Caucasus Tour – Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia & Georgia May 1st – 8th/14th 2018
Join us for our Global Village Caucasus Adventure including a tour of two unrecognised independent states namely Nagorno-Karabakh, a frozen conflict zone nestled within South West Azerbaijan and also Abkhazia. These are one of four de facto unrecognised independent nations in post-Soviet Europe. We will also be travelling in Armenia and Georgia where we visit the beautiful city of Tbilisi.
The tour kicks off in the town off in Yerevan, Armenia before taking us along the quintessential Caucasus scenic route to the town of Goris in the valley of the River Goris. We travel on to Nagorno-Karabakh in our fleet of very authentic fleet of Lada automobiles to our base at the Jazz Club hotel in the quirky capital, Stepanakert. From here, we visit the town of Agdam or “The Hiroshima of the Caucuses”.
Ganzasar monastery is one of the oldest in the world with construction started in 1216 we meet the only monk that currently lives there. It’s a remarkable memory to take with you after a visit to the Caucasus with us. We visit Zorats Karer or the ‘Armenian Stonehenge’ – almost twice as old as that found in the UK, in addition to the ancient monastery of Khor Virap overlooking Mount Ararat.
The Tour will take us to Georgia, starting in Tbilisi where we chill out in traditional Georgian baths with local beer and dumplings and then to the town of Gori – the home of Joseph Stalin, a place where he is still highly respected. We visit the 3,000-year-old Ahaltsihe cave city and the Trinity monastery in the foothills of Mount Kazbek.
Experience the tense border crossing from Zugdidi to the breakaway republic of Abkhazia. Check-in to the former Pearl of Soviet tourism and capital city Sukhum, overlooking the Black Sea. We visit beautiful New Athos before a return to Georgia for the end of the tour. You can view the full itinerary for this trip below.
If you have any questions or queries about our Caucasus Tour drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can combine your Caucasus Tour with our Wonders of Iran Tour which concludes on April 30th. The group arriving in Armenia from the preceding Iran tour will arrive in the town of Agarak, a day before the rest of the group. The Iran group will stay this night in Agarak and depart for Goris early the next morning.
The non-Iran tour group will arrive by their own means to Yerevan on the 2nd of May.
|See Table below
- Visas for Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia.
- Accommodation at itinerary listed hotels on a twin sharing basis
- All transportation
- Local English speaking guides
- Entrance fees for all itinerary listed
- Porter tips at hotels
- International flights
- Personal expenses & services not included in the above
- Tips for guides (suggest €5 per day)
- Turkish baths entry
- Any external costs as mentioned in itinerary
|At a glance:
||Yerevan – Goris – Stepanakert – Yerevan – Tbilisi – Sukhum – Tbilisi 8 or 6 or 14 days
||(Tehran – Armenia)
||(Armenia – Tblisi)
||(Tblisi – Batumi)
|Iran extension + Group A
||€795 (€100 discount)
|Group A + B Combo
||€1540 (€150 discount)
|Iran extension, Group A/B Combo
||€1590 (€200 discount)
ITINERARY > CAUCASUS TOUR
Monday 30th April
Iran Group Extension (for those from our Iran tour who wish to join us for the Caucasus Unrecognised States Adventure)
- Free time in Tehran for the morning
- Journey by road to the border with Armenia on the way we will stop at plenty of interesting locations for pictures, explanations and of course – lunch!
- Cross the border from Iran and into Armenia. Historically and especially during the cold war, this was a tension heavy location
- We arrive at the town of Agarak, Armenia for check-in to our Hotel
- We relax for the evening over dinner and drinks
Tuesday 1st May
Non-Iran Extension Group arrive in Yerevan
- Arrival and scenic transfer to the town of Goris
- Connect up with the group from Iran at The Mirha Hotel
- Arrival to Goris through scenic mountain pass
- Traditional Armenian lunch with roast chicken, Armenian coffee or something stronger if you like! Soviet memorabilia a plenty here.
- Check-in to The Mirha Hotel.
- Greeting and mingle with the group who arrived directly Armenia.
- Visit the Khndzoresk cave town on the outskirts of Goris. These dwellings are over 1000 years old and similar to the Cappadocia Caves in Turkey
- Armenia has incredible wine. We will have plenty this evening during dinner over several traditional Armenian dishes.
- We spend the night in Goris.
Wednesday 2nd May
- Morning time hotel breakfast
- Visit the mountainside 9th-century Tatev Monastery – accessed via the world’s longest cable car transport.
- Typical and delicious Armenian lunch
- For something completely unique we will be travelling with our convoy of Lada cars to the unrecognised state of Nagorno-Karabakh. A former conflict zone nestled within South West Azerbaijan
- We arrive and check-in at the Jazz Club Hotel
- We obtain our visas for Nagorno-Karabakh which can be optionally put in your passport or given to you separately as passport holders with the visa attached would not be able to enter Azerbaijan in the future!
- Stroll around Stepanakert – definitely one of the more peculiar cities in the region.
- A visit to the (very) Soviet amusement and fun fair
- We check-out the national stadium
- Night time Karaoke and hotel overnight
Thursday 3rd May
- We jump aboard our Lada flotilla again for our drive to the town of Agdam also known as the “The Hiroshima of the Caucuses”. This is now a deserted town that saw substantial armed conflict up until 1993. You will be one of the very few foreigners to visit here. Please note that the location is ordinarily off-limits and our entry will not be confirmed until we arrive. You must follow clear instructions from your guide at all time.
- Lunch en route to Gandzasar
- Ganzasar monastery one of the most ancient monasteries in existence dating back to 600 AD. It has managed to escape relentless conflict throughout history. We will meet the lone monk who resides here. There is an ancient cemetery attached to the monastery which we will see as well.
- We will visit the bizarre town of Vank some of which is like dreamland and have dinner here.
- We spend the night in Stepanakert
Friday 4th May
- Travel onwards to Yerevan
- Visit Zorats Karer or ‘The Armenian Stonehenge’ thought to be around 7,500 years old or twice as old as Stonehenge in the UK.
- Lunch en route to Yerevan
- Khor Virap – the ancient Armenian Church monastery overlooking Mount Ararat
- Vazgen Sargsyan was the former Prime Minister assassinated in 1999. We visit the museum dedicated to his honour.
- We arrive at check-in at Envoy Hostel
- Traditional Armenian Dinner
- Night out in Yerevan
- We spend the night at Envoy Hostel Yerevan, Armenia
Saturday 5tth May
- Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex.
- Gerhard monastery – one of the most ancient in Armenia cut into the mountain side.
- Visit Garni a town with an amazing 2,000-year-old pagan temple like something from a movie set!
- Traditional lunch in the hills around Yerevan where several outdoor restaurants are located.
- A visit to a distinctly Soviet Market with all kinds of USSR memorabilia.
- A visit the Ararat Cognac Factory with its roots going back to 1887
- Delicious dinner in a well-known traditional Armenian restaurant in Yerevan
- Pub crawl!
- Overnight in hostel
Sunday 6th May
- Yerevan walk about and city tour
- Visit the White Marble Waterfall, Opera House & Parliament Buildings
- Bazaar packed with old school Soviet memorabilia
- Free in the afternoon for shopping or relaxation
- Overnight train to Tbilisi departing at 21:30 pm
Monday 7th May
- 3.30 am crossing over Georgian Border, passports will be stamped on the train
- 7:00 am arrival in Tbilisi, Georgia.
- Conclusion of Group A tour
- Arrival at Tbilisi, Capital of Georgia.
- Tbilisi city walkabout and Tbilisi castle (accessed by cable car for sweeping views across the city). We will visit a well-known market where you can purchase all types of Soviet memorabilia.
- Chill out at the traditional Georgian baths with a cold beer if you like
- Spend the night in Tbilisi
Tuesday 8th May
- We hit the road and head for Gori – The birthplace of Joseph Stalin where he is still revered among the local population
- Gori city walking tour including The Stalin Statue & Museum which features his personal train and the house in which he was born.
- Visit Vardzia ancient cave settlement dating back 3,000 years
- Travel back to Tbilisi
- Overnight stay in Tbilisi
Wednesday 9th May
- We travel to the 5035-meter high dormant volcano Mount Kazbek – the seventh highest mountain in the Caucasus
- Visit the spectacular 14th century Trinity Monastery
- Travel back to Tbilisi and overnight train to Zugdidi, in the western part of Georgia
Thursday 10th May
- We cross the border from Zugdidi to Abkhazia. This is a military heavy border and the atmosphere reflects this. You will be one of a small number of tourists who have experienced this border crossing.
- Arrival in Sukhumi City, the capital of Abkhazia. This city has seen a lot of armed conflict in the past. We will take a tour of the city which at one time was a major hotspot on the Soviet tourist map due to its location on the Black Sea coast. It has lost its appeal in this regard but is an interesting experience given the recent war here.
- Traditional Abkhazian dinner followed by a night out to local bowling alley
- We stay overnight in an old-school Soviet hotel
Friday 11th May
- Morning hotel breakfast
- Abkhazia burnt out but structurally sound Parliament building
- Beautiful Sukhumi Botanical Gardens and monkey colony
- Visit the former Military Sanatorium
- There is a beach in Sukhumi which you are free to explore before sampling Abkhazian food and drinks on the promenade.
- Hotel overnight
Saturday 12th May
- We travel the short distance to ‘New Athos’. This is a third-century Greek port known as Anacopia. The ruins are still visible.
- New Athos is home to an incredible cave system that is largely unknown to most tourists here. There is a unique ‘cave metro’ system here that meanders through the caves which we will take a ride on as well.
- We explore the spectacular New Athos monastery constructed in the 1880s by Russia’s Tsar Alexander III.
- Psyrtskha Train Station and hydroelectric is probably one of the most beautiful power stations in the world. Completed by local monks 1892 and still provides just enough power for the monastery to today.
- Chill out time at Morskie Vodi baths. This is optional and an extra admission charge applies here.
- We travel back to Sukhumi for dinner and drinks looking out over the Black Sea
- Hotel overnight in Sukhumi
Sunday 13th May
- Departure back to Georgia through Zugdidi
- Transport arranged to Kutaisi/Batumi/Tbilisi
- Conclusion of tour