back to Georgia

Georgia

Land of the Golden Fleece

Georgia is an absolute gem of a country. The food is excellent, music and poetry play an important role for every family and the people are unbelievably hospitable, kind and full of fun. We offer a circular tour of the country beginning and ending in the capital, Tbilisi.

You will have four two-night hotel stays on the journey, with an overnight stay in Tbilisi at the end. A couple of the drives are long but the roads are good and scenery spectacular. The principle places of interest are very early monasteries often built in stunning, remote locations, originally for defensive reasons, with frescoes and stone carvings adorning the walls.

Itinerary

  1. Fly to Tbilisi

    We fly either from Manchester or Gatwick on Turkish Airlines. Flight TK1996 departs Manchester at 16:30 arriving in Istanbul at 22:35. Flight TK1998 departs Gatwick at 17:00 arriving in Istanbul at 22:50. We all transfer to flight TK386 which departs Istanbul at 00:10 and arrives in Tbilisi at 03:20.

  2. An introduction to Tbilisi

    We visit Metekhi Church, the Sulphur Baths, Sioni Cathedral and Anchiskhati Church. After lunch we take the cable car up to the Mother of Georgia statue and Narikala Fortress.

  3. Mtskheta

    Visit Mtskheta, the ancient capital and centre of religious life. Highlights are Dzhvari Monastery, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Samtavro Monastery. Drive west to Imereti, Land of the Golden Fleece.Two night stay in Tskaltubo at the Plaza Hotel.

  4. Kutaisi

    We explore the Cathedral of King Bagrat and the Gelati Monastery, founded by King David the Builder who wanted to create a new Jerusalem. We also visit Motsameta Monastery and one of Kutaisi’s synagogues.

  5. Gori

    We drive into the Caucasus Mountains, stopping at Uplistsikhe Cave Town. Gori was the birthplace of Joseph Stalin and we visit his museum, but our principal visit is to Society Biliki, which helps children from surrounding conflict zones. Two night stay at Gudauri at the Carpe Diem Hotel.

  6. Kazbegi

    We drive along the Tergi River past the old villages of the Truso gorge to Kazbegi and ascend through woodland to Gergeti church (2170m). After lunch we make our way back to Gudauri.

  7. St Nino

    We leave the mountains and drive east to Bodbe Monastery where St Nino is buried. We explore the fortified town of Sighnaghi and Kvelatsminda church in Gurdzhaani. Two night stay in Kvareli at the Royal Batoni Hotel.

  8. Kakheti

    We drive through picturesque vineyards to Nekresi monastery, later visiting Alaverdi Cathedral, Ikhalto and Shuamta monasteries.

  9. Ninostminda

    We return to Tbilisi, stopping at the remains of Ninotsminda cathedral. Lunch on arrival and a free afternoon. Overnight at the Citrus Hotel.

  10. Largest Orthodox Cathedral in Georgia

    Homeward Bound

    A very early start this morning. Our Turkish Airlines flight TK387 departs Tblisi at 04:30 and arrives in Istanbul at 05:55. Connecting flights TK1993 departs at 07:30 and arrives into Manchester at 09:50, or TK1981 departs at 07:25 and arrives into Gatwick at 09:35.

  11. Meet the People

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

    It is in this context that we visit the town of Gori. Mostly visited because here Joseph Stalin was born, there is a museum dedicated to his infamy. Our main interest is Society Biliki which is run by a remarkable group of young Christian women offering education and medical support to refugee children from the surrounding conflict zones. This project is now supported by the McCabe Educational Trust and a visit to the project has become a highlight of a McCabe itinerary through Georgia. We are always given a wonderful welcome by Project Director, Marika Mgebrishvilli and her team. For more info have a look at www.biliki.ge

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.

2018 Price: £1,625, Single Supplement: £295, Travel Insurance Premium: £49/£74 

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 7 or 7.30.

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

The McCabe recommended insurance policy is designed for the older traveller. The premium for a Georgia pilgrimage is £49. Travellers over 75 pay £74 and we also recommend that older travellers obtain a note from their doctor stating that they are fit to travel. Do feel free to shop around as there are many suitable insurance options including annual policies on the market. We do insist that all travellers take out medical insurance.

A key feature of our recommended policy is that there is no requirement to call a Medical Help Line as most pre-existing conditions are covered.

You can read the full policy wording here.

Airline

Flights are with Turkish Airlines flying between Gatwick airport and 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.

The Citrus Hotel in Tbilisi enjoys a very central location just a short walk from Rustaveli Avenue. The Plaza Hotel in Tskaltubo is a modern hotel in the centre of the town. Tskaltubo, with its healing mineral waters, was a popular health resort for tourists throughout the Soviet Union. The Carpe Diem Hotel in Gudauri offers fantastic views of the surrounding Great Caucasus mountains. The Royal Batoni Hotel near Kvareli is set in a beautiful woodland location with excellent views over Lake Ilia and has an outdoor swimming pool.

You can click on the hotel websites below:

Citrus Hotel in Tbilisi

Plaza Hotel in Tskaltubo

Carpe Diem Hotel in Gudauri

Royal Batoni Hotel in Kvareli

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
A Pilgrimage to Holy Georgia Prices from £1675 pp The Revd Peter Farrell 16/05/2019 for 11 days Download brochure Limited availability
Prices from £1675 pp The Very Revd Geoffrey Marshall 19/09/2019 for 11 days Download brochure Book now

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