ON A SOVIET-MADE LADA looking for SOCIALIST GEMS AND BREATHTAKING MOUNTAINSCAPES
Tbilisi – Borjomi – Chiatura – Rustavi – Racha – Kazbegi
Regular monthly departures: this tour is offered regularly once a month. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the ask-us button below and we will match your preferences with the relevant scheduled group departure. If you are unsure about the month you wish to travel in, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will give you a wide range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with friends and there are 5 or more of you, you can set your own dates and we will organise a tour just for you without charging any additional fee. If you are travelling solo or with less than 4 companions we will organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
Please note: this itinerary has an extremely strong focus on Soviet Heritage. If you are more into classic attractions (i.e. monasteries, ruins, churches, temples and museums) and/or natural wonders (gorges, lakes and gentle slopes alike), we can easily design a bespoke itinerary according to your own specific preferences. Get in touch for more details on our tailored routes in Georgia.
DAY 1 - Tbilisi
In the morning you will meet your tour guide in the lobby of the designated hotel (exact hotel address and meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email; private airport pickup and shuttle service available for a small additional fee).
Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in Georgia.
Old and Soviet Tbilisi walking tour: ancient churches, crumbling buildings, brutalist concrete shapes, photogenic Tsarist façades, Turkish-style old houses, Soviet modernist gems, Soviet mosaics, and a fascinating jumble of narrow alleys, improvised street stalls, hidden bakeries and steep stone stairs.
Cable ride to the Tbilisi Fortress and visit to the Soviet-era statue of Kartlis Deda (Mother of Georgians).
Traditional Georgian lunch.
Nostalgia and Bazaars: after lunch we'll visit the Soviet Flea Market, an open street market where you can find everything from Stalin's busts to SS knives, and the Dezerter Bazaar, a surprisingly exotic place where Eastern European flavours mix with Middle-Eastern scents.
Dinner and overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 2 - Gori and Borjomi
We will leave Tbilisi early in the morning on board on our Soviet-era car (either a zhiguli or a niva) and head southwestwards to Borjomi, a renowned Soviet mountain resort town located in the gorgeous Kharagauli National Park.
We'll break the journey to visit the notorious city of Gori, the birthplace of Stalin and the last Georgian-controlled town before the contested border with the internationally unrecognised but de facto independent Republic of South Ossetia.
Quick lunch in Gori and transfer to Borjomi.
Borjomi evening stroll: Soviet sanatoria, Russian dachas, Stalinist classicism and Socialist melancholia.
Dinner and overnight in Borjomi.
Day 3 - Kutaisi, Chiatura and Tskaltubo
In the morning we'll drive back north to Kutaisi, the second biggest city in the country.
We'll break the trip twice to visit the surreal mining town of Chiatura, a steampunk city famous for his extensive network of rickety but still functioning cable cars from the 50s and the the stunning rock-pillar-cum-monastery at Katskhi.
Kutaisi sightseeing: Central Park, Soviet city centre, David the Builder monument, central bazaar, panoramic cableway and Bagrati Cathedral.
If time allows we'll also visit the gargantuan and recently renovated Soviet-era spa at Tskaltubo.
Dinner and overnight in Kutaisi.
Day 4/5 - Racha
The marvellous Racha-Lechkhumi province is up next.
Even for Georgian standards Racha is an undiscovered territory: its local population is known for its relaxed attitude, genuine hospitality and calm nature; the amazing windy roads are a must experience for every driver and the striking authenticity of rural lifestyle will wake up the ethnologist in you.
Along the way from Kutaisi to the mountains, we’ll also stop in the rather somber former mining town of Tkibuli, a little urban paradise for Soviet-geeks and architecture-lovers.
We'll then base ourselves in the traditional mountain hamlet of Oni and devote two full days to the exploration of Racha province.
During your time in the area you'll have the unique chance to meet with local farmers and herders, who will share with you their food, their home and the mystic secrets of their endangered culture.
If you are fit enough you can also prolong your stay in the mountains and undertake a challenging but extremely hike up to Ghebi and on to Zeskho; please contact us to learn more about this option.
Dinner and overnight in Oni.
Day 6 - Rustavi and Tbilisi outskirts
After some last reinvigorating morning hours in the Svaneti mountains we'll slowly drive back to Tbilisi.
Once in town we'll visit our own favourite brutalist and socialist-modernist architectonic gems in the outskirts of town (read: dystopian housing blocks and intimidating colossal administrative buildings).
We'll also pay a visit to Rustavi, a grey-blocks-and-wide-alleys town, completely forgotten by all tour operators bar us.
Dinner and overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 7 - Georgian Military Highway
Early morning start and drive along the world-famous Georgian Military Highway.
This masterpiece of Soviet engineering leads to the 5000m high Mt. Kazbeg and onto the Autonomous Republic of North Ossetia in the Russian Federation.
The landscape views you'll enjoy during the ride will be simply breathtaking: the natural diversity along the way is something special and you'll be able to appreciate the changing flora variety and mutating rock formations while ascending to the lovely village of Stepantsminda.
Along the route we'll stop several times to take pictures, buy fresh farmer products, drink pure mountain water coming from holy springs and pay a tribute to the splendid Soviet-era mosaic of the Russian-Georgian Friendship Monument.
In the village of Stepantsminda, built along the mighty Terek, you'll have the option to either chill-out with the locals and their free-roaming pigs or hike the hills to reach the postcard-like Gergeti Trinity Church.
Dinner and overnight in Stepantsminda.
DAY 8 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last Georgian-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
For those flying out: we will arrange transfer to any of the following transportation hubs: Kutaisi International Airport, Batumi International Airport, Tbilisi International Airport.
For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: we will arrange transport to the local train/bus station.
End of the tour.
4 to 9 participants: 1250 €
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 18 euro/night), private transport in the region (car or minivan), entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility.
Please note: It’s advisable to arrive in Tbilisi one day before the actual tour begins. You should notice, however, that you’ll have to take care of your accommodation for any day and night preceding the actual start date of the tour. Without any additional charge we will readily and gladly reserve a room for you at our hotel of choice and you’ll be able to pay for it by cash or credit card once you check-in. If your flight lands on the same day as the tour begins and you prefer to rest a bit before going out sightseeing, you will then meet your tour guide and the rest of the group at the designated hotel in the late afternoon.
Airport pickup in Tbilisi is available for just 35 euros per ride.
WHERE THE HECK AM I TRAVELLING TO?
BELOW YOU CAN SEE THE DIFFERENT TOUR STAGES MARKED ON A MAP OF THE REGION YOU ARE GOING TO EXPLORE WITH US
POSSIBLE TOUR COMBINATIONS FOR THIS ITINERARY INCLUDE
Abkhazia and/or Adjaristan