Premium Turkey & the Caucasus

28 nights from £5710

Premium Turkey & the Caucasus
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Premium Turkey & the Caucasus
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus
Start:Istanbul, Turkey
Finish:Yerevan, Armenia
Duration:28 Nights
Group size:1 - 12
Suitable for: 15-99 years
Accommodation:Comfortable hotel (22 nights), Feature Stay (6 nights)
Physical rating:Medium
Meals:28 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 9 dinners
Diets:Vegetarians
Tour operated in: English

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Overview

Immerse yourself in four unforgettable countries wrapped up in stories on a 29-day Premium journey. Go deep into the ancient heart of fascinating Turkey, then continue to the vibrant green hillsides and majestic snow-capped mountains of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia. Explore lands where the walls hold the weight of centuries of rich history and where ancient traditions mingle with modern influences. Journey through forests and past towering peaks to find medieval mosques and villages. Travel with expert local leaders, make local friends along the way and discover there’s so much more to each destination than what meets the eye. .......read more
Highlights
  • Get to the heart of Turkey and the Caucasus’s capitals with experienced local leaders – enjoy guided city tours, stroll the ancient streets of Ephesus, uncover the secrets of Troy, marvel at Baku’s diverse architecture, explore Tbilisi’s winding narrow streets, and uncover the history of ancient Yerevan.
  • Experience the region’s diverse cuisine, from learning traditional yoghurt making methods in Shamakhi to home cooked meals in Cappadocia and Kakheti, freshly prepared lunch on board a boat cruise in Kas, and a lunch of regional specialties in a refugee settlement in Tserovani.
  • Enjoy feature stays in Cappadocia, with elegantly decorated rooms carved from stone, and at the foot of the Tsiv-Gombori mountains, with unforgettable views of the Alazani Valley.
  • Visit the Tserovani Refugee Settlement in Georgia where you will visit a jewellery making workshop aimed at providing employment to displaced women within the camp, create a piece yourself and learn about the issues surrounding long-term displacement.
  • Discovery ancient wonders and otherworldly sights, from the Cotton Castle of Pamukkale and psychedelic rockscapes of Cappadocia to the open-air archaeological museum of Qobustan in Azerbaijan and the magnificent cave town of Vardzia in Georgia.
Transport
  • Private vehicle , Boat , Plane
Accommodation
  • Comfortable hotel (22 nights), Feature Stay (6 nights)

Itinerary

Location: İstanbul

Welcome to Istanbul, the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans have all once called home. Enjoy a complimentary transfer to your hotel from the airport. You’re never far from a great meal in Istanbul, so if you arrive early be sure to grab some lunch at one of the city’s many eateries. Your Intrepid Premium adventure then begins with a welcome meeting at 1 pm. After the meeting, head out with your Intrepid local leader and small group to explore the Old City of Istanbul. Your knowledgeable leader will introduce you to some of the historical treasures of the city, including the dazzling Blue Mosque, the ancient Hippodrome, and the Million - a stone road marker in use since the fourth century. This evening get to know your fellow travellers over dinner at a stylish restaurant where local delicacies are paired with panoramic views of the Bosphorus. Accommodation Legacy Ottoman Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Istanbul - City Tour Istanbul - Blue Mosque Istanbul - Welcome Dinner Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer Optional Activities Istanbul - Hagia Sophia - Free Istanbul - Topkapi Palace (Excluding Harem) - TRY100 Meals Included Dinner Special Information Your complimentary airport transfer is valid from both Istanbul New Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gocken Airport (SAW). Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (please note we may not be able confirm a request made in the 15 days before your trip begins). Once you have provided your flight details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance and emergency contact details at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Legacy Ottoman Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Dinner,

Location: Çanakkale

Rise and shine for an early breakfast, then begin the drive to Çanakkale, a port city located on the shores of the Dardanelles. Arrive in time to buy yourself some lunch, then head to the Gallipoli Peninsula. Thousands from across the world make the journey here each year to pay respect to those who lost their lives in the battles of 1915. Tour the former battlefields and find remnants of trenches used by the Turkish soldiers. Head up to the memorials of Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair while your leader explains the significance of the events that took place across the landscape. Look down upon the rough hills and gullies that became the graveyard for so many thousands of young men on both sides. After a day that will no doubt be full of sombre reflection, the evening is free for you to do as you wish in Canakkale. Accommodation Hotel Cura or similar (1 night) Included Activities Gallipoli - Anzac Cove, Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 5 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Hotel Cura or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Selçuk

Drive to Selcuk with a stop en route in Troy, where history and mythology sit side by side. Your leader will take you around the ancient city walls, and there will be time for a photo op with a replica Trojan horse. Learn how the site has confounded historians and archaeologists, then continue to Selcuk. This afternoon you’re in for an extraordinary treat - meet a local chef (who has appeared on the BBC!) for a Turkish cooking class, using olive oil grown and made on site as well as herbs and vegetables picked fresh from the garden. If you’re just eating Turkish food in restaurants, you’re only getting half the story. Learn how to make a range of small meze dishes using seasonal ingredients. Enjoy the fruits of your labour as this evening’s dinner will be the mouth-watering meze plates you’ve made together. Accommodation Celsus Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Troy - Archaeological site visit Selcuk - Cooking class Meals Included Breakfast Dinner Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 6 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Celsus Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Selçuk

This morning join your leader for an orientation walk around Selcuk, a sprawling town lying at the base of the ancient Aysoluk Hill fortress. Visit the last remaining column of the Temple of Artemis, the ancient aqueducts and the 14th-century Isabey Mosque. In the afternoon, visit one of the best-preserved classical cities in the eastern Mediterranean and arguably the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world – Ephesus. Learn from your leader what life here was like as you tour the amphitheatre, stroll the marble streets once walked by Cleopatra and Mark Antony and marvel at the gymnasium, baths and restored Library of Celsus. Later, drive past apple and peach orchards to the quaint village of Sirence, where charming red-roofed houses clamber up the hillside. Drop by a local wine house where you’ll enjoy a tasting of the locally produced fruit wines. Try a sip of kiwi, pear, peach, quince or all of the above! Accommodation Celsus Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Selcuk - Leader-led orientation walk Ephesus - Archaeological site visit Sirince - Fruit wine tasting Optional Activities Selcuk - Ephesus Archaeological Museum - TRY25 Ephesus - Terrace Houses entry - TRY45 Meals Included Breakfast

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Celsus Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Pamukkale

After breakfast this morning, travel to the town of Pamukkale. Named after its incredible travertine terraces, Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish. This magical and spectacular natural phenomenon was created by deposits from thermal waters that cascaded down the mountainside over hundreds of years, forming a collection of pools and terraces. As the water overflows, dazzling cream-coloured stalactites are formed that, from afar, resemble cotton or snow. The pools are filled with waters that many believe have healing properties for circulation and the digestive system. But that’s not all this site has to offer - head up to the ruins of Hierapolis, an important Roman bath centre founded by the King of Pergamon in 190 BC, where your leader will bring history to life and guide you through an ancient temple, holy area, monumental fountain, bath, basilica, necropolis and an impressive theatre. Enjoy a free evening in Pamukkale. Accommodation Melrose Viewpoint Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Pamukkale - Hierapolis and Travertines National Park Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 4 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Melrose Viewpoint Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Kaş

Make the journey to the coast, with a stop en route at the ghost village of Kayakoy. Abandoned after WWI and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, this once-thriving village now lies as a sombre reminder of the human cost of war and politics. Spend some time on the eerie streets, then continue to Kas (which means eyebrow in Turkish) and begin exploring on a walking tour. Now primarily a holiday town, Kas is strewn with the remains of Lycian tombs, iconic white-washed walls covered with climbing bougainvillea and an ancient theatre where you can watch a spectacular sunset. The walk is sure to inspire your appetite and your leader will be on hand to show you where to grab a great gozleme (stuffed Turkish flatbread). The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy this easy-going town, perhaps sit back with a pomegranate cocktail or check out the local markets. Accommodation Payam Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Kayakoy - Village visit Kas - Leader-led orientation walk Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 6 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Payam Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Kaş

Set off for an experience like no other - a magical boat cruise around the islands with two local guides, Mehmet and Sebahat. The married couple use their special knowledge and love of the local waters to share a distinctly traditional way of cruising and eating with travellers. Cruise to their home village of Ucagiz, then on to the village of Simena, where its friendly inhabitants sell ice cream in front of bougainvillea covered houses. On board you’ll enjoy a range of freshly prepared local greens, zucchini fritters and maybe even some Turkish raki. Sail from large bays to protected inlets where you can cool off with a swim in turquoise waters. Kick back with a cold beer or learn how to play backgammon, Turkey’s most beloved game. Look out for the ruins of an ancient city submerged under the clear water. Return to Kas for an evening at your leisure. Accommodation Payam Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Kas - Sailing trip with seafood lunch Meals Included Breakfast Lunch

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Payam Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,

Location: Antalya

Travel from Kas to a lesser-known treasure - the archaeological site of Sagalassos. Set on the slopes of the Taurus mountains, the views from the site certainly deserve attention, but the ancient ruins are even more memorable. Enjoy a guided visit through agoras, a Roman bath complex, an intricately decorated fountain and a theatre, and learn what life looked like set against this remarkable backdrop. If time permits, you may have the chance to visit a workshop where local women have revived traditional tile-making techniques. Continue on a scenic drive to Antalya. Your accommodation is tucked away in Kaleici (the Old City) so settle in on arrival and then head out on an early evening walk to see Hadrians Gate, the Old Roman Harbour and plenty of photo-worthy views. Soak up the city’s Mediterranean atmosphere and attitude over a fresh seafood dinner – your leader can recommend some superb spots for eating. Accommodation Dogan Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Sagalassos - Archaeological site visit Antalya - Leader-led orientation walk Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 3.5 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Dogan Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Antalya

Wake up in beautiful Antalya and start your day with a guided visit though the Antalya Museum. The province of Antalya includes dozens of important ancient Hellenistic and Roman cities, and some of the best artefacts are on display in the museum’s 13 exhibition halls and open-air gallery. Your afternoon is free to spend as you wish. Maybe wander the narrow cobblestoned streets of Kaleici with an ice cream in hand, beat the heat with a dip in the sea, chill out poolside or take an optional visit to the ancient cities of Side, Perge or Apsendos. Be sure to speak to your leader for details on these optional activities. Accommodation Dogan Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Antalya - Antalya Museum Meals Included Breakfast

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Dogan Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Konya

Say goodbye to Antalya and take a morning drive to Konya, an ancient city important in the Roman era where the Sufi practice of 'whirling' was born. On arrival, discover the mystic resting place of Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi, the 13th-century mystic, poet and theologian whose teachings continue to inspire and influence Muslims around the world. Visit the small museum dedicated to his life and work. The rest of the day is free for you to get to know the city. Konya offers up a wealth of museums, mosques and monuments worth visiting so be sure to ask your leader for recommendations. For a leisurely afternoon, head to Alaeddin Hill, where locals sip coffee, eat pastries and let the hours slip calmly by. Accommodation Şems-i-Tebrizi Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Konya - Mevlana Museum Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 4 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Şems-i-Tebrizi Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Cappadocia

Depart from Konya and travel to Cappadocia, where on arrival your leader will take you on an orientation walk to get to know your new otherworldly surroundings. Check in to your feature stay accommodation and discover something truly special. Feel miles away from the modern world in a cave hotel that looks like a page straight out of a fairy tale. Uniquely beautiful rooms are carved into stone and feature elegant décor with modern conveniences. The rooftop terrace boasts one in a million views of Cappadocia’s incredible landscape and basalt chimneys – keep an eye out for hot air balloons passing overhead. Head out for a drink with a view and watch the sun set over one of the world’s most enchanting places. The rest of the evening is free for you to take it all in, or perhaps watch a performance of whirling by local Dervishes in a restored han (caravansary). Accommodation Splendid Cave Hotel (Feature Stay) or similar (1 night) Included Activities Cappadocia - Leader-led orientation walk Cappadocia - Sunset drinks Optional Activities Goreme - Whirling Dervish Show - TRY30 Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 4 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Splendid Cave Hotel (Feature Stay) or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Cappadocia

Early birds have the option of taking a hot air balloon over the ethereal Cappadocian landscape. The scene at sunrise is sure to take your breath away. After a relaxing breakfast overlooking the valley, step back in time with a visit to the Goreme Open Air Museum. See the incredible houses, churches and monasteries carved out of the soft cliff face as your leader shares stories of the civilisations who lived here. Next up visit a carpet weaving co-operative that empowers women by giving them the tools to produce one-of-a-kind traditional rugs. Hear local insight on the history of traditional carpet weaving and see how the intricate pieces are made. Later in the afternoon, go on a short walk through the cheekily named 'Love Valley' which is famous for its phallic rock formations. Then head back to your hotel in Goreme. Perhaps take an optional Turkish bath to unwind at the end of the day. Accommodation Splendid Cave Hotel (Feature Stay) or similar (1 night) Included Activities Cappadocia - Valley walk Cappadocia - Goreme Open Air Museum Cappadocia - Carpet weaving co-op Optional Activities Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Regular Flight - EUR195 Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Deluxe Flight - EUR250 Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Please note that hot air ballooning can only be booked locally. Please speak to your trip leader at the beginning of the tour to organise this.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Splendid Cave Hotel (Feature Stay) or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Cappadocia

Take a morning walk to see the fascinating rock formations of the Kizilcukur valley. After lunch, head toward the red river of Avanos and descend to Ozkonak, where you’ll explore an underground city hollowed out of tufa rock that dates back to 400 BC. Return to the surface and visit the studio of a local ceramic master whose family have been in the pottery business for six generations. Speak with a local artist who will explain the history and techniques of traditional Turkish ceramics. Discover the rich clay from the red river and watch how it is moulded into exquisite pieces. This evening you’ll be warmly welcomed into the cave home of Nuray, a local woman who will prepare a special home-cooked dinner for your group. Sit down to a feast made with passion, enjoy a friendly chat with your affable host and perhaps top off the night with some Turkish delight. Accommodation Splendid Cave Hotel (Feature Stay) or similar (1 night) Included Activities Cappadocia - Pottery demonstration Cappadocia - Ozkonak Underground City Cappadocia - Kizilcukur Valley Cappadocia - Home-cooked dinner Meals Included Breakfast Dinner

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Splendid Cave Hotel (Feature Stay) or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: İstanbul

This morning say goodbye to Cappadocia and return to where it all began - Istanbul. On arrival in Istanbul you may wish to join your leader for a trip across the Bosphorus to the Asian side of the city. Here you’ll find lively, close-knit communities and jumbles of cute cafes, markets and restaurants. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore some more of the charms of this enthralling city. This evening consider rounding off the Turkish part of your adventure by joining your group and leader for an optional dinner at one of Istanbul’s excellent waterfront restaurants. Accommodation Legacy Ottoman Hotel or similar (1 night) Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Transfer to the airport in Cappadocia will take approximately 1.5 hours. The flight to Istanbul will be booked out of Nevsehir or Kayseria. Flight time is approximately 1.5 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Legacy Ottoman Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Baku

Today you will leave Turkey behind and catch a flight to Baku in Azerbaijan, a city where old meets new and ancient fortified buildings stand next to Russian imperial-style squares and ultra-modern architectural wonders. On arrival at Baku Airport, you'll be met by a representative and transferred to your hotel. A meeting will take place here at 6pm to welcome any new travellers joining you for the next part of your journey. After your meeting, enjoy a local dinner with your leader and small group. In Azerbaijan, sharing bread is thought to seal a bond of friendship, so perhaps break some bread with your new travel companions. Accommodation City Park Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Baku - Welcome Dinner at Local Restaurant Meals Included Breakfast Dinner Special Information Today’s flight is approximately 3 hours. As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group will likely change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary. We suggest you attend, as this is also a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers. It’s important that you attend the welcome meeting as your new group leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: City Park Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Baku

This morning, embark on a tour of the city with a local guide. Pay a visit to the fortified Old City, once the Medieval capital, where your guide will weave together the history of Baku, from the rule of the Shirvanshahs to the cosmopolitan city you see today. Stop by the Shemakha Gate, Maiden Tower (visit optional), Caravanserai, Old Market Square and end outside the Palace of the Shirvanshahs. Be sure to bring your camera as there will be some panoramic views of Baku's varied skyline to enjoy. The rest of the day is free to explore – perhaps enter the Palace of the Shirvanshahs to uncover more of its history, or visit the much-loved carpet museum. Accommodation City Park Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Baku - Caravanserai Baku - Walking Tour with Local Guide Optional Activities Baku - Palace of the Shirvanshahs - AZN15 Baku - Carpet Museum - AZN7 Meals Included Breakfast

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: City Park Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Absheron peninsula, Qobustan, Baku

This morning, head out of the city on a day trip to the Absheron Peninsula and Qobustan. Visit the Ateshgah Fire Temple, Mardakan Medieval Fortress and the eternally burning Yanar Dag (Fire Mountain). Continue to Qobustan, located around 60 kilometres south of Baku. Stop off along the way to view old oil rigs and learn how Azerbaijan was one of the birthplaces of the oil industry. On arrival to Qobustan National Park, visit one of the world's largest open-air archaeological museums where a local guide will share the stories of ancient rock art dating back some 40,000 years. The prehistoric carvings depict scenes of hunting, fishing and gathering. Return to Baku in the afternoon. This evening you may like to take a walk along the waterfront to find a restaurant for dinner, keeping an eye out for the Baku Eye and Flame Towers that light up the city skyline at night. Accommodation City Park Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Qobustan - Petroglyphs Qobustan - Half Day Trip Absheron Peninsula - Ateshgah Fire Temple, Mardakan Medieval Fortress & Yanar Dag (Fire Mountain) Absheron Peninsula - Half Day Tour Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 2 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: City Park Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Shamakhi, Sheki

Leave Baku and head for the Caucasus Mountains in the northwest of Azerbaijan. Watch arid landscapes slowly give way to densely forested mountains. En route to Sheki, there will be stops at Diri Baba Mausoleum in Maraza (subject to renovations completed), the Yeddi Gumbaz Mausoleum, and the Juma Mosque in Shamakhi. Make a special stop to visit a family to learn traditional yoghurt making methods and enjoy some local snacks. On arrival in Sheki, visit a local craft workshop where the famous shebeke – stained-glass windows with intricately carved frames – are made by hand. You will also visit the acclaimed Palace of Shaki Khans to see its magnificent frescoes and stained glass. Arrive in Sheki and enjoy a final evening of Azerbaijani cuisine during an included dinner at a local restaurant. Accommodation Sheki Palace Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Sheki - Khan's Palace Sheki - Stained Glass Workshop Visit Shamakhi - Yoghurt Making Master Class Shamakhi - Yeddi Gumbaz Mausoleum & Juma Mosque Meals Included Breakfast Dinner Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 5 hours. Please note that it can sometimes be difficult to confirm our preferred hotel in Sheki. If you would like to confirm which hotel your departure will be staying, please contact an Intrepid booking agent.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Sheki Palace Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Sheki, Kakheti Regional Development Foundation, Telavi

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and visit the local Sheki bazaar before driving to Lagodeckhi – a town at the Azerbaijan–Georgia border – where you will change transportation. From here, travel to Georgia's Kakheti region, known for its winemaking. There will be a visit to the Gremi Architectural Complex and its museum, followed by a wonderful lunch with a local family, which includes delicious homemade cuisine, wine and chacha, a local brandy. Discover the importance of bread in the Georgian diet and learn how they bake this staple. There will also be time to listen to unique Georgian polyphonic songs – a traditional style of music prevalent in the Kakheti region. Afterwards, travel to your feature stay accommodation in Telavi. Tucked into the foothills of the Tsiv-Gombori mountains, the Savaneti Hotel offers a chic aesthetic in a serene location. Enjoy a lovely swimming pool, a marvellous on-site restaurant and unbeatable views of the Alazani Valley and Caucasus mountains. Accommodation Savaneti Hotel (feature stay) or similar (1 night) Included Activities Sheki - Bazaar Visit Kakheti - Gremi Architectural Complex Kakheti - Lunch with a Local Family Meals Included Breakfast Lunch Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 2.5 hours. Today you will cross the border from Azerbaijan to Georgia. You are required to have your passport with you, and you will need your Azerbaijan visa to exit the country. It will be necessary to carry or wheel your luggage a short distance to the Georgia customs area.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Savaneti Hotel (feature stay) or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,

Location: Sighnaghi, Tbilisi

Following breakfast, journey to the beautiful 18th-century town of Sighnaghi, known for its quaint stone walls, small houses with terracotta roofs and decorated balconies. Here you will meet with an expert local guide who will explain the history of the intriguing town. After some time to admire the picturesque views of Alazani Valley and Great Caucasus Mountains, drive to Tbilisi with your leader and local guide. Once arrived perhaps wander the old districts of Georgia’s capital, which are structured like terraces, and walk through the narrow streets to appreciate the colourful houses, patterned balconies and revamped modern architecture. Enjoy a free afternoon – your leader will have some wonderful recommendations for local restaurants to head for dinner. Accommodation KMM Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Sighnaghi - Village Walk with Local Guide Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 3 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: KMM Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Tbilisi

This morning uncover the secrets of the city on a walking tour with your local guide, beginning from the 13th-century Metekhi Church, which offers magnificent views over old Tbilisi. You will take a cable car to the ancient Narikala Fortress, a former Persian citadel with a history stretching back to the 4th century. Here your guide will share the layered history of the fortress while you take in sweeping views across Tbilisi. Then make your way to a historic part of the city where you will learn a little more about Tbilisi’s past. The name Tbilisi translates to ‘warm place’ which is thought to be after the bubbling hot springs that the city was built around. This afternoon you may like to visit one of the local bathhouses for a dip in the therapeutic waters, or perhaps visit the stunning treasury of the Golden Fund at the Natural History Museum (closed on Mondays), where you’ll learn why Georgia is called the land of the Golden Fleece. Accommodation KMM Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Tbilisi - Narikala Fortress & Cable Car Tbilisi - Old Town Walking Tour with Local Guide Optional Activities Tbilisi - National History Museum - USD5 Tbilisi - Thermal Bath House Visit - from - GEL180 Tbilisi - Anchiskhati Church - Free Tbilisi - Sioni Cathedral - Free Meals Included Breakfast

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: KMM Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Mtskheta, Tserovani, Borjomi

Today meet with a local guide for a visit to Mtskheta, the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia. Visit World Heritage-listed sites with your local guide on hand to share their fascinating histories, such as the 6th-century Jvari Monastery and the impressive Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, where the Robe of Christ is purported to be buried. Afterwards, pay a visit to the Tserovani Refugee Settlement, home to 8000 people displaced by the 2008 conflict between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Georgia over South Ossetia. While here you will visit an enamel jewellery workshop – a social enterprise offering training and employment to displaced youth and women within the camp. You will have the chance to meet the jewellery artists whose pieces tell the story of Georgia, and with their guidance, you will design a piece yourself. Stop for a light lunch of Georgian specialties then tour the settlement to learn about the issues surrounding long-term displacement faced by thousands of Georgia’s citizens to this day. This inspiring experience sheds light on a side of the country that few visitors get to see, and is sure to be one of your lasting memories of your time in Georgia. In the afternoon, drive to the south-western part of Georgia and visit Borjomi Spa Town, famous for its naturally fizzy mineral water. Stay overnight in another feature stay, located in the former residence of the Iranian consul, a building with almost 130 years of history. Accommodation Golden Tulip Hotel (feature stay) or similar (1 night) Included Activities Mtskheta - Jvari Church & Svetitskhoveli Cathedral Tserovani - Refugee Settlement & Enamel Workshop Visit Meals Included Breakfast Lunch Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 3 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Golden Tulip Hotel (feature stay) or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,Lunch,

Location: Vardzia, Akhaltsikhe, Borjomi

Today, drive to the magnificent and once mighty cave city of Vardzia, with a stop en route at the 10th-century Khertvisi Fortress. Vardzia stretches over half a kilometre along the river Mtkvari and has 19 tiers of winding cobbled streets. There is a church hewn out in rock with amazing 12th-century frescos, and the complex also includes dwellings quarters, small hall-type churches, refectories and wine cellars. You will tour the site with a local guide who will provide historical context and explain the rise and fall of this magical city, which now serves as a working monastery. In the afternoon, stop by the city of Akhaltsikhe and visit the multicultural complex of Rabat (closed on Mondays). Head back to Borjomi and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. As you’ll have discovered by now, eating in Georgia is a truly joyous occasion. At tonight’s included dinner, perhaps ask your leader to recommend the tastiest local dishes. You may like to try some khinkali, which are spicy dumplings, or chakapuli, a herby and flavoursome stew. Accommodation Golden Tulip Hotel (feature stay) or similar (1 night) Included Activities Akhaltsikhe - Rabat Fortress Meskheti - Khertvisi Fortress Vardzia - Cave Town Visit with Local Guide Meals Included Breakfast Dinner Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 4 hours. We recommend wearing sturdy shoes for today’s activity. Steep weathered stairs, sandy platforms and narrow tunnels at this site mean you need to watch your footing. Access to the monastery is by way of a 15-minute walk that is a steep incline. There are local buses that make this journey if you prefer not to walk (at your own expense).

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Golden Tulip Hotel (feature stay) or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Uplistsikhe, Gudauri

In the morning visit the town of Gori, home to the historic Uplistsikhe Cave Town. Explore Uplistsikhe with an expert local guide. Once a stop on the Great Silk Road, your guide will lead you around this fascinating complex with dwelling quarters, wine cellars, bakeries, a three-nave basilica church hewn out in rock and even a theatre! Gori was the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, so you may like to pay a visit to the Stalin museum while here. Afterwards, drive up the renowned Georgian Military Highway, which eventually leads to the Georgia–Russia border. On the way, you'll visit the Ananuri architectural complex – two churches and a fortress that overlook the Zhinvali water reservoir. Your leader will explain how the carvings on the churches are some of the best surviving examples of Georgian art. Take a scenic drive through the Caucasus Mountains, and arrive at your hotel in Gudauri. Enjoy an included dinner at a fantastic local restaurant. Accommodation Marco Polo Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Uplistsikhe - Cave Complex Visit with Local Guide Ananuri - Architectural Complex Optional Activities Gori - Stalin Museum - USD10 Meals Included Breakfast Dinner Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 4.5 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Marco Polo Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Caucasus, Stepantsminda, Gudauri

Enjoy a stunning drive from Gudauri along the Tergi River before arriving in Kazbegi. From here, head into the heart of the Caucasus Mountains and take the mountain road to Gergeti Trinity Church, located at 2170 metres above sea level. Weather depending, you may catch a glimpse of Mt Kazbegi – one of the highest glaciers in the Caucasus. Better yet, it may be possible to return part of the way by cable car – your driver can you drop you at the station in Kobi and you can travel the 7.5 kilometres to Gudauri in a gondola for a bird’s eye view of this landscape. Return to Gudauri this afternoon for time to relax in your hotel. This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the mountain air and views. Your hotel has many facilities including a bowling alley and a wellness centre. Accommodation Marco Polo Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Stepantsminda - Gergeti Trinity Church Stepantsminda - Caucasus Mountains Day Trip Meals Included Breakfast Dinner

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Marco Polo Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Haghpat, Dilijan

Enjoy a final breakfast in Gudauri before driving to Sadakhlo – a village at the Georgia–Armenia border. Here, your group will change transportation. Begin the Armenian leg of your adventure with a visit to Haghpat Monastery, listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Haghpat stands as an example of one of the most outstanding works of medieval Armenian architecture – your leader will give you an introduction to the country’s history and design. Continue on to the picturesque resort town of Dilijan where you will spend the evening, often referred to as the ‘Little Switzerland of Armenia’. Dilijan's central Sharambeyan Street has been preserved and maintained as a charming old town, complete with craftsman’s workshops, a gallery and a museum. Accommodation Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex or similar (1 night) Included Activities Haghpat - Haghpat Monastery Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 8 hours. Today is a long travel day, but the scenery is spectacular and there are plenty of stops to break the day. Depending on the size of the group, your luggage may be transported in a separate vehicle in Armenia, to allow for a comfortable trip.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Lake Sevan, Garni, Yerevan

After breakfast, drive to the reflective waters of Lake Sevan, nicknamed ‘The Pearl of Armenia’. Sevan is one of the largest fresh-water high-altitude lakes in the world. Visit Sevanavank Monastery, which overlooks the water on the Peninsula. Move on to the village of Garni to visit the first century Garni Temple, where your leader will explain how it was built by the Armenian King Tiridates and dedicated to Mithra, the God of the Sun. Be treated to a special local performance in the temple and hear the magnificent sounds of the Duduk – a flute-like instrument originating to Armenia, and currently listed on the UNESCO in-tangible Cultural Heritage List. Travel northeast of Garni, higher up the gorge of the Azat River, to the magnificent Geghard Monastery. This World Heritage-listed site is partly carved out of a mountain and surrounded by cliffs. In the afternoon, drive to Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, where you will spend the next two evenings. Accommodation Ani Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Geghard - Geghard Monastery Lake Sevan - Sevanavank Monastery Garni - Temple Visit & Duduk Performance Meals Included Breakfast Special Information Today’s total driving time is approximately 3.5 hours.

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Ani Plaza Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,

Location: Yerevan

This morning your local guide will introduce you to the sights and sounds of Yerevan on a tour of the city. Established in 782 BC, Armenia’s capital is one of the oldest cities in the world. Nowadays, the city’s liveliness comes from its ancient culture mixed with a modern lifestyle. Visit the Matenadaran – home to ancient manuscripts that contain historical documents from all over Europe and Asia. The building also holds the first copy of the Bible in Armenian. Swing past the fruit market to watch the locals going about their business, then enjoy a free afternoon. Tonight, join your group for a final dinner at a local restaurant. Armenian cuisine is built on a foundation of fresh local produce and meat. Perhaps try some khorovats, a barbecued kebab, or spas, a refreshing yoghurt soup. Accommodation Ani Plaza Hotel or similar (1 night) Included Activities Yerevan - City Tour with Local Guide Yerevan - Fruit Market Visit Yerevan - Matenadaran Visit Yerevan - Carpet Workshop Visit Meals Included Breakfast Dinner

Accommodation: ,Hotel,

Accommodation Name: Ani Plaza Hotel or similar

Meals: ,Breakfast,Dinner,

Location: Yerevan

Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast this morning. If you would like to spend some more time in Yerevan, we would be happy to arrange additional accommodation ahead of time (subject to availability). Meals Included Breakfast

Accommodation: ,

Meals: ,Breakfast,

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What's Included

Included
  • Istanbul - City Tour
  • Istanbul - Welcome Dinner
  • Istanbul - Blue Mosque
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Gallipoli - Anzac Cove, Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair
  • Troy - Archeological site visit
  • Selcuk - Cooking class
  • Selcuk - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Ephesus - Archaeological site visit
  • Sirince - Fruit wine tasting
  • Pamukkale - Hierapolis and Travertines National Park
  • Kayakoy - Village visit
  • Kas - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Kas - Sailing trip with seafood lunch
  • Antalya - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Sagalassos - Archaeological site visit
  • Antalya - Antalya Museum
  • Konya - Mevlana Museum
  • Cappadocia - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Cappadocia - Sunset drinks
  • Cappadocia - Goreme Open Air Museum
  • Cappadocia - Valley walk
  • Cappadocia - Carpet weaving co-op
  • Cappadocia - Pottery demonstration
  • Cappadocia - Kizilcukur Valley
  • Cappadocia - Ozkonak Underground City
  • Cappadocia - Home-cooked dinner
  • Baku - Welcome Dinner at Local Restaurant
  • Baku - Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Baku - Caravanserai
  • Baku - Walking Tour with Local Guide
  • Qobustan - Petroglyphs
  • Qobustan - Half Day Trip
  • Absheron Peninsula - Ateshgah Fire Temple, Mardakan Medieval Fortress & Yanar Dag (Fire Mountain)
  • Absheron Peninsula - Half Day Tour
  • Sheki - Khan's Palace
  • Sheki - Stained Glass Workshop Visit
  • Shamakhi - Yoghurt Making Master Class
  • Shamakhi - Yeddi Gumbaz Mausoleum & Juma Mosque
  • Sheki - Bazaar Visit
  • Kakheti - Gremi Architectural Complex
  • Kakheti - Lunch with a Local Family
  • Sighnaghi - Village Walk with Local Guide
  • Tbilisi - Narikala Fortress & Cable Car
  • Tbilisi - Old Town Walking Tour with Local Guide
  • Mtskheta - Jvari Church & Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
  • Tserovani - Refugee Settlement & Enamel Workshop Visit
  • Akhaltsikhe - Rabat Fortress
  • Meskheti - Khertvisi Fortress
  • Uplistsikhe - Cave Complex Visit with Local Guide
  • Vardzia - Cave Town Visit with Local Guide
  • Ananuri - Architectural Complex
  • Stepantsminda - Gergeti Trinity Church
  • Stepantsminda - Caucasus Mountains Day Trip
  • Haghpat - Haghpat Monastery
  • Geghard - Geghard Monastery
  • Lake Sevan - Sevanavank Monastery
  • Garni - Temple Visit & Duduk Performance
  • Yerevan - City Tour with Local Guide
  • Yerevan - Fruit Market Visit
  • Yerevan - Matenadaran Visit
  • Yerevan - Carpet Workshop Visit
  • Troy - Archaeological site visit
  • Meals
    28 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 9 dinners
  • Accommodation
    Comfortable hotel (22 nights), Feature Stay (6 nights)
  • Transport
    Private vehicle, Boat, Plane

Not Included
  • Tipping and Gratuities
  • International Travel

FAQ

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Dates

Dates Price Single Availability
03-Apr-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
17-Apr-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
24-Apr-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
28-Apr-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
01-May-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
15-May-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
22-May-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
29-May-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
05-Jun-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
12-Jun-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
26-Jun-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
10-Jul-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
14-Aug-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
21-Aug-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
25-Aug-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
28-Aug-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
01-Sep-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
04-Sep-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
08-Sep-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
11-Sep-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
18-Sep-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
25-Sep-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
09-Oct-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
16-Oct-2022
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
02-Apr-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
16-Apr-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
23-Apr-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
27-Apr-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
30-Apr-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
07-May-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
14-May-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
21-May-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
28-May-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
04-Jun-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
11-Jun-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
25-Jun-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
09-Jul-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
13-Aug-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
20-Aug-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
24-Aug-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
27-Aug-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
31-Aug-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
03-Sep-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
07-Sep-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
10-Sep-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
17-Sep-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
24-Sep-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
08-Oct-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal
15-Oct-2023
28 Nights
Premium Turkey & the Caucasus View live deal

Claim back up to £350 on any trip booked in the next 45 days.

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Touring with Intrepid Travel

Intrepid was started by two friends from Melbourne, Australia, in 1988 after embarking on a trip through the wilds of Africa in a modified ex-council truck, crammed with friends, supplies, a handful of aviator sunglasses and a case or two of beer. Could this type of travel be something others would be interested in? The answer was a resounding yes and today Intrepid send 100,000 travellers across the globe each year with the help of a staff of 1,000.

After three decades, founders Darrell and Manch, feel they know what travellers want. They get that it’s a big decision to fly across the world to wander the souks of Marrakech or enjoy a dreamy Angkor sunrise. They understand that you’re looking for a balance of inclusions and free time, a mix of classic highlights and local secrets you won’t find on Google. And of course, an authentic real life experience. Their leaders are born and raised in-country and they know their destination better than anyone. So you’ll do more than just see a place, you’ll live it. Small groups, big adventures and responsible travel – that’s Intrepid’s thing. With 1,000 trips in a variety of styles across 100 countries, you’re sure to find something you like.

Intrepid believe the real magic happens well away from the beaten path. It’s the little noodle bars, hidden galleries and backstreet bodegas and real life experiences you won’t find in a search engine. Real life experiences are those moments you know you’re really alive and experiencing something special. While it could be the instant you see one of the world’s great icons for the first time, it is more likely to be the moment you find yourself in the middle of a village square soccer game, being treated to a home-cooked meal by your new local friends or sharing a laugh with your fellow travellers as you try a new mode of transport … camel anyone? These unexpected moments are what travelling with Intrepid is all about, giving you a trip like no other.

Intrepid realises the world is a really big place. And there’s a plethora of different languages to learn, borders to cross and cultures to negotiate. Small group adventure travel makes these things easy and allows you to maximise your precious time off. Instead of worrying about logistics, you can focus all your energy on having the experience of a lifetime. Their tour groups are small enough to feel like you’re exploring a destination independently, but big enough to create a good social vibe. Group size will vary depending on where and how you’re travelling, but the average group size is about 10.

Intrepid’s themed trips encompass all hobbies and interests or could pique an interest in a new hobby you never knew you needed. From foodie explorations across Asia or India, sailing the seas in Thailand or the Caribbean, wildlife encounters in the Serengeti or Antarctica, scenic cycling or walking to Base Camp or through Tibet, and epic expeditions in Burma or Russia, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Intrepid is committed to operating in a responsible manner, incorporating the principles of sustainable development in the way they provide travellers with real life experiences. These values are ingrained in the culture and daily operations of every Intrepid office and tour. In addition, they hope their travellers also demonstrate the principles of responsible travel - respecting people, cultures and local environments; in the distribution of wealth; in good will and cross-cultural sharing; and in contributing to sustainable development.

Claim back up to £350 on any trip booked in the next 45 days.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Intrepid Travel

28 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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View live deal Up to 25% off last minute Asia trips
Start:Istanbul, Turkey
Finish:Yerevan, Armenia
Duration:28 Nights
Group size:1 - 12
Suitable for: 15-99 years
Accommodation:Comfortable hotel (22 nights), Feature Stay (6 nights)
Physical rating:Medium
Meals:28 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 9 dinners
Diets:Vegetarians
Tour operated in: English
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