12-Day Classic Caucasus Tour

12-Day Classic Caucasus Tour

By Nora OuUpdated Aug. 12, 2021
Caucasus Tour of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia

When traveling in the Caucasus, you will not only get to explore landscapes of natural beauty with clean mountain air, fresh valleys, and views of the Caspian Sea, but you will also get to experience the unique mix of cultures in this region and learn its history.

In this 12-day Caucasus tour, you will start from Azerbaijan, a diverse country that features modern architecture and magnificent fortresses, mosques, and palaces. Continue to Georgia, a country with a rich history and culture, and also the cradle of wine. Finish the tour in one of the oldest countries, Armenia, and discover why it became the first Christian state in the world.ah-cn-1

Highlights

  • Explore the Baku Old City and immerse yourself in medieval times
  • Stroll along the cobbled streets of Sheki and discover the local colorful food market.
  • Relax in the colorful Sighnaghi, the town of love, with a glass of wine.
  • Appreciate the Greater Caucasus Mountains from Bodbe Monastery.
  • Drive along Lake Sevan and enjoy breathtaking views of the snowcapped mountains from Sevanavank Monastery.
Bob Bosshard March 11, 2020

Itinerary in Detail

This sample itinerary is designed for reference. We offers you great ideas and amazing value yet it is only your interests that decide how your journey will be proceeded.

Day1
Arrival in Baku (Azerbaijan)
Holiday Inn Baku (4-star) / Hilton Baku Hotel (5-star)

Arrive in Baku. Meet your local guide and driver at the arrival hall and drive to your hotel. The rest of the day will be at your disposal.

Day2
Baku Tour and Absheron Peninsula
breakfast and lunch

Your Caucasus tour starts with a Baku city tour. You will first visit the Highland Park with a panoramic view of the Baku Bay. From there, you will be able to spot the major architectural landmarks of the Baku city, like the three Flame Towers, Crystal Hall, and the National Stadium. Next, explore the Baku Old City (12th - 19th century) and go on an inside tour to the three important sites there: Shirvanshah's Palace, Caravanserai, and Maiden Tower. Spend some time strolling the narrow streets and stop at the market square, which has numerous art studios and souvenir stalls.

Flame TowersFlame Towers in Baku

After lunch at a local restaurant, drive to the Absheron Peninsula (30KM) by the Caspian Sea. Visit Ateshgah of Baku, also known as the Fire Temple, which was once a place of worship for saints who came from India. The burning flame was located atop a natural gas vent in old times, but presently, the fire is fed by piped methane gas. Learn from your local guide why this place holds so much significance for the Zoroastrians. Return to Baku and the evening is free for you to explore the city by yourself.

Fire Temple Fire Temple-Ateshgah, a castle-like religious temple
Day3
Baku - Gobustan - Baku
breakfast and lunch

In the morning, drive to Gobustan (64KM) to visit the Petroglyphs Museum, where you can enjoy the cave paintings. Gobustan is home to mud volcanoes, and if weather allows, you can drive through them in a four-wheel drive. In summertime, it is advisable to bring sunscreen with UV protection to avoid getting sunburn.

Mud Volcanoes Mud Volcanoes

After lunch, return to Baku and visit the Heydar Alyev Cultural Centre, one of the signature architectural landmarks of modern Baku, designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.

Heydar Alyev Cultural Centre Heydar Alyev Cultural Centre, a quirky building designed by Zaha Hadid.
Day4
Baku - Shamakhi - Sheki
Sheki Palace Hotel (4-star) / Marxal Resort & SPA (5-star) breakfast and lunch

Check out from the hotel and depart from Baku for Sheki (300KM). On the way, you will visit Diri Baba Mausoleum in Maraza village and the historical Juma Mosque in Shamakhi. This will be followed by a scenic drive through the awesome Muganly Mountain Pass. If time and weather allow, you can make a quick stop at Nohur Lake for a great mountain view.

Juma Mosque Juma Mosque, a historical site and restored in 2013.

After lunch, continue driving to Sheki, a pleasant medieval town, which is fun to explore by foot. You can spend the rest of the day trying the local famous baklava (a rich, sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo with hazelnuts, etc.) and strolling through the town.

Day5
Sheki - Azerbaijan/Georgia Border - Sighnaghi
Kabadoni Boutique Hotel breakfast and lunch

Check out the hotel in the morning and start your day with a Sheki tour. You will visit the Sheki Khans Palace, which was once the summer residence for the Sheki Khans. The palace is surrounded by fortress walls with very impressive stained glass, but photography is not permitted inside. You will then visit the Caravanserai, a nice place to imagine yourself going back to the ancient Silk Road times. Explore the local bazaar, a colorful market where you can find almost everything you want to eat. Pack some snacks for the rest of your tour.

Sheki Khans Palace The stained glasses at the Sheki Khans Palace.

After lunch, drive to the Azerbaijan - Georgia border (115KM) and say goodbye to Azerbaijan. Your new tour guide and driver from Georgia will meet you at the border and escort you to Sighnaghi (50KM), also called the City of Love, which is especially popular among couples. The town was an important trading center on the Great Silk Road, full of architectural monuments, folk art, and handicrafts. This is also one of the best and most romantic places to taste Georgia wine. After checking in at the hotel, you may hire a motorbike from the hotel and go on a small adventure. Ride to discover what might attract you.

Sighnaghi Sighnaghi, a romantic royal town, overlooks the Alazani Valley and faces the Greater Caucasus mountains.
Day6
Sighnaghi to Tbilisi
Lota Hotel Tbilisi (4-star) / Tbilisi Marriott Hotel (5-star) breakfast and lunch

You may choose to have a late start to visit the Bodbe Monastery. This holy place is said to be the burial site of St. Nino, who converted Georgia to Christianity in the 4th century. It is now a nunnery and a good place to appreciate the Greater Caucasus Mountains.

Bodbe Monastery Holy Bodbe Monastery

Enjoy some more free time in the town before driving down to Tbilisi (110KM), the capital of Georgia. After checking in at the hotel, you are free to explore the city in the evening.

Day7
Tbilisi City Tour and Free Walking Tour in Tbilisi Old Town
breakfast

Start your morning by sightseeing in Tbilisi. You will first visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which is the third-tallest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the world. Continue to Metekhi Church, from where you can capture panoramic views of the old part of the city. Take the one-way Aerial Tramway up to the Narikala Fortress and admire the whole city from the top. Stroll down from the fortress and you will reach to the old part of the city.

Narikala FortressViews from the Narikala Fortress.

The whole afternoon is for you to explore Sioni cathedral, the clock tower at the Rezo Gabriadze Theatre, Anchiskhati Church, Liberty Square, and the narrow streets with cozy cafes, wine bars, and souvenir shops. Try to take the local subway, a soviet style one with very deep underground and long escalators. Ask your guide for directions to reach your hotel.

Day8
Mtskheta Sightseeing Tour and Ananuri
breakfast and lunch

After breakfast, drive to the former capital of Georgia, Mtskheta (25KM). You will stop at the Jvari Monastery, an architectural masterpiece of the early Medieval Period. It is situated on a cliff above Mtskheta, a good place to view the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Continue to drive to Mtskheta and visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, a sacred place where the robe of Christ is kept.

Jvari Monastery Jvari Monastery

After lunch in a local restaurant, drive to the Ananuri Fortress Complex (78KM). It was a former residence of Argveti dukes, which overlooks the Jinvali Reservoir. This multifunctional architectural complex combines a castle, a bell tower, three churches, and beautifully carved walls. Take some nice pictures here. Head back to Tbilisi in the late afternoon.

Ananuri Ananuri Fortress Complex
Day9
Tbilisi - Georgia/Armenia Border - Haghpat - Sevanavank - Yerevan
Messier 53 Hotel Yerevan (4-star) / Hyatt Place Yerevan (5-star) breakfast and lunch

After breakfast, drive to the Georgian-Armenian border, Sadakhlo (75KM); on crossing the border, your local guide and driver will greet you in Armenia.

Drive to visit the Haghpat Monastic Complex (30KM). It is an exceptional example of Armenian architecture of the 10th - 13th century, which stands on a hillside, overlooking the Debed River Canyon.

Haghpat Monastic complex Haghpat Monastic complex, a typical Armenian architecture.

After lunch in a traditional Armenian restaurant, drive down to Lake Sevan (138KM), one of the largest high-mountain freshwater lakes in the world. Here, you will visit Sevanavank Monastery, which is situated at the northwestern shore of the lake, surrounded by snowcapped mountains. It was an important spiritual center for several hundred years.

Depart to Yerevan (80KM), the capital of Armenia.

Sevanavank Monastery Sevanavank Monastery, also called the black monastery as it was built from black tuff.
Day10
Yerevan City Tour and Etchmiadzin Cathedral
breakfast and lunch

Start with a city tour in Yerevan. It is one of the world's oldest cities, and has the nickname "Pink City", as most Soviet-era buildings were constructed out of pink stones. You will first visit the Armenian Genocide Museum, which will give you an insight into the past suffering of the Armenian people. Next, visit the Cascade Monument which offers panoramic views of the city from the top and overlooks Mt. Ararat. The monument is a giant stairway made of limestone, with around 572 steps, separated into 5-6 floors. You can choose to climb the stairs or take the electrical escalators from the ground floor. There are different fountains, sculptures, and indoor galleries as well. Spend an hour and walk along the streets, and you may pass the Republic Square, Opera House, Swan Lake, and Abovyan Avenue.

Republic Square Republic Square in Yerevan

After lunch in a local restaurant, drive out of the city to Etchmiadzin (20KM). Here, you will visit the Etchmiadzin Cathedral. It was the first cathedral built in ancient Armenia, and the most beautiful example of early Christian art and architecture. Return to Yerevan.

Etchmiadzin Cathedral Etchmiadzin Cathedral, a museum of Christian relics
Day11
Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery
breakfast and lunch

In the morning, drive to Geghard (40KM) and visit Geghard Monastery, an ancient Armenian monastery. It is partially carved out of the mountain and surrounded by cliffs. You may have a chance to hear a cappella performance in this historical site. Visit Garni Temple, the best-known structure and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia. It is the only remaining Greco-Roman colonnaded building in Armenia.

Garni Temple Garni Temple, a 1st century Hellenic temple.

A special experience awaits you in Garni village. You will have a chance to take part in a ritual of baking the national lavash bread with the local villagers. Lavash is a soft, thin unleavened flatbread, baked in a tandoor oven. Enjoy an open-air lunch before returning to Yerevan.

You will have a free afternoon to explore the town before departing home the next day.

Lavash Lavash Baking
Day12
Departure
breakfast

Check out from the hotel. Your guide and driver will take you to the Yerevan International Airport to take your flight back home. Say goodbye to Armenia.

Our Service Includes:

12 days from US$ 3,280 (Based on 2 persons & 4-star hotels)
  • Private transfers and English-speaking tour guide
  • All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
  • Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts at hotels and lunches for every guided day
  • Governmental taxes

Hand-Picked Hotels

We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.

Holiday Inn Baku
Buka
Holiday Inn Baku
Sheki Palace Hotel
Sheki
Sheki Palace Hotel

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