Transcaucasian train tour
This tour introduces you to two sides of the Caucasus, made up of Azerbaijan in the east, which overlooks the Caspian Sea, and Georgia in the west, which faces the Black Sea. Two small neighboring countries with different histories and cultures in the Caucasus – a true crossroads of east and west. Powerful mountains, seas, breathtaking landscapes …
From Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, where splendid medieval Muslim architecture meets ultra-modern skyscrapers, to Georgian Tbilisi, dominated by the shadows of the Narikala ramparts, you will discover all the natural splendor and some of the clearest contrasts of this splendid region. Very good equipment and international standard hotel service, a nice contrast to the Soviet train which has not changed over the years. From the arid lands of the Apcheron Peninsula to Georgian vineyards, from caravanserais to polychrome churches, history and culture make a tumultuous and gripping tale and based on it your guides will reveal to you all the flavor, charm and value of civilization.
Arrive - Baku
Overnight in Baku
City tour of Baku - the capital of Azerbaijan, once a small fishing port fortified the city owes its extraordinary development to oil. visit the cemetery of Martyrs located with a beautiful panorama over the bay of Baku: the palace of Chirvan Shahs (15th century), the old town, the tower of virgin (XII C), the caravanserai of Bukhara (XIV C) the mosques, the crossroad points of the traders, etc…
Visit the museum of history in Baku.
Walking hours: 3 h. Overnight in Baku.
Cult of Fire
Visit the Absheron Peninsula that extends into the Caspian Sea and strange monument surrounded by an aura of mystery: the Temple of Fire Worshippers. It is a land full of naphtha, the innumerable wisp which has given rise to the Cult of Fire. Fortified since Roman times, the peninsula has preserved several medieval fortresses and one of them is Mardakyan.
Continue to Mamedly to visit "Yanardag" (burning mountain) that burns with an eternal fire, fueled by the natural gas from the basement.
Return back to Baku.
Transfer: Private vehicle, around 1h20, 50 km. Overnight in Baku.
Gobustan – the volcanic area
Departure to Gobustan, volcanic area and archaeological site, 70 km from Baku. Between the rivers Pirsagat and Goslu, more than 6000 petroglyphs and other prehistoric objects have been identified in the caves and on the rocks. The oldest findings dates back to the Stone Age.
Return back to Baku and visit the museum of carpets.
Transfer to the train station.
Train Baku-Tbilisi 20h40-08h50 (+1)
Visit the capital of Georgia
Arrive in Tbilisi at 08h50, meeting at the train station and transfer to the hotel.
Discover the capital of Georgia – Tbilisi, explore its old district with cobbled streets and traditional houses with wooden balconies, at the bank of Mtkvari river. We visit the landmarks of the city: Metekhi church and its plateau which unfolds a superb view of the old city, Narikala Fortress - the ancient symbol of the city, the district of baths (Abanotubani) known for its Sulphur hot springs.
In the afternoon we visit the National Museum and its collections of “golden treasure” from the ancient period. At the end of our day we visit Dry Bridge - place which attracts visitors with its flea market.
Walking hours: around 3h. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Wine Region - Kakheti
Departure to the East part of Georgia, Kakheti region via Gombori pass, 1600 m, with the picturesque landscapes. The region is appreciated for its wine traditions and richness of historical sites.
The first step allows us to discover the 11th century Alaverdi Cathedral. It is erected in the middle of the plain Alazani, surrounded by the chain of the Greater Caucasus.
We continue our trip to the local house with an old wine cellar, where the locals show us their traditional methods of winemaking, very different from European practice. Degustation of wine.
We visit Tsinandali - palace and historic winery-estate which once belonged to the 19th-century aristocratic poet Alexander Chavchavadze, the palace combines Georgian architecture with Italian inspiration.
Arrive in a small and charming village Sighnaghi, stroll through its cobbled streets and along the wall, admire the splendid panorama of Alazani Valley and the Caucasus.
Return back to the capital.
Transfer: Private vehicle, around 3h20, 300 km Walking hours: around 2 h. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Discover the Greater Caucasus
Departure for Mtskheta – an old capital of Iberia kingdom, visit Jvari (Cross) monastery perched on a hill and overlooking the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral ("Life-giving column") dated back to the 11tcentury. Shopping of Georgian national handmade souvenirs. Possibility of buying national handcrafted souvenirs.
On the way of Kazbegi visit Ananuri Fortress offers picturesque views over the Jinvali Reservoir. Cross the legendary Georgian Military Highway, one of the world’s most beautiful roads, through the valleys, ravines and finally over the 2300 meters Cross Pass. Arrive in Stepantsminda, Kazbegi.
Visit Gergeti Trinity church situated 300 m above the village, (option: it is possible to organize hiking up to Gergeti Church, 6 km, 2 h).
Arrive à Stepantsminda, Kazbegui. Visite l'Eglise de Trinité, situé à la hauteur de 300 m. au-dessus du village (Optionnelle : possibilité de la randonnée, marche de 6 km, 2 heures).
Return back to Tbilisi.
Transfer: Private vehicle, around 5h, 300 km Walking hours: around 1 h. Optional hiking: Elevation during the hiking: +/- 450 m Overnight in Tbilisi.
UNESCO sights and the region with its history since the 1st millennium BC till XX C
Visit Armenian capital - Erevan
Arrive in Yerevan at 06h55, meeting at the train station and transfer to the hotel.
Discover Armenian capital - Yerevan, urban green city with soviet pink stone facades. Visit Matenadaran Institute of Manuscripts and Genocide Memorial Museum.
Departure from Yerevan, on the way visit local bakery of Armenian traditional bread called “Lavash”, master class.
Explore the pagan Armenian civilization, overlooking the Azat Valley and Garni Temple. Visit summer residence of Armenian king of the 1st C AD and the Geghart monastery surrounded by a strong fortified wall carved into the rock.
Return back to the capital. Transfer: Private vehicle, around 2h, 75 km Walking hours: around 2 h. Overnight in Yerevan.
Visit the old capital of Armenia and the ruins of Zvartnots
Visit Echmiadzin, ancient capital of Armenia. On the way visit the beautiful church of St. Hripsime (VII C), Etchmiadzin Cathedral.
Visit the ruins of Zvartnots temple in the heart of Ararat plain.
Return to Yerevan and visit the museum of history.
Transfer: Private vehicle, around 1h30, 60 km Walking hours: around 1 h. Overnight in Yerevan.
Discover Khor Virap monastery and panoramas of Ararat mountain
Departure to the South, visit Khor-Virap Monastery. From here you can enjoy the majestic view of the Mount Ararat. Khor Virap is the closest point to Mount Ararat in Armenia and the most convenient place to observe and take photos of the biblical mountain.
Then we discover the medieval Noravank Monastery, the 13th century site with beautiful stone crosses. There is an important ornithology area in Noravank.
Return to Yerevan.
Transfer: Private vehicle, around 4h15, 245 km Walking hours: around 1 h. Overnight in Yerevan.
Yerevan - Departure