Border information: if you are joining in Tbilisi, you will most likely enter Georgia at Tbilisi International Airport (IATA code: TBS).
There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - on arrival please look out for a note from your leader with more information about this important meeting.
This afternoon we will visit the old town of Tbilisi and visit sites including the National Museum, Sioni Cathedral and the Metekhi Temple.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tbilisi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tbilisi.
In Tbilisi we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
*Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*
Learn all about the history of Georgia during Soviet times, and the struggle for independence, at the Museum of Soviet Occupation - Cost: GEL 3
Enjoy an evening of local dancing and music at a Georgian restaurant in Tbilisi - Cost: GEL 25
Explore the ancient Narikala Fortress and take in the fantastic views of Tbilisi below - Cost: GEL
Visit the beautiful Orthodox Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi's Old Town
- Cost: GEL
Discover the folk architecture, craftwork and culture of the various regions of Georgia at the Giorgi Chitaia Open Air Museum of Ethnography - Cost: GEL 1.5
See the incredible collection of historical artefacts at the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia - Cost: GEL 3
See the grandiose modern Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, the seat of the Georgian Orthodox Church - Cost: GEL
Today our journey begins with a beautiful drive to the spectacularly located town of Stepantsminda (formerly known as Kazbegi).
Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, we will take a trek up to the Tsminda Sameba Church (the Church of the Holy Trinity), a beautiful small church nestled in the mountains.
In Stepantsminda we will stay in a local hotel or family-run guesthouse.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
Hike to beautiful 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church, set in the stunning mountains above Stepantsminda
We spend this morning in and around Stepantsminda, where we can trek to the Tsminda Sameba Church if we haven't done so already.
This afternoon we have a beautiful drive to the UNESCO world heritage site of Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia. Whilst here we will explore the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.
In Mtskheta we will stay overnight in a local guesthouse.
Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.
This morning we drive to Gori, the birthplace of Stalin - here we will have a guided tour of the city and the Stalin Museum.
We then make our way to the ancient town of Kutaisi. This afternoon we will visit the medieval Bragrati cathedral and the Gelati monastery.
In Kutaisi we will stay in a local hotel or a family-run guesthouse.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Explore the colossal and awe-inspiring Prometheus Caves near Kutaisi
Visit the beautiful 11th-century Bagrati Cathedral, a symbol of the city of Kutaisi - Cost: GEL
This morning we will continue to the port town of Batumi, where we will have a free afternoon to explore.
In Batumi we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.
Visit the Batumi Archaeological Museum, home to many historical exhibits found in excavations in the area - Cost: GEL 2
Border Information: Exit Georgia at Sarpi, enter Turkey at Sarp.
This morning we will continue to the border and cross into Turkey. We will reach the awe-inpsiring Sumela Monastery near the town of Macka, which we will either visit in the afternoon or the next morning.
We will camp overnight in a campsite near Sumela if conditions allow. In cold weather we may opt to stay in a local hotel in Macka or Trabzon.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.
Exploration of the Black Sea mountain monastery at Sumela
This morning we will visit the beautiful Sumela Monastery if we didn't have time yesterday, and then start our drive through central Turkey towards Göreme.
We will break the journey with a wild camp near Zara or the village of Alucra.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.
Today we will complete our drive to Göreme, a small enchanting town in the heart of the Cappadocia mountains.
In Göreme we will stay in a well-equipped hostel - please note that dorm beds are sometimes used here.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.
We now have a 2 full days to explore Göreme, including a guided tour of the enchanted valley of Cappadocia. There will be an opportunity for a magical optional balloon ride over the valley during our time here.
Explore the Early Christian underground cities of Derinkuyu or Kaymakli, used as a hiding place from persecutions for centuries
Walk through the beautiful ancient valley of Ihlara, containing the beautiful rock-hewn churches built by the Cappadocian Greeks during the Byzantine era
2-3 nights to discover Cappadocia's Goreme Valley and underground troglodyte cities and caves - Cost: TRY 15
Take a hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia
- Cost: EUR 150
Explore the ancient pre-iconoclastic Byzantine rock monastery of Zelve
- Cost: TRY 15
Guided tour of Cappadocia and underground troglodyte cities and caves - Cost: TRY 5
Discover the ancient techniques of Cappadocian pottery at the village of Avanos
- Cost: USD
Head out for a fun evening of dinner and various Turkish dancing displays
- Cost: TRY 90
Witness the hypnotic Sufi Whirling Dervishes ceremony at an ancient caravanserai near Göreme - Cost: EUR 35
Today we will have a full day's drive west to arrive in Istanbul, the only city in the world that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia.
In Istanbul we will stay in dorm accommodation in a fantastic hostel with good facilities, which is a 5 minute walk from the Blue Mosque.
Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.
Border information: if leaving the trip in Istanbul, you will most likely exit Turkey from Istanbul Atatürk International Airport (IATA code: IST).
Today will be free to explore the many sights of the incredible exotic city of Istanbul, including the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus River and the phenomenal Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia!
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Istanbul. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.
Explore the colossal markets of the Grand Bazaar - once the centre of all trading between Europe and Asia, and the most visited tourist attraction in the world - Cost: USD
See the splendour of Istanbul from a boat trip on Bosphorus Strait, which marks the boundary of Europe and Asia - Cost: USD 17
Explore the phenomenal Blue Mosque, built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I - a stunning icon of Istanbul
- Cost: USD
Visit the Çemberlitas Baths, a traditional Turkish Hammam, for a bath and massage!
- Cost: USD 20
Visit the incredible Byzantine cathedral of Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century
- Cost: TRY 25
Explore the atmospheric underground Basilica Cisterns, built by the Byzantines in the 6th century
- Cost: TRY 20
Explore the majestic Topkapi Palace, the huge palace of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years
- Cost: TRY 35