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Georgia

Travels in Holy Georgia & the Caucasus Mountains

Georgia stands at the crossroads of Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East. It’s the home of the legendary Golden Fleece and it’s one of the oldest Christian states in the world. St Nino of Cappadocia brought Christianity to Georgia in the 4th century and it was proclaimed the state religion. Later on in the 6th century, the 13 Holy Syrian Fathers from Antioch were responsible for strengthening Christianity in Georgia and founded several monastery complexes in some spectacular locations.

On our journey through this very friendly and welcoming country, we will visit several early churches, cathedrals and monasteries, as well as having the opportunity to spend time walking through nature reserves and enjoying the amazing scenery.

 

Itinerary

  1. Fly to Tbilisi

    We fly from Heathrow Airport on Turkish Airlines. Flight TK1980 departs Heathrow at 06:35 arriving in Istanbul at 12:35. There’ll be time to get lunch before transferring to to flight TK384 which departs Istanbul at 16:35 and arrives in Tbilisi at 19:55. Two night stay at the Strofi Hotel, Tbilisi.

  2. An introduction to Tbilisi

    After breakfast we meet with a Georgian Orthodox priest who will give us a short lecture about Georgian Christian traditions.

    Next, we begin our walking tour of the Old Town in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.  We visit Metekhi Church, take the cable car to Narikala Fortress, walk back down to the brick-domed Sulphur Baths and pass one of the synagogues. We continue to Sioni Cathedral and Anchiskhati Church.  After an included lunch we enjoy visiting Dry Bridge Flea and Art Market as well as the golden domed new Sameba Cathedral.

    Dinner will be served at a local restaurant. Overnight in Tbilisi.

  3. Mtskheta

    Sunday Mtskheta
    We spend time in the centre of religious life, the ancient capital of Georgia, Mtskheta.  We visit Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (both UNESCO World Heritage Sites) and the holy place where the first Christian cross was erected in the 4th century.  Tradition holds that fragments of the robe of Christ are buried here.  We also call at Samtavro Monastery with its small chapel built by St. Nino in the 4th century. We then drive to Gori where Joseph Stalin was born.  We have a quick visit of the Stalin Museum and continue west to Imereti, Land of the Golden Fleece. We stay for two nights at the Grand Opera Hotel in Kutaisi. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.

  4. Kazbegi

    We explore the central part of Kutaisi including its colourful agricultural market. We then travel to Gelati Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage Site), founded by King David the Builder, who wanted to create a new Jerusalem on Mount Athos to serve as a major centre of Christianity.  We also visit Motsameta Monastery which holds the relics of two local Saints.

    Dinner with a local family with an ethnic touch. Overnight in Kutaisi.

  5. Walking in the Caucasus

    We drive up to into the Caucasus Mountains, stopping en route at Uplistsikhe Cave Town which dates back to the first millennium BC – one of the main points of Great Silk Road Route in Georgia. Our visit here also includes Society Biliki, founded in 1997 to work with displaced children from conflict zones around Gori.  We drive up the Georgian Military Highway, past Ananuri with its excellent examples of carvings on church walls. We stay in Gudauri, the highest village on the Georgian Military Highway at Hotel Marco Polo for two nights.

  6. Kazbegi

    A stunning drive this morning along the Tergi River past the old villages of the Truso gorge to Kazbegi.  We change into 4WD minibuses to drive up through  woodland to Gergeti (Trinity) Church (at 2170m).  After lunch we take a driving tour along Dariali Gorge. We visit a newly built monastic complex and then make our way back to Gudauri.

  7. Sighnaghi

    We leave the mountains today and drive to the east of the country known as wine cradle of humanity. After our scenic drive we visit picturesque Alaverdi Cathedral, set on the Alazani Valley, backed by the Great Caucasus Mountains. Our next stop will be Twins’ Winery where we see the wine museum and also taste local home-made wines. We will meet a Qvevri master, who’ll tell us more about Qvevri making techniques. We pass the tiny town of Telavi and time permitting take a short tour of its centre. We stay one night close to Telavi at the Chateau Mosmieri Hotel. We’ll have dinner at the hotel and we’ll  enjoy traditional Georgian songs by a local ensemble specially invited for our dinner.

  8. Tbilisi

    We start our tour at Kvelatsminda Church in the village of Gurjaani, the only two cupola church in Georgia.

    Our next stop will be Bodbe Nunnery, one of the major pilgrimage sites in Georgia, where St Nino is buried.  We also have time to explore the fortified town of Sighnaghi before returning to Tbilisi.

    Dinner at a local restaurant with folk dance performance. Overnight at The Strofi Hotel.

  9. Largest Orthodox Cathedral in Georgia

    Homeward Bound

    An early start this morning for our Turkish Airlines flight TK379 at 10:40 from Tbilisi and arriving in Istanbul at 12:15. Connecting flight TK1971 departs at 15:00 and arrives into Heathrow at 16:50.

    Please note: the itinerary may be subject to change due to local conditions.

  10. Meet the People

    Former McCabe director, the late Rosemary Nutt, travelled in Georgia and Armenia for many years and developed a great love and affinity for the region and its people. Through her connections we have developed pilgrim itineraries to both countries.

     

Essential Information

The price you pay is inclusive

The only extras you need to budget for are drinks and shopping. We include lunches and gratuities to guide, driver and hotel staff.

Included

Flights, Hotel accommodation, Breakfast, lunches and dinner daily, Sightseeing programme, Entrance fees & guiding, Gratuities

Not included

Travel Insurance, Single Room supplement

Touring days

A local guide and driver will accompany you throughout the pilgrimage. Touring is by air-conditioned private coach. Days generally start at 9am and finish around 5pm with dinner served around 7pm or 7:30pm.

Passports, visas and health

All passport holders from the Britain, Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA will be issued with a complimentary visa on arrival. Passports must be valid for the duration of your stay, but there is no additional period of validity required. If you are holding a passport from another country, please let us know and we will advise about visa requirements.

Travel Insurance

You can read the full policy wording here.

Airline

Flights are with Turkish Airlines flying from UK to Tbilisi, with a change of plane in Istanbul. We recommend a Friday departure, but other days are possible.

Hotels

Our preferred hotels are locally graded three and four stars; all rooms have private facilities.

Strofi Hotel, Tbilisi

Grand Opera Hotel, Kutaisi

Hotel Marco Polo, Gadauri

Hotel Chateau Mosmieri, Telavi

Cuisine

Georgians are very proud of their cuisine. As Georgia is agriculturally a very rich country, ingredients are fresh and seasonal with a variety of fruit and vegetables. Dishes are placed in the middle of the table to share. Favourites are the various varieties of Khachapuri (cheese bread) which is made with different types of cheese depending on the region, Khinkali are dumplings stuffed with minced meat which are popular in the mountains, eggplants are wrapped and dressed with a walnut sauce. Although Georgian cuisine is rich with meat dishes, there is also a large variety of vegetarian dishes, including Lobio, a delicious bean stew.

Wine, cultivated in Georgia for over eight thousand years, is for Georgians an inseparable part of the experience, and there will be many opportunities to try local wines.

A buffet breakfast in your hotel will include breads, meat, cheese, eggs, yoghurts, cereals, salad vegetables as well as fruit juices and tea & coffee. Lunches and dinners are included each day; dinners in Tbilisi and all lunches will be taken in restaurants, outside Tbilisi dinners are taken in your hotel.

Bottled water is provided on the coach as well as at lunch and dinner. Local beers, wines, vodkas and brandies can be ordered to accompany your meal. Usually when paying for drinks you should round up a little, say 5% or to the nearest round figure.

 

 

Practical information

Best time to Travel

We recommend travelling in May or June when previous parties have commented particularly on the abundance of wild flowers. If you chose September or October, you would participate in the festivities surrounding the wine harvest.

Travelling Alone

Many of our passengers travel alone and object to expensive single room supplements. McCabe Pilgrimages will accept individual bookings on a 'guaranteed share' basis. We charge the basic price and accommodate you with a person of the same sex also requesting shared accommodation. If we do not find someone to share with you, you will be accommodated in a single room at only 50% of the usual single room supplement. For single travellers who do require single accommodation this should be requested when booking and, if available, the normal supplement will be payable.

The McCabe Educational Trust

For many, meeting the ‘Living Stones’ of The Land becomes a real highlight of their pilgrimage. The McCabe Educational Trust is an independent registered charity with the aim of helping inspiring people we meet on pilgrimage. On your pilgrimage you will meet some of these people. As ‘the haves’ encounter the ‘have nots’ the Trust has become a practical tool for one to help the other.

McCabe Pilgrimages invite all travellers to become partners in this work. A £15 voluntary donation to the Trust’s work is added to every pilgrim’s invoice and all money raised in this way is given in full to the projects the Trust supports. This scheme is voluntary and confidential with nobody put under any pressure to participate.

Full Financial Security

All money paid to McCabe is fully secure. Holidays including flights are covered by our ATOL license from the Civil Aviation Authority, and holidays without flights are protected by our membership of the ABTOT bonding scheme. If a pilgrimage is cancelled, for instance through lack of numbers or for political considerations, McCabe will promptly refund all monies paid.

AITO Quality Statement

McCabe Pilgrimages is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The Association represents Britain’s leading independent tour operators and encourages high standards of quality and service. McCabe abides by the Association’s Code of Conduct and adheres to the AITO Quality Charter.

You can read McCabe reviews on the AITO website HERE

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Dates

Our Programme Tour Leader Tour Dates Availability
Travels in Holy Georgia & the Caucasus Mountains Georgia Departing From Heathrow Prices from £2379 pp McCabe Tour Leader 18/10/2024 for 9 days Download brochure Book now Make an enquiry

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