Daily breakfast, lunch and 10 dinners
Five wine tastings and two folkloric performances
All entrance fees and excursions as detailed on the itinerary
Transportation by coach throughout, with 4WD vehicles for the day excursion to Ushguli
Fully escorted by a local Georgian guide and “MaxGlobetrotter”
The price excludes the following:
Items not specifically mentioned in the itinerary
Items of a personal nature
The Group: This tour will be marketed worldwide and will have participants from several countries and will be conducted exclusively in English. We will restrict participation to a maximum of eighteen people so early booking is highly recommended.
Terms: A non-refundable deposit of $750 is required to confirm your place on the tour. The balance will be due no later than 45 days prior to departure. Once paid, all monies will be non-refundable, and we highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance to cover any potential issues that might otherwise cause you to lose money.
escorted by Max Johnson