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Georgia & Azerbaijan

October 3-17, 2022

Are you ready to go really off the beaten tourist path? Want to spend more time learning and experiencing local customs, wine making practices and traditional culinary methods? Then let’s go to where Europe, Asia and the Middle East all cross paths! Our Georgia and Azerbaijan tour is ready to launch, and will take you to visit a corner of the globe where vibrant culture and delicious wines and food abound all put together for a hands-on, small group experience.

Tour highlights the diverse culture, architecture, ancient history and delicious culinary traditions of these emerging (though ancient) countries, both former Soviet republics, nested between the towering Caucasus mountains, the Caspian Sea and Turkey. We begin in oil-rich country of Azerbaijan, balanced between Europe and Asia and offering up central Asian and Persian-inspired recipies. Next we traveling to Georgia, renowned for its culinary delights, 9000 year-old wine making traditions, massive wall of Caucasus mountains and an arty and funky capital of Tbilisi. An optional 3 day post-tour visit to Armenia (the third country of the Caucasus) is available.

We have enjoyed our small groups so much that we will continue to keep numbers low and personal attention high. This tour is capped at 12 guests.

Tour will be led by Andrew Villone.

Sign up for this tour by clicking the Book Now button

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Day One

Overnight: Baku, Azerbaijan

East meets West in Baku

Transfer from airport. Baku city tour to see a very eclectic, a combination of different styles both Eastern and Western influences such as baroque, classicism and modern. Visit Flag Square, the eye-opening Carpet Museum and modern Flame towers before exploring the old town with preserved walls and narrow cobbled streets. Welcome dinner.

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Day Two

Overnight: Baku, Azerbaijan

Leisure, Explore, Discover Baku

All day at leisure to explore Baku. Climb the 12th century Maiden Tower, explore Shirvanhahs’ Palace, browse the very unique Miniature Book Museum, taste your way around Azeri flavors at the local bazaar. We’ll meet in the early evening for an intro tasting on local wines.

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Day Three

Overnight: Baku, Azerbaijan

Mud volcanoes and Azeri traditions

Excursion out to Gobustan historical-art reserve, perfectly preserved rock paintings (petroglyphs) before visiting a state nature reserve on the Absheron Peninsula that contains the unusual phenomenon of mud volcanoes. With over 300 of these, Azerbaijan has nearly half of the world’s total. They are connected with the ancient religion of Zoroastrian. Visit to outdoor museum chronicling the everyday life and traditions of the Azeri people for the past 400 years with workshops for pottery, carpet weaving and making lavash.

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Day Four

Overnight: Sheki, Azerbaijan

Wine, Mosques and Curiosities along the Great Silk Route

Depart Baku. En-route a visit the city of Shemakha, which holds the largest mosque of the Caucasus (Juma Mosque) and the tomb of the Shirvan Shahs, rulers of “Yeddi Gyumbyaz”. Lunch and wine tasting at Chabiant Winery (vineyards at 750m altitude on southern slopes of the Great Caucasus). Arrival into Sheki, this ancient city was long famed as a silk centre & important stop on the Great Silk Route and a beautiful location surrounded by the mountains and forests of oak trees.


Day Five

Overnight: Zaqatala, Azerbaijan

Khan’s Palace and Local Culinary Delights

Tour of Sheki visiting the 18th century Khan’s summer Palace with magnificent frescos and exquisite stained glass. Then visit “Pakhlava” famous local sweets’ workshop and “Tekulduz” popular weaving workshop, walking in the old street to witness the different craftsman. Visit to charming small town of Ilisu. Guests can buy natural honey harvested by local beekeepers, walk to the waterfall and enjoy tea from a samovar outdoors. Dinner at eco-guesthouse that produces all it’s own food.


Day Six

Overnight: Sighnaghi, Georgia

Georgian art, nature and wines

Pick-up from Azeri border. Picnic lunch in Lagodekhi national park, on Southern slopes of Caucasus mountains, optional hiking in nature there. Visit to the home of Georgia’s most famous painter, Pirosmani, before arriving into town of Sighnaghi, where we overnight for 2 days. It may be reminiscent of a Tuscan hill town except for the wall of snow capped Caucasus mountains behind it. Tour of the town with time to walk some of its 4km of defensive walls and climb a few of its towers.

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Day Seven

Overnight: Sighnaghi, Georgia

Epic Georgian Feast and intro to Georgian wines

Visit Monastery of St. Nino, the saint who spread Christianity in Georgia back in the 5th century. Wine tasting in Kakheti region, the heartland of Georgian wine making with introduction to Georgian native varietals such as Saperavi, Mtsvane, Kisi and Rkatsiteli. Georgian feast with music and traditional dancing at the region’s premiere winery-restaurant, Pheasant’s Tears.

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Day Eight

Overnight: Khaketi region, Georgia

Markets, spices and flavors of Georgia

Forage for mushrooms before wine tasting and lunch at our tour guide’s country house/vineyard. Scour a large market in Telavi for cheeses, spices and other deliciousness. Visit to 11th century Alaverdi Monastery where you’ll see of making wines in qvevri (traditional Georgian clay vessels buried in the ground) that Georgian monks have used for centuries. Next two overnights at hotel nestled amongst vineyards.

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Day Nine

overnight: Khaketi region, Georgia

Craft beers, delicious dumplings and royal citadels

No whining but it’s time to take a break from fermented grapes for a bit to enjoy some Georgian craft beers that are paired with the best khinkali (large dumplings filled with cheese or meat) in the country. FYI – skimp on breakfast this day! We’ll also check out the Gremi citadel, which was the royal seat of the Kingdom of Kakheti in the 16th century, and pop into a 6th century monastery from Late Antiquity.


Day Ten

overnight: Stepantsminda, Georgia

Towards the Caucasus Mountains.

Depart Kakheti region to head north to the high Caucasus mountains. Stop along the way at the 17th century Ananuri fortress, situated along the Aragvi River and home to numerous battles and revolts. Scenic drive up the Georgian Military Highway to the the town of Stepantsminda nestled amongst the spectacular surroundings of the Caucasus mountains.

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Day Eleven

overnight: Stepantsminda, Georgia

Mountains, legends and secrets of the Georgian kitchen

Take in the sight of Mt. Kazbegi, where the Greek legend of Prometheus was set. Visit to Tsminda Sameba, the famous and often-photographed hilltop church with snow-capped mountains behind it. Another scenic drive through prehistoric looking landscape including the Dariali Gorge near Russian-Georgian border. Learn to make Khinkali (those delicious Georgian dumplings) with a local.


Day Twelve

overnight: Gori, Georgia

Ancient caves cities and notorious world leaders

Depart the mountains and head down south to visit to the 3,000 year old cave city of Uplistsikhe (meaning the Lord’s Fortress), filled with rock-hewn structures. Visit to the controversial Stalin museum in the town of Gori (his birthplace). Tasting at Andro Barnovis winery in Shida Kartli region. Dinner in the house of young famous Georgian chef.


Day Thirteen

overnight: Tbilisi, Georgia

Two Capitals

Visits to Mtskheta, the cradle of Christianity and religious center of all Georgia. It was also the former capital until the 6th century (did we mention everything in Georgia is really old). Arrival into Tbilisi, Georgia’s funky, vibrant, arty and delicious capital. Walking tour of the old town and city centre followed by dinner in EZO (our local Georgian tour leader owns this boutique restaurant) one of Tbilisi’s finest.

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Day Fourteen

overnight: Tbilisi, Georgia

Eat, Drink and Discover Tbilisi

Culinary walking tour of Tbilisi with many stops for little bites and drinks along with visits to markets to sample a variety of things. Leisure time in afternoon to explore the city. Perhaps take a walk up to the Narikala fortress, an ancient symbol of Tbilisi’s defence or pay a visit to the National Museum to see the works of famous Georgian artist Pirosmani. Say farewell to Georgia dinner with live music at Azarphesha with Georgian polyphonic singing.

Tour Dates: October 3rd – 17th, 2022

Price: $3775 (Air not included). Single Supplement is $550. We welcome singles and can try to pair you with another single to room with, but the single supplement will be required if we can’t.

Tour price includes 14 nights’ accommodation, all breakfasts, 8 dinners, 5 lunches, 5 wine tastings and other sights listed in itinerary, transportation within the tour, tips and taxes.

Tour begins at 1 pm in Baku, Azerbaijan. Airport, Baku (GYD).

Tour ends in Tbilisi, Georgia. Airport, Tbilisi (TBS). We can arrange transfers for an additional fee.