Border Information: If joining in Baku, you will most likely enter Azerbaijan at Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport (IATA code: GYD).There will be an important group meeting at 6.00pm - please look out for a welcome note from your tour leader when you arrive at the joining hotel in Baku. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Baku before the start of your trip with us - please contact your Sales Agent if you would like to book pre - tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Baku. * Important note - please 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. *
Today we will have free time to explore all the sites of Baku and the surroundings.
This morning we will make our way to Lahic Village. An old coppersmiths village, nestled in the mountains.
Leaving the village behind we make our way to the old town of Sheki this morning. Here we can visit the exquisite Khan's Palace.
Border Information: Exit Azerbaijan at Balakan, enter Georgia at Lagodekhi.Today we will continue our journey west and cross the border into Georgia. We will wild camp tonight, most likely in the Lagodehki National Park shortly after crossing the border.
Today we will drive to the Alazani valley and on to Telavi, where we will base ourseves for 2 days to explore this fascinating region. We will visit the Gremi citadel en route, and have a free afternoon on arrival in Telavi to explore the area.
The area of Telavi is well known for its vineyards and wineries - there are hundreds of different grapes grown here, and every village has its own particular variety. We will visit some of the local vineyards today, where we can hopefully see some of the local traditions including grape harvesting and wine making, and enjoy some famous Georgian hospitality.
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.
We spend the 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.
After breakfast we will make our way to Borjome National Park where we will have time to do a small hike through the ancient forest and an optional cable ride up the mountain. In the afternoon we will continue on to Vardzia where we will find a place to wild camp for the night in the stunning valley. If time permits we will have an included visit to the Vardzia Caves this afternoon if not we will have the chance to explore them tomorrow morning also.
We continue south towards the Armenian border this morning. Once we have crossed we will drive through the beautiful Armenian Highlands before finding a place to bush camp for the night.
Today we will make our way to the city of Yerevan. On the way we will have an included visit to Khor Virap Monastery.
We have a free day today for any optional activities or simply spend the time relaxing and soaking up the city atmosphere.
We will leave the city of Yerevan behind this morning and make our way to the World Heritage - listed Geghard Monastery which has been carved out of the rock face of the Azat River Gorge. We will also spend some time exploring the Garni Temple before we continue onto the beautiful Lake Sevan.
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 6.00pm - on arrival please look out for a note from your leader with more information about this important meeting. 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 your Sales Agent if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tbilisi. *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.*
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 Bagrati cathedral and the Gelati monastery.
Today we will continue to the port town of Batumi, where we will have a free afternoon to explore.On the way we will visit the Prometheus Caves
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 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. Or we may opt to stay in a local hotel in Macka or Trabzon.
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.
Today we will complete our drive to Göreme, a small enchanting town in the heart of the Cappadocia mountains.In Göreme we will stay 2 nights here in a well-equipped hostel - please note that dorm beds are sometimes used here.
Today will be a full day to explore Goreme, including a guided tour of the enchanted valley of Cappadocia. There will also be an opportunity for a magical optional balloon ride over the valley during your time here.. Weather permitting.
After breakfast we will continue south towards the town of Egirdir, today will mostly be a travel day. Tonight we will wild camp near the small town of Egirdir or stay in a guesthouse depending on the time of year and weather.
This morning we will continue onto the ancient beach town of Olympos on the Southern Turkish coast. On the way we will make a small detour to visit the ancient city of Termessos in Gulluk Dagi National Park.This evening we will walk up to the Chimera Fire Mountain and toast some marshmallows.We will have 2 nights in Olympos staying in multi share accommodation.
Today we will have time to explore and participate in optional activities today or simply take a dip in the cool turquoise waters on one of the many beaches.
Today we will head back inland to the small village of Pamukkale. Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning we will have time to visit the thermal hot springs and traverse the travertine pools and terraces.
We only have a short drive this morning to make it to our next destination Selcuk where we will have two nights. On arrival we will have free time to explore the local area or simply relax in one of the many cafes or tea bars which are great for people watching.
Today we will have a full day exploring the Ephesus Ruins and Terraced Houses
After breakfast we will leave Selcuk and drive to Helsik following the coast. Here we will have an included tour of the Troy Ruins. In the afternoon we will cross the Dardenelles by ferry to arrive into Ecebat where we will stay the night.
Rising early we will have an included tour of Gallipoli with our local guide. After lunch we will then jump on the truck one last time to make our way to the bustling city of Istanbul.
Border information: if leaving the trip in Istanbul, you will most likely exit Turkey from Istanbul Ataturk 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 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.