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© Esenko Workshops 2018

HIDDEN CORNERS OF GEORGIA

August 20th - September 2nd 2018 - 2 SPOTS OPEN

From its sublimely perched old churches and watchtowers dotting fantastic mountain scenery to its green valleys spread with vineyards, Georgia (Saqartvelo, საქართველო) is one of the most beautiful countries on earth and a marvellous canvas for walkers, horse riders, skiers, rafters and paragliders. Equally special are its proud, high-spirited, cultured people: Georgia claims to be the birthplace of wine, and this is a place where guests are considered blessings and hospitality is the very stuff of life.​

Join us on this exciting cultural and landscape photography tour of this relatively undiscovered former Soviet republic.

Itinerary in Brief
Day 1 — Arrivals
Day 2 — Tbilisi tour 
Day 3 — Fly to Batumi (420)
Day 4 — Drive to Mestia (280 km)
Day 5 — Mestia full day (40 km) 
Day 6 — Drive to Ushguli (50 km) 
Day 7 — Drive to Kutaisi overnight in Argo (180 km) 
Day 8 — Visit Prometheus caves, Tskaltubo. Visit Gelati Monastery (60 km) 
Day 9 — Kutaisi- Kazbegi (340 km) 
Day 10 — Full day in Kazbegi (70 km) 
Day 11 — Full day in Kazbegi (120 km) 
Day 12 — Kazbegi- Tbilisi (190 km)
Day 13 — Full day in Tbilisi (50 km) 
Day 14 — Departure (30 km) 

TOUR INFO

Dates
Duration

 

Group size


 

 

Price
Single room

Pro

Arrival
Departure

August 20th - September 2nd
14 days / 13 nights

8 - 10 guests 

For a group of 8-9 people there will be a surcharge of $275

 

€5995 
€750 (if available) 

Luka Esenko & Jeremy Woodhouse

Tbilisi Airport
Tbilisi Airport

Difficulty level

This workshop involves moderate walking on hiking trails. There may be a limited amount of uphill walking. 

ITINERARY

Arrive in Tbilisi. Transfer to the hotel. You are free to explore the city for the rest of the day. At 6:00PM we will meet our guide and go for our Welcome Dinner
Overnight in Tbilisi

Day 1

Arrival and Welcome dinner

Day 2 

Tbilisi tour

In the morning meet the local guide. Tbilisi has come a long way since the Rose Revolution of 2003 ousted the post-Soviet Shevardnadze government. To Tbilisi's eternal charms of a dramatic setting in the deep valley of the swift Mtkvari River, picturesque architecture, an ever-lively arts and cultural scene, and the welcoming Georgian lifestyle have been added a whole new 21st-century dimension of inviting cafes and restaurants serving ever better food, up-to-date lodgings from backpacker hostels to international five-stars, funky bars and clubs, spruced-up museums, galleries, parks, plazas and whole streets, modernised transport and a sprinkling of eye-catching contemporary architecture. All of which make it a much easier, and more fun, city to visit and live in than it was less than a decade ago.
Overnight in Tbilisi

Day 3

Fly to Batumi

Travel to Batumi. With a backdrop of mist-wrapped hills, Georgia’s summer holiday capital has sprouted new hotels and attractions like mushrooms in recent years, but it still owes some of its charm to the belle époque elegance of its original boom time a century ago. He we will help you hone your architectural photographic skills.
Overnight in Batumi. 

Day 4

Drive to Mestia

Breakfast. Drive toward mountains of Svaneti. Along the route visit local villages. In the evening arrive in Mestia. The 'capital' of Upper Svaneti, Mestia is a conglomeration of at least 10 hamlets, dotted with picturesque Svan towers. The oldest of the hamlets, with most of the towers, are above the river on the northern side of town: Lekhtagi in the northwest, and Lanchvali and Lagami to the northeast. Recent government-sponsored tourism development has seen Mestia's central square Setis moedani rebuilt, and an airport and a rush of guesthouses and hotels (around 90 at last count) opening up.
Overnight in Mestia

Spend the day enjoying photography of Mestia and its surrounding. Have delightful lunch at a nice restaurant surrounded by spectacular mountains. Explore the culture and history of Svaneti region.
Dinner and overnight Mestia

Day 5

Mestia full day

Day 6

Drive to Ushguli

After breakfast we will drive to Ushguli. Set in the topmost reaches of the Enguri valley beneath the snow-covered massif of Mt Shkhara (5193m), Georgia’s highest peak, Ushguli is an unbelievably picturesque spot. With more than 20 ancient Svan towers, it has been on the Unesco World Heritage List since 1996. This community of four villages, a 47km, 2½-hour drive southeast from Mestia, reaches up to 2100m above sea level and has a claim to be Europe's highest permanently inhabited settlement. From lowest to highest, the four villages are Murqmeli, Chazhashi, Chvibiani and Zhibiani.
Dinner and overnight at a local guesthouse with shared facilities

Day 7

Drive to Kutaisi

Breakfast. Drive though picturesque mountain road towards western Georgian province- Imereti. Along the route visit the local families. In the evening arrive in Kutaisi. Capital of several historical kingdoms within Georgia, Kutaisi is today being revitalised after years of post-Soviet decline. Georgia’s parliament was transferred from Tbilisi to brand-new quarters here in 2012, and Kutaisi's airport has become a destination for international budget airlines.
Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Kutaisi 

Day 8

Visit Prometheus caves, Tskaltubo

Morning visit the local market. Explore soviet town Tskaltubo, where interesting 1940’s architecture is well preserved. Visit the Prometheus natural caves. In the evening visit Gelati Monastery and Academy from 12th century.
Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Kutaisi.

Day 9

Kutaisi - Kazbegi

Today we will drive towards mountains of Stepantsminda.  Followed few hours of driving along historical Georgian Military Highway we will arrive in town Stepantsminda (former Kazbegi). This is most people’s destination on the Georgian Military Hwy: a valley town with the famous hilltop silhouette of Tsminda Sameba Church and the towering snowy cone of Mt Kazbek looking down from the west. In the afternoon we will drive by 4WD minivans up to theTsminda Sameba Church for our sunset shoot.
Overnight and dinner at Rooms Hotel Kazbegi 

Day 10

Full day in Kazbegi

Spend the whole day in the vicinity of Stepantsminda and its surroundings. Visit local villages and mountain valleys.
Dinner and overnight at Rooms Hotel Kazbegi

Day 11

Full day in Kazbegi

Explore beautiful Sno valley and Chaukhi mountains, light lunch at alpine café. In the evening return the Stepantsminda, enjoy family hosted dinner in the town.
Overnight at Rooms Hotel Kazbegi

Day 12

Kazbegi -Tbilisi (Rafting) - Evening shooting in Mtskheta

After breakfast check out from the hotel and descend toward the lowlands. Along the route short detour towards Pshavi region to enjoy white water rafting along Aragvi river, the rafting will be followed by the lunch at a lovely setting. Later enjoy the evening photography at town Mtskheta. Arrive in Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi. Dinner at a local restaurant

Day 13

Full day in Tbilisi and Farewell dinner

Spend the whole day in Tbilisi, charming capital of Georgia. Explore the hidden corners of the town. Farewell dinner at a lovely restaurant with polyphony singling. 
Overnight in Tbilisi. Dinner at a local restaurant

Day 14

Departure

Tour fee includes:

  • Ground Transportation

  • 4WD minivans Mitsubishi Delica in Svaneti (Ushguli area)

  • 4 WD minivans Mitsubishi Delica in Stepansminda area

  • 13 days service of a local guide/photographer 

  • All Breakfasts

  • 12 x lunches 

  • 13 x dinners 

  • Other: 

  • Internal flight

  • Rafting 

  • Local taxes 

  • All tips to local guides and drivers

Tour fee does not include:

  • ​Airport transfers

  • Travel insurance

  • International flights

  • Single Supplement

  • Services beyond described​

JOIN OUR 14-DAY JOURNEY

THROUGH GEORGIA