Azerbaijan to Istanbul - 30 Days

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • On The Go Tours

Travel from the Azerbaijani capital of Baku to the Turkish city of Istanbul on this 30-day overland group tour which also takes in the highlights of the Caucasus. Stay in an ancient caravanserai in Sheki, see the bubbling mud volcanoes of Gobustan and marvel at the Vardzia Caves in Georgia. Explore ancient Yerevan in Armenia and take in the highlights of Turkey including Cappadocia, the Sumela Monastery and the ruins of Ephesus.

Highlights
  • Baku - see the sights of Baku independently and visit the bubbling mud volcanoes and ancient petroglyphs at Gobustan
  • Vardzia - venture into the incredible subterranean cave city and visit the Vardzia Monastery where a handful of monks still reside
  • Cappadocia - discover the enchanting and unique landscape of subterranean churches and cities then opt for a hot air balloon ride over the magical region
  • Sumela Monastery - gaze out over the green forests and swirling mists of the valley from this ancient monastery which clings to the rock face
  • Ephesus - explore the ancient marble ruins including the Library of Celsus and the Temple of Serapis
  • Stepantsminda - hike into the hills and visit the tiny Tsminda Sameba Church surrounded by the towering Caucasus Mountains
  • Yerevan - relax for two days and independently explore one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on Earth
  • Gori - enjoy a guided tour of the birthplace of Josef Stalin and visit the Stalin Museum to learn more about the dictator
  • Sheki - stay in an ancient Silk Road caravanserai which has been converted into a comfortable hotel
  • Istanbul - conclude your adventure with a taste of culture captivating Turkish city and discover highlights including the Blue Mosque independently
Age Policy
18 and over. No upper age limit but anyone over 70 needs to complete a tour suitability form.
Destinations
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Georgia
  • Turkey
  • Europe
Tour Types
  • Small Group
Day 1: Welcome to Baku!

Welcome to Azerbaijan! On arrival in Baku there’s a 18:00 pre-departure meeting at our joining hotel. The rest of the day is then free to explore the city at leisure. Baku is a fascinating contrast of old and new, with glistening skyscrapers and ancient architecture such as the Maiden Tower.

Location: Welcome to Baku!

Day 2: Free time in Baku

Today is free to explore Baku. This oil-rich city is an emerging player on the world scene and has hosted international sporting events in recent years, including a Formula One Grand Prix and the Europa League football final in 2019.

There's also plenty of cultural experiences to be found in Baku - head into the Old City where you walk down narrow streets, with a glimpse every now and again of a towering skyscraper, a reminder of the city's newfound wealth.

Location: Free time in Baku

Day 3: Gobustan & Lahij village

Baku - Lahij. Leaving Baku today, we drive to Gobustan, near the Caspian Sea coast. See the ancient petroglyphs and bubbling mud volcanoes that the area is famous for. We continue to the ancient mountain village of Lahij, which is known for its copper and arms production. Explore the site at leisure and we camp with facilities tonight.

Location: Gobustan & Lahij village

Day 4: Sheki & caravanserai stay

Lahij - Sheki. Today we drive to the old city of Sheki. Explore the pretty Khan’s Palace before we arrive at our accommodation for the night. We spend the night in a hotel which has been built inside an ancient caravanserai, once an important stopover for weary travellers on the Silk Road.

Location: Sheki & caravanserai stay

Day 5: Lagodekhi National Park

Sheki - Lagodekhi National Park (Georgia). Today we say goodbye to Azerbaijan and cross the border into the next country in the Caucasus - Georgia. We spend the night camping, most likely in the beautiful scenery of Lagodekhi National Park.

Location: Lagodekhi National Park

Day 6: Telavi

Lagodekhi National Park - Telavi. We head into the Alazani Valley this morning and visit the impressive Gremi Citadel en route to Telavi. We base ourselves in this famous wine region for the next couple of days.

Location: Telavi

Day 7: Telavi & wine tasting

Today we exploring the town of Telavi and introduce ourselves to some famous Georgian wine. We visit some local vineyards and watch aspects of the production process including grape harvesting. Lunch will be served at a local family-run winery and of course there will be included wine tasting.

Location: Telavi & wine tasting

Day 8: Stepantsminda

Telavi - Stepantsminda. Leaving Telavi behind, we drive to Stepantsminda, which is nestled in the beautiful scenery of the Georgian Caucasus. During our stay here we enjoy a trek up to the tiny Tsminda Sameba Church. There’s also an optional cooking class where you can learn how to make delicious Georgian kinkhalis (meatballs).

Location: Stepantsminda

Day 9: Mtskheta

Stepantsminda - Mtskheta. This morning is free to relax in Stepantsminda, or we hike up to the Tsminda Sameba Church if there wasn't time yesterday. Later in the day we head to the town of Mtskheta, where we visit the beautiful 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.

Location: Mtskheta

Day 10: Borjomi National Park & Vardzia

Mtskheta - Vardzia. We head out of Mtskheta and make our way to Borjomi National Park. Enjoy a short hike in the ancient forest and opt to ride a cable car up the mountain before we continue to the incredible Vardzia cave city.

First inhabited during the Bronze Age, the network of caves is one of the highlights of the Caucasus. Though the site was mostly abandoned in the 16th century, a handful of monks still reside in the Vardzia Cave Monastery and they ring the bells at 07:00 every morning. We either explore the site today or tomorrow, depending on how long it takes to reach Vardzia. Tonight, we wild camp nearby.

Location: Borjomi National Park & Vardzia

Day 11: Armenian Highlands

Vardzia - Armenian Highlands (Armenia). This morning we visit Vardzia if there wasn't time yesterday. We then set off for the Armenian border, finding a suitable spot to camp in the dazzling scenery of the Armenian Highlands.

Location: Armenian Highlands

Day 12-13: Khor Virap Monastery & Yerevan

Armenian Highlands - Yerevan. On day 12 we visit the Khor Virap Monastery, near the Turkish border. This important pilgrimage site is set in the shadow of Mt Ararat and on a clear day there are incredible views of the snow-capped peak. After our visit we continue to ancient Yerevan, capital of Armenia and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

There’s free time to relax or explore Yerevan at leisure during our two night stay here. Perhaps join an optional excursion to the Ararat Brandy Museum.

Location: Khor Virap Monastery & Yerevan

Day 14: Geghard Monastery, Garni Temple & Lake Sevan

Yerevan - Lake Sevan. Say goodbye to Yerevan as we make our way towards Lake Sevan. There are included stops en route at the UNESCO-listed Geghard Monastery and Garni Temple. The Geghard Monastery was carved into the rock face of the Azat River Gorge, whilst Garni Temple is an impressive Graeco-Roman structure that wouldn't look out of place in the Athens Acropolis.

We arrive at Lake Sevan, home to the only beaches in landlocked Armenia. The evening is spent camping on the shore of the lake.

Location: Geghard Monastery, Garni Temple & Lake Sevan

Day 15: Terrific Tbilisi

Lake Sevan - Tbilisi (Georgia). Today we cross back into Georgia and pass through the amazing scenery of Dilijan National Park to reach Tbilisi, Georgia's endearing capital city. The rest of today is free to explore the quaint Old City as you please. Consider heading up to Narikala Fortress for amazing views over Tbilisi.

Location: Terrific Tbilisi

Day 16: Gori & Kutaisi

Tbilisi - Gori - Kutaisi. This morning we set off from Tbilisi and head to Gori, the Georgian city that is famous as the birthplace of former Soviet leader Josef Stalin. There's a guided tour of the city and an included visit to the Stalin Museum, where we can learn more about the complicated dictator.

After exploring Gori, we continue to ancient Kutaisi. Here we can visit the beautiful Bagrati Cathedral, which has recently been restored to its full glory with its turquoise roof intact. There's also a stop at the Gelati Monastery before the evening is at leisure.

Location: Gori & Kutaisi

Day 17: Batumi

Kutaisi - Batumi. Today we drive to the hospitable port city of Batumi. Sitting on the Black Sea coast, Batumi is a popular summer getaway destination for Georgians and travellers alike. There’s free time to explore the city and an optional visit to the Batumi Archaeological Museum. Batumi has earned the nickname of the "Las Vegas of the Black Sea" and there's plenty to be done in the evening, with numerous bars and casinos to be found in the city.

Location: Batumi

Day 18: The incredible Sumela Monastery

Batumi - Sumela (Turkey). Today we say goodbye to Georgia and the Caucasus, as we cross into Turkey. We make our way to the incredible Sumela Monastery, which clings to rugged cliffs 1,200m up.

The Sumela Monastery was founded in the year 368CE, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. We get to explore this amazing site and gaze out at the green forests and mystical swirling mists in the valley below. We spend the night at a campsite near the monastery (weather permitting).

Location: The incredible Sumela Monastery

Day 19: Zara village

Sumela - Zara. Today we have a full day's drive through central Turkey towards the magical landscape of Cappadocia. We break the journey at the village of Zara, where we camp.

Location: Zara village

Day 20-21: Magical Cappadocia

Zara - Goreme. On day 20 we arrive at the small town of Goreme, nestled in the heart of the magical Cappadocia Mountains. During our two days here we enjoy guided sightseeing in this enchanting subterranean landscape. Explore the underground city of Kaymakli and the ancient valley of Ihlara, strewn with rock-hewn churches. There’s also the opportunity to take an optional hot air balloon ride over the valley if you wish.

Location: Magical Cappadocia

Day 22: Egirdir

Goreme - Egirdir. Today we leave Cappadocia behind and continue south towards Egirdir, finding a suitable camping spot en route.

Location: Egirdir

Day 23-24: Termessos, Olympos & Chimera Fire Mountain

Egirdir - Termessos - Olympos. On day 23 we drive to the impressive Pisidian ruins of Termessos, which sit at an altitude of more than 1,000m. After exploring the site, we continue towards Olympos, where we spend the next two nights.

Olympos is a popular Turkish beach town and we have free time over the next two days to relax on the beach or explore the local area. On day 24 you may wish to join an optional sea kayaking adventure and at nightfall we take a short hike up to the mystical Chimera Fire Mountain. Here natural gas rises from underground and bursts into flame when reaching the outside air. We can toast some marshmallows on the never-ending fires.

Location: Termessos, Olympos & Chimera Fire Mountain

Day 25: Pamukkale

Olympos - Pamukkale. Driving inland, we reach the small village of Pamukkale, which is famous for its mineral rich hot springs and white terraced travertines. Take a walk along these beautiful terraces and opt for a dip in the thermal springs. Tonight, we either camp near Pamukkale or stay in a local hotel.

Location: Pamukkale

Day 26-27: Selcuk & Ephesus

Pamukkale - Selcuk. On day 26 we drive to our next destination, Selcuk. We spend the next two nights here. The evening is free to relax in one of the many tea bars in the area.

The next day sees us exploring the legendary marble ruins of Ephesus, including the Terraced Houses. Ephesus is considered one of the world’s best-preserved classical cities and highlights include the Library of Celsus and the Temple of Serapis.

Location: Selcuk & Ephesus

Day 28: Troy

Selcuk - Troy - Eceabat. Today we drive along the coast to the ruins of the fabled city of Troy. See the replica Trojan Horse here before we board the ferry to cross the Dardenelles, arriving in Eceabat this afternoon.

Location: Troy

Day 29: Battlefields of Gallipoli & Istanbul

Eceabat - Gallipoli - Istanbul. This morning we drive to the Gallipoli peninsula. Here we take a guided tour of the region and can pay our respects at some of the WW1 battlefields and memorials. We also visit ANZAC Cove, the site of some of the fiercest fighting during the war.

After paying our respects at Gallipoli, we board our overland truck for the final time and complete our journey to Istanbul, the only city in the world which sits in two continents - Europe and Asia. Your final evening in Turkey is free to explore Istanbul.

Location: Battlefields of Gallipoli & Istanbul

Day 30: Istanbul

Our adventure comes to an end today. If you wish to stay in Istanbul for a few extra days to partake in some of our optional activities, then please contact our sales team.

Location: Istanbul

  • 17 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 14 dinners
  • 20 nights in hotels and guesthouses
  • 9 nights camping (including 3 nights on campsites, 5 nights wild camping & 1 night camping without facilities)
  • Transportation in an overland expedition vehicle
  • All necessary camping equipment (excluding sleeping bags)
  • Services of two crew (drivers/tour leaders) and local guides along the way
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Visit to Gobustan to see the petroglyphs and mud volcanoes
  • A stay in the ancient Sheki caravanserai in Azerbaijan
  • Visits to the Garni Temple, Geghard Monastery & Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia
  • Guided tour of Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus & Cappadocia in Turkey


NB - the following are not included:

-International flights and visas
-Items of a personal nature, additional meals and drinks
-Tipping - an entirely personal gesture
-Sleeping bag and roll mat - please bring your own for camping
-Local payment - $940pp, paid in USD

Dates Price Single Availability
31-Jul-2021 for 29 Nights Visit Website
25-Sep-2021 for 29 Nights Visit Website
16-Oct-2021 for 29 Nights Visit Website

Touring with On The Go Tours

From a first foray into Egypt in 1998, On The Go Tours have expanded their operations to more than 60 countries, offering award-winning small group tours to destinations around the world. Their Middle East and North Africa portfolio now includes Jordan, Israel and Morocco, whilst other regions include Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Indian Subcontinent. From Machu Picchu in Peru to the extravagant Taj Mahal in India, On The Go Tours get you to the main sights of whichever destination you choose to visit. There’s also a range of special festival tours, Christmas and New Year adventures and much more, from overland adventures to luxury cruises. They always uncover some hidden gems too, be it canoeing to a local home for lunch in Sri Lanka or riding a rickshaw around the maze of Hutongs in Beijing, China.

With three different ranges of trips to choose from, there’s sure to be something for everyone. Signature tours are everything that makes On The Go Tours special, with local tour guides, small groups and a great quality of accommodationEssentials tours keep the costs down whilst still delivering true adventure, with a mixture of public transport in Japan and overland trucks in Central Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Whilst on their Handpicked tours, On The Go Tours work with local partners to deliver authentic experiences in amazing destinations, from Iceland to the Galapagos archipelago.

Sustainability and environmental awareness are also at the heart of On The Go Tours’ operations. Whether it’s planting trees in Cambodia, donating stationary to a school in India or funding the conservation of endangered Bengal tigers, protecting the regions they visit is at the forefront of the way they do business. Signature tours with On The Go Tours also make use of locally-run hotels and eateries wherever possible, and tour guides are mostly English-speaking locals. Overall, around 70% of travellers holiday funds remain in the destination visited.

{{shortLabel}}

tour details

This tour is operated by On The Go Tours

29 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
compare Compare tour Add this tour to the comparison list. compare Compare tour This tour has been added to the comparison list. Cick here to view.
Visit website Enquire Award-winning small group tours to destinations around the world.
Group Size:0 - 22
tourhound promise
tourhound promise
TourHound Promise
  • I compare from the largest selection of touring companies available.
  • It doesn’t cost you a penny to use me, or to book a tour through TourHound.
  • I never favour one operator over another and provide a totally neutral comparison.
Contact our partner

You can contact On The Go Tours directly by:

1 Email enquiry {{formText}}
Thank You, we've sent your enquiry. The operator will contact you in the next few hours.
2 Visit their website Visit website
tour hound
WIN £500 OFF YOUR NEXT TOUR
Terms and Conditions apply