SOCIALIST GEMS AND BREATHTAKING MOUNTAINSCAPES
Tbilisi – Borjomi – Chiatura – Rustavi – Racha – Kazbegi
This tour is offered on a regular monthly basis. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the learn-more button below: we will match your preferences with the next relevant scheduled group departure. If you are still unsure about your desired departure date, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with more than 4 friends, you can set your own departure date: we will arrange a bespoke tour just for you for the same price per person advertised below. If you are travelling solo or with less than four companions, we will then organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
Please note: this itinerary has a strong focus on Soviet Heritage. If you are more into classic and rather boring 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 1/2 - Tbilisi and Rustavi
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.
Two full days devoted to Tbilisi’s Soviet and off-the-beaten-path sights: crumbling buildings, brutalist concrete shapes, Soviet modernist gems, Soviet mosaics, bustling bazaars, improvised street stalls, hidden bakeries and not a single tourist around!
Architectural highlights of your visit will include: Bank of Georgia, National Radio Building, Industrial College, Chronicles of Georgia Monument, Archeology Museum, Nutzubidze, Gldani, Dezerter Bazaar, Georgia Expo, State Circus, Vake Park, Wedding Palace, National Library.
We'll carefully avoid the recently-renovated and kitschy-looking “old town” and make instead an excursion to Rustavi, a grey-blocks-and-wide-alleys Soviet town, completely forgotten by all tour operators bar us.
Meals and overnights in Tbilisi.
Day 3 - Gori and Borjomi
We will leave Tbilisi early in the morning and head southwestwards to Borjomi, a renowned Soviet mountain resort town located in the gorgeous Kharagauli National Park.
En route to Borjomi we’ll obviously call at the pretty Soviet-classicist town of Gori, the birthplace of Stalin and the last Georgian-controlled outpost before the contested border with the internationally unrecognised but de facto independent Republic of South Ossetia.
Once in Borjomi, we’ll devote the rest of the day to the socialist sights and architectures of this once-thriving Soviet spa town: sanatoria, apartment blocks, mosaics and nostalgia.
Dinner and overnight in Borjomi.
Day 4 - Chiatura and Kutaisi
In the morning we'll drive back north towards surreal mining town of Chiatura, a steampunk city famous for his extensive network of rickety but still functioning cable cars from the 50s.
On our way to Chiatura, we’ll stop in the rough-and-ready towns of Khashuri and Sachkhere to visit somber industrial remnants of better days and splendid Soviet mosaics still shining against all odds.
After having enjoyed a comprehensive Soviet tour of Chiatura and its many socialist wonders, we’ll move westwards to Kutaisi, Georgia’s juridical capital taking some truly off-the-beaten-track roads across the Caucasian foothills and visiting proudly nostalgic remote mining hamlets such as Orpiri and Tkibuli, miniature concrete paradises for Soviet-geeks and architecture-lovers alike.
Dinner and overnight in Kutaisi.
Day 6 - Tskaltubo and Zugdidi
We’ll spend the early morning hours in Kutaisi focussing, needles to say, on both the Soviet architectural-monumental heritage and the traditional facets of the city, such as the extremely photogenic central bazaar.
We’ll then head to the former Soviet resort town of Tskaltubo to visit its architecturally grandiose Soviet Sanatoriums and meet the new unwilling dwellers inhabiting them: the internally displaced refugees (IDPs) who escaped the secessionist territory of Abkhazia during the dark days of blood and war that followed the tragic disintegration of the Soviet Union.
From Tskaltubo we’ll transfer to Zugdidi touring the mosaic-rich town of Khobi and other little-know Soviet gems along the way.
In the late afternoon we will eventually arrive in Zugdidi, capital of the ethnically-diverse region of Mingrelia, where we’ll spend the final hours of our journey searching for what we love most: Soviet architectures, Soviet mosaics and colourful street food stalls; leitmotivs of the entire trip!
Dinner and overnight in Zugdidi.
DAY 7 - Flight back home or transfer to Abkhazia
After enjoying a last Georgian-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
For those interested in visiting Abkhazia: transfer to the de facto Georgian-Abkhaz border at Inguri and 5-day tour to the secessionist Republic of Abkhazia.
For those flying out: transfer to either Batumi International Airport or Kutaisi International Airport.
For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: transfer to the local train/bus station.
End of the tour.
4 to 9 participants: 1250 € per person
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. 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.