8D/7N - 2020 Armenia and Georgia small group

    Armenia and Georgia               small group max 15 participants

    Yerevan-Echmiadzin-Zvartnots-Khor Virap-Noravank-Lake Sevan-Garni-Geghard-Tbilisi-Mtskheta-Uplistsikhe-Gori-Alaverdi-Gremi-Winery Khareba-Tsinandali-Tbilisi

    8days/7nights, Yerevan/Tbilisi

    2020 departures: Apr 10. May 22. June 26. July 24. Aug 07, 28. Oct 16.

    Cost from: $1342 per person twin share (s/sup $380)

day 1 Fri Yerevan Arrival

Met on arrival at the Zvartnots Airport and transferred to the hotel. Remainder of the day is at leisure.

day 2 Sat Yerevan-Echmiadzin-Zvartnots (100km)

In the morning meet your tour guide and commence your city tour of Yerevan. Drive to Echmiadzin – the place where the only Begotten descended. Holy Echmiadzin integrates the whole Armenians’ spiritual center and is one of the world renowned centers of Christianity. They will participate in Sunday liturgy. Return to Yerevan with a stop at the ruins of the Temple of Zvartnots - the pearl of 7C architecture, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. After a lunch break visit Tsitsernakaberd-walking through Memorial park and visit the Museum of the victims of Genocide and the Cafesjian Show Room. We stop at the Vernisage flea market, the place to get a little taste of Armenia, see the fusion between national traditions, art and crafts with contemporary taste. Overnight in Yerevan.

day 3 Sun Yerevan-Khor Virap-Noravank-Yerevan (250km)

Sightseeing tour of Khor-Virap Monastery the importance of which is connected with Gregory the Illuminator, who introduced Christianity to Armenia. It is a wonderful masterpiece situated on top of a hill. It is a pilgrimage place where every year the locals and many tourists attend. It looks like a castle where everybody has the tendency to sit and dream while admiring the beauty of the Church. The highlight is the amazing view of the biblical Mt Ararat. In the afternoon we continue to Noravank monastery-religious and cultural center of 13C. It is situated in a narrow gorge which is known for its’ tall, sheer, brick red cliffs, directly across from the monastery. The beauty of this monastery is appreciated by thousands of visitors not only because of its’ architecture and history, but for its harmony with the surrounding fabulous nature. Drive back to the capital city. Overnight in Yerevan.

day 4 Mon Yerevan-Lake Sevan-Garni-Geghard-Yerevan (250km)

Departure to Lake Sevan, one of the largest freshwater alpine mountain lakes in the world. The beautiful landscape and the crystal water serve nice preconditions for excellent rest. Visit Sevanavank Monastery. Departure to Garni Temple. Garni temple, which towers over a triangular cape, is the unique survived example of heathen culture in Armenia. After adopting Christianity in 301, the pagan temple lost its significance and the fortress of Garni became the summer residence of the kings. Lunchtime Drive to Geghard monastery inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage list. Geghard monastery is the unsurpassable masterpiece of the 13C Armenian architecture. Some of the churches of the complex are masterfully hewn in a huge rock. The complex is rich in subtle sculptural embellishments and many striking khachkars (cross-stones). Return to Yerevan. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.

day 5 Tue Yerevan-Tbilisi

Breakfast at the hotel. Direct transfer from your hotel to Tbilisi (without guide). Arrive in Tbilisi hotel and after short rest meet your guide at the lobby of the hotel and start a few unforgettable hours of familiarization with the capital. All the places of interest are very close to each other, within a few minutes’ walk. Start our excursion from Metekhi (13C) plateau, before reaching Narikala Fortress (4C) which dominates the skyline of the Old Town. Continue to explore brick-domed underground sulphur baths (17C) – the district of naturally hot mineral waters, cafe street Shardeni, Synagogue, Sioni Cathedral and the most ancient Basilica in Tbilisi Anchiskhati (6C). Walk across the Bridge of Peace which is a stunning design as well as convenient crossing between the newly constructed Rike Park and the Old Town. It also provides superb views over the city. Enjoy free relaxing hours in the evening. Hotel accommodation and overnight in Tbilisi.

day 6 Wed Tbilisi-Mtskheta-Uplistsikhe-Gori-Tbilisi (210km)

After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Mtskheta – an ancient capital of Georgia, important religious centre and city-museum which is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Along the way we will stop to visit the Jvari Monastery (6C). This well-known monastery is located on the top of the mountain, at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers. Then head to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11C) which is known as a place where Christ’s robe was buried. Walk along the narrow streets of Mtskheta with souvenir shopping possibility. Then drive to Gori – the birthplace of the Soviet leader Stalin. Photo-stop at the museum of Stalin and proceed to the cave town Uplistsikhe (1st millennium BC) – one of the first cities in Georgia carved into the rock. The caves were the site of pagan rituals, before Georgia became a Christian country. In the evening return to Tbilisi. Hotel accommodation and overnight in Tbilisi.

day 7 Thu Tbilisi-Alaverdi-Gremi-Winery Khareba-Tsinandali-Tbilisi (310km)

After breakfast, start our drive to Kakheti region - Georgia’s premier wine-producing area as well as home to hundreds of historical and architectural monuments. Visit Alaverdi monastery. It was built in 11th century and was one of the tallest structures of the time. The surrounding courtyard is home to vineyards from which local monks make their own wine. Afterwards we have possibility to see Gremi monastery complex. Gremi was the Capital of Kakheti Kingdom (1466–1616). It had booming cultural life, but because of internal strife and the invasion of Shah Abbas, the town was destroyed. Afterwards proceed to Khareba winery tunnel carved in the rock of the Caucasus Mountain Range and used to age wine. You will have wine degustation there. Afterwards visit Tsinandali – a village noted for the estate and its historic winery which once belonged to the 19C aristocratic poet Alexander Chavchavadze. We will have an excursion in the family museum and a walk in the park beautifully laid out in an English style with fine views and exotic plants. In the evening drive to Tbilisi. Accommodation and overnight in Tbilisi.

day 8 Fri Tbilisi-Departure

Transfer to the airport and departure.

Inclusions: 4 nights in Yerevan, 3 nights in Tbilisi, breakfast daily, transportation as per itinerary, arrival/departure transfers, English speaking cultural tour guide throughout the tour, entrance fees to the sites mentioned, 1 degustation of 2 wines at Khareba winery, 1 bottle of water per person per day

Hotels: Hotel Ani Plaza, Hotel Astoria Tbilisi, or similar

Excluding: flights, insurance, entry visa, tips and other personal expenses, meals (except breakfast), alcoholic drinks, entrance fees not mentioned in the program, portage at the hotels, gratuities

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