Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia | Sisterhood Womens Travel

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Azerbaijan, Georgia & Armenia

23 Days  |  Departing Friday 14th May 2021 and returning Monday 7th June 2021

Prices & Options

Choose your Room:

$2500 deposit payable $2800 deposit payable $ deposit payable $ deposit payable

Progress Payment: $ 3500 4100 by 15 Jan 2021
Final Payment: $ 3999 4549 by 12 Feb 2021
Pay by direct deposit, credit card or cheque.

Highlights

Travel the famous Silk Road caravan routes to discover ancient caravanserais and temples
Sample traditional Georgian cuisine
Tour the Zoroastrian Ateshgah Fire Temple in Baku
Visit to Markakan Medieval Fortress and Gobustan National Park
Visit to the Mud Volcanoes in Qobustan Reserve a UNESCO World Heritage site
Visit to the village of Maraza with a visit to the Juma Mosque
Yoghurt making class in a local home
Visit to the ancient village of Lahich
Visit to the historical museum of Gabala
Visit to Nij village and the meet the native Udin people
Visit to the colourful Sheki Bazaar
Explore the traditional market of Lagodekhi
Visit Gremi Fortress, the Chavchavadze Palace in Tsinandali
Visit to the 18th century town of Sighnaghi and Bodbe Convent
Visit to Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia
Learn about Georgian icon painting and felt making
Visit to the historical cave town of Uplistsikhe
Visit to the pretty town of Kutaisi
Explore the farmer's market in Mestia, the Okatse Canyon and the 3 Cascade Okatse waterfall
Enjoy the amazing views from the watchtowers of Mestia
Enjoy a Georgian cooking class making the local khachapuri
Marvel at the Swiss Alps like scenery in Svaneti and Mt Kazbegi
Spend a night in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Ushguli
Learn about the Soviet Union at the Joseph Stalin Museum in Gori
Visit to Gelati Monastery
Visit to Akhaltsikhe and wander the Old Town of traditional Georgian houses
Visit to the amazing 12th century cave town of Vardzia
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Haghpat Monastery
Visit and Stay in Diligan often referred to as the 'Little Switzerland' of Armenia
Lunch with a local Armenian Family
Visit to the beautiful monastery Sevanavank
Visit to Noratus Medieval Khachkar Field, a fascinating medieval cemetery
Visit to the mysterious Karahunge Observatory known as the Armenian 'Stonehenge'
Visit to breathtaking Khndozersk Village
Wine Degustation Session at Areni Winery
Enjoy Panoramic views of Mt Ararat from the Khor Virap Monastery
Explore the vibrant city of Yerevan originally established in 782 BC
Explore the ruins of 7th century architecture Zvartnots a UNESCO World Heritage site
Visit to Garni Village to visit 1st Century Garni Temple
Visit to Geghard Monastery and Cascade Monument
Visit an Armenian Cosmetic House
Visit Prometheus Grotto, one of Georgia's natural wonders
And more.......
 

Inclusions

Fully Escorted by a Sisterhood Hostess who is on hand to assist with making your holiday a memorable one!
Return International Airfares including taxes ex Melbourne (other cities available on request) (Business Class upgrades available)
Specialist Guides in each destination
All Transportation as per our itinerary
Unique Sightseeing as per our itinerary including entrance fees
Quality Accommodation in Central Locations
All Meals as per our itinerary
Willing to Share Option
Single Entry Azerbaijan visa for Australian Passport Holders
Meet and Greet prior to departure
 

Notice

Due to the active nature of this tour, it will require a reasonable level of fitness.  There will be long days on the road and plenty of sightseeing on foot walking on both flat and undulating ground (including cobblestones).  In addition to a 2 hour pedestrian walk passing through Dadiani Historical Forest and the option to enjoy a short hike through the picturesque valley of Lakhiri to view the Chalati Glacier.  For those not wishing to paticipate in the hike can remain in Lakhiri until the group returns.

Itinerary

Day 1 - Tuesday 14 May 2021

Melbourne - Doha - Baku

Welcome to Sisterhood Womens Travel.  Meet your tour hostess and fellow travellers at the Melbourne Airport.  Sit back, relax and enjoy the inflight entertainment of the airlines as we head towards Baku, Azerbaijan.

Day 2 - Wednesday 15 May 2021

Welcome to Baku

Upon arrival early this morning and after collection of our luggage, we'll be met and transferred to our hotel.

This afternoon, we'll meet for a tour introduction before enjoying a walking tour of Baku including Martyrs’ Lane, known as ‘Shehidler Khiyabany’ among locals. Walk through the Alley of the Martyrs to find a beautiful view overlooking Baku’s coastline then on to Icheri Sheher, the old part of the city and Shemakha gate where we'll have dinner.

Overnight - Winter Park Hotel (or similar)

Day 3 - Thursday 16 May 2021

Baku (B,L,D)

In the morning we'll continue touring the grand city of Baku. Visit the Shirvanshah's Palace, Caravanserai, Maiden Tower, the Carpet Museum and main market square, which has numerous art studios and souvenir stalls. Finish the sightseeing tour with Nizami Street and Fountain Square in the new part of Baku. 

Overnight - Winter Park Hotel (or similar)

Day 4 - Friday 17 May 2021

Baku (B,L,D)

Today we travel to the Absheron Peninsular and visit Yanardag Fire Mountain, also known as Burning Hill, where natural gas has been ablaze for hundreds of years and visit the Ateshgah Fire Temple. Zoroastrians from India travelled thousands of kilometers to Ateshgah to worship the fire coming out of the earth.

We'll visit Mardakan medieval fortress and after lunch, drive to Gobustan National Park to visit the Petroglyph Museum and explore rock carvings dating back to 10,000 BC.

We'll drive to the mud volcanoes in Qobustan Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is home to almost half of the world’s mud volcanoes.

Overnight - Winter Park Hotel (or similar)

Day 5 - Saturday 18 May 2021

Baku - Gabala (B,L,D)

Today we travel through the picturesque Caucasus Mountains in the northwest of Azerbaijan through a dry landscape that gives way to a densely forested mountain area.  We stop at Diri Baba Mausoleum in the village of Maraza and visit the historical Juma Mosque and take part in yoghurt-making in a local home in Shamakhi.

We then enjoy a scenic drive through Girdimanchay River Canyon to visit Lahich.  Lahich, an ancient village with charming cobbled sidewalks, is famous for its medieval water supply and sewage systems, as well as its traditional jewellery, handicrafts, copperware, carpets, pottery, daggers, and iron tools workshops. This quaint, 5th-century corner of the Caucasus Mountains is rich in historical and architectural value.

We arrive in the city of Gabala where we will spend the night.

Overnight - Hotel Qafqaz Karavansaray (or similar)

Day 6 - Sunday 19 May 2021

Gabala - Nij Village - Sheki (B,L,D)

This morning we explore Gabala, a beautiful part of Azerbaijan with a rich and ancient history. Besides visiting the Historical Museum of Gabala which houses many historic artefacts from the area, we will also see the renowned ruins of the ancient walled city, Chukhur Gabala, which dates back to the 4th century BC.  From here, we continue on to Nij village to meet the native Udin people. The Udin people are considered to be the descendants of the people of Caucasian Albania.

Later we arrive in Sheki and visit the colorful Sheki Bazaar. Here, we can find virtually everything we may want to eat - local fruits and berries, spices, freshly-baked bread, honey, cheeses, and Sheki sweets. We will also visit Sheki Palace and the village of Kis. Explore the magnificent medieval fortress walls, the Palace of Sheki Khans is quite impressive. Walk across rainbow-coloured floors created by the colourful frescoes, and then visit handicrafts workshops and caravanserai.

We will also travel to the nearby picturesque mountain village of Kis with its beautiful Albanian church and return to Sheki and wander through local bazaar where there is an amazing display of goods on offer and is a great place to mingle with locals and see how they shop, barter and banter as well as gain an insight to their rural lifestyles.

Overnight - Sheiki Palace Hotel (or similar)

Day 7 - Monday 20 May 2021

Sheki - Akhasheni (B,L,D)

Today we leave Sheki and head towards the border with Georgia.
After border formalities, we first explore a traditional market in the Georgian border town of Lagodekhi. Later, visit a local family, explore the gardens and vineyards and then enjoy a lunch of delicious homemade food, wine and Georgian 'Chacha'.

Enjoy the picturesque landscapes of vineyards and wine-producing villages en route to Khareba Winery where we will try the local drop.

We then visit Gremi Fortress, the Chavchavadze Palace in Tsinandali, a restored 19th-century style mansion and arrive at our hotel, the Tsinandali Wine Resort where we will enjoy more fine food and wine.

Overnight - Tsinandali Wine Resort (or similar)

Day 8 - Tuesday 21 May 2021

Sighnaghi - Tibilisi (B,L,D)

Today we continue to the beautiful 18th-century town of Sighnaghi, known for its quaint stone walls, small houses with Tuscany-like terracotta roofs and decorated balconies. Admire the picturesque views of the Alazani Valley and Great Caucasus mountains.

We will then continue to Bodbe Convent – according to legend, this is the burial place of St. Nino, who converted Georgia to Christianity in the 4th century.

We'll arrive in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, in the late afternoon and have dinner in the atmospheric old town.

Overnight - Shota Rustaveli Boutique Hotel (or similar)

Day 9 - Wednesday 22 May 2021

Tbilisi (B,L,D)

Today we'll begin with a morning sightseeing tour of Tbilisi. Start at the 13th century Metekhi Сhurch and the monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. Visit Narikala Fortress to enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Walk down to the district of sulphur bath houses and pass by the only mosque in Tbilisi.  We stroll through the Sharden area, full of narrow streets with cozy cafés, wine tasting bars, and souvenir shops, and breathe in the history of Old Tbilisi.  We visit Sioni Cathedral, Tsminda Sameba Cathedral, Anchiskhati Basilica, and the famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre’s clock tower, before crossing the Bridge of Peace to Rike Park.  

Tonight, we'll enjoy a delicious Georgian cuisine at a local restaurant.

After dinner we'll have free time to wander the old districts of the city, which are structured like terraces, and walk through the narrow streets to appreciate the colourful houses, patterned balconies and revamped modern architecture.

Overnight - Shota Rustaveli Boutique Hotel (or similar)

Day 10 - Thursday 23 May 2021

Mt Kazbegi - Gudauri (B,L,D)

This morning we will be driven to visit the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia – Mtskheta (3,000 years old).  We'll spend time visiting the cities historical sights including the Unesco World Heritage sites - the 6th century Jvari church and the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral where the Robe of Christ is buried.

We then continue to the Ananuri Complex, a former residence of Argveti Dukes, featuring churches and towers dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries overlooking the beautiful Jinvali Reservoir.   We drive over the Cross Pass and make a short stop at the Soviet-era “People’s Friendship” mountain view point, which overlooks a deep gorge of the Caucasus Mountains.

In Kazbegi formally Stepantsminda, we'll reach Gergeti Holy Trinity Church (2,170 metres above sea level) and enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Kazbegi, before returning to Gudauri to visit a local master who will tell us all about Georgian icon painting and felt making.

Overnight - Marco Polo Hotel (or similar)

Day 11 - Friday 24 May 2021

Gudauri - Kutaisi (B,L,D)

Today we travel back along the scenic Tergi river to Joseph Stalin’s hometown of Gori. We'll visit the Stalin Museum, which includes more than 60,000 artefacts, the tiny house where the former Soviet ruler Stalin was born, and an impressive bulletproof train that Stalin used to travel to Yalta and Potsdam conferences.

We then visit the historical Uplistsikhe Cave Town (from the 1st millennium BC). Uplistsikhe is the place where the Ancient Silk Road used to pass.  This is an old and interesting complex with dwelling quarters, wine-cellars, bakeries, a three-nave basilica church hewn out in rock and even an antique theatre.

We then continue to the pretty city of Kutaisi, the second largest in the country. Kutaisi is more than 3,000 years old, connected to the legend of Jason and the Argonauts, along with his mythical Golden Fleece.

Overnight -  Terrace Hotel (or similar)

Day 12 - Saturday 25 May 2021

Kutaisi - Mestia (B,L,D)

Today we'll visit the local Kutaisi farmers market before continuing to Okatse Canyon, which involves a 2 hour pedestrian route passing through Dadiani historical forest, 780 m length hanging trail and finishes with a beautiful panoramic view. Here, we can explore 3 cascade Okatse waterfalls, the Dadiani forest and the river Satsiskvilo valley.  

We visit the 19th century Dadiani Palace in Zugdidi and afterwards, get ready for the most exciting part of your trip – a journey to Svaneti – the region of the highest mountains and glaciers and the most abiding ancient traditions.

Arrive in Mestia, in the Upper Svaneti region which is our base for the next 2 nights. Explore the famous watchtowers that sit in the valley looking out to the stunning mountains in the distance.

Overnight - Banguriani Hotel (or similar)

Day 13 - Sunday 26 May 2021

Mestia (B,L,D)

This morning we will visit Lakhiri village and take part in a short hike through a picturesque valley to view the Chalati Glacier. Today’s hike requires a good level of fitness and appropriate footwear and clothing.
** There is the option to remain in Lakhiri until the group returns.

Enjoy the spectacular scenery and return to Lakhiri to take part in a class that produces khachapuri, a famous Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread.

Overnight - Banguriani Hotel (or similar)

Day 14 - Monday 27 May 2021

Mestia - Mulakhi - Ushguli (B,L,D)

This morning we travel on to a village called Mulakhi. All the villages in the area are dotted with stone watchtowers built during the middle ages to defend against invaders. Twenty metres high, with openings at the top for firing on enemies, they look like a cluster of giants.

We continue on and reach Ushguli, which is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In the town we will visit the 12th century Lamaria church, the Queen Tamar’s tower and the Ushguli museum.

In the evening, we'll have the chance to walk around the village and get familiar with the daily life of the local people.

Overnight - Panorama Ushguli (or similar)

Day 15 - Tuesday 28 May 2021

Ushguli - Kutaisi (B,L,D)

This morning, we'll travel to visit Gelati Monastery near Kutaisi. Georgians have always had a talent for choosing beautiful locations for their churches and this famous monastery complex, on a wooded hillside 8km northeast of Kutaisi, is an outstanding example.

Later we visit Prometheus grotto, one of Georgia’s natural wonders rich in petrified waterfalls, stalactites, stalagmites, underground rivers and lakes.

Afterwards, we return to Kutaisi to explore the cobbled streets of the town as we make our way up to the ruins of Bagrati palace and the citadel.

Overnight - Terrace Hotel (or similar)

Day 16 - Wednesday 29 May 2021

Kutaisi - Akhaltsikhe (B,L,D)

This morning we travel to the Borjomi Spa Resort, famous for its mineral water ‘Borjomi’.  We'll visit the small park and taste the fresh mineral water  before continuing onto Akhaltsikhe, where we visit the multi-cultural complex of ‘Rabath’.  We have the chance to wander through the Rabat Fortress (Old Town) with its rare examples of darbazebi (traditional Georgian houses), castle, mosque and synagogue.

Overnight - Hotel Tiflis (or similar)

Day 17 - Thursday 30 May 2021

Akhaltsikhe - Dilijan (B,L,D)

This morning prior to crossing the border we visit Vardzia. Vardzia is a magnificent cave town from the 12th 
century and is one of the highlights of the trip.

After this we'll cross the border and transfer to the northern region of Armenia north of the town of Gyumri.  We drive to the Lori region and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Haghpat Monastery. Continue to Dzoraget along the Debed River. Dzoraget, alternatively known as the Kingdom of Lori or Kiurikian Kingdom, was a medieval Armenian kingdom formed in 979 by the Kiurikian dynasty.  

Arrive in Dilijan, one of the most important resorts in Armenia, often referred to as the ‘Little Switzerland’ of Armenia, with magnificent views to the forested surroundings. We can also take a photo stop at Old Dilijan, complete with craftsman`s workshops, gallery and a museum.

Overnight - Tufenkian Old Dilijan Complex (or similar)

Day 18 - Friday 31 May 2021

Sevan (B,L,D)

Today we explore the beautiful town of Dilijan.
Later, we'll drive to 13th century Haghartsin Monastery, a stunning example of the medieval Armenian architecture nestled in lush woods enjoying lunch with a local Armenian family in picturesque surroundings.

After lunch, drive to Lake Sevan, the second largest alpine lake in the world and known as the ‘Emerald of Armenia’. We visit Sevanavank, a beautiful monastery on the peninsula, once a strategic shelter for Armenian Kings.

We spend the night in Sevan and enjoy stunning sunset views of Lake Sevan.

Accommodation: Best Western Bohemian Resort (or similar)

Note: Due to availability issues if the Sevan Accommodation is not available, alternate accommodation will be provided in picturesque Tsakhkadzor.

Day 19 - Saturday 1 June 2021

Sevan (B,L,D)

This morning we visit Noratus Medieval Khachkar Field, a fascinating medieval cemetery, known as ‘Forest of Khachkars’. ‘Khachkar’ (cross stone) is a typical monument of Armenian sculpture representing an ornamented stone with a cross in the centre.

We continue to the southern town of Goris via Selim Caravanserai, an important trading post on the Great Silk Road which has welcomed travellers along the highway through the mountains of Selim (Sulema).

We'll visit the mysterious Karahunge Observatory, known as the Armenian Stonehenge. The scenery and mountain setting provide the perfect canvas and backdrop to such a unique and impressive array of history, carved in stone. Arrive in Goris in the late afternoon.

Overnight - Mina Hotel (or similar)

Day 20 - Sunday 2 June 2021

Yerevan (B,L,D)

Today we travel westward from Goris and visit the breathtaking Khndzoresk village for a short tour. We continue to the complex of Tatev Monastery which is an architectural masterpiece dating from the 10th century and is often referred to as a ‘monastery built on the edge of nothing’.

We'll visit Areni Winery for a wine degustation with Armenia’s best wines coming from this region. Lunch today is in a local home. After lunch we have opportunity to see how to distil vodka, enjoy homemade vodka and wine, and also see how Armenian cheese is buried in the mountains where it will age for 6 months, which a key part to the process of his unique cheese.

Afterwards, we'll visit the Noravank Monastery – a great religious and cultural centre of 12th century which is located in a seemingly inaccessible location amidst impressive red cliffs and stunning mountains. We then stop at Khor Virap Monastery for views of Mt Ararat and continue to the capital city of Yerevan arriving in the early evening.

Overnight - Opera Hotel (or similar)

Day 21 - Monday 3 June 2021

Yerevan (B,L,D)

Today we begin exploring the vibrant city of Yerevan with our guide. Originally established in 782 BC, Yerevan is a thriving city with the excitement, hustle and bustle of a modern capital.  We will start our exploration from the Republic Square, the masterpiece of the architect Alexander Tamanian, and then continue to the Opera House, a stunning architectural piece and the hub of Yerevan.  We then visit Cafesjian Center for the Arts and depart for Echmiadzin, the spiritual centre of all Armenians and the seat of the Armenian Catholics.  Returning to Yerevan, we'll stop at the ruins of Zvartnots – the pearl of 7th century architecture, inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list.  Back in Yerevan we visit the History Museum of Armenia.

Overnight - Opera Hotel (or similar)

Day 22 - Tuesday 4 June 2021

Yerevan (B,L,D)

Today we head off to Garni Village to visit the 1st century Garni Temple. After our visit, enjoy lunch at a local family house where we will learn about traditional flatbread making techniques.  Moving on, we visit Geghard Monastery and visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex and Museum on Tsitsernakaberd Hill.  Next, visit the Cascade Monument, which was the main symbol of the city’s 2,780th anniversary and has the equivalent number of stairs – this enormous staircase is 500 metres high and 50 metres wide.  From the top of the monument, enjoy the breathtaking city view that includes the Opera House, Mount Ararat, Swan Lake, Republic Square, and Abovyan Avenue, all of which we’ll see as we walk the streets of Yerevan.

Tonight we celebrate a great adventure with friends and enjoy a farewell dinner before our transfer to the airport for our flight home.  

Day 23 - Wednesday 5 June 2021

Yerevan - Doha (Meals Inflight)

Sit back, and enjoy the inflight entertainment of our airlines as we begin our journey home via Doah.

Day 24 - Thursday 6 June 2021

Doha - Home (Meals Inflight)

An early arrival into Doha with a transit stay before our onward flight back to Melbourne.  We will be able to rest at a Doha hotel and have the option to enjoy a city sights tour whilst in transit.

Day 25 - Friday 7 June 2021

Welcome Home!

At last!  We arrive back home into Melbourne early evening. Thank you for joining us for your latest Sisterhood adventure and we look forward to welcoming you back!

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