Transfer to the hotel of your choice and accommodation.
Optional activities for today:
• Dinner in a local restaurant with entertainment program – Georgian folk-show. It will be your first acquaintance with the famous Georgian cuisine. Round-trip transfer included.
• Traditional Georgian Sulfur Bath. We will make reservation for you and arrange transfers.
One of the highlights of the day is a visit to Narikala – the capital’s ancient fortress, where the stunning views over the city will open out before you. You’ll be whisked to the top in a cable car and after your visit will wander down by foot through the narrow and historic streets of the Old Town, among them the newly renovated Shardeni kucha – the street which never sleeps, and one of Tbilisi’s nighttime hot spots.
After the city tour, you’ll be ready for lunch. Your guide will be happy to recommend a local restaurant so you can try some Georgian dishes (lunch may be booked in advance – USD 15 PP) or you are free to find your own spot if you prefer.
In the afternoon you’ll visit a beautiful and historic suburb of Tbilisi, Mtskheta – the old, legendary capital of Georgia, just 20km from the city center. The historic capital of Eastern Georgia (Kartli) and set at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi Rivers, Mtskheta has remained at the spiritual heart of Georgia since Christianity was established. The Svetitskhoveli cathedralremains at the center of the Orthodox church and has inspired many Georgian poets and artists over the years. Legend has it that a seamless robe of Christ’s is buried somewhere within the temple and you’ll find fragments of paintings dating back to the 11th century, including one depicting a hand which stories tell is the hand of the cathedrals architect which king Giorgi amputated to stop him making another cathedral as beautiful as Scetitskhoveli.
Afterwards you’ll visit Jvari Monastery (Monastery of the Cross), previously a pagan temple and latterly turned into Christian church. Perched on a windblown, rocky promontory, take some time to enjoy the exceptional scenery and take some photos of this amazing UNESCO world heritage listed structure. In the evening return to the hotel and spend the evening exploring the city on your own.
Optional tours/activities for today:
• Visit to the peasant family near Mtskheta. The tour includes degustation of the locally produced wine (aimed for the export). Additionally we may include the dinner with the family during this tour and master classes of cooking Georgian cuisine.
• Tour to the National Museum of Georgia. See the treasury of ancient Georgian Kingdoms, Soviet Occupation exposition and other significant historical artefacts.
• Tour to the Ethnographical Museum. Open-air museum where you can see the authentic Georgian houses.
• Dinner with traditional Georgian dishes, wine and national show program (Georgian dances and songs). Round-trip transfer included.
We will visit the nunnery of Bodbe, a significant pilgrimage site in Georgia due to its association with St Nino. 3km away are St Nino’s spring, believed to have been created through St Nino’s prayers and believed to have strong healing powers. We’ll then move on to the highlight of today’s tour – a visit to Signagi, the so-called “city of love”. Packed full of 19th century architecture Signagi resembles an Italian city with its Mediterranean-style colorful, small houses and narrow old streets. With view over the Alazani valley to the Caucasus on the horizon the town is a very pleasant place to while away an afternoon. You have time to visit the Signagi Museum- a well displayed, modern museum where you’ll learn more about life in Kakheti.
After the tour of Signagi, we’ll visit one more of the traditional, authentic wineries of Kakheti where you could have a degustation and perhaps buy a bottle or two of the local wine.
After the tour, return back to Tbilisi.
The train ride takes 5 hours and upon arrival to Batumi, you will meet your guide and have an orientation tour of the city. Batumi is based on the site of the Ancient Greek city of Bathus and is mentioned by many ancient historians as the city became an important Roman trading port. Nowadays as Georgia’s second largest city it is a modern and popular resort, with several skyscrapers and significant examples of contemporary architecture.
You will start to discover of the city from the seaside boulevard where you can view the exteriors of House of Justice before moving on to some of the most spectacular city sights.
The Statue of Lovers depicts the doomed love affair of Ali and Nino, a Georgian Princess and Azerbijani Muslim who were kept apart by World War I. At 7pm each night the statues begin to move towards each other, until their metal bodies pass through one another without ever touching. A beautiful piece of romantic art which is well worth stopping off for.
You will then head to European Square, named after Batumi joined the Assembly of European Regions. In the center of the square stands a statue of Medea holding the golden fleece as a symbol of ancient Georgian connections to Europe. The square is now used for pop and musical concerts, holding up to 50,000 people. European square is also home to the German built astronomical clock, situated on the front of the former National Bank building which shows the placement of the sun, moon and planets as well as chiming the hour.
Next on the itinerary is the Alphabetical Tower, built in 2011 to symbolize the unique nature of the Georgian alphabet. The monument is built to represent the double helix of DNA, with two strands rising up to the tower, holding the 33 letters of the Georgian alphabet. An elevator whisks people to the top of the tower, where a huge silver ball sits.
Afterwards you proceed to the historical part of the city and discover the authentic vibes of old Batumi. In the evening, you will see a spectacular show – the dancing fountains of Batumi. The fountains usually “dance” to the soundtrack of modern pop, rock and classic music. Accommodation and overnight in Batumi.
You start with the visit to Botanical Garden of Batumi which was famous all over the former USSR for its unique eco-systems and a collection of various exotic plants. Located 8km north of the city and covering an astonishing 108 hectares the gardens were created by Russian botanist Andrey Nikolayevich Krasnov and opened in 1912. Now an independent institution the gardens cover 9 floristic sections where you can view flora from all over the world, from the subtropics to the Himalayas. The beautiful location of the gardens, rising straight out of the sea make these gardens even more worth the visit.
Later you will go to the outskirts of Batumi to visit the Gonio Fortress. This fortification is one of the most ancient constructions in Georgia, with the oldest written reference to the fortress coming from Pliny’s Natural History. Legend has it that Apsyrtus, King Aet’s son who was killed by Jason is buried within the fortress. Gonio was used by Romans for its strategic location on the shore of the Black Sea and became known for its theatre and hippodrome before coming under Byzantine influence and then being taken by the Ottomans in 1547. It is believed that Gonio holds the tomb of the Apostle Mathew within its walls however as the Georgian government prohibits digging near gravesites this is currently unverifiable.
Overnight in Batumi.
You will meet your driver in the hotel lobby for the scheduled transfer to the airport of Batumi.
Alternatively, we may arrange train tickets for you back to Tbilisi. Please consult with your travel manager.