Meeting on the Georgia-Armenian border, moving on to the heart of the Caucasus, Georgia, we will head to the capital Tbilisi, the beating heart of the Caucasus.
After lunch we take a cable car from Rike Park – opposite the Old Town – to Narikala Fortress where the statue of Mother Georgia looks down over the city below. The views from here are superb, with striking examples of modern architecture sitting side by side with centuries old buildings.
Later we visit the Godirdi Baths, which for hundreds of years were one of Tbilisi’s main attractions.
Accommodation in hotel, dinner, overnight.
Breakfast, after we continue to explore this eclectic city with a visit to the National Museum and a walking tour of the delightful Old Town. Lunch.
A labyrinth of winding streets and twisting alleys, Tbilisi Old Town is a fusion of Asian and European influences, with doorways leading to hidden courtyards and buildings adorned with picturesque sagging balconies and carved pillars. Walking through these winding streets gives a flavor of old Persia.
After breakfast leaving Tbilisi, we head north for the amazing cave city of Uplistsikhe.
Inhabited since the 6th century BC, Uplistsikhe was home to some 20,000 people. The cave city now has an area of 40,000 square meters and has wonderful views of the Mtkvari Valley.
After our visit here we head to the town of Gori.
This town is synonymous with Stalin as this is where he was born and went to school.
Visiting this town is like stepping into a giant history book which brings Stalin back to life. We visit the museum of Stalin and the house where he spent the first four years of his life. We also see his bullet proof train carriage.
After breakfast we drive along the Georgian Military Highway to Kazbegi.
On arrival at Kazbegi we board our 4WD vehicles for the exhilarating drive into the Royal Range of the Caucasus where we enjoy a barbecue amongst the spectacular scenery of the towering mountains.
Later we return to Tbilisi.
After breakfast we drive through beautiful scenery to the eastern wine growing region of Kakheti and onto Lake Lopota.
Surrounded by forests, the small lake lies in the foothills of the southern Caucasus and will be our base to explore some of the most amazing wine growing country in the world.
Wine is an inherent part of Georgian culture and everyone here agrees that the best wines come from this fertile province which Alexander Dumas referred to as “the garden province of Kakheti”.
Winemaking in Kakheti stretches back some 7,000 years and 500 of the world’s 2000 grape varieties are found in Georgia.
In 2006 Russia banned Georgian wine, forcing the country to find new markets for its products, and today Georgia exports its wines all over the world.
But wines are not all that Kakheti has to offer: it is an area rich in history with many beautiful churches, castles and mansions, and warm and friendly people.
After breakfast we drive through beautiful countryside to the town of Telavi.
Here we visit the elegant palace of Tsinandali, which was the home of Tsar Alexander the 3rd.
The park and gardens surrounding the palace are beautifully laid out in an English style, with trees and exotic plants such as ginkgo, sequoia and yucca.
After our visit here we return to Lake Lopota.
Early this morning we leave Kakheti.
Shortly afterwards we reach the border with Azerbaijan.