This program was custom designed to explore all that Georgia has to offer: natural beauty, history, cultures, religions, arts, cuisine, and more.
This itinerary is subject to change. Travel demands flexibility. We will strive to balance adaptability with remaining on schedule. Please trust that, when it is not possible to follow the plan laid out below, your program leaders and tour manager will work to find substitutions that retain the quality of this Study Travel program. Various details may be added or changed due to information obtained while making reservations. B, L, and D indicate meals included in the program fee.
Wednesday, September 21 DEPART USA
Depart by air for Tbilisi, Georgia on an overnight flight.
Thursday, September 22 Arrive Tbilisi, Georgia (L)
Upon arrival in Tbilisi, if you arrive on or before the recommended flights, you will be transferred to the group hotel. Tbilisi is one of the most ancient cities in the Caucasus and Georgia’s capital almost continuously since the 5th century. Take a walking tour of the Old Town, with its beautiful Orthodox Christian churches, mosque, synagogue, and narrow cobbled streets lined with distinctive wooden houses. View Narikala Fortress and walk along the glass Bridge of Peace to Freedom Square and Rustaveli Avenue. Group lunch and transfer to the hotel for check-in. Remainder of the day free with dinner on your own, at your own pace. Overnight Tbilisi.
Friday, September 23 Tbilisi (B, Reception, D)
After a morning discussion at the hotel, we’ll continue our discovery of Tbilisi, with its blend of Asian and European charm. This morning we’ll visit Metekhi Church of the Virgin, which overlooks the Mtkvari River from a rocky plateau. Admire the exquisite gold treasury at the Georgian History Museum. Also view the museum’s archaeological collection, which shows the country’s historical links with Greece and the Near East. We’ll have a meeting with a Georgian historian and we’ll have a short introduction about Georgian past and current history. Cocktail reception before the lecture. Group dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight Tbilisi.
Saturday, September 24 Tbilisi — Lopota (B, L, D)
Today we’ll travel to the region of Kakheti, known for its winemaking, centuries-old feasting traditions, and hospitality. Our first stop will be the tiny town of Sighnaghi, situated within a defensive wall. Take a walk, enjoy the views, and continue to a local winery. We have a chance to participate in baking Georgian bread (shoti) and making traditional sweets (churchkhela). Enjoy a home-made lunch featuring typical Georgian food accompanied by a performance of Georgian polyphonic songs. After lunch, continue to our resort on Lopota Lake. Dinner is in Lopota, where we will spend two nights.
Sunday, September 25 Lopota / Day Excursion (B, D)
This morning we’ll visit a vineyard to take part in the grape harvest. Continue to a local master potter’s studio for a demonstration in making traditional clay jars (ovevri), which are buried underground and used for storing wine. In the afternoon, take a walk in Telavi and visit its colorful agricultural market. Stop at a winery to taste Georgian wines and local cheeses before returning to Lopota in the late afternoon. Group dinner. Overnight Lopota.
Monday, September 26 Lopota — Tbilisi (B, L)
After breakfast, drive back to Tbilisi. Visit the famous Dry Bridge flea and art market. Group lunch. Afternoon free or take an optional Art Nouveau walking tour focusing on 19th-century Tbilisi. Dinner on your own, and then attend a performance at either the Marionette Theatre or Opera & Ballet Theatre (pending schedule). Overnight Tbilisi.
Tuesday, September 27 Tbilisi — Kazbegi (B, D)
This morning travel to Mtskheta, the ancient capital and religious center of Georgia. See UNESCO-listed Jvari Monastery, which dates to the 6th century, and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, where the robe of Christ is believed to be buried. Continue along the famous Georgian Military Highway and stop at the castle complex of Ananuri for views of Jinvali lake. Drive through the ski resort of Gudauri and over to the Cross Pass. Upon arrival in Kazbegi, visit a felt (Teka) studio to see how local crafts are made, and try Georgian herbal teas and sweets. Dinner is in Kazbegi, where we spend two nights.
Wednesday, September 28 Kazbegi/Day Excursion (B, L, D)
After a morning discussion, we’ll depart the hotel in four-wheel-drive vehicles for an adventurous drive to the remote village of Juta. Visit with a local family, learn how Georgian cheese is made, and taste traditional Georgian yogurt (matsoni) and honey. After spending time with our hosts, walk to the top of the village for spectacular views of Mt. Chaukhebi. Return to Kazbegi for a visit to Gergeti Trinity Church. Group dinner. Overnight Kazbegi.
Thursday, September 29 Kazbegi — Borjomi (B, D)
This morning, transfer to Gori, hometown of Georgia’s infamous son, Joseph Stalin. Visit the original house where he was born and the museum. From Gori, delve into Georgia’s ancient history during a visit to Uplistsikhe. This cave city used to host the old caravans transporting goods from Asia to Europe along the Silk Road. Drive to Borjomi for group dinner and overnight.
Friday, September 30 Borjomi — Kutaisi (B, D)
Today, travel west to the town of Tskaltubo. According to ancient myths and legends, this was the royal town of King Aeetes and Medea. Visit Prometheus Grotto, with its halls of stalactites and stalagmites. Next, see the 12th-century Gelati Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site noted for its beautiful altar mosaics. Group dinner and overnight in Kutaisi.
Saturday, October 1 Kutaisi — Mestia (B, L, D)
This morning explore historic Dadiani Palace, which became a museum in 1921. Afterwards, drive to Svaneti, with a stop at a hydroelectric power plant. Take in the magnificent scenery during a drive along a road surrounded by forests, rivers, snow-capped mountain ranges, and small villages. Stop for photos, short walks, or to visit some roadside cafés. Upon arrival in Mestia, stroll to the town center and see a traditional Svanetian house and tower. Dinner and overnight in Mestia.
Sunday, October 2 Mestia / Day Excursion (B, L, D)
Drive to Ushguli, the highest permanently populated village in Europe. Along the way, stop at beautiful Svanetian villages and the Maiden Tower. After we arrive in Ushguli, wander through the surrounding village to view Mt. Shkhara, the highest point in Georgia. Before leaving Ushguli, have lunch with a local family. Return to Mestia in the late afternoon. Group dinner.
Monday, October 3 Mestia — Batumi (B, L, D)
A morning drive takes us to Batumi, known as the gem of the Black Sea. Take a walking tour in the Old Town and along its seaside boulevard. Group lunch and some free time. This evening, gather for a festive farewell dinner.
Tuesday, October 4 Depart Georgia (B)
If you are booked on the recommended flights or later, a transfer to Batumi airport is included. Otherwise, individual departures.
Hotels are generally 3 or 4 star (perhaps less in smaller towns, where, often with fewer choices, we simply book the best available), are centrally-located, and have English-speaking staff. Rooms will have private baths, but are typically smaller than those in American hotels. We are currently planning on the following hotels (subject to change).
Rooms Hotel Tbilisi
Rooms Hotel Tbilisi, a former publishing house in the charming Vera neighborhood and today a hub for local and international creatives. The design of Rooms Hotel Tbilisi was conceived to highlight the industrial splendour of its structure. The aesthetics of the 125 rooms and suites are the epitome of industrial-chic. Nine categories of guest rooms are spread over five floors, with the top floor reserved for luxurious rooms and suites with their own terraces and views over Tbilisi’s rooftops.
Lopota Lake Resort & Spa
This peaceful retreat is located in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, surrounded by the Caucasus Mountains. Rooms are fully equipped with a mini-bar, climate control, hair dryer, Wi-Fi, and satellite TV. Enjoy spectacular views of Lopota Lake and the valley from the private balconies of each room. Several restaurants, cafés, and bars feature local and international cuisine. The resort includes an indoor pool, and the spa offers an array of treatments. Other facilities include a wine cellar and gift shop.
Rooms Hotel Kazbegi
The hotel’s modern yet rustic rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the surrounding forests and woodland. Amenities include Wi-Fi, a gym, swimming pool, and sauna. Enjoy traditional, farm-to-table dishes at The Kitchen. Other restaurants include Lolita (featuring contemporary cuisine), the Garden Bar, and the Bar Room.
Crowne Plaza Borjomi
Crowne Plaza Borjomi is situated in the heart of Borjomi, a picturesque Georgian resort town well known for its artesian natural springs. Nestled between hills and by a small river, nearby Historical Park, the hotel features 101 guest rooms, five conference rooms, two restaurants, wine bar, lobby bar, club lounge and most importantly, a 2400 sq.m. Spa and wellness center, which is unrivaled not only in Borjomi or Georgia, but through the entire Southern Caucasus region.
Best Western Kutaisi
The Best Western Kutaisi is the contemporary smile of Kutaisi, Georgia. The hotel is located in the heart of Kutaisi, Georgia’s legislative capital. The White Bridge is only a couple steps away from the hotel, which will lead you directly into the historic center of the city. Small cobbled streets and one-story buildings carefully restored; a true charm for its visitors. Warm hospitality of the locals, together with the unmatchable UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery; make Kutaisi a top destination for both local and international visitors alike.
Hotel Posta Mestia
Set in Mestia, 700 metres from Museum of History and Ethnography, Hotel Posta offers accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a shared lounge.
Le Meridien Batumi
Overlooking the Black Sea, Le Méridien Batumi brings an inspired beach, city or family holiday. Attractive to all travelers, including young families, our hotel offers spectacular facilities such as on-site dining at Brasserie Restaurant and Latitude Bar. Take a dip in our indoor pool after a long day in Batumi, relax with a massage at our on-site spa or exercise in our fitness centre. Should you wish to plan an event, we offer a variety of stunning spaces to ensure an unforgettable gathering. Energise in one of our invigorating hotel rooms or suites with stunning views of the Black Sea and discover all Georgia has to offer at Le Méridien Batumi.
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