We have prepared an exclusive guide for everyone who wants to make an independent long journey through the countries of the South Caucasus, namely Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. In this post, you will find a lot of useful information, tips and much more. If you don't want to spend time on organizing a trip, we are ready to offer you our Tour Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia in 17 days. Find all our travel packages to the South Caucasus here.
Yerevan City Tour
We recommend starting your first day in Armenia with a walk around Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, and exploring the main sights. Yerevan is an ancient cozy city where authenticity is intertwined with modernity. Armenians are proud that Yerevan is 29 years older than Rome. One of the most impressive highlights of the capital is the amazing view of Mount Ararat, which opens from different corners of the city. Stroll around the center, visit the Republic Square – the heart of the capital, as well as the Cascade, Northern Avenue and Abovyan Street framed by cozy cafes and souvenir boutiques.
After a walk, you can relax in one of the colorful local restaurants, which are very numerous in the center, and taste national cuisine. Some restaurants can be found here.
Then you can go to the Victory Park, where you can admire the panorama of the city from the observation deck, or you can visit the Museum of the History of Armenia, where you can plunge into the past of the country and get acquainted with interesting archaeological, ethnographic exhibits that tell about the history of the Armenian people.
Garni - Geghard - Yerevan
The next day you can make a trip to the cave monastery of Geghard of the 13th century, which is located 40 km from Yerevan. This unique monastery is carved into the rock and the surrounding rocks form part of the complex. In 2000, it became a UNESCO heritage site. You can get to the monastery by your own car, take a taxi, rent a car or take bus number 284 which departs from the Yerevan bus station located behind the Mercedes car dealership. Get to the Goght village by bus and then you can walk to the monastery or hitchhike. The distance between the village of Goght and Geghard Monastery is about 4 km. Those who wish can drive to the village of Garni, where the famous Hellenistic temple of Garni and the unique natural monument Symphony of Stones are located. From Garni you can take a taxi to Geghard or hitchhike.
Sevan - Dilijan
On the third day, you can make a trip to the “blue pearl” of Armenia, Lake Sevan, and then continue on to the beautiful resort town of Dilijan. The lake is located at a distance of 63 km from Yerevan. In case you are traveling without a car and do not want to spend money on a taxi or rent a car, you can use public transport to reach the lake. Take the minibus number 317, which departs from the North Station, and get to the city of Sevan. In the city, you can take a taxi to reach the lake or hitchhike.
After your arrival we advise you to go up the Sevan peninsula to Sevanavank Monastery, and admire the beautiful view that opens from the height. After the sightseeing, you can visit one of the local restaurants and taste barbeque made from local trout (in Armenian “ishkhan”), as well as kebab from crayfish necks. Lavash restaurant is famous for its delicious dishes and beautiful views.
Then you can continue your journey to the resort town of Dilijan, which is famous for its wooded rich nature and clean air filled with coniferous aromas. A walk through the historic center will allow you to experience the atmosphere of the old city of the 19th century. You can stay here in one of the cozy hotels or guesthouses. In the morning return to Yerevan.
Echmiadzin - Zvartnots
On this day you can get acquainted with the religious history of Armenia and go to the city of Echmiadzin, the religious center of Armenians from all over the world. It is located very close to Yerevan - only 15 km away. You can get to the city by buses number 202 and 302, which stop at Mashtots Avenue. Besides, you can take a bus or minibus to the Echmiadzin Monastery from the Yerevan central bus station Kilikia (the bus station is located on Isakov Avenue).
Echmiadzin city is known for its history: after the adoption of Christianity in 301, one of the first Christian cathedrals in the world, Echmiadzin Cathedral, was built in the city. Now it is а UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is in Etchmiadzin where the residence of the Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church is located.
After lunch, we advise you to visit the ruins of the ancient temple of Zvartnots (UNESCO site) located not far from Echmiadzin. It was once a magnificent example of Armenian early medieval architecture but was destroyed during an earthquake.
Khor Virap - Areni - Noravank
On the fifth day, make a trip to the south of Armenia to the monastery of Khor Virap, located in a historical place in the Ararat Valley. The monastery is located on a hill, on the site of the royal prison in the city of Artashat. This is a significant place for Armenians as the founder of Christianity in Armenia, Gregory the Illuminator, was imprisoned here for 13 years. A breathtaking view of Mount Ararat opens from the hill on clear days – if the weather is fine you will be able to take unforgettable photos. The monastery is located 40 km from Yerevan, near the city of Artashat. You can get to the city of Artashat by minibus, and from there take a taxi to the monastery.
If you are traveling by car, we advise you to continue on your way to the Noravank Monastery located in the valley of red rocks. On the way, make a stop in the village of Areni, which is considered the center of winemaking in Armenia. Ancient wine-making equipment, which is six thousand years old, was discovered here. The region is known for its endemic Areni grape variety used for the production of local red wine. In Areni you can visit a small winery and taste local wines.
Free Day in Yerevan
This is your last day in Armenia. You can visit souvenir shops, the outdoor souvenir market “Vernissage”, as well as cozy open-air cafes. Jazz lovers are advised to visit the Malkhaz Jazz Club, which is located at 52/1 Pushkin Street. If your trip falls between May and September, we advise you to visit the singing fountains in Republic Square and enjoy an amazing show.
Tbilisi City Tour
On the seventh day, your journey to Georgia will begin. It will take approximately five and a half hours to get to Tbilisi by car. If you are traveling without a car, then you can take minivans that depart from the Kilikia bus station (not far from the famous Ararat brandy factory) to Tbilisi. The fare in a seven-seat minivan is 7,000 drams ($14.5) per person.
In Tbilisi, after checking in a hotel and some rest, you can take a short sightseeing walk around the city center. Walk around the old city, see the famous complex of royal sulfur baths of the 17th-19th centuries, visit the Metekhi Church, the Bridge of Peace, and take the cable car up to the Narikala fortress.
Mtskheta - Jvari - Tbilisi
Start your day with a short pleasant trip to the ancient city of Mtskheta, which is the first capital of Georgia (from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD) and is under the protection of UNESCO. You can get to Mtskheta by minibus which departs every 20-30 minutes from Didube bus station, the fare is 3 GEL. In the town, you should definitely visit the temple of the XI century, Svetitskhoveli, an Orthodox Christian cathedral which is a masterpiece of the Early and High Middle Ages. The temple was erected in the 11th century on the site of the first Christian church in Georgia. The relics of saints, Christian relics, and the Lord's tunic are kept in the temple. Next, we recommend visiting an equally famous attraction – the Jvari Temple, for which many people come to Mtskheta. It is located outside the city on top of a hill, offering a breathtaking view of the confluence of two rivers, Kura and Aragvi. To go up to Jvari, you can take a taxi in Mtskheta.
On this day, you can organize a trip to Stepantsminda (Kazbegi) – one of the most beautiful settlements in Georgia (on the way you can visit the resort town of Gudauri).
The cheapest and most popular way to get from Tbilisi to the region on your own is Tbilisi-Kazbegi minibus which runs as it fills up (approximately once an hour) from 07:00 to 18:00. The place of departure is the Okriba bus station next to the Didube metro station. Travel time is 3-4 hours. The fare is 10 GEL.
In Stepantsminda go up to the Gergeti Church, located at an altitude of 2170 m. The trip to the church will take about 2-2,5 hours by foot and 1-1.5 hours by car. If you are traveling without a car you can take a taxi from the center of the settlement. It will cost approximately 50 GEL to reach the church by taxi. The top of the hill offers an unforgettable view of the village and the famous Mount Kazbek.
If you wish you can stay in Rooms Kazbegi Hotel which is one of the most beautiful in that area.
Free Day in Tbilisi
This is your last day in Tbilisi. You can walk around the Old Town, see the Bridge of Peace, stroll along the Rustaveli Avenue framed by interesting sights, fashionable shops, restaurants, souvenir boutiques, etc.
You can end the day at the national restaurant "Funicular", which is located at the Tbilisi funicular at the very top of Mount Mtatsminda. Undoubtedly, it is a must-visit place for all guests of the capital. You can get to the restaurant in a cozy funicular trailer (Chonkadze Street), which slowly rises uphill, allowing you to enjoy amazing views of Tbilisi. Here you can taste real Georgian wine, as well as all the famous national Georgian dishes, such as Adjarian khachapuri, Imeretian khachapuri, lobiani, khinkali with meat or cheese, mushrooms baked with suluguni cheese, chikhirtma and much more.
Tbilisi - Telavi
On this day make a trip to the east of the country to the Kakheti region, which is famous for the production of the best Georgian wine. It is better to allocate two days for exploring the region. Make your way to Telavi – the center of the Kakheti region, known for its luxurious nature. It is also considered to be the center of the country's winemaking.
You can get to Telavi by minibus, which departs from Ortachala (Kakheti direction) and Samgori bus stations. Ortachala is located at 1 Gulia Street and Samgori on 2 Moscow Avenue. Schedule: at Ortachala the minibus departs every 45 minutes starting from 8:15, the last departure is at 17:00; at Samgori the minibus departs every 40 minutes, the first one at 9:30 and the last one at 15:45. Travel time is 2 hours. The fare is 10 GEL.
After arrival, enjoy a walk around the city of Telavi. Visit the Batonis-Tsikhe Fortress – the house-museum of the beloved Georgian king Erekle II.
The next day, continue exploring the sights of Kakheti. Visit Tsinandali estate, which once belonged to the famous Georgian family of Chavchavadze. The estate is known for its beautiful labyrinth-shaped garden lined with exotic trees. It houses a magnificent collection of Georgian and European wines, here you can taste four types of wine and, of course, the famous dry white wine Tsinandali. Then take a pleasant sightseeing walk through the cozy small town of Sighnaghi founded in the 18th century by King Erekle II. Sighnaghi is often called the "city of love". Your overnight should be arranged in Kakheti. In the morning you’ll continue your trip to Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan border - Sheki
On this day, your journey to Azerbaijan will begin. Start your trip to the city of Sheki and make a stop there. Sheki is one of the oldest cities in the Caucasus. It is located in a picturesque mountainous region cut by narrow gorges and green valleys. Dedicate this day to the exploration of the sights of Sheki: visit the Upper City, the magnificent Palace of the Sheki Khans and the Museum of Crafts. The Palace of Sheki Khans, built in 1797 as the summer residence of Muhammad Hassan Khan, is a masterpiece of luxurious decoration. Both the exterior and interior decoration of the palace embodies the architectural chic of the ancient Sheki Khanate. We also recommend visiting the Carpet Museum (there are various large halls with pottery, silk embroidery, national costumes, jewelry), the Shebeke craft workshop, the Sheki Bazaar and the local sweet bakery. Don’t miss the chance and make sure to try the famous Sheki sweet baklava – the pride of the Sheki population.
Sheki - Baku City Tour
In the morning start your trip to Baku – the capital of Azerbaijan, its scientific, cultural, and industrial center. The fastest way to get from Baku to Sheki is to take a taxi. It will cost $85-$110 and the road will take 4 hours 21 minutes. After arriving in Baku, check-in at a hotel and some rest, start exploring the city. After the second oil boom in 2006, Baku has turned into a modern city with unique and extraordinary masterpieces. Start your sightseeing from the old part of Baku from the Paired Fortress Gates (also sometimes called Gosha Gala Gapysy or Shemakhi gates) – this is a double gate to the inner city of old Baku. A classic sightseeing tour usually includes a visit to the oldest caravanserai, medieval hammams, and mosques, the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, as well as climbing to the roof of the Maiden Tower. It is difficult to visit all these places on your own, so it is better to do it as part of an excursion with a guide who will tell you a lot of interesting historical facts along the way.
The next day you can visit the Gobustan National Reserve which is one of the Worlds unique places. The area is known for its petroglyphs, mud volcanoes, and gas stones. It is assumed that the mud here has some healing properties. The volcanic land here looks fantastic. It seems like walking on Mars. You can get to the reserve from Baku by bus number 120 from Azneft Square (the nearest metro station "Icherisheher"). The bus will take you to Gobustan town, which is located in a 50-minute drive away. In the city take a taxi and reach the reserve. The entrance fee to the Gobustan National Park is 4 AZN. At the end of the day return to Baku.
Free Day in Baku
On the last day in Baku, you can go to museums, for example, visit the Miniature Book Museum, the Carpet Museum (carpets are a national pride in Azerbaijan) and the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, the building of which impresses with its amazing design with practically no straight lines. Stroll along the streets of the new city and admire the architecture. You can take the funicular up to the Highland Park (from there you can see the city), the alley of martyrs, the mosque and the Flame Towers – a complex of three ultra-modern buildings that resemble flames in shape and are the tallest buildings in the city. In the evenings, thanks to the illumination, Flame Towers resemble three huge torches. After dark, it is worth taking a walk along Primorsky Boulevard (be sure to visit the fountains) and see the city at night. According to tourists, Baku is illuminated wonderfully, some even think that it is more beautiful in the evening than during the day.
Choose the Tour to Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan you like most and tour-operator Arara will organize your amazing Holiday in the Caucasus.