Description | Route by day | Guide | Price | Terms & Conditions | Enroll

 

Route description

 

A three-week tour of the Caucasus - three countries and four Russian republics: Armenia, Georgia, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya, Dagestan, Azerbaijan. Excellent cuisine and new wine, traditions of hospitality, ancient fortresses and ultra-modern architecture, unique nature and mountains - everything will be on this rich, informative auto hiking tour with not long treks.

 

 

Route by day

Day 1. Yerevan

Meeting at the airport of Yerevan, transfer to the capital of Armenia, hotel accommodation, walks in the city center. Let's look at the famous Yerevan Cascade, dine in one of the cafes and restaurants famous for their delicious and inexpensive food.

 

Day 2. Holy Etchmiadzin- Zvartnots - Erebuni Fortress - Garni Temple - Geghard

First, we will visit Echmiadzin - the Armenian “Vatican”, where the most important temple of all Armenians, Mayar-Tachar (“Mother Church”) is located, and the museum houses one of the main relics of Christianity - the tip of Longin’s spear, which, according to legend, pierced Jesus Of Christ.

Then we stop by to look at the nearby Zvartnots Temple - the visiting card of Armenia. Further along the program is the ancient fortress of Erebuni. The fortress dates from 782 BC - that is, she is three decades older than Rome. And since the age of Yerevan is considered to be from the moment of construction of Erebuni, it turns out that the capital of Armenia is older than one of the oldest and greatest cities in the world!

And at the end of the day we will go to two more places in the vicinity of Yerevan - the Garni Temple and the “spear monastery” Geghard.

Garni is a unique temple of the pagan god Mithra - the only one in the Caucasus and generally in the territory of the former USSR. Located in a very picturesque place - on a rocky ledge above the gorge of the Azat River, it looks like a greatly reduced copy of the Athenian Parthenon.

Geghard is one of the most popular sights of Armenia and a place of religious pilgrimage. The word “geghard” means “spear” - for a long time the tip of the sacred spear was kept in the monastery with which the Roman centurion Longin pierced Jesus crucified on the cross, saving him from torment (now the spear is in Etchmiadzin). The complex is partially located in caves - the monastery’s churches form a single space with them.

For the night we return to the hotel of Yerevan.

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Day 3. Khor Virab - Areni - Noravank - Jermuk

Breakfast and departure to the route. After driving 40 km. along the highway, we will make a stop near the ancient Armenian monastery Khor Virap, located on the border with Turkey. Immediately behind the walls of the monastery there is a barbed wire and a control and track strip separating the two countries from each other, and against the background rises Mount Ararat - the historical symbol of Armenia, now it is in Turkey.

We will continue the movement and for about an hour, make a stop in the village of Areni - the center of Armenian winemaking. Here you can visit the Areninsky winery and one or two family wineries to taste wine and have lunch at the same time.

Another 10 kilometers along a stunningly scenic road, laid among the red rocks from an excess of iron, and we will find ourselves in the Noravank monastery complex - one of the most spectacular sights of Armenia.

Well, we’ll finish this busy day by driving another 70 kilometers in the town of Jermuk, one of the best resorts in the Caucasus. Here, in addition to many healing mineral springs (the word Jermuk itself is translated as “hot spring”), there is almost always beautiful clear weather, there are no fogs in spring and autumn, winds are not snowy and winters are exceptionally clean. The rest of the day until the evening we will enjoy all the amenities of the resort: hot springs, spa and massage - just take a short break in the rich program, rest and relax.

Day 4. Jermuk - Lake Kari

In the morning we leave on the highway and in an hour and a half we reach the shores of high-altitude Lake Sevan, along the coast of which we will drive for about another hour. We’ll make a couple of stops near a couple of old churches, picturesquely standing on the shore of the lake, as well as stop at the Khachkars cemetery in Noratus. Khachkar - a type of Armenian architectural monuments and shrines, which is a stone stele with a carved image of a cross, in 2010 the art of creating khachkars was included in the representative list of UNESCO on the intangible cultural heritage of mankind.

We will make a stop in the village of Ostrov to admire the Sevanovank church, located in a very picturesque place, as well as try the famous Sevan trout, grilled in a local cafe.

After that we drive 120 km. roads and get into the Aragatsky alpine sanctuary, where, at an altitude of about 3,000 meters above sea level, we will stop for the night in a guest house on the shores of Lake Kari.

It was in these places that a powerful ancient civilization was born (II-X millennia BC), the direct descendants of which are Armenians, Georgians and Persians, and the height of the peak Aragats, according to scientists, to a powerful volcanic explosion, which occurred about 12-20 thousand years BC, approaching 8 thousandth altitude .... However, the energy of the eight-thousanders has been completely preserved on this mountain to this day.

 

Day 5. Mount Aragats - Gyumri

An early climb, lightly we climb to the top of the highest mountain of modern Armenia - Aragats (4090 m.). Climbing is technically not difficult and does not require special equipment other than trekking boots and appropriate clothing. The difference in height will be only about 800 meters.

First we go up to the Southern peak (3880 m.), Where wonderful views open up and strong energy reigns, then through the saddle between the southern and western peaks we go down to Aragats crater, from where an even more interesting view of all its 4 peaks comes from. And then we climb to the western peak of Aragats (4070 m.).

Having got down, we get into the car and drive to the city of Gyumri, where we stay for the night in a hotel or guest house.

 

 

 

Day 6. Vardzia Cave city - Akhaltsikhe - Rabati Castle - Borjomi

In the morning we will briefly examine the center of the city - the second largest in Armenia, where to this day there is evidence of a terrible earthquake that occurred here in 1988, and then we will go to the border with Georgia.

We cross the border and go to the cave city of Vardzia - a unique cave complex consisting of 13 floors and stretching for more than a kilometer!

After exploring the city, we will move to the town of Akhaltsikhe, where we will stay overnight at the hotel, and spend the time remaining until night to inspect the ancient Rabat fortress and the old synagogue, and then we will reach the city of Borjomi, where we will stop for the night.

 

Day 7. Borjomi - Mtskheta - Tbilisi

The city of Borjomi is famous for its healing waters, here is the famous boleological resort, known far beyond the borders of Georgia. In the morning we will make a short trek along the picturesque gorge to the springs, where you can take baths with hot mineral water absolutely free, then climb the mountain, which overlooks the Borjomi valley, dine at a local cafe with excellent Georgian cuisine, and then drive by car to the city of Mtskheta. Although it is small, it is the oldest in Georgia! Therefore, we will devote several hours to sightseeing. Here are the remains of the fortified residences of the Armaz Fortress (Armaztsikhe), city blocks, as well as the complex of Samtavro Monastery (the main temple of the 11th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Near Mtskheta, on the high bank above the confluence of the Kura and Aragvi rivers, there is one of the oldest monastery temple of the 6th century in the country. The cultural monuments of the region are under the protection of UNESCO and belong to the world heritage.

Then we get in the car and in half an hour we will already be in Tbilisi - the capital of Georgia, an old and very interesting city, the inspection of which we will devote the rest of this day.

And we will pick up a hotel in the old city, near the Narikala fortress, from where a beautiful view of the whole city opens.

From the fortress we will begin the inspection, and then we will move to the Sulfur baths, which are interesting not only as an object of architecture, but also as an object for rest and relaxation. Baths were erected on the site of ancient sulfur springs discovered during the reign of Vakhtang I, the founder of Tbilisi. Water in the baths is supplied directly from the ground. The buildings were built of red brick and crowned with round domes with windows through which ventilation is carried out, and inside the baths they are tiled.

 

Day 8. Tbilisi

Tbilisi is a very colorful and interesting city and it is definitely worth devoting at least one full day to inspect it. What we will do on this eighth day of our journey.

 

 

 

Day 9. Tbilisi - mount Kazbek

In the morning we leave by car towards the border with Russia. On the way, we will stop for a short time near Ananuri Castle on the picturesque shore of the Zhinvali reservoir, and then we will come to Gergeti, where we will make a rather long track to the observation platform, which offers views of Mount Kazbek and a small church against the backdrop of the mountains - impressive views. For the night we will stop in the guest house of Gergeti. If there is enough time and effort, we will take another light walk around the city's surroundings - mountains, waterfalls, sunset - beautiful views are provided.

 

Day 10. North Ossetia and again Mount Kazbek (on the other hand)

In the morning we drive towards Russia and, if there are no problems on the border, we will cross the border by dinner, and after another one and a half to two hours we will arrive in the Karmadon gorge. Here we are waiting for the track to Mount Kazbek along the infamous Karmadon Gorge in Russia - in 2002 there was a powerful catastrophic gathering of the Kolka Glacier, provoked by an earthquake in China, which destroyed several villages and a film crew with famous artists and director. Mount Kazbek is located on the very border of Georgia and Russia, and now we will observe it from the other, Russian side. If we have enough strength and desire, we will reach the Kolka glacier (9.5 km one way), from where the views of the many peaks of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, enchanting with their special Caucasian beauty, open. We spend the night in a guest house in the mountain village of Karmadon.

 

Day 11. Karmadon Gorge - Magas - Grozny

In the morning we make a car for 150 kilometers to the city of Grozny, the capital of the Chechen Republic, where, closer to night, we will stop at a local hotel. And on the way we will drive into the city of Magas - the capital of the smallest subject of the Russian Federation - the Republic of Ingushetia. Here we will be interested in only one thing, but very interesting - the Museum of Concord Tower - a copy of the medieval battle tower, enlarged four times. Here you can get acquainted with the culture and life of the Ingush people, as well as walk along the glass observation deck at an altitude of 80 meters, from where a view of the whole city opens.

Day 12. Grozny - Sulak Canyon

We look at Grozny for half a day - a modern and beautiful city in its own way. In the 90s of the last century, the city center was almost completely destroyed by the war, and then rebuilt. Today, it impresses tourists with the grandeur and scale of its modern architectural masterpieces, cleanliness and grooming.

Then we get into the car and drive to Dagestan. Since the capital of Dagestan, the city of Makhachkala, is not of interest to tourists, we will not go to it, but will turn off the highway without reaching this city and go straight to the mountain Dagestan. The first point will be the Sulak canyon - the deepest canyon of Europe and one of the deepest in the world, and at the same time the brightest, most exciting landmark of Dagestan. Here we will meet the sunset, and for the night we will go to the city nearest to the canyon - Buinaksk.

 

Day 13. Mountain Dagestan

Early rise and we continue to study the mountain of Dagestan. Today, four unique and breathtaking sights await us.

The first is the village of Goor. The road here is a steep mountain serpentine, but the views of the medieval towers standing on steep cliffs are very impressive!

Next, we go to the village of Salta, where we will see the Salta underground (!) Waterfall.

The third place today is the city of Gunib with a beautiful Gunib fortress over a cliff and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. “Whoever was not in Gunib was not in Dagestan,” the local saying goes.

Then we will make a move and a small walk to the Gamsutl ghost village. The once lively village, in which there was both a school and a house of culture, was empty by the end of the last century and today is a colorful and well-preserved monument of Caucasian mountain architecture.

For the night we will stop in the ethno-house of the nearby village of Sogratl, where you can not just spend the night, but immerse yourself in the culture and life of the Avars - the people living in this region.

 

Day 14. Derbent

We make a rather long, taking into account the specifics of mountain roads (about 190 km.) Moving to the city of Derbent. The first mention of the city dates back to the 4th millennium BC (!), The ancient name of the city is the Caspian Gate. There is something to see here, which we will do before the end of this day.

Day 15. Deep and little-known Dagestan

In the morning we get into the car and along the mountain roads, along the mountain serpentines, we leave for the mountain village of Kurush (2565 meters above sea level). There is practically no civilization here - hotels, guest houses or cafes, so we will spend the next four days in tents and eat camping food. Upon arrival, we set up a camp in a picturesque meadow in the vicinity of the village of Kurush and set off for the Yerydag plateau (3925 m) - a picturesque and beautiful place. It offers incredible views of the surroundings.

 

Day 16.Mount Shalbuzdag

In the morning we collect our camp and go to Mount Shalbuzdag (4142 m). According to traditional beliefs, Shalbuzdag is a holy mountain. There are not many eternal snows in Shalbuzdag, as in the mountains of Dagestan in general, and the snow line lies at an altitude of about 3.5 km above sea level. Together with the mountains of Shahdag and Bazarduzu, Shalbuzdag belongs to the highest mountains of the eastern part of the Caucasus.

This area is rarely visited by tourists. There are almost no paths, so we will go along the navigator, admiring the surrounding unusual landscapes. If you don’t have much desire, you don’t even have to go to the top of the mountain, restricting yourself to a track to the foot of the mountain and contemplation of the “other Caucasus” - a little like everything that we will see before.

We will spend the night in tents there and then, when we decide that now is the time and place.

 

Day 17. Mount Shalbuzdag - Mount Bazarduzu

Having gone down from the mountain or having finished exploring its surroundings (if we decide not to climb it), we will go back to the village of Kurush and past him further - to Mount Bazardyuzyu (4466 m).

All the peaks of the Main Caucasus end with this mountain. The giant is at the junction of two states: Dagestan (as part of Russia) and Azerbaijan and is the highest point of both Dagestan and Azerbaijan. Ascent to it is possible from the side of Azerbaijan - there the slopes are more gentle. From Dagestan, climbing is suitable for climbers with great experience, because it falls on the steep walls of glaciers. But we don’t even have the goal of climbing to this peak - without it, amazing panoramic photos await us against the backdrop of icy walls and vibrant, lush grass. Here you can meet wild animals: roe deer, chamois, authentic Dagestan tour, well, just relax your soul against the backdrop of amazing nature.

For camping we put up tents in one of these stunningly beautiful places.

Day 18. Buy Dagestan, hello Azerbaijan

In the first half of the day we return to the village of Kurush and to our car, on which we set off on the return trip along the mountain serpentines to the Derbent-Baku highway. We cross the border of Russia and Azerbaijan and in the evening we will find ourselves in the city of Baku - the capital of this country. Upon arrival, we check into a hotel and start exploring this large and very interesting city, like Tbilisi, which harmoniously combines antiquities and ultra-modern trends in architecture and culture.

 

Day 19. Baku

Shirvanshahs Palace, Maiden’s Tower, Shemakha’s Gate, Icheri Sheher baths, Seaside Boulevard, Little Venice, upland park, flame towers, fountain square, Heydar Aliyev’s cultural center - these are just a few of the sights of Baku that are worth visiting and we will try to do it!

 

Day 20. Fly home

Transfer to the airport and flight home. Goodbye Caucasus!

 

 

Route map:

 

 

Guide Evgeny Androsov:

 

 

Trip info

Cost

USD  5100 for one person

         5500 for 2 persons (2750 for each)

         5800 for 3 persons (1933 for each)

 

What is included in the price

  • driving in a comfortable car all the days of the route (except hiking days),
  • travel on toll roads, bridges, tunnels, paid parking lots,
  • accommodation in comfortable hotels, cottages or guest houses for all nights of the tour (except nights in tent),
  • camping food, including cooking,
  • the work of a guide-instructor all days of travel, 24 hours a day,

What is NOT included

  • air tickets to Yerevan and from Baku,
  • food (except for camping food),
  • medical insurance,
  • the use of cable cars, entrance to museums, parks and other tourist facilities,
  • consular fee and other expenses for obtaining a visa,
  • souvenirs and other personal expenses of participants,
  • other expenses not indicated in the section “included in the price”

 

What is the difficulty of the trip? Will I be able to withstand these loads? What are the limitations?

The tour involves moderate physical activity and is not recommended for people without basic physical and / or hiking training.

Clothing and equipment recommendations

Recommended hiking clothes, shoes and equipment designed for short mountain hikes - pants, flisk, jacket, trekking boots, trekking poles, sleeping bag, rug, backpack (45-80 liters), gloves, hat, sunglasses, set of camping dishes, thermos.

How to participate

  1. If you are interested in this tour, leave a request through the form below or call on these phones, I'm Evgeny Androsov or my assistants tell details about the route and will answer all your questions.
  2. To book a place, a prepayment of 30% of the tour cost before it starts if more than 45 days, and 50% of the cost, if, prior to the start of at least 45 days. Prepayment is returnable in 45 days or more prior to the tour irretrievable and, unfortunately, less than 45 days before the start of a tour if the return is linked to your refusal to participate (for whatever reason). If the hike / tour will not take place due to our fault, because not form a group or force majeure, the advance payment, you will be guaranteed to be returned in any case.
  3. If you change your mind / lose the opportunity to participate in the campaign, please let us know as soon as possible. The transport and food for the whole trek procured, calculated and allocated based on each party's campaign.

Unfortunately, all the places on this tour are already taken.
but you can send a preliminary application for 2022 and subsequent years:

 

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