Wine in Georgia Georgia Waitress, Chateau Mukhrani, Georgia

Founders Tour Georgia 2023

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

Friday 7 September- Saturday 23 September

 

Join Greg in Georgia next September, as his personally curated itinerary takes you behind the scenes, opening doors that are normally closed to the public!

Join us in Armenia for a pre-tour program and/or in Azerbaijan post-Georgia. PDF itineraries HERE for Armenia and HERE for Azerbaijan.

Please note that this trip is more physically demanding than many tours. There is a considerable amount of walking and standing involved throughout the program. You must be able to climb and descend stairs easily without assistance and walk over uneven and cobble-stoned areas. Unfortunately, if you use a wheelchair, we will not be able to accommodate you on this tour due to the limited access of ramps and elevators in museums, hotels and other sights. If you use a cane or other assistance for walking or are not able to walk long distances, our Founders Tour Georgia may not be the best fit for you. We kindly ask that you consider your physical abilities with regards to the itinerary for this program, as the itinerary cannot be amended to accommodate any physical limitations.

 

Full PDF itinerary HERE

Day 1
Arrive in Tbilisi | Arrive in Tbilisi Tbilisi, Georgia

Friday, September 15

Arrive today in Tbilisi. Meet your private driver just past baggage claim and customs in the arrival hall. Transfer to your hotel and enjoy your time at leisure. Although Tbilisi is a capital city, it is surrounded by mountains, has a river at its heart, and is green and verdant, giving it an air of leisure that is unusual in a major city.

This evening meet in the hotel lobby at 6 PM for a transfer to one of Tbilisi’s top restaurants where we will have a Welcome Dinner and celebrate being together to explore this amazing country.

Meals

Welcome Dinner

Overnight

Stamba

Day 2
Borjomi | Borjomi

Saturday, September 16

We’ll all meet today at noon in the hotel lobby and transfer to Chateau Mukhrani.

Exeter Extraordinary Experience

Our lunch will be served at Chateau Mukhrani along with a wine tasting. We will experience a performance of Khridoli, Georgian martial arts, a centuries-old tradition that has been now enjoying a great revival and is even taught in the Georgian Army.

We’ll then transfer to Borjomi, a journey of about 2 hours. Upon arrival, check-in and enjoy the evening at leisure. For those interested, you may visit the park just next door and drink from Tbilisi’s “fountain of youth”, the source of internationally known Borjomi water.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight

Crowne Plaza Borjomi

Day 3
Rabati & Vardzia | Rabati & Vardzia

Sunday, September 17

We’ll meet our guide today at 10 AM and set off for a visit to Rabati Castle and Vardzia Cave Monastery. Our first visit today will be Rabati Castle. Destroyed and rebuilt many times since the 13th century, the fortress site received a major restoration in 2011. Inclusive of an 18th-century mosque, a 19th-century Orthodox church, the Djakeli palace remains and a history museum, the top portion of Rabati fortress offers great viewing sites in the towers.

Continue to Vardzia where we will have lunch at Vardzia Resort. After lunch, we will visit Vardzia Cave Monastery. Please note, this requires some level of fitness, as you’ll be climbing through the ruins of the monastery.

In the 12th century, as the kingdom of Georgia was trying to defend itself from the Mongols, Queen Tamar reportedly ordered the construction of a sanctuary. In 1185, digging began on the side of Erusheli mountain. At completion, this underground fortress had more than 10 levels, a throne room, a church and nearly 6000 apartments. Sadly, just 100 years later, an earthquake destroyed more than two-thirds of the city, exposing the inside of the mountain. It remained in use by the monastery until 1551, when it was raided by Persian troops. Today, about 300 rooms and halls remain open to visitors. Before returning to Borjomi for the evening, we will stop at Khertvisi fortress, situated on a rocky hill above the Mtkvari and Paravani Rivers. The fortress was built in the 2nd century. The church dates to 985 and the present walls were built in 1354.

Transfer back to Borjomi for the remainder of the evening at leisure.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight

Crowne Plaza Borjomi

Day 4
Gori & Mtskheta | Gori & Mtskheta asdf

Monday, September 18

This morning we will check out of our hotel and meet our guide and driver at 10 AM.

Today we will transfer back to Tbilisi via Gori, best known for being the birthplace of Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, better known as Stalin. Georgian people were understandably proud that one of their own rose to be the leader of the Politburo, but Stalin’s success only brought misery to his homeland when he was Soviet leader. His original modest home still stands and is set against the backdrop of the Stalin Museum’s buildings and carriages from his private train.

We’ll then transfer to Nika Marani to enjoy lunch and a wine tasting.

Next, our guide will take us to visit Mtskheta, the spiritual heart of Georgia. Mtskheta has an almost mythical significance to many Georgians as this was the first capital of the nation and was also where Christianity was first introduced into the country. Mtskheta’s monuments date back to the 6th Century including the Jvari Monastery, the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and the Samtavro Church.

Arrive in Tbilisi, check-in and enjoy the evening at leisure.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight

Stamba

Day 5
Tbilisi Touring | Tbilisi Touring

Tuesday, September 19

We will meet our guide today at 10 AM to explore some of Tbilisi’s highlights including elegant Rustaveli Avenue, the Governor’s Palace, and the Parliament Building.

Exeter Extraordinary Experience

Later, we’ll have a performance of the Erisioni National Ensemble, a Georgian Academic ensemble of folk singing and dancing which has been in existence since 1885.

Exeter Extraordinary Experience

For lunch today we’ll be invited into one of the leading restaurants of the city for a khachapuri-making class. Khachapuri is the national dish of Georgia and it is delicious- a hot, freshly baked bread filled with warm cheese. We will learn about the different styles and traditions of making khachapuri while we watch our creation baking in the brick ovens. We’ll then enjoy an unforgettable feast before continuing with touring.

We’ll then continue sightseeing in Old Tbilisi. One of the most prominent structures in the Maidan is the Armenian Cathedral of St. George. As you walk up Leselidzes Kucha, the main thoroughfare, you will see Tbilisi’s main synagogue, right next door to the 16th-century Jvari Georgian Church and the Norashen Armenian Church. Ancient and fascinating Tbilisi is at its finest in this district. You’ll also see the Abanotubani, or the sulfur baths, which were frequented by Pushkin and Dumas.

Exeter Extraordinary Experience

Finally, we will have a special private boat trip on the Kura river (weather permitting). What looks like a dock on the side of the river suddenly starts moving and you find yourself cruising along the river. This is the perfect way to experience Tbilisi from a different perspective.

This evening we’ll be at leisure to explore Tbilisi by night.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight

Stamba

Day 6
Kakheti Exploration | Kakheti Exploration

Wednesday, September 20

This morning we’ll check out of the hotel and meet our guide at 10 AM. Today will begin our exploration of Kakheti, Georgia’s wine region. This historic region, called Kakheti, is famous for its stunning landscape, independent spirit, rich fertile soil, and tiny villages specializing in wine making. Our first stop will be Alaverdi. We’ll then transfer to Telavi and Marleta Cheese Farm where we will have lunch (and a cheese tasting, of course).

After lunch, we’ll explore Telavi. While the modern city has only existed since 1801, the history of the town goes back much farther – at least as far back as the 1st -2nd centuries AD, when it was a trading center on caravan routes. Walk along the fortress and be sure to stop at the Plane Tree. The 900-year old-tree is a pilgrimage site of sorts for Georgians.

Upon completion of touring, we’ll arrive to our hotel for an evening at leisure.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight

Radisson Tsinandali

Day 7
Kakheti Exploration | Kakheti Exploration Caucasus - Radisson Collection Tsinandali, Georgia

Thursday, September 21

Today we will meet our guide and driver to continue exploring this beautiful region. We’ll start with touring Tsinandali estate and winery, before moving on to Shumi winery. At Shumi winery we’ll experience Rtveli, one of the most important events in the country – grape harvesting for wine!

Exeter Extraordinary Experience

We’ll continue with Georgian traditions at a Georgian family’s home, where we will have a late lunch. A classic Georgian meal with wine and chacha will be served. Taking special pride in continuing Georgia’s longstanding tradition of toasting and singing, evenings here are often accompanied by a bit song and dance.

Late this afternoon, transfer back to the hotel for an evening at leisure to enjoy the beautiful estate.

Meals

Breakfast, Late lunch

Overnight

Radisson Tsinandali

Day 8
Sighnaghi | Sighnaghi Wine in Georgia

Friday, September 22

Morning check out of hotel to meet our guide at 10AM. We’ll visit Bodbe Monastery and environs before visiting the quaint town of Sighnaghi. For lunch, we will visit one of the best traditional wineries in the region, Pheasant’s Tears. Georgia is considered to be the cradle of winemaking as archaeological finds suggest that wine production may have begun here as early as 6,000 BC, long before it reached the Mediterranean and Western Europe. We will meet with a local wine expert and taste some regionally produced wines.

This afternoon we will visit Sighnaghi – a small but extremely charming town which is a must-see in this part of the country. The perfectly preserved Old Town with narrow streets and 18th Century fortifications that once had 23 towers and several gates, makes for a wonderful place to stroll around and take in the relaxed ambiance and gorgeous views of the Greater Caucasus mountains.

Exeter Extraordinary Experience

Upon return to Tbilisi, we’ll meet for our final farewell dinner in another of our favorite restaurants.

Meals

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight

Stamba

Day 9
Depart Georgia | Depart Georgia

Saturday, September 23

Today we say goodbye to Georgia. Meet your driver for a private transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Extraordinary Experiences
VIEW VIEW page

Extraordinary Experiences

Discover our insider access Extraordinary Experiences.

VIEW PAGE
The Experts
VIEW VIEW page

The Experts

Meet the Experts that will make your trip extraordinary.

VIEW PAGE
Rovinj, Istria
View Our Destinations
VIEW VIEW page

View Our Destinations

Our specialty is in the countries that link East & West, both in Europe, and between Europe & Asia.

VIEW PAGE
Family travel
View Our Trip Types
VIEW VIEW page

View Our Trip Types

How do you like to travel? View your choices here.

VIEW PAGE