Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Tbilisi, Georgia
Welcome. To. Colour. Love breaking the mould, defying the norm, doing things differently? Tbilisi is your place. Picture it: breathtaking valleys. Kaleidoscopic architecture. Unbelievable bars and nightlife. Check into your hotel, drop your bags and get to know the gang. We’ve got your dinner covered tonight.
Day 2 - Tbilisi
Time to get versed in all things Tbilisian (yep, it's a word). Point yourself in the direction of the 13th century Metekhi Church and prepare to swell your brain with some serious local knowledge on today's walking tour. We'll also take on the terrace-like old districts of the city - so expect colourful houses, patterned balconies and INCREDIBLE views. Case in point? The panoramic vistas from the 4th century Narikala Fortress (they'll drop your jaw). Before we head back towards the hotel, check out the sulphur bath area. Fact: the old Georgian word 'tbili' means 'warm'. Makes sense.
Day 3 - Tbilisi including Mtskheta
DAY TRIP: Mtskheta is just a 40-minute drive away, so it’d be rude not to. This 3,000-year-old city was once the capital of Georgia, and is chock-full of ancient architectural wonders. Today we’ll get the lowdown on the UNESCO-listed Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral – where the Robe of Christ is buried. Back in Tbilisi, grab some dinner with the gang then hit the town. Go techno at Bassiani or KHIDI – or snag yourself a Georgian tipple at Wine Buffet (so sophis).
Day 4 - Tbilisi to Stepantsminda via Ananuri Architectural Complex
Today: not-your-average road trip up the Georgian Military Highway. Featuring: not-your-average pit stop (aka the 17th-century Ananuri castle complex). The carvings on the churches here are amazingly intricate – and the whole shebang overlooks the stunning Zhinvali Reservoir. Take a look around, then we’ll wind through the gorgeous Caucasus Mountains to the town of Stepantsminda. Ready to hike? This one’s a peach. Grab some water and a snack, ‘cause we’re off through the valleys and woodlands on a two-and-a-half-hour expedish to Gergeti Trinity Church. If the weather’s on our side, we might even see Mt Kazbegi (an extra-high glacier) along the way. Back in Stepantsminda, there’s a dumpling-themed cookery class to get into if you’re keen.
Day 5 - Stepantsminda including Juta
Juta, we’re coming for you – through the gorgeous Sno Valley (sounds like a Mario Kart racetrack, right?). But what is Juta? Good question tbf. It’s a tiny little mountain village that’s cut off from the rest of the world for most of the year. Think: lush, green, soul-soothing mountain landscapes. Hit up a café, try the traditional herbal tea, mingle with the locals – then hop back on the coach to Stepantsminda. Dinner’s waiting back at the hotel – so, dig in with the gang and see who got the best pano of the day.
Day 6 - Stepantsminda to Akhaltsikhe via Kaspi and Borjomi
Next up: Kaspi, where we’ve got a wine tasting to get stuck into. Red or white, the local stuff is made in large earthenware jugs called kvevri (a method that’s so legit, it’s on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list). After we’ve learnt our ABC’s of Georgian wine – it’s onwards to Borjomi: a spa town that’s famous as the birthplace of the eponymous mineral water. Head out and find a local haunt for lunch, then it’s off to the city of Akhaltsikhe for the evening.
Day 7 - Akhaltsikhe to Tbilisi via Vardzia and Khertvisi Fortress
This is a special one. Remember the name Vardzia Cave Monastery, ‘cause it’s gonna be your new favourite place. This incredible complex of caverns and tunnels stretches for over half a kilometre – it’s even got its own rock-carved church, the Church of the Dormition (which is full of unbelievable Golden Age frescoes). Take a wander through the meeting rooms, reception chambers and wine cellars before we head to Khertvisi Fortress – one of the oldest fortresses in the country. Tonight, it’s back to Tbilisi. Ready for round two?
Day 8 - Tbilisi including Sighnaghi and Tsinandali
Kakheti region, coming up. YES – it’s another winemaking area. And YES – it’s a warm and friendly kinda place. Think: snow-capped mountains meet fertile valleys. On the to do list? The photogenic town of Sighnaghi and a winery (for another round of tipple time). Then: prepare for a deep-dive into Georgian culture as we settle down for a delicious homemade lunch with a local family. Plus: we’ll get a lesson in Georgian cookery with a Shoti bread-baking demo (complete with traditional thone oven). But that’s not all. To round things off we’ll get a wriggle on to Tsinandali – where we’ll pay a visit to the estate of Prince Alexander Chavchavadze (which was a hotspot for poets and creative types back in the 19th century). Back in Tbilisi there’s one more group dinner to look forward to. Make it count!
Day 9 - Tbilisi
It’s the end of the road (for now). Head down to breakfast and say goodbye to the fam. We’re not crying, you are. Then? The rest is up to you – but we hear Greece is good this time of year *wink.
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