- Enjoy guided tours of the historic Old Towns in Baku, Tbilisi, and Yerevan
- Discover why Azerbaijan is the "Land of Fire" along the Absheron Peninsula
- Taste grape varietals Georgia's famed wine-making regino of Kakheti
- Visit the beauty of the region's largest body of water, Lake Sevan in Armenia
- Ride the world's longest non-stop cable car to Tatev Monastery
|Day 1||Arrive in Baku - Explore Azerbaijan's capital||Baku|
|Day 2||Explore Baku with a guided walking tour||Baku|
|Day 3||Discover the "Land of Fire" along the Absheron Peninsula||Baku|
|Day 4||Visit the mausoleums, mosques, and medieval towns in Sheki||Shaki|
|Day 5||Tour Georgia's wine-making Kakheti Region - Arrive in Tbilisi||Tbilisi|
|Day 6||Discover Tbilisi on a guided walking tour||Tbilisi|
|Day 7||Visit the mountaintop Gergeti Trinity Church in Kazbegi||Kazbegi|
|Day 8||Enjoy the cave town of Uplistsikhe and the ancient capital of Mtskheta||Tbilisi|
|Day 9||Drive the scenic coast of Lake Sevan in Armenia - Arrive in Yerevan||Yerevan|
|Day 10||Explore the streets, museums, and vistas of Yerevan||Yerevan|
|Day 11||Visit the ancient Garni Temple and the Geghard Monastery||Yerevan|
|Day 12||Ride the world's longest cable car to the Tatev Monastery||Goris|
|Day 13||Tour Noravank Monastery - transfer to Yerevan||Yerevan|
|Day 14||Depart Yerevan|
Day 1: Arrive in Baku - Explore Azerbaijan's capital
Welcome to Azerbaijan! You'll start your tour in the capital city of Baku, which is set on a small peninsula on the Caspian Sea. Your host will greet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. After settling in, take some time in the evening to explore Baku.
Although you'll enjoy a guided tour of the city tomorrow, spend your first few hours roaming Baku's lively city center. Walk through the historic old town and visit the different mosques, such as Muhammad Mosque. Then head to the waterfront and stroll through Mini Venice and Dənizkənarı Milli Park. Find dinner at one of the many restaurants in the city center near Molokan Gardens.
Day 2: Explore Baku with a guided walking tour
After breakfast at your hotel, you'll join a guided walking tour of Baku. Your private guide will start at Şəhidlər Xiyabanı, also known as Martyrs' Alley which was the former site of Kirov Park. Here you'll observe a large memorial dedicated to those killed during conflicts with the Soviet Union, including Black January in 1990 and the Nagorno-Karabakh War. It also offers tree-lined walking paths and views of the city.
Continue to the new part of Baku, where you can enjoy buildings and monuments featuring architecture from the 19th and 20th centuries. Stop by the monument to Nizami Ganjavi, a 12th-century poet, then walk down Rasulzade Street to find buildings from the early 20th century. Grab lunch in the heart of the old town at Fountain Square, a popular meeting point with interesting fountains, baroque architecture, and plenty of restaurants.
Continue the tour in Icheri Sheher, Baku's Old Town which is the most ancient part of the city surrounded by 12th-century walls. Here you'll find sites such as Maiden Tower, Bukhara Caravanserai, and Sheikh Shirvan Palace, a 15th-century palace complex.
In the evening, you'll meet your host for a welcome dinner at a traditional hotel in the city center.
Day 3: Discover the "Land of Fire" along the Absheron Peninsula
Today you'll enjoy a day trip through the Absheron Peninsula, the small peninsula in the Caspian Sea where Baku is located. After breakfast, you'll transfer from your hotel to your first stop in Gobustan National Park. Here you'll discover petroglyphs depicting scenes of people, dances, warriors, battles, animals, and more, all dating back 5,000 - 20,000 years ago.
Continue to the famous mud volcanoes, where it's believed that almost half of the world’s mud volcanoes are located in Gobustan National Park. Some continuously bubble and splatter, some emit flames, and some put on a show with messy eruptions. Head back toward Baku, detouring to the ancient temple of Ateshgah, often called the "Fire Temple of Baku". The castle-like structure was used a place of worship, attracting Zoroastrians from India to worship the site's natural eternal flame.
Today's final stop is Yanar Dag, a natural gas fire that continuously burns along a hillside on the Absheron Peninsula, attracting visitors for centuries and further encouraging Azerbaijan's label as the "Land of Fire".
Return to Baku in time to wander the streets and enjoy dinner in the historic old town.
Day 4: Visit the mausoleums, mosques, and medieval towns in Sheki
In the morning, you'll bid farewell to Baku and head toward Azerbaijan's Sheki Region. Along the way, you'll make a few stops at important and interesting monuments, starting with the cliffside Diri Baba Mausoleum, which includes a 15th-century mosque and a cemetery.
You'll continue to the city of Shamakha, visiting the impressive Juma Mosque that dates back to the 8th century, as well as the Yeddi Gumbez Mausoleum and the family graveyard of Sheikh Shirvan. Enjoy the views along the route, specifically when passing the Girdimanchay River Canyon near the town of Lahij. This 5th-century mountain village reveals the region's history, with narrow cobbled streets and a medieval atmosphere. Peruse the shops selling local crafts, including rugs, clothing, sheep skin, and copper goods.
As you near Sheki, the final stop of your road trip and where you'll spend the night, stop in the town of Kish. Here you can visit the 12th-century Church of Saint Elishe, which is a church of ancient Caucasian Albania, a region in western part of present-day Azerbaijan, not to be mistaken with the country of Albania.
In the evening, you'll arrive in Sheki in time to settle in and enjoy dinner.
Day 5: Tour Georgia's wine-making Kakheti Region - Arrive in Tbilisi
Before driving across the border to Georgia, you'll enjoy a brief tour of Sheki. The town is rich in historical, cultural, and architectural heritage. Visit the medieval fortress and the colorful Palace of Shaki Khans, plus several mosques, madrassas (educational institutions), and the local craft bazaar.
After crossing into Georgia, you'll meet your new guide, who is local to the country. As you make your way toward the country's capital city of Tbilisi, you'll pass through the famous Kakheti Region, known for its ancient winemaking traditions. Numerous vineyards, as well as both large and small wine-producing facilities, are the biggest landmarks of the region. Enjoy a wine tasting and regional snacks at the unique tunnel-like wine cellar, Gvirabi, a site that burrows far into the Caucasus Mountains that was excavated in the 20th century.
Next you'll drive to the small, 18th-century town of Sighnaghi, also known as a “City of Love” thanks to a law allowing marriage registrations at any time, day or night. Previously a royal residence, this hilly Kakhetian town is surrounded by ancient city walls with watchtowers. Visit the churches at the top of the hill for incredible views of the mountains across the valley.
You'll arrive in Tbilisi in the early evening, settling into your hotel and finding a traditional meal at one of the city's many restaurants and bistros.
Day 6: Discover Tbilisi on a guided walking tour
The Georgian capital, for many centuries of its existence, was a place where people of all faiths, cultures, and national backgrounds used to live together in harmony. This greatly influenced Tbilisi's layout as a contemporary metropolis filled with a unique history, which you'll discover on a guided walking tour of the city.
You'll start at the Metekhi Cathedral, an Orthodox church set on the banks of the Mtkvari River, and the Statue of King Vakhtang, where you'll hear Tbilisi's founding legend. Continue by cable car to the ancient Narikala Fortress, which houses the ruins of a 4th-century castle, plus a restored church and vistas across the city. Next, walk down and into the National Botanical Garden of Tbilisi to the Legvtakhevi Waterfall, passing by the Orbeliani Baths and Tbilisi Central Mosque.
End your tour at the city's Flea Market, where you'll find an array of antiques and used goods from numerous eras. Then stroll through one of they city's newest areas, the renovated pedestrian zone along the historic Aghmashenebeli Avenue. This is part of the New Tiflis project, which includes major renovations within the Georgian capital.
In the evening, you'll join your hosts for a welcome dinner of traditional Georgian cuisine.
Day 7: Visit the mountaintop Gergeti Trinity Church in Kazbegi
Today you'll explore Kazbegi, a famous village close to the border with Russia. Along the way, you'll stop at the Jvari Monastery, a 6th-century architectural gem that sits atop a hill overlooking some of the country's highlights, including its old capital town of Mtskheta. You'll also enjoy views of the convergence of two rivers meeting the Mtkvari River, plus the busy transport highway entering Tbilisi.
Another site worth visiting is Ananuri Fortress Complex, a 13th-century castle with two churches and views of the Zhinvali Reservoir. It was once a residence for the Dukes of Aragvi, and has a long history involving many battles throughout the centuries.
Upon arriving in Kazbegi, you'll start the drive up to the famous Gergeti Trinity Church, which sits atop of one of the highest hills in Georgia, at over 7,000 feet (2170 m) in elevation. To make the trek, you'll switch to 4x4 vehicles, curving up the switchback mountain road and enjoying the incredible views along the way.
In the afternoon, you'll settle into your accommodation in Kazbegi, where you can relax before dinner.
Day 8: Enjoy the cave town of Uplistsikhe and the ancient capital of Mtskheta
As you make your way back toward Tbilisi, you'll visit the cave town of Uplistsikhe and Georgia's ancient capital of Mtskheta. In Uplistsikhe, you'll visit the remains of an ancient pagan settlement where all the houses were once carved inside the surrounding rocks, including a Christian basilica. Several excavations of the site have revealed findings from numerous populations spanning different eras.
Break for lunch at a private, family-run wine cellar for a wine tasting and a homemade meal. Then continue to Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia and one of the most important historical cities in the country. While enjoying the historical streets, stop at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site revered as an architectural masterpiece of the Early and Middle Ages. The name of the cathedral means “living pillar” and it is widely believed to be the burial site of Jesus Christ’s mantle.
Head back to Tbilisi in time to enjoy a traditional dinner at one of the many restaurants in its historic old town.
Day 9: Drive the scenic coast of Lake Sevan in Armenia - Arrive in Yerevan
Say goodbye to Tbilisi and continue your tour of the Caucasus Region in Armenia. After crossing the border, a new local guide will meet you on the other side and lead you to the capital city of Yerevan.
Along the way, you'll stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Haghpat Monastery. This 10th-century, medieval monastery was founded by Queen Khosrovanuysh, and sits in the scenic Lori Province.
Next, you'll visit Lake Sevan, known as the "Jewel of Armenia." With a total surface area of 1,900 square miles, it's the largest body of water in Armenia and the entire Caucasus Region, plus one of the largest freshwater, alpine lakes in Eurasia. It comprises nearly a sixth of the country and is home to picturesque Sevanavank (Sevan Monastery). This ancient, 9th-century monastic complex sits on a small peninsula in Lake Sevan and features two major churches, Surp Arakelots (Holy Apostles Church) and Surp Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God Church). Enjoy the surrounding views across the lake and to the snow-capped mountains.
In the evening, you'll arrive in Yerevan. Settle into your hotel and then roam the city's historic streets, stopping into one of the many restaurants for dinner.
Day 10: Explore the streets, museums, and vistas of Yerevan
Start your day with a guided walking tour of the Armenian capital, discovering the contrasts amongst the region's other two capitals. You'll surely notice the first difference, as most of Yerevan's buildings are constructed with a pink-hued stone, making it a very colorful city.
Your tour will begin at the Yerevan Cascade, a monument of 2,780 limestone stairs that represent the age of the city, one of the world's oldest and continuously inhabited municipalities. At the top, you'll enjoy views across Yerevan, including Republic Square and the Armenian Opera Theatre, plus Mount Ararat in the distance.
Walk down the stairs and explore the city's central core. Aside from stopping by the sites mentioned before, stroll through Circular Park and end at Saint Gregory The Illuminator Cathedral, the largest Armenian Apostolic cathedral in the world. You can also visit the 13th-century Holy Mother of God Kathoghike Church, the city's oldest-surviving Catholic church. If you're interested in visiting a museum, check out the Yerevan History Museum near English Park, or one of the many house museums showcasing works from Armenian painters, sculptors, poets, and composers.
In the evening, head out into the city to discover its unique national cuisine with dinner and a traditional folklore show.
Day 11: Visit the ancient Garni Temple and the Geghard Monastery
In the morning, you'll enjoy a day trip to the Armenian countryside, starting in the traditional village of Garni. Here you'll explore Garni Temple, an ancient pagan fortress that dates back to the 1st century BCE. It's known for its classic Greek design with columns and friezes.
You'll then visit one of the country's most famous sites, the medieval Geghard Monastery. Founded in the 4th century, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is partially carved out of the adjacent mountain. Next, continue to the city of Vagharshapat and visit the ruins of the 7th-century Zvartnots Cathedral, with its incredible backdrop of Mount Ararat's volcanic peaks. You can also see the Etchmiadzin Cathedral, also known as the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. It's an Armenian Apostolic church and the residence of the Catholicos of All Armenians, the bishop and spiritual leader of the national church in Armenia.
Head back to your accommodation in Yerevan and grab dinner in one of the restaurants lining Republic Square.
Day 12: Ride the world's longest cable car to the Tatev Monastery
You'll start today's trip to Tatev with a visit to the famous Khor Virap Monastery, which sits atop a hill overlooking the Ararat Plain with Mount Ararat in the distance. The monastery used to be the residence of the Armenian Catholicos and its reputation evolved as a religious pilgrimage thanks to St. Gregory the Illuminator, the Baptist of Armenia who spent 14 years here as a prisoner for spreading Christianity.
The next stop will be the small town of Areni, famous for its traditional wine made of pomegranates and apricots. While enjoying the views of grassy plains and karst cliffs, you'll participate in a wine tour and tasting at the Areni Winery.
In the afternoon, you'll arrive at the 9th-century Tatev Monastery. To get to the monastery, you'll take the longest, non-stop cable car in the world, which traverses about 3.5 miles (5.7 km). The views are truly special, as you soar above hillsides looking out to mountains and down into the Vorotan River Gorge. You'll get a birds'-eye view of Tatev, with its dramatic cliffs and two dominating churches.
In the early evening, you'll head to the town of Goris, where you'll stay the night. Find dinner at one of the restaurants lining the town's main street.
Day 13: Tour Noravank Monastery - transfer to Yerevan
Enjoy a leisurely morning in Goris before heading back to Yerevan for your final night of the trip. Along the way, you'll stop at the 13th-century Noravank Monastery complex. The architecture mimics the tower-like burial structures of early Christianity in Armenia, so you can truly get a sense of the history of the area.
The location of the site is just as impressive as the monastery itself. You'll enjoy tall, red-brick cliffs surrounding the monastery with views into the narrow gorge of the Amaghu River.
In the afternoon, you'll arrive back in Yerevan. After settling into your hotel, head out to enjoy one last night in the city. Grab a pre-dinner drink at a trendy wine bar or brewery, then stroll around Republic Square to see how Yerevan shines at night.
Day 14: Depart Yerevan
Your tour of the Caucasus Region ends today. After breakfast at your hotel, you'll transfer to Zvartnots International Airport to catch your flight home, or onto your next destination.