In the early 1920’s the Armenian Soviet architect Alexander Tamanian was...Read more >
Explore the spectacular highland countries of Armenia and Georgia, the world’s oldest Christian nations, with expert Dr William Taylor. Both countries contain a treasure trove of ancient ruins, churches and monasteries together with centuries-old folk traditions. Europe meets Asia in this spectacular and historic region of the Caucasus, where visitors will find a friendly welcome, excellent food and wine, and varied landscapes.
Fly from London (regional connections available) to Yerevan, via Kiev, with Ukraine International Airlines. Arrive and transfer to the Metropol Hotel (or similar) for 4 nights. (N)Day 2: Yerevan
Take a full-day tour of Yerevan with visits including the Matenadaran – the repository of ancient Armenian manuscripts – and Erebuni fortress, where we will meet a local expert (subject to confirmation). Continue to Tsitsernakaberd, a memorial and museum dedicated to the Armenian genocide of 1915, with its picturesque views over the city. Next, visit the National Art Gallery, which contains some excellent examples of medieval frescoes and Armenian and European art. (B, L, D)Day 3: Etchmiadzin
Drive west to visit the Unesco world heritage site of Etchmiadzin (now called Vagharshapat), the spiritual centre of the Armenian-Gregorian Church, with a private behind-the-scenes tour of the monastic complex. Visit a fine example of Armenian architecture at the St Hripsime church before visiting Etchmiadzin cathedral, the oldest state-built cathedral in the world, dating back to the early fourth century. Inside the cathedral is the reputed Holy Lance that pierced Christ’s side during his crucifixion. End the day at the seventh-century ruins of Zvartnots cathedral. (B, L, D)Day 4: Garni • Geghard
Drive east of Yerevan to visit the temple of Garni, a classical Hellenistic temple that is the best-known structure and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia. Nearby is the medieval monastery of Geghard, partially carved out of the adjacent mountain and surrounded by cliffs. (B, L, D)Day 5: Lake Sevan & monasteries • Tbilisi
Cross the border to Georgia, stopping en route to see Lake Sevan and the Unesco-protected monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin, unique for their 10th-century architectural styles. Proceed to Tbilisi and stay 2 nights at the Museum Hotel (or similar). (B, L, D)Day 6: Tbilisi
Full-day tour of Tbilisi, including a cable car ride to fourth-century Narikala fortress, which occupies a scenic spot overlooking the city, and the fifth-century Metekhi church, an unusually styled cross-cupola church, which became an infamous prison during the Soviet era. Visit the State Museum, home to hundreds of Caucasian icons and metalwork dating from the Bronze Age to the 20th century. Spend the remainder of the afternoon at the Georgia Museum of Art, where a private guided visit by a senior curator has been arranged. (B, L, D)Day 7: Mtskheta • Gori • Kutaisi
Drive north-west to the Unesco world heritage site of Mtskheta. Lying at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, the city was the place where Christianity was proclaimed as the official religion of Georgia in 337AD. Continue to the church of Jvari nearby, followed by a drive to Gori, birthplace of Joseph Stalin. Visit the intriguing Stalin Museum, which features numerous personal artefacts, including Stalin’s notorious armour-plated railway carriage. Drive to Kutaisi and spend 1 night at the Bagrati Hotel (or similar). (B, L, D)Day 8: Bagrati • Gelati • Ubisa • Tbilisi
This morning visit Bagrati cathedral, which occupies a prominent position over Kutaisi. Continue to the Gelati monastery complex, built by the former king of Georgia, David the Builder. This Unesco world heritage site features a number of 12th- and 13th-century churches and houses numerous murals, mosaics and manuscripts. Drive eastwards to Tbilisi, stopping at Ubisa for a short visit. Overnight at the Museum Hotel (or similar), Tbilisi. (B, L, D)Day 9: Gremi • Ikalto • Bodbe • Signagi
Travel east through the hills and wine lands of Kakheti to the town of Gremi, which was destroyed by the army of Shah Abbas in the 16th century, leaving the architectural monument of the royal citadel and the Church of the Archangels. Continue to the Ikalto academy, together with Gelati, one of the great medieval academies of Georgia. Drive to Signagi via the monastery of St Nino at Bodbe, a Georgian Orthodox monastic complex and one of the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia, with views of the Greater Caucasus mountains. Overnight at Kabadoni Hotel (or similar). (B, L, D)Day 10: Signagi • Tsinandali • Telavi • Alaverdi • Tbilisi
After a walking tour of Signagi, visit Tsinandali, the palace and vineyard of a Georgian noble family. Nearby is Telavi, capital of the Kakheti region and home to the best vineyards in the country. After lunch in a wine house, visit Alaverdi, a functioning Georgian monastery dating from the sixth century with its stunning masterpiece – the 11th-century cathedral. Return to Tbilisi for a farewell dinner and stay overnight at the Museum Hotel (or similar). (B, L, D)Day 11: Fly to London via Kiev
Transfer to Tbilisi airport. Fly to London, via Kiev. (B)Meal basis
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.Important information Arts & Culture tours
A collection of expert accompanied tours focusing on creativity in its many forms. No prior knowledge of the subject matter is required. All tours can be viewed at our Arts & Cultures page.Expert-led tour
This tour is fully escorted throughout by a lecturer who has specialist knowledge of the destination and its culture, as well as an experienced local guide where necessary.Standard tour
Based in 3- and 4-star accommodation.Accessibility
This tour involves some long walks over uneven ground and therefore requires a good level of fitness.Private visits
Please note that the exclusive and individual nature of private visits means that they are subject to confirmation nearer the time of departure. Also, churches, private houses and other buildings often have fluid opening times. If any visits have to be rearranged, please be assured that we will seek alternatives of equal interest.Private & tailor-made travel
This itinerary can be taken privately on a date that suits you, for which guideline prices are shown. Alternatively, it can be tailored to your exact requirements. Please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or enquire online.Expert lecturer Dr William Taylor
Dr William Taylor, an expert in Ottoman and Orthodox studies, is also an Anglican priest and Chairman of the Anglican and Eastern Churches. His personal contacts guarantee special access to many monasteries and churches. He has worked in Jordan, Cairo and Turkey, and travelled in the Middle East and Central Asia.
The Museum Hotel Orbeliani is located in the heart of old town Tbilisi with easy access to all the main sights. The hotel has a boutique ambience with a mismatch of antique and modern furniture throughout. The Sirajkhana restaurant serves Georgian cuisine and an excellent selection of local wines while the café is the ideal spot to relax with a coffee. Rooms are of a good size with fresh, modem décor and many with views over the old centre of the Georgian capital.Features: 46 rooms and suites, bar/café, restaurant.<br>Room amenities: Air conditioning, Wi-Fi, room service, robe and slippers, smart TV, tea and coffee facilities.
The 4 star Metropol Hotel is centrally located both within a short walk of Yerevan's many museums, churches and restaurants and only 15 minutes' drive from the airport. Each of the 104 rooms has a minibar, tea & coffee making facilities, a safe and satellite television. Facilities at the hotel include a restaurant, bar, gym and swimming pool.
The Hotel Kabadoni is a 21-room boutique hotel located in the centre of Sighnaghi. The hotel is decorated with a mixture of art nouveau, ancient Georgian and eastern motifs. The arch of the lobby features eastern elements and mirrors accentuate the hand-painted interior. All rooms feature the same design and furnishings including a desk, television with pay per view options, minibar, telephone, robe and slippers, and private bathroom with fully stocked bath products. The hotel has a restaurant and wine bar with two terraces offering excellent views of the city. Health and wellbeing facilities include an indoor swimming pool, a gym and a beauty parlor, which are all situated in the hotel's wellness centre.
The Bagrati 1003 Hotel is located on the left bank of the River Rioni. It has 16 comfortable en suite guestrooms over five floors. The design of the rooms is in keeping with the region, with the emphasis on dark woods for furniture and beds. The hotel is air conditioned throughout and has its own restaurant, which serves a choice of Georgian traditional dishes and European cuisine.
Flexible Prices & Itineraries
For a quote based on alternative accommodation standards or flight options, or to tailor this itinerary, please call 020 7873 5000 or
Please call 020 7873 5000 for more information or to make a booking.
Prices above are per person in pounds sterling (£), based on two people sharing a twin-room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication, may be subject to change, particularly as a result of variable flight costs. You will be informed of any such changes prior to booking.
*Itinerary: Note that for the 06 Feb 2014* departure date only the itinerary is different to the regular 2014 tour, with a visit to the countryside in Mai Chai and an extra night in Hanoi, and one less night in Hoi An.
Discounts cannot be combined with any other current or subsequent Cox & Kings offer. Discounts apply to new bookings only and cannot be applied retrospectively. Offers are subject to availability.
S: Prices marked with an (S) symbol are designated as ‘Super Offers’. These select tour departures have been highlighted to help you recognise the best value offers currently available on our website.