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A smorgasbord of architectural marvels overlook the cobbled streets of Georgia's capital. On arrival in Tbilisi, you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel where you'll meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception with drinks and Georgian-style fare this evening.
Take in the sights and sounds of the capital as you embark on a sightseeing tour of Tbilisi's Old Town. Your exploration begins at the 13th-century Metekhi Church, from there you'll wind your way along narrow streets and stroll past the patterned balconies and colourful façades that are so characteristic of this city. Ascend to the ancient Narikala Fortress by cable car next, soaking up the panoramic views of the city before delving into the legend of the Golden Fleece at the Georgian National Museum.
Leave Tbilisi behind as you head to the ancient capital of Mtskheta. Known as the religious centre of Georgia, you'll revel in the twin UNESCO World Heritage sites - the 6th-century Jvari Monastery and 11th-century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Delve into the city's Christian history which saw it granted the status of a 'Holy City', then retire to your hotel where you'll enjoy dinner.
Soak up the crisp air of the Caucasus Mountains as your journey continues to the fortified town of Sighnaghi in the heart of Georgia's wine region. Visit Bodbe Monastery, one of the country's most prominent pilgrimage sites, then head to Kakabeti village in Sagaredjo where you'll 'Connect With Locals' and enjoy an exclusive 'Be My Guest' lunch and wine tasting. Your host will treat you to some of the local wines, followed by a master class in Georgian bread baking and churchkhela sweets. Return to your hotel later for an evening at leisure.
Trace the ancient Silk Route and visit Uplistsikhe Cave Town where you'll find an ancient theatre, church and dwellings hewn directly out of the rocky hillside. Later, 'Connect With Locals' at Iago's wine cellar where you'll sample some of the local wines produced using a traditional method which has been inscribed as a UNESCO heritage. Iago and his wife Marina regale guests with colourful stories of their life as wine producers in the area before you return to Tbilisi.
Bid farewell to Georgia and cross the border into Armenia. Your first taste of this ancient land is the UNESCO-listed monastic complex of Haghpat featuring incredible works of medieval Armenian architecture. Against the backdrop of the forest-clad slopes of the Caucasus, you'll enjoy lunch in Dzoraget village, which lies on the banks of the Debed River. 'Dive Into Culture' by tasting Russian pancakes and homemade tea with a local in Fioletovo village, then head to Dilijan for your overnight stay.
A day of tranquil beauty awaits at Lake Sevan - your reward for an early start to the day. You'll see first-hand why it is deserving of its nickname 'The Blue Pearl of Armenia' as you bask in the peninsula's breathtaking scenery. Stop in the lakeside village of Noratus, with its impressive collection of Armenian cross-stones, then head to Yeghegnadzor spectacularly surrounded by the Zangezur Mountains. You'll savour a homemade lunch of local specialties before enjoying a quick photo stop in Karahunge, known as 'Armenia's Stonehenge'. Tonight you'll enjoy dinner at your hotel in Goris.
A thrilling start to the day sees us take a trip across the Wings of Tatev ropeway to the 'monastery on the edge of nothing'. Watch the epic scenery unfold as the world's longest aerial tramway delivers you to the 9th-century Apostolic monastery. Then, continue to Shinuhayr village where you'll 'Make A Difference' to the local community which makes a living from crafting traditional wool carpets. Enjoy lunch in a local family's home nearby before continuing to your final stop for the day, Khor Virap Monastery. Here St. Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 14 years before he led Armenia to become the first country in the world to be declared a Christian nation. Admire the views of Mount Ararat, Armenia's national symbol, then head to Yerevan, the country's capital.
Contemplate Yerevan's contrasting ancient culture and vibrant modern vibe as you delve into the city's history that spans over 2,800 years. Your sightseeing tour will start in Republic Square and continue to the Cascade Complex, home to the Gafesjian Centre which houses some of Armenia's most important works of art. Take the Great Cascade to Victory Park for incredible views of the heart of the city. The rest of the day is free to explore the city your way. Consider spending your afternoon on an Optional Experience to visit the Ruins of Zvartnots, or perhaps enjoy dinner in the former home of a famous Armenian painter.
Today's excursion takes us to the UNESCO-listed Geghard Monastery. Hewn partly from the surrounding rock, Geghard is most famous for its incredible acoustics and spectacular natural beauty. You'll 'Dive Into Culture' during a moving performance of Armenian spiritual songs, or sharakans, performed by a live quintet, before a scenic drive brings you to Garni. Here you'll meet a local family who will teach you how to make Armenia's national flatbread lavash paired with cheese and greens. 'Connect With Locals' as you sample the brduj snack you've just made yourself and take a walk around your host's garden and orchard, learning about the different fruits grown in the area. On your return to Yerevan, enjoy delicious flavours of the legendary Armenian brandy during a local distillery visit. Tonight, you'll end your epic adventure through Georgia and Armenia with a Farewell Dinner in a traditional Armenian tavern, paired with folk songs and dance.
After a whirlwind journey to two lands with dramatic pasts and vibrant multi-cultural legacies, it's time to say a fond farewell to new friends and prepare for your journey home. A transfer will take you to the airport for your return flight.
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