Georgia Explorer


Culture | Silk Road

Medieval fortresses, ancient wine culture & charming locals

12 days £2,295 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
Intro, Dates & Prices


Discover Georgia's charms on this comprehensive tour of the country exploring its stunning landscapes, its spectacularly set churches, sprawling medieval fortresses as well as its UNESCO heritage sites, and its wonderful cuisine and hospitality. Trace the paths of invading armies from Persians to Ottomans, and the more recent imprints of Soviet occupation. Learn how to write your name in Georgian, make traditional bread and sweets and cook some traditional Georgian recipes.


  • Leisurely wander through the picturesque narrow streets of Tblisi’s old town
  • Explore the beautiful wine-country of Kakheti
  • Stunning views over Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park.
  • Appreciate the intricate Georgian architecture of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
  • Learn about the Georgian IDP Project
  • Inspect the sturdy 14th century Khertvisi Fortress
  • Listen to traditional Georgian polyphonic singing
  • Admire the synthesis of medieval and modern architectural styles at Bagrati Cathedral
  • Marvel at the centuries-old artwork within the Gelati Monastery
  • Okatse Canyon
  • Head just south of the Russian border for panoramic views of Mount Kazbek
  • The Soviet era Stalin Museum
  • Amble on a mountaintop around the iconic Gergeti Trinity Church
  • Georgian felt-making workshop

Places Visited

Tbilisi - Sighnaghi - Tsinandali - Telavi - Kakheti region - Mtskheta - Uplistsikhe - Ateni - Vardzia - Rabati Castle - Akhaltsikhe - Kutaisi - Martvili - Gori - Kazbegi

What's Included

Accommodation as mentioned
Transportation by AC vehicle
Non AC 4WD vehicle to Juta
Meals as mentioned
Entrance fees 
Small bottle of water per day
Guide and driver

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Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Arrive in Tbilisi

Arrive at Tbilisi airport where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to relax or explore at your own pace.

Overnight in About Sololaki, Tbilisi

Meal plan: n/a

Tbilisi, formerly known as 'Tiflis', is Georgia's capital and the largest city of Georgia. It lays on the banks of the Mtkvari River and has a population of roughly 1.5 million people. Founded in the 5th century by the monarch of Georgia's ancient precursor, the Kingdom of Iberia, the city was invaded by different invaders over the centuries. The increase of Armenian population was noticed in the 19th century. Tbilisi has many narrow streets and a mixture of religious and secular architecture. There are many churches, synagogues, mosques and 19th-century houses with multi-coloured wooden balconies. 

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Day 2 : Tbilisi

After breakfast take a tour of the old city including Narikala Fortress and the Mother of Georgia statue.  Later take a stroll along the famous Rustaveli Avenue, and visit the National Museum (closed on Mondays) and the Dry Bridge flea market. Take in the views from the funicular before going for dinner in a local restaurant.

Overnight in About Sololaki, Tbilisi

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Tbilisi’s old town stands in the shadow of Mother Georgia’s silvery statue, perched on a hill overlooking a mosaic of multi-coloured houses constructed in the 19th century. Nestled together on narrow streets, the homes feature wooden balconies that allow residents to revel in the fresh air. Established in the 4th century and fortified over hundreds of years, the ruins of Narikala Fortress also tower over Georgia’s capital, offering visitors spectacular panoramic views.  

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Day 3 : Kakheti Region

In the morning we begin exploring the Kakheti region, enjoying superb views of the Great Caucasus Mountains and valleys. We visit Sighnaghi and the Tsinandali estate. Visit a 300-year-old wine cellar and learn how Georgian wine-making differs from that of other parts. Stop off to try your hand at making traditional bread and traditional Georgian sweets before driving to Telavi for dinner and overnight.

Overnight in Communal, Telavi

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Sighnaghi was once the cultural centre of Eastern Georgia and, following extensive renovation, the town has reclaimed its heritage as a hub of workmanship and trade - the town is famous for  its wine and carpet-making culture.  Known as a 'town museum', its unique architecture has been preserved or recreated. Enjoy walking through Sighnaghi's narrow streets in the shade of balconies richly decorated with lace-y carved ornamentation. Sighnaghi was instrumental in defending King Erekle II from the Lekis in the 18th century due to its geographic location and its city wall, whose 23 towers span nearly 5 kilometres. A short climb up the restored portion of the wall provides a sweeping panorama of the Alazani Valley and the Caucasus Mountains.

Georgia’s easternmost region, Kakheti, justifiably boasts of history, nature and wine.  Ancient monasteries, cathedrals and fortresses are folded into a beautiful and diverse landscape featuring the formidable snow-capped Caucasian mountains, expansive fertile valleys and rugged stretches of sparse vegetation.  Kakheti is synonymous with wine throughout Georgia.  Archaeologists have dated grape remains from 8,000 years ago, crowning Kakheti and its unique Qvevri tradition as the world’s oldest wine culture – though many different techniques are employed today. Warm-hearted locals enjoy educating visitors at wine cellars and wineries.

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Day 4 : Telavi - Jokolo - Tbilisi

In the morning, visit Telavi market and then continue visit village Jokolo where the Kist tribe lives (Muslims of Chechnyan origin). You will learn more about their culinary traditions and customs, taste their non-alcoholic beer, and listen to their folk songs. Later drive back to Tbilisi. 

Overnight in About Sololaki, Tbilisi

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

Telavi is a historical city in Kakheti, an eastern region of Georgia and is considered to be one of Georgia’s most ancient cities. With fascinating museums, well-preserved religious buildings and a castle, Telavi offers visitors a unique insight into Georgian history and culture.

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Day 5 : Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Uplistsikhe - Ateni

After breakfast drive to Mtskheta and visit Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Visit a Georgian IDP settlement where you will have the opportunity to create cloisonne enamel artifacts together with your hosts. Later, drive to Uplistsikhe and then continue to Ateni for dinner, wine-tasting and overnight.

Overnight in Nika's Marani, Ateni

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Mtskheta is one of Georgia’s oldest cities, located roughly 20 km north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Within the city (which is itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, one of Georgia’s largest places of worship. The site, surrounded by a defensive wall, has housed churches since the 4th century, but the standing building was constructed in the early 11th century and artfully restored in the 1970s. According to Biblical canon, Christ’s robe was carried to Mtskheka after his crucifixion and buried beneath the cathedral. Inside, a painting illustrates the buried garment and the miracle of a pillar rising into the air during the church’s construction.  

Uplistsikhe (meaning 'Fortress of the Ruler') is a rock-hewn town that dates back to 1000 BC and covers an area of approximately 8 hectares. The town is divided over three levels that are connected by a series of narrow tunnels. Uplistsikhe used to be a main point on the Silk Road, but was abandoned in the 17th century.

The cross-shaped Jvari Monastery precipitously tops a mountain, peering over the city of Mtskheta and the three-pronged intersection of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers below.  This UNESCO World Heritage site was built on the site where St. Nino erected a cross outside of a Pagan temple, symbolising Iberia’s shift to Christianity in the 4th century. The Small Church of Jvari was built to the north of the cross, 60 years before the Jvari Monastery was completed, and can still be identified as ruins. Relief sculptures survive on the sacred pilgrimage site’s exterior, and a giant wooden cross still adorns the small monastery today.

Georgian IDP Project - IDP stands for Internally Displaced People - and according to official Georgian sources, there are about 260,000 (90,000 families of) IDPs in Georgia, as a result of the conflicts in the 1990s and in 2008. IDPs are still considered a very vulnerable section of the Georgian population and although the government has said it aims to provide accommodation, health care and other essential needs, unfortunately this has not yet been achieved. The Council of Europe is also assisting financially through various projects supporting these people.

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Day 6 : Ateni- Vardzia - Khertvisi - Akhaltsike

In the morning, travel along the beautiful route to Vardzia. Stop to take photos of the 10th century Khertvisi Fortress. On your way back, visit a local brewery where the host keeps beer in traditional wine jars, and then visit the Rabat complex in Akhaltsikhe.

Overnight in Hotel Gino Wellness, Akhaltsikhe

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

With most construction taking place during the second half of the 12th century, Vardzia is a complex of cave dwellings set over 13 levels that centre around a main church and throne room. The Church of the Dormition, which dates back to the 1180s, is decorated with religious and royal murals. The site at Vardzia, however, was destroyed beyond repair by an earthquake in 1283.

The precursor to Khertvisi Fortress was purportedly destroyed by Alexander the Great; the current fortress, one of the largest in Georgia, was constructed  in the 14th century,  more than a millennium later. With 1.5-metre-thick and 20-metre-tall walls, it stretches over half a kilometre and has 19 tiers. The fortress stands guard to the current village of Khertvisi at the joining of the Mtkvari and Paravani rivers.  

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Day 7 : Akhaltsikhe - Borjomi - Kutaisi

After breakfast, travel to Kutaisi via Borjomi where you will stop to taste the local mineral carbonated water. Enjoy lunch and wine-tasting at a local winery run by a young lady. Drive to Kutaisi where you will visit the impressive Bagrati Cathedral, where you may also hear local polyphonic singers performing. Before dinner, learn about the unique Georgian language and script.

Overnight in Hotel Newport, Kutaisi

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Kutaisi is Georgia’s second largest city and has a history that dates back to 2000 BC, when it served as the capital city of the Kingdom of Colchis. Ottoman forces conquered the city in the early 16th century, but it was reclaimed by the Georgian king in 1770. The city possesses two UNESCO World Heritage sites and sits on the banks of the Rioni river.

Perched on a mountain that overlooks Kutaisi is the 11th century Bagrati Cathedral. Also known as The Cathedral of the Dormition, this building was completed during the reign of King Bagrat III, a man who is considered the first king of a unified Georgia. The cathedral lay in ruins for over 300 years after invading Ottomans destroyed it. Finally restored in 2012, Bagrati Cathedral now showcases medieval and modern Georgian architectural styles.

The roots of the word polyphonic translate as ''many sounds.''  Polyphonic singers are able to simultaneously produce a fundamental tone with an audible overtone.  Polyphonic singing in Georgia is a popular and treasured secular tradition, though the musical style varies by region.  Over time, polyphonic singing became ingrained into everyday life; polyphonic songs were sung by workers in the fields and by citizens hoping to cure illnesses, and the technique eventually carried over to hymns.  

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Day 8 : Kutaisi - Martvili - Kutaisi

Today you will explore the western region of Georgia (Imereti and Samegrelo provinces). Take a walking tour of Kutaisi's agricultural market and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gelati Monastery. Afterwards, travel to Martvili for a sumptuous lunch and wine at Oda Marani. Afterwards you will visit the Okatse Canyon, named after the local royal family. Weather-permitting, you will take a boat tour along the canyon. Return to Kutaisi.

Overnight in Hotel Newport, Kutaisi

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The Gelati Monastery, founded by beloved Georgian ruler David IV (also referred to as ‘’David the Builder’’), consists of the main Church of the Virgin, the Church of St. George, the Church of St. Nicholas and a bell tower.  The Academy building recalls the monastery’s history as a cultural centre of ancient Georgia, which attracted great scientific and philosophical minds.  Murals and mosaics, some of which date back to the 12th century, cover the spacious interior of the buildings, arching over windows, pressing backwards into alcoves and reaching the highest stretches of the vaulted ceiling.  Despite damage from invasion and feuds, visitors can still admire the detailed enamel and metal work from a bygone era.  

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Day 9 : Kutaisi - Gori - Kazbegi

After breakfast drive eastwards, stopping en-route at the Stalin Museum in Gori. After lunch continue along the Georgian Military Highway, stopping to visit Ananuri Fort and enjoying breath-taking views of the Great Caucasus Mountains up to Kazbegi. Dinner will be with a local family who will also show how some traditional Georgian dishes are prepared. 

Overnight in Rooms Hotel, Kazbegi

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

The city of Gori is famously known as the birthplace of Joseph Stalin. The city is home to the Stalin Museum, which was originally built in 1951 as a local history museum. It later became a memorial museum to Stalin, following his death in 1953. Visitors to the museum can delve into the dictator's past, seeing the house where he spent the first few years of his life, his personal armored train carriage and many items that once belonged to Stalin - including hand written texts, office furniture and a bronze cast of his death mask.

Kazbegi, officially known as ''Stepantsminda", is a small town located just 10 kilometres south of the Russian border. The town is 1,750 metres above sea level and has breathtaking mountain views that include Mount Kazbek (or 'Glacier Mountain'), Georgia’s third highest peak, standing at 5,047 metres high. Kazbek is associated with the myth of Prometheus, who is said to have been chained to the mountain as punishment for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mortals. 

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Day 10 : Kazbegi - Gergeti - Kazbegi

In the morning walk to Gergeti Church for superb views over the settlement (a vehicle is available for those who prefer not to walk). In the afternoon, drive to the remote village of Juta, which is cut off from the rest of the country by snow for six months of the year. Visit a local lady to taste Matsoni yogurt and honey. In the late afternoon, return to Kazbegi.

Overnight in Rooms Hotel, Kazbegi

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

The isolated Gergeti Trinity Church, constructed in the 14th century, is elevated 2,170m over the Chkheri riverbank, facing Mt. Kazbek. The church holds important religious relics which were brought from Mtskheta during the 18th-century Persian invasion. Even when religious services were outlawed during the Soviet era, tourists were still drawn to the church to admire the small town of Kazbegi. 

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Day 11 : Kazbegi - Tbilisi

In the morning visit a local master producing teka (traditional Georgian felt textiles) and taste some Georgian confiture. Later transfer to Tbilisi and the afternoon is free to explore on your own, go souvenir-shopping, or even take a steam-bath.

Overnight in About Sololaki, Tbilisi

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Visit a local craft studio to see how traditional Georgian Teka felt is made. Felting is one of the oldest and most ecologically clean ways of processing  wool; sheep do not  suffer at all when their wool is collected. Felt fragments have been found from as far back as the second millennium BC and felt is still commonly used in everyday garments and accessories to this day. The material is also a popular art medium. Every step of felting is a manual, individual and highly creative process. It takes 2 to 3 days (depending on complexity) to make one scarf. 

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Day 12 : Tbilisi - Departure

After breakfast transfer to the airport for onward travel.

Meal plan: Breakfast



All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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About Sololaki

Tbilisi (4 nights)

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Telavi (1 night)

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Nika's Marani

Ateni (1 night)

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Hotel Gino Wellness

Akhaltsikhe (1 night)

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Hotel Newport

Kutaisi (2 nights)

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Rooms Hotel

Kazbegi (2 nights)

Located at the base of Kazbek Mountain in Stepantsminda Village, 4.3 miles from the 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church, Hotel Kazbegi features a lobby bar and a library.  The great snow-topped Mount Kazbeg can also be viewed from the terrace, restaurant and lounge.  

Visit hotel's site

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Three Days in Georgia (3 days)

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We asked Travel the Unknown to come up with an unusual trip to 6 counties of the Caucasus and the ex-Soviet Union countries. They did so in a tour that flowed seamlessly the whole 38 days. The most impressive part was when Ukrainian Airlines cancelled our connecting flights from Kiev to Minsk, for 2 consecutive days. We contacted Travel The Unknown that morning and asked them to arrange an overnight train with a sleeping compartment. When arrived in Kiev, we were met at the airport, driven to the train station where tickets where waiting for us. They arranged for our pickup at the station in Minsk, as we left the train, and we went on our planned tours without losing a minute. That is what I call great service!

Irwin Drangel & Linda Schain , Tailor-made Caucasus and Soviet Fringes

We had a fantastic time on our Best of the Caucasus tour. We loved eating with the families in Georgia and visiting the Molovan family in Armenia, definitely highlights of the trip. Our Georgian guide in particular was the best you could possibly have, giving a true insight into the country. He should be recommended for an award!

Pam Bowers & John Simpson , Best of the Caucasus

We are a fairly fussy bunch of travellers, but this was one of our best trips. We were were impressed with the overall organisation, and our young and very capable guide was an excellent ambassador for her beautiful country.

Valerie Newberry , Tailormade Georgia

Loved the Caucasus with Travel the Unknown. I learnt of their ancient history and the current geopolitical significance of the cross roads between West and East. Another first class trip from Travel the Unknown with extremely knowledgeable guides and great hotels.

Margaret Small , Best of the Caucasus
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