South Caucasus & Turkey

Essential Caucasus

Photo credit: Jake Smith

10 Days
From $4,895
Trip Type
Group Size
Your choice
Activity Level
Flexible Private Trip — Book Your Dates for You & Yours

Highlights of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia


The ancient petroglyphs of Azerbaijan, the bounteous wines of Georgia, and Armenia’s intricate stone khachkar crosses are icons of these three intertwined Caucasus countries, where you can experience five UNESCO masterpieces in 10 days. Explore cave monasteries, Zoroastrian fire temples, and medieval watchtowers, and feast on the savory cuisine of the imaginative South Caucasus cultures.

  • Please note that while we recommend starting this trip in Azerbaijan, it can be reversed to start in Armenia.

Travels to: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia



  • Days 1-3: Baku (Azerbaijan)

    Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, is a longtime center of the Caspian oil industry with a UNESCO-listed medieval Old Town. A day-trip takes you to Gobustan, an important site of ancient petroglyphs that’s also UNESCO-listed.


    • The winding streets, mosques, and tiny shops of Baku’s walled Old Town
    • Vivid hand-loomed carpets at the State Museum of Azerbaijani Carpets and Applied Folk Art
    • Baku’s Beaux Arts mansions – the byproduct of an early 20th century oil boom
    • Gobustan’s petroglyphs, which provide a surprisingly rich portrait of daily life in ancient times
  • Days 4-6: Tbilisi (Georgia), Mtskheta, Gori, David Gareja

    Get to know the red-roofed Old Town of Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital city. On subsequent days visit Mtskheta, capital of the early kingdom of Iberia; Gori, Stalin’s hometown; and the David Gareja cave monastery, one of Georgia’s most sacred sites.


    • Landmarks in and around Tbilisi, including the 4th century Narikala Fortress, the hillside Mother Georgia Monument, and the elaborately carved balconies of the Old Town.
    • UNESCO-listed Mtskheta’s two exceptional early Orthodox churches
    • The Stalin House Museum, located in the wooden hut where the Soviet ruler spent his first years
    • David Gareja Monastery, once home to 2,000 medieval monks who left behind frescoes and illuminated manuscripts
  • Days 7-10: Yerevan (Armenia), Echmiadzin, Garni, Geghard, Khor Virap

    Armenia’s capital, Yerevan – a city older than Rome – is the base for day trips to some of the country’s most fascinating sights: Echmiadzin, seat of the Christian Armenian Patriarch and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the pagan Temple of Garni; UNESCO-listed Geghard Monastery, carved into the side of a mountain; and the little monastery of Khor Virap, which has fantastic views of Mt. Ararat. The Day 7 drive from Tbilisi includes a stop at the beautifully situated 11th-century Hagartsin Monastery.


    • Yerevan’s Cascade, a massive, magisterial staircase that functions as a public gathering place
    • The Cathedral at Echmiadzin, a major pilgrimage site that dates from the 4th century
    • The pagan Temple of Garni, situated on a cliff and built from huge basalt blocks
    • The intricately carved, distinctly Armenian khachkar stone crosses of Geghard Monastery
    • The view of looming, snow-peaked Mt. Ararat from Khor Virap

Dates & Prices

Please note:

  • Private trip prices vary by season and are subject to hotel availability for your travel dates.
  • Listed prices below are based on double occupancy and a 2 traveler minimum.
  • Hotel upgrades, additional nights, and solo traveler prices are available on request.

Land tour price, per person, starting from:

  • 2024 Dates
    Available: April - October
    Tour, double occupancy
    Plus internal airfare
    Single supplement

What's Included

  • Tour Includes
    • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary. All room types, even in upgraded properties, are standard entry-level doubles or twins, please call for room category upgrade pricing and information.
    • Meals, as noted in the itinerary: 9 breakfasts, 4 lunches (2 picnic) and 1 dinner.
    • Restaurant tips for included meals.
    • One arrival and one departure airport transfer. (Additional arrival and departure transfers available at additional cost.) MIR will arrange for travelers to be met upon arrival and seen off on departure, whether we make your air arrangements or not.
    • Ground transportation throughout itinerary by private vehicle (size of vehicle depends on number of travelers in your group).
    • Evening cultural performances per the itinerary.
    • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in itinerary.
    • Services of experienced, English-speaking local guides, drivers and other staff.
    • Complete pre-departure electronic document that includes detailed packing suggestions, reading list links, country-specific information, maps, travel tips and more.
    • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international air-fare is not included in the land tour cost).
    • Electronic final update bulletin, with any late news, updates and important information.
  • Not Included
    • Internal airfare (internal airfare is quoted separately and is subject to change by airlines).
    • International airfare or taxes/fuel surcharges.
    • Meals not specified as included in the itinerary.
    • Single supplement charge, if requested or required.
    • Baggage handling.
    • Items of a personal nature (phone calls, email, laundry, alcohol, excess baggage, etc).
    • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.
    • Visa/passport fees, airport departure fees.
    • Expenses incurred as a result of delay, modification or extension of a tour due to causes beyond MIR’s control.
    • Travel and trip cancellation insurance.

Activity Level

Level 3: Medium, but Customizable

This ‘Essential’ itinerary designed for private travel features long days walking and standing, long days of overland travel, significant stair climbing, unpaved sidewalks and streets, uneven surfaces and steps, absent handrails, and lack of elevators. While some of these challenges are inherent in the destinations and sites, as one of our Essential Series programs this trip can be modified as needed for those travelers who are looking for a less challenging (or more challenging) program.

There is a significant amount of touring on foot, and those travelers planning to take the program as written should be able to walk at least a mile a day comfortably. Some long drives are an inevitable element of the routing this tour uses, and road conditions in the region can be bumpy and rough. Some attractions are only accessible via steep staircases with tall, uneven steps, and handrails are not always in place. Interior staircases may involve steep steps inside narrow passageways with limited light. Touring will be over a variety of surfaces such as cobblestones, bricks, packed or loose dirt, gravel, and including uphill or downhill sections.

Past travelers have also encountered challenges with bureaucratic service, plumbing in and out of hotels, and availability and quality of public restrooms.

Accommodations in the basic program are generally small, moderate, three star to four-star hotels, some quite small with basic amenities and services. Upgrades may be available in some cities, please call for details.


Traveler Reviews

  • "This trip was an excellent adventure, well worth every penny. [The itinerary] was well paced and accurately described in material. In-depth discussions of history, culture, and current events. The guides make the trip worthwhile. Accommodations excellent, cities interesting, scenery beautiful, guides interesting, entertaining and informative. Thank you for a memorable trip!"

    D. & D. Mountfort

    Biglerville, PA

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