back to Georgia

Georgia

Land of the Golden Fleece

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 with Turkish Airlines from UK via Istanbul to Tbilisi. Flights usually depart in the afternoon and arrive in te early hours of the morning.

  2. An introduction to Tbilisi

    Morning at leisure to rest. After lunch we begin with a walking tour of the Old Town in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Our visits include Metekhi Church, the brick-domed Sulphur Baths, Sioni Cathedral and Anchiskhati Church.

  3. Mtskheta

    We spend time in the centre of religious life, the ancient capital, Mtskheta. Visit Dzhvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, 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 then drive up the Georgian Military Highway, past Ananuri with its amazing church carvings to Kazbegi in the Causasus mountains. Three night stay.

  4. Kazbegi

    We drive in 4 wheel drive vehicles up through the woodland to Gergeti Church (2,170m). Before lunch we learn how to make khinkali, a traditional Georgian dish and have lunch with a local family. In the afternoon we have the option to walk to the Gveleti waterfall.

  5. Walking in the Caucasus

    We drive to the remote village of Juta where we visit a family who will show us how they make Georgian cheese. We will also taste Georgian honey. After lunch we enjoy a walk through the gorge with breath-taking views of Mount Chaukhebi.

  6. Kakheti

    Today we leave the mountains and drive east to Kakheti, known locally as the wine land. We stop in the village of Gurjaani where we visit the only church in Georgia with two cupolas. Three night stay.

  7. Tsinandali

    We spend the day visiting churches and monasteries in the local area. We start our visits at the Ikalto academy which dates back the 11th century. We continue on to Tsinandali house museum set in a beautiful park. We drive through the woods to Nekresi monastery and end the day at Gremi Fortress.

  8. Lagodekhi

    Today we drive to the Lagodekhi Nature Reserve where we walk through the forest towards the Shroma River Valley. As we walk we pass various waterfalls including the 6m high Rocho waterfall.

  9. Sighnaghi

    We drive back to Tbilisi, stopping at the fortified town of Sighnaghi where we have lunch. We also visit the impressive remains of the Cathedral of Ninotsminda, severely damaged during the last century by earthquakes. Two nights in Tbilisi.

  10. Tbilisi

    This morning we visit the National History Museum with its excellent pre-Christian treasury. We then take the cable car up to the Mother of Georgia statue and walk back down, stopping at the Narikala Fortress en route. Afternoon free for shopping and further exploration.

  11. Largest Orthodox Cathedral in Georgia

    Homeward Bound

    An early start today for mid-morning flights with Turkish Airlines from Tbilisi via Istanbul to UK. Flights arrive in the UK in the afternoon.

  12. 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.

     

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.

2020 Price: £1,975. Single Supplement: £425, Travel Insurance Premium: £59 up to age 74 and £84 aged 75 and above 

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

The McCabe recommended insurance policy is designed for the older traveller. The premium for a Georgia pilgrimage is £59 up to age 75. Travellers over 75 pay £84 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 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.

The Citrus Hotel in Tbilisi enjoys a very central location just a short walk from Rustaveli Avenue.

Stancia Kazbegi is a beautiful little boutique hotel right in the town square.

Hotel Chateau Kvareli is situated in the Kakheti wine region and located in the center of Kvareli town.

You can visit the hotel websites below:

Citrus Hotel in Tbilisi

Hotel Stancia Kazbegi

Hotel Chateau 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
Prices from £1975 pp Canon John Green 09/10/2020 for 11 days Download brochure Limited availability

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