Caucasus Tour: Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia
Basic travel information
The Southern Caucasus Tour takes us to the wonderful landscapes, interesting traditions, and tasty cuisine of this southeastern corner of Europe, next to the magnificent Caucasus Mountains. The world’s oldest Christian states, Armenia and Georgia with their distinctive, ancient cultures, mountain villages, monasteries and vineyards, as well as the Turkish-speaking Azerbaijani Islamic oil state of Azerbaijan, are guaranteed to offer a variety of tourist experiences.
On an 11-day culture-focused tour, we travel from the Caspian Sea coast from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Armenia, while visiting ancient mountain monasteries, fine historical World Heritage sites and, of course, the capitals of all three states.
Promotional price at the start of June-July 2020
DAY 1 – HELSINKI – BAKU
Flights from Finland to the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku on the west coast of the Caspian Sea.
DAY 2 – BAKU
Arrival in Baku in the morning and transfer to the hotel. Morning city tour in Baku. (A)
DAY 3 – BAKU – GOBUSTAN – SHEK
After breakfast and transport to the Gobustan Nature Reserve, famous for its cave paintings. From there we continue our journey west to the city of Shek. We spend the night in the historic trading town of Shek, on the southern edge of the mighty Caucasus Mountains. (A)
DAY 4 – SHEKI – SIGHNAGHI – TBILISI
After breakfast, we will explore Shek’s historic sites. We say goodbye to Azerbaijan and drive to the Lagodekh border station, where our luggage will be picked up by a new car and we will continue to the Georgian side. In Georgia, we explore the city of Sighnagh in the heart of the country’s eastern, Kakhet wine region and enjoy an early dinner. The journey continues in the evening to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, where we will spend the night. (OH)
DAY 5 – TBILISI
This day is set aside for exploring Tbilisi. The cityscape of the Georgian capital is an interesting mix of traditional, Soviet-style and modern architecture. After breakfast, we will take a city tour, during which we will see e.g. The historic Turkish baths of Tbilisi, the city’s many historic churches, and the ruins of the 300th-century Narikala Fortress. Overnight in Tbilisi. (A)
DAY 6 – MTSKHETA, UPLISTSIKHE
After breakfast, a short drive from Tbilisi to the former capital of Georgia, Mtskheta, known for its diverse churches, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visit the city’s fine churches before moving on to the ruins of the ancient, stone-carved city of Uplistsikhe. We will return to Tbilisi in the evening. (A)
DAY 7 – TBILISI – DILIJAN
Today we are moving from Georgia to Armenia. After the border formalities, we will exchange the car and the local guide at Sadakhlo border station. On the way to the Swiss city of Dilijan, also known as the Armenian Switzerland, we stop to visit the fine medieval monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We will stay in Dilijan. (A)
DAY 8 – DILIJAN – SEVAN – JEREVAN
After breakfast, we leave the mountain town of Dilijan behind and descend to the shores of Lake Sevan. We visit the old monasteries of Sevanavank and Geghard. At the end of the day, we move to the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, where we stay overnight. (A)
DAY 9 – KHOR VIRAP, NORAVANK
After breakfast, the program includes a transfer south of Yerevan to the Khor Virap Monastery, located near the Turkish border. From here you have a view of the Armenian holy mountain of Ararat, which, although in the roar of the early 20th century, has remained on the Turkish side of the border. We will also visit the wine village of Aren as well as the Noravank Monastery before returning to Yerevan for the evening. (A)
DAY 10 – EJMIATSIN, ZVARTNOTS
In the morning an excursion outside Yerevan, in the historical World Heritage Sites of Zvartnots and Ejmiatsin. We will return to Yerevan in the afternoon, where we will still take a city tour to explore the city’s attractions. Overnight in Yerevan. (A)
DAY 11 – JEREVAN – HELSINKI
Early awakening, transfer to the airport and return flights to Finland.
MEALS: [A] BREAKFAST [L] LUNCH [I] DINNER
Group size : 10-20 people.
The price of the trip includes
- Flights to
- Airport transfers
- All transportation mentioned in the itinerary
- Excursions mentioned in the itinerary
- Entrance fees for guided tours
- Services of a Finnish-speaking tour guide and an English-speaking local guide
- Meals and airport taxes mentioned in the itinerary
The price of the trip does not include
- Travel insurance
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
- Food drinks
- Personal expenses
- Local airport taxes or possible exit fees are not included in the price of air tickets.
- Office expenses 10 € / person
We fly to the Caucasus and back on scheduled flights of Ukraine International Airlines via Kiev. The airline has the right to change its schedules, so do not book any connecting flights until you have received your flight tickets.
Finns do not need a visa to Georgia or Armenia. Azerbaijan, on the other hand, needs a visa, which is obtained for the group on a pre-trip basis. A Azerbaijani visa currently costs € 33. Your passport must be valid after 6 months of travel and must have at least 2 blank pages.
Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for travelers to Caucasus countries, as well as checking the validity of your basic vaccinations.
All three Caucasian states speak their own language. Armenia and Georgia also have their own alphabet systems, while Azerbaijan uses the Turkish alphabet, which is almost identical to ours. Proficiency in English is not common, while Russian is still fairly extensive.
The currency of Azerbaijan is the Manat (AZN), the Armenian Dram (ADM) and the Georgian Lari (GEL). The local currency cannot be changed before traveling in Finland. It is worth bringing euros for the trip, which can be exchanged for local currency at currency exchange points. Local currency can also be withdrawn in larger cities from ATMs that recognize the most common international credit cards. Credit card payment is rare in Caucasus countries.
The climate in the southern Caucasus region is mostly subtropical, and varies greatly according to landforms. Winters are cold in the area and snowy in the mountains, while summers are warm and quite dry. The spring and autumn months are the best times to travel in the Caucasus in terms of weather.