AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Caspian to the Black Sea

Caspian to the Black Sea

Caspian to the Black Sea Overview

Travel by rail from Baku on the coast of the Caspian to Batumi on the Black Sea. En route, soak up the culture and history of Azerbaijan and Georgia and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Gobustan Petroglyph Reserve and Gelati Monastery.

ITINERARY

Days 1 & 2 – Fly to Baku

Evening Turkish Airlines flight from London Heathrow to Istanbul and an overnight flight to Baku. We arrive early morning and check straight into our hotel for the next 2 nights. After a relaxing morning, enjoy an introductory guided tour.

Day 3 – Explore Baku

A day at leisure with a pre-loaded public transport card for use on the city's trams, metro and trolleybuses. Ride the lines, take in the UNESCO-listed Old City and marvel at the contrast of East meets West architecture.

Day 4 – Gobustan & Ateshgah Fire Temple

Travel by road to the Gobustan Petroglyph Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we will visit the state-of-the-art museum before viewing the carvings dating back 12,000 years. We then continue to the Ateşgah Fire Temple on the Abşeron Peninsula. Return to Baku this evening to board the sleeper train to Georgia. Accommodation will be in 2-berth sleeper compartments for single/double occupancy.

Day 5 – Arrive Tbilisi

Morning arrival into Georgia's capital for a 3-night stay. We later ride the Metro, walk up to Metekhi Church, take a cable car ride up to Narikala Fortress and explore Old Tbilisi.

Day 6 – Tbilisi at Leisure

A free day to explore this vibrant city. Why not take the funicular railway up Mt Mtatsminda for spectacular views and visit the impressive Georgian National Museum. The Archaeological Treasury here displays a wealth of pre-Christian gold, silver and precious-stone work from burials in Georgia dating back to the 3rd Millennium BC.

Day 7 – Kakheti, Wine Country

Today we explore the wine land of Georgia where we try national dishes, home-made wine and take part in baking Georgian bread – "Shoti". Visit the tiny fortified town of Sighnaghi and enjoy the scenery of the Alazani Valley and Great Caucasus Mountains.

Day 8 – Kutaisi

Board a morning train for travel to Kutaisi, our base for the next 2 nights. Following an afternoon arrival we take a trip to Tskaltubo to view the nearby underground caves where we discover beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.

Day 9 – Okatse & Martvili Canyons

By road to the village of Gordi today. Here we follow the skywalk through Okatse Canyon, a deep forested rift carved by the aqua waters of the Okatse River. Martvili Canyon, known as the bath canyon for the local royal family in the 19th Century, is nearby and we take a short boat trip to the waterfall. On our return to Kutaisi we visit Bagrati Cathedral.

Day 10 – Gelati & Rail to Batumi

Morning tour to the Gelati and Motsameta Monasteries. The Gelati medieval monastic complex was founded in 1106 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a leisurely afternoon we board the daily train to Batumi which departs at tea-time and arrives late evening. Luggage will be transferred by minibus (along with those who prefer an earlier arrival).

Day 11 – Black Sea at Leisure

Enjoy a free day in Batumi. There will be an optional guided walking tour (included) of the Old Town to see its beautiful architecture and seaside boulevard.

Day 12 – Fly Home

Transfer to the airport for our morning flight back to London via Istanbul. We arrive mid/late afternoon.

PRICE INCLUDES

  • Flights in Economy Class by scheduled airline
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • All rail travel as stated in standard class
  • Lunch on day 7
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour
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