13Days 10Nights Gems of South Caucasus

Breathtaking natural beauty, deeply hospitable people, quaint rural backwaters and cosmopolitan capitals together make the South Caucasus region a thrilling, offbeat discovery. A wealth of ancient churches, cathedrals and monasteries, some recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, are not to be missed during your visit.

Exceptional Experiences:

 

  • Exploring Baku's UNESCO-listed fortified old town.
    Icherisheher, is Baku's UNESCO-listed fortified old town. It was once the medieval capital of the Shirvan Shahs. Today, its the capital's heart with Maiden Tower, traditional carpet weavers, bars and restaurants. The tour also includes a visit to Shirvanshakhs Palace, a 15th century UNESCO-listed complex that has a palace, mosque, burial vaults and a mausoleum, making it one of the top Baku attractions in Icherisherher.

 

  • The Gobustan Rock Art
    Gobustan is famous for its rock drawings. These drawings date back to 40,000 years. Gobustan is considered as the place where earliest settlement of people in Azerbaijan took place. You can see reflection of the activities of ancient people such as dance rituals, hunting scenes, carpentry and the images of animals.

 

  • Georgian Wine Tasting in Kakheti, Georgian wine country
    Georgia is one of the first countries in the world to pioneer viniculture. Georgian wine is made by fermenting whole grapes (stems, skins and all) in an underground clay vessel called a qvevri. This tradition of making wine is recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage. Today, only a handful of families remain who are able to produce these unique objects using know-how and experience passed down the generations from father to sons.

 

  • Romantic Legends of Mtskheta
    Mtskheta was the ancient capital of the Eastern Georgian Kingdom from the Third Century BCE to Fifth Century CE. It was also the location where Christianity was proclaimed as the kingdom’s official religion and continues to function as the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church. The town is named after Mtskhetos, son of Kartlos – the legendary progenitor of the Georgian people. Already a town of some significance in pagan times, it gained importance as the site of the first Christian church in Georgia. Today it is no longer the capital of the country, but it is still the spiritual capital and home to two of Georgia’s greatest churches – Svetitskhoveli and Jvari.

 

  • Largest Freshwater high-altitude lakes in Eurasia
    Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia and the Caucasus region. It's also one of the highest located lakes in the world at the altitude of 1900 meters (6230 ft.) above sea level. The lake lies in the eastern part of Armenia and its blue waters contrast beautifully with the bare, brownish scenery of the nearby mountains. Lake Sevan is also called "Armenian Sea" as it's the only large water basin within the country.

 

  • Symphony of Stones
    Garni Canyon lies across the length of the Azat (Garni) River and its confluent Goght. The canyon is attractive for the wonderful natural rocks, formed of regular hexagonal cylinders. These rocks start from the beginning up to the highest point of the canyon. The composition is called “Symphony of Stones” or “Basalt Organ”.

 

  • Cave Monastery in Georgia
    Vardzia - the monastery dating back to the twelfth century AD, located on the banks of the river Mtkvari is one of the most important historical sites in Georgia. Similar to the cave towns that can be found in Goreme region, Turkey, however this one is even bigger, carved out of the entire wall of the cliff, with beautifully decorated church. The location, in the middle of a huge gorge, offers unforgettable views.

 

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Itinerary:

 

Day 1 (03 May): CHECK IN SINGAPORE CHANGI AIRPORT (-/-/-)

 

Day 2 (04 May): SINGAPORE - BAKU, AZERBAIJAN (-/-/D)

Departure from Singapore Changi Airport for your flight to Baku, the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region.

Baku is famed for its medieval walled old city, which contains the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, a vast royal complex, and the iconic stone Maiden Tower. Contemporary landmarks include the Zaha Hadid–designed Heydar Aliyev Center, and the Flame Towers, 3 pointed skyscrapers covered with LED screens.

Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to the hotel to check in and rest for the day.

This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner where you will have a chance to taste the Azerbaijan favourite dish - Lavangi. Lavangi is a national dish of Azerbaijani and Iranian cuisine. It is a fish or chicken stuffed with walnuts, onions and various condiments and baked in the oven.

Overnight at Baku, Azerbaijan - Fairmont or similar

 

Day 3 (05 May): BAKU City Tour (B/-/-)

Breakfast in the hotel.

Begin the day with a sightseeing tour of Baku, historical and architectural monuments of the city, panorama of the city of Baku Bay and the Upland Park. Visit to old city Icherisheher - the inner city. It was called the inner after the oil boom of the middle of the XIX century when the city stopped to hold in defense walls and left its limit. Visit to Shirvanshakhs Palace, the symbol of Baku city The Maiden Tower, the Karavansaray.

In the evening, walking tour along the central streets of the city and fountain square. Tour to Ateshgah "Fire Temple of Baku", located at the Apsheron peninsula at the outskirts of Surakhani village in 30 km from the center of Baku and was revered in different period by Zoroastrians, Hindus and Sikhs. Current constructions of the temple are dated by XVII century. During the archeological excavations the ancient artifacts were discovered here.

Overnight at Baku, Azerbaijan - Fairmont or similar

 

Day 4 (06 May): BAKU - GOBUSTAN - SHEMAKHI - SHEKI (B/-/-)

Breakfast in the hotel.

After breakfast, depart on an excursion to Gobustan, archaeological reserve situated on the slope of Big Caucasus Mountains. It is a monticulate semi-desert area dissected by numerous gullies and ravines and Gobustan, in translation, means "ravine land".  In this area you can see a lot of petroglyphs with images of animals like wild goats, deer, wild pigs, horses, lions , birds, fish, snakes etc.

Then, drive to Shamakhi. Visit to mausoleum of Yeddi Gumbez. Its magnificent domes rise above the silent and lonesome landscapes and create mysterious atmosphere. Next, visit to Diri Baba. It was built on the rock and look like a big eagle nest.

Thereafter, drive to Sheki. On the way visit to the village Kish, famous for its huge Christian architectural monument.

Overnight at Sheki, Azerbaijan - Sheki Palace of similar

 

Day 5 (07 May): SGEKI - LAGODEKHI (BORDER) - SIGHNAGHI - TBILISI (B/-/-)

Breakfast in the hotel.

After breakfast, visit to Sheki Han Palace and Sheki History Museum before transferring to Azerbaijan – Georgia Border. Pass the border and drive to eastern part of Georgia Kakheti region, known almost exclusively for its vineyards and wineries. Visit Signagi, ancient city, also known as the City of Love, with stone-paved streets and the balconies in old - Georgian style. It is one of the beautiful towns of Kakheti region. At the elevation of about 790 m above sea level, the town overlooks the Alazani valley and faces the Greater Caucasus Mountains. The town is walled with the remnants of 18th century fortifications. Next, visit Niko Pirosmani museum - gallery.

Georgia is one of the first countries in the world to pioneer viniculture. Georgian wine is made by fermenting whole grapes (stems, skins and all) in an underground clay vessel called a qvevri. This tradition of making wine is recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage. Today, only a handful of families remain who are able to produce these unique objects using know-how and experience passed down the generations from father to sons. Enjoy a Georgian wine tasting before driving to Bodbe monastery. Originally built in the 9th century, it has been significantly remodeled in the 17th century. The monastery now functions as a nunnery and is one of the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia.

Arrive to Tbilisi, check in the hotel.

Overnight at Tbilisi, Georgia - Biltmore or similar

 

Day 6 (08 May): TBILISI City Tour - MTSKHETA (B/L/-)

Breakfast in the hotel.

Today, drive to the ancient capital and religious center of Georgia – Mtskheta and visit its historical places: Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, where the Robe of Christ is buried. Both Jvari and Svetitskhoveli are UNESCO World Heritage sites.  Enjoy a family hosted lunch with some interesting master classes. Khinkali and Khachapuri are two popular dishes that you can learn at the master class. Then, enjoy some wine tasting at Chateau Mukhrani before driving back to Tbilisi for the city tour. Tbilisi (literally "Warm Spring") is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mtkvari River, founded in the 5th century by Vakhtang Gorgasali. Tbilisi is a significant industrial, social and cultural center of Georgia. Located strategically at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and lying along the historic Silk Road routes, Tbilisi has often been a point of contention between various rival powers and empires. The history of the city can be seen by its architecture. Tbilisi sightseeing tour includes: Old town: Abanotubani, the ancient district of Tbilisi, known for its sulfuric baths; Narikala fortress; Sharden street, Synagogue,Anchiskhati,  Sioni Cathedral, Shota Rustaveli Avenue and Aghmashenebeli Avenue.

Overnight at Tbilisi, Georgia - Biltmore or similar

 

Day 7 (09 May): TBILISI - ANANURI - GUDAURI - KAZBEGI - TBILISI (B/-/-)

Breakfast in the hotel.

After breakfast, drive to Ananuri. Visit Ananuri (17th century), the castle complex on the Aragvi River.  Drive along historical Georgian Military Road to Gudauri, the ski resort (2000 meters above the sea level) located on the southern slopes of the greater Caucasus Mountain Range in Georgia.

Thereafter, drive to Kazbegi by crossing the “Jvari Pass” (2379 m. above the sea level). Explore the area beautifully situated on the hill. Hire locally 4X4 vehicles to get to Gergeti Holy Trinity Church, the remarkable monument of Georgian architecture, near the village of Gergeti, situated at an elevation of 2170 meters under Mount Kazbegi (elevation 5033).

In the later afternoon, drive back to Tbilisi.

Overnight at Tbilisi, Georgia - Biltmore or similar

 

Day 8 (10 May): TBILISI - (BORDER) - HAGHPAT - SANAHIN - DILIJAN (B/-/-)

Breakfast in the hotel.

This morning, drive to Georgian-Armenian border. Passing the border formalities then trip to the northern Armenia, the magical place of forested mountains and deep canyons. Visit to the masterpieces of Armenian medieval architecture - the Monastery complex Sanahin (9th – 12th cc.) and Haghpat (11th – 13th cc.), that are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List (2000). Passing by to mountainous resort Dilijan, or so called “Armenian Switzerland”, which is well-known for its forests as well as for its mysterious flora and fauna. Small walking city tour in Dilijan, including visit to handicrafts’ street.

Overnight at Dilijan, Armenia - Best Western Paradise or similar

 

Day 9 (11 May): DILIJAN - SEVAN - GARNI - GERHARD - YEREVAN  (B/L/-)

Breakfast in the hotel.

Drive to Lake Sevan, one of the wonders in Armenia. This blue lake is one of the greatest high mountainous freshwater lakes of Eurasia. On a clear and sunny day, the water is often of a deep turquoise color. Total surface of the lake is 940 km2. The peninsula is the most  popular destination to enjoy the breath-taking view on Sevan Lake and to take photographs for sweet memories. Thereafter, visit the ancient Sevanavank Monastery (IX century), which stands in its greatness on the peninsula overlooking the lake for centuries.

Drive to Yerevan.  Proceed to the only remaining pagan temple in Armenia devoted to the God of Sun – Myrth, in Garni, built in 77 AD by King Trdat (Arshakid Dynasty). Photo stop at Charentc Arc from where an exciting view opens on Ararat mountain.  From Garni temple a beautiful view opens on Canyon of Garni -magnificent and outstanding scene which creates the image of falling crags. It obtained the name "Symphony of Stones" due to its view.  Family hosted lunch in village house and watching of “Lavash” (Armenian traditional flat bread baked in stone-make oven) making process.

After lunch, drive to the unique caved temple St. Geghard (12th -13th cc.), the name of which means “holy spear” in the honor of the long-preserved spear, the same spear that pierced the body of crucified Christ. It is now exhibited in the museum of Etchmiadzin Cathedral. Geghard Monastery is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list (2000).

Today, we will check in to The Alexander, a Luxury Collection hotel for 2 nights.

Overnight at Yerevan, Armenia - The Alexander, a Luxury Collection hotel or similar

 

Day 10 (12 May): YEREVAN city tour - ECHMIADZIN - ZVARTNOC - KHOR VIRAP - YEREVAN (B/-/-)

Breakfast in the hotel.

Begin the day with the Yerevan sightseeing including City center, Republic square, City panorama, Mother Armenia Monument, Opera, Swan Lake. Visit to Cascade complex, which is considered the modern art center of Yerevan, with art pieces displayed throughout the whole area: the boulevard and up the stairs, from top of which you can enjoy the panoramic view on the city and Mountain Ararat.

Drive to Etchmiadzin city that used to be the ancient capital of Armenia. Since 4th century, it is the largest religious center, the residency of Catholicos of All Armenians. The cathedral is one of the ancient churches in the Christian world, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List (2000). It is the center of Armenian Apostolic Church. It was founded in 301 A.D. by St. Gregory the Illuminator.

Drive to Zvartnots, a temple of Vigil Forces, built in 641—661 A.D., considered one of the architectural wonders and unique example of Armenian architecture of early Christian period.  Тhe ruins of this cathedral still speak about the rare beauty of it.

Drive to Ararat valley, visit to Khor Virap Church – the place of imprisonment of St. Gregory the Illuminator, who stayed here in the small dungeon for 13 years without any food, accused by the Armenian King of preaching Christianity.  It is one of the holy places for the Christian world. It is also the best point to enjoy the most spectacular view of the gorgeous biblical mountain Ararat shining with its two white peaks.

Then return back to Yerevan.

Overnight at Yerevan, Armenia - The Alexander, a Luxury Collection hotel or similar

 

Day 11 (13 May): YEREVAN - GYUMRI - BAVRA (BORDER) - VARDZIA - AKHALTSIKHE (B/-/-)

Breakfast in the hotel.

Today, we will drive to Gyumri the second largest city in Armenia, located 130 km from Yerevan, Shirak Marz. Gyumri is distinguished by its unique deeply preserved folk traditions. It is one of the most damaged after the 1988 earthquake zone.

In the afternoon, meet at the Armenian - Georgian border – Bavra. Thereafter continue the journey to Vardzia, cave town (XII century), one of the most important and impressive historic monuments in Georgia. Vardzia is located at the altitude of 1300 meters above sea level.

Then, drive to Akhaltsikhe – (literally means new castle) the city in southwestern Georgia.

Overnight at Akhaltsikhe, Georgia - Gino Wellness or similar

 

Day 12 (14 May): AKHALTSIKHE - BORJOMI - TBILISI - SINGAPORE (B/-/-)

Breakfast in the hotel.

Visit Akhaltsikhe fortress - Rabati (XII century). Visit Borjomi Park.

Drive back to Tbilisi. Transfer to the airport for your departure flight back home.

 

Day 13 (15 May): ARRIVE SINGAPORE (-/-/-)

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Price From: (Per person )

Land Only SGD 3,200
Full Package on Economy Class SGD 4,700
Full Package on Business Class SGD 11,850

*Price quoted exclusive of taxes.

 

Package Includes:

  • Flights on Emirates Airline 
    • 04MAY (SAT)       SINGAPORE/DUBAI     EK405        01:40/04:50
    • 04MAY(SAT)       DUBAI/BAKU                 EK2198      08:10/11:00
    • 14MAY (TUE)     TBILISI/DUBAI               EK2201      15:30/18:50
    • 14MAY(TUE)     DUBAI/SINGAPORE     EK352        21:15/08:50+1
  • 10-nights accommodation 
  • Breakfast at the hotels
  • An English-speaking national guide for the entire trip
  • Tour and Meals as per itinerary

 

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