A Taste of Georgia - Wine, mountains & monasteries.
$2399 includes air, hotels, tours, tastings and so much more!!!!
August 2nd - 11th, 2019.
Discover the magic of this ancient place, on the old Silk Road that linked Asia to Europe and with a 7000 year tradition of wine making.
The Republic of Georgia is situated between the Black and Caspian seas along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route linking Europe to Asia. With Russia to it's north and Turkey to the south, it's about as far East as you can go and still have the feel of Western Civilization with it's Orthodox Christian churches and medieval castles.
The 10 day package includes direct flights on 4 star Turkish Airways to Tbilisi with a short layover in Istanbul, all air taxes and fuel surcharges, all transfers between airports and hotels in Georgia, four nights in the heart of Old Town Tbilisi within walking distance to all the sights, a half day city tour of Tbilisi upon arrival, three nights in the beautiful Palace Hotel in the spa town of Borjomi with plenty of free time to explore the city, A night in a family run guesthouse in Stepansminda, breakfasts daily, 4 dinners, 1 lunch, winery tours and tastings, castle and cave city tours, an English speaking Georgian guide and a pre departure meeting and orientation before we go.
Prices are based on double occupancy. There is a single supplement fee of $499. Airport departure taxed and fuel surcharges are included but subject to change until time of booking,
To make things easier we'll charter a bus and split the cost for the round trip between Easton and the Airport.
This is a rare opportunity to visit a truly remarkable and little known country. Georgia has it's own religion, alphabet, language and has traditions that go back millennia. The Georgian people comprise their own ethnic group, completely separate from Russians, Slavs or Turks. With 7000 years of wine making history, everybody makes wine in Georgia, and many farmers make their own aged brandy too! In accordance with true Georgian hospitality, don't be surprised if someone offers you a taste of their own "cognac" while you're shopping at their stall.
Tbilisi is a city steeped in a rich history. It's come a long way since the Rose Revolution of 2003 ousted the post-Soviet Shevardnadze government. To Tbilisi's eternal charms of a dramatic setting in the deep valley of the swift Mtkvari River, picturesque architecture, an ever-lively arts and cultural scene, and the welcoming Georgian lifestyle have been added a whole new 21st-century dimension of inviting cafes and restaurants serving fabulous fresh food, up-to-date lodgings, funky bars and clubs, spruced-up museums, galleries, parks, plazas and whole streets, modernised transport and a sprinkling of eye-catching contemporary architecture. All of which make it a much easier, and more fun, city to visit and live in than it was just a few years ago. Now is the time to see it before it's discovered by everyone else!
We'll hike to the 6th century Gergeti Church in the shadow of 18,000' Mount Kazbegi. We'll spend a day touring the famous Kakheti Wine Region, complete with tasting stops at world renowned wineries and some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. We'll visit ancient fortresses and cave cities. Three nights in the spa town of Borjomi, at the entrance to the the vast wilderness of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park where we can hike, bike or just relax amid the beautiful surroundings of the town.
There will be plenty of free time to explore on your own as well.
Borjomi is a city famous throughout the former Soviet Union for its salty-sour, love-it-or-hate-it fizzy mineral water, Borjomi is a small resort town in the green valley of the swift Mtkvari River. Russian soldiers discovered a health-giving mineral spring here in 1810, and Count Vorontsov, a Russian governor, later developed Borjomi as a resort, one that became particularly fashionable when Duke Mikhail Romanov (brother to Tsar Alexander II) built a palace at nearby Likani in the 1890s. Nearby, trails wind through the vast wilderness of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. In the park, the centuries-old Mtsvane Monastery (Green Monastery) is made of green-tinged stones.
Day 1 – Friday August 2: Departure
Our Turkish Airways flight TK4 departs 12:30 in the afternoon from JFK and we arrive in Tbilisi the following morning after a brief layover in Istanbul.
Day 2 – Saturday August 3: Airport Tbilisi/Tbilisi
Arrive in Tbilisi this morning and take a walking tour of Old Tbilisi, a blend of Asian and European charm. Located in the gorge of Mtkvari River it hugs the riverbank with Mt. Mtatsminda and the Narikala Fortress towering over the oldest quarter of Tbilisi. We’ll see the highlights of the Old Town with beautiful ancient Orthodox Christian Churches, picturesque cobblestone streets, the famous Sulphur Baths, the Narikala Fortress, the ultra-modern Bridge of Peace, Freedom Square and Rustaveli Avenue. After the tour we’ll check into our hotel and have the rest of the day free to relax and wander the town. Overnight in the first class Shota Rustaveli Hotel Tbilisi.
Day 3 – Sunday August 4: Tbilisi
Breakfast served at the hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore this very walkable city complete with museums, shops, restaurants, cathedrals and more. Overnight in the Shota Rustaveli Hotel Tbilisi.
Day 4 – Monday August 5: Tbilisi/Sighnaghi/Velistsikhe/Tbilisi
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll board our private coach and travel through the Kakheti region where they’ve been making wine in their unique style for thousands of years, and experience some local Kakhetian hospitality. Our first stop will be the tiny town of love, Sighnaghi, surrounded by a defensive wall. Take a walk, enjoy the views and continue to a tour and tasting at the world renowned Pheasant’s Tears winery which produces their all natural and organic wine according to the ancient traditions. Lunch (included) at a local family owned vineyard with home-made food and wine. Then some free time to visit their very unique "museum" before heading home toTbilisi. Overnight in the boutique Shota Rustaveli Hotel Tbilisi.
Day 5 – Tuesday August 6: Tbilisi/Mtskheta/Kazbegi
Today we visit the ancient capital and religious center of Georgia, Mtskheta, and see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the 6th century Jvari Church of the cross. Our route continues north along the famous Georgian Military Highway. On the way we’ll stop at the Ananuri fortified church and enjoy the views of the lake. Then we’ll head north again through some gorgeous mountain scenery to Stepantsminda where we’ll have dinner (included) and stay overnight at a guesthouse in Kazbegi.
Day 6 – Wednesday August 7: Kazbegi/Borjomi
In the morning we head up to the famous 6th century Gergeti Church in the shadow of 18,000’ Mt Kazbegi. Afterwards we’ll drive to the spa town of Borjomi and have the evening free in town. Dinner (included) and overnight at the Borjomi Palace Hotel.
Day 7 – Thursday August 8: Borjomi/Vardzia/Borjomi
After breakfast today we visit one of the highlights in Georgia – the 12th century cave town complex of Vardzia. Wandering in this cave town will truly take you back to the 12th c period of the Georgian renaissance. We’ll see an underground church with the original frescoes, dwelling quarters, wine cellars and granaries, pharmacies and even a library. On our way back we’ll stop to climb up to the 10th century Khertvisi fortress with commanding views of the river below. Dinner (included) and overnight at the Borjomi Palace Hotel.
Day 8 - Friday August 9: Borjomi
After breakfast in our hotel you’ll have the day free to wander the town, visit the hot springs, go for a hike, mountain bike ride or horseback in the Borjomi national park. Or maybe just lounge by the pool and enjoy the local cocktails. Dinner (included) and overnight at the Borjomi Palace Hotel.
Day 9 – Saturday August 10: Borjomi/Uplistsikhe/Tbilisi
After breakfast this morning we head back to Tbilisi with a stop along the way to delve deep into to Georgia’s ancient history. We’ll tour the cave city Uplistsikhe, an ancient pagan spiritual center, which used to host the old caravans transporting goods from Asia to Europe along the Great Silk Road. Overnight in the Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi.
Day 10 – Sunday August 11: Departure
After breakfast today we say our goodbyes to Georgia and head to the airport for our 10:40 am flight home. We’ll be back to JFK via flight TK1 from Istanbul at 5:25 pm and should be back in Easton by 8:30 .