9 Days - Classic Escorted Tours

Our eye-opening tour of the highlights of Georgia explores the fascinating current and ancient capitals of Tbilisi and Mtskheta, dramatic mountain scenery along the renowned Georgian Military Road, ancient citadels and churches in breathtaking locations, the unbelievable cave-city of Vardzia, the fruitful Kakheti wine region where ancient techniques are still used with modern methods, and so much more. Just over half the size of England, tiny Georgia boasts millennia of fascinating history, legacies of powerful civilisations from two continents, and spectacular landscapes certain to inspire wonder in even the most seasoned travellers. Georgia has often been at the vanguard of world history yet remains little-known to modern-day travellers. Nestled at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, it played an important role as a stop along the ancient Silk Road. It is bordered to the west by the depths of the inky Black Sea, and to the north and south by the sky-piercing Caucasus mountains, which dramatically define the landscape and serve as natural boundaries with Russia, Turkey and Armenia. With eternal snow and glittering glaciers, the highest peaks stay silver-white year-round and shield much of the country from the harsh cold. For more than 8,000 years, the fertile valleys have been devoted to viticulture, perhaps making this the birthplace of wine. Georgians proudly call their country ‘Sakartvelo’, land of Kartvelians, which became one of the first kingdoms to embrace Christianity – its unique alphabet was created to help evangelise the people. The land has inspired myths and legends, such as Jason and the Golden Fleece, and Amirani the Georgian Prometheus was chained in a cave in the Caucasus after stealing fire from the gods. The medieval epic poem, ‘The Knight in the Panther’s Skin’, was inspired by Georgia’s first female ruler, Queen Tamar the Great, who expanded the kingdom’s influence to what is now modern-day Iran and eastern Turkey. Throughout the centuries, successive invasions by Mongol, Ottoman and Iranian armies caused the kingdom to fragment. At the end of the 18th century, an alliance with the Russian Empire marked the start of Russian influence till the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Despite these past conflicts, Georgia has upheld a long history of religious harmony, with groups of different faiths living together peacefully for centuries. Ancient pagan temples, Catholic cathedrals and remote monasteries can be found along with incredible Orthodox churches, mosques and synagogues. Every bit a revelation is Georgian cuisine and Russia’s beloved father of literature, Pushkin, was said to have enthused: ‘Every Georgian dish is a poem’. Every family is said to have their own recipe for the pleated ‘khinkali’ or soup-filled dumplings. Then there are the flaky flatbreads stuffed with cheese or vegetables, an array of salads and vegetable dishes, and ‘mtsvadi’ skewers of meat – all flavoured by the east and the west. Georgians delight in their culinary traditions and eating seasonally, making the most of local ingredients. Along the way you’ll encounter the welcoming Georgians – rightfully proud of their culture and heritage, they are disarmingly hospitable to guests whom they genuinely consider to be blessings. Here, this saying couldn’t be truer: enter as strangers, leave as friends.

Highlights

  • Happy by day two or we'll bring you home with a full refund
  • Uncover Tbilisi’s rich history and ancient monuments
  • Drive along the renowned Georgian Military Road through awe-inspiring mountain scenery to visit the iconic Gergeti Trinity Church
  • See the incredible cave-city of Vardzia, hewn from the steep side of a canyon
  • Visit the UNESCO-listed churches of Mtskheta, where Georgia embraced Christianity
  • Discover the cradle of viticulture with a tour and tasting in the heart of the Kakheti wine region
  • Glimpse Georgian noble life on a tour of the Chavchavadze family’s estate
  • Visit the fascinating Stalin Museum in his birthplace of Gori, unchanged since Soviet times
  • Seven nights in four-star to four-star superior accommodation (early check-in is available as most flights arrive in the early hours on day two), inclusive of all local taxes, with breakfast daily, three lunches and five dinners

Inclusions

  • The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability the relevant supplement. The price includes:
  • Return flights
  • Eight nights’ in four-star accommodation*
  • Daily breakfast, three lunches and five dinners
  • All local taxes and transfers
  • All tours and entrances as mentioned
  • The services of a Riviera Travel tour manager
  • * Due to flight times, arrival will be in the early hours of day two.